Africa Media Review for December 15, 2022

UN Envoy: South Sudan Leaders Must Halt Violence, Spur Vote
The U.N. special envoy for South Sudan urged the country’s leaders on Tuesday to intervene to halt clashes and sexual violence and urged that a two-year delay in holding elections not be used as “a holiday break.”…Tens of thousands of people were killed in the [country’s] war, which ended with the 2018 peace agreement that brought Kiir and Machar together in a government of national unity which was supposed to hold elections before February 2023. AP

Ghana Inflation Hits Decades-High to over 50%
Ghana’s annual inflation rate increased to 50.3% in November, up from 40.4% in the previous month, according to the latest figures by the Ghana Statistical Service. This is the highest inflation recorded in more than two decades. It is attributed to a sharp rise in the cost of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, which recorded an inflation rate of 79%. On Tuesday, Ghana reached an initial agreement with the IMF for a $3bn (£2.4bn) bailout subject to approval by the fund’s board if the country meets all the requirements. The deal is expected to help restore Ghana’s economic stability and ensure debt sustainability. However the government has to restructure the country’s debt to sustainable levels to qualify for the loan. BBC

Biden Says U.S. Is ‘All in’ on Africa’s Future
President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced an agreement aimed at bolstering trade ties between the United States and Africa…”The United States is ‘all in’ on Africa’s future,” Biden told African leaders from 49 countries and the African Union at a three-day summit in Washington that began on Tuesday…Biden said a new agreement with the African Continental Free Trade Area will give American companies access to 1.3 billion people and a market valued at $3.4 trillion. He listed companies that had made deals at the summit, including General Electric Co (GE.N) and Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O). Reuters

Why the US Is Backing the Africa Continental Free Trade Area
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the US and the AfCFTA Secretariat on Dec 14. could boost trade and investment in the continent, while unlocking trillions of dollars from Africa’s hidden potential…The US says its government has helped close over 800 investment deals across 47 African countries for a total estimated value of over $18 billion in 2021 alone, while its private sector has pumped $8.6 billion worth of investments in Africa…In a period of rising prominence of innovations across Africa, Biden has also unveiled the Digital Transformation with Africa (DTA), an initiative aiming to expand digital access and literacy across the continent. The plan is to invest “over $350 million and mobilize over $450 million in financing commitments for Africa, in line with the African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy.” Quartz Africa

Nigeria and Rwanda Become First African Countries to Sign Space Treaty with US
Nigeria and Rwanda became the first African countries to sign the Artemis Accords on space cooperation with the US during the US-Africa Leaders Summit at the US-Africa Space Forum in Washington DC. The Artemis Accords…are “a set of principles to guide the next phase in space exploration, reinforcing and providing for important operational implementation of key obligations in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.” The US-Africa Space Forum reaffirmed the US commitment to collaborating with African partners on the peaceful use and exploration of outer space to meet shared priorities on Earth. News24

US – Africa Summit: Peace, Security, and Governance Issues Dominate Tuesday’s Talks
The Biden administration’s three-day gathering is bringing in leaders from 49 African nations and the African Union for high-level talks. During the discussion, Somalia’s president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, spoke about how the terrorist group, al-Shabaab, controlled large portions of Somalia’s rural areas. “Shabaab, or terrorists anywhere they are, cannot be defeated militarily only,” he said. African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said the U.S. is providing bilateral support to a number of African countries, including Niger, Mozambique, Somalia and Chad. But he said that African armies are still underequipped…”We want to understand what’s what’s really important to you,” said U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. “We want to make sure that we are doing the things to develop and empower your security forces and help you work on your security architecture in ways that you think benefit you, and that certainly will promote regional stability.” AfricaNews

Chadian Army Arrests Officers, Says “Macabre Project” Foiled
The high command of the Chadian armed forces has confirmed it has arrested a number of soldiers, and said “a macabre project” designed to “perturb the institutions of the Republic” has been foiled, after a week of fierce rumours a coup against the military government was underway. The Army did not put a number on the group of military officers it detained, but it is believed that at least 12 soldiers have been arrested…For days, rumours have been circulating around N’djamena that a coup d’etat was in progress. Radio France International reported that the family of a dissident arrested on Dec 10 confirmed he had been interrogated about a coup. HumAngle

Bodies of 27 Migrants, Including Children, Found in Chad Desert
The bodies of 27 migrants, including four children, have been found in the Chadian desert, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM)…The migrants left in a pick-up truck nearly a year and a half ago from Moussoro, a town in west-central Chad, and are believed to have gotten lost deep in the desert when the truck broke down and eventually died of thirst, the United Nations-affiliated agency said on Tuesday. Landlocked Chad borders Libya to the north and is a transit country for migrants trying to reach the Mediterranean. More than 5,600 people have died or gone missing trying to cross the Sahara Desert in the last eight years, with 110 migrant deaths recorded in Chad, including these most recent fatalities, said IOM. The actual numbers, however, are thought to be higher as many deaths go unrecorded. Al Jazeera

Charlene Ruto: Kenya’s ‘First Daughter’ Denies Using Public Money
Following a national outcry, the daughter of Kenya’s president has denied that public money is being used to fund what she calls the “Office of the First Daughter.” Since her father’s inauguration in September, Charlene Ruto has held several high-profile events and meetings under the title. In Kenyan law, no such office exists. Many Kenyans online have been expressing anger over her engagements, and asking who is funding them…She became one of the top Twitter trends in Kenya on Wednesday as people asked whether she was using taxpayers’ money. She responded with a statement saying: “The Office of the First Daughter is a private entity. It is neither a constitutional office nor is it being funded by the Kenyan taxpayer.” BBC

ICC to Rule on Appeal by Ugandan Former Child Soldier
The International Criminal Court will decide on Thursday on an appeal by a Ugandan child soldier-turned-commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army against his conviction and 25-year sentence for war crimes. Dominic Ongwen, who was abducted aged nine by the rebel group led by the fugitive Joseph Kony, was found guilty last year of murder, rape and sexual enslavement in northern Uganda during the early 2000s. The LRA was founded three decades ago by former Catholic altar boy and self-styled prophet Joseph Kony, who launched a bloody rebellion in northern Uganda against President Yoweri Museveni. AFP

Nightmare in Nigeria: Smothered, Poisoned and Shot
More than 40 soldiers and civilians told Reuters they witnessed the Nigerian military kill children or saw children’s corpses after a military operation. Estimates totaled in the thousands. Reuters investigated six incidents in which at least 60 died. One mother described the deaths of her twin babies: “The soldiers said they killed those children because they are children of Boko Haram.”…In the northeast, children often have been swept up in wartime violence and suffered disproportionately from the fallout, including displacement, unlawful detention, malnutrition and disease, according to the United Nations and other humanitarian groups. Amnesty International reported in 2015 that the Nigerian military and allied forces had summarily killed more than 1,200 men and boys captured in the conflict. The Nigerian government ultimately dropped an investigation into Amnesty’s accusations of extrajudicial killings and other war crimes, finding insufficient evidence to support any abuses by its officers. Reuters

Nigerian Artists Carve Their Own Path in the NFT Space
Most people became aware of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) last year when Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5,000 Days sold for$69.3 million sale at Christie’s in New York. Though blockchain technology and web3 were becoming better known, for most, it was still unclear what impact NFTs would have on the global art scene. This was the case too in Nigeria where most people’s knowledge of NFTs had come from Prince Jacon Osinachi—regarded as the first artist who popularized crypto art or art on the blockchain in Nigeria…The NFT scene in Nigeria is the largest in Africa’s art on the blockchain ecosystem due to the magnitude of its creator base. Though it is still in its infancy stages it has amassed a lot of success within a short span. Quartz Africa



Photo: Adam Jones