Africa Media Review for December 14, 2022

The US-African Leaders Summit Is Underway as Biden Welcomes 49 Leaders from the Continent
With heads of state and representatives from 49 countries, the three-day Africa Leaders’ Summit kicked off Tuesday and will include the president’s participation Wednesday. Topping U.S. commitments, Biden will pledge $55 billion in financial aid, according to the White House. “By the end of this, what you will see is a genuine energy and a spirit of cooperation that will reflect the fact that the United States has unique assets and capabilities to bring to bear,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said…Sullivan said the U.S. will announce several other “specific deliverables” during the summit. Biden has appointed Johnnie Carson, former U.S. ambassador to Kenya, to oversee actions announced at the summit…Sullivan said the summit is rooted in the recognition that Africa is a key geopolitical player. USA Today

Meta Sued for $2Bn over Ethiopia Violence
Facebook’s algorithm helped fuel the viral spread of hate and violence during Ethiopia’s civil war, a legal case alleges. Abrham Meareg, the son of an Ethiopian academic shot dead after being attacked in Facebook posts, is among those bringing the case against Meta. They want a $2bn (£1.6bn) fund for victims of hate on Facebook and changes to the platform’s algorithm. Meta said it invested heavily in moderation and tech to remove hate. A representative said hate speech and incitement to violence were against the platform’s rules. “Our safety-and-integrity work in Ethiopia is guided by feedback from local civil society organisations and international institutions,” the representative said. BBC

What to Know About South Africa’s Presidential Scandal
South Africa’s parliament voted not to proceed with impeachment proceedings against President Cyril Ramphosa on Tuesday. Ramaphosa, head of the ruling African National Congress (A.N.C.) party, has come under fire from both opposition and rivals within his own party following a parliamentary report that accused him of corruption and violating the constitution. A two-thirds majority is required to begin impeachment proceedings. Tuesday’s vote was expected to go Ramaphosa’s way as A.N.C. leadership had instructed its lawmakers—who hold 230 of 400 seats in parliament—to support him. While four A.N.C. Parliament members voted in favor of impeachment and a few others were absent from the vote, it did not sway the final tally. In total, lawmakers voted 214 to 148 against the move. Time

Peril on the Migrant Route in Southern Africa
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has expressed alarm at the surge in deaths among migrants trying to reach South Africa. On Sunday, Zambian police said the bodies of 27 suspected migrants were discovered in an area north of Zambia’s capital, Lusaka. In October, police in neighboring Malawi said the bodies of 30 migrants were found buried in a forest in the northern district of Mzimba. In both cases, the victims were young Ethiopian men who were being trafficked to South Africa. Two years ago, 64 Ethiopian men were also found dead in a sealed shipping container in Mozambique. Their deaths at the hands of traffickers in southern African countries have become a cause for growing concern.  Most of  the victims were significantly aided by traffickers, Girmachew Adugna, the Program Manager at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Flight and Migration Competence Centre in Addis Ababa told DW. “Throughout their journey what these young, inexperienced boys are going through is indescribable. It is inhumane. It started in the 1990s,” he said. DW

Judicial Strike Paralyzes Courts Operation in Malawi
Support staff of Malawi’s judiciary system are holding a nationwide strike aimed at forcing the government to improve their working conditions. The strike, which started Monday, has paralyzed the courts, as protesters block lawyers, police and others from accessing the court buildings. Court marshals, clerks and messengers say they will resume work only if the government addresses their grievances… Andy Haliwa, a spokesperson for the striking workers, told VOA the strike is a result of the government’s failure to honor worker concerns over terms of service that are revised every three years. “The last revision was made in 2018. We anticipated a revision in 2021. And from 2021 and 2022 we have been working on a document to revise these conditions,” Haliwa said. “Yesterday in the morning we received a communication from the office of the registrar that the terms and conditions have been approved. But to our surprise what has been approved is contrary to what was submitted to the Judicial Service Commission.” Voice of America

‘Means of Survival’: Tanzania’s Booming Charcoal Trade Drives Unchecked Deforestation
As a result of high gas prices, about 90% of Tanzanian households now use charcoal or firewood to cook, which is fuelling rapid deforestation across the country. Between 2015 and 2020, the country lost almost 470,000 hectares (1.16m acres) of forest a year, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The situation mirrors what is happening across much of Africa, where wood collection and charcoal production account for nearly half of the continent’s forest degradation. Deforestation is contributing to the climate crisis, says Saidi Mayoga, an army reserve officer who patrols Ruhoi’s 79,000-hectare reserve…For many loggers, however, environmental concerns take a back seat to more immediate economic needs. Almost 45% of Tanzanians live on about $2 (£1.70) a day. Guardian

Crisis-Hit Somalia, Ethiopia Top Aid Group’s Watchlist for 2023
Somalia and Ethiopia, both Horn of Africa nations ravaged by drought and conflict, will be the countries of highest concern in 2023, according to an annual Watchlist issued by the International Rescue Committee aid group on Wednesday. The report lists 20 countries, 11 of them in Africa, that it says are at greatest risk of new or worsening crises next year and are home to 80% of all people facing severe food insecurity – despite accounting for just 13% of the global population. Top of the list for the first time is Somalia, where the combined effects of a two-year drought, an Islamist insurgency and rising global food prices have caused catastrophic food shortages that are killing children now and are set to worsen. Reuters

Famine in Somalia Averted, for Now, UN Report Says
A United Nations acute food insecurity report on Somalia issued Tuesday finds famine in that country has been narrowly averted due to the response of humanitarian organizations and local communities to the crisis. While famine has not been officially declared in Somalia, the United Nations said the country is not yet out of the woods. Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the underlying crisis has not improved. He warned that famine remains an ever-present threat. Voice of America

Senegal COVID-19 Relief Funds Misused: Report
A coronavirus pandemic relief fund in Senegal fell victim to alleged criminal offences and mismanagement, according to a public spending watchdog report seen by AFP on Tuesday. President Macky Sall set up the fund, financed by the state and lenders, to strengthen the West African nation’s ailing health system during the crisis. A watchdog audit of spending linked to the fund in 2020 and 2021 found that different ministries used around $30 million for matters unrelated to Covid-19, out of a total of more than $1.1 billion. It said a fraudulently inflated figure of around $4 million was used to buy and hand out rice to the poorest during lockdown, noting a lack of transparency in the purchases. AFP

At Least 120 Killed as Floods Sweep DR Congo Capital
At least 120 people have been killed and dozens injured in widespread floods and landslides caused by torrential rain in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s capital, Kinshasa. Entire neighbourhoods were flooded with muddy water, and houses and roads ripped apart by sinkholes and landslides, including the N1 highway that connects Kinshasa to the country’s main sea port of Matadi…Once a collection of fishing villages on the banks of the Congo River, Kinshasa has grown into one of Africa’s largest megacities with a population of about 15 million people. Rapid development and poor regulation have made the city increasingly vulnerable to flash floods after intense rains, which have become more frequent due to climate change. Al Jazeera

Amnesty Rights Group Slams Spain, Morocco on Migrant Deaths
Amnesty International says Morocco and Spain have failed to properly investigate the deaths of more than 20 migrants at the border of Spanish enclave city of Melilla in northwest Africa in June, saying that “smacks of a cover-up and racism.” A report released Tuesday, almost six months after the deaths, describes the events as crimes under international law, and questions the inquiries run by both countries as stalled and inadequate. “We are talking, not only of (mass) killings but also governments attempting to cover” the killings, said Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard. The deaths occurred when some 2,000 migrants stormed the Melilla border fence from the Moroccan side on June 24. At least 23 were officially reported dead, though rights groups say the number was higher. Spain has denied any loss of life on its territory. Amnesty International says all the events happened on European soil. AP

Sudan, UAE’s Consortium Sign $6-Bln Deal to Build New Port on Red Sea
The Sudanese government and a consortium of Emirati companies signed, on Tuesday, a preliminary agreement to develop and operate the Abu Amama port on the Red Sea, with investments amounting to $6 billion…The deal includes an agricultural zone of 400,000 feddans (415,000 acres) in the Abu Hamad area of River Nile State. Also, a 450 km long road will link the zone with the new port on the Red Sea. The Sudanese minister said that the port will be equipped with the latest modern technology, pointing out that the $6 billion project includes an industrial area, a tourist area, an international airport, a residential complex, internal roads and a power station, He added that the project would contribute to solving the drought issue in Port Sudan and mining areas by delivering water from the Nile River. Sudan Tribune

Morocco Is Living a Dream in Qatar. Here Are 5 Things to Know About Its World Cup Run
“We can dream, why shouldn’t we dream about winning the World Cup?” Morocco coach Walid Regragui said after his team dispatched Portugal…Regragui said his side is “the Rocky Balboa of this World Cup” after the Atlas Lions became the first African team ever to reach the semifinals with a stunning victory over Portugal on Saturday…At this year’s World Cup, Morocco “is the only team in the tournament with more than half of its 26 players born in other countries,” as Quartz has reported…The numbers reflect a stark reversal. European countries that for decades larded their talent-rich rosters with elite players who had roots in former colonies are now seeing top players opt to represent their family’s ancestral home — even if the athlete was born in Europe. NPR



Photo: Adam Jones