Africa Media Review for December 20, 2022

Nearly Every Country Signs On to a Sweeping Deal to Protect Nature
Roughly 190 countries early on Monday approved a sweeping United Nations agreement to protect 30 percent of the planet’s land and oceans by 2030 and to take a slew of other measures against biodiversity loss, a mounting under-the-radar crisis that, if left unchecked, jeopardizes the planet’s food and water supplies as well as the existence of untold species around the world…An outsize amount of the world’s biodiversity lives in countries of the global south. But these nations often lack the hefty financial resources needed to restore ecosystems, to reform harmful agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries and forestry practices; and to conserve threatened species. Developing countries pushed hard for more funding, with representatives of dozens of countries from Latin American, Africa and Southeast Asia walking out of meetings on Wednesday in protest that they weren’t being heard. The Democratic Republic of Congo expressed fierce opposition and held up final approval into the early hours of Monday morning. When the president of the talks proceeded over the Congolese objections, delegates from several African spoke out in protest. New York Times

‘We Didn’t Accept It’: DRC Minister Laments Forcing Through of Cop15 Deal
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s environment minister has said her country has not agreed to a deal to halt the destruction of the Earth’s ecosystems, prompting behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts to keep the agreement alive just hours after it was adopted. Ève Bazaiba, the DRC’s environment minister, said her country would be writing to the UN secretary general, António Guterres, and the Convention on Biological Diversity to express the DRC’s position on the final text. It comes after the Chinese Cop15 president, Huang Runqiu, appeared to force through the agreement in the final plenary just moments after the DRC negotiator had said did not support the deal, which is typically negotiated by consensus. His interventions prompted further objections from Uganda and Cameroon. Guardian

ANC Conference: South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa Defies Scandal to Win Party Vote
South Africa’s scandal-hit President Cyril Ramaphosa has been re-elected as the governing ANC’s leader to wild cheers from his supporters. He defeated his rival Zweli Mkhize by 2,476 votes to 1,897. Mr Ramaphosa won despite being dogged by allegations of money laundering, and a last-minute surge in support for Mr Mkhize, who has also been accused of corruption. Both deny the allegations. His victory puts him in pole position to lead the ANC in the 2024 election. But he is still at risk as he is being investigated by police, the tax office and central bank over allegations that he stashed at least $580,000 (£475,000) in a sofa at his private farm, and then covered up its theft. BBC

Tunisia Sets Runoff Assembly Vote for February After Voter Snub
Tunisia plans to hold a runoff vote for a majority of seats in a disempowered assembly during the first week of February, adding fresh political risks as the country tries to secure a bailout from the International Monetary Fund. Around 11% of 9.1 million eligible voters cast valid ballots on Saturday in the country’s first parliamentary election since President Kais Saied suspended the previous chamber and revamped power sharing in the birthplace of the Arab Spring revolts. Bloomberg

155 Wounded by Sudanese Police During Anti-Coup Protests
The Sudanese security forces violently dispersed protesters in Khartoum state who took to the streets to voice their rejection of the military rule on Monday, wounding some 155 people. The demonstrations were organized to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the start of the popular protests in December 2018 which led to the collapse of the al-Bashir regime in April 2019. Also, They coincided with the adoption of a resolution by the Sudanese legislative assembly to declare  Sudan’s independence on December 19, 1955. The anti-coup protesters marched in the streets of Khartoum, Khartoum North and Omdurman as well as Eastern Nile but did not reach the Republican Palace or other “strategic sites” in the capital due to the massive deployment of the police forces. Sudan Tribune

Egypt Draws Maritime Border, Ignites Tensions Among Regional Gas Alliances
Vast undersea natural gas resources and the right to drill in waters off the coast of Egypt and Libya are prompting recriminations between regional governments after economic interests led Egypt to unilaterally delineate its maritime border with Libya last week. A decision by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to draw his country’s maritime border with Libya drew protests from the Foreign Ministry of Libya’s Tripoli-based Government of National Unity over the weekend, in addition to protests from the prime minister of Libya’s rival government backed by the country’s parliament. The unity government’s ally, Turkey, reportedly called on both countries Sunday to negotiate a maritime border agreement to resolve the conflict. Voice of America

Libya Sentences 17 ‘ISIS Members’ to Death
A Libyan court has sentenced 17 people to death after finding them guilty of joining the Islamic State group and carrying out atrocities in its name. The Tripoli court on Monday also sentenced two people to life in prison and 14 others to lesser jail sentences, it said…Libya’s collapse into violence after the revolt that toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011 left a power vacuum that was filled by a multitude of armed groups, including IS. The extremist group used Kadhafi’s home town of Sirte as its base from mid-2015 until it was ousted the following year. Some jihadists were killed, others captured and some took refuge in the country’s vast desert or in the cities of western Libya. IS fighters also briefly seized Sabratha in February 2016, but were quickly ousted by government troops. AFP

UK’s Rwanda Asylum Seeker Deportation Plan Is Lawful, Court Rules
Britain’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda is lawful, London’s High Court ruled on Monday, in a victory for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who has made a high-stakes political promise to tackle the record number of migrants arriving in small boats. The policy, which was denounced by rights groups and even King Charles after it was announced in April, would involve Britain sending tens of thousands of migrants who arrive on its shores more than 4,000 miles away (6,400 km) to Rwanda. Reuters

‘Everything Is Increasing Except Wages’: Inflation Batters Ethiopia
“Everything is increasing except our wages,” says Ethiopian porter Zerihun, summing up the financial crisis in the Horn of Africa nation as it reels from skyrocketing inflation and an economic slowdown. After a decade of dynamic growth during the 2010s, Africa’s second-most populous country has suffered multiple shocks, including the Covid-19 pandemic, a record drought, a two-year war in its northernmost region of Tigray and the global effect of the invasion of Ukraine…“It’s very difficult to make do with what you have,” he said, underlining that the war in Tigray meant his former customers — traders and farmers from the north — were no longer coming to the market. The slowdown in trade with the north has also seen fewer trucks turning up at Merkato, which means less work for porters like Zerihun and Sintayeh. The conflict put pressure on government finances and hit key sectors such as agriculture and industry. It also scared away investors and foreign partners, contributing to a shortage of foreign currency in an importing nation. A peace deal signed last month between the federal government and Tigrayan rebels has raised hopes of an economic recovery. “I hope the peace agreement will make the situation better in the future,” said Zerihun. Mail & Guardian

Ghana to Default on Most International Debt
Ghana has suspended payments on most of its foreign debts, effectively defaulting as the country starts restructuring, as part of a bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund. The finance ministry said Monday that it will suspend service payments of its Eurobonds, commercial loans and most bilateral loans. Calling the decision an “interim emergency measure”, the ministry said the government “stands ready to engage in discussions with all of its external creditors to make Ghana’s debt sustainable.” A top cocoa and gold producer, Ghana also has oil and gas reserves, but its debt has soared this year, and like the rest of sub-Saharan Africa it has been hit by the fallout from the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine. The government currently spends 70 percent to 100 percent of its revenue servicing its debt, and it has been struggling to refinance since the start of the year. RFI

Nigeria: Twitter Negotiated with FG, Minister Clarifies
Federal Government, yesterday, refuted claims that Twitter did not negotiate with the Nigerian government following the suspension of the microblogging site. Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the clarification, yesterday, at the presentation of Buhari administration’s scorecard in Abuja. Describing the claim as ludicrous, the minister said government could have simply ignored it if not for the generated speculations. “Without mincing words, let me say there was a long-drawn negotiation between Nigeria and Twitter, at the instance of the latter, following the suspension of the platform on June 4, 2021 because of its persistent use for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence. Guardian Nigeria

Lots of Business Deals Reached During the US Africa Summit
Nearly 15 new commitments between U.S. and African businesses were announced during last week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, in fields ranging from mining to healthcare to basketball. Gina Raimondo, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, talked to reporters about one of the biggest deals made at the summit, an investment by U.S.-based Kobold Metals, which will be “a commitment of over $150 million dollars into Zambia’s mining sector.” Raimondo added, “I think this is a model of what we need to be doing more. It’s a big deal.”…Another signing occurred between two financial institutions: U.S. EXIM Bank and the African Export-Import Bank known as Afreximbank. The latter’s president and chairman, Benedict Okey Oramah, told VOA that by signing a memorandum of understanding, the two institutions moved from intention to action. “It’s an MOU for collaboration to support trade and investment between Africa and the U.S. with special focus on diaspora engagement.” Oramah said. “We have an envelope of $500 million dollars attached to that MOU.” Voice of America