Africa Media Review for January 4, 2023

Learning from Ghana’s Multistakeholder Approach to Cyber Security
As internet penetration has exponentially grown, African countries have become more exposed to cyber-related threats….Unfortunately, most African countries have yet to establish foundational cybersecurity policies to confront these threats. A majority have yet to author a national cybersecurity strategy, to set up institutions capable of responding to major cybersecurity incidents, or to define an approach to international cooperation in cyberspace. Ghana is not most African countries. It is 1 of only 12 nations in Africa to possess both a national cybersecurity strategy and national incident response capabilities. It is also one of only four to have ratified both the Budapest and Malabo Conventions, two major treaties aimed at addressing the international dimensions of cyber-related threats. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

How Russia’s War on Ukraine Is Worsening Global Starvation
An enduring global food crisis has become one of the farthest-reaching consequences of Russia’s war, contributing to widespread starvation, poverty and premature deaths…The food shortages and high prices are causing intense pain across Africa, Asia and the Americas. U.S. officials are especially worried about Afghanistan and Yemen, which have been ravaged by war. Egypt, Lebanon and other big food-importing nations are finding it difficult to pay their debts and other expenses because costs have surged. Even in wealthy countries like the United States and Britain, soaring inflation driven in part by the war’s disruptions has left poorer people without enough to eat. New York Times

Climate Change Puts More Women at Risk for Domestic Violence
Lenaigwanai is one of the dozens of women who have arrived at the Umoja refuge [Kenya] in recent months fleeing violence that they say got worse as each successive year of low rainfall plunged their families deeper into poverty. Her semi-nomadic Samburu community of pastoralists are particularly vulnerable to drought because they depend on the livestock whose emaciated corpses litter the barren lands that once provided plentiful grazing. For these and many other women around the world, the threat of violence could become more common as climate change makes extreme weather events more intense and frequent…Scientists have long warned that climate change disproportionately impacts the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, and negotiators from wealthy countries at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Egypt pledged to do more to help poorer countries already grappling with its devastating effects. Washington Post

At Least 20 People Killed in Clashes in Somaliland
At least 20 people have been killed in Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland in clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces over several days, according to a doctor at a public hospital. For more than a week police and the military have been battling the protesters in Laascaanood, a town in Somaliland’s east which is disputed between Somaliland and neighbouring Puntland, one of Somalia’s semi-autonomous regions…Protesters are demanding that Somaliland cede control of the town to Puntland and also accuse security forces of failing to end insecurity in the town. “Somaliland forcefully occupied Laascaanood and failed to secure it. We are demanding that they leave,” Adaan Jaamac Oogle, the spokesman of the protesters told Reuters. Reuters

‘Two Huge Explosions’: Car Bombs Kill at Least 10, Level Houses in Somalia
Two car bombs detonated by al-Shabaab militants killed at least 10 people and flattened several houses in central Somalia’s Hiraan region on Wednesday, a government-allied militia and a local elder said. Al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab has been waging an insurgency against Somalia’s government since 2007. It was pushed out of Hiraan last year by government forces and allied clan militias known as macawisley, but has continued to stage attacks…The insurgents have been under pressure since August when President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud launched a military offensive shortly after coming into office. The government forces and macawisley have received support from United States and African Union troops. Reuters

Somalia President’s Declaration on Security Attracts Mixed Reactions
Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, in his New Year’s Day speech Sunday, declared the country will eliminate al-Shabab Islamist militants this year. Mohamud’s all-out war against the group, declared last year, has succeeded in pushing the militants out of some areas under their control. The president also said Somalia would also take over security operations from African Union peacekeepers in Somalia by the end of 2024…Ahmed Abdisalam, former deputy prime minister and current director of HornCenter, a Somali-based research and policy center, applauded the president’s promise for the government to take over all security duties from African Union peacekeepers…However, Abdullahi Gafow, a Mogadishu based political analyst, is skeptical about Mohamud’s pledges. Gafow said that, after listening to the speech given by the president, he found there was no difference between this speech and the previous speeches that had been given by previous presidents, in that they all stated they would plan to assume responsibility for security from the African Union. He said that therefore, nothing has changed.” Voice of America

Ethiopia/Tigray Peace Process Underway
Following an agreement to end hostilities between Ethiopia and its Tigray region, the African Union (AU) has worked at setting up a monitoring, verification and compliance mission to ensure a permanent halt to fighting and violence. To date two AU brokered meetings for senior commanders from Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have taken place in follow-ups to implementation of the permanent cessation of hostilities agreement (COHA). This came ahead of the launch of the AU a monitoring, verification and compliance mission (AU MVCM) in Mekelle, Tigray on December 29. Both Ethiopia and the TPLF agreed to a joint committee of representatives from each other as well as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the regional bloc with Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda as members. DefenceWeb

Shares in Troubled Kenya Airways Suspended for Another Year
Trading in Kenya Airways shares has been suspended for another year, the local stock exchange said Wednesday, as the troubled national carrier battles to return to profitability. Last month, Kenyan President William Ruto said the government was ready to sell its entire stake in the airline, which has been languishing deep in the red for years. Kenya Airways shares have been suspended since July 2020, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic that devastated global air travel. “The extension of suspension seeks to enable the company (to) complete its operational and corporate restructure process,” the Nairobi Securities Exchange said in a statement. The government owns a 48.9 percent stake in Kenya Airways, while Air France-KLM has 7.8 percent. “I’m willing to sell the whole of Kenya Airways,” Ruto told Bloomberg News last month during his first visit to the United States as Kenyan president. AFP

Egyptian Initiative to Break Sudan Political Impasse
In a bid to break the political stalemate between a number of political groups in Sudan over important but thorny in the Final Agreement on the coming transitional period, Egypt has presented a new platform for dialogue between the parties. On Monday, the Director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate (EGID), Maj Gen Abbas Kamel, held separate meetings with Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, President of the Sovereignty Council and Commander of the Sudan Armed Forces, leaders of the Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FFC-CC) and of the FFC-Democratic Block alliance of rebel movements and the Democratic Unionist Party. Sources reported that Kamel presented a new platform for dialogue between the parties, to be held under Egyptian auspices. The press office of the Sovereignty Council said that the Egyptian Intelligence director conveyed an oral message from Egyptian President Abdelfattah El Sisi to El Burhan, regarding bilateral relations. Radio Dabanga has not been able to get in contact yet with the FFC factions for comments on the news. Dabanga

Libya: Mass Grave with 18 Bodies Found in Ex-IS Stronghold
Libyan authorities on Sunday said they have found 18 bodies buried in a mass grave in a former stronghold of the Islamic State group along the conflict-stricken North African nation’s coast. The Missing Persons Authority said in a statement the bodies were unearthed in the Sabaa area of Sirte, a city in central Libya. The bodies were taken to a local hospital, it added…In its statement, the Missing Persons Authority said they collected samples of the dead bones in an effort to identify the bodies. Further details on the cause of death for those found were not provided. AP

Ghana Fishing: Abuse, Corruption and Death on Chinese Vessels
When it comes to abuse and corruption on Chinese fishing vessels in Ghana, Bright Tsai Kweku has seen it all. He has seen Chinese crew treating local fishermen like “slaves”, he says. “They beat them, they spit on them, they kick them,” Mr Kweku says. “I have been through that before.” Mr Kweku works as a bosun – an officer in charge of equipment and the crew. He says he has been forced to work for three days without sleep, had food withheld from him and been forced to drink dirty water…The UK-based Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) says at least 90% of the industrial trawlers operating in Ghana are owned by Chinese corporations, in contravention of Ghanaian laws on the ownership of vessels fishing under the local flag. A substantial proportion of these vessels have engaged in illegal practices, EJF says. A recent EJF report investigates what it says are illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and human rights abuses by China’s Distant Water Fishing (DWF) fleet in Ghana. The ownership and operational control of China’s DWF fleet is complex and opaque, and is the largest in the world. BBC

Gambia: Three People Charged over Coup Plot
Gambian police prosecutors have charged two civilians and a police officer in connection with last month’s alleged coup plot. Prosecutors accused the suspects of conspiring and failing to report information on the planned overthrow of President Adama Barrow in October and December 2022 within the capital, Banjul, and other places in the country. They were also accused of being informed by the alleged ringleader of a plan to overthrow President Barrow, which they failed to report to the relevant authorities. They were charged with concealment of treason and conspiracy to commit a felony. They all deny the charges. Last week the Gambian government confirmed the foiled coup attempt. Four soldiers were arrested at the time and three alleged accomplices were said to be on the run. Africa Feeds

Mozambique Takes Seat at UN Security Council
Mozambique replaced Kenya at the UN Security Council on Tuesday with a promise to prioritise the fight against terrorism. The country will serve at the council as a non-permanent member for the next two years. “We are going to deal a lot with terrorism,” said Mozambican ambassador to the UN, Pedro Comissário. Mozambique has been battling an Islamist insurgency in its northern Cabo Delgado province for the past five years. The conflict has displaced over one million people and killed around 4,000 others, according to official data. Mr Comissário said the country would also push for reforms at the Security Council to address “African concerns.” BBC



Photo: Adam Jones