Africa Media Review for March 14, 2023

FFC-CC: ‘Sudan’s Transitional Civilian Govt To Be Formed by Start of Ramadan’
The mainstream Forces for Freedom and Central Change-Central Council FFC-CC, says that the formation of the new transitional civilian government will conclude before the start of the fasting month of Ramadan*. On Saturday, junta leaders Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, Commander of the Sudan Armed Forces and Chairman of the Sovereignty Council and Lt Gen Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo, Commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and Deputy Chairman of the Sovereignty Council met to discuss a number of ‘contentious’ issues between them. Abdeljalil El Basha, leading member of the FFC-CC told Radio Dabanga yesterday that the formation of the new transitional civilian government depends on the completion of the conferences on five important issues and the subsequent signing of a final agreement with the ruling junta, after which the military will hand over power to a civilian government. Dabanga

Libya’s First Female Deminers Must Deal With More Than Bombs
Despite the danger, her family’s fears and the potential for criticism from Libyan society at large, Farah al-Ghazali, one of Libya’s first female deminers, said she didn’t hesitate when she got the opportunity to help rid her country of land mines. “I didn’t look back,” she told DW. “My family told me to be careful and I told them I would be. I told them about all the good things we can do for people here. I also give my family and friends advice about what they should do if they see a land mine or an explosive device,” the 30-year-old continued enthusiastically. Although accurate data is hard to come by in Libya due to years of conflict, the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor reports that over the past 15 years, more than 400 Libyans have been killed by land mines or unexploded ordinances and over 3,000 have been injured. The true number is likely to be much higher though, they note, and the ongoing removal of unexploded ordinances remains a challenge. DW

Storm Freddy: Malawi Declares State of Disaster as Death Toll Rises to 99
At least 99 people have died in Malawi after Tropical Storm Freddy ripped through southern Africa for the second time in a month. Terrifying amounts of brown water have cascaded through neighbourhoods, sweeping away homes. Malawi’s commercial hub, Blantyre, has recorded the most deaths – 85, including 36 in a landslide. The government has declared a state of disaster in 10 districts that have been hardest-hit by the storm. Rescue workers are overwhelmed, and are using shovels to try to find survivors buried in mud. “We have rivers overflowing, we have people being carried away by running waters, we have buildings collapsing,” police spokesman Peter Kalaya told the BBC. The death toll is expected to rise as some areas remain cut off because of relentless rain and fierce wind. BBC

Botswana, Zimbabwe To Discuss Eliminating Use of Passports
The presidents of Botswana and Zimbabwe are to discuss scrapping passport requirements between their countries to allow for the easier flow of people and goods. Addressing ruling party supporters over the weekend, Botswana’s president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, said he will soon meet his Zimbabwean counterpart, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to discuss the issue. Botswana reached a similar deal last month with Namibia, and Masisi said he also plans to discuss the issue with the Zambian president. Some analysts are wary of Botswana’s aim to extend the open border to Zimbabwe, which has a struggling economy and is a major source of illegal migration. But Masisi said there is no reason for security concerns, as smart technology will be used at entry points. “Don’t think by opening borders, we will open for criminal elements,” he said. “Criminals will be caught as we will be using advanced technology.” Voice of America

Five Killed in Somalia Suicide Attack, Governor Wounded
At least five people have been killed and 11 others, including a regional governor, wounded in a suicide attack in southern Somalia, police said. A vehicle laden with explosives ploughed into a guest house hosting government officials in Bardera, 450 kilometres (279 miles) west of the capital Mogadishu, area police commander Hussein Adan, said on Tuesday. “The explosion destroyed most parts of the building and five security guards died in the blast,” Adan said.  Eleven people, including the governor Ahmed Bulle Gared, were injured, he added.  Mohamud Saney, who witnessed Tuesday’s attack, said, they had “never heard anything as big as the explosion.” “It shook the earth like and earthquake.” TRT World

Ethiopian Journalist Honored by US Sounds Alarm on Media Freedom
Meaza Mohammed, the founder of the online network Roha TV, was honored at the White House on Wednesday on International Women’s Day as part of a group receiving “International Women of Courage” awards. Introducing her, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that Meaza “shares stories of those who are often silenced.” “Despite three arrests in under one year, she continued to raise her voice, advocating for survivors of gender-based violence and urging accountability for crimes committed against them,” Jean-Pierre said. In an interview with AFP, Meaza said that authorities also raided her outlet and seized everything from her office. “This award is a big thing for me — not only for me, but for the women out there in my country,” she said. “Because in my country, having a media (outlet) or working in (the) press is very dangerous, very difficult.” Internet platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Telegram and TikTok, have been inaccessible in Ethiopia since February 9. AFP

Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed Urges Peace in Visit to South Sudan
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed landed in Juba on Monday for talks with President Salva Kiir on bilateral issues amid tensions within South Sudan over the 2018 peace agreement. Dr Abiy also held discussions with First Vice President Riek Machar on the challenges hindering the implementation of the peace deal. “The two leaders (Kiir and Abiy) headed the government secretariat where they held a meeting on bilateral matters with regional dimension including the implementation of the revitalised peace agreement,” acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Deng Dau Male, told reporters after the meeting. “South Sudan values ​​its historical ties with Ethiopia and appreciates Ethiopian key interest in restoring peace and stability,” said Mr Male. Ethiopian State Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was part of the delegation, Misganu Arega, reiterated his government’s commitment to supporting Juba to achieve durable peace. East African

Rwanda Welcomes Africa’s First Mobile Vaccine-Production Units
Six mobile vaccine-production units developed by German pharmaceutical company BioNTech have arrived in Rwanda. This is the first such shipment to Africa as the continent seeks to boost local production of mRNA vaccines. The units, made from recycled shipping containers, arrived in the capital Kigali on Monday. Once assembled, they will become a vaccine production hub for jabs against a variety of illnesses. “This is a historic moment,” said BioNTech’s chief operating officer Sierk Poetting. “The technology is scalable. It is also flexible so you can move it anywhere,” added Poetting. The Covid-19 pandemic exposed Africa’s huge dependence on imported vaccines. Less than half of the continent’s 1.2 billion people are fully inoculated against Covid-19, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The facility in Kigali — capable of producing up to 100 million mRNA vaccines per year — will take at least 12 months before it starts producing doses. RFI

Nigeria’s Central Bank Says Old Naira Notes Still Legal Tender
Nigeria’s central bank will allow old bank notes to continue as legal tender until the end of the year to comply with a court order earlier this month, according to a statement late on Monday, raising hopes this would ease acute cash shortages in the economy. On March 3, the Supreme Court ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the use of old 1,000 ($2.17), 500, and 200 naira notes until December 31. The initial withdrawal of the notes from circulation became an election issue after causing widespread hardship and anger. CBN said it was complying with the law and that the old notes would circulate with new ones of equivalent value. Earlier, on Monday evening, a statement from the Nigerian presidency said President Muhammadu Buhari did not urge the CBN not to obey the court order. “The CBN has no reason not to comply with court orders on the excuse of waiting for directives from the President,” it said. Al Jazeera

Militant Islamist Violence in Africa Surges
Militant Islamist violence in Africa set new records for violent events and fatalities this past year. This continues a relentless decade-long upward trend. In a recent Africa Centre for Strategic Studies analysis, we found that there were 6,859 episodes of violence involving militant Islamist groups in Africa in 2022. This is a 22 percent increase from 2021. Fatalities linked to these events shot up 48 percent to 19,109 deaths. This reflects a sharp rise in deaths per event…This analysis draws from data compiled by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) – a non-profit data collection and crisis mapping organisation. It aggregates violent events from local and international news sources, as well as UN, government and NGO reports. The Africa Centre then corroborates the data through independent sources. These include the jihadist monitoring group SITE Intelligence, the International Crisis Group and Stanford University’s Mapping Militants Project. Nation

The Split of the African Plate Could Gift Six Landlocked Countries a Coastline
Africa is gradually splitting into two. The Somali and the Nubian tectonic plates are slowly disintegrating from each other, while the Arabian plate continues to pull away. Though that will take between five to 10 million years, with fault lines widening 7 mm every year, the continent will eventually split into two sub-continents, creating a new ocean basin between them. The continental rift, according to a recent study published in the Geophysical Research Letters journal, will happen along the east African Rift Valley, a geologically active region whose formation millions of years ago is similar to that of the tectonic movements that happen at the bottom of oceans. Quartz Africa

The Growth of Africa’s Towns and Small Cities Is Transforming the Continent
In 2012, when Moses Aloo inherited a plot from his grandfather, his neighbourhood in Kisumu, western Kenya, had plenty of farmland. But over the past decade, as Kisumu has grown, Nyamasaria has become part of the city. Mr Aloo is building two houses on his land. He will rent them out, “hopefully to God-fearing people”, for 8,000 Kenyan shillings ($62) each per month, more than twice the going rate five years ago. “Now it is urban,” he says, “this is a prime area.” The city’s growth has disrupted traditional ways. Jamlick Onchari, who rents a one-room house behind his small dairy in Nyamasaria, says that Kenyans who have moved from other parts of the country feel increasingly at home in the historic stronghold of the Luo ethnic group. “This mix-up thing,” he says, “with people from different tribes…it speeds up development because when people live together they bring ideas together.” Economist