Africa Media Review for May 25, 2022

Cyclones and More Frequent Storms Threaten Africa
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that, as a result of global warming, the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events will increase for most of tropical Africa (while parts of northern and southern Africa will become drier). This translates into a significantly increased risk of flooding. Runoff in the Congo River basin, for example, is projected to increase by 50 percent, elevating flooding risks, especially flash flooding, across large parts of Central Africa. Rising global temperatures, based on their current trajectory, are also expected to increase rainfall in parts of the Greater Horn of Africa by over 40 percent. Extraordinarily heavy rains in East Africa in recent years have contributed to the worst desert locust outbreak to hit the region in the past 25 years. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Burkina Faso: Four of Eight Miners Trapped Underground for 39 Days Found Dead
The bodies of four miners have been found in a zinc mine in Burkina Faso after a 39-day search. Eight miners were trapped by floodwaters last month in the Canadian-owned mine in Perkoa, located about 120km west of the country’s capital, Ouagadougou. The floods followed unexpected torrential rains on 16 April. Since then rescuers have worked tirelessly to pump some 165 million litres of water from the flooded chambers. It took the rescue team 31 days to reach the first rescue chamber, located at about 560m- in which the missing miners might have sought refuge from the floodwaters. But when the chamber was opened last week, none of the men – six Burkinabès, a Zambian and a Tanzanian – were there. A second chamber is located right at the bottom of the 710m mine. In a statement, the government sent its condolences to the families of the victims and to the local communities. Search operations are continuing to find the other four missing miners. AfricaNews

Desertification Summit Ends with Promises to Restore a Billion Hectares of Land
The COP15 summit in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, which was focused on desertification and its impacts, closed with commitments by 196 countries to restore one billion hectares of degraded land between now and 2030. They also agreed to enhance drought preparedness, response and resilience. COP15 on the Convention to Combat Desertification, which opened on 9 May, is the first of the three Rio Convention meetings to be held in 2022. Later this year, COP15 on the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP27), will be held in Kunming, China and Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, respectively. Over the past 11 days, attendees heard, among other things, that in places where rainfall levels remain the same over the next 10 years, there will be more water evaporation and less water, especially if temperatures keep climbing. RFI

AU Summit an Opportunity for Leaders to Address Issues Plaguing the Continent – Human Rights Watch
The African Union (AU) will on Wednesday host the Extraordinary Summit on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. At the same time, some African leaders will be attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. Some of the presidents at the WEF are Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, Namibia’s Hage Geingob, Botswana’s Keabetswe Masisi, and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame. Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi is one of the African leaders who did not make the trip to Davos. His country is faced with an almost five-year insurgency in the Cabo Delgado province. The minister of mineral resources and energy, Carlos Zacarias, went in his place. The AU summit coincides with the 25 May celebrations to honour Africa Day, and will run until 28 May. Africa Day commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963, which is the AU’s predecessor. News24

Despite Climate Stress, Africa Is in ‘Unique’ Position to Fight Global Warming
With six months to go before Egypt hosts the Cop27 climate conference, campaigners in Africa and elsewhere are looking to put the continent that is most vulnerable to climate change at the heart of global debate. Despite registering the lowest emissions per capita of any region in the world since 1960, Africa is enduring temperature rises faster than the global average – with dozens of countries devastated each year by severe flooding and drought. “Climate change is like covid: it knows no borders,” said Nathalie Delapalme, executive director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which this week published new research to shine a light on climate stress in Africa and the role it must play in being a part of the solution. The foundation’s report, The Road to Cop27  Making Africa’s Case in the Climate Debate, will guide a three-day forum starting Wednesday to help Africa “get ahead of the game” before Cop27 rolls around in November. Climate-related risks and opportunities will be explored by speakers including African Union chief and Senegalese President Macky Sall, World Bank president David Malpass and International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva as they weigh up what global pledges made so far mean for Africa, and how those promises might be refined in the coming months. RFI

Akufo-Addo, Adesina, Others Chart New Path to Africa’s Economic Freedom
Prominent African leaders, yesterday, took turns to examine the continent’s development agenda, admitting the future is in danger if it does not take its affairs into its hand and chart a new course. The leaders include President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo; his Tanzania and Mozambique counterparts, Samia Hassan and Filipe Nyusi; Prime Minister of Rwanda, Edouard Ngirente; President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina; Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat and Chairmanship of the Board of Governors of AfDB/Ghana’s Minister of Finance, Kenneth Afori-Atta. They warned that there is no better time to take proactive actions and secure long-desired economic freedom, noting that Africans could only turn to western countries for support at their own peril. They spoke at the opening ceremony of AfDB’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Accra, Ghana, with a focus on the most troubling challenges facing Africa: climate change adaptation, just energy transition and food crisis. Guardian Nigeria

Ethiopia’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Reappointed as WHO Director General
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was reappointed to a second five-year term on Tuesday by the U.N. health agency’s member countries. No other candidate challenged Tedros for the post amid the ongoing difficulties of responding to the devastating coronavirus pandemic. “I am really grateful, I am very humbled for your confidence and trust,” Tedros said. Tedros, a former government minister from Ethiopia, has directed WHO throughout its management of the global response to COVID-19 and withstood occasionally withering criticism over its multiple missteps. He is the first African to lead the agency and the only director-general not qualified as a medical doctor. He is also the first WHO leader not to be supported by their home country; Ethiopia has previously accused Tedros of “misconduct” after his sharp criticism of the war and humanitarian crisis there and raised concerns about his leadership on Tuesday. AfricaNews

Africa Provides a ‘Home for Hope’, Despite New Challenges: Guterres
“Africa is a home for hope,” said Secretary-General António Guterres, citing the continent’s “growing and vibrant youth population”. And with initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area, the Decade of Women’s Financial and Economic Inclusion, and the African Union’s (AU) bold Agenda 2063 set of game-changing proposals, the “prospects on the horizon are bright”, he declared…Africa Day marks the 1963 founding of the Organization of African Unity, now known as the AU, and provides an annual opportunity to reflect on the challenges and achievements of the continent. Among African nations, UN entities have long played key roles in promulgating the fundamental values of the Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). From peace and security to social and economic development and regional integration, the United Nations has proven itself an indispensable partner. UN News

Niger Violence Sparks New Wave of Displacement: UN
An uptick in suspected jihadist attacks in western Niger has since January forced more and more people to flee their homes, according to the UN humanitarian agency…The UN agency counted 136 “security incidents” from January to April this year, compared to 93 during the same period last year. From 1 to 19 May, 43 civilians were killed and 22 more abducted in the Torodi, Tera and Gotheye departments in the Tillaberi region bordering Burkina Faso and Mali, it said. Since the start of April this year, more than 34 700 people – or more than 5 000 households – living in Tillaberi “were forced to move to settle in safer areas”, it added. According to Niger’s defence minister, Alkassoum Indatou, defence and security forces launched a clean-up operation on 16 May. The minister said that, as of 23 May, two members of the defence and security forces had been wounded, and a vehicle damaged, while on the enemy side “65 elements of armed terrorist groups (had been) neutralised, 163 motorcycles destroyed, 12 logistics plots and eleven assembly bases destroyed.” Niger, which is the world’s poorest country by the benchmark of the UN’s Human Development Index, is facing jihadist insurgencies both on its western border with Mali and Burkina Faso and on its southeastern frontier with Nigeria. AFP

Gabon: Authorities Ban Protest Against French Military Presence
Gabonese authorities banned a march that was to take place Tuesday. The organizers wished to demonstrate against the French military presence in Gabon. Despite the opposition groups’ commitment to ensure a peaceful gathering, the Gabonese Interior Minister did not grant the requested authorization citing the “cooperation and military agreements” binding the countries. The Swedish Defence Research Institute assesses 350 French bases and installations are in Gabon. Gérard Ella Nguéma, one of the political figures who called for the march early May, faced Gabonese president Ali Bongo during the 2016 presidential race. The president gave a rare live public appearance at his party’s congress in March, vowing to be “there” for the next election. AfricaNews

Nigeria: INEC Tasks Political Parties on Better Deal for Women
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, kicked against what it described as marginalisation of women in the political space, imploring political parties to give preference to the gender during their primaries. It underscored the need for women to break the barriers of being just aspirants to contestants, while advising women to be conscious of the electoral strength they possess, given their population. INEC National Commissioner, Prof. Kunle Ajayi, who made the appeal in Lagos at a workshop for gender desk officers across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), supported by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), regretted that women were only being used for political rallies. He argued that the active participation of women in politics would strengthen the nation’s democratic process, pointing out that the electoral umpire had begun the process of gender inclusiveness by creating a specific department to achieve the goal. Guardian Nigeria

S Africa’s Ramaphosa: Russia Sanctions Hurting ‘Bystander’ States
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that “bystander countries” were suffering due to sanctions against Russia and called for talks as the African Union (AU) prepared a mission to foster dialogue between Moscow and Kyiv. Ramaphosa spoke as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited South Africa on the final leg of a trip to the continent that aimed in part to rally diplomatic support for Ukraine. South Africa has close historical ties to Moscow due to the Soviet Union’s support for the anti-apartheid struggle. It abstained from a United Nations vote denouncing the invasion of Ukraine and has resisted calls to condemn Russia. The European Union has aggressively pursued sanctions and a severing of economic ties in a bid to punish Moscow for its military operations in Ukraine, a strategy that Ramaphosa said was causing collateral damage. “Even those countries that are either bystanders or not part of the conflict are also going to suffer from the sanctions that have been imposed against Russia,” he said during a news conference in Pretoria. Africa, which has already seen millions pushed into extreme poverty by the COVID-19 pandemic, has been hit hard by rising food costs caused in part by disruptions linked to the war. Al Jazeera

UNITAMS Head: ‘Sudan Crisis Can Only Be Resolved by Sudanese, but Time Is Short’
“The crisis facing Sudan is entirely homegrown and can only be resolved by the Sudanese,” Volker Perthes, UN Special Representative for Sudan, and head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) told the UN Security Council in New York on Tuesday. He also lamented that at least 111 people reportedly remain in detention in Khartoum, Port Sudan, and elsewhere, while most recently on Saturday, another protestor was killed by security forces, bringing the number of those reportedly killed to 96. “Time is short for Sudan to reach a solution to its protracted political crisis,” Perthes told the Security Council on Tuesday, warning that if the impasse is not urgently overcome, the consequences will be felt beyond national borders, impacting a whole generation. Envoys of the trilateral mechanism facilitating intra-Sudan talks – the United Nations, the African Union and regional body, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) – have stressed that it is up to the Sudanese, particularly the authorities, to create an environment conducive to the success of any negotiations. Outlining developments since his last briefing to the UNSC in March, which also highlighted that “Time is not on Sudan’s side”, Perthes that he said authorities have released 86 detainees across the country, including high profile officials affiliated with the work of the Dismantling Committee and activists from the Resistance Committees. Dabanga

Ethiopia’s Abiy Encounters Fresh Dissent as Former Allies Rebel
Barely two months after a truce was declared in Ethiopia’s civil war, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is confronting a new challenge to his authority from his one-time allies in the northern Amhara region. Amhara’s forces and an ethnic militia known as Fano fought alongside federal troops against rebels from neighboring Tigray, whose leaders were once the nation’s preeminent power broker before being sidelined by Abiy. The conflict has claimed thousands of lives since it erupted in late 2020. Bloomberg

Tanzania’s Samia Among Time 100 Most Influential People
Tanzania’s first female president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has been named among the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. President Suluhu joins other prominent figures in the 2022 list, including US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Apple CEO Tim Cook. The Time 100 Most Influential People in the World list is divided into six categories: Pioneers, Icons, Artists, Titans, Leaders and Innovators. Samia is named under the Leaders category. Although not new in Tanzania political scenes, she was sworn in as president on March 19, 2021 following the death of her predecessor John Pombe Magufuli. In her one year as president, Samia has appointed more women to her cabinet to lead prominent ministries, including ministries of Health, Tourism and Security. She has also held talks with opposition leader Freeman Mbowe three times. “Her leadership has been a tonic,” noted Time magazine. East African



Photo: Adam Jones