Africa Media Review for October 17, 2022

Ethiopia War: Tigray Says Ready for Ceasefire as Fighting Rages
Authorities in Ethiopia’s rebel-held Tigray region say they would respect a ceasefire as fighting intensified in the country’s war-torn north, and the African Union called for an immediate truce. International concern is growing around the fate of Shire, a city of 100,000 people in northwest Tigray, where Ethiopian and Eritrean troops have launched a joint offensive and civilian casualties have been reported…On Sunday, AU Commission chair Moussa Faki Mahamat urged the warring sides to “recommit to dialogue as per their agreement to direct talks to be convened in South Africa”. “The Chairperson strongly calls for an immediate, unconditional ceasefire and the resumption of humanitarian services” to areas cut off by the fighting, Faki said in a statement released on Sunday, but dated Saturday. AP

Opposition Parties Reject ‘Imminent’ Agreement Between Sudan’s Military and Civilian Forces
The National Accord Forces (NAF) announced last week its total rejection of an alleged “bilateral settlement” between the Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FFC-CC) and the military component of the government. According to a UN statement on Friday, talks regarding solutions are ongoing.  The agreement in question provides for a civilian prime minister and a ‘government of competencies’, but control over the proposed Security and Defence Council remains a point of contention.  According to the NAF statement, “a Sudanese-Sudanese dialogue is required to have a comprehensive solution, excluding no one but the National Congress.” The statement called for a Sudanese platform that is formed according to a credible mechanism agreed upon by all parties. The statement asserts that the current bilateral statement will not lead to a government of national and independent competencies, and it does not represent all parties. Dabanga

Burkina Faso Holds Security Forum Two Weeks After Military Coup
The two-day summit in the capital Ouagadougou is taking place two weeks after the Sahel state suffered its second military takeover in less than nine months. The impoverished country plunged into renewed turmoil when Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba – who had himself seized power in January – was toppled by newly emerged rival Ibrahim Traore. The 34-year-old captain, defended the 30 September coup on the grounds that the authorities were failing to do enough against the jihadists. RFI

Nigeria: Over 600 Killed in Catastrophic Flooding
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered 12,000 metric tonnes of food items from Nigeria’s strategic reserve for communities affected by catastrophic flooding last week. Some 603 people have died from one of the worst floods to have affected the country in recent history, Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development said in an update Sunday. Roughly 82,000 houses and 110,000 hectares (272,000 acres) of farmland had been submerged and destroyed, Farouq added. The devastation of farmland comes at a time Nigeria faces heightened food insecurity because of high prices of food items, which is partly a result of the war in Ukraine. DW

World Food Day: Somalia Could Face Acute Food Insecurity
Aid organizations and the United Nations are calling for urgent famine relief in East Africa – as the people of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia confront their worst drought in 40 years. Oxfam says food shortages are likely to cause one death every 36 seconds until the end of the year – while the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says help is needed now. Etienne Peterschmitt, Representative in Somalia, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO): “We should not wait for a famine declaration to act, because then it will be too late. We know from 2011, when we faced a famine situation and a famine declaration, that by the time the famine was declared half of the 260,000 people who died had actually already died.” AfricaNews

Somali Journalists Chief Out on Bail After Appearance Before Mogadishu Court
Somali veteran journalist Abdalle Ahmed Mumin is out on bail after being arrested last week on security-related charges. Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the secretary-general of the Somali Journalists Syndicate, or SJS, appeared in a Mogadishu court Sunday, six days after he was arrested at the airport and stopped from traveling to Kenya to visit relatives. Mumin was accused of disobeying the law, according to the charges seen by VOA. The country’s attorney general office charged Abdalle on behalf of the information ministry, which recently issued a directive barring Somali journalists from reporting news related to Islamist militant group al-Shabab. Mohamed Ibrahim, the Somali Journalists Syndicate president, spoke with VOA by phone. He described the charges as trumped up. Voice of America

Senator Blocks $75 Million in U.S. Military Aid to Egypt over Rights Concerns
Egypt has missed out on an additional $75 million in American military aid after a senior Democratic U.S. senator blocked the funding over concerns about Cairo’s human rights record including holding political prisoners. Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, rejected an assessment offered by the U.S. State Department to justify the aid, which was subject to conditions under a law passed by Congress last year. The committee has jurisdiction over spending legislation including U.S. financial assistance for Egypt. “We should take this law very seriously, because the situation facing political prisoners in Egypt is deplorable,” Leahy told Reuters in a statement. “We can’t give short shrift to the law because of other policy considerations. We all have a responsibility to uphold the law and to defend the due process rights of the accused, whether here or in Egypt,” Leahy said. Reuters

Georgieva to Meet with Egypt, Tunisia, Confident of IMF ‘Backing Them Up’
International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva said she would meet on Saturday with delegations from Egypt and Tunisia and was confident the global lender would be “backing them up.” Georgieva said the IMF had provided about $90 billion to 16 countries since the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine, but still had $700 billion of lending capacity and was now seeing a larger number of countries seeking help. The fund was currently examining abut 28 requests for IMF financial assistance, including those from Egypt and Tunisia, adding that the IMF was also looking for other ways to provide funding to countries in need. “I’m actually today going to be meeting with delegations of Egypt and Tunisia, countries where I am confident that you will see us backing them up in this difficult time,” Georgieva told a banking seminar during the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank. Reuters

Red Flags Pop Up as Sub-Saharan Africa Reels from Huge Debt Burden
East African countries are facing an immediate risk of defaulting on their loans in the coming months due to a combination of rising debt servicing costs, more borrowing, rising costs of imports and higher inflationary pressures associated with the continued appreciation of the dollar. And this may undermine prospects of a full economic recovery from the pandemic as economic growth slows due to worldwide slowdown, tighter global financial conditions, and volatile commodity prices that spill into the region still struggling from the fall out of the pandemic according to forecasts by the International Monetary Fund. East African

Road to COP27: How Walking, Cycling Help Africa Cut Carbon Emissions
Up to one billion Africans spend 56 minutes walking or cycling for transport every day, generating the least noise and air pollution of any commuting population in the world, according to the report by UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Walk21 Foundation. Africa’s ‘default’ mode of walking and cycling is helping the continent stay ahead in the world’s race to decarbonise its transport sector…A new report, Walking and Cycling in Africa – Evidence and Good Practice to Inspire Action calls for more focus and investments into non-motorised modes of transport to keep the impending rise in carbon emissions at bay as more cars enter Africa’s roads, thanks to rising incomes and urbanisation. Nation

Bamigboye, Nigeria’s Tour-De-Force Sculptor, Claims His Fame in the World
Not knowing the names of African artists, even the assumption that they didn’t have or use names, has been a Western tradition, at least till the recent sweep of contemporary artists from Africa onto the global auction stage. Nearly 40 years ago, when the first big survey of contemporary African art opened in New York at what was then the Center for African Art, it included a selection of photographs from Mali, Togo and Ivory Coast, each picture attributed to an “unknown photographer.” Several of the entries were, in fact, by the great Malian studio portraitist Seydou Keïta (circa 1921-2001), whose authorship would be recognized and acknowledged only after the show opened, though he had been celebrated in his home city of Bamako for decades. Bamigboye’s reputation had even greater weight and reach in Nigeria, where he was born around 1885 to a Yoruba family in Kajola in present-day Kwara State. Although he was expected to follow his father’s path into farming, his talent at woodcarving was noted early and encouraged. Carving was a profession that carried prestige, particularly the kind of work he came to specialize in: ritual imagery associated with religion and civic rule. New York Times



Photo: Adam Jones