Africa Media Review for October 31, 2022

Understanding Burkina Faso’s Latest Coup
Burkina Faso suffered its second coup of the year when Captain Ibrahim Traoré, the 34-year-old head of an artillery unit of the Armed Forces of Burkina Faso, declared himself head of state on September 30. The coup ousted the previous junta leader, Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba. Traoré justified his seizure of power on Burkina Faso’s deteriorating security situation. Damiba had led an earlier coup in January 2022, similarly claiming he would address the country’s security crisis. Africa Center for Strategic Studies

DR Congo Expels Rwandan Ambassador As M23 Rebels Seize Towns
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s government has ordered Rwandan Ambassador Vincent Karega to leave the country within 48 hours after accusing Kigali of supporting M23 rebels, who have seized two towns in the DRC’s east, raising tensions between the two countries. Saturday’s announcement by government spokesman Patrick Muyaya came after a meeting of the defence council, presided over by President Felix Tshisekedi, in the wake of rebels seizing control of Kiwanja and Rutshuru in the province of North Kivu. Al Jazeera

Somalia Appeals for International Help After Twin Blasts Kill 100
Somalia’s president has issued an urgent plea for international help for wounded victims of devastating car bombings at the weekend that claimed the lives of 100 people. Bulldozers were continuing to clear the blast site in the capital Mogadishu on Monday in the hunt for bodies feared trapped under the rubble. Saturday’s attack, which also wounded more than 300 people, was claimed by the Al-Shabaab jihadist group and was the deadliest in the fragile Horn of Africa nation in five years. AFP

Peace Talks on Ethiopia’s Tigray Conflict Are Extended
Peace talks between warring sides on Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict have been extended into Monday. An official familiar with the arrangements for the talks confirms that discussions continue in South Africa between Ethiopia’s federal government and representatives from the northern Tigray region. The African Union-led talks seek a cessation of hostilities in a war that the United States asserts has killed up to hundreds of thousands of people, an estimate made by some academics and health workers. The first formal peace talks began last week, and South Africa’s government had said they would end Sunday. Representatives of the warring sides have not responded to questions. AP

East Africa’s Economic Recovery Falters on Debt, Fiscal Deficits
The increasing risk of debt distress, widening fiscal and current deficits and limited economic diversification plans in the economies of East Africa, have combined to weaken prospects for growth this year. The African Development Bank forecasts the region’s GDP at four per cent this year, before recovering to 4.7 per cent in 2023, helped by the reopening of the economies after the Covid-19 containment measures. However, countries are yet to achieve their pre-Covid growth levels, according to the bank’s East Africa Regional Economic Outlook 2022 released last week. East African

Ghana: President Nana Akufo-Addo Announces Budget Cuts To Salvage Economy
“We are in a crisis, I do not exaggerate when I say so. I cannot find an example in history when so many evil forces have come together at the same time.  “But, as we have shown in other circumstances, we shall turn this crisis into an opportunity to resolve not just the short-term, urgent problems, but the long-term structural problems that continue to bedevil our economy,” expressed the Ghanaian leader. The rise of the Covid-19 pandemic ushered in an era of disillusionment. Growth slowed and money borrowed in the markets became increasingly high in price.  These difficulties were exacerbated by the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict on food and energy prices worldwide. Inflation in the country is rising to over 37%, while the currency is depreciating at an unforeseen pace: Since the beginning of the year, the cedi has lost over 40% against the dollar. AfricaNews

Security Forces Disperse Fresh Anti-Coup Protests in Sudan
The protesters told Sudan Tribune they are resolved to continue the peaceful protests despite the violent repression exercised by the military government. “We are protesting to restore civilian rule, and we will not stop demonstrating until our goal is achieved. We will not allow the army to rule again,” Ahmed Hussein a protester told Sudan Tribune. “Our destiny is that we are the generation that will end the military coups in Sudan forever, and we will not stop this battle,” Hussein further added before resuming to chant anti-coup slogans with other protesters. Sudan Tribune

Egypt: The Nile Delta Isn’t Ready for Climate Change
As Egypt prepares to host the COP27 global climate summit in November, the country’s own climate vulnerabilities are coming into focus. The Nile Delta—where agriculture employs one-fifth of the country’s workforce and is responsible for 12% of its GDP and much of its food supply—is being hammered by rising sea levels, rising temperatures, and a growing shortage of water. The Delta also faces other social and economic challenges that increase farmers’ vulnerability to climate impacts. Like Abdullah, many are hemmed in by rapid urbanization and population growth, burdened by debt and soaring inflation, and cut off from adequate subsidies and infrastructure, modern farming equipment and methods, market and weather data, and social services. Quartz Africa

South Africa To Let Russian Billionaire’s Superyacht Dock
Cape Town port is ideally suited to host a $500 million superyacht linked to sanctioned Russian billionaire Alexey Mordashov, a South African official said Wednesday, after the country announced its intention to let the vessel dock there despite a bid by the city’s mayor to block its entry…Vincent Magwenya, spokesman for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, said Tuesday that there was “no reason” for South Africa to deny the Nord entry as Mordashov wasn’t the subject of United Nations sanctions, only sanctions imposed unilaterally by the United States and the European Union. AP

Burkina Faso Not Planning To Hire Russian Fighters Like Mali – U.S. Diplomat
Burkina Faso’s interim President Ibrahim Traore has assured U.S. diplomats that he has no intention of inviting Russian Wagner forces to fight militants in the country, U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said on Wednesday. There has been concern that Burkina Faso might follow the lead of neighbouring Mali, which late last year hired mercenary fighters from Russia’s Wagner group to help its army fight Islamist insurgents. Security has deteriorated since Wagner entered Mali, rights abuses have been reported and United Nations peacekeepers have been squeezed out, said Nuland, who has just returned to the United States from a West Africa tour. Reuters

US Blames Russia’s Wagner Group for Worsening Security Situation in Mali
The United States, France and other Western nations accuse the junta of hiring Wagner, which Malian authorities deny. They say they are cooperating with Russia’s army on a state-to-state level. “The Malian junta has invited in Wagner and terrorism has gotten signficantly worse,” Nuland said, claiming that “incidents of terror” had risen some 30 percent over the past six months. The junta claims to have turned a corner in the fight against the insurgency and put jihadist groups on the run in recent months. France 24

With Rishi Sunak, East Africa Is Having Another Obama Moment
New UK prime minister Rishi Sunak is African. Not by birth but through his roots which historians trace to east Africa. Sunak’s father, Yashvir Sunak, was born and raised in colonial Kenya while his mother, Usha Sunak, was born in mainland Tanzania, then called Tanganyika. They migrated from east Africa with their families to the UK in the 1960s. His grandparents were born in Punjab, India…When he became prime minister on Oct. 25, some citizens in Kenya and Tanzania, especially those of Indian descent were proud to see a man whose parents were born and raised in their territory take over UK’s top political office. Their hope is that he will strengthen diplomatic ties and advocate for minorities, but this optimism should be tempered by the fact that he is part of the conservative party whose policies have not always favored these groups. Enthusiasm remains nonetheless. Quartz Africa



Photo: Adam Jones