The essentials: Morocco's parliament has passed two laws that formalize the annexation of Western Saharan territorial waters under Moroccan sovereignty. While this does not present a fundamental change of the status quo, the unilateral move underscores the intractability of the conflict and the risks Morocco is willing to take to secure its economic interests. → Read the rest “Morocco goes shopping for territorial waters”
The essentials: Egypt and Ethiopia failed again to find a compromise on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), a massive construction project on Ethiopia's Blue Nile, which is due to be finished in the coming years. Filling the reservoir and using part of the water for irrigation in Ethiopia would severely reduce the water available to Egypt, which relies on the Nile for virtually all its irrigation water supply. → Read the rest “Egypt finds itself downstream without a paddle”
The essentials: A court in Luanda ordered the freezing of assets belonging to billionaire Isabel dos Santos and the seizure of her stakes in local companies last Monday. Dos Santos is the daughter of Angola’s former president José Eduardo dos Santos and is accused of siphoning funds that have cost the country more than $1 billion, according to a court document released in late December. → Read the rest “Angola freezes assets of Africa’s richest woman”
The essentials: The trial of 47 Nigerian men accused of public displays of affection with people of the same sex began last week. If they are convicted, they could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
The context: Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act into law in 2014, banning gay relationships in the country. → Read the rest “Nigeria Escalates Criminalization of its LGBT Community”
The typical entrepreneur, the average businesswoman, the normal employee in Africa is part of the "informal economy". More than 77% of the non-agricultural workforce of the continent is employed informally, defined as working without paid leave and not receiving social security payments through the employer, who does not pay taxes to the national government. → Read the rest “Should the Informal Economy be the New Normal?”
The essentials: Yele Sowore, a media entrepreneur and former presidential candidate was dramatically arrested in court by the Department of State Services in direct contravention of a prior court ruling. Sowore has been detained since August for organising anti-government protests.
The context: Sowore, publisher of the news website Sahara Reporters and a 2019 presidential candidate was first arrested on August 3rd for organising anti-establishment protests that he called ‘Revolution Now’. → Read the rest “Activists call for release of detained Nigerian journalist”
The essentials: Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo granted citizenship status to 126 foreign nationals on Wednesday. The new citizens are all people of African descent who have been living in the country for many years.
The context: President Addo’s latest move is part of events lined up for his administration’s ‘Year of Return’ ceremony. → Read the rest “Ghana’s Year of Return in full swing”
The typical African political leader is old, male and in many cases of questionable legitimacy. Of 90 presidents, prime ministers and other top rank politicians on the continent, only two are female. The median age is 62 years, compared to a median age of 19 for the entire population of the continent. → Read the rest “Some thoughts on African leaders”
The essentials: Foreign Ministers of Nigeria, Niger and the Republic of Benin met in Abuja last week to discuss issues around Nigeria’s partial border closure. The delegates agreed to a joint border task force to combat smuggling.
The context: Nigeria’s August border closure continues to be an inconvenience for its eastern and western neighbours, Benin and Niger. → Read the rest “Nigeria, Niger, Benin to form joint border patrol team”