A strategy that is paying off: outgoing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his investments are welcomed with open arms in many African countries.
Trade with Africa has increased by 4.4% in 20 years, and now accounts for 9.4% of Turkey’s exports.
Turkish furniture, for example, is uncompetitive in Europe but successful in Nigeria. And Turkey has become an attractive trading partner for West African countries, which prefer it to France because of its colonial past.
“Ultimately, Turkey is seeking to diversify its partnerships and international relations, and to conquer new markets”, says Alex Vines, director of the Africa program at London-based think tank Chattam House.
According to him, “this is also one of the main thrusts of the policy developed over the last twenty years”.
Turkey’s African strategy is not just about trade. It ranges from “soft power” with educational and social establishments or media projects, to infrastructure projects and humanitarian aid against famine in Somalia.
Turkish construction companies are well established in building roads, bridges, railroads, airports and mosques in Africa.
In return, the continent is becoming an increasingly important supplier of energy and raw materials for Turkey. Algeria, for example, is Turkey’s fourth-largest energy supplier.
“Turkey Days” will be organized in 4 countries between July and September
Under the slogan “Experience Turkey in Africa”, Turkey Days in Africa will take place for the first time in several West African countries.
Organized by Grevents World, under the aegis of DEIK and in partnership with several Turkish institutions including Maarif, TIKA and the Yunus Emre Institute, these days will aim to “raise awareness of Turkish culture and language”, Zeki Guvercin, Chairman of the Board of Directors of “Türkiye days Expo 2023”.
According to Guvercin, these days will also help “strengthen cooperation between Turkey and West Africa”, while “increasing trade relations”.
The days will take place on different dates in 4 West African countries. The inauguration will take place on July 22-23 in Senegal, followed by September 20-21 in Benin. Two days later, Togo will host the event on September 22-23, followed by Niger on September 25-26.
Between Africa and Turkey, a partnership that’s taking root
When the Turkish Republic came into being in 1923, Ankara cut itself off from the Middle East and Africa to look to the West and join NATO after 1945. The collapse of the Soviet Union, which put an end to the bipolarity of the Cold War, encouraged Turkey to reweave its own diplomatic web. As early as 1998, even before the AKP came to power, the Turkish authorities put in place an “Action Plan for an Opening to Africa”, to offer new perspectives to Turkey’s foreign policy, and, in the midst of globalization, to develop its economy”.
But it was really Recep Tayyip Erdogan who was to flesh out the links, giving of himself: with over 40 visits, sometimes two a year, he is the non-African leader who has visited the most states on the continent. In 2005, when he was Prime Minister, he launched the “Year of Africa”, a year ahead of China and five years ahead of France. Then, in 2008, the year of the first Africa-Turkey summit, he launched the “Strategic Partnership with the African Union”, with Ankara playing an observer role. Relations have been forged with ECOWAS and IGAD, but the emphasis is on bilateral relations.
In 15 years, Turkey’s network of embassies in Africa has grown from 12 to 44. Ankara is now also home to 37 African embassies. In December 2021, still in the midst of a health crisis, no fewer than 16 African heads of state and over 100 ministers from the continent travel to Istanbul for the third Africa-Turkey summit.
Olaf Scholz expected this week in Africa to discuss cooperation and security. One year after an African tour of 2022, his first outside Europe. The German Chancellor wants to confirm the importance of Africa for his country and for Europe.
Olaf Scholz expected this week in Ethiopia and Kenya to discuss cooperation and security. One year after an African tour of 2022, his first outside Europe. The German Chancellor wants to confirm the importance of Africa for his country and for Europe. Analysis:
Olaf Scholz the African
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will have a lot of work to do to make Angela Merkel, who preceded him in that position for 16 years, forget her. This is especially true for Africa, where Merkel was appreciated, especially because she was more open than her European partners to the idea of welcoming “non regular” immigrants. She also launched the G20 Africa Compact, which aims to stimulate foreign investment in the continent.
Perhaps that is why Olaf Scholz wasted no time in making his first trip to Africa. After taking office, it took Merkel more than two years to get there. Mr. Scholz waited only five months. That he chose Africa rather than Asia or South America for his first tour outside Europe “did not go unnoticed” at the end of May 2022.
Scholz had visited Senegal, Niger and South Africa as part of a carefully orchestrated tour, according to German government officials and journalists. Energy, regional security and trade were the main issues discussed – as well as Ukraine, although the latter topic remains rather ambiguous.
The German chancellor also discussed the G20 Compact with Africa project during this tour.
Olaf Scholz expected in Africa this week to discuss cooperation and security
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (photo) will visit Kenya and Ethiopia this week during a mini-tour of East Africa. The information was reported by several media sources citing German government officials.
According to initial reports, the visit is expected to last three days and will begin on Thursday, May 4. The first stop of the leader will be in Ethiopia and will be the occasion for a meeting with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the chairman of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat. With the two leaders, the chancellor will discuss the peace process in Tigray and the situation in Sudan, which is going through a major political, economic and security crisis. On Friday, Olaf Scholz will travel to Kenya where he will meet with President William Ruto to discuss economic cooperation.
Olaf Scholz expected in Africa this week to discuss cooperation and security
This visit, the second by Chancellor Scholz to Africa since he took office, underscores the German government’s continued interest in the continent, despite a major change in power in Berlin. Indeed, former Chancellor Angela Merkel, considered a friend of Africa, had managed to forge important ties with the continent throughout her term in a context of growing competition with other countries such as China or the United States.
While this competition is now taking place against a backdrop of friction with Russia, which has alienated a large part of the international community following the invasion of Ukraine, Olaf Scholz’s visit seems to indicate that Berlin also wants to score points in this war of influence between foreign powers, of which Africa has become a major theater.
In Kenya, which is considered the most important economy in East Africa and the gateway to the sub-regional market, Olaf Scholz is expected to discuss with President Ruto cooperation in the field of renewable energy and specifically green hydrogen.
“We hope that green hydrogen can eventually be imported from Kenya,” said a German government source quoted by the media.
Germany’s new ambitions in Africa”
“Africa is growing and changing enormously. Its development will shape the 21stᵉ century – and thus also the future of Germany and Europe.” With these words, German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Svenja Schulze (SPD) presented Germany’s new strategy for the African continent.
Germany would like to pursue a global structural development policy in which Africa is an important partner. Whether it is Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, China’s growing influence in Africa or the consequences of the climate crisis, all current global challenges call for the integration of Africa into the country’s strategic thinking.
The German strategy aims to build partnerships based on mutual respect and reciprocity. Berlin insists that it is not so much the concrete projects to be implemented to promote African development that are important, but rather the way in which they are carried out and the attitude that guides these actions. Germany wants to promote human rights and democracy, to take into account the interests of its partners, but also, naturally, to defend its own interests.
European dependence on Africa’s natural resources
Despite these divergent trajectories and sometimes conflicting ambitions, the destinies of Europe and Africa remain intimately linked. The European Union remains by far Africa’s most important trading partner, accounting for more than 30% of its foreign trade with the EU. Above all, Europe will remain dependent for a long time on imports of raw materials necessary for the energy transition, such as lithium and cobalt.
In addition, African production accounts for 80% of the world’s platinum group metals, 55% of chromium, 49% of palladium, 45% of vanadium, and the continent has the largest reserves of bauxite, chromium, cobalt, diamonds and gold in the world. It is also rich in phosphates, titanium minerals, vanadium and zircon.
Climate crisis a challenge and an asset for Africa
The other asset up the sleeve of Africans is ecological. Because of its biodiversity, Africa has the greatest capacity in the world to maintain and strengthen the balance of the biosphere and thus avoid further depletion of the ozone layer.
However, the tropical forests of the Congo Basin are increasingly threatened. This is not the only reason why the possible effects of global climate trends are more present on the African continent than anywhere else. Seven of the ten countries most affected by climate change are in Africa. In the Sahel, but also in eastern and southern Africa, temperatures have already risen threateningly, bringing with them droughts and economic and social conflicts.
Population explosion an opportunity for German industry
To open a new chapter in its relationship with Africa, Germany could look at issues that have been on the table for a long time, such as agricultural trade reform. Or it could look at the challenges of the future, such as demographics and the economy.
Africa is indeed the continent with the fastest growing population. While 1.3 billion people live on the continent today, this number is expected to double to 2.5 billion by 2050. Without economic growth and new job creation by then, the economic and social crisis on the continent will be brutal. According to a study (by the Africa Department of the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation) every year about 20 million Africans (mostly young people) are looking for a job that simply does not exist.
This is a need for Africa, and an opportunity for Germany and its industry, whose markets in China and Russia are becoming increasingly uncertain.
Nevertheless, Christoph Kannengießer, secretary general of the German employers’ association, points out that German companies have so far hardly made use of the existing opportunities in Africa. For German politicians, there is a window of opportunity to act in favor of direct investments in Africa.
Obstacles and misunderstandings to be removed
The demons of the past
Germany, as is often ignored, was also a colonial power. From 1884 to 1919, the Second German Reich possessed several territories in Africa (Togo, Cameroon, South West Africa – now Namibia – and East Africa – now Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania), in China (the Kiautschou trading post) and in the Pacific Ocean (in New Guinea and Samoa).
Having expressed public apologies for some of the crimes committed at the time, anti-European (mainly anti-French) sentiment is contagious.
In some African countries, the image of their leaders raising their voices in front of German officials can pay off in electoral terms. Especially if the Russian bear passes by!
German troops to withdraw from Mali by May 2024
The German government agreed on Wednesday to withdraw its troops from the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali by May 2024 due to tensions with the ruling junta.
The government of Olaf Scholz confirmed in a statement that German soldiers of the Bundeswehr will gradually leave the country over the next twelve months.
With about 1,000 soldiers, Germany is the largest Western contributor to the difficult UN mission to help stabilize the country. “Whether we like it or not, what is happening in the Sahel affects us,” Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock was quoted as saying on Wednesday. This is why Berlin intends to remain in the Sahel region, and to reorient its commitment in the areas of security in Niger, Mauritania and the Gulf of Guinea states, she said.
This new positioning worries some African spheres. It also reflects the eternal German procrastination!
Earlier this year, a community manager at the German Foreign Ministry shared his clash-like taunt on Twitter.
The connection of two events is the poor man’s comic spring. The author of the polemical tweet undertakes to telescope two news:
The visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to several African countries and the German decision, announced on January 25, to deliver fourteen Leopard 2 type 2A6 battle tanks to Ukraine.
“Russian Foreign Minister #Lavrov is in Africa, not to see leopards (word represented by an emoji) but to state in no uncertain terms that #Ukraine’s partners “want to destroy everything Russian”,” tweeted the German Foreign Ministry.
The spokeswoman for the chairperson of the African Union Commission (AU) asks on the same social network:
“Is the African continent, its people and its wildlife just a joke to the Germans?”
Ebba Kalondo asks whether the recent visit of German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock to the AU headquarters in Ethiopia was to “see animals.”
Zainab Usman (director of the Africa program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) is more outspoken, calling the German tweet inelegant for carrying “horrible stereotypes about Africa,” which should prevent Berlin from “winning African friends.
A new law in Algeria to muzzle the media: A draft law on information in Algeria strengthening the supervision of the work of journalists and introducing new penalties for violations was examined Monday by the upper house of parliament for adoption.
A new law in Algeria to muzzle the media
Already approved by the lower house of Parliament on March 28, this draft organic law, which includes 55 articles, should be submitted Thursday to the vote of the Council of the Nation, which acts as the Senate.
Among the main provisions of the text is a ban on Algerian media from receiving any “funding” or “direct and indirect material assistance from any foreign party” under penalty of “criminal sanctions provided by law. A fine of up to 14,000 euros is also provided.
While the text stipulates that “professional secrecy is a right for journalists in accordance with the legislation and regulations in force”, it specifies that journalists are obliged to reveal their sources to the courts if they so require.
In addition, the new law excludes de facto binationals from the right to own or be shareholders in a media in Algeria.
This article has been debated among senators, some highlighting the paradox between the fact that dual nationals are courted for elections or investment in Algeria but prevented from accessing the capital of the media.
Several senators have also deplored the lack of enforcement texts to accompany this bill.
The devil is in the details
The president of the Senate, Salah Goudjil, has himself noted, in French, that “the devil is in the details”, referring to the absence of implementing legislation.
The bill reiterates the existing obligation for journalists to obtain an “accreditation” to work in Algeria for foreign media, with a fine of up to one million dinars (nearly 7,000 euros) for “any person carrying out the activity in Algeria on behalf of a foreign media without accreditation.
Once approved, the bill will be the first text regulating the work of the media to be adopted under the reign of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune since he came to power in late 2019.
The U.S. is preparing long-term assistance for Ivory Coast, Benin and Togo as fears grow that jihadist violence in the Sahel is spreading to Africa’s west coast. U.S. prepares to help coastal West African countries confront jihadists:
U.S. prepares to help coastal West African countries confront jihadists
Officials said Western support is also crucial to curbing the Russian mercenary group, Wagner, after it achieved great success in violence-torn Sahel countries, including an alliance with Mali’s ruling army.
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris visited Ghana last month as part of a U.S. campaign for progress in Africa. He announced $100 million over 10 years to build resilience in West Africa’s coastal areas.
State Department officials are also considering additional funding, including from the counterterrorism budget.
In a new comprehensive strategy to prevent war and promote stability, President Joe Biden’s administration has identified the West African coast as a priority for the next decade.
The report, released in March, stated that the Sahel region, up to the adjacent north, had been hit by more terrorist attacks than any other region and that there was a need to “prevent violent conflict from breaking out or spreading to all parts of the region.
Coastal cities connected to the world by ports have not been affected, but violence has intensified in the border areas of Mali and Burkina Faso.
“It’s a significant and growing threat,” Michael Heath, deputy assistant secretary of state for West Africa, told FLA. It’s a concern for us because the capabilities of existing governments have never been faced with a threat like this before.
“They’re trying to manage this and we’re trying to figure out what kind of tools they need,” said Heath, who recently returned from a trip to the region with other State Department officials to assess needs.
He said he had not yet noticed a presence in the three countries of the Wagner Group, which is accused of human rights abuses in several countries, including Ukraine, where it plays a major role in the invasion.
“We need to solve the security problem”
“They don’t exist on the coast of West Africa yet, but we know they are looking for opportunities to take advantage of instability wherever they see it,” Heath said.
U.S. officials accuse Russia of stepping up disinformation in Francophone Africa, targeting an audience that has not forgotten the colonial era.
Concerns in the Sahel about violence, as well as in Russia, have increased in recent months since France ended an eight-year campaign against jihadists and was criticized for its overemphasis on military solutions.
U.S. officials said the West African coast would not experience violence if it did not spread from the north, noting at the same time that instability could also result from local factors and competition for resources that climate change exacerbates their scarcity.
They added that part of the focus of aid would be to reduce economic gaps that would help recruit extremists.
“Clearly, we want to help governments that are more interested in taking a comprehensive approach and good governance to solving problems in the North, where resources are scarce,” said Gregory LeGervaux, a senior State Department counterterrorism official who participated in the trip.
U.S. officials said a key area is helping West African governments build their legal systems so they can distinguish between legitimate refugees fleeing the Sahel and security threats.
He added: “We need an administrative system that does not impose restrictions on families or the economy, and we also need to solve the security problem.”
Hostility toward France has grown among residents of coastal countries
And U.S. military officials, who are leading annual counterterrorism exercises in West Africa, urged countries in the Sahel region to rely on each other to contain the growing Islamic rebellion and not on non-Western powers, after Mali asked for help from mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner group.
The French operation, dubbed “Operation Barkhane,” failed to halt the jihadists’ advance, prompting Paris to decide to stop waging the war on terror in the Sahel and Sahara region.
At the height of the mission, French forces numbered 5,500. The operation was launched in 2013 with the aim of stopping the advance of Islamist militants in Mali. Other countries involved in the operation were Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.
However, the operation was met with widespread use by armed groups belonging to al Qaeda and the Islamic State, and clashes with them led to increased casualties among French forces (58 dead), prompting military and political leaders in Paris to question its effectiveness.
Hostility toward France has increased among residents of coastal countries involved in “Operation Barkhane.” Social media and the spread of fake news helped fuel popular anger at the presence of French forces, which made the operation, at the expense of the French, dangerous and unnecessary.
Allianz Trade, the world leader in corporate credit insurance and a specialist in bonding, has just published its barometer for the first quarter of 2023 on country risk. Due to the global economic situation, country risk has deteriorated globally. In the new country risk map, Botswana, Morocco and Mauritius are the three most resilient countries in Africa:
The global economic environment has continued to deteriorate
For the past three years, under the effect of Covid-19 and the impacts of the Russia-Ukraine war, the global economic environment has continued to deteriorate. These factors have been compounded by another natural phenomenon, the drought, which has affected many countries and which demonstrates the negative impacts of climate change.
For these reasons, the global environment, marked today by worrying inflation in many countries, is characterized by a deterioration in country risk, posing significant risks to global economic operators.
Allianz’s quarterly report combs through 241 countries and territories to indicate each country’s country risk – the best understanding of the economic and political environment, business and financing risks around the world.
African news – Allianz’s quarterly report
The assessment of the overall level of country risk is based on a structural country rating and a short-term warning indicator. The structural country rating measures several factors: the assessment of macroeconomic imbalances, the assessment of the business environment, and the assessment of the stability of the political system and the effectiveness of the government (political risk).
These indicators are rated on a six-level scale from AA to D, where AA is the lowest structural country risk and D is the highest structural country risk.
The short-term alert indicator measures the business cycle and financing risks to the economy that have become elevated for many countries. These indicators are rated on a scale of 1 to 4, with 1 being the lowest level of risk and 4 being the highest. These four levels of risk are also referred to as “low”, “medium”, “significant” and “high”.
The short-term rating (country risk level) identifies more immediate threats by focusing on economic output over the next 6 to 12 months and macroeconomic indicators that warn of an impending financial crisis resulting from a disruption in financing flows. By combining the two ratings (structural country rating and short-term warning), Allianz Trade assigns a rating to each of the 141 countries assessed.
And if we take into account the sub-indicators, hundreds of economic indicators are scrutinized for each country.
Botswana, Morocco and Mauritius, the three most resilient countries in Africa
In Africa, the risk map has deteriorated and the world leader in credit insurance is pessimistic. It describes a fairly high risk of non-payment and business failures in the majority of African countries. The cause is the volatility of the international environment.
Some countries have shown greater resilience than others. According to the data in the Allianz Trade report, the economies of Botswana, Morocco, and Mauritius performed best under conditions of global fluctuation. As a result, these three countries received the highest scores on the continent.
The best rating on the continent went to Botswana with a “BB1”. The country offers low trade and financing risks. The same goes for political risk, thanks to the country’s good governance. Risks relating to the economy and business environment are considered medium. Morocco has obtained an overall rating of “B3”. The country’s economic, trade, financing, and business environment risks are generally average and declining. Morocco is the only country among the major economies of the African continent to receive such a rating.
Mauritius received a rating identical to Morocco’s (B3).
Behind these three countries, the best ranked in Africa are Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda and Senegal, all rated “C” with a “medium risk”. South Africa, Algeria, Kenya, Lesotho, Benin, Cameroon, Namibia, Djibouti, Namibia… are all rated “C” with a “significant risk”. On the other hand, the two leading African economies, Nigeria and Egypt, are rated “D” with a “significant risk”. This means that these countries present high country risks.
Grades of some African countries
Botswana, Morocco and Mauritius, the three most resilient countries in Africa
The cost of living is one of the most worrying issues in Africa. CEOWORLD, an American magazine, looked at this factor in the most expensive countries in Africa. The 19 most and 10 least expensive countries in Africa:
The 19 most and 10 least expensive countries in Africa
19 most expensive countries in Africa
A country’s economy depends on a range of factors, including the cost of living. A low cost of living is crucial for a country’s economic stability, as it directly affects the standard of living, consumer purchasing power, and investment opportunities.
Indeed, Inflation is a crisis that is hitting the whole world, and Africa in particular, hard. 19 African countries are among the 132 countries where the American magazine CEOWORLD has investigated the cost of living. According to our analysis, this study took into account: accommodation, clothing, cab, utilities, telecommunications and Internet, groceries, transportation and restaurants.
Accordingly, our analyst specifies that different studies were also taken into account (consumer prices, cost of living, salaries, etc.). The reference of this study is the cost of living in New York, set at 100. Here are the top 19 African countries: Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, Somalia, Ghana.
10 least expensive countries in Africa
According to Business Insider, the overall index Numbeo comes up with is determined by the following factors, Cost of Living Index (Excluding Rent) which is a relative indicator of consumer goods prices, including groceries, restaurants, transportation, and utilities, rent index, groceries index, restaurants index, Cost of Living Plus Rent Index which is an estimation of consumer goods prices including rent, and local purchasing power.
To collect data, Numbeo relies on user inputs and manually collected data from authoritative sources (websites of supermarkets, taxi company websites, governmental institutions, newspaper articles, other surveys, etc.). Manually collected data from established sources are entered twice per year. A more comprehensive breakdown of the methodology is available on Numbeo’s website.
Thus, Below are 10 African countries with the lowest cost of living (2023) according to Numbeo: Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Ghana, Algeria, Morocco, Rwanda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda.
Shedding light on a bloody, long-silenced and unknown part of history: a commission of French and Cameroonian researchers is beginning its research on the role of France during colonization and after the independence of this Central African country, a memorial work in a minefield. A commission in Cameroon for a memorial on the role of France:
A commission in Cameroon for a memorial on the role of France
After the Duclert Commission on the role of France in the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda (2021), the Stora report on colonization and the Algerian War (2021), the Franco-Cameroonian Joint Commission is in turn part of the memorial policy of French President Emmanuel Macron, at the heart of the “new” relationship he advocates with Africa.
They will be fifteen – fourteen members and a president, Karine Ramondy – to be part of the research component of the commission on the role of France in Cameroon before and after independence (1945 to 1971).
Among them, seven are researchers living in Cameroon. We wanted to ensure that several major universities in Cameroon are represented,” explains Karine Ramondy, co-chair of the commission responsible for this research component. Hence the presence of three historians from the University of Dschang, two from the University of Douala, and two historians from the universities of Yaoundé I and Yaoundé II. Alongside them, seven academics residing in Europe.
It is a commission of specialists in the history of Cameroon,” continues Karine Ramondy, “in particular of the independence movement UPC (Union of the People of Cameroon). But we have also brought together specialists in fields of research related to the mandate of the commission: colonial violence, photography, student movements, trade unions, military history … This will allow us to contextualize the work and to enter into fine and comparative analysis.
The commission is also composed of researchers of various statuses, ranging from doctoral students to university professors and lecturers. “This guarantees that the work will be continued by these young researchers.
When will the work begin? We’ve already started talking,” says Karine Ramondy. The final adjustments are being made, and the work should formally begin in the coming weeks.” The commission plans to make its work public at the end of 2024. Alongside this research component, a memorial component has also been initiated, led by the singer Blick Bassy.
Multidisciplinary Franco-Cameroonian Commission on “The role and commitment of France in Cameroon in the fight against the independence movements and opposition for the period from 1945 to 1971
A commission in which historians living in Cameroon and Europe are equally represented
List of members for the “research component” of the Commission under the direction of Karine Ramondy, historian (UMR SIRICE), University of Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne.
Assembe Ndi Alvine, historian (University of Douala)
Arzel Lancelot, historian (Centre d’Histoire de Sciences Po Paris)
Bellot Gurlet Marine, historian (Ecole Normale Supérieure-Lyon)
Blum Françoise, historian (Center for Social History)
Dze Ngwa Willibroad, historian (University of Yaoundé 2)
Guyon Anthony, historian (CRISES)
Hiribarren Vincent, historian (King’s College/Les Afriques dans le Monde)
Kenfack Nanfack Cyril, historian (University of Dschang)
Koufan Menkene Jean, historian (University of Yaoundé 1)
Mbowou Claude, political scientist (European Center of Sociology and Political Science)
Ngo Nlend Nadeige Laure, historian (University of Douala)
Ngouné junior Patrick, historian (University of Dschang)
Noumbissie Tchouaké, historian (University of Dschang)
Sacriste Fabien, historian (MIGRINTER)
After Germany’s defeat in 1918, the League of Nations (League), the forerunner of the United Nations, placed most of the German colony of Kamerun under French control and the rest – the western part bordering Nigeria – under British control.
Prior to the country’s independence in 1960, French authorities bloodily suppressed the “maquis” of the UPC (Union of the Peoples of Cameroon), a nationalist party engaged in armed struggle.
Tens of thousands of pro-UPC activists, including the independence leader Ruben Um Nyobè, were massacred first by the French army and then after independence by the Cameroonian army of Ahmadou Ahidjo’s regime.
The Commission’s work of remembrance already looks complicated.
Professor Daniel Abwa, president of the Cameroonian History Society, has been indignant for several days about the appointment of Mr. Bassy. “We can not have on one side a historian and on the other a singer, it is really insulting,” he said to AFP.
“Blick Bassy is young and certainly freer than all his critics,” retorted Jacques Deboheur Koukam, head of L’Harmattan Cameroun publishing house in Yaoundé, which has published many books on colonization in Cameroon.
Beyond the personal questions, “what is expected from this process? To lodge a complaint, to repair?” asks Mr. Koukam, regretting that the Commission does not have “clearer objectives”.
Jean Koufan Menkene, a Cameroonian historian and member of the commission, wonders about the relationship of Cameroon to its own history. “Despite the official discourse, our country has not been able to reconcile itself with its own history,” he writes.
Other voices question the possibility of carrying out peaceful work in a country ruled by an iron fist for nearly 40 years by President Paul Biya, and undermined by a deadly conflict with the regions populated by the anglophone minority.
The UN recognizes crimes against humanity against migrants in Libya: United Nations-backed human rights experts recently said there is evidence that crimes against humanity have been committed against Libyans and migrants in Libya, including women forced into sexual slavery.
The UN recognizes crimes against humanity against migrants in Libya
The investigators mandated by the U.N. Human Rights Council also criticized the European Union for providing support to Libyan forces, which they said contributed to the crimes committed against these human beings.
“….The mission found that crimes against humanity were committed against migrants in detention facilities that are under the actual or nominal control of the illegal migration control agency, the Libyan coast guard and the stability support apparatus. And these bodies have received technical, logistical and financial assistance from the European Union,” said Mohamed Auajjar, chairman of the UN Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya:
The detailed new report, based on interviews with hundreds of people, including migrants and witnesses, concludes a fact-finding mission established nearly three years ago to investigate human rights violations and abuses in the North African country.
“We found cases of slavery, of people who were sold to outside entities, to perform various services, but also sexual slavery of women in and around detention centers. The findings on these two elements are new to the mission and represent, I think, a very significant set of violations that we were not able to establish in our previous reporting cycles,” said Tracy Robinson, a member of the U.N. Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya.
Indeed, Here are key findings of the report:
No accountability Widescale exploitation of migrants Abuses in detention Women’s rights going in reverse Investigation mechanism still needed Violators should be ostracized Political deadlock
Finally, Libya, largely lawless, has become the main transit point for people seeking a better life in Europe in recent years, and activists have long denounced the horrific conditions migrants face.
In cutting-edge sectors, young African companies are gaining ground and being spotted by leading organizations such as the World Economic Forum. Seven African start-ups pioneering global tech:
Seven African start-ups pioneering global tech
Some weak signals do not deceive, like the one just delivered by the Israeli research center StartupBlink on Africa. Specialized in the study of the best innovative ecosystems in the world with an index published every year, its experts have just placed Lagos at 122nd in the ranking that surveys 1,000 metropolises across a hundred countries according to their ability to create the ideal conditions for the growth of digital companies.
This makes the Nigerian economic capital the best city to create a start-up in Africa. The metropolis of more than 17 million inhabitants thus dethroned Nairobi, relegated to 136th place in the world after falling 20 places in one year. In the Africa-Middle East region, the two capitals are positioned ahead of Cairo (180th), Abu Dhabi (169th) and Riyadh (192nd), all of which are known for their desire to become recognized hubs of global tech.
Another strong signal came from the canton of Geneva in Switzerland, where the World Economic Forum (WEF) is based. On June 16, 2021, seven start-ups from the continent were selected by the WEF as one of the 100 start-ups considered to be technology pioneers.
They are 54Gene, mPharma, Cambridge Industries, FlexFinTx, Kuda Technology, Moringa School and Sokowatch. This annual selection, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, has already rewarded companies such as Google, Airbnb, Twitter or Spotify in the past.
Seven African start-ups pioneering global tech:
At 35 years old, the Nigerian boss of 54Gene, Abasi Ene-Obong, is ranked 33rd in the Jeune Afrique ranking of the 50 personalities who are making the digital world on the continent.
His company, which specializes in the sequencing of African genomes, stood out in 2020 for the central role it played – to the detriment of its geographical development, which it put on hold during the period – in the management of mobile Covid-19 screening campaigns in Nigeria.
Armed with $15 million raised in April 2020, the startup from the geneticist who graduated from Imperial College London and Claremont College in the United States is sure to quickly return to its flagship project. This is the monetization of a gene bank in order to advance research as quickly as possible in favor of care better adapted to the physiologies of the continent.
It too has been valuable to the public sector in the current health context. The start-up mPharma, founded in 2013 by Gregory Rockson and operating in eight countries, has helped Ghana and Nigeria beef up their diagnostic testing equipment via the creation of a special $3 million fund. It has also enabled the Ghanaian government, through a private consortium, to provide a free vaccination campaign for medical staff.
With $53 million raised since its inception, the prescription drug inventory management company for pharmacies acquired Haltons, a pharmacy brand in Kenya, in 2019 for an unknown amount. It now hopes to expand that brand into Ethiopia.
Cambridge Industries (Addis Ababa)
Insect farms, energy production from waste, recycling… It goes without saying that in terms of technology, the company headed by Samuel Alemayehu is at the cutting edge of innovation. Allied with the China National Electric Engineering Company (CNEEC), the operator is also largely supported by the Ethiopian government, which has financed its entire waste recovery plant, installed next to the Koshe landfill near the capital. With its infrastructure, Cambridge Industries claims to be able to provide electricity to 25% of Addis Ababa’s residents while removing 80% of their waste.
Samuel Alemayehu, the eloquent CEO of Cambridge Industries who speaks at Harvard conferences, studied science management and engineering at Stanford University in the United States. He plans to install metal sorters to recycle this waste, filter toxic water from the waste, and create bricks from the ash.
Blockchain fascinates as much as it questions, but for Zimbabwean Victor Mapunga and his Indian partner Haardik – the latter says he doesn’t have a first name – this technology, which allows transactions to be certified in a decentralized way, is also a way to create a register of identity documents accessible without a connection for the 400 million Africans who lack one.
The process is simple: a WhatsApp account is all that is needed to register one’s identity in a chat managed by a chatbot (a software robot that can chat with a user). The chatbot retrieves the information from a blockchain called Algorand.
Called FlexID, the service offered by the Harare-based start-up is connected to financial institutions and government services partners, allowing users to open bank accounts, take out insurance or sign an employment contract.
A member of the Decentralized Identity Foundation since February 2020, the company founded in 2018 is contributing in parallel to the definition of digital standards for decentralized identity management alongside tech behemoths such as Microsoft or IBM.
A month ago, this online bank with assumed pan-African ambitions surpassed one million customers for the first time. Founded in 2016 by Babs Ogundeyi and Mustapha Musty, Kuda is the third name of a company that initially specialized in online loans and was then called Kuda Money. Over time, a banking license was obtained in Nigeria and $36.6 million was raised in four rounds of financing. The capital includes several renowned investors – including Ragnar Meitern, former head of the Dutch bancassurance group ING – and Valar Ventures, a New York fund that manages $1.2 billion in assets.
To stand out, this Nigerian online bank, which claims to have managed $2.2 billion in transactions in February, is inspired by successes such as Nubank in Brazil, N26 in Germany and Revolut in the UK. These “neo-banks” are unique in that they are all 100% digital, have strong customer service and charge almost zero fees on bank card transactions.
Moringa School (Nairobi)
Founded in 2014 by Taiwanese-American Audrey Cheng and Kenyan Frank Tamre – both now retired from executive management – Moringa School’s promise is reminiscent of the one formulated by American Andela: to tailor tech profiles to the needs of African or international businesses.
Present in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda and allied with 80 local or international structures such as Microsoft, the American consulting firm Dalberg and the Mastercard Foundation, the start-up specializing in the training of coders and data specialists claims so far to have enrolled 3,000 people for a job insertion rate of 85%.
In 2019, and then last May, the Dutch investment fund DOB Equity, which has been involved in the financing rounds of Twiga Foods, the logistics company Sendy and the electricity payment application M-Kopa, acquired a stake in the school for an unknown amount.
Now chaired by Meredith Karazin, the school charges tuition fees of around 1,500 euros per year with financial aid.
This start-up specialized in the supply of informal shops has been ranked by Fast Company magazine among the most innovative companies in the world. The company, founded by American Daniel Yu, has demonstrated that good inventory management avoids waste and optimizes the income of merchants, however small they may be.
Convinced by the model, which brings on board consumer goods stars such as Unilever and Procter & Gamble on the supplier side, the Moroccan venture capital fund Outlierz Ventures took part in the seed round back in 2018. It thus precedes other prestigious funds such as the investor dedicated to East Africa, Catalyst Fund (which counts among its investors Proparco and CDC Group) or the American 4DX Ventures, which participated in June in the $30 million fundraising of the Egyptian logistics company Trella.
Air pollution – Africa suffocates! It is a “silent killer”. In the continent’s major metropolises, breathing the air is twice as deadly as in the rest of the world. In the continent, pollution kills more than AIDS !
Air pollution: the most affected African cities
Air quality is poor in the city of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, as well as in the localities of Bobo-Dioulasso and Koudougou.
This is the conclusion of a study on “Spatio-temporal monitoring of air pollution due to suspended particles by low-cost sensors in Burkina”, conducted by researchers from the Laboratory of Environmental Physics and Chemistry of Joseph Ki-Zerbo University and Columbia University in the United States.
The study was conducted for one year (November 2021 – November 2022) at 19 sites in the cities of Ouagadougou (13), Koudougou (03) and Bobo-Dioulasso (03). Pollution sensors have been installed at these sites.
In Ouagadougou, these sensors have shown that the average daily concentrations of pollutants vary between 17 and 36 micrograms per cubic meter, the study says.
At all sites, concentrations exceed the WHO standard of 15 micrograms per cubic meter, and the two daily pollution peaks are between 7-8 am and 7-8 pm.
It is a “silent killer”. In the continent’s major metropolises, breathing the air is twice as deadly as in the rest of the world. According to a study by the British NGO Clean Air Fund, the cause is the lack of alternatives to the car, the presence of mining and oil industries near cities and the open burning of waste.
“The status quo cannot be the only solution,” the NGO warns. In Cairo, Accra, Lagos and Johannesburg in particular, the authorities would be well advised to take up the problem. The study recommends investing in public transport, monitoring air quality and introducing cleaner stoves in households. Especially since the rural exodus is accelerating: the African population, mostly rural, has only recently experienced the exodus to urban centers. According to experts, more than 65% of the continent’s population is expected to live in urban areas by 2060. By the end of the century, Africa will be home to 5 of the world’s 10 largest megacities.
Pollution kills more than AIDS
According to previous research, published in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health, in 2019, this pollution caused the premature death of more than 1 million people in Africa. By comparison, 650,000 people lost their lives to HIV/AIDS-related diseases worldwide in the same year, according to UN figures. By following the NGO’s recommendations, by 2040 125,000 lives could be saved and CO2 emissions reduced by 20%. It is also an economic opportunity, according to the study, which anticipates a reduction in work stoppages where high levels of pollution affect employees’ health. Some $20 billion could be saved in these four cities.
Another study (by the Health Effects Institute) found that the human cost of air pollution in Africa is among the highest in the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, the death rate from air pollution is 155 deaths per 100,000 people, nearly double the global average of 85.6 deaths per 100,000 people, HEI said in a report. If nothing changes, however, the study warns that “the financial costs of air pollution will increase sixfold by 2040.”