Category Archives: Africa Policy Notes

E-commerce in Africa to reach over $40 billion by 2024

E-commerce in Africa is set to reach over $40 billion by 2024: Africa is becoming the next home of the Internet giants, and more specifically those involved in E-commerce. As smartphones and the Internet become more and more within everyone’s reach, E-commerce is evolving, particularly among young people.

E-commerce in Africa is set to exceed $40 billion by 2024

According to statistics, the African e-commerce industry is expected to reach an annual growth rate of 24.7% in 2024. Whereas in 2017, the industry’s annual sales were just $7.7 billion. It is expected to reach $42.3 billion in 2024. Annual revenue is thus expected to achieve cumulative growth of almost 500% in 7 years.

Over the past two years (2020-2021), the Covid-19 pandemic has also helped the e-commerce industry, as elsewhere in the world. On the other hand, the short-term effects of inflation could cause a slowdown in growth on the African continent.

In 2021, the African e-commerce industry brought in $28 billion in revenues. It recorded growth of 31% on 2020 ($21.4 billion). “The annual growth rate is expected to gradually decline to 9% by 2025”, says the Statista report.

In 2022, the African e-commerce industry is expected to generate $33.3 billion in revenues, following an increase of 19%. For 2023, the report forecasts growth of 14.7% to $38.2 billion. In 2024, the annual growth rate will fall further to 11%, with revenues of $42.3 billion.In 2025, annual sales will reach $46.1 billion, thanks to an annual increase of 9%.

Net growth in the number of users

The growth of the e-commerce industry in Africa is mainly due to the continent’s expanding e-commerce user base.

In 2017, just 138.9 million people shopped online in Africa. This figure is expected to rise to 519.8 million by 2024, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.9%. It should be noted that the growth rate of revenues is higher than that of the user base.

Furthermore, e-commerce penetration among the African population in 2024 is expected to be 40%. Thus, the revenue growth rate could record a more attractive rate than that forecast.

Challenges and opportunities for trade on the continent

Despite the growing popularity of e-commerce, the industry faces obstacles.

UNCTAD’s 2018 E-Commerce Index, which measures an economy’s readiness to support online shopping, covers 151 global economies, including 44 African countries. Mauritius is ranked 55th, the best position in Africa. Nigeria and South Africa rank 75th and 77th respectively. Nine of the bottom ten countries are African.

Challenges include slow and expensive Internet connectivity, poor infrastructure, weak logistics and little or no consumer protection.

Although payment by cell phone is on the rise, payment on delivery remains popular in Africa, making cross-border e-commerce difficult. Policies are often not adapted to complex payment chains, and merchants have fewer options for connecting their local e-payment systems to the services used by global customers.

By promoting greater interoperability between payment systems, policymakers can help strengthen Africa’s position as a global leader in mobile payments.

Scheduled for 2024, the new Free Trade Area of the African Continent (ZLEC) aims to create the world’s largest trading bloc, with a market of 1.27 billion consumers, set to grow to 1.7 billion by 2030. Bridging the digital divide and creating an enabling environment would help entrepreneurs win over new customers, and offer numerous opportunities for innovation.

The role that e-commerce can play in the realization of the ZLEC is essential. “E-commerce can boost intra-African trade, which accounts for 18% of trade, and boost Africa’s share of world trade, estimated at less than 3%,” said Ajay Kumar Bramdeo, AU Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, during E-Commerce Week.

The belt of coups in the Sahel is completed by Niger

The belt of coups in the Sahel is completed by Niger: Niger is a key country in the Sahel, both because of its geographical location and the concentration of Western military bases on its soil.

The belt of coups in the Sahel is completed by Niger

In the Sahel, everything seems to converge on Niger, which until the July 26 coup d’état appeared to be an island of relative security stability in a region haunted by jihadist insurgency. In a report published in 2022, the US State Department even described the country as a “linchpin for stability in the Sahel”.

As The Washington Post recalls, the country was an exception in the midst of a “coup d’état belt”, an expression used to describe the horizontal line running from west to east between the countries of the sub-region that have seen a brutal overthrow of the authorities in power in recent years.

This small country of 25 million inhabitants is also home to numerous Western military bases. According to the Washington Post, the United States has around 1,100 soldiers and a drone base. As for France, after the disappointment and rejection of the Barkhane force by Mali and Burkina Faso, it chose Niger to establish the bulk of its forces, i.e. between 1,000 and 1,500 soldiers.

Finally, Niger abounds in mineral wealth, including precious uranium. In another article, the Washington Post estimates that the country, the world’s seventh largest producer of this mineral, has some of the largest gross reserves in Africa. It is also one of the main exporters of uranium to Europe. If the situation in Niger were to worsen, “this could force European governments to reconsider new punitive measures against Russia, one of the world’s biggest uranium exporters”.

So, will Niger follow in the footsteps of its two neighbors? In Niamey, the scenes involving Russian flags and anti-French slogans are already reminiscent of the events in Mali and Burkina Faso.

International position on the coup d’état in Niger

U.S. President Joe Biden called Thursday for the immediate release of Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum, who was ousted last week in a military coup.

Biden said in a statement that Niger is “facing a grave challenge to its democracy.”

“The Nigerien people have the right to choose their leaders. They have expressed their will through free and fair elections—and that must be respected,” Biden said.

Briefing journalists at UN Headquarters in New York, Léonardo Santos Simão reiterated condemnation of the attempted overthrow of Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum on 26 July.

He also underscored support for efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) aimed at restoring constitutional order and consolidating democratic gains in the country.

“The unfolding crisis, if not addressed, will exacerbate the deteriorating security situation in the region. It will also negatively impact the development and lives of the population in a country where 4.3 million people need humanitarian assistance,” he said, speaking from Accra, Ghana. 

He added that “Niger and the region do not need coups d’état. Populations deserve to enjoy peace, democratic governance and prosperity.”

A delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is currently in Niger to “negotiate” with members of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP), which overthrew the elected Nigerien president, Mohamed Bazoum, said one of the Community’s officials at the opening of Wednesday’s meeting of West African chiefs of staff in Abuja, Nigeria.

“Nigeria disconnected the high-voltage line carrying electricity to Niger yesterday (Tuesday),” the source told the media. A Nigelec official said that the capital, Niamey, was “supplied by local production”.

Exit France, Russia seduces in the Sahel

After Mali and Burkina Faso, Niger is the third country in the region to experience a coup d’état since 2020. Each time, France’s presence is denounced. A situation that benefits Russia, which is conducting intense propaganda on the ground.

“A bas la France!”, “Vive la Russie!” It’s a familiar scenario in the Sahel. After Mali, hit by two coups in 2020 and 2021, and Burkina Faso, hit by two putsches in 2022, it’s the turn of neighboring Niger to be overthrown by the military. Here again, supporters of the putschists have denounced France’s presence in their country. On Sunday July 30, in front of the French embassy in Niamey, they tore down the building’s plaque before trampling it and replacing it with Russian flags.

For several years now, France, the former colonial power, has been unwelcome in the Sahel, a region stretching from Senegal to Chad. The French army has been driven out of Burkina Faso and Mali, and Operation Barkhane, launched in 2014 to combat terrorism, forced to withdraw to Niger in summer 2022. Taking advantage of this situation, Russia continues to extend its influence and present itself as an ideal political, economic and security partner.

Russia-Africa Summit – Putin promises free grain deliveries to six African countries

Russia-Africa Summit – Putin promises free grain deliveries to six African countries: Vladimir Putin opened the second Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg on Thursday July 27 with a promise of free grain deliveries to six African countries, against a backdrop of concern following the termination of an agreement allowing the export of millions of tons of Ukrainian agricultural products.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi make a press statement following the 2019 Russia-Africa Summit at the Sirius Park of Science and Art in Sochi, Russia, on October 24, 2019. (Photo by Sergei CHIRIKOV / POOL / AFP) (Photo by SERGEI CHIRIKOV/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia-Africa Relations: A Growing Partnership

Russia and Africa have a long history of relations, dating back to the days of the Soviet Union. In recent years, these relations have been growing, as Russia has sought to expand its influence on the continent.

There are a number of reasons for Russia’s interest in Africa. First, Africa is a resource-rich continent, with abundant reserves of oil, gas, minerals, and other commodities. Russia is eager to secure access to these resources, which can help to fuel its own economy.

Second, Africa is a growing market for Russian goods and services. As the African middle class expands, there is increasing demand for Russian products, such as cars, smartphones, and construction equipment.

Third, Russia sees Africa as a potential ally in the global arena. Africa is a non-aligned continent, and Russia is hoping to build partnerships with African countries that can help to counter the influence of the United States and the European Union.

Russia-Africa Summit – Putin promises free grain deliveries to six African countries

In recent years, Russia has taken a number of steps to strengthen its ties with Africa. In 2019, Russia hosted the first Russia-Africa Summit, which was attended by leaders from over 50 African countries. Russia has also increased its military cooperation with African countries, and it has provided military training and equipment to a number of African armies.

The growing partnership between Russia and Africa has been met with mixed reactions. Some African leaders welcome Russia’s interest in the continent, as they see it as an opportunity to diversify their economic partners and gain access to new markets. Others are concerned about Russia’s intentions, and they worry that Russia is seeking to exploit Africa’s resources and undermine its democratic institutions.

Only time will tell how the Russia-Africa relationship will evolve in the years to come. However, it is clear that this relationship is growing in importance, and it will have a significant impact on the future of Africa.

Russia-Africa Summit – Putin promises free grain deliveries to six African countries

Isolated on the international stage since the launch of its military offensive in Ukraine in 2022, the Kremlin can still count on the support, or neutrality, of many African countries, and the Russia-Africa summit is seen as a diplomatic and political test for Moscow. In his opening address, the Russian president assured the audience that Moscow would be able to deliver up to 50,000 tonnes of grain free of charge to six countries “in the coming months”, citing Zimbabwe, Somalia and Eritrea, as well as three countries that have drawn closer to Moscow in recent years: Mali, Central Africa and Burkina Faso.

“Our country can replace Ukrainian grain commercially and free of charge”, he said, asserting that Russia was a “solid and responsible” producer.

Last week, Moscow refused to extend the grain agreement signed in July 2022 under the aegis of the United Nations and Turkey, which allowed Ukraine to export its agricultural products via the Black Sea despite the fighting. In the space of a year, the agreement had enabled nearly 33 million tonnes of grain to leave Ukrainian ports, helping to stabilize food prices and avert the risk of shortages.

Russia-Africa Summit 2023: Moscow makes its move

For this 2023 edition, the organizers have set up an Economic Forum as part of the summit, with a section dedicated to humanitarian issues, with the aim of diversifying this strategic partnership initiated by Moscow with a view to “long-term development”, stressed the Kremlin spokesman. With this in mind, and in preparation for the various aspects of the summit, Russia has stepped up its messages of support for Africa and its diplomatic missions in recent months.

As you may recall, in January 2023, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made two African tours of several countries to lay the groundwork for this very important conference for Vladimir Putin, who wants to expand his relations in Africa and win the confidence of several countries on the continent, thus countering the isolation imposed on him by the West. It’s also a way of reviewing Russia’s cards in terms of trade, which still fall far short of Moscow’s and Africa’s expectations.


Important sectors of cooperation between Russia and Africa, such as armaments, are the most urgent, since for the past decade, Moscow has been asserting its desire to strengthen its military partnerships with numerous countries such as Cameroon, Ethiopia, South Africa, the Central African Republic and Mali.

These agreements follow a long-standing tradition dating back to the days of independence. At that time, the Soviet Union supplied arms to many African countries. But continuity failed to materialize after the collapse of the Soviet bloc. The Kremlin intends to make up for this delay with the help of the Wagner militia, which has already made its mark in recent years in countries such as the Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan and Libya.

It is in this sense that we need to understand that between 2018 and 2022, Russia has achieved a major turnaround by dethroning China as the leading arms exporter to sub-Saharan Africa, as we can read in a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, rising from 21% to 26% market share. The same report tells us that “arms deliveries to Africa represent only a small share of Russia’s arms exports (12% in 2022), whose overall volume has fallen significantly in recent years, and even more so with the war in Ukraine”.

The DRC invests its natural resources to strengthen its partnership with Beijing

The DRC invests its natural resources to strengthen its partnership with Beijing: The President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, visited China, on May 24, 2023, for a period of 5 days, during which he held extensive meetings with officials in Beijing, including his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, Many of the already existing trade deals between the two countries were reviewed, in addition to the conclusion of new agreements.

The DRC invests its natural resources to strengthen its partnership with Beijing

Tshisekedi’s visit to China is his first since he came to power in January 2019, as he seeks to rebalance the mineral infrastructure agreements that the previous Congolese government had signed with Beijing, which can be presented as follows:

Review business deals

Tshisekedi’s visit to Beijing aims to review existing trade deals between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and China. Quantities estimated at about $10 billion of Congolese minerals. On the other hand, these companies did not commit to establishing the agreed-upon infrastructure, with only about $822 million.

The Chinese embassy in Kinshasa objected to the content of this report, which prompted the Congolese president to hold a meeting with members of his government, on May 19, during which he confirmed that he would complete the talks with the Chinese side.

And the former Congolese President, Joseph Kabila, concluded an agreement with China in 2008, known as the “Sicomines” project, with a value of about $ 6 billion, according to which it was agreed that the two companies “Sinohydro Corp” and “Security Group China Railway Group Limited has allocated about $3 billion for the development of the joint copper and cobalt “Sicomines” project, and about another $3 billion for infrastructure development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in return for an estimated 68% stake in the project, while a company gets Gecamines mining, owned by the Congolese government, has a 32% stake.

President Tshisekedi believes that the Chinese side has not fulfilled its obligations, according to these agreements, which stipulated pumping large investments in the Congolese infrastructure in exchange for Beijing obtaining copper and cobalt from Kinshasa.

Congo requested Chinese compensation

The Congolese government submitted a request to Beijing for compensation for the losses that resulted from the 2008 deal, as President Tshisekedi demanded that the amount allocated for infrastructure in the framework of this deal be raised to 6 billion dollars, instead of 3 billion, in addition to obtaining another compensation of two billion dollars, Claiming that the Chinese companies obtained minerals from the Congolese company at half the prices in the market.

Comprehensive strategic partnership

Tshisekedi’s visit to Beijing also aimed at strengthening cooperation and partnership between the two countries. During this visit, it was agreed to upgrade relations between the two countries from the stage of “strategic partnership for win-win cooperation”, which was launched in 2015, to the stage of “comprehensive strategic partnership”. This was followed by the issuance of A joint statement that included announcing plans to enhance joint cooperation in all fields, including security.

And the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Tshisekedi’s visit to Beijing witnessed the signing of a number of joint cooperation agreements between the two countries. China is the largest trading partner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as the volume of trade between the two countries in 2022 amounted to about $21.7 billion.

Chinese elasticity with Congo

Tshisekedi’s visit to China reflected the intertwined interests between the two countries, and their keenness to develop relations of cooperation between them, which can be presented as follows:

Raising Congo’s share in “copper and cobalt”

Tshisekedi’s visit to Beijing aims to increase the share of the Congolese state mining company, Gecamens, to 60%, and the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to obtain a 10% share, in exchange for reducing the share of Chinese companies to only 30%. The two sides announced their agreement to review joint mining deals, provided that a new agreement will be signed by the end of 2023.

Tshisekedi’s readiness for the upcoming elections

It is expected that the presidential elections in the Congo will be held in December 2023. It seems that President Tshisekedi is seeking to achieve several internal and external achievements that enhance his chances of obtaining a new term in these elections.

Perhaps this explains the timing of his tendency to reconsider the 2008 agreement with the Chinese side, and his efforts to strengthen the economic partnership with Beijing, paving the way for new Chinese investments in Kinshasa that will favor Tshisekedi in the upcoming elections.

Expanding military cooperation between the two countries

In mid-May 2023, the Congo received the first batch of Chinese “CH-4” (CH-4) drones, in conjunction with Kinshasa’s intention to use the regional force of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to deploy its forces in eastern Congo. And support efforts to impose stability in this troubled region, after the forces of the East African Group failed in the task of establishing peace and stability there.

The DRC invests its natural resources to strengthen its partnership with Beijing

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is witnessing mounting security challenges in the east of the country, with about 120 armed groups active in it, not to mention the Rwanda-backed “March 23” rebel movement. Although the forces of the East African Group sent forces to support the Congolese army in achieving stability in this region, these forces failed to achieve any real progress in the region, but security threats continued to exacerbate in eastern Congo, which prompted Kinshasa to strengthen its rapprochement with Beijing to support its armed forces.

Beijing Insurance Kinshasa Metals

China is seeking to strengthen its involvement in the Congo to secure its access to its vast mineral wealth, as about two-thirds of the world’s cobalt production is extracted from the latter, which is the raw material used in the production of batteries. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is also one of the world’s leading producers of copper, in addition to having large reserves of diamonds, gold, lithium and tantalum.

Recent years have witnessed repeated cases of Chinese deaths during attacks by terrorist groups on some mines inside the Congo, so Beijing is working to secure its presence in the Congolese interior to preserve its interests there, and Kinshasa is of particular importance to Beijing from a strategic point of view associated with the transition towards green energy.

It is noted that the Chinese influence exceeds its American counterpart in the Congo, as Beijing now owns the majority of cobalt mines in Kinshasa, in exchange for the failure of American companies to keep pace with this Chinese expansion, and some of these companies even went to sell their shares to their Chinese counterparts.

Refuting the Chinese “debt trap” novel

China is currently working to refute the Western narrative of the “debt trap”, which the United States and its European allies see as a deliberate strategy pursued by Beijing to plunge African countries into debt in order to obtain the assets and wealth of these countries.

China seeks to confirm that it does not aim to exploit African countries by affirming its agreement to review previous cooperation agreements with the Congo, which the latter considered unfair to it, in order to reach other, fairer agreements.

Possible international bounces

The outputs that resulted from the Congolese President’s visit to China reflect the presence of several potential repercussions that may occur on the internal scene in Kinshasa, and on the surrounding regional context, during the coming period, which can be presented as follows:

Enhance military cooperation

It is expected that the coming period will witness the strengthening of military cooperation between Beijing and Kinshasa, which establishes a foothold for China in the depths of Africa, especially with several reports indicating that Beijing is seeking to obtain a new military base for it in Central and West Africa, so it is not excluded that the Congo is one of the sites potential for this rule.

On the other hand, the Congo may work to conclude a deal with Beijing, according to which Chinese military support for the Congolese government forces will be expanded, and they will be helped to impose control over the eastern region of the Congo, in return for Beijing obtaining greater concessions regarding the mineral wealth in Kinshasa, or this potential base. . This proposition may be reinforced by the meeting of the Congolese Minister of Defense, Jean-Pierre Bemba, with his Chinese counterpart, Li Changfu, during which the latter confirmed Beijing’s readiness to provide all kinds of military support to the Congolese forces.

Growing Sino-American competition

The United States has had great aspirations in the vast fortunes of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since the 1990s. Therefore, Kinshasa may represent a new focus of competition between the United States and China during the coming period, in light of the large mineral wealth that it abounds in, especially with regard to cobalt, which is a basic pillar in the electric car industry, and it is one of the most prominent areas of current competition between Washington and Beijing, not to mention what This industry is key to the current US administration’s aspirations to limit climate change.

This proposition is consistent with Western reports indicating that the intensity of the US-Chinese competition over the future of green energy has witnessed a sharp escalation in the African continent, as the latter is home to many raw materials needed for the global carbon removal race, which constitute a crucial entry point for batteries and solar panels.

Dedication Polarization in the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes region represents one of the most prominent hotbeds of tension in the African continent, and it is expected that the growth of Chinese influence in this region will perpetuate regional and international polarization, especially since the expected Chinese support for the Congolese side may be matched by more Western support for the Rwandan position, which may frame a proxy war. The scene is getting darker in this troubled region.

In conclusion, the Congolese president’s visit to Beijing comes within the framework of the current Chinese movement towards the African continent, and its efforts to expand its political, economic and military influence within it. It is expected that the coming period will witness more visits by some leaders of African countries to Beijing, which may lead to an increase in American concern about these moves, and Washington’s tendency to adopt countermeasures, which may negatively affect the security situation in the region.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo invests its natural resources to strengthen its partnership with Beijing (This article was first published in arabic here, translated by FLAA)

Facebook’s misadventures in Africa

Facebook’s misadventures in Africa: The world’s most popular social network is on the rocks in Africa. In addition to the tough competition with the Chinese Tiktok, there are accusations of encouraging the proliferation of propaganda activities. Meta is also in the middle of legal troubles in African courts. Quest for buzz for monetized audience?

Facebook’s misadventures in Africa are not new

In 2019, the BBC’s web journal headlined: Is Facebook undermining democracy in Africa? “Facebook is under fire in Africa for undermining democracy, with critics saying the social media giant has allowed its platform to be weaponised for co-ordinated misinformation campaigns”, wrote the journal.

In 2021, DW headlined: WhatsApp and Facebook outage sparks confusion in Africa. “Did God hack Facebook? Mark Zuckerberg, at least, said there was no hack at all. It came down to technical problems. His company is said to have lost $7 billion (€6 billion) as a result of the outage”, Wrote the german journal.

Those problems continue in 2023:

How TikTok makes Facebook run in Africa

TikTok is rapidly gaining popularity in Africa, with tens of millions of subscribers, putting pressure on Facebook (now Meta) to maintain its dominant position in the African market.

Although this number is far less than Facebook’s registrants on the continent, Meta is not willing to be surprised.

According to RFI, Meta has launched an initiative to support local influencers by organizing an online contest and training campaigns in sub-Saharan Africa.

These actions aim to create a positive online ecosystem where African influencers can express their creativity and generate revenue.

Influencers mean subscribers. The American company wants to seduce those who still attract visitors to its platform and to distinguish itself from TikTok considered as a childish entertainment application by its detractors.

The American giant also intends to improve the revenues of the latter and distinguish itself even more from its Chinese rival who neglects the influencers who make the popularity of the platform in Africa.

Meta also encourages content creators to adopt responsible influencer practices and works closely with local authorities to fight against abuse on its platforms. However, despite these efforts, the rapid growth of the Chinese app raises concerns for Meta.

To maintain its dominant position in Africa, Meta faces several challenges, including constant innovation and investment in local initiatives to meet the needs and expectations of African users.

Competing with TikTok will require sustained efforts and continued investments for Meta to maintain its presence on the African continent.

Swiss influencer floods Africa with pro-Russian propaganda

“Free Africa or death! We will win”, says Nathalie Yamb, 54, in her videos broadcast on the social networks of the American firm Meta. This Swiss-Cameroonian is one of the most followed influencers in French-speaking Africa.

Born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, she has been attracting the attention of Washington and Paris for a few months. Her content is indeed getting closer and closer to pro-Russian propaganda.

Its speech is chilling. She calls the Russian invasion a “NATO-Russia war”, triggered by “the repeated aggression of the Americans and Europeans […] against the Russian people”. In May 2022, she also called the Ukrainians “gangrenous with neo-Nazis”. Two false statements.

Finally, just this week she praised “the inevitable death of Western hegemony” on a Moscow stage.

According to information from the FLA, France has “formally intervened with Bern to express its concern about her militancy”. This does not prevent her from continuing her propaganda from Switzerland. She now lives in Zug. After having been expelled from Ivory Coast in 2020, she affirms however that she has “no intention at all to stay in our country”. She co-founded an opposition party there in 2011.

Indeed, it is said to have links with the Afric project, developed by Wagner‘s boss, Evgeny Prigozhin. What is its objective? It can be found in the Power Point presentation of a Wagner agent seized in Libya: the promotion of the Russian agenda under the cover of a network of influencers. The funds for the project would come from “anonymous sources via cryptocurrencies.”

The US State Department thus describes her as “a key link” in Wagner’s boss’s network and reportedly warned about the influencer’s speeches in November 2022.

Facebook’s misadventures in Africa.

South Africa: On the run for a year, “the Facebook rapist” finally returned to prison

He had escaped by leaving a burnt corpse in his cell to make believe his own death. The South African murderer and rapist Thabo Bester was caught and put back in prison last Thursday. But the rocky case remains an embarrassment for the authorities.

Why did it take prison services several hours to respond on the day of the escape? Why didn’t the police have the rapist’s DNA when they identified the charred remains? And finally, why wasn’t the public informed that a serial criminal was on the loose?

In May 2022, a charred male body was found in Thabo Bester’s cell in Bloemfontein. Nicknamed the “Facebook Rapist” because he lured most of his victims by posing as a model recruiter, he had been sentenced in 2012 to life in prison for murder and rape.

The burned body is not his

At first, prison authorities believe he set himself on fire. In reality, the thirty-year-old prisoner escaped under circumstances that remain unclear. At the end of March, almost a year after the escape, the police revealed that according to DNA tests, the body in his cell was not his.

On Saturday, the South African government announced that the fugitive had been arrested in the Arusha region of Tanzania, near the Kenyan border, as he tried to leave the country with his South African partner and a Mozambican accomplice.

The story of this man has put a black mark on the reputation of Facebook in South Africa.

Kenyan justice stands up to Facebook

Facebook’s misadventures in Africa

Facebook’s misadventures in Africa: The East African judiciary is standing up to US tech giant Meta, owner of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. The company is in the dock this month in Kenya in three legal actions.

At the heart of the disputes: the largest content moderation office of Facebook in Africa, based in the capital Nairobi. The team of 260 regulators, hired by the American subcontractor Sama, covers ten languages (including English, Swahili and Amharic, among the most spoken in Africa) and an estimated population of 500 million people.

In a decision handed down on Monday, February 6, Kenyan judge Jacob Gakeri dismissed Facebook’s parent company, Meta, which was seeking to have a lawsuit filed by a former employee of its subcontractor Samasource Ltd. in the capital Nairobi dismissed.

The complaint by Daniel Motaung, a former local Facebook moderator, concerns working conditions that he describes as inhumane, even forced labor. He mentions unreasonable working hours, random remuneration, lack of right to union representation, but also the alleged endangerment of the mental health of workers, through traumatic exposure to content ranging from rape to beheadings and other tortures.

Mark Zuckerberg’s company argued that the employer in charge of assessing the publications was only a local subcontractor, which could answer to a Kenyan court in charge of labor market relations, unlike the American group, which, according to Meta, is outside the jurisdiction of Kenya, where it is not formally established. As a result of the judge’s ruling, Meta Platforms and its subsidiary Meta Platforms Ireland will be considered “full parties” to the case, which is scheduled to go to trial on March 8.

Algorithmic moderation

Meta is regularly accused of neglecting the human moderation of publications, using algorithms that do not filter hateful content enough. Less outdated in Africa than elsewhere, Facebook would react particularly slowly to the continent’s crises, especially in Ethiopia.

In addition to the procedure initiated by Daniel Motaung, Meta is the subject of a complaint from a Kenyan NGO and two Ethiopians, still before the Kenyan justice system. The plaintiffs allege that inflammatory speech was not only validated but encouraged on Facebook in the context of the deadly conflict in Tigray. Like the Rohingya refugees, in 2021 they are calling for the creation of a fund – this time of $1.6 billion – for the victims of hateful content.

Quest for buzz for monetized audience? Summoned to court this time, in East Africa, Facebook could no longer take refuge in the virtuality of metavers!

Africa stands in solidarity with victims of human rights abuses in France

For years, France has been making setbacks in the area of human rights. From the yellow vests (2017) to the current protests against the pension law, demonstrators in the country are subjected to sordid police violence. Africa stands in solidarity with victims of human rights abuses in France:

Demonstrations: international alerts to police violence in France

“Law enforcement officials must facilitate them and avoid any excessive use of force”, the United Nations special rapporteur for freedom of association

“I am following the ongoing demonstrations very closely and recall that peaceful demonstrations are a fundamental right that the authorities must guarantee and protect. Law enforcement officials must facilitate them and avoid any excessive use of force”. The sentence refers to the situation in France, as the mobilizations against the pension reform continue in late March.

It was not written by an elected member of the France insoumise, but by the United Nations special rapporteur for freedom of association, Clément Voule.

“Violent incidents have taken place”, Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights

From demonstration to demonstration, the response of the French police also worries international human rights institutions and NGOs outside our borders. In the context of the social movement against the pension reform in France, the freedoms of expression and assembly are being exercised in worrying conditions,” said the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, on March 24. It is the responsibility of the authorities to allow the full enjoyment of these freedoms, protecting peaceful demonstrators and journalists covering these protests from police violence and from violent individuals operating within or on the margins of the protests.”

The commissioner also notes, “violent incidents have taken place, some of which have targeted law enforcement.” However, she adds, “the sporadic violence of some demonstrators cannot justify the excessive use of force by state agents.” Dunja Mijatović further recalls, “the first obligation of all member states is to protect people under their jurisdiction and their human rights.”

“The excessive use of force by the police during demonstrations is not new in France”, Human Rights Watch

“The excessive use of force by the police during demonstrations is not new in France,” notes researcher at the NGO Human Rights Watch Eva Cossé. Already in December 2018, this NGO had documented injuries caused by police weapons during the Yellow Vests mobilizations and student protests, “including people whose limbs were burned or mutilated by the alleged use of flash tear gas grenades.”

“We had also identified cases of people injured by rubber bullets, as well as disproportionate use of tear gas and disencryption grenades,” adds the head of the NGO.

“States are obliged to refrain from the arbitrary use of force in the context of law enforcement operations”, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

Given the situation in France, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) also insisted on recalling that States “are obliged to refrain from the arbitrary use of force in the context of law enforcement operations. They may only do so as a last resort. Even then, it must be done in a proportionate manner, with the objective of maintaining public order and security.”

Alice Mogwe, President of the FIDH appealed to French leaders, “The French government, which all too rarely loses an opportunity to give lessons in democracy and respect for rights to the rest of the world, should think about being irreproachable on this point, as on that of police violence, which is perfectly scandalous.”

France, a country of backwardness of human rights?

In the context of the “yellow vests” protests, (2018/2019), Amnesty International had recorded several potential abuses by the new legislations in France, making the exercise of rights and freedoms dangerous.

In particular, Amnesty International had described the law on the attestation as “speculative”. “Under French law, any public gathering likely to disturb public order is punishable: this is the offence of assembly (Article 431-1 Penal Code). The authorities can therefore prosecute demonstrators if they have the impression that they intend to disturb public order. The mere risk is therefore penalized,” the NGO wrote.

“Thus, demonstrations have been considered as assemblies and ordered to disperse simply because they were not declared. Participants have been prosecuted for assembling peacefully and, in some cases, not even hearing the summons. Under international law, failure to notify the authorities of a demonstration does not make a gathering illegal. And it is accepted that the authorities must tolerate a certain amount of disorder to allow the exercise of freedom of expression (the obstruction of traffic, for example).

In 2019, forty-two people were convicted of organizing an undeclared demonstration, seven times more than the previous year (only six people were convicted), and 244 people were convicted of assembling. In 2016, at the time of the mobilizations against the labor law, only fifty-four people had been convicted for this offense.”

Africa stands in solidarity with victims of human rights abuses in France

Africa stands in solidarity with victims of human rights abuses in France. “Even though we witness abuses of rights and freedoms in France, especially against peaceful demonstrators, these facts are very little documented. Worse, the press ignores them. If this had happened in Africa, the media would have made the front pages,” said Mahmadou Keita, a human rights defender from Mali, contacted by FLA.

Aminata Maiga, of the Burkinabe NGO Rights Now, adds: “The French like to boast that they are in the land of human rights. Today they are victims of serious violations of these rights, and this since 2017 with the yellow vests. We stand in solidarity with the French people!”

For his part, Jeff Osayande, from the Department of Justice in Nigeria, he believes, after the “duty of solidarity with the victims of abuses in France”, that “this country is in decline on subject”. “The images are shocking. We see a violent police repression. It is worthy of the worst dictatorship!” he adds.

Africa stands in solidarity with victims of human rights abuses in France

Several human rights defenders and NGOs in Africa have expressed their solidarity with the victims of human rights abuses in France.

Artificial Intelligence: African Perspectives

Africa has an undeniable technological gap, of course. But it is strong to note that many African countries have strategies in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and encourage innovative companies in the sector. The ambition to catch up with developed countries is driving several African pioneers such as South Africa, Kenya or Morocco. These ambitions cannot overshadow the ethical considerations of AI. Artificial Intelligence: African Perspectives.

Challenges to overcome

“Africa faces many challenges in areas where AI could be beneficial, perhaps even a little more than elsewhere,” said Moustapha Cissé, Director of Google’s Research Center in Accra.

As early as 2014, heads of state from 32 countries created the Smart Africa Alliance there to determine where to focus and stimulate investment. Then, the prestigious African Institute of Mathematical Sciences launched a master’s degree in artificial intelligence, sponsored by Facebook and Google. In Lagos, the Data Science Nigeria Center aims to train one million Nigerians in data science by 2027 and create a thriving ecosystem to make the country an ideal partner internationally. In the far west, young people have launched the Senegal Institute of Algorithms, as well as the GalsenAI space, to bring together massive data enthusiasts. And these are just a few examples!

Africa is lagging behind in the field of AI. More African countries need to join the likes of Kenya, Morocco and Tunisia in putting in place national AI policies to coordinate national efforts to develop artificial intelligence.

Currently, electricity supply and internet access in Africa are non-existent for large segments of the population, or insufficiently provided where they exist. Without access to basic infrastructure, such as electricity and broadband, the development of the 4th Industrial Revolution in Africa will be hampered.

However, with continued investment in these sectors, as well as new technologies such as AI, Africa could just as easily turn a corner and begin a new chapter of development that it has never before experienced.

African countries best prepared to adopt artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence – African Perspectives: The “Government AI Readiness Index 2022” ranks 181 countries based on 39 indicators across three main pillars: “Government”; “Technology Sector” and “Data & Infrastructure”.

Egypt (ranked 65th globally) is ranked second in Africa, ahead of South Africa, Tunisia, Morocco, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles and Nigeria. Botswana closes the African Top 10 (see the full ranking of the 52 African countries surveyed below).

Mauritius and Egypt owe their rankings to their high scores in the “Government” pillar, which includes criteria such as the existence of a national vision for AI, the development of online services, the existence of data protection and privacy laws, and the implementation of cyber security strategies.

South Africa, Tunisia and Morocco, Kenya, Seychelles, Botswana and Nigeria, meanwhile, achieve their highest scores in the “Data & Infrastructure” pillar, which encompasses, among other criteria, the state of telecommunications infrastructure, the number of cloud service providers, the quality of broadband Internet access, the cost of accessing the Internet and the availability of open government data.

Ranking of African countries best prepared to adopt artificial intelligence

1- Mauritius (57th globally)

2-Egypt (65th)

3-South Africa (68th)

4- Tunisia (70th)

5-Morocco (87th)

6-Kenya (90th)

7-Rwanda (93rd)

8-Seychelles (94th)

9-Nigeria (97th)

10-Botswana (98th)

11-Ghana (104th)

12-Benin (108th)

13-Algeria (111th)

14-Namibia (115th)

15-Senegal (116th)

16-Cape Verde (118th)

17-Uganda (123rd)

18-Tanzania (125th)

19-Gabon (127th)

20-Côte d’Ivoire (136th)

21-Cameroon (138th)

22-Djibouti (144th)

23-Togo (145th)

24-Zambia (146th)

25-Zimbabwe (148th)

26-Libya (149th)

27-Mauritania (150th)

28-Madagascar (152nd)

29-Gambia (153rd)

30-Guinea (155th)

31-Sao Tome and Principe (156th)

32-Mali (157th)

33-Republic of Congo (158th)

34-Burkina Faso (159th)

35-Lesotho (160th)

36-Eswatini (161st)

37-Ethiopia (162nd)

38-Angola (163rd)

39-Sierra Leone (164th)

40-Malawi (165th)

41-Comoros (166th)

42-Niger (167th)

43-Guinea-Bissau (168th)

44-Sudan (169th)

45-Mozambique (170th)

46-Liberia (171st)

47-Chad (172nd)

48-Burundi (173rd)

49-RD Congo (174th)

50-Eritrea (175th)

51-Central Africa (176th)

52-South Sudan (177th)

No African country, however, scores well (50 points or more on a scale of 100) in the “Technology Sector” pillar, which includes criteria such as the number of unicorns, government spending on software, the number of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) graduates, spending on research and development, the level of digital skills, and the quality of higher education in engineering and technology. Artificial Intelligence: African Perspectives:

These successful African AIs

Obviously, there are hundreds of examples of AI centers of excellence in Africa. We cite here some examples of pioneers on the continent:


Indaba is a community of more than 400 African researchers in artificial intelligence that meets every year to work on common projects. Among other things, it is working on the development of an alternative language model to the one that led to the birth of the ChatGPT conversational robot. Based on the 2,000 languages of the continent, it could be richer than its American equivalent.

Among Indaba’s projects is Masakhane (“we build together” in Zulu), the creation of an open source language model comparable to the one that makes ChatGPT work. Masakhane’s ambition is to allow the automatic translation of more than 2,000 African languages such as Pidgin, spoken in Nigeria, Logba in Togo or Poko in Cameroon. These languages all have their own particularities and should allow the development of computer programs that are both richer and more refined.

Oujda’s UMP, award for the best AI university in Africa

This award recognizes the overall efforts of the Oujda UMP in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Africa.  The University is home to the AI House (Maison de l’IA): The MIA-UMPO-Morocco wishes to create a real dynamic of acculturation to AI through public experiments but also through the promotion of applied research with a convincing societal and economic impact.

The MIA-UMPO-Maroc is composed of : Ethical Watch Observatory; Exhibition hall; ; Coworking space; Experimentation laboratory.

The Nigerian artist who reinvents an elegant old age through AI

Artwork generated by artificial intelligence (AI) has become a source of controversy, but Nigerian filmmaker and artist Malik Afegbua makes the case that it can inspire us to create a better real world – and a more elegant one for the seniors.

He knew he had created something special after posting them on social media. Especially after they caught the eye of the Oscar-winning costume designer behind the Black Panther films, Ruth Carter. “This is so awesome!!!” she wrote on Instagram.

AI could generate 1,417 billion euros in Africa by 2030

Artificial Intelligence: African Perspectives

In concrete terms, how is AI being deployed in Africa? The banking world is among the first to adopt AI. From East to West, financial institutions are rushing to integrate AI into their credit granting or customer service systems.

If the competition is so tough and AI projects are jostling each other on the continent, it is because with the pandemic, African countries have finally understood that they have their role to play in the fourth industrial revolution – and benefits to gain. Admittedly, compared to the 14.8 trillion euros that AI could generate in the world by 2030, according to figures from the PwC firm, the 1,417 billion euros that would accrue to Africa, according to another report, seem derisory. But they still represent 50% of the continent’s current GDP!

“The free flow of data across various sectors as well as large companies coming to Africa are supporting the growth of AI startups and also helping governments understand the value of investing in AI,” enthuses John Kamara, co-founder of Kenyan health AI startup Aice & Afyarekod.

However, for Africa to remain competitive, it will be necessary to ensure two important things: consolidate investments in AI, which currently benefit 82% of seed-stage startups, and “avoid the brain drain,” warns Nick Bradshaw, CEO of AI Media Group. In short, the next InstaDeep should not move to London, Europe or Silicon Valley.

Ethical challenge of AI in Africa

The fairness of intelligent systems relies heavily on the data with which they have been trained. “The data available in Africa is largely based on human experience,” says one expert. As a result, the services are biased. But this isn’t just an AI problem: it stems from deep structural problems.” It is to counter this trend that African AI experts have committed to including gender and race in all its work. There are many ethical issues of AI in Africa.

Moreover, they are also working to decolonize AI. “We want to identify, in the AI world, the dynamics inherited from colonialism, in order to defuse them.

Importing technologies that are mismatched to local contexts is a problem, she says. For example, facial recognition systems “trained” outside the continent are prone to errors. This is particularly worrisome when they are used for police surveillance, as in Johannesburg, where more than 5,000 AI-assisted cameras from Danish company iSentry & Milestone record the movements of passersby.

Africa is also targeted by companies for the “beta testing” of their innovations. Populations that are not always in a position to give free and informed consent are used as guinea pigs. The psychological and ideological profiling company Cambridge Analytica tested its capacity for political influence in Nigeria and Kenya before tackling the election of Donald Trump in the United States.

Then there are the abuses on the data side. In Kenya, credit apps are lending money at high interest rates without assessing borrowers’ creditworthiness, and are massively harvesting borrowers’ data, such as location, text messages, contacts and call history…

Global Responsible AI Index

To counteract these abuses, Nokuthula Olorunju, a South African member of the Observatory, is working on the governance of AI and the legal framework of cyberspace. For her, framing technologies is a collaborative bottom-up approach. “We reach out to people to listen to their experiences and find out what technology and their data mean to them. From there, we have a better understanding of their perceptions and realities, to build what to protect them with.”

To pinpoint what constitutes ethical AI in each country, local and an international team set out to create the Global Responsible AI Index. This tool will allow countries to be compared based on globally established criteria, not just inherited from northern states. This tool is being developed from the South, and especially from the African continent,” explains Rachel Adams proudly. It will be inspired by regional conceptions of human rights, in the hope of being as inclusive as possible.

The ambition of the index is to help each citizen become aware of what is at stake in his or her society. For despite the caveats raised by the researchers, AI innovations are part of the future and represent valuable opportunities. Artificial Intelligence: African Perspectives!

The giant gas pipeline is an “African dream” between Morocco and Nigeria

Morocco and Nigeria announced the huge project in 2016 to connect Nigeria’s natural gas wells to Morocco through several countries, during the visit of King Mohammed VI of Morocco to Nigeria, where the project was initialed, and in 2018 the project entered a new phase with the signing of bilateral cooperation agreements, followed by another phase in 2022. The giant gas pipeline is an “African dream” between Morocco and Nigeria:

The titanic project of West and North Africa

Does morocco have oil and gas? The giant gas pipeline is an “African dream” between Morocco and Nigeria: Announced several months ago, this Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline project will run along the West African coast from Nigeria, through Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania to end in Morocco.

In the long term, said the statement, it will be connected to the Maghreb Europe Pipeline (abandoned by Algeria since November 2021) and the European gas network. It will also supply the landlocked states of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

The impact of this project is very important because it will ensure the supply of electricity to the West African area, and in the long term the export of natural gas as fuel in Europe.

The project is 6,000 km long and is expected to cost $25 billion. Several stakeholders are expected to provide the financing.

OPEC’s support for the Moroccan-Nigerian pipeline is also thought to be an indication of at least Gulf support and backing. Last April, the project received funding from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ International Development Fund in the amount of $14 million to finance the second part of the pre-final engineering studies that determined the map and route of the pipeline’s overland passage (and offshore), and to study the potential environmental, natural, social and economic implications on aquatic populations and organisms. The project had previously received funding from the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah for the Mediterranean and Spain.

Nigeria, Morocco and ECOWAS agree to build a 6000 km gas pipeline

The Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline mega-project, which will cross 15 West African countries, is beginning to take shape.

A Memorandum of Understanding confirming the realization of this project was signed on September 15 in Rabat.

The signing ceremony was attended by the representative of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Sédiko Douka, the Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitization of Nigeria, Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari, the CEO of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited “NNPC” and the Director General of the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) of Morocco, Amina Benkhadra.

According to a joint statement issued at the end of the signing ceremony, this Memorandum of Understanding “confirms the commitment of ECOWAS and all the countries crossed by the pipeline to contribute to the feasibility, technical studies, mobilization of resources and implementation of this important project, which, once completed, will provide gas to all West African countries and will also allow a new export route to Europe.

“This strategic project will contribute to the improvement of the standard of living of the populations, the integration of the economies of the region, the mitigation of desertification through a sustainable and reliable gas supply through the reduction or elimination of gas flaring among other effects,” said the same source. The giant gas pipeline is an “African dream” between Morocco and Nigeria.

Nigeria’s President calls on UK and EU countries to invest in Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project to Europe.

In an interview with Bloomberg, the Nigerian president stressed the need for a long-term partnership between Nigeria and the UK and the European Union on green energy policy.

“We need a long-term partnership, not inconsistencies and contradictions in the UK and EU green energy policy,” he said.

“For a change, the UK and EU countries should thus invest in our pipeline project to bring Nigerian gas – the largest reserves in Africa – via Morocco, to Europe.”

Muhammadu Buhari expressed the hope that, once completed, the Moroccan-Nigeria the Moroccan-Nigerian pipeline project would help solve the gas gas supply crisis in Europe. He also recalled that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) had concluded (in early June) (early June), in record time, an agreement with the Economic Community of Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for the construction of the construction of the said pipeline.

This project, which seemed to some to be pharaonic and unrealistic, has never been so close to realization. This is evidenced by progress on the technical aspects, but also the political mobilization of Morocco and Nigeria.

For beyond its purely energy dimension, it is shown as a model of what could be a successful African economic integration.

From Rabat, on June 20, the President of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) Uche Orgi said that “this dream (gas pipeline), which is gradually becoming a reality, is an excellent example of what African countries must do together to prepare for a African countries must accomplish together to prepare a better future for their future for their populations”.

Nigerians call on new president to speed up gas pipeline with Morocco

At a time when the Nigerian-Moroccan gas pipeline project is progressing at a steady pace to supply Europe with gas, several Nigerian engineers have called on the new president to accelerate the pace of the project, “given its economic benefits” to the citizens.

The Nigerian engineer, specializing in energy and minerals, Sendai Adebayo Babalola, expressed, in comments reported by the Nigerian newspaper “The New Telegraph”, his hope to achieve a comprehensive development of the country through the pipeline, stressing that “the federal government must work to protect this project to achieve African integration.

On his part, the Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), Malam Milli Kyari, said the project will create wealth and improve the standard of living, and explained that it aims to liquefy natural gas resources in Nigeria, thus generating additional revenue for the country, diversifying the methods of exporting gas and eliminating Burn it.

The project which goes beyond gas supply

According to the same spokesman, the relentless and motivating efforts of the Nigerian government and the Kingdom of Morocco resulted in the signing of the MoU, which the federal government described as “the most important”, saying it “will benefit the country in terms of wealth and job creation.

Mallam Milli Kyari continued that the project will benefit the participating countries, adding, “Our country will benefit immeasurably from the implementation of the project which goes beyond gas supply to revitalize the countries along the way. Some of the benefits include wealth creation, improved living standards, integration of economies in the region, mitigation of desertification and other benefits that will come from the reduction of carbon emissions.

In the same context, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timiber Silva, said that Russia has expressed interest in investing in the project, adding that “there are many other players who are also interested in doing so,” and that “the pipeline will carry Nigerian gas through many countries in Africa,” and also to the far reaches of the African continent, where the country can access the European market.

The giant gas pipeline is an “African dream” between Morocco and Nigeria

Morocco and Nigeria announced the huge project in 2016 to connect Nigeria’s natural gas wells to Morocco through several countries, during the visit of King Mohammed VI of Morocco to Nigeria, where the project was initialed, and in 2018 the project entered a new phase with the signing of bilateral cooperation agreements, followed by another phase in 2022.

Many African countries with primary resources such as energy and minerals suffer from low incomes and lagging development, due to dependence on exports of raw materials without much added value, which is the economic school established by the former colonizer, preventing them from having diversified economies. This prevents them from having diversified economies, like their European counterparts with natural resources, weak for example due to the lack of industrialization. This explains its concentration on a single source of national income, and is one of the causes of social backwardness and weak economic governance, which increases external dependence, in addition to exploiting part of the energy revenues to buy weapons, in the border wars left by colonialism.

British and American companies, including Shell and Chevron, years ago extended a gas pipeline from Nigeria to neighbouring countries such as Benin, Togo and Ghana, called the West African Gas Pipeline, in an effort to establish a regional gas market. However, the lack of infrastructure needed for international trade, such as ports, and the weakness of the region’s economies, prevented the development of the project, which was joined by four countries.

ECOWAS integration

Currently, the countries of the “Economic Community of West Africa” found in the pipeline between Nigeria and Morocco a huge opportunity to develop the gas pipeline project of old Africa, and integrate them together in a huge pipeline, which can transport 5 trillion cubic meters of gas stored in this pipeline regions of the jungles of Africa.

Although each side has its own economic and geostrategic calculations, the commercial and development benefits seem great for the entire region of West Atlantic Africa, which suffers from a severe shortage of electricity, which hinders the economic development of these countries, despite the natural potential and raw materials that abound.

So far, 13 countries of North and West Atlantic Africa have committed to extend this pipeline, which will be the largest gas carrier under the sea, with a depth of hundreds of meters in the Atlantic Ocean, to the Mediterranean Sea and Spain.

Europe’s future needs and rivalry in North Africa

But questions are emerging at a time when Brussels says it wants to free itself from fossil fuels in the medium term. “We have to count the cost when it (the pipeline) is finished. Will we still want to use gas, methane?”, asked recently in Rabat the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell, stressing that Morocco has a strong potential in clean energy such as hydrogen, wind and solar.

The acceleration of cooperation between Rabat and Abuja coincides with the re-launch of the trans-Saharan gas pipeline (TSGP) to connect Nigeria to Algeria via Niger, at an estimated cost of between 12 and 18 billion euros. Last July, Algiers, Abuja and Niamey signed a memorandum of understanding to materialize this 4,128 km long gas pipeline, without setting a start-up date.

Launched in 2009, the project also aims to bring Nigerian gas to the European continent. Once it arrives in Algeria, it should be shipped there, in particular via the Transmed pipeline, which already links the Algerian fields to Italy via Tunisia. “The technical studies are underway,” said Algerian Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab in Algiers on 18 February.

New reality in Europe

Unlike before the crisis in Ukraine, the European Union is not harmonious in the energy position, as each country seeks an individual solution to its problems. Spain appeared among the first Europeans interested in the project, because the pipeline will reach its coast in any case, and this will give it European supremacy, similar to what happens in the field of liquefied gas, which is shipped from the U.S., the Gulf countries and Nigeria, and then pumped back into the European pipeline, or the Maghreb-Europe Gas Pipeline to Morocco.

Since the outbreak of the war, Madrid has become more present in the supply of gas to Europe to face the cold winter, and this is part of its differences with Algeria, which preferred to go east and cooperate with the Italian company “Eni”. Spain has preferred to support politically the position of Morocco in the desert, and economically in the desert.