• South Africa: 550 arrests in protests against Ramaphosa

    South Africa: 550 arrests in protests against Ramaphosa: More than 550 people were arrested Monday in South Africa, according to authorities, during protests called by a radical left-wing party that raised fears of a repeat of the deadly 2021 riots.

    South Africa: 550 arrests in protests against Ramaphosa

    South Africa: 550 arrests in protests against Ramaphosa: Security forces arrested “more than 550 protesters for, among other things, street violence, intimidation, damage, theft and attempted looting,” they said in a statement Tuesday.

    The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, led by the willingly defiant Julius Malema, had urged South Africans to “revolutionize” and blockade the country on Monday to demand the resignation of President Cyril Ramaphosa. He considers him responsible for the endemic unemployment (32.9%) that is crippling the economy, the ever-increasing inequalities and the serious electricity crisis that poisons the daily life of 60 million South Africans with recurrent power cuts.

    But the call had revived memories of the wave of riots and looting that left more than 350 people dead in July 2021. The violence, the worst since the end of apartheid, was initially sparked by the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma, but was also a sign of a social and economic climate that was still at half-mast.

    President Ramaphosa promised last week to prevent “anarchy. The police were on “maximum mobilization” throughout the country, backed by nearly 3,500 soldiers. Private security companies, which are numerous in the high-crime country, lent a hand and acted as “force multipliers on the ground.

    “The country has not been brought to a standstill,” said presidential spokesman Vincent Magwenya the day before.

  • Five of the ten countries in the world most affected by terrorism are African

    Burkina Faso was the first country in Africa and the second country in the world most affected by terrorism in 2022 with 310 terrorist incidents resulting in 1,135 deaths and 496 injuries. This is according to the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2023, a report published by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). Five of the ten countries in the world most affected by terrorism are African.

    Five of the ten countries in the world most affected by terrorism are African

    Burkina Faso is the 2nd most affected country in the world

    With a score of 8,564, Burkina Faso is the second most affected country in the world in 2022, just behind Afghanistan, ranked first since 2019. The country recorded 310 terrorist incidents in 2022 versus 224 in 2021.

    Five of the ten countries in the world most affected by terrorism are African: Somalia, Mali, and Syria occupy the 3rd, 4th, and 5th most affected countries by terrorism, respectively. In the second half of the top 10 are Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Burma and Niger, according to the document relayed by Burkinabe media. According to the Global Terrorism Index, however, terrorist attacks worldwide decreased in 2022 for the first time since 2019, with a 28% decrease compared to 2021. They went from 5463 to 3955.

    Most terrorist attacks are perpetrated by the Islamic State, the Shebabs, the Islamic and Muslim Support Group, and the Baluchistan Liberation Front in West Pakistan.

    The total number of deaths due to terrorism worldwide also dropped by nearly 9% from 7328 to 6701 deaths in 2021. However, in Burkina Faso, 1135 deaths were recorded, a 50% increase in deaths compared to 2021, according to the same source.

    Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2023

    Worrying rise in Benin’s position

    According to the report, the Sahel is the region of the world most affected by terrorism, with a notable deterioration in 2022 despite improvements in Nigeria and Niger. Burkina Faso and Mali experienced substantial increases in terrorism-related deaths, by 50 and 56 percent respectively, to 1,135 and 944 deaths respectively. Neighboring Sahelian countries also experienced terrorist activity in 2022, with Benin and Togo recording more than ten deaths for the first time.

    “JNIM (Islamic and Muslim Support Group) continues its campaign to expand its activities outside the Sahel, carrying out attacks in Benin and Togo,” the report said, noting that Benin moved up 23 places from 53rd in 2021 to 28th in 2022.

  • Vietnam: 7 tons of ivory seized in a container supposedly carrying peanuts

    On Monday, Vietnamese authorities announced that they had seized seven tons of ivory taken from elephants in Angola. These were found by customs in the northern port of Haiphong in a container supposedly carrying peanuts, according to the official bill.

    Vietnam: 7 tons of ivory seized in a container supposedly carrying peanuts

    Vietnam: 7 tons of ivory seized in a container supposedly carrying peanuts

    Vietnamese authorities announced Monday that they had seized seven tons of ivory taken from elephants in Angola, the largest such shipment intercepted in recent years. The ivory was found by customs in the northern port of Haiphong in a container supposedly carrying peanuts, according to the official log.

    Photos released by the customs department showed hundreds of long ivory tusks stacked in front of an open container.

    The shipment was sent to Vietnam via Singapore, authorities said.

    Ivory trade banned since 1992

    Elephant tusks and other body parts are prized as talismans and used in traditional medicine in some parts of Asia, although there is no scientific evidence of such medicinal properties. Vietnam officially banned the ivory trade in 1992, but the country remains a hub for illegal wildlife transport in Asia.

    More than 60 tons of ivory, pangolin scales and rhino horns have been seized at Vietnamese seaports since 2018, according to a 2021 report by Education for Nature Vietnam, a wildlife protection NGO.

  • International competition for Africa one year after the Russian-Ukrainian war

    International competition for Africa one year after the Russian-Ukrainian war

    The african continent and its various countries received special attention from international powers following the outbreak of the russian-ukrainian war, as it appeared that international powers were seeking to transfer some of their struggle to control the international system to the african continent, In addition to the attempts of these powers to compensate for the losses they suffered as a result of the Russian-Ukrainian war and the sanctions imposed on Russia, particularly in economic terms, these powers envisaged a rapprochement with the countries of the continent as one of the tools of victory in this conflict. International competition for Africa one year after the Russian-Ukrainian war:

    One year after the Russian-Ukrainian war, the question arises as to the dimensions of international competition on the continent: whether the continent is still elevated among the priorities of international powers in achieving their goals related to political and resource domination, and how these powers see the countries of the continent in the final stage, and the tools and issues that these forces rely on to foster rapprochement with the countries of the continent, and to what extent these tools reflect the interests of these forces.

    Many tools and issues

    International competition for Africa one year after the Russian-Ukrainian war: The great powers have relied in their movements on the African continent to achieve their interests after the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war on many tools, the most important of which are:

    1- Simultaneous visits and economic promises

    With the acceleration of events following the outbreak of the war, the international powers tended to make more efforts to get closer to the countries of the African continent, and officials in the United States of America, France, Russia and Germany began to make visits to African countries during the months of July and August 2022. And that ended. In 2022, the U.S.-Africa summit will be held, so China’s new Foreign Minister Chen Gang, followed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, will begin African tours in December 2022.


    China’s new foreign minister, Chen Gang, followed a 33-year-old tradition of making Africa the first official visit of the new year. His visit to five African countries – Ethiopia, Gabon, Benin, Angola and Egypt – was an opportunity to get to know the continent at a time when Chinese lending to Africa is declining and great power competition is intensifying. Beijing’s new foreign policy team is quick to assert that China does not see Africa as an arena for competition with great powers, but as a “great stage for international cooperation.” The visit also follows crucial developments such as the successful conclusion of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October 2022; and the end of the eighth session of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum held in Dakar in November 2022, during which the Dakar Action Plan (2022-2024) was adopted.

    Interestingly, in recent times, speculation has spread about the possibility of reducing Chinese lending for large infrastructure projects on the continent, as the economic fallout from the Corona epidemic and the Russian-Ukrainian war has undermined the ability of African countries to service their sovereign debts. Indeed, Beijing is struggling to get its money back while maintaining its image as a “supporter” of developing countries.

    But the reality seems completely different. January 2023 saw the inauguration of several Sino-African cooperation projects by some African leaders in their countries. In Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the construction of the new Lekki deepwater port in Lagos. The port is now the largest in West Africa. A 27-kilometer light rail system – the Blue Line – financed and built by China, was also inaugurated this month.

    In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni commissioned the Kingfisher oil drilling platform on Lake Albert, which should help Uganda produce more crude oil. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a new center for Central African culture and arts is currently under construction in Kinshasa[1].


    On the other hand, u.s. officials were keen to emphasize the economic stakes of rapprochement with the countries of the african continent, while their russian counterparts tended to stress the importance of military cooperation and arms agreements with the countries of the continent.

    Janet Yellen’s African tour, which included three countries: Senegal, Zambia and South Africa, was presented as an attempt to build trade and investment relationships with the continent, accompanied by discussions on sustainable energy initiatives, food security and debt relief. Yellen also noted that Africa “will shape the future of the global economy,” revealing the U.S. willingness to reinterest in expanding relations with countries on the continent with a population of 1.4 billion. He also said he discussed compliance with Russian sanctions in each of the first two countries.

    In South Africa, where the U.S. is the third-largest trading partner, Yellen pledged to increase trade and investment, and praised the country for its goal of addressing the current energy crisis and coal dependency through a “Just Energy Transition” partnership with the U.S.


    As for Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, he has visited South Africa, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Angola and Eritrea, and the veteran foreign minister’s latest trip was a visit to Mali, Mauritania and Sudan alongside Iraq, where the Russian Foreign Ministry The Minister returned to Africa for the second time in the same year in An attempt to present Russia as a partner in the development of Africa, especially in the security sector and energy.

    He also announced in South Africa a joint multilateral naval exercise between South Africa, Russia and China, called “Operation Mozi”, to be held from 17 to 27 February 2023 off the port of Durban. And the Russian foreign minister in Luanda announced a possible agreement to help Angola develop its nuclear energy program.

    2- Mutual accusations

    International competition for Africa one year after the Russian-Ukrainian war: Brooks Spector, deputy editor of the South African newspaper Daily Maverick and retired American diplomat, confirmed that the competition now on the African continent between Russia, the United States of America and China has become much clearer and much more important than it was a decade ago. For Russia, the issue is geopolitical and security, while for China the issue is economic and commercial[2].

    In October 2022, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas Greenfield accused Russia’s Wagner Group of exploiting natural resources in Africa and using the illegal gains from those resources to fund Russia’s war machine in Africa, the Middle East and Ukraine. 3].

    U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also criticized Beijing and Moscow during her recent trip to the continent, as her comments in Zambia about China being a “barrier” to restructuring the heavily indebted country’s debt angered Beijing. He also blamed Russia’s “brutal war” for raising energy prices and causing food insecurity in Africa, creating an unnecessary burden on the continent’s economy.

    The Chinese embassy in Zambia responded on January 25, 2023 to the U.S. Treasury Secretary’s remarks, and the statement from the Chinese embassy said that “the greatest contribution the United States of America can make to overseas debt problems is to operate within the framework of responsible monetary policies, deal with its own debt problem and stop blocking the active efforts of sovereign countries to solve their debt problems, while the United States of America is witnessing a battle between Republican lawmakers and President Joe Biden’s administration over raising the U.S. debt limit to allow more borrowing to stay the government running, while China has made some progress as co-chair of the creditors’ committee in Zambia, which is seeking a lasting solution.

    The statement added that “China looks forward to Washington playing a constructive role in this process, and that while the United States of America may one day solve its debt problem, it is not qualified to make baseless accusations against other countries motivated by selfish interests. .”

    3- Joint military cooperation and training

    International competition for Africa one year after the Russian-Ukrainian war: Russia was among the first international powers that sought to confirm its continued military cooperation with the countries of the African continent and its support for allied political regimes without regard to the standards of democracy and human rights, as it sought through this approach to circumvent the blockade imposed by Western countries after its invasion of Ukraine.

    Russia supplies nearly half of the military equipment in Africa, as Russia builds on its history of arming African countries during their liberation struggles in the 1950s and 1960s of the last century, and the Wagner Group also plays military and security roles in a number of African countries. countries, for example, when the United States of America withdrew The United States of America – alleging human rights violations – from the 2014 agreement to supply attack helicopters to Nigeria, the latter turned to Russia.

    However, African countries’ dependence on Russian weaponry puts their defense systems at risk in the aftermath of the Russian-Ukrainian war, as it is difficult to repair and maintain military equipment or provide spare parts and cooperate with Russian experts, especially as it increases the possibility of exposure to Western sanctions.

    Russian – Algerian – South African Axis

    Russia has also relied on joint exercises with African countries (Algeria and South Africa) as a kind of show of force and to gain support from allies on the continent, and this approach carries risks related to Russia’s difficulties in developing its military systems in light of the war, as well as its reliance on the use of Wagnerian mercenaries to implement its objectives and increase its influence over countries on the African continent.

    Algeria and Russia participated in joint military exercises three times after the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war, while Russian warships docked in Algerian waters to conduct a joint naval exercise in October 2022, while Algerian forces participated in the massive Russian military exercises “Vostok. ” in September 2022 as The only country in Africa. In November 2022, Algerian lands witnessed joint military maneuvers between the two countries in a desert region in northwest Algeria. With the participation of about 80 Russian special forces soldiers, the forces simulated the detection and elimination of terrorist groups during the exercises, as it was the first time soldiers from both countries trained together on Algerian soil[4]. South Africa also announced joint military exercises with Russia and China this month, coinciding with the anniversary of the outbreak of the war, which caused great concern in the United States.

    4- Africa’s representation in the Security Council and the G20

    African countries are seeking to achieve a major objective in promoting rapprochement with international powers, which is to achieve permanent representation in the Security Council that expresses their weight in international relations and looks after their interests (54 countries represent a quarter of the world’s population). In the aftermath of the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war, Western pledges were made to the countries of the continent to support Africa’s right to permanent representation on the UN Security Council. Both countries accuse Europe and the United States of obstructing them, which has led to a decrease in the legitimacy of the world system and opened the way to promote an alternative represented by the gathering of the “BRICS.

    At the US-Africa summit in December 2022, US President Joe Biden announced Washington’s support for permanent African representation in the Security Council, as well as for African membership in the G20 [5].

    Support for permanent African representation on the UN Security Council may become the real test of partnerships on the continent, casting a shadow over the Russia-Africa summit to be held in July 2023.

    The stakes of partnership with African countries

    International competition for Africa one year after the Russian-Ukrainian war: Despite the efforts of various international powers to integrate African countries into their alliances in the aftermath of the Russian-Ukrainian war, led by the United States of America, Russia and China, these powers ignore the African interests and the history of rapprochement and cooperation between the two parties, which poses challenges. Ideal for partnership and the realization of foreign interests on the African continent.

    On the one hand, African countries have not moved away from the climate of the Cold War and the conflict between the two superpowers that led to the destruction of countries and the spread of chaos in large parts of the continent. As a result, many African countries do not want to engage in the bargaining that the Russian-Ukrainian war is pushing them into, and African leaders justify their attempts to remain neutral in the war by referring to the devastation caused by the Cold War on their continent. However, the bid for G-20 membership and permanent representation on the Security Council indicates that the fierce international competition among the great powers is not now imposing negative repercussions only on Africa.

    United States of America’s position

    On the other hand, it seems that the United States of America has not succeeded in isolating Russia through rapprochement with the countries of the African continent, and the recent visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in December 2022 to four countries of the continent reflected that In fact, as much as President Joe Biden would like African countries to join the Western coalition to isolate Russia during the war, Russia is making offers to strengthen relations with some of the major countries of the continent. Instead of treating Russia as a “global pariah” as the U.S. would like, the leaders of South Africa, Eritrea, Angola and Eswatini welcomed Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister.

    On the other hand, Russian influence and African support for Russia’s international position are not without internal criticism: Popular trends have emerged in South Africa opposing Russian influence on the continent, for example, there is a trend that sees the rapprochement of South Africa under the rule of the National Congress Party with Russia Disagreements with Western countries At a time when South Africa cooperates with Western countries to deal with the problem of power outages and is experiencing a serious energy crisis, then the partnership with Russia in the aftermath of the war will impose a high diplomatic cost.

    Russian position

    In January 2023, the Foundation of the late South African Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu criticized the planned naval exercises between Russia, South Africa and China, calling them “shameful” and “tantamount to a declaration that South Africa will join the war.” against Ukraine.”

    The Democratic Alliance – the country’s main opposition party – also expressed opposition to the government’s neutral stance, calling on South Africa to stand with Kiev. “We are already involved in this war. Our government cannot be seen to be supporting Russian aggression,” party leader John Steinhausen told parliament in March 2022. He added: “Let’s put state before party politics and think about what this war will mean for us and how it will impact our economy. Steinhausen traveled to Ukraine in May 2022 on a fact-finding mission.


    International competition for Africa one year after the Russian-Ukrainian war: In the end, it can be said that one year after the Russian-Ukrainian war, the international powers are still trying to reach out to the countries of the continent and make up for their losses from the war by signing cooperation agreements in energy and weapons, and trying to attract more countries to one side rather than the other, as the losses are still ongoing. The war is draining a large part of the resources of the international powers at a time when these countries realize that Africa represents the future of the world. economically and that it will shape this future through the alliances of its countries at the international level.

    On the other hand, the Russian-Ukrainian war offers real opportunities for the countries of the African continent to highlight the role of the African continent as well as to strengthen its position and realize its interests, the most important of which is to obtain a seat or two in the Security Council and to join a number of major international organizations such as the Group of Twenty, because Africa has become an important part in the management of the international system, and it is a major partner for the various international powers in various issues.

    Author: Dr. Amira Mohamed Abdel Halim

    Expert on African affairs in the Africa Program of the International Studies Unit at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. – Editor-in-Chief of Regional Issues magazine.


    [1] ABHISHEK MISHRA, China, the US, and Russia go on a diplomatic charm offensive in Africa, FEB 01 2023, https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/china-the-us-and-russia-go-on-a-diplomatic-charm-offensive-in-africa/

    [2]Kate Bartlett, No Mention of Military Drills with Russia on Yellen’s South Africa Trip, January 27, 2023, https://www.voanews.com/a/no-mention-of-military-drills-with-russia-on-yellen-s-south-africa-trip-/6936743.html.

    [3]Michelle Nichols, U.S. accuses Russia of exploiting Africa resources to fund Ukraine war, October 7, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/us-accuses-russia-exploiting-africa-resources-fund-ukraine-war-2022-10-06/

    [4]Kate Hairsine , Russia pushes military diplomacy in Africa amid Ukraine war, November 17, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/russia-pushes-military-diplomacy-in-africa-amid-ukraine-war/a-63785349

    [5]Theodore Murphy, Russia under pressure: How Europe and the US are upping the ante in Africa, 30 January 2023, https://ecfr.eu/article/russia-under-pressure-how-europe-and-the-us-are-upping-the-ante-in-africa/

  • The Value of Youth to Africa

    The Value of Youth to Africa

    Africa is the youngest continent in the world. According to the CIA World Factbook, the ten countries with the lowest life expectancy are located on the same continent; the median age in Niger is 14.8 years and in Uganda, the second youngest country, it is 15.7 years. With the exception of island countries, such as the Seychelles, and North African countries such as Tunisia and Algeria, no African country, with the exception of South Africa, is among the 150 youngest countries in the world. The Value of Youth to Africa:

    Africa: the younguest continent

    Ambassador Mark Green, president of the American Wilson Center, says, “Africa…is the youngest continent in the world in a report released by the center. However, the average age of Africa’s leaders contrasts sharply with the average age of its citizens. The three leading candidates in the recent Nigerian presidential elections were 76, 70 and 61 years old. And the one who was declared the winner is 15 years older than the average age of his voters.

    In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni, who is 78 and has been in office since 1986, is about 63 years older than the average age of his voters. This large “age gap” is due to the fact that some people were old when they first ran for office, and current presidents simply choose to stay in office as long as their health permits – and in some cases, they stay on despite the expiration of their term in office.

    As Sudanese-born billionaire, businessman and philanthropist Mo Ibrahim puts it, “Political power rests in the hands of aging leaders who know little or care about the aspirations and fears of younger generations – and, unfortunately, even less about passing the reins of power to others.

    Political challenges

    Ambassador Green believes this is important because the age gap in Africa is likely to create political and other challenges that could affect the stability of some of its countries. The most important of these challenges is the growing pressure on leaders to find ways to meet the economic needs and aspirations of their young people in the years ahead.

    Several years ago, the World Economic Forum, the International Development Bank, and the World Bank issued a report estimating that Africa’s population would grow much faster than the jobs projected.

    The report projected that the number of working-age Africans would increase by 70 percent – or 450 million people – by 2035. On the other hand, without significant economic reforms – reforms that could cause economic and political problems in the short term – the number of employment opportunities is likely to be no more than 100 million.

    African youth as an opportunity

    For Ambassador Green, however, the continent’s youth represent an opportunity to realize a “demographic dividend“. The report notes that “Africa’s youth represent new ideas and aspirations that, if properly harnessed, could lead to a new economic opportunity; as the continent’s population continues to grow rapidly, it is imperative that African leaders listen to the needs of the new generation and prepare them to participate in the political process.

    Arguably, what Mo Ibrahim is saying is that today’s African leaders must empower young people to become leaders themselves. It is also an opportunity for the United States – and especially for American investors – to lend a hand.

    With the help of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a bilateral agency created by the U.S. Congress in 2004, is applying a new philosophy of foreign aid, and “Prosper Africa,” a U.S. government initiative that aims to help U.S. and African investors choose their partners. on the other hand, and to develop investment opportunities for both The two sides, the conclusion of partnership agreements between them, the United States can play an important role. But in fact, it can be said that it is trade and investment that will enhance the future that African leaders desire…and that African youth will demand.

  • Countries with highest salaries in Africa

    Morocco and South Africa top the list with average monthly salaries of $2,031 and $2,026 respectively. Countries with highest salaries in Africa:

    Countries with highest salaries in Africa

    FLA published the 10 most prosperous countries in Africa. According to Statistica, Here are countries with highest average monthly salaries in Africa in 2022:

    1. Morocco: At the top of the list is Morocco, with an average monthly salary of $2,031.
    2. South Africa: South Africa follows closely with an average monthly salary of $2,026.
    3. Tunisia: Tunisia takes the third spot with an average monthly salary of $1,348.
    4. Kenya: Kenya comes in fourth with an average monthly salary of $1,291.
    5. Algeria: Algeria ranks fifth with an average monthly salary of $1,273.
    6. Namibia: Namibia takes the sixth spot with an average monthly salary of $1,168.
    7. Botswana: Botswana is seventh, with an average monthly salary of $1,000.
    8. Nigeria: Nigeria ranks eighth on the list with an average monthly salary of $814.
    9. Ghana: Ghana follows closely with an average monthly salary of $748.
    10. Uganda: Rounding out the list is Uganda, with an average monthly salary of $738.

    This list was generated using data from Statista and Salary Explorer. It is important to note that the average salaries listed differ from the minimum wage and are mainly intended to serve as indicators.

  • Xenophobia: South Africa scares Africans

    African communities living in South Africa are afraid. Xenophobia is in full swing, and hate speech against foreigners is rampant, even from the top of the state. Every month, the press reports attacks on African communities, resulting in injuries, insults and deaths. Xenophobia: South Africa scares Africans.

    Xenophobia: South Africa scares Africans

    Congolese community frightened

    In South Africa, the Congolese community is concerned about the safety of its citizens in the country. According to the media “Diaspora online“, early this Monday (15) morning of March 2015, a man from the Democratic Republic of Congo was burned alive in the city of Durban. The causes are not yet known, but the rise of xenophobia is significant in the country.

    The man was working in a nightclub where he was providing security. According to witnesses, a group of about four people doused him with gasoline and then set him on fire. The victim died a few hours later in hospital. The cause of the attack is not yet known, but associations for the protection of African nationals fear a xenophobic attack.

    The country experienced a wave of violence against foreigners in 2009, during which nearly 70 people were killed. And since the beginning of the year, attacks on foreign traders have increased. In January, several hundred traders, including Somalis, were forced to leave the township of Soweto after their stores were attacked and looted.

    Since then, the incidents have been recurrent. The authorities still refuse to talk about xenophobia, but rather about crime. However, xenophobia exists in South Africa. It is fueled by poverty and inequality. Last year, for example, 70 Somali traders died in an attack on their stores.

    3 Nigerians injured in new attacks

    In 2020, Nigerians and other foreigners residing in South Africa were victims of new xenophobic attacks.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that three Nigerians were injured in the attacks which took place in Witbank in Mpumanlaga province.

    Nigeria Union of South Africa (NUSA) spokesman Odefa Ikele said the attacks started early in the morning.

    People stand behind a banner a protest against xenophobia outside of the main gate of the South African High Commission which was shut down to avert reprisal attacks in Abuja, on September 5, 2019.

    200,000 Zimbabweans on borrowed time

    Xenophobia: South Africa scares Africans:

    “About 200,000 Zimbabweans are living on borrowed time in South Africa,” summarizes the pan-African weekly The Continent. They are living in the country thanks to a “Zimbabwean Exemption Permit”, a residence permit introduced more than ten years ago to allow Zimbabweans fleeing the political violence and hyperinflation of the late 2000s to take refuge in South Africa. But in late 2021, with hostility toward African migrants rising again among South Africans, the government announced it would not renew the permits.

    Zimbabweans, who numbered nearly 700,000 in South Africa in 2020 according to the United Nations, are the first victims of this xenophobic wave. The South African government’s decision has caused panic among Zimbabwean exemption permit holders. They have until the end of the year to leave the country or risk deportation, “unless they find another visa to apply for”, explains The Continent.

    Many know they have no chance. That’s the case of Rufaro Gwatidzo (not his real name), who arrived in the country at the age of 6. “He considers himself to be South African, even though he does not have the nationality, and cannot imagine a life in Zimbabwe,” comments the weekly. As a last resort, the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Holders Association is attempting legal action, calling the decision “irrational”

  • Africa: Mini grids to provide electricity to Africans

    Africa: Mini grids to provide electricity to Africans

    Some 380 million people in sub-Saharan Africa could have access to electricity by 2030 through the deployment of 160,000 mini-grids.

    According to a report by the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program, the initiative will require a global investment of $91 billion, and will help low- and middle-income countries reduce poverty and stimulate growth by promoting sustainable energy solutions.

    Entitled “Mini grids for half a billion people: market outlook and handbook for decision makers”, the report, relayed by the ecofin agency, states that these power generation and distribution systems, built to provide electricity in areas not served by the centralized grid or where the costs of connecting to the grid are prohibitive, have been growing rapidly in Africa and Asia in recent years.

    In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of installed mini-grids has reached 3100 in 2021 compared to about 500 in 2010.

    Nearly 8 out of 10 people in sub-Saharan Africa are without access to electricity.

    Renewable energies: why is Africa lagging behind?

    According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), quoted by The East African on February 12, the renewable energy sector in Africa is not attracting international investment, despite the enormous potential the continent enjoys.

    At a time when the budgets allocated to clean technologies are constantly increasing in the world, Africa is struggling to take off. Investments have even fallen to their lowest level in 11 years. To understand this gap, the continent’s share of global financing, estimated at $382 billion in 2022, is only 3% or $13 billion.

    These investments are concentrated in a few markets (South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Kenya…), representing three quarters of the total since 2010, or $46 billion. The other countries have obtained only $16 billion over the same period. In 2021, South Africa led the way with a budget of $753 million, followed by Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria with $282 million and $280 million respectively. Morocco and Egypt are fourth and fifth respectively, with $260 million and $238 million, according to the Energy Research Unit.

  • Uranium containers reported missing in Libya have been found

    Ten drums containing “natural” uranium had disappeared on Tuesday from a site controlled by the International Atomic Energy Agency… before being found not far away by the Libyan army. The lost radioactive ore was stored in the form of “yellow cake” at a site not revealed by the IAEA. Uranium containers reported missing in Libya have been found.

    Uranium containers reported missing in Libya have been found

    Uranium containers reported missing in Libya have been found

    How could 2.5 tons of uranium have “disappeared”? This is the delicate question that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have to answer, after reporting on Wednesday the “loss” in Libya of 10 drums of this radioactive ore. For a total weight of 2.5 tons of this ore in its “natural” form.

    Through the voice of a general, the forces of the Libyan National Army (LNA) announced that the containers were found on Thursday not far from the site where they were stored in the region of Sebha. A video shows a man wearing a protective suit with 18 blue containers, all the uranium that was stored at the site. “The situation is under control, the IAEA has been informed,” said General Khaled al-Mahjoub.

    He said that after the disappearance of the containers was noted during a visit by IAEA inspectors, “an armed ANL force found them barely five km from the depot towards the Chadian border. He estimated that the containers had been stolen and then abandoned “by a Chadian faction, believing them to be weapons or ammunition.

    What is “yellow cake”?

    Uranium is a common metal, found in most of the world’s rocks, soil and water. But the disappeared drums contained “yellow cake,” the nickname given to “uranium ore concentrate,” or U3O8. This is the final product after extraction, grinding and chemical treatment of uranium in the immediate vicinity of the mines.

    What is "yellow cake"?

    It is a fine powder, which had a yellow-orange color with the old industrial processes. Now, although the name “yellow cake” is still sometimes used, concentrated uranium appears as a fine greenish powder. It is generally packaged in steel drums before being sent to refineries that convert it into nuclear fuel by purification and then enrichment.

    Is it a dangerous product?

    In its “U3O8” (or UOC) form, uranium ore concentrate is stable. Like all forms of this ore, it is radioactive. At a fairly low level, but enough to have caused concern to the IAEA:

    Loss of knowledge about the current location of nuclear material may present a radiological risk, as well as nuclear security concerns

    Uranium must be handled with care, and not for too long: direct contact can be dangerous, especially if it is prolonged. This is why protective equipment (gloves, mask, etc.) is necessary. It is also toxic if ingested or inhaled.

    Can it be used to make a nuclear bomb?

    The nuclear risk is low, but not zero. Yellow cake” is uranium in its “natural” form – in other words, not enriched. It therefore contains less than 1% “fissile” uranium 235. The ore used in nuclear power plants is enriched to contain 3 to 5% uranium 235. The ore that could be used to make a bomb requires a level of uranium 235 greater than 90%.

    Even before enrichment, the “yellow cake” must first be refined to be converted into pure uranium dioxide. Clearly, the uranium that disappeared in Libya was, as it was, useless in either case… except to end up in the wrong hands.

    These hands were relatively limited in number: no official nuclear power would have ventured to acquire ten drums of questionable uranium. Only a few countries that have unofficially mastered the technology of enrichment for military purposes, such as Iran or North Korea, could have made such use of it. Unless it was used in the form of a “dirty bomb”, with dispersion of the powder in the air in order to intoxicate a population… Hence the “nuclear security problems” pointed out by the IAEA, in an international context marked by, on the one hand, the Russian war in Ukraine with the material support of Tehran and, on the other hand, the repeated tests of North Korean missiles. Iran, which has recently made pledges to the IAEA, admitted at the end of February that it had “involuntarily” enriched uranium to 83.7%.

  • The 10 most prosperous countries in Africa

    The British think tank Legatum Institute has published its annual report on the world’s most prosperous countries. Based on a battery of indicators, this ranking reviews the prosperity of 167 countries. Only 10 African countries are in the top 100, including two North African countries. Here are the 10 most prosperous countries in Africa: Details.

    The 10 most prosperous countries in Africa

    Legatum Institute has published its annual report on the world’s most prosperous countries. For this 2023 edition, the London-based think tank combed through 167 countries and territories, including 53 African countries, representing 99.4% of the world’s population, to establish its prosperity index The 2023 Lagatum Prosperity Index. According to the report, “the Prosperity Index was developed as a practical tool to help identify specific actions that need to be taken to help strengthen the pathways from poverty to prosperity and to provide a roadmap for nations that are facing increasing economic and political shocks.

    This 16th edition of the report is based on 12 pillars of prosperity: “Security and Safety,” “Individual Freedom,” “Governance,” “Social Capital,” “Business Climate,” “Entrepreneurial Conditions,” “Infrastructure and Market Access,” “Quality of the Economy,” “Living Conditions,” “Health,” “Education” and “Natural Environment. Each of these pillars includes indicators and sub-indicators. In total, 300 elements are analyzed, providing an exhaustive picture of the prosperity of each of the 167 countries and territories studied.

    According to this ranking, and not surprisingly, it is the Nordic countries that occupy the top positions worldwide. Denmark is ranked first, ahead of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Switzerland.

    Here are the 10 most prosperous countries in Africa

    Very logically, African countries are not well represented. The continent even continues to fall back in terms of prosperity. Indeed, the top-ranked African country in the Lagatum Prosperity Index 2023, Mauritius, is ranked 47th in the world. Mauritius owes its ranking to its performance on the indicators of Governance (36th in the world), Social Capital (37th), Business Climate (41st), Health and Safety (42nd), and Individual Freedom (52nd). However, this island country scores relatively low on the criteria of Economic Quality (72nd in the world), Health (81st) and especially Natural Environment (122nd).

    CountryRank AfricaRank World
    South Africa375
    Cape Verde480
    Sao Tome & Principe687

    South Africa, which ranks 75th in the world and 3rd in Africa, performs well on the indicators of Individual Freedom (38th in the world), Social Capital (40th), Business Climate (48th) and Governance (49th). However, the rainbow country is weighed down by its poor performance in the criteria of Living Conditions (102nd in the world), Education (102nd), Health (129th), Safety and Security (136th) and Natural Environment (140th).

    Morocco, the highest-ranked country in the Maghreb, achieved its best performance in the areas of Business Climate (55th in the world), Infrastructure and Market Access (57th), and Safety and Security (62nd). However, individual freedom (114th in the world), education (122nd), the natural environment (132nd), and social capital have weighed down its ranking.