Major stories and developments in the Sub-Saharan African region as well as domestic and international policy analysis. Our writers Jonah Harris and Jenna Feldman produce weekly. Our section editor is Xan Northcott.
King Mswati III of Swaziland recently declared the country’s name would change to “eSwatini”, following a historical trend of African nations renaming themselves after gaining independence from colonial rule. Both eSwatini’s people and other African countries hoped the declaration marked the beginning of a new, and possibly more democratic, era in the country. However, reform seems unlikely given the current political situation in the country, and lack of signs of broader changes beyond the new name.
Over the past couple of years, the UN’s peacekeeping mission in Mali has been known as one of the most dangerous and deadly. The events that have unraveled over the past couple of months seem to uphold this trend.
On Tuesday, April 24, a United States-owned Christian radio station was officially shut down in Rwanda for propagating anti-women sentiments.
On Thursday April 19, King Mswati III of Swaziland announced that he had renamed the Kingdom of Swaziland in honor of the country’s 50 years of independence from British colonial rule.
Civilians in remote areas of Cameroon are facing a growing humanitarian crisis. They have been isolated due to violent conflict between anglophone separatists within the country and the government. Meanwhile, aid groups are finding it difficult to find and help those civilians affected by the conflict, and are unsure of the exact number of Cameroon civilians internally displaced due to the conflict.
The government of Somalia has strongly condemned Somaliland’s recently signed agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) regarding the construction of a military base in Somaliland. The disagreement highlights how the conflict between Somalia and the semi-autonomous nation has become part of a larger crisis occurring in the Persian Gulf.
Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) President and CEO Raw Washburne testified Wednesday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about re-structuring OPIC’s model of financing overseas development. The testimony perhaps demonstrated the United States’ recent alarms regarding China’s increasing financial presence in Africa.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari announced on April 9 his candidacy for re-election in the country’s 2019 elections. He is seeking election within the All Progressives Congress party (APC).
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari recently approved the release of $1 billion for the procurement of military equipment in the fight against Boko Haram, highlighting the long road ahead for Nigeria in defeating the insurgents.
In January 2018, King Letsie of Lesotho spoke out concerning offensive treatment he experienced from South African officials at the border between the two countries. This caused tension with then President, Jacob Zuma, who has since been replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa.
104 of the 110 kidnapped Nigerian school girls (as well as one boy) were returned to their hometown of Dapchi on March 21st, after spending more than a month in captivity. The children’s return represents a rare high note in Nigeria’s decade long struggle against Boko Haram, which has been marred by corruption.
Zimbabwe’s economy has been described as one of the most fragile in the world by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
While African Union (AU) leaders have signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), a deal expected to boost intra-African trade, several issues now threaten the agreement’s ultimate impact and feasibility.
On Thursday, May 8, the world celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD), a day to collectively celebrate the economic, social, political, and cultural achievements of women while also raising the call for gender equality worldwide. IWD has been observed since the early 20th century, with the first March 8th gathering occurring with the support of nearly one million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. This year’s theme was “Time is now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”
Kenya’s government announced plans last Wednesday to set up an 11-member task force to explore the use of blockchain technology over the course of three months.
While American officials have expressed grave concerns over a possible deal being made between the Djiboutian government to give China control of a strategically located Djiboutian port, the possible agreement is only the latest example of a recent increase in competition between China and other countries for influence in Africa.
DJ Awadi sets a blunt tone for his rap group’s bass-ridden track Écoute Fils (“Listen Son”). “Don’t think that AIDS is for other people, it can catch you / Listen, son. The vicious virus is around.” The ballad came out in 2005 on Positive Black Soul’s album “Run Cool” along with a host of other songs dedicated to promoting abstinence, fidelity, and safe sex among Senegal’s youth.
This past week, the Nigerian government announced that 110 schoolgirls are confirmed missing following an attack by Boko Haram at a school in the northeastern Nigerian town of Dapchi.
Bread prices in Sudan have been rising since the Parliament’s passing of the government’s 2018 Budget. This Budget eliminated wheat subsidies which have in turn caused a sharp increase in the price of bread and other basic living expenses.
On February 16th, members of the opposition coalition in Kenya, known as the National Super Alliance (NASA), burnt an American flag near the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. The purpose of the gathering was to protest the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Robert Godec, and make it known that they want Godec to be replaced from his post.
In December 2017, Cyril Ramaphosa was elected the new President of the African National Congress (ANC), the current ruling party in South Africa. Ramaphosa has served as the ANC’s Deputy President since 2014, under the current President, Jacob Zuma.
Israel backed this week a UN resolution supporting the changing of the name of the international day of remembrance of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. This position runs contrary to both the United States (U.S.) and the European Union (EU), two of Israel’s strongest Western allies.
A Nigerian man has gained widespread praise on Twitter due to his desire to mobilize young people to clean up one of the world’s most polluted cities following government inactivity.
South Africa has been on the edge the past two months, with no one certain of which way things will turn. In December 2017, there was much enthusiasm as the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party finally agreed to change its party ruler, which by the end of 2019 should mean the end of President Jacob Zuma’s increasingly chaotic term in office.
Zimbabwe’s Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was removed from his post and fled to South Africa last week, following allegations of disloyalty and unreliability.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir received US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, last month, in what was the first trip to sub-Saharan Africa by a top Trump administration official. With President Trump and his administration largely appearing to be disinterested in Africa, there were considerable expectations for this trip.
Africa, unlike Europe, is still plagued by intrastate conflict of many kinds. The AU still holds peace and security as a leading focus, where it is notable for its successes and the bravery with which it treads new ground in its aim of securing peace.
American forces in Niger have suffered casualities at the hands of terrorist groups.