The Sub-Saharan Africa Section of IR Insider publishes breaking news reports and analysis from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and other Sub-Saharan African nations. Topics covered by the Sub-Saharan Africa Section may range from economic policy in Namibia to elections in Cameroon and beyond. Our writers Alyssa Marshall, Robi Lopez, and Claire Beutter produce weekly. Our section editor is Alyssa Pugliese.
As Nigeria celebrates its recent victory in the 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, questions arise yet again about the gender pay gap in African sports. South Africa has introduced several laws within the last decade aimed at promoting equality and representation for women in sports. Initiatives such as the National Sport and Recreation Amendment Act, the South African White Paper on Sport and Recreation, and the Transformation Charter for South African Sport identify women as a type of “marginalized” group in sports and seek to prioritize their representation in sports.
Rwanda, a country known for having very little tolerance for political dissent, has made the news after the high court of the country cleared the most prominent opposition leader DIane Rwigara. Following her election challenge against President Paul Kagame, Rwigara was accused and arrested for insurrection and forgery. She has been cleared because the judge cited that the prosecution had little to no evidence of insurrection or forgery.
Uganda, a country with one of the highest numbers of refugees, around 1.1 million, has faced accusations of aid mismanagement since early 2018. Included in this number of refugees is roughly a million refugees from South Sudan where a civil war broke out in 2013 that has left millions dead or uprooted from their homes, and other refugees from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has now infected 352 people. The situation is slowly growing and poses a real threat to many countries in the region. Part of this is due to the widespread violence in the region, mainly concentrated around the city of Beni. Earlier this week tragedy struck the war-torn region once again as eight peacekeeping troops, and twelve Congolese troops were killed.
Sometimes referred to as “Nigeria’s Taliban,” Boko Haram is a militant Islamist group that has formally existed since 2002 when it organized under the Muslim cleric Mohammed Yusuf. The group is headquartered in the city of Maiduguri and its militants primarily live in the northern states of Nigeria, including Yobe, Kano, Bauchi, Borno, and Kaduna. Earlier this year, UNICEF reported findings that Boko Haram has kidnapped more than 1,000 children in northeastern Nigeria since 2013. And recent events suggest the group shows no signs of stopping.
Recent years have seen a noticeable uptick in repression in Tanzania, specifically with regard to a pattern of growing authoritarianism and intolerance of dissent. This repression has become more pervasive since John Magufuli became the country’s president in 2015. Perhaps the most noticeable measures taken have been in regard to the Tanzania’s stance on LGBT rights.
The people of Madagascar went to the polls on Wednesday, Nov. 7 to vote for their new president with the vote counting beginning on Thursday, Nov. 8.
Abdi Mohammed Omer, former President of the Somali region located in Eastern Ethiopia, resigned last year. He was subsequently arrested after widespread violence broke out in Jijiga, the capital of Somali.
On Monday, October 29, the Nigerian military opened fire on a crowd of 1,000 Shiite protestors. According to Amnesty International, 39 people were killed and hundreds injured. The protests on Monday follow the deaths of 6 people on Saturday, bringing the total to 45 deaths.
Three years later, critics say these rules have harmed the country’s ability to attract foreign investment. Namibia produces diamonds, uranium, and other mineral resources, though it will be difficult for mineral discovery to be entirely effective until investment in the sector increases.
On Sunday, Oct. 7, Cameroonians went to the polls in what was being called a historical election. President of Cameroon, Paul Biya, one of Africa’s longest serving leaders, has been operating in his position for the last 36 years. Biya, who has ruled since 1982, won the election for a seventh term with 71.3 percent of the vote. His opponent, Maurice Kamto, only received 14.2 percent of the vote, according to the Constitutional Council.
On August 1, 2018, the Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC) announced that there is an outbreak of Ebola that is infecting the North Kivu province of the country. The new outbreak has documented 251 cases and 162 deaths. The number of cases is climbing every day, the week of Oct. 16-23 alone saw over 27 new confirmed cases. The outbreak plaguing the DRC, however, is not only of infectious diseases but also of widespread violence.
Nigerian agriculture has undergone many transformations in recent years. Photo: The Guardian Nigeria. Since entering office in 2015, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has prioritized the transformation of his country’s agriculture industry. Nigeria’s agricultural overhaul has its roots in a desire to decrease unemployment rates, combat the country’s dependence on oil, and increase levels of food security.
On Oct. 18 Human Rights Watch (HRW) released an 85-page report titled “‘It’s Not Normal’: Sexual Exploitation, Harassment, and Abuse in Secondary Schools.” The report is the result of interviews with 160 women of various ages, including psychologists, local activists, survivors of sexual abuse, parents, and government employees.
Isaias Afwerki is the President of Eritrea, a country often being referred to as the “North Korea of Africa.” Since he rose to power in 1993, he has dominated Eritrean politics. He came to power following a 30-year war for Eritrea’s independence. The country has yet to convene a legislature and officially approve its constitution, which was created in 1997.
In 1976, Ebola, short for Ebola Virus Disease, was first discovered close to the Ebola river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Over six and a half million Ivorians showed up to the polls late last week to participate in the country’s municipal and regional elections. Voters took part in electing nearly 200 mayors and 31 regional councils; however, activity at the polls has largely been overshadowed by tensions that have recently erupted across the country.
Late last week, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa held a two-day Jobs Summit in Midrand, South Africa, where he set forth a number of resolutions to address the country’s pervasive fiscal and economic woes. At the summit’s conclusion, stakeholders signed a framework agreement outlining a series of steps to boost the economy and create jobs. The agreement includes three primary measures: addressing staggeringly high rates of unemployment, promoting local demand and support for South African exports, and restoring confidence to investors in the private sector.
Ethnic tensions in Ethiopia have been increasing since the election of Prime Minister (PM) Abiy Ahmed in April. The past few months have been marred by violence. The PM has ushered in sweeping changes that seek to transform Ethiopia. He has been praised internationally for the role he played in ending the age-old conflict with Eritrea. However, during the weekend of Sept. 28, it was reported that a resurgence of ethnic violence has engulfed the country.
Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda and chair of the African Union, addressed the United Nations General Assembly last week, calling for more equality among nations in the UN in light of recent positive developments across Africa.
The government of Burundi announced late on Thursday that the nation would be suspending operations of some non-governmental organizations for three months, citing a violation of a new law.
Bobi Wine is known in Uganda as a pop star, Minister of Parliament, and self-described “Ghetto President.” Born into poverty, Wine was able to rise and become one of the biggest stars in modern East African pop. Now, he is leading the opposition against the 33-year long reign of the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni.
The Somali regional state in Ethiopia announced on Saturday the closure of its main prison facility, Jijiga Central Prison. Known colloquially as Jail Ogaden, the facility is the notorious subject of a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released last July. The 88-page report entitled, “‘We are Like the Dead’: Torture and other Human Rights Abuses in Jail Ogaden, Somali Regional State, Ethiopia” describes the heinous conditions and treatments to which inmates were exposed while locked up.
Nearly $100 million in newly printed bills have gone missing in Liberia, sparking a government investigation into the disappearance. The amount is equivalent to nearly five percent of Liberia’s GDP.
This comes as part of a greater project to revive the country’s battered economy.
On Wednesday, South Sudan President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar signed a peace deal in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, formally ending a five-year civil war that has killed thousands since December 2013.
The two nations have long been at odds over the disputed border region of Doumeira, which Djibouti claims is being illegally occupied by Eritrea.
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.