Germany pledged 81 million euros to support ECOWAS for peacebuilding and economic development; DR Congo opposition Fayulu to run in the upcoming presidential election; Burkina Faso’s junta said it thwarted another coup attempt; Nigeria’s workers’ unions plan to start an indefinite strike; Morocco to host 2025 Afcon, and others
In a significant breakthrough, Germany pledged 81 million euros to support ECOWAS, a regional organisation of 15 West African countries, for peacebuilding and economic development. The announcement was made on Friday after a meeting between Germany’s Development Minister Svenja Schulze and an ECOWAS delegation in Berlin. Schulze praised ECOWAS for its role in mediating and preventing crises in West Africa, such as the recent political turmoil in Mali and Guinea. She said that Germany wants to strengthen its partnership with ECOWAS and help the region achieve its goals of democracy, security, and prosperity. The funds will be used for various projects, such as improving health systems, promoting renewable energy, and enhancing regional trade and integration.
In an unprecedented move, Martin Fayulu, the runner-up in Congo’s disputed 2018 presidential election, has announced his candidature for the upcoming vote in December, saying he will register his candidature on October 4 and will fight for transparency in the electoral process. He accused President Felix Tshisekedi, who is expected to run for re-election, of cheating in the last election and failing to deliver on his promises. Fayulu also criticised the electoral commission for its handling of the voter list, which he said was fraudulent. He called for the results to be announced by the polling station to allow greater scrutiny. He said he decided to run after considering boycotting the vote, which he said would have benefited his opponents.
With implications that ripple far and wide, Burkina Faso’s military junta said it had thwarted a coup attempt by some officers and others on Tuesday without giving details. Four people have been detained, and two are on the run, according to the military prosecutor. The junta also suspended a French news magazine for reporting “untruthful” articles about discontent in the army. The junta came to power after two coups last year amid a worsening security situation in the Sahel region. In a dramatic turn on Friday, Ibrahim Traore said that the country will not hold elections until it is safe for all citizens to participate. He said that the security situation in the country, which is facing a violent insurgency by Islamist militants, does not allow for a free and fair election. He said that the junta is working to restore peace and stability and that it will respect the constitutional order and the will of the people.
In a climate of uncertainty, Kenya’s inflation rate increased slightly in September, reaching 6.8% year on year, compared to 6.7% in August, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics report released on Friday. The rise was driven by higher prices in all sectors, especially fuel, which affects transport, power, and agriculture. The monthly inflation rate was 1% in September, after a negative 0.1% in August. The government’s target range for inflation is 2.5%–7.5%. The statistics office said that the increase in fuel prices was announced by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority in mid-September.
In response to growing public demand for reductions in the price of goods and commodities, Nigeria’s workers’ unions plan to start an indefinite strike on Oct. 3 to protest against the high cost of living caused by the removal of the petrol subsidy by the government. The subsidy kept fuel prices low but was costly for the government. The unions said the government had failed to engage with them on the issue and demanded a reversal of the decision. They said the strike would be a total shutdown until their demands were met. The government had urged the unions to continue negotiations and avoid strikes, saying they would hurt the economy, which is already facing inflation, currency shortages, and low oil production.
In the midst of a crisis gripping the Central African country, the U.S. on Tuesday suspended some foreign aid programmes to Gabon after a military coup last month that overthrew President Ali Bongo. The coup leaders said they annulled an election that Bongo had won, which they claimed was not credible. The U.S. said it was pausing aid that could benefit the Gabonese government but would continue other activities in the country, such as diplomatic and consular operations. The U.S. also said it was following the steps taken by regional and continental bodies, such as the Economic Community of Central African States and the African Union, which have condemned the coup and suspended Gabon’s membership. The coup leaders have promised to hold free and fair elections but have not given a clear timeline. They have appointed a prime minister who said a 24-month transition period would be reasonable.
In response to a surging demand for a democratic government, Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, held its parliamentary elections on Friday, but the outcome will have little impact on the politics of a country ruled by Africa’s last absolute monarch. King Mswati III has banned political parties and has the final say on all matters of state. The elections were marred by violent pro-democracy protests earlier this year, but many Swazis remain loyal to the king. The candidates running for seats in the House of Assembly are mostly monarchists or his sympathisers.
Morocco was awarded the hosting rights for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) on Wednesday, replacing Guinea, who were stripped of the tournament due to infrastructure concerns. Morocco is also bidding for the 2030 World Cup with Spain and Portugal. Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania will jointly host the 2027 Afcon, the first time the tournament has been held in East Africa since 1976. The next Afcon will take place in Ivory Coast in 2024.
Against a backdrop of social unrest, France’s ambassador to Niger, Sylvain Itte, left the country on Wednesday, following a decision by President Emmanuel Macron to withdraw him and French troops from the West African nation. Niger’s military junta, which seized power in July, had ordered Itte’s expulsion in August, accusing France of acting against Niger’s interests. France had initially ignored the order and called for the restoration of elected President Mohamed Bazoum, who was ousted in the coup. But Macron changed his mind after facing anti-French protests and security threats in Niger.
Amidst growing concerns, Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party and a former speaker of parliament, started a hunger strike in prison on Friday to protest his detention and support other “political prisoners” in Tunisia. Ghannouchi was sentenced to one year in jail on terrorism-related charges in May, after he was arrested in April for warning against a “civil war” in the country. His party and other opposition groups have denounced his trial as “unjust” and “arbitrary”. Ghannouchi’s hunger strike follows that of Jawhar Ben Mbarek, a left-wing opposition figure and a critic of President Kais Saied, who has been on a hunger strike for four days. Saied dissolved the parliament and assumed executive powers in July 2021, in what his opponents have called a “coup”. He has also arrested several politicians, former ministers, and businesspeople since February, amid growing anti-French protests and security challenges.