Africa This Week (25/05/2024)

South Africa’s Constitutional Court on Monday, May 20, 2024, ruled unanimously that former President Jacob Zuma cannot run for parliament in next week’s general election. This decision follows months of speculation and legal debates. Zuma, a former ANC leader who now represents a rival party, was forced to resign in 2018 amid corruption scandals and was later found guilty of contempt of court for refusing to testify before an anti-corruption commission. Justice Leona Theron stated that Zuma is ineligible for the national assembly until five years after completing his sentence.

The US and Niger this week agreed on the withdrawal of American troops by 15 September, following a joint statement. The US had used Niger as a key base to monitor regional jihadist activity. This move comes after Niger’s military junta, which seized power last year, expelled French troops and aligned more closely with Russia. Despite the troop withdrawal, US-Niger relations will continue diplomatically. Tensions rose after Niger ended its military agreement with the US in March, accusing it of condescension and objecting to Niger’s alliances. Niger, now closer to Russia, seeks regional cooperation with junta-led Burkina Faso and Mali.

President Adama Barrow of The Gambia, Chair of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, on Friday authorized the filing of a Reply Brief to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding the Rohingya genocide case against Myanmar. On 23 May 2024, The Gambia submitted its Reply, refuting Myanmar’s denial of genocide and presenting substantial evidence of Myanmar’s actions against the Rohingya. Concurrently, violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State has escalated, displacing thousands and raising concerns of further atrocities. The Gambia urges protection for civilians, access to humanitarian aid, adherence to international law, and accountability for violations.

Mahamat Deby Itno was sworn in as Chad’s president on Thursday, following a disputed election on May 6. Deby Itno, who took power after his father Idriss Deby Itno’s death in 2021, completed a three-year military rule transition. His main rival, Succès Masra, resigned as prime minister after challenging and losing an appeal against the election results. This election marks Chad’s first attempt at democratic transition since its 1960 independence. Deby Itno’s government aims to enhance agriculture, education, water access, and healthcare. Despite vote irregularities, Western leaders, including from the US, France, and the UK, congratulated him, seeing Chad as a key Sahel ally.

President Joe Biden welcomed Kenyan President William Ruto to the White House on Thursday for a three-day state visit, celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations and initiating new technological cooperation. Kenya was designated a major non-NATO ally as it prepared to send forces to Haiti under a UN-led initiative. Biden emphasized the partnership’s strength, especially in innovation, announcing initiatives in cybersecurity, AI, and semiconductors.

Three people were killed in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, during a shootout between armed men in military uniforms and guards of Vital Kamerhe, a prominent politician in an attempted coup. Among the dead were two police officers and one attacker. The armed men attacked Kamerhe’s residence but were repelled by his guards. The army arrested the perpetrators, described as mostly foreigners or Congolese based abroad, some holding US and Canadian passports. The incident has raised security concerns and comes amid a political crisis over parliamentary leadership elections and President Felix Tshisekedi’s warning of the potential dissolution of the National Assembly.

United States Vice President Kamala Harris unveiled plans for a new partnership aimed at boosting internet access in Africa to 80% by 2030, up from around 40% currently. This initiative follows Harris’ visit to the continent last year and aligns with Kenyan President William Ruto’s recent trip to Washington. Harris emphasized the potential for economic growth in Africa, highlighting its youthful population. The partnership includes the launch of the nonprofit Partnership for Digital Access in Africa and an initiative to provide digital access to 100 million people and businesses in the agricultural sector. Additionally, the Mobilizing Access to the Digital Economy Alliance (MADE), led by the African Development Bank Group and Mastercard, will kick off a pilot program benefiting 3 million farmers in Kenya, Tanzania, and Nigeria. Harris also announced progress in addressing the gender gap in technology access through the Women in the Digital Economy efforts, with over $1 billion in commitments secured.

French oil major TotalEnergies this week made a significant move with the development of the Kaminho oil project off the coast of Angola after finalizing investment decisions. The $6 billion project includes developing two oil fields, Cameia and Golfino, in Block 20/11. Italian firm Saipem will convert a very large crude carrier into a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) unit to connect oil from the offshore fields to a subsea production network.

Writer and researcher at Alafarika for Studies and Consultancy.

Similar Topics