Pulse #45 - Take ownership: Nigeria calls on US military, SADC steps in to Mozambique violence, Lagos to go off-grid, and a Ugandan Oscar win?
In this week's Pulse...
The link between autocracy and conflict in Africa, SADC stepping in to Mozambique violence, Nigeria asks US to move Africom military headquarters to the Continent, South Africa revising national identity system to include non-binaries, the cost of Covid to job creation, Lagos to go off the grid, what David Kaluuya's Oscar win means for Uganda, and more
The Data Room
16 African countries are experiencing sustained armed conflict. While each is the result of context-specific circumstances, the role of governance appears to be a contributing factor. In fact, 12 out of 16 countries on the Continent facing armed conflict have either autocratic or semi-authoritarian governments; and in 8 of these countries, the conflicts are either political or civil wars. Can Africa really “silence the guns” without addressing how governance plays a part in causes of violence?
Numbers in the Spotlight
(USD12bn) is the annual global cost of malaria; 94% of cases occur in Africa
(USD6bn) is how much Botswana-based Debswana Diamond Co. plans to spend on building the world’s largest underground diamond mine
26,000,000 new jobs
(26mn) will not be created across Africa due to a slow Covid-19 vaccines rollout and lack of funding to bridge the gap
530,000 South Africans
who identify as non-binary will be recognised by South Africa’s new, inclusive identity system
are being offered by Google to train beginner and intermediate developers in Africa
3,000 military personnel
will be deployed by SADC to help the Mozambican military combat violence in the Northern Cabo Delgado province
1 African company
made it to the 2021 TIME list of the 100 Most Influential Companies - Flutterwave
On The Continent This Week
Effective internal and regional security, and foreign policy
Ministers in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have agreed to deploy a 3000-strong regional force to Mozambique, on the recommendation of their military officials. The regional force will support the Mozambican army restore stability, as it struggles to contain an Islamic State-linked insurgency. The armed violence in Mozambique has left more than 2,600 people dead and 760,000 displaced, as well as jeopardised up to $120bn of natural gas projects - Africa’s largest ever private investment. With the insurrection having begun in 2017, this is a reminder of the need for faster regional responses to reduce the humanitarian and economic costs of violence.
Proportional representation in politics, business and community leadership
South Africa is revising its national identity system to include ~530,000 South Africans who identify as non-binary. South Africa’s 13-digit national ID number currently includes one digit which refers to gender; the move will provide an alternative digit or letter ‘X’. South Africa leads the Continent in LGBTQ+ legislation - it is the only African country where gay marriage is legal and where the constitution protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Same-sex relations are legal in only 22 African countries, and is punishable by death or lengthy prison terms in some. However, with South Africa still experiencing some of the highest rates of LBGTQ+ crime in the world, legal recognition has to be paired with public acceptance.
A malaria vaccine being developed by Oxford University has proved to be 77% effective in early trials. Although preventable and curable, there were 229mn cases and 409,000 deaths from malaria in 2019, mostly affecting Africa (94% of cases and deaths) and children. The disease has an annual cost of $12bn, due to illness, treatment, and premature death. The most effective malaria vaccine to date had only shown 55% efficacy in trials on African children. Whilst the news raises hopes for a major breakthrough against the disease, Covid-19 should teach us that without a multi-stakeholder response to ensure production and distribution of vaccines, the benefits of the vaccine will be limited.
Actor Daniel Kaluuya, born and raised in the UK and of Ugandan heritage, won best supporting actor at the Oscars for his role in Judas and the Black Messiah - an American biographical drama film about the betrayal of Fred Hampton of the Black Panther Party. Whilst Kaluuya nodded to his Ugandan heritage in his acceptance speech, whether or not his win can be claimed as a success for Uganda is being debated - some argue that had he been raised in Uganda, his talents would not have been fully recognised. Regardless, his win reminds us of the talent that can be unearthed across the Continent if fully nurtured in an enabling environment. In recognition of this, last year Uganda committed to scaling up support to cultural and creative industries (CCIs), including to notably build a film industry able to address Uganda’s youth unemployment problem, whilst also encouraging the creation of local content and shaping national identity.
High value skills development and talent repatriation
Flutterwave, the Nigerian fintech unicorn, has been recognised as a “Pioneer” in the 2021 TIME list of the 100 Most Influential Companies, making history as the only African company to make a line-up that includes tech giants Apple, Twitter and Stripe. It was recognised for its role in supporting retailers during the pandemic - amid Covid-19 lockdowns forcing shops to shut, Flutterwave set up a digital storefront for over 20,000 store owners. Fintech continues to be the winner in Africa’s tech boom - representing 25% of total African funding raised last year. Flutterwave’s success can help bring further recognition of African grown platforms.
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