Movemeback Pulse

Actionable African insight delivered to you on pulse


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

40,000 scholarships
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

Nigeria’s President Buhari has called on the US to move its Africom military headquarters to the Continent from Germany, in light of “the growing security challenges in West and Central Africa, Gulf of Guinea, Lake Chad region and the Sahel”. Notably Nigeria is currently on high alert as the Boko Haram insurgency is spreading and approaching the capital, Abuja. 2.5mn people in Nigeria have been displaced and 37,500 killed due to Boko Haram-related violence since 2011. 16 African countries are currently experiencing sustained armed conflict. Whilst a US military base may offer some reprise, in the long term the Continent needs to ensure inclusive economic growth combined with good governance to combat the structural drivers of violence.

Intra-continental connectivity, collaboration & trade

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.

Access to financial services and products 

The slow rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and lack of funding to bridge the gap will set the Continent back 5 years. According to the UN, travel and business barriers will slow trade, hamper investments, set back economic growth and prevent the creation of 26 million jobs. With 60% youth unemployment, and 50% of university graduates not getting jobs pre-Covid, the pandemic is likely to increase economic disparity between Africa and the rest of the World. While the IMF’s $650bn special drawing rights will provide about $23bn to SSA countries to help boost liquidity and fight the pandemic, more is needed to meet SSA’s $425bn external funding needs. To support future growth and transformative reforms, international assistance will be required from financial institutions, the private sector, and donors. 

Baseline healthcare & disease protection

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.

Scaleable energy access 

Lagos, Africa’s largest city, is preparing to establish its own power market to ensure more reliable supply. Lagos State is key to Nigeria’s economy. With a fast-expanding population of ~27mn, Lagos contributes 1/3rd of Nigeria’s GDP, and is the centre of the country’s manufacturing, banking music, fashion and film industries. However it receives no more than 12 hours a day, meaning that commercial and residential customers are left relying upon expensive generators. Across the country, $14bn is spent on generators and fuel annually. Whilst self-reliance may be the answer for Lagos, the federal government has a responsibility to solve power shortages that continue to cripple the country and cost an annual economic loss of ~$29bn.

End-to-end value chain capture 

Botswana-based diamond mining company, Debswana Diamond Co., plans to spend $6bn on building the world’s largest underground diamond. The development at the Debswana Jwaneng mine, which is already the richest mine by value for the precious stones, extends the mine’s lifespan by 20 years. The mining sector accounts for about 50% of government revenue, and about 35% of GDP in Botswana, with diamonds contributing about 94% of the total mining share in GDP. Botswana produces the world's largest gem diamonds, and represents about 40% of the total world output. However, diamond production is predicted to start declining from 2050. So whilst the move may help fuel post-Covid economic recovery, Botswana should consider using earnings towards economic diversification to start preparing for life after the precious stones. 

Exporting culture & identity

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 

Google is offering 40,000 scholarships to train beginner and intermediate developers in Africa in Android, Web and Google Cloud developments. Africa’s startup ecosystem is a key driver of economic growth on the Continent, with the number of startups receiving funding growing at 46% annually from 2015-2020, 6-times faster than the global average. With 50% of Africans youth unemployed, and Africa’s Internet economy having the potential to reach $180bn by 2025, developer training offers a unique opportunity for Africa to capitalise on its digital potential. However, with the world becoming increasingly remote, Africa must also ensure it provides enough opportunities for new talent, to avoid it seeking opportunities abroad. 

Home-grown digital infrastructure & platforms

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.  

Upgrade Your Life

Our selection of online content, courses, tools and offers to help you build your personal repertoire.

  1. 9 Cambridge course you can take online for free
  2. Human rights and the environment: New online course for legal professionals
  3. "Let the paint dry" a lesson in creativity, career and patience
  4. What is a Circular Economy and how does it work?
  5. The art of negotiation
  6. Paint the Lagoon: Step inside the galleries to explore Lagos arts scene
  7. Has the Oscars really faced up to its race problem?
History Class
Nelson Mandela's battle: Apartheid explained
The assassination of Fred Hampton: Documents reveal involvement of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover
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