1Nigeria Elections: All You Need to Know


Over 84 million people are set to vote on February 16 to elect the next president in Africa’s largest democracy. A total of 91 political parties are participating in the general elections in Africa’s largest democracy. the main contest is between two septuagenarians: incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, 76, of the ruling-All Progressives Congress, and former vice president Atiku Abubakar, 72, of the People’s Democratic Party. The African continent’s largest democracy still struggles with infrastructure deficit and two-thirds of its population not having access to safe water. Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy but growth remains sluggish and inflation high. Corruption has long plagued Nigeria with public officials embezzling funds generated from crude oil exports – the mainstay of its economy. The unemployment  rate has more than doubled since 2015, jumping to 23.1 percent in 2018. The worsening unemployment situation has negatively affected the government’s image.


2The $400 Million Deal that Rwanda just Signed


Rwanda said on Tuesday it had signed a $400 million deal to produce bottled gas from Lake Kivu, which emits such dense clouds of methane it is known as one of Africa’s “Killer Lakes”. Clare Akamanzi, chief executive of the Rwanda Development Board, said bottled methane would help cut local reliance on wood and charcoal, the fuels most households and tea factories use in the East African nation of 12 million people. “We expect to have affordable gas which is environmentally friendly,” she said. Gasmeth Energy said it would finance, build and maintain the gas extraction, processing and compression plant to sell methane domestically and abroad. The bottled gas should be on sale within two years, Akamanzi said, adding that prices had yet to be determined.


3Tigray Works Hard to Change Image of Famine for Resilience


Thirty-five years after haunting images of crying, skeletal Ethiopian children shocked the world, Tigray, the region that unwittingly became a poster child for famine, is taking on a new image – that of resilience.  Through painstaking hard work, locals moved 90 million tonnes of soil and rock by hand, built infiltration pits and embankments, and planted trees to restore landscapes, said Betsy Otto, of the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Global Water Programme. Demand for seedlings and technical knowledge is so high the government has not been able to keep up. About 33,000 people were producing fruits between June and the end of December, and they hope to raise the number to 96,000 by June 2020, to boost farmer incomes as well as nutrition.


4The Land Wars of 2019: Analysing the EFF and ANC Manifestos


The ANC’s proposed amendment is worded in tentative and conditional language, arguing that the amendment “should be done in a way that promotes the economic development, agricultural production and food security”. By contrast, the EFF views the point of the amendment as the “equal redistribution and use” of the land. What about land beyond expropriation without compensation? The ANC’s offering promises a regime that will “work with the established agribusinesses” to increase their contribution to export earnings, “greater support for emerging and small-scale farmhouse[s]”, investment in agricultural research and smart new technologies, working with “like-minded countries” for a just agricultural trade regime and developing sustainable agricultural strategies. In simpler terms, the current few agricultural monopolies will be retained. Those who might be sceptical about these proposals must remember that we are living in the age of policy stagnation. New ideas are hard to come by.


5Zimbabwe’s Teachers


A nationwide strike by Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) for better pay got off to a patchy start this week, as some stayed at home while others attended school but did not teach amid fears of further intimidation. Zimbabwe has more than 100,000 public-sector teachers. They are demanding better working conditions and to be paid in US dollars, rather than government bonds, which constantly lose value. Teachers say their current average monthly salary of $100 is too low to make ends meet. The price of bread went up by about 70 percent this week, while Zimbabwe’s inflation is at its highest in a decade. The government says it cannot meet the salary demands. The southern African nation is mired in an economic crisis marked by soaring inflation and shortages of cash, fuel and medicines.


6Oil and Gas Discovery Made Offshore of South Africa


Oil major Total discovers gas-condensate field in deep waters. The field of primarily gas-condensate — a light liquid hydrocarbon — was discovered about 175 kilometers (109 miles) off the country’s southern coast in the Outeniqua Basin. The discovery may prompt a rush of activity offshore by competitors as the country works to cut its reliance on imported fuels. “It is really transformational,’’ Andrew Latham, vice president of global exploration at consultant Wood MacKenzie Ltd., said. “This could be a discovery that kickstarts a bit of a gas strategy for South Africa.’’ The find “is potentially a major boost for the economy,” Minerals Minister Gwede Mantashe said. “We welcome it as we continue to seek investment.”


7For Small Businesses in Africa, Climate Resilience Is an Economic Opportunity


Africa is home to a growing number of entrepreneurs who see business opportunities in sustainable agriculture and forestry. This is an opportune time to invest in nature-based ventures, partly because African governments have committed to begin restoring 100 million hectares (247 million acres) of degraded land by 2030 as part of the AFR100 initiative. Many people in Africa depend on small businesses for their livelihoods and food security. By supporting these resilient entrepreneurs, governments, NGOs and larger agribusinesses can help rural African communities thrive well into the future.


8The Backyard Farms of Nairobi


Urban farming has become a vital resource for Kenyans living in areas with high levels of food insecurity. Almost half of Nairobi’s citizens are malnourished, and an estimated 73% of Nairobi’s slum population live below the poverty line. Kenya has always been a nation of small-scale farmers. Almost 2 million urban and peri-urban households keep livestock, and the numbers are predicted to increase to 6 million by 2050. In Nairobi itself, there were an estimated 23,000 heads of cattle in the 1980s – and numbers are expected to be far larger now. In recent years the county government has begun to acknowledge the importance of urban farming for the city’s poorer population. In 2015 the Nairobi City County established the Urban Agriculture Promotion and Regulation Act, a framework that supports urban farming as a way to improve food security.


9Nelson Mandela’s Personal Artefacts Go on Show in London


A major new exhibition celebrating the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela opens in London. The Official Exhibition traces the former South African president’s extraordinary life from his early years in a small farming community in the remote Transkei region, to his education and political activism, his arduous imprisonment, long-awaited release and late-in-life roles as his nation’s first post-apartheid president and global peacemaker. Among the 150 artefacts and personal items on display are the rough sisal mat on which Mandela slept during his incarceration on Robben Island, the master key to his cell, the trenchcoat he acquired on leaving prison and wore frequently after his release, and the white lion skin which was laid, with a flag of South Africa, on his coffin after he died in 2013.


10How Africans are Misrepresented in American Television


An extensive new report from the Africa Narrative project, from the University of Southern California’s Norman Lear Center, seeks to provide understanding around the current state of African representation in US media, and identify ways to ensure a “richer telling of Africa’s story.”  For the report, a group of researchers analyzed over 700,000 hours of programming, as well as a whopping 1.6 million tweets related to the African continent and its people. The study revealed several concerning details about Africa’s presence in the media. Television viewers are seven times more likely to hear references to Europe than to Africa, and when Africa is mentioned, it is only done so in a positive light 14 percent of the time. Narratives are commonly centered on trauma and crime. There is much work to be done in ensuring that Africans are afforded representation that we can be proud of.


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