1One of the Largest Refugee Camps in Africa has an Environmental Crisis
Communities have clashed over natural resources following the arrivals of refugees from South Sudan and DRC. The cutting down of millions of trees has sparked angry clashes in parts of Uganda between local people and refugees who have been fleeing conflict in their countries. The timber is being used for house construction, fuel and to make charcoal. In the north and west of the country, where an estimated 1.1 million refugees are living, massive deforestation is drawing protests by local communities.
SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN
2What Would Nigeria’s Most Celebrated Cultural Icons Say about the Delay?
Just hours before Nigerian were set to vote, electoral officials called for a postponement. Acclaimed novelist, Achebe, articulated Nigeria’s woes in his book, The Trouble with Nigeria. In his judgement: “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership.”The late Afrobeat king, Fela Kuti, described the electorate as “Follow Follow” people. He also admonished his compatriots and Africans in general for being unassertive in the face of rampant systemic corruption, and not questioning their leaders’ flagrant ineptitude and bad governance.
3Amazon is Tapping into E-commerce Customers in Kenya
The e-commerce giant has rolled out a service that will allow customers to purchase goods and then pay for them at a local Western Union retail agent. During checkout, a special QR code will be generated that will be used to verify the customer’s identity and matched to the order confirmation for payment. Dubbed Amazon PayCode, the cross-border payment option has been launched in Kenya in Africa, along with nine other countries in Asia and Latin America. The service’s launch underscores Amazon’s pivot towards e-savvy consumers in Kenya, who are keen on buying things online but might not have access to international credit cards or prefer to buy goods in cash and in their own currency.
SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA
4Africa’s “Smallest War”
A round rock crammed with corrugated metal shacks rises out of Lake Victoria right at the border between Kenya and Uganda. The deep waters that surround it are rich with fish. Fish catches have hugely diminished over the years in the fishing communities around Lake Victoria because of overfishing and an invasion of water hyacinth plants that blocked transport on the lake and access to ports. But increasingly profitable species such as the Nile Perch are still plentiful in the deep waters surrounding Migingo, making the island a valuable and unique fishing hub. Kenyan fishermen began complaining that they were being harassed by the Ugandan forces for reasons that included illegal fishing in Ugandan waters. In response, the Kenyan government deployed marines to Migingo in a move that nearly brought the two nations to blows.
SOURCES: AL JAZEERA
5Rehabilitating Former Boko Haram Members
Many Boko Haram fighters have surrendered in recent months. But Cameroon lacks facilities to rehabilitate them. Soldiers of the Multi National Joint Task Force fighting the Boko Haram insurgency, sing at their base in Mora on Cameroon’s northern border with Nigeria as they train for eventual operations against the terrorist group. At the same base, there are 87 Boko Haram fighters in custody. The fighters were captured a year ago, when they decided to lay down their weapons and be pardoned and rehabilitated as the government of Cameroon had promised. Governor Midjiyawa Bakari of Cameroon’s Far North region said the former fighters will remain at the base until a rehabilitation center is constructed for them.
6Ethiopians Seek Greener Pastures Despite Sweeping Reforms
About 20,000 migrants, mostly from Ethiopia, attempt the journey along this ancient and increasingly deadly route through Yemen’s war zone each month, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).Each migrant making this crossing pays a few hundred dollars.
That’s a fraction of what it can cost to leave Africa via the Mediterranean route — one reason why Ethiopian migrants by the hundreds still attempt this route each night. The distance is another factor: the majority can walk the thousand or so kilometers from their homes in Ethiopia to Obock, the launching point across the strait and toward the Gulf.
7The Most Stable Democracy in West Africa
Senegal is preparing for an election on Sunday with President Macky Sall facing off against four other candidates. Sall is widely expected to win a second term, after the country’s two best-known opposition figures were barred from running because of corruption allegations, in moves critics said represented a worrying crackdown on dissent. At 45 years old, Sonko is the youngest contestant in the race and a newcomer to the political scene. His relative youth plays to his advantage in Senegal, where more than 60 percent of the population is under 25 and anxious for change.
SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA
8Zimbabwe Takes A Hard Look at its Mining Issues
Zimbabwe’s government will review mining legislation to improve safety standards in the industry, after 24 miners died when two gold shafts collapsed. Mines Minister Winston Chitando said “Obviously it is a learning point and we will, as government, have a serious review of this incident and come up with a policy position,” the state-controlled newspaper quoted Chitando as saying. Dozens of miners are still missing after the accident at the mining sites at Battlefields, 170 kilometers (106 miles) west of the capital, Harare, on Feb. 13. Most of Zimbabwe’s gold is produced by small-scale miners, who mainly work in unsafe and disused mines.
9[WATCH] Kenyan Duo Talk About their Skin Condition
Friends Julie Asuju and Wangui Njee talk about their experiences of living with Vitiligo, a long-term condition where pale white patches develop on the skin due to a lack of the pigment melanin. Vitiligo is a rare and misunderstood skin condition, and its sufferers are often stigmatized and isolated. But it has brought these two friends closer together, and helped make them determined to get the most out of life.
10Giving African Basketball Players the “Best Possible Environment”
The National Basketball Association and the International Basketball Federation are to launch a professional league in Africa in January 2020. The Basketball Africa League (BAL) will feature 12 teams from at least six African countries. Fiba secretary general Andreas Zagklis added: “It’s a huge joy to see our partnership with the NBA enter unchartered territory as we work together for the first time to maximise the potential of professional basketball in Africa.”