Africa Top10 News

1Celebrating Africa’s Conservationist Activists

Jenerik Lekilelei

Jenerik Lekilelei, a Samburu warrior from Kenya, has been shortlisted for the Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa in the category which highlights pioneering individuals who are coming up as leading conservationists. Lekilelei has been recognized for his work with a non-governmental organisation, Ewaso Lions, where he is the director of Community Conservation. Lekilelei mentors a new generation of conservationists and leads a programme, dubbed Warrior Watch, which converts young men who once killed lions into ambassadors for the species. Lekilelei’s Samburu tribe is a pastoralist community in northern Kenya where young men traditionally hunt lions to prove their bravery. Having grown up as a livestock herder, Lekilelei admits that lions were constantly viewed as an enemy. However, his perspective changed upon joining the NGO allowing him to appreciate the value of the species, whose numbers have been in decline in years. He also realised that humans hold the key to the survival of the big cats.


2Migrants take Desperate Measures to Get into Europe

African Migrants

An African man has been found crammed behind the glove box of a car in a bid to get to Europe — one of four people spotted in vehicles on the same day by authorities in Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla, in north Africa. Three people — including a 15-year-old girl — were found in separate cars at the Beni-Enzar border between Morocco and Melilla on May 24. An African migrant squeezed inside a compartment built behind a car dashboard. Two hid in special compartments behind the dashboard and a third was under a rear seat, images taken by Spain’s Civil Guard show. Two were treated by medics for asphyxia, disorientation and joint pain. A fourth person was also found on May 24 under a truck in the Melilla port. In recent years, thousands of migrants seeking a better life in Europe have tried to enter Spain via its two enclaves in north Africa, Melilla and Ceuta — with some scaling huge fences topped by razor wire.


3Where Africa Stands on this Trump and Huawei Issue

Trump and Huawei Issue

The US ban on Huawei, the Chinese telecommunication giant, introduced uncertainty that should force consumers to attempt to diversify their products—an option that is not currently available to the average African government. This forces African states into a choice they have not sought and would rather not make, since Huawei is the singular dominant player in the construction of telecommunications backbone across the continent. Up to 70% of the continent’s IT spine is built by Huawei with a combination of Chinese grants and loans. Africa is still a continent where 19th, 20th and 21st century institutions, infrastructure and technologies exist side-by-side. In countries like Liberia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Central Africa Republic, South Sudan, and even whole swathes of Nigeria, the overriding concern is not the potential of a devastating attack on critical IT infrastructure by an adversary who gained an advantage by building our systems. The concern is more prosaic—basic connectivity. It is about connecting each country to the internet in a way that is adequate, dependable and affordable. Africa’s strategic interests lie in a direction opposite to the US position on Huawei and with no like-for-like alternative from the West, it should be no surprise that when the internet fragments, as many are predicting it might, that cost will play a dominant role in what side Africa chooses.


4Innovation will be Key in Transforming the Continent’s Urban Areas

Africas Urban Areas

Some 3,000 delegates, including four presidents, cabinet ministers, urban planners and population experts are attending the United Nations Habitat Assembly meeting this week in Nairobi. They are seeking better urban and sustainable planning to deal with rising populations as well the effects of climate change. At the inaugural U.N Habitat Assembly, delegates will put their heads together hoping to find solutions to make big cities more habitable. For Africa, urgent solutions are needed as the United Nations estimates nearly half of the continent’s populations live in slums. At the end of the five day summit, delegates plan to come up with a ministerial declaration with proposals on how to make cities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by 2030.


5Review: Youssou N’Dour’s Mastery of Multiple Styles and Languages

Youssou N’Dour

Aside from his sublime voice and onstage charisma, Senegal’s premier star has always been a musical innovator, fusing tradition and modernity. His early records mixed Cuban pop with Senegal’s mbalax heritage, while his rise to global superstar saw him weave together Africa and western pop – 1994’s hit Seven Seconds, with Neneh Cherry, remains an enduring cross-cultural gem. History, his first album in four years, has recast some old favourites, used material from the late Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olatunji, and offered a tribute to another fallen comrade, Habib Faye, which opens the set with a supple inviting groove. Two old numbers are reworked with young stars aboard. N’Dour recasts Birima, a tribute to Africa, with Sweden’s Seinabo Sey, and Hello, with Congolese singer Mohombi, as arena-sized crowd pleasers – the latter is already a breakout global hit. A brace from 1989’s Set, an abiding favourite back home, evoke N’Dour’s mbalax roots, with Salimata blessed by slinky saxophone. N’Dour sings with accustomed majesty throughout; sometimes commanding, sometimes anguished, an always urgent force of nature.


6Africa-focused Private Equity Firm Goes Big

Africa-focused Private Equity

Helios Investment Partners LLP plans to raise a fund of about $1.25 billion to invest across the continent. The London-based company, led by Tope Lawani and Babatunde Soyoye, is in talks with asset managers and development agencies about what would be its largest private equity fund for African investments, the people said, asking not to be named because the discussions are private. Helios could start the fund this year, but is no rush to do so, the company, which manages about $3.6 billion, closed a $1.1 billion Africa-focused fund in 2015 after exceeding a $1 billion target. Yet, foreign interest in Africa has been fickle. New York-based Blackstone Group LP is scaling back in Africa after less than five years and Bob Diamond, the former Barclays Plc chief, is turning his attention elsewhere after struggling to get his banking venture off the ground.


7African Techhies Promote Gaming for Social Good

African Techhies

As a Sudanese refugee living in Uganda, Lual Mayen used to walk three hours just so he could charge his laptop computer and play video games. Now, as the founder and CEO of Junub Games, he is winning awards and partnering with other developers to create games with a social impact. Mayen, of course, is not alone in this pursuit. As the gaming industry continues to grow, many other civic-minded gamers are working to educate players about humanitarian issues, from the plight of refugees and migrants to the horrors of war. Games for Change, for example, is a nonprofit that brings together game creators and social innovators. The organisation hosts an annual festival to help incubate game ideas that can impact a range of social causes. Similarly, the GameDev.World event aims to increase diversity within the industry by hosting game designers from developing nations.


8Growing a New Generation of Trees

New Generation of Trees

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has kicked off what is meant to be a mission to plant four billion trees across the country – Africa’s second most populous nation. The initiative which is under the banner of the National Green Development program is set to started during the rainy season. “Over the past years Ethiopia’s forest coverage has decreased (in recent years) and the initiative is set mobilize national reforestation at 40 trees per head,” the PM’s office said in a social media post. Abiy held discussions with the National Agri Transformation leaders in Adama city, in his home region of Oromia. He tasked participants – which included most high-profile government officials – on their role and responsibilities in modernizing the sector. Ethiopia has in recent years have suffered from the negative impact of climate change especially in relation to droughts in parts of the country. Reports indicate that in 2017, over 2 million animals died in Ethiopia due to drought because of the scarcity of rainfall.


9London Streets Hostile for African Migrant Communities

African Migrant Communities

Hundreds of British teenagers are being sent by their parents to East Africa to avoid knife crime in the UK. Of the 100 people stabbed to death in the UK so far this year, 8% were of Somali heritage, according to the Rise Projects which works with young British Somalis in north London. Jamal Hassan mentors young men in London, many from Somali families. He explains parents “want to protect that child by all means necessary”. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all travel to Somalia, including Somaliland, and highlights a heightened threat of terrorism and kidnappings, across Kenya. But Amina sent her 15-year-old son to Somaliland, when she was worried about the new friends with whom he was mixing. In his year there, she says he became a studious child again. He had even wanted to stay in East Africa. But within 17 days of being brought back to the UK in November 2018, he was stabbed four times. The new mayor for Islington, Rakhia Ismail – a mother of four who came to London from Somalia as a refugee – believes that some areas of the city are unsafe for young people.


10Aviation History As 20 South African Teens Tackle Cape To Cairo

Aviation History

An epic adventure, an aviation challenge, youth inspiration, promoting and supporting innovation, technology and entrepreneurship are all the key drivers combined for Africa’s development and transformation as twenty South African teenagers embark on a Cape – Cairo and back excursion in a self-assembled Sling-4 aircraft that uses ordinary motor fuel  and was built in three weeks! The excursion, earmarked to start in June 2019, will see different teams of the twenty teenagers pilot and charter a course that will cut across several African cities and towns spreading the key messages of an African narrative that started as a dream. Using specially modified, self-made drones, the Challenge will be documented on video as some of the teenagers fly alongside adult supervisors who will use a second Sling-4 aircraft for support to monitor proceedings. Six teenage pilots will take turns to fly the self-assembled plane as the Challenge moves from country to country.