These are key developments across Africa this week worthy of note.
DR Congo: Demand for clean-energy metals spawns killing fields
The growing global demand for clean energy is taking its toll in the Democratic Republic of Congo where communities are being evicted from homes and farmland, and people killed, to make way for multinationals scrambling for copper and cobalt mines, according to a report by Amnesty International.
“The forced evictions taking place as companies seek to expand industrial-scale copper and cobalt mining projects are wrecking lives and must stop now,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General in the September 12 report. In some cases, entire villages are being sacked, said the report.
The report provides more detail on what was always known and suspected about some of the violence that has wracked the Central African country, which has one of the richest reserves globally of the minerals vital to battery technology, including 70 percent of known reserves of cobalt. Amnesty researchers working with a local organization interviewed more than 130 people working in six mining sites around the southern town of Kolwezi. They reviewed documents and contracts and matched the locations with satellite images and photographs before reaching their conclusions.
“We found repeated breaches of legal safeguards prescribed in international human rights law and standards, and national legislation, as well as blatant disregard for the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,” the researchers said in the report.
Amnesty International notes the historical exploitation the people of Congo have been forced to endure going back to colonial occupation.
“The people of the DRC experienced significant exploitation and abuse during the colonial and post-colonial era, and their rights are still being sacrificed as the wealth around them is stripped away,” the rights group said.
Libya disaster underscores post-Gadaffi unravelling
North Africa was visited with its second disaster in as many weeks, moving from an earthquake in Morocco to a flood that washed away thousands of people in Libya after two Ill-maintained dams collapsed in the coastal city of Derna.
Years of a power struggle by rival claimants following Muammar Gaddafi’s 2011 demise have meant that many of the big infrastructure projects initiated during his time aren’t getting due maintenance. And so it was with two dams that collapsed outside the city of about 100,000 people built in Gaddafi’s hey days..
There are reports that locals had reported cracks on the damn walls weeks before the collapse, but nothing was done about them.
The aftermath of Gaddafi’s fall has continued to be felt both within and outside Libya’s borders. In West and Central Africa, looted weapons from Libyan armouries have helped to keep several insurgencies going, including Islamists threatening several countries in West Africa bordering the Sahara Desert.
Nigeria: Tinubu names his man for central bank
At last, Nigerian President Bolaett Tinubu has named his nominee for Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. He is Olayemi Cardoso (better known as Yemi Cardoso), a former chairman of CitiBank Nigeria and most importantly a Tinubu man.
When approved by the Senate, he will take over from Folashodun Shonubi who stepped in as acting governor after the former Governor Godwin Emefiele was suspended and taken into custody by the state security police on June 9.
Along with Finance Minister Wale Edun, Cardoso completes a tag team of Tinubu’s closest economic advisers. While Tinubu reigned as the governor of Lagos, Nigeria’s richest state, between 1999 and 2007, Edun was in charge of finance while Cardoso oversaw budget and economic planning.
In other words, both men have worked closely with Tinubu for a long time and are in the best position to understand his economic thinking. In practical terms, it might mean that the lethargy that characterized the Muhammadu Buhari years may be dispensed with and real deal-making is probably on the way back.
Cardoso was nominated along with four others who will fill the deputy governor position and contribute to vital policy decisions. It’s a dispensation that is likely to favour private investors given their track record that favours public-private sector initiatives to tackle anything from Nigeria’s infrastructure problems to oil and gas, power and a bourgeoning technology sector. The key mandate articulated in the official statement announcing the nomination is to “enhance the confidence of Nigerians and international partners in the restructuring of the Nigerian economy toward sustainable growth and prosperity for all.”
Yet questions linger about the circumstances surrounding the removal of Emefiele. Under the law, the central bank governor can only be removed from office with the approval of two-thirds of the Senate. In this case, it wasn’t done and it’s the reason the removal was technically coded as a “suspension” to skirt around the requirements of the law.
The precedence came from Lamido Sanusi’s removal as central bank governor in 2014 by then-President Goodluck Jonathan. In that case, Sarah Alade, a deputy governor, was allowed to take charge until Sanusi’s tenure lapsed before Emefiele was nominated.
In the current case, Shonubi will be replaced by a substantive governor even when Emefiele’s tenure hasn’t legally ended according to constitutional provisions. These are among the issues likely to be raised by, at least, opposition senators during the confirmation hearings.
Ethiopia says completed filling controversial dam reservoirs
Ethiopia said it completed the fourth and final phase of filling the reservoirs of its controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam built on one of the sources of the Nile River.
The project had elicited vehement opposition from Egypt, where the river has been central to agriculture from ancient times, and Sudan, where the Blue and White Niles meet before continuing the journey to the Mediterranean Sea.
“Our national perseverance against all odds has delivered,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said in a post on X (formerly Twitter) announcing the milestone.
The contending countries announced after a meeting in July that they intended to reach a final settlement on their differences within months.
Construction of the dam began in 2011 at an estimated cost of US $4.6 billion. On completion, it was expected to generate as much as 6,000 megawatts of hydropower.
- Ghana’s August inflation rate slowed down to 40.1 percent in August, the lowest in 10 months.
- Angola’s August inflation rate at 13.5 percent in August was rising for the fourth straight month.
- August consumer-price index was at 4.7 percent in Namibia, 28.2 percent in Ethiopia and 5.3 percent in Senegal.
- Ghana to release second-quarter economic data.
- South Africa to release August inflation figures.
- Namibia to announce second-quarter GDP data.
- Central bank monetary committees in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Eswatini to announce interest-rate decisions.
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