[This monthly media roundup addresses significant, non-comprehensive news and updates from/on Sub-Saharan African countries, including additional themes on major powers’ intervention and activities in the continent, recent publications and studies, and other relevant material. Should you have any comments or submissions, please email us at SSAR@Jadaliyya.com.]
Arab League Countries in Africa
COVID-19: The Economic And Social Impact On Ocean Islands (4/20/2020) A survey of the pandemic's impact on island nations like Comoros.
Comoros: Journalist Threatened for Exposing Flaws in Handling of Coronavirus Crisis (4/7/2020) RSF called on Comoros to cease harassing journalist Andjouza Abouheir. She reportedly found the government was manipulating data to claim there had been no COVID-19 cases.
Covid-19: Comoros forces fire teargas at Muslims in mosques (4/26/2020) Comoran forces fired tear gas at Muslims who insisted on going to masjids to pray after the lockdown was instituted by the authorities.
Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, 13 April 2020: COVID-19 — Comoros - Comoros (4/22/2020) The United Nations is cooperating with Comoran authorities even though the island nation has yet to report any cases of COVID-19.
Just 13% of the Population in the Comoros has Access to the Quality Water it Needs (4/22/2020) Comoros has suffered from environmental pressures with a doubling of its population since 1990.
Poaching pressures, economic hope, a parched island: 3 stories you may have missed (4/20/2020) Comoros is suffering from a lack of available water, and climate change only threatens to make the problem worse.
COVID ‘emergency’ on Djibouti base; 17% of carrier crew infected; Army’s DIY masks; Summer deployments announced; And a bit more. (4/24/2020) The US military declared a state of emergency at a military base in Djibouti because of the high rate of infection among personnel living there.
Djibouti expels thousands of Ethiopian migrants (4/25/2020) Djibouti has expelled migrants from Ethiopia, some of whom its officials claim tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Djibouti’s Groupe RTD make Ostinato debut with new LP, The Dancing Devils Of Djibouti (4/23/2020) Djibouti's Groupe RDT is releasing a new album known as the Dancing Devels of Djibouti.
FROM THE FIELD: Migrants use digital ‘fab labs’ to address Djibouti health protection shortages (4/22/2020) Migrants living in Djibouti are making personal protective equipment using fab labs that share hardware and software remotely to provide jobs and reduce shortages.
Getting to Know Djibouti (4/21/2020) An overview of Djibouti and its history since independence in 1977.
Turkey rescues three Greek sailors stranded in Djibouti (4/26/2020) Turkey has helped to assist three Greek sailors who were stranded in Djibouti who were in an age group at risk for coronavirus.
BP hits force majeure brakes at Tortue LNG (4/7/2019) BP PLC is claiming force majeure in cancelling or delaying the Tortue LNG project off the coast of Mauritania.
BP seeking to delay offshore Mauritania FLANG delivery (4/7/2020) BP PLC is trying to delay the delivery of LNG from Mauritania due to oil and gas price fluctuations.
COVID-19: Mauritania becomes virus free (4/21/2020) Mauritanian authorities are now reporting that, at least according to their data, Mauritania is now free of COVID-19.
IMF Executive Board Approves a US$200 Million Disbursement to Mali to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic (4/30/2020) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has disbursed two hundred million dollars to Mali to help it combat the pandemic.
Le ministre de la santé : deux des 4 cas confirmés au covid-19 en voie de guérison (4/15/2020) The Mauritanian health minister has confirmed numerous cases of coronavirus in the country.
Mogadishu Mayor sets up special team to bury Covid19 victims (4/19/2020) Mogadishu Mayor Omar Mohamed announced family members were required to stay at home, and a special team would bury the corpses because of the pandemic.
President Calls on Cessation of Fadhi-gaab hostilities, urges public to comply with doctors’ guidelines (4/19/2020) President Musa Bihi Abdi of Somaliland called for the end of conflict between clans in the Fadhi-Gaab region of Sanaag, due to social distancing requirements. He also urged that religious services be conducted at home.
Ramadan in Somalia: fears coronavirus cases will climb as gatherings continue (4/22/2020) Somalia has significant increase in its COVID-19 infection rates after gatherings were held by citizens during Ramadan.
SNA captures Banduub and Bilane towns from Alshabab (4/19/2020) The Somalia National Army has wrested control of the towns Banduub and Bilane from al-Shabaab.
Op-ed: Sudan’s revolution one year after fall of Al Bashir dictatorship (4/13/2020) An overview of Sudan about a year after the collapse of Bashir's regime. Many of the laws themselves have been changed, but public officials from the regime in many cases remain. The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are more powerful than they were before, despite their involvement in the Darfur genocide.
Sudan coronavirus lockdown: 12 dead, no printed newspapers, doctors stay home (4/21/2020) The newspapers in Sudan have switched to online publishing as the country enters a lockdown. The country has twelve reported cases of coronavirus.
Sudan’s coronavirus cases rise by 140 (4/22/2020) Sudan's number of COVID-19 cases increased rapidly in the days after the disease first appeared in the country.
Sub Saharan African Countries
As the DRC fights disease, the coronavirus threat looms (4/17/2020) There are epidemics of several other diseases ongoing in DRC at the same time as the coronavirus pandemic might affect the country.
DRC: Rangers, civilians killed in attack in Virunga National Park (4/14/2020) A Rwandan militant organization seems to have attacked park rangers in Virunga National Park near the border of the DRC and Rwanda.
IMF Approves US$363.27 Million Disbursement to the Democratic Republic of Congo to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic (4/22/2020) The International Monetary Fund has approved a disbursement of 363.27 million dollars to DRC to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
New Ebola case confirmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (4/10/2020) As the DRC deals with coronavirus, the Ebola outbreak continues, with another person diagnosed with the disease.
Overcrowded DRC prisons 'ticking time-bomb' for COVID-19 pandemic (4/30/2020) The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has prisons that are at over three times their maximum capacity. Inmates thus find it impossible to socially distance themselves due to COVID-19.
The DRC is fighting several killer diseases, including Covid-19 (4/22/2020) The COVID-19 pandemic is not the only disease threatening the DR Congo, with Ebola, polio, and other conditions threatening the population.
Vendors starve as DRC protects rich and powerful from virus (4/30/2020) The DRC has established checkpoints between rich and poor areas. The government is apparently attempting to protect the wealthy from being infected by poor coronavirus patients.
COVID-19 Supplies From Alibaba Never Reached Eritrea (4/6/2020) Chinese billionaire Jack Ma promised relief supplies to Africa but there were none that had reached Eritrea according to the African Centers for Disease Control.
Eritrea must free political prisoners and low-risk offenders to reduce COVID-19 threat in crowded jails, says UN expert - Eritrea (4/30/2020) UN Special Rapporteurs urged Eritrea to release three categories of inmates from its prisons due to COVID-19: political prisoners, the elderly, and the those with underlying health conditions.
Eritrean gov't behind the closure of refugee camp in Tigray,say refugees (4/17/2020) Eritrean refugees accuse the Ethiopian government of closing a large refugee camp in Hitsats with over thirteen thousand refugees residing there.
Ethiopia and Eritrea: A wedding, birth and baptism at the border (4/30/2020) The border regions dividing Ethiopia and Eritrea have become revitalized as a result of the peace agreement signed between the two countries.
Ethiopia moves to close Eritrean refugee camp despite virus fears (4/16/2020) Eritrea is expelling refugees from Ethiopia, despite Human Rights Watch saying that they are running the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
Ethiopia Denying Entry to Eritrean Migrants (4/24/2020) Ethiopia is now trying to stop new refugees from entering its territory from Eritrea. Eritrean refugees say that the decision was made due to political reasons.
Ethiopia: Unaccompanied Eritrean Children at Risk (4/21/2020) Eritrea has a significant number of children fleeing to Ethiopia without their parents. UNHCR cites these children as particularly vulnerable.
Ethiopian forces occupy parts of Sudan border zone (4/27/2020) The Sudanese Sovereignty Council chairman said that Ethiopia has illegally captured territory along the border of the two countries.
Polish Scientists Discover 1,000-Year-Old Church Walls in Ethiopia (4/27/2020) A Polish team working in Ethiopia used a drone to locate the walls of a thousand-year-old church.
Ghana Is the First African Country to Ease Coronavirus Lockdowns. Was It Too Soon? (4/24/2020) Ghana was one of the earliest African nations to reduce the movement restrictions during the pandemic. This move will be closely observed by Ghana's neighbors as they try to balance public health with reopening their economies.
Ghana coronavirus: face masks made compulsory in capital Accra (4/23/2020) Ghana has mandated that its citizens wear face masks, although it appears to have a higher rate of infection and lower rate of recovery than its neighbors.
Ghana lifts lockdown, citing improved testing and 'severe' impact on the poor (4/20/2020) Ghana has decided to end its lockdown measures because of the economic impact on the country's poorest citizens, even as they were maintaining existing social distancing measures.
Speedy drones are helping Ghana test for the novel coronavirus (4/23/2020) Ghana is using drones to test its population for COVID-19. The drones collect samples and return them to the evaluation point.
COVID-19: Kenya bans travel in and out of Nairobi, other areas (4/6/2020) Kenya is prohibiting movement in and outside of the capital of Nairobi and Mombasa along the coast for three weeks as an anti-pandemic measure.
Coronavirus: Food distribution sparks stampede in Kenya (4/10/2020) In Nairobi, people have been fighting violently over food being distributed after the lockdown began.
Kenya: Police Brutality During Curfew (4/22/2020) Human Rights Watch discusses how police have killed eight people in violent incidents since the start of lockdowns in Kenya.
The East African (4/16/2020) President Kenyatta of Kenya announced there are approximately 234 confirmed cases in the country.
Two new generations of locusts are set to descend on East Africa again—400 times stronger (4/10/2020) African locusts have become more aggressive in recent years, with rainstorms in 2018 causing the insects to breed by several times their normal rate.
Coronavirus - Mali: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) working with Mali Ministry of Health (MoH) in treating COVID-19 patients in Bamako (4/17/2020) Doctors without Borders (MSF) is working with Malian health care workers to help treat COVID-19 infections. The MSF doctors want to improve care for patients affected by the disease.
Desert sells Mali gold project to Indigo (4/14/2020) Indigo Exploration (TSX Venture Exchange: IXI) has agreed to purchase the Djimbala Permit from Desert Gold Vensures (TSX Venture Exchange: DAU) in the form of an option agreement. Indigo may end up acquiring one hundred percent of the mining permit, with two percent of the royalties going to Desert Gold Ventures.
In fighting slavery in Mali, some favour dialogue, others confrontation. (4/8/2020) Antislavery activists in Mali differ amongst themselves in their approaches to eliminating the institution which still persists in their country.
Mali: UN mission fulfills mandate, aids battle against coronavirus (4/7/2020) The United Nations said its stabilization mission in Mali is continuing to fulfil its objectives, despite the coronavirus outbreak.
Midterm report of the Panel of Experts on Mali (S/2020/158/Rev.1) - Mali (4/19/2020) The government of Mali appears to have cancelled a meeting with the CMA, and is not applying sanctions equitably to several officials who have been sanctioned with asset freezes.
Polls close in Mali election held despite threats of violence (4/18/2020) Mali is holding its first parliamentary elections in since 2013, although violence and pandemic remain threats to a credible election.
Why Mali Needs a New Peace Deal (4/15/2020) The 2015 peace agreement is not working according to the author. He believes the agreement needs to be replaced with a new one.
IMF Executive Board Approves US$309 Million in Emergency Assistance to Mozambique to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic (4/24/2020) The International Monetary Fund authorized the disbursement of 309 million dollars to Mozambique as the country grapples with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Islamist group kills 52 in 'cruel and diabolical' Mozambique massacre (4/22/2020) An Islamist group in northern Mozambique killed fifty-two people indiscriminately, including twenty to thirty members of the Malian security forces.
Mozambique admits presence of ISIL-affiliated fighters (4/15/2020) Mozambique admitted that there were ISIS affiliated fighters present in its territory, primarily operating in the Cabo del Gado region.
Nigeria: Buhari May End or Extend Lockdown On Abuja, Lagos, Ogun - Boss Mustapha (4/7/2020) Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is considering whether or not he needs to extend the lockdown in the capital city of Lagos, as well as Lagos and Ogun states.
Nigeria: Protect Most Vulnerable in COVID-19 Response (4/14/2020) Human Rights Watch said that the economic policies undertaken by the Nigerian government may be insufficient to help the poor cope with the implications of the pandemic.
Nigerian president's top aide dies of coronavirus: Presidency (4/18/2020) Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari lost his chief of staff to the coronavirus.
Will Nigeria's Lockdown Be Extended as COVID-19 Cases Rise? (4/8/2020) Osun State in Nigeria may extend its lockdown beyond the originally scheduled period, according to the governor of the state.
Officials find mass grave in Rwanda linked to 1994 genocide (4/6/2020) Rwandan officials say they have found the graves of people who were killed during the 1994 genocide, when members of the Tutsi minority were killed. The Twa were also killed during the genocide.
Officials find mass grave in Rwanda linked to 1994 genocide (4/6/2020) The remains of perhaps thirty thousand genocide victims have been found in Rwanda, said authorities.
Rwanda Genocide grave found (4/9/2020) A mass grave from the genocide has been found in Rwanda.
Rwandans mark genocide anniversary under nationwide lockdown (4/7/2020) Rwandans said they were unable to honor the victims of the genocide due to the lockdown from the pandemic.
Google Doodle for Freedom Day pulled, 'deeply sorry' (4/28/2020) Google removed a doodle about South African Freedom Day after users said that it was offensive.
Lockdown | Stick to the rules or risk losing more money - Dlamini-Zuma warns businesses (4/30/2020) The South African health minister said that businesses that do not comply with the rules after the country starts to normalize its economy will face fines for noncompliance.
SA risks losing 7 million jobs, reaching over 50% unemployment: Treasury's grim worst-case scenario (4/30/2020) South Africa is facing an economic calamity as a result of the pandemic, with unemployment potentially above fifty percent.
South Africa records biggest daily rise in coronavirus cases (4/29/2020) As of 29 April 2020, South Africa recorded a significant jump in the number of COVID-19 cases bringing the total to 5350, or 354 in a daily cycle.
South Sudan records increase in executions in 2019: Amnesty (4/21/2020) South Sudan's execution rate increased in 2019, according to Amnesty International. There were six people executed in Juba and one in Wao.
Sudan anti-graft authority seizes 390 plots of prime Khartoum real estate (4/19/2020) Sudan's new anti-corruption committee has seized the properties of numerous former Bashir officials and their associates. The ACC has taken possession of 390 properties in the many of Khartoum's most prestigious neighborhoods.
Sudan timeline Jan-March 2020: Little relief to the country’s economic, security woes (4/24/2020) Sudanese peace talks have made progress, but opponents of the former Bashir regime allege that there were significant numbers of former regime officials still involved in the government.
The East African (4/18/2020) South Sudan had avoided the coronavirus for a significant period of time. Vice President Dr. Riek Machar agreed with the measures taken, even though he was until recently in a rebellion.
COVID-19: Driver from Tanzania traced (4/18/2020) Ugandan authorities have found the missing truck driver from Tanzania who entered the country after testing positive. He was not identified because the type of vehicle was a Toyota Land Cruiser not a truck.
PML Daily CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Uganda searches for Tanzanian truck driver who tested positive for coronavirus to repatriate him (4/18/2020) Uganda is searching for a truck driver who tested positive for coronavirus after he was mistakenly allowed into the country after a test was misplaced. The driver will be sent back to Tanzania to be treated in their facilities, meaning the level of cases is the same at fifty-five.
Tanzania Covid-19 cases jump by 29 (4/16/2020) Tanzanian Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu announced the number of confirmed cases at eighty-eight on 16 April 2020.
Australian mining executive allowed to leave Zambia after being detained at airport (4/21/2020) Nathan Bullock, a high-ranking executive at Mopani Copper Mines, has been allowed to leave Zambia after a dispute. Mopani majority owner Glencore PLC wants to temporarily close the mines as a COVID-19 prevention measure. The government wants the mines to stay open to provide revenue. The two sides reached an agreement to leave the mines running for a further ninety days.
Changala wonders where president Lungu has disappeared to (4/13/2020) Zambian President Edgar Lungu has not been seen in public for a significant amount of time, leading to speculation about his health during a pandemic.
Coronavirus claims 19 year old, as Zambia records 4 new cases (4/19/2020) A young woman who attempted to kill herself before she could be tested for COVID-19 has died. This was one of four positive cases identified in Zambia at this point.
Kitwe mayor suspended for refusing to parade himself for First Lady (4/22/2020) Kitwe Mayor Christopher Kang'ombe was suspended in Zambia after he failed to applaud for the first lady after being called upon to do so several times.
Lusaka City Council explains how to obtain permit to worship (4/28/2020) Zambian officials have posted guidelines online about how places of worship can get permits to host services.
Was it Covid-19 or poison that killed the 19-yeah old girl? (4/22/2020) A young woman has died in Zambia under disputed circumstances. Her family claims it happened after she fought with her boyfriend, but the authorities claim it was the coronavirus.
Zambia cancels broadcaster Prime TV’s license, police shutter office (4/13/2020) Zambia has decided to revoke the broadcasting license of Prime TV. It had been the subject of a complaint by the country's ruling party last year. The Committee to Protect Journalists is calling for its reinstatement.
Zambian authorities prepare for lockdown of selected parts of Lusaka as covid 19 cases steadily increase (4/18/2020) Zambia has suffered from a number of COVID-19 cases, causing the authorities there to prepare to impose a lockdown on certain heavily affected regions.
'This is not an appeal to lift sanctions': Masiyiwa pleads for Zimbabwe coronavirus fund (4/30/2020) Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa has urged the World Bank and IMF to provide assistance to his country, which he clarified was not related to any attempt to lift sanctions.
Virus takes cheer out of Zimbabwe independence celebration (4/19/2020) Zimbabwe had an independence celebration COVID-19 style with no rallies, only a presidential address. President Mnangawa praised the efforts of health authorities to reduce the spread of the virus.
Zimbabwe faces malaria outbreak as it locks down to counter coronavirus (4/21/2020) Zimbabwe is fighting on multiple fronts as malaria threatens a health system already overstretched by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zimbabwe firms warn against lockdown extension (4/18/2020) Zimbabwe has panned plans by private firms to remain closed after the formal end of the lockdown.
“It’s lucrative”: Zimbabwe’s farmers turn to social media to stop the rot (4/30/2020) Zimbabwe's farmers have taken advantage of the lockdown to be able to sell their produce online.
Arts and Culture
Africa: 'One World: Together At Home' Global Special (4/18/2020) The World Health Organization (WHO) sponsored a telethon special on several channels and streaming platforms held on 18 April 2020.
The East African (4/19/2020) Refugees who have been separated for a long time by the Rwandan genocide are finding their lost relatives and cultural roots.
Wildlife Photographer and Bon Vivant Peter Beard Has Been Found Dead at Age 82, Three Weeks After Disappearing in Montauk (4/30/2020) Peter Beard, a wildlife photographer with extensive work in Africa, has died at the age of eighty-two. He was found after being missing for nineteen days in the woods. It is not known if the coronavirus contributed to his death.
Books on Africa(n) Countries
DiCarlo to UN Security Council: ‘We must do everything we can to support Sudan’ (4/24/2020) A senior US official urged the Security Council to support Sudan, which has a significant population needing humanitarian assistance.
Problem Plants and Alien Weeds of southern Africa, 2014, Revised Fourth Edition, Clive Bromilow, Briza Publications Pretoria, South Africa. Hard Cover with 464 pages, ISBN 978-1-920217-83-9, Website: (4/10/2020) A review of a book discussing the significant problems caused by invasive or unwanted weed species in South Africa's agricultural regions. The book also includes information about the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa.
China, the US, Russia and Other Countries "In" Africa
American Express says no current plans to enter Sudanese market (4/22/2020) American Express does not intend to enter Sudan, although there may be other companies that have started operating there after sanctions were lifted.
For the US, there is a global power competition (4/10/2020) The United States has been encouraging American business to invest in Africa, according to the assistant secretary of state for Africa.
How US troops survived a little-known al-Qaeda raid in Mali two years ago (4/16/2020) The account of how American forces in Mali escaped a raid by al-Qa‘ida affiliates.
Nigeria: Govt Asks Nigerians in UK to Undergo '£350 COVID-19 Test' Before Evacuation (4/7/2020) The Nigerians in Diaspora committee has expressed discontent at the government for requiring Nigerians resident in the United Kingdom to take a test before they can get evacuated home back to Nigeria.
U.S. Airstrikes Hit All-Time High as Coronavirus Spreads in Somalia (4/22/2020) The US Africa Command has significantly stepped up operations in the first few months of the year.
Reports, Studies, Research on Africa(n) Countries
A successful hybrid emergency medicine postgraduate partnership in Southern Africa (4/16/2020) Ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic hospitals and university programs in Sub-Saharan Africa are developing partnerships to combat the pandemic.
Africa Elections: All the upcoming votes (4/1/2020) Not specified
Coronavirus in Africa Tracker: How many covid-19 cases & where? [Latest] (4/5/2020) A description on African Arguments about the spread of the COVID-19 virus across Africa.
Female genital mutilation in Africa: Scoping the landscape of evidence (4/15/2020) This is an academic study that is extremely timely in its focus on the South African emergency response protocols.