African Politics and Policy

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News from Africa: the good, the bad and the ugly

News from Africa can only be described by using the title of one of Sergio Leone’s best known movies.

Some news are good and possibily very good: in Mozambique, the government and RENAMO have signed a peace deal, while, according to President Buhari, 5 million Nigerians have been lifted out of poverty in the past three years.

Bad, or indeed tragic, news came from Nigeria, Somalia, and Sudan. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal – a report whose veracity has been forcefully denied by Nigeria authorities- more than 1000 Nigerian soldiers were killed by Boko Haram insurgents and were given undignified burial by the (in)competent authorities. An attack by the Al Shabaab terrorist resulted in the death of the Mayor of Mogadishu, while the protests in Sudan have turned deadly.

If one takes protests and terrorist attacks as a sign of political instability, which is so desperately needed to make progress along the developmental path, then it is clear that the Continent is not on the right track and may not be able to enjoy the kind of economic growth it experienced in previous years.

The worst news of the week come, of course, from the Democratic Republic of Congo. In May 2018, WHO was cautiously optimistic about this outbreak. An experimental treatment was approved,  vaccines were administered, and there was a sense that the outbreak could be brought to an end within six months. A year or so later, the situation is much worse than it was. By May 2018, 27 people had died of Ebola. By October 2018, the number of victim had risen to 125. From then on, the number of victims has increased manyfold and it now stands, in DRC alone, at 1782. Three people also died of Ebola in Uganda, there is a fear that the disease can spread from the eastern part of DRC to the neighbouring countries, and Rwanda has, as a precautionary measure, closed the borders.

In spite of a few good news from the Continent, the overall picture is somewhat grim: diseases, terrorism, violence are not what Africa needs to lift its people out of poverty,

Riccardo Pelizzo

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