When William Ruto was sworn in as Kenya’s fifth president in September 2022, he used his inauguration speech to demand an end to humanity’s “addiction to fossil fuels” and reaffirmed Kenya’s commitment to reach 100% clean energy by 2030. Kenya is not far off this target today. In 2021, 81% of Kenya’s electricity generation came from the low carbon sources of geothermal, hydro, wind, and solar power. Over half of this low carbon electricity came from geothermal energy, which Kenya has in abundance. So much in fact, that excess geothermal energy is released during the night when electricity demand is low. Installed geothermal capacity in Kenya could be increased by at least eightfold, which could open opportunities for scaling up green manufacturing capacity or exporting excess electricity to neighbouring countries.
Soon after arriving in Oslo, my taxi zigzagged through the city’s well-organized streets and state-of-the-art infrastructure. Large billboards advertised the world’s leading brands in fashion, cars, and perfumes. Yet, amid all the expressions of wealth and plenty, an electronic sign by a bus stop flashed the images of poor-looking African children needing help. Over the years, Norway has served as a relatively good model of meaningful humanitarian and medical aid. This is especially true compared to other self-serving western countries, where aid is often linked to direct political and military interests. Still, the public humiliation of poor, hungry and diseased Africa is still disquieting. The same images and TV ads are omnipresent everywhere in the West.
Independent journalist Siddharthya Roy, who is reporting from Bali, talks to NewsClick’s Prabir Purkayastha about the upcoming two-day summit of the G20. They discuss the communications breakdown that characterizes the meeting and how the Ukraine war has become the sole agenda item. They point out that these developments cast doubts on the very relevance of the G20 and mark a return of the G7 calling the shots. They also discuss how vital issues such as the African Union’s claim to a seat at the table have been cast aside in the mission to isolate Russia.
On 17 October, the head of US Africa Command (AFRICOM), US Marine Corps General Michael Langley visited Morocco. Langley met with senior Moroccan military leaders, including Inspector General of the Moroccan Armed Forces Belkhir El Farouk. Since 2004, AFRICOM has held its ‘largest and premier annual exercise’, African Lion, partly on Moroccan soil. This past June, ten countries participated in the African Lion 2022, with observers from Israel (for the first time) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Langley’s visit is part of a broader US push onto the African continent, which we documented in our dossier no. 42 (July 2021), Defending Our Sovereignty: US Military Bases in Africa and the Future of African Unity, a joint publication with The Socialist Movement of Ghana’s Research Group.
On October 31st, thousands of Congolese in Goma, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu Province, protested the war of aggression waged by Rwanda and Uganda’s M23 militia, which has reportedly tightened its grip on surrounding countryside. One sign read “Rwanda and Ouganda Is Killing in DR Congo,” and Congolese activists are using the hashtag #RwandaIsKilling. Mambo Kawaya, a civil society representative, told AFP, “We denounce the hypocrisy of the international community in the face of Rwanda’s aggression.” Nowhere is this hypocrisy more vivid than in the contrast between the US/Canadian/EU engagement in the Ethiopian and Congolese conflicts. As Ethiopia nears victory in its war with the US-backed, insurrectionist Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), huge crowds of Ethiopians have taken to the streets to protest US intervention and demand respect for Ethiopian sovereignty.
In the Republic of Sudan since December 2018, mass demonstrations and civil unrest has wracked the country which is a gateway between northern, central and east Africa. During April 2019, due to the uncertainty caused by the mass demonstrations, strikes and rebellions, the former administration of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was overthrown by a group of high-ranking military officers. Just two months later, as thousands of youth and workers occupied Khartoum in the area near the ministry of defense, the protesters were attacked leaving many dead and even more injured. The most recent military coup grew out of the failure of a African Union (AU) brokered peace agreement to establish a transitional regime which would after more than three years result in the election of a civilian government.
Ten years ago, I embarked on a quest to answer that question at TomDispatch, chronicling a growing American military presence on that continent, a build-up of both logistical capabilities and outposts, and the possibility that far more was occurring out of sight. “Keep your eye on Africa,” I concluded. “The U.S. military is going to make news there for years to come.” I knew I had a story when U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) failed to answer basic questions honestly. And the command’s reaction to the article told me that I also had a new beat. Not long after publication, AFRICOM wrote a letter of complaint to my editor, Tom Engelhardt, attempting to discredit my investigation. (I responded point by point in a follow-up piece.)
The moment that Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba was ousted by his own former military colleague, Captain Ibrahim Traore, pro-coup crowds filled the streets. Some burned French flags, others carried Russian flags. This scene alone represents the current tussle underway throughout the African continent. A few years ago, the discussion regarding the geopolitical shifts in Africa was not exactly concerned with France and Russia per se. It focused mostly on China’s growing economic role and political partnerships on the African continent. For example, Beijing’s decision to establish its first overseas military base in Djibouti in 2017 signaled China’s major geopolitical move, by translating its economic influence in the region to political influence, backed by military presence.
On 30 September 2022, Captain Ibrahim Traoré led a section of the Burkina Faso military to depose Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who had seized power in a coup d’état in January. The second coup was swift, with brief clashes in Burkina Faso’s capital of Ouagadougou at the president’s residence, Kosyam Palace, and at Camp Baba Sy, the military administration’s headquarters. Captain Kiswendsida Farouk Azaria Sorgho declared on Radiodiffusion Télévision du Burkina (RTB), the national broadcast, that his fellow captain, Traoré, was now the head of state and the armed forces. ‘Things are gradually returning to order’, he said as Damiba went into exile in Togo. This coup is not a coup against the ruling order, a military platform called the Patriotic Movement for Safeguarding and Restoration (MPSR); instead, it stems from young captains within the MPSR.
African nations are preparing for the United Nations Climate Conference (COP27) scheduled to take place in the Egyptian resort area of Sharm-el-Sheikh from November 6-20. This gathering is taking place during a period of rising uncertainty due to burgeoning food deficits along with the crisis of accumulation and distribution related to agricultural products in general. Energy costs have skyrocketed due to several important factors including the Pentagon-NATO war in Ukraine; the failure of the United States government to curtail inflation through price controls utilizing higher taxation rates against corporations; and the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which disrupted production and supply chains internationally. The last quarter of 2022 will be marked by increased military spending and a further decline in investor confidence due to the overall downturn within stock markets around the world.
October 1, 2022 is the 14th anniversary of the launch of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). Yet, jihadist terrorist violence on the African continent has increased since the founding of AFRICOM and NATO’s destruction of Libya resulting in civilian casualties and instability, which the West has used as pretext and justification for the continued need for AFRICOM. Since its founding, coups carried out by AFRICOM-trained soldiers have also increased. That is why the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) is organizing an International Month of Action Against AFRICOM in October. This is an effort to raise the public's awareness about how the presence of U.S. military forces exacerbates violence and instability throughout the continent.
Industrial palm oil production in West and Central Africa is mainly controlled by five companies: Socfin, Wilmar, Olam, Siat, and Straight KKM (former Feronia). These multinationals control an estimated 67 per cent of the industrial oil palm planted area with foreign investment and may drive continuous expansion. (1) Their established industrial plantations have been linked to numerous impacts on the populations and territories. The impact on water availability for communities that live in and around industrial oil palm plantations is systematic and dramatic. This is becoming increasingly evident with the many community reports of water scarcity and water pollution. Industrial plantations often lead to loss of lakes, springs or streams, directly affecting the livelihoods and wellbeing of communities.
After W.E.B. Du Bois and others made polite requests to convene a Pan-African Congress in Paris in 1919, French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau gave no immediate response, but ultimately told the organizers: “Don’t advertise it but go ahead.” Fifty-seven delegates representing nine African countries, the U.S. and the Caribbean attended in their finery, sat around long green tables, and with the objective of transferring control of Africa from colonizers to the League of Nations hammered out a series of resolutions. One that addressed the most critical of issues – land, stated in part: “[T]he land and its natural resources shall be held in trust for the natives and at all times they shall have effective ownership of as much land as they can profitably develop.”
Ethiopian diaspora across the Western world is condemning the US and the EU for “emboldening” the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) which resumed the war in the northern part of the country on August 24, ending the truce initiated by the federal government in March. “Deploring the International community, in particular the UN, United States and the EU Member states, for their continued sympathy” towards the TPLF, the Ethiopian Advocacy Organizations Worldwide (EAOW) passed a resolution on Friday, September 2. The EAOW, a consortium of 18 organizations representing Ethiopian nationals in the US, Canada, UK, South Africa, and 11 European countries, condemned the TPLF’s alleged systematic large-scale forced conscriptions – including of child soldiers – in the northernmost State of Tigray.
A recent gathering of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has expressed its displeasure with recent legislation making its way through the United States Congress which is aimed at punishing the continent for its diplomatic and trade relations with the Russian Federation. This event was convened under the theme of “Promoting Industrialization through, Agro-Processing, Mineral Beneficiation, and Regional Value Chains for Inclusive and Resilient Economic Growth.’’ The title took into serious consideration the contemporary operating context in the Southern Africa region and the urgent need to enhance the implementation of the SADC industrialization and market integration programs as contained in its development framework covering the years of 2020-2030.