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KW 17: Gang violence in northwest Nigeria, Blocked patent rights – Africa warns of a “vaccine apartheid”, After the fire in Cape Town – the extent of losses at the Jagger library was enormous

– NEWS –

Gang violence in northwest Nigeria: Attacks by suspected bandits across villages in Zamfara State have left at least 83 persons dead and hundreds of others, including women and children, injured. Local residents said motorcycle-riding gunmen stormed 13 villages in Magami district of Zamfara state on Wednesday, shooting residents, looting and burning homes. Most of the attacks, which appeared coordinated, happened on Wednesday in Gusau, Maradun and Bakura local government areas of the troubled North-west state. Heavily armed criminal gangs known locally as „bandits“ have become a growing security challenge in northwest Nigeria, ransacking villages and carrying out mass abductions for ransom. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the killing of villagers and ordered security forces to hunt down the perpetrators.,

Blocked patent rights – Africa warns of a “vaccine apartheid”: Only one percent of the 1.3 billion people living on the African continent have so far received a Covid-19 vaccination, compared to a third of the US population or 50 percent in Great Britain. This isn’t just due to the blockade of patents for the vaccine by so-called industrial nations, the Indian version of the Astrazeneca vaccine ordered by the WHO for the continent was also blocked by the Indian government. But even if exports resume, the Covax Fund still needs 27 billion US dollars to finance the promised two billion vaccine doses. This behavior of the „industrialized nations“, dubbed by scientists as „vaccine nationalism“, triggered an appeal from over 100 Nobel Prize winners and former heads of state to US President Joe Biden last week, asking him to support the motion brought to the World Trade Organization that would make it possible to temporarily suspend patent rights for vaccines. However, this advance is not only blocked by Biden, but also by the EU, Great Britain and Switzerland, who inexplicably see the innovative ability of the pharmaceutical companies at risk. For the production of any vaccines and with foresight with regard to further pandemics, the „African Center for Disease Control“ wants to set up five research and production centers spread across the continent.

After the fire in Cape Town – the extent of losses at the Jagger library was enormous: A wildfire that sparked on the slopes of South Africa’s Table Mountain raged across the University of Cape Town (UCT) last week, damaging or destroying a number of historic structures and campus buildings. Among the most significant losses were the university’s Plant Conservation Unit offices and the Jagger Reading Room, which housed priceless artifacts related to African history, including 19th-century watercolors painted by Indigenous peoples, maps, manuscripts and government records, according to Nature’s Linda Nordling. Though the fire is now under control, the full extent of the devastation—both to the South African institution and the study of African history—remains unclear.

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German businesses are calling for a 50 billion euro program for Africa: Despite poor predictions from the International Monetary Fund, which declared Sub-Saharan Africa to be probably the slowest economically growing region in the world, German entrepreneurs remain confident. The Africa Center of the University of Flensburg expects that European entrepreneurs will increasingly rely on Africa instead of Asia as their supplier. The export of hydrogen production from renewable energies could also become the “next big thing” in North and West Africa. Economic development is primarily related to global vaccine distribution, and an acceleration in this matter could significantly improve the region’s prospects, according to the IMF. The economy is now seeking support from the state.

Military council takes over government of Chad: Chad’s long-serving President Idriss Deby has died from injuries sustained in clashes with rebels. Deby’s son, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, has taken over as interim leader of a transitional military council, the army said. Although the army leadership put on a show of unity when the 37-year-old was presented on national television as the country’s new president and army commander-in-chief, holding them together will be his prime challenge, analysts say. Most of the senior officers are of the same battle-hardened generation as his father. Mahamat Idriss Deby has some military experience. But he will quickly have to show his mettle as various rebel groups step up their challenge to the government. Headed by Mahamat Idriss Deby, the military council said it would oversee an 18-month transition to elections. Opposition politicians and rebels have condemned the army takeover as a coup.,

New „Reporters Without Borders“ report on freedom of the press in Africa: Namibia in the lead, Eritrea last
Africa commits to cut 32% of emissions by 2030
German parliament decides to extend military mission in the Mediterranean and the Horn of Africa


Colonialism in science: The US President’s Malaria Initiative has existed for almost 15 years and is dedicated to the fight against malaria. To give the initiative new impetus, US President Joe Biden has pledged another 30 million dollars in funding. But now the selection of the eight project partners who are to plan and control the initiative is being criticized. Not a single partner is based on the African continent itself, which will be the main subject of research. African and African-born scientists see this research on Africa without Africa as a problem. They are particularly bothered by the name of the INFORM research initiative, as a project with the same approach that has been running successfully in Kenya for many years bears the same name. The Nigerian-American scientist Ngozi Erondu participated in this Kenyan project and is one of the initiators of the protest. In an interview, she notes that the Americans have listened to her criticism, but she criticizes their announcement that they will involve more local partners in the future as insufficient. Only a partnership on equal footing can make change possible. African organizations have to function completely independently of Western ones in order to end the colonialist system of science and research. As long as up to 60% of the research budget is spent on office costs for Western institutions, it is not possible to build up own capacities on site. Almost every African country affected has corresponding research programs, but there is often a lack of funding, so the issue comes down to the question of power relations. Erondu points out that all the non-governmental organizations with all their resources have not been able to build capacities in Africa and therefore the narrative that Africans need help and this help is effective is wrong. She describes the existing system as “science colonialism”, which maintains these structures. She hopes for a future in which the local scientists, who best know the realities on the ground, make the decisions, and one day no outside help will be necessary at all.

Coming to terms with German colonialism: Four years ago, the German government promised to come to terms with Germany’s colonial past, and it actually did implement some measures. A central contact point has been set up where former colonies can reclaim stolen items from museums. Some archives and museums have already begun to return human remains that were brought to Germany during the colonial era, in some cases for degrading medical experiments. Several cities have also begun to rename streets honoring former colonialists. Nevertheless, colonialism is still a niche subject in Germany and plays only a minor role in politics, according to the director of the NGO National Institute of Democracy in Germany, Naita Hishoono. Germany and Namibia have been in dialogue about the Nama and Herero genocide since 2015 and have settled on an apology, but there has been no parliament resolution to this day. The Tanzanian ambassador to Germany, Abdallah Possi, has called on the German government to finally “take responsibility for human rights violations from the colonial era”. Since February he has been trying to start negotiations on reparations. Due to Germany’s passive attitude in these examples, experts see a need for action as well as education – colonialism should finally take up more time in the classroom.

Fighters for peace, rights and democracy: From a Western perspective, African women are often perceived as poor and oppressed. But the Agojie warriors of the Dahomey Kingdom (today’s Benin), on whose model Victorine Sagbadjou trains young women to become traditional warriors, paint a different picture of African women. Before the colonial era, the gender roles in some African societies were significantly different than they are today. The Agojie warriors were an elite unit, some of which are now referred to as “Uber feminists”. They had a clear vision of gender roles that provided for women to go to war and men to work the fields. The Hollywood blockbuster „Black Panther“ was also inspired by these women. In Uganda, Stella Nyanzi continues the rich tradition of African women who openly bare themselves for provocation and as a sign of strength in order to point out existing injustices. This action and other honors of female strength like a poem by Nyanzi about the vagina of the mother of the long-term president Yoweri Museveni had consequences for Nyanzi and her family, who now live in a safe house in Kenya in order to escape persecution. Many African women are the initiators of the protests that are moving Africa today. Like Aisha Yesufu from Nigeria, who plays an important role in the End-Sars movement and has been fighting for years for the release of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014. Internationally, women from Africa are perceived precisely in this context, which shows the attention of the hashtag #bringbackourgirls. They aren’t just fighting against structures that exist domestically, but also against the perception that Westerners have of them and which robbed them of their voice.

Migration flows from Africa: According to current figures, only a very small proportion of the immigrants who come to Germany stem from Africa. A German government report found that at the end of 2020, there were around 123,000 Africans living in Germany who had found admission as refugees, compared with a total of around 1.9 million refugees. There has been a sharp increase in migration from Africa, with most of the migrants coming from Eritrea and Somalia. But the Covid-19 pandemic put a damper on the rise. In 2020, far fewer Africans received protection status in Germany than in 2016. German opposition parties criticize that there are not enough legal routes from Africa to Germany. In addition to the unnecessary hurdles created by the EU, there is not even a diplomatic representation of Germany in 24 of the 55 African countries where a visa can be obtained. The German test required for work or educational visas cannot be taken in 26 African countries.


President Idriss Déby ruled the Sahel state of Chad for 30 years and, had he not died, would have added a sixth term in office.


„When the Westerners come, they just take the helm and build parallel structures instead of supporting existing ones.“

The Nigerian-American epidemiologist Ngozi Erondu comments on scientific help from outside the continent.


Unusual friendship connects Togo and 1.FC Nürnberg: In Togo’s second largest city, Sokodé, the “1.FC Nürnberg Togo” was not only established as a fan club, but also as a soccer club that is involved in the fourth Togolese league. Founded by Traoré Abdel Manaf, who has supported the club since winning the DFB Cup in 2007, the Togolese club is currently playing for promotion. Since a chairman visited Germany in 2015, FCN Togo has also officially been an FCN fan club and is in regular contact with other fan clubs.