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KW 35: Strong backing given to vaccine production in Africa, Tunisia’s president extends suspension of parliament, Gunmen release dozens of Nigerian students abducted in May

– NEWS –

Strong backing given to vaccine production in Africa: Germany will make up to 70 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine available to African countries this year, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday after a summit with African leaders on the G20’s Compact with Africa initiative. German laboratory BioNTech announced that it is aiming to set up production sites for messenger RNA vaccines in Africa next year, notably in Senegal and Rwanda. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said African leaders told the summit “it is not fair that Africa has vaccinated only 2% of the their 1.3 billion population and yet the more developed countries in the north have vaccinated up to 60%.”,

Tunisia’s president extends suspension of parliament: Last week, Tunisian President Kais Saied extended the suspension of parliament until further notice, the presidency said, after last month dismissing his prime minister and assuming executive authority in a move opponents branded a coup. The president also extended the suspension of the immunity of lawmakers. Saied had dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and suspended the legislature last month, saying he would assume executive authority in the country. He said his intervention was needed to save Tunisia from collapse following mass protests over the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.,

Gunmen release dozens of Nigerian students abducted in May: Nigerian gunmen have freed the remaining pupils from more than 100 kidnapped from an Islamic seminary in northwestern Niger State nearly three months ago, the school’s head teacher said last Thursday. He did not give any details about how the pupils were released or say if a ransom was paid. Heavily armed criminals snatched 136 pupils from the seminary in Tegina on May 30 in one of a series of mass abductions targeting schools and colleges in Nigeria since December. Six of the pupils died in captivity and a further 15 escaped in June, according to school officials.

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Algeria severs diplomatic ties with Morocco: Algeria cut diplomatic relations with Morocco last Tuesday, citing what it called hostile actions by its most populous neighbor with which it has had strained relations for decades. Speaking at a news conference in Algiers, Foreign Minister Ramdane Lamamra accused Morocco of using Pegasus spyware against its officials, supporting a separatist group and failing in bilateral commitments, including on the Western Sahara issue.

Desert in South Africa blooms in bright colors: During spring, lovely daisies and other flowers fill the arid region of Namaqualand in Namibia and South Africa, creating a kaleidoscope of colours. Orange and white daisies as well as other species of flowering plants cover the area for a short period of time, transforming Namaqualand into one of the most surreal landscapes one could ever find.

Covid corruption whistleblower Babita Deokaran shot dead in South Africa: A finance official who was a witness in an inquiry into pandemic-related corruption has died after being shot 12 times outside her home in South Africa. Babita Deokaran had just dropped her daughter off at school in Johannesburg when she was ambushed in her car by two gunmen who aimed at her upper body through the open door of her Mercedes. She died in hospital hours after the attack on Monday morning. Kaizer Kganyago, from the investigations unit looking into Covid-related corruption, confirmed that Deokaran had made a statement about murky tenders issued by the provincial health department where she worked.

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German-Africa Summit: Chancellor Merkel’s goodbye and the end of an era: Officially, the event was called the „Compact with Africa Conference.“ But in reality, an era was coming to an end on Friday when German Chancellor Angela Merkel met a good dozen African heads of state, some of whom were tuned in virtually. The conference marked an era in which Africa played a greater role in German politics than before. The most visible sign: the Compact-with-Africa initiative, the prestige project of the German G20 presidency. Private investments of a completely new magnitude were to flow to Africa as a result. But, above all, the German government wanted to inspire German companies to invest in Africa with a whole package of support measures.

Martial law in northern Congo does not bring peace: When Congo’s President Félix Tshisekedi imposed martial law on the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri in early May, it was widely welcomed locally; three months later, disappointment prevails. „Nonsense“ is what Mosie Kiputulu, president of organized civil societies in Bashu in North Kivu, calls martial law. „The massacres have increased.“ According to counts by local organizations, more than 485 civilians have been killed in the two provinces since martial law was imposed. Provincial deputy Jean Paul Ngahangondi criticizes indiscriminate arrests by soldiers and torture in military custody resulting in death. This is because under martial law, the courts in the two provinces were also initially placed under military control. In three months, three journalists and one radio employee have also been killed in the two provinces. The media complain of a lack of protection.


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies currently have some 48,000 people in Africa registered as missing.


„The uncertainty in the country has really made the prices of products go up. Every time we go shopping, the wholesaler raises the price.“

Hawa Traore Touré, shopkeeper in Mali’s capital Bamako, on the impact of the long-running conflict on everyday life.


African mountain forests store more carbon than thought: Africa’s mountain forests may store up to two-thirds more carbon than previously thought, according to research published last week. Traditionally, forests at higher altitudes are thought to contain less carbon than lowland forests due to factors such as soil and climactic changes that affect growth and thus the amount of carbon the trees can absorb. Writing in Nature, an international team found that Africa’s montane forests contain an average of 149.4 tonnes of carbon per hectare — roughly equivalent to the carbon storage rates seen in African lowland forests.