Africa is home to some of the world’s most polluted cities
- According to the World Health Organization, four of the world’s worst-ranked cities for air quality are in Nigeria. Soot particles often dominate the air in some of the continent’s oil-producing hubs, especially in southern Nigeria.
- Issues also lie in the lack of data surrounding the problem. Just seven of Africa’s 54 countries are home to “real-time air pollution monitors” according to a UNICEF report.
- Last year, analysis of satellite imagery by Greenpeace showed the world’s deadliest air pollution spot is in South Africa – Mpumalanga, an eastern province, being the largest single area infected by the deadly nitrogen dioxide globally.
- As of 2013, air pollution was the most potent risk factor for Africans – killing more Africans than other major risk factors such as unsafe water, unsafe sanitation and even childhood malnutrition.
- Some African governments have taken steps to address the issue: Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Ivory Coast—raised their fuel quality standards in 2016, and in effect, banned substandard fuels from Europe.
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Huawei & The African Union deepen ties
- Huawei the world’s second largest smartphone maker has signed a draft agreement to reinforce its cooperation with the African Union in a number of areas, including in 5G communications that is at the heart of its dispute with the United States.
- The US government has warned that its equipment could serve as a ‘Trojan horse; for Chinese intelligence services – essentially the tool in which China will use to spy on other nations. Huawei has denied this claim. The US has moved to block US companies from doing business with the firm.
- In 2018 French newspaper Le Monde reported that China had spied on the AU’s headquarters in Addis Ababa
- Prior to the signing of this agreement with the African Union, it is said that the AU conducted a complete audit of Huawei’s IT system.
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FOCUS: Sudan Crisis
What’s going on?
- Sudan is in the midst of a political crisis after security forces opened fire on pro-democracy protesters in the capital, Khartoum on 3 June killing over 100 peaceful protestors.
- The county’s Military took power in April after ousting long time (18 years) President Omar al-Bashir .
- Since then representatives of the civil protesters and the Military had been in talks over who will take power. Pro-democracy protestors argue that authority should be transferred to a civilian administration.
- On 15 May The military and protesters agreed to a three-year transition period to civilian rule as opposed to holding elections immediately. That way they say free and fair elections could be ensured. It is feared that a snap election would “simply pave the way for much of the old regime to come back into power”.
- However, the Military went back on their agreements with protestors and declared that elections would be held in 9 months. Negotiations between the two sides have therefore ground to a halt leading to violence, killings and striking.
What does this mean?
- Sudan is n the midst of a political crisis with no elected government in power.
- Protest leaders have asked people to stay home and not work calling for “total civil disobedience” and a general strike. This is to make it harder for the Military to rule over the country.
Why you should care
- The killings signified a lack of progress in the establishment of a civilian-led transitional government. It also showed the reluctance of the military council to hand over power
- Most African and western countries have backed the protesters but Saudi Arabia and UAE have generally supported the Military.
- The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) has suspended Sudan from all the organization’s activities “until the effective establishment of a civilian-led Transitional Authority” and has issued a 60-day deadline.
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