The week in Africa was dominated by the State of the Nation by Jacob Zuma in South Africa. His speech on the future projects of South Africa was generally well received and lots of links are provided below on the build up and recap. The Africa Cup of Nations decided the two finalists in fairly ordinary fashion. The defense orientated Cote d’Ivoire relied on a great individual goal from Gervinho, and Zambia rode its luck against Ghana after saving a penalty to get a place in the final. All this seemed to overshadowed the building tension in Sudan, and it’s possible cool down. The best story in tech is definitely out of Kenya this week. Read below for how a traditional leader is using Twitter to interact with his community.
- The big story in South Africa this week was the build up to and reaction to President Zuma’s State of the Nation Address. Zuma used social media to connect with citizens in the lead up to the speech, and commentators wrote faux-speeches they would like to see Zuma give. Afterwards, The Mail and Guardian decoded the State of the Nation, which focused on jobs and transport infrastructure. SouthAfrica.info provides a break down of all the stats provided in the address.
- Mozambique is showing up South Africa by rising in the press rankings, just as South Africa spirals towards state censorship. A new report by the Press Freedom Index shows Moz now ranks above some semi-democratic European countries. However, South Africa is still ranked high (42nd), ahead of the United States (47th), so I’m not sure how these rankings reflect the most current sentiments.
- Zimbabwe is in the news for threatening to ban South African papers. The International Crisis Group has a new report out on sanctions in Zimbabwe. As usual the ICG is spot on and gives some good suggestions, but the fact that they say ‘bold’ action is necessary means that given the abilities of the statesmen in SADC to pressure Mugabe, it is hard to see their recommendations being fulfilled. Meanwhile, the desire to leave Zimbabwe and get to South Africa has been well documented, but I found this story by IRIN interesting for the details it provides on ‘other’ Africans who cross the Limpopo with Zimbabweans in order to get to South Africa. Based on how Zimbabweans are treated in SA, it is still surprising how many asylum and job seekers attempt to get into SA. I wonder if they haven’t heard of the xenophobic violence, or whether it simply makes no difference to them. Hopefully SA will figure out a way to embrace being the beacon of economic prosperity to encourage more growth.
- While not Africa centered, USAID now is able to procure goods from companies where they work. The previous restriction to only by American products was extremely damaging, as numerous reports and studies have shown how the local economy is often destroyed by the flood of cheap American food stuffs, thus ruining any chance for quick recovery. While this might be a hit for American Public Diplomacy, the practical effect could be massively beneficial to the countries that receive aid.
- AFROLINE shows how South Africa’s admittance to the BRICS has stirred interest in the continent beyond the big four emerging markets. This is one of the biggest stories on the continent in the coming year as economies of the world no longer focus on North America and Europe. This is a massive opportunity for Sub-Saharan Africa to make sure that investment is more beneficial to their economies. The inferiority that SSA countries have in respect to European and American power is not in play with these news economic partners and as such countries on the continent can hopefully gain from more equitable trading terms.
- Finally, President Zuma accounted that Nelson Mandela’s face is to grace the Rand in the years to come.
- An interesting story on the tech front was the involvement of MTN and Iran. A rival telecom claims that because MTN encouraged South Africa to support Iran’s nuclear development, they were granted a license ahead of the competitor, Turkcell. Later in the week, The Mail and Guardian ran a story that proclaims “MTN in bed with Iran’s military”, and despite pressure from American lobby groups, MTN says it is ‘business as usual’ in the country.
- A new development in the medicine tech field out of Cameroon: a tablet that will help with heart diagnoses in a country where the cardiologist per capita is 666,000 to 1. This could be of vital usage but it’s not cheap and there’s no mention on how it connects to the telecom networks.
- This is a cool story from Kenya and the use of social media by traditional leaders. There are some amazing anecdotes of the usage of Twitter, and how it’s been used to fight crime and mobilize the community for action. With most people not owning smart phones, locals subscribe to receive tweets via SMS. That’s allowed the chief to be able to communicate with nearly 50% of the community
- The US State Department’s Apps4Africa announced a new round of winners in January, and are profiled in AFRONLINE this week. The program that helped launched the famous iCow app, focused on apps related to Climate Change this time. Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda provided the top 3 respectively.
- South Africa wine is put on the map, literally in this case, as Google Street view includes the Cape wineries as well as major cities in Botswana. This is a great tool for anyone interested in visiting to get a taste of the fantastic scenery that both the Western Cape and urban Botswana provide.
- There’s a short recap by The Economist on how Africa Tweets.
- The team of destiny, Zambia, will match up against the favorites, Cote d’Ivoire, in the Africa Cup of Nations Final on Sunday. Zambia was able to get a smash and grab goal, courteously of their only European based squad member, while Cote d’Ivoire got a great individual goal from Gervinho. Here are some of the best previews to get you caught up on the story lines:
- The power of sports and peace was applied by Seydou Keita to speak out against the current violence in Mali after his defeat in the AFCON semi-finals.
- Interesting piece in the Mail & Guardian that I thought is worth a look if you’re interested in local South African football. It asks if the monetary growth by South African clubs might retard development of the national team because Bafana players won’t head abroad. This might foreshadow a conversation held in the United States in regards to MLS.
- South Sudan gets admitted into the Confederation of African Football this week and looks to get FIFA admission soon. While this is a uplifting story, they won’t be entered into qualification for AFCON13 in South Africa nor Brazil for 2014, and one wonders if their FA will be able to get all that is needed to entered qualification for AFCON15 in Morocco.
New News Sources:
Found a well designed blog focused on following African development success stories and helping people see Africa differently.
Infographic(s) of the Week
Video of the Week
via Al Jazeera English
Picture of the Week