The week of disruption is what can best describe that week.
At the international stage, three African ‘cities’ made a huge cultural disruption after they were recognized by Unesco, proofing again that indeed Africa is never short of sights and surprises.
Back home, ordinary lives of Ugandans was disrupted and in Tanzania, businesses were disrupted and brought to a standstill.
Here are notable events which occurred in Africa that week
#1. Making Tanzania great again – Magufuli tears up mining contracts
Tanzania’s president, john pombe magufuli. (dailymaverick)
Tanzania largest miner, Acacia this week felt the sweeping powers of ‘powerful’ President John Magufuli after he hurriedly signed into law two bills which requires companies to re-negotiate their contracts.
Speaking at a public rally, Magufuli said he had decided to rush through bills passed on Monday because Tanzania was fighting an economic war.
“We couldn’t wait to pass the laws because of the large scale theft taking place in the mining sector,” Magufuli said.
Tanzania is rich in mineral deposits and early this year discovered the world biggest deposit of Helium gas, years of lack of government weak policies have however seen the East African country not benefit much from it.
Acacia Mining, whirch has had several running with the Tanzanian government in the past on Tuesday said it was seeking an adjudicator to resolve its dispute with the government.
Mr. Seth Ouma, a political scientist graduate from the University of Nairobi and now pursuing Masters in African Studies at the University of Oxford says magufuli is a benevolent ‘dictator’ who is obsessed with efficiency in governance.
“He wants things done ASAP and in the cheapest means possible. That explains why he has been rated the best African president currently, because so many other leaders have presided over bloated, inefficient and corrupt regimes, much to the disgust of their citizens. Moreover, he is also anti-imperialism (economic, cultural and political) and cut just like his mentor Nyerere.” He said.
Business, however, thrives when there is little disruptions in the market and Investors long for predictability, therefore President Magufuli who is everyday behaving like Trump despite meaning well for his country may end harming it since Investors may decide to avoid Tanzania altogether and move to countries with more ‘stable and friendly’ policies.
What African countries need to do is take a lesson from Botswana, the world’s largest producer of gem diamonds where mining proceeds funds about half of the country’s GDP.
For more details:Acacia seeks arbitration after Tanzania tears up mining contracts
#2. Mbanza Kongo, Khomani, and Asmara make it to the World Heritage list
Eritrea’s capital city was this week recognized as one of the world’s heritage sites.
The UN cultural agency Unesco finally added Asmara, to its list of World Heritage sites after years of campaigning by Eritrean Authorities.
Despite years of war, the country still holds many well-preserved modernist buildings from the time when it was ruled by Italy (1889-1941).
While the recognition is not a magic wand which Eritrea can wave to solve all its problems, it does at least put Asmara on the bucket list of many Architectural enthusiasts, bringing with it much revenue.
Also read:The week Trump and Putin met for the first time and China’s Long March-5 Y2 failed to take off
The country’s representative to Unesco, Hanna Simon, told BBC the announcement filled the city with “tremendous pride and joy but also with a profound sense of responsibility and duty”.
Angola’s ancient city of Mbanza Kongo and Khomani in South Africa were both also declared world’s heritage sites.
#3. Thou shall not touch my mini-skirt – Uganda’s dress code
Public servants in the Pearl of Africa were this week issued with a strict dress code by the government.
Uganda Ministry of Public Service’s director of Human Resources, Adah Muwanga, said they had to act after receiving complaints:
“We were approached with complaints that, specifically lady officers, were dressing in an unacceptable manner, with mini-skirts and showing body parts which otherwise generally should be covered in Ugandan society,” she told the BBC.
Female staffs have been barred from showing any cleavage; wear brightly coloured nails, braids or hair extensions and sleeveless or transparent blouses.
Men, on the other hand, must wear long-sleeved shirts, jackets and ties, loose trousers and have been banned from wearing open shoes.
The government has vowed to melt out disciplinary measures who fail to comply with the directive.
Uganda is generally a conservative society like most African societies however the ban did manage to generate heated debate on social media pitting supporters and opposers of the ban.
“Uganda’s directive on dress code by the Ministry of Public Service could be a genuine measure to curb indecent dressing at the workplace. But what amounts to indecent dressing is as controversial as it is relative. It depends on one’s faith, social socio-economic status, etc.” Mr. Seth opines.
It is not lost to people tho that not so many decades ago, Africans were wearing scanty dresses made of skin which only covered their private parts and Women had no qualms waking ‘bare-chested’ and nobody had a problem with it, so much for ‘religious indoctrination’
The timing of the ban, however, remains suspect, the ban coming just days after the planned removal of age cap for president was tabled in Parliament, many scholars think it is a diversionary tactic.
#4. New Scramble for Africa – USA vs China.
The United States on Saturday announced more than $630 million in aid for Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria, to deal with what the United Nations calls the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in more than 70 years, CGTN reported.
The announcement came as President Donald Trump attended the Group of 20 summit in Germany.
“This is truly a life-saving gift,” said David Beasley, the new American director of the U.N.’s World Food Program.
On the same G20 summit, China’s President Xi Jinping also announced that unlike Uncle Sam his country will continue helping Africa without imposing any political condition.
Xi said the development of Africa would help promote a balanced world economy and foster inclusive growth.
It seems USA which had initially declared America First and was okay with playing second fiddle is not comfortable anymore with leaving China to take charge of world affairs.
All in All, it seems Africa’s begging bowl is now full and Africa is momentarily in a position of power and has to pick a suitor between America and China.
French President Emmanuel Macron on July 2nd attended a security summit in Mali to boost support for the creation of a regional counter-terror force.
Macron returned to Mali for the second time to attend a meeting hosted by Malian president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita with leaders from neighboring countries Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania, a group known as the G5 Sahel.
The leaders agreed on the creation of a regional force of about 5,000 regional troops which will be deployed into the vast, arid Sahel region that remains a breeding ground for human traffickers as well as arms and drugs smugglers.
“This force is first going to secure the borders, particularly in the areas where terrorist groups have developed,” French Foreign Minister Yves Le Drian said in an interview with French newspaper Le Monde, france24 reported.