Since the peak of the European refugee crisis in the summer of 2015, the ‘management’ of migration and refugee flows between Africa and Europe is high on academic and policy agendas. A dominant perception is that European development aid has a significant role to play in stemming present and prevent future massive influxes to Europe. This shall primarily occur by way of reducing the root causes of forced displacement and improving migration management.
Many Europeans fear that the adverse effects of climate change might create the next huge wave of African refugees trying to reach the European shores. And yet, according to numerous studies, human mobility in the context of climate change in Africa is mainly happening within countries or between neighbouring countries. But what else do we actually know about “climate migration” in Africa? And which policy recommendations could be formulated?
The military defeats of Islamic State’s (IS) fighters in Iraq and Syria led many to believe that the threat represented by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s organization was on the verge of extinction. The video-message by the “Caliph” in April 2019, however, denied the persistent rumors that circulated about his death and proved above all his growing attention to sub-Saharan Africa.
On 3 June, the last day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and eve of Eid al-Fitr, Sudanese security forces violently attacked participants in the two-month-long peaceful sit-in outside army headquarters in Khartoum. According to the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors, more than a hundred protesters were killed and hundreds more were wounded.
The last two decades have been marked by a profound turn-around in the perceptions of Africa, both within the continent and internationally. This change has been driven primarily by the exceptional economic growth in many parts of Africa, despite a slow-down and financial crisis about ten years ago. Renewed confidence among many African states is reflected in the Africa 2063 Agenda spearheaded by the African Union. This manifesto puts an important focus on the impressive urbanization of Africa, one of the region's major trends.
At the intersection of Africa’s urbanisation, employment, economic growth, cultural and environmental imperatives sit the question of infrastructure. Traditionally, development policy would simply advocate for the roll-out of modern network infrastructure, through, first, a focus on governance reform so that the country in question could be sufficiently credit-worthy to access the requisite development finance to implement infrastructure projects. This approach has demonstrably not worked in most of Africa for two main reasons.
The growing recognition of the importance of cities for development does not alter the fact that cities and countries are co-dependant, or that cities are better off when supported by their national governments. An appropriate balance of power and responsibilities between tiers of government is at the heart of sustainable cities and in sub-Saharan Africa striking this balance requires policy innovation, if not experimentation.
The inadequacy of Africa’s urban housing markets is evident across the continent, expressed in the cost and scale of housing being delivered, and visible in the very poor housing circumstances of the majority. That over 60% of urban dwellers live in slum conditions is in part a consequence of income, but more significantly one of an inefficient housing ecosystem in which neither price nor scale is achieved.
At a recent launch of a new TV station in the capital, Abuja, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said that as well as damaging Nigeria’s reputation broad, fake news was destroying the media industry and sowing national disunity. This is a favourite theme of the Minister. Last year he described fake news as a “time bomb” waiting to explode. Misinformation and hate speech, he said, “threaten the peace, unity, security and corporate existence of Nigerians”.
The video message recently released by the al-Furqan media network, showing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi for the first time since 2014, turned the spotlight on the presence of the Islamic State (IS) in the Sahel – the region of Western Africa south of Sahara.