Africa Now - Weekly Newsletter (Week 36, 2021)
Samir Bhattacharya, Research Associate, VIF

Welcome to Africa Now, your weekly newsletter for Africa, presenting the most important developments in the continent - news that matters.

Rising Diplomatic Tension in Northern Africa

In Northern Africa, high tension was already brewing between Morocco and Algeria concerning their diplomatic row over the disputed territory of Western Sahara, the upgradation of Morocco and Israel relations and most recently in July, Morocco's call at the United Nations for the independence of the people of Kabylia in the Algerian region.

For a long time, Algeria has been accusing Morocco of uncorroborated hostile acts including massive and systematic acts of espionage as well as waging war against the Algerian people and its leaders. Earlier last month, Algeria experienced the worst wildfire in the country's history that raged for three days and killed at least 90 people and several more injured. Algeria accused Morocco of being involved in this deadly fire too. However, the diplomatic relations between Algeria and Morocco touched it lowest point last week when Algeria decided to cut its diplomatic ties with Morocco. This was followed by Algeria’s announcement of its decision to cut gas supplies to Morocco, Spain and Portugal through the Maghreb-Europe pipeline.

Now, both the countries are important in the fight against terrorism in the nearby Sahel region. As both countries are allies of western nations, this move by Algeria will complicate the diplomacy in the region. Its early days yet, but many experts are fearing that this spat between the two countries will continue, probably in the form of a new cold war in Northern Africa.

Latest News in Africa
South Africa will no longer send J&J vaccines to Europe

An arrangement in which Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines were being shipped from South Africa to Europe has been suspended. "All the vaccines produced at Aspen will stay in Africa and will be distributed to Africa," Masiyiwa said. "All vaccines from that facility are under the control now of the South African government, which has committed that those vaccines will go to Africa." Click here to read

Sudan’s democratic transition at a crossroads

Two years ago, mass protests in Sudan led to the removal of dictator Omar al-Bashir and the establishment of a part-military, part-civilian transitional government. Today, this “chimera” government is still struggling to demonstrate to the people of Sudan that it can undo the damage done by al-Bashir’s oppressive regime, kickstart the country’s moribund economy, and set a course towards genuine democratic governance. Click here to read

Keep Tunisia’s Military Out of Politics

On July 25, Tunisians were shaken by an attempted coup against their nascent democracy when President Kais Saied suspended parliament and shuttered several government officials’ offices, introducing what he termed a 30-day “exceptional period.” Tunisia is the only country that came out of the Arab Spring with a genuine democracy, even if this democracy has not yet delivered economic growth or prosperity for its people. Ten years later, it is still possible to reverse the course of Saied’s attempted coup—but only by upholding the Tunisian tradition of keeping the military out of politics. Click here to read

Ethiopia's economy battered by Tigray war

Ethiopia's 10-month war has come at a huge human cost, with thousands killed, millions displaced and many in desperate need of assistance. But that's not the only damage being done to Africa's second most populous nation - the war has incurred a huge economic cost, too, that could take years to repair. Click here to read

Why do so many countries have military bases in Djibouti?

The Republic of Djibouti is located on the African shore of the Red Sea, at the southern entrance of this important waterway that passes through the Suez Canal, in Egypt. Djibouti is a country of modest size, but big geopolitical significance, especially when its proximity to Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, and Uganda, is considered. It controls, with Yemen, the Strait of Bab-el-Mandab, the minimum width of which is 30km and through which passes 10% of total world trade. Nearly 19,000 ships used the strait in 2020. Click here to read

India Conducts Naval Exercises with Morocco and Algeria for The First Time

India which has been at the forefront in developing a Maritime Domain Awareness network in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) recently conducted bilateral naval exercises with Morocco and Algerian navies. According to the Indian Navy, last week from August 25-26, INS Tabar, as part of her overseas deployment, made a port call at Casablanca in Morocco. Click here to read

Egypt-India relationship goes back to ancient times

The relationship between Egypt and India goes back to ancient times, specifically King Ashoka and the Pharaohs era, with deep roots on all levels, according to Indian Ambassador to Cairo Ajit Gupte. His remarks came duringa symposium on cultural relations between Egypt and India. The event was organized by Egypt’s Supreme Council of Culture under an initiative by the Ministry of Culture. Click here to read

Norway fund exits ONGC due to South Sudan

Norway’s $1.4-trillion wealth fund has excluded Oil and Natural Gas Corp. from its portfolio due to concerns over the firm’s business in South Sudan, the fund said in a statement. Exclusions are based on advice from the fund’s ethics watchdog. Click here to read

How India shaped the cuisine of Mauritius

The strikingly varied culinary traditions of Mauritians echo the island’s multiculturalism. Indian cuisine forms a large part of traditional cooking. Dholl puri, often regarded as the national dish of Mauritius, was introduced by the first wave of Indian immigrants from Bihar. Click here to read

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