Editor’s Note: May 17, 2019

The Sahel needs more drastic action

Burkina Faso’s foreign minister on Thursday appealed to the international community to consider creating a counter-terrorism coalition to help combat Islamist militancy in West Africa’s Sahel region.

This follows an ambush on Nigerien troops on Tuesday, claimed by Islamic State, which left 28 soldiers dead.

Attacks like this are escalating despite efforts to boost security in the so-called G5 Sahel states – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. A joint G5 Sahel force has been set up with international backing, which is struggling amid funding shortages.

Deteriorating security is fuelling a humanitarian crisis.

As of May 2019, 6.7m people in Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mali have been forcibly displaced.

The region is also particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, with temperature increases projected to be 1.5 times the global average. The UN estimates that 80% of farmland is already degraded.

The crisis is threatening to spill over into the region’s key economies. Last week 11 Nigerian soldiers were killed in the country’s northeast, in an attack claimed by Islamic State. There have also been attacks on the border between Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana.

In short, current efforts to stabilize the region are failing. Burkina Faso is right to call for more drastic action.

From The Continent

Zimbabwe’s biggest gold producer, Metallon, is suing the country’s central bank for $132m for using a local quasi-currency to pay for the metal instead of US dollars. The move reflects growing frustration about the country’s deteriorating business environment, despite government pledges to boost growth and investment. More: Bloomberg


South African mobile operator MTN has listed its Nigerian unit on the local stock exchange at a valuation of $6.5bn, part of a deal with the government over a $5.1bn fine in 2015. The move is seen as an effort to mend strained relations with authorities in the company’s biggest market, following a high profile tax dispute in 2018. More: Reuters

The Daily Stat

67.3m

The width of a new suspension bridge crossing the Nile in central Cairo, the world’s widest, part of a series of ‘Mega projects’ by the government. More: Africanews

The Global Perspective

Facebook has removed hundreds of accounts linked to an Israeli company called Archimedes Group, accusing the firm of trying to use social media to influence elections in several African countries. This includes Nigeria, Tunisia, Angola, Senegal and Niger. More: The Verge

Kenya hopes to finalize a new standby credit facility with the International Monetary fund within two months, following the cancellation of it’s previous $1.5bn program last year after the government failed to meet extension conditions. The talks come amid growing concerns about debt sustainability in the East African economy. More: Reuters

The Daily Follow