Somalia’s polls, satellites, books…What to look out for in May?

By The Africa Report
Posted on Thursday, 28 April 2022 18:50

A woman is seen with a placard in support of Nigeria's vice-president for his presidency 2023 campaign in Abuja, Nigeria 18 January 2022. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

From Somalia elections, to African food crises and prepping for Nigeria's 2023 polls, there is a lot to keep your eye on in Africa in May 2022.

Hunger

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the world’s hotspot for food insecurity. In its predictions until May, the World Food Programme has warned that Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen are suffering the worst crises – driven by conflict, inflation and weak government responses.

 

Telecoms

Kenya’s Safaricom and its consortium partners plan to launch mobile-money platform M-Pesa in Ethiopia by May. The conflict in Tigray has dampened investor interest, and telecoms expect a big boost in the short term.

Appointments: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Only one person is willing to take up the responsibility for helping the world see its way out of a global pandemic. The WHO director is running unopposed for the position and will be reappointed in May.

Nigeria: Primary picks

The All Progressives Congress (APC), Nigeria’s governing party, is set to hold its presidential primary in May or June of this year to choose a candidate for the 2023 polls. Following the country’s informal ‘zoning’ principles, political parties are set to nominate southerners as their flag bearers after two terms of the presidency under a northerner – APC leader President Muhammadu Buhari. The APC was created from a coalition of parties, with Lagos political godfather Bola Tinubu as its lynchpin. His toughest competition for the presidential primary is technocratic vice-president Yemi Osinbajo, but other contenders have included the likes of Akinwumi Adesina, the president of the African Development Bank.

Tinubu has the biggest backing, but also a sizable list of enemies who do not want to see him in power. Any major leader unhappy with the results could decamp to the opposition or set up their own party, further dividing the voters.

Both the APC and the opposition People’s Democratic Party are looking for candidates who appeal to the many voters in Nigeria’s north. The PDP is considering a northerner. Former vice-president Atiku Abubakar from Adamawa State is the candidate to beat.

He faces a challenge from Sokoto State governor Aminu Tambuwal. With the national economy in a regular boom-bust cycle due to its dependence on oil and gas exports, Buhari’s administration has not had any major victories on key voting issues in the north, like the economy, security and education.

Satellites

The Egyptian Space Agency will oversee the launch of EgSAcube-3 and EgSAcube-4, the first locally designed satellites, in May. The government is building a ‘satellite city’ this year for research and education in the field.

Number: 70,000m3

Amidst rapid urbanisation, Kenya’s Karimenu II dam should be completed in May, providing water for about one million people in Gatundu, Juja, Nairobi and Ruiru.

Somali election pressure

Somalia’s $365.5m IMF aid programme is at risk because of delays in holding elections. IMF officials say the vote and a programme review need to take place by 17 May or the country’s aid and debt-relief programmes – which would reduce Somalia’s debt from $5.2bn to $557m – could be stopped.

In 2021, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s allies attempted to prolong his term for two years. Since then, several elections have been delayed. Parliamentary elections were not held as planned on 25 February and 15 March.

Books

Bestselling Sierra Leonean author Namina Forna is coming out with The Merciless Ones, the second book in the Deathless fantasy trilogy about a powerful girl, magic and the fate of an empire. For those who would prefer special effects over imagination, the books are being turned into films.

 

The prolific Nigerian writer Akwaeke Emezi is keeping fans happy. The new novel You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty tackles love and new chances, and comes out in May. Bitter, about youth and revolution, targeted at a young audience, was published in February. Emezi’s first book of poetry, Content Warning: Everything, is due out in April.

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