Zambia Sovereign Debt Crisis

Zambian flag
Zambian flag

When we talk about Zambia these days, there is no way to avoid the elephant in the room: its debt. In 2020, Zambia became the first African country to declare bankruptcy (possibly worldwide) as the pandemic had brought it to its knees: the coffers were empty, and the country owed China, its main creditor, over $3 billion with no clear way to pay it back. This past Tuesday, the IMF announced that Zambia was seeking as much as $8.4 billion in debt relief in preparation for discussion on restructuring foreign liabilities. African debt as Thomas Sankara pointed a while back is a tricky subject… so there is already that fundamental question of debts owed to European countries (like France) which milk Africa via fake currencies such as the FCFA, and treacherous partnerships signed decades ago which benefited only the West. For today though, how did Zambia get here in the first place?

President Edgar Lungu (Source: AllInZimbabwe.com)

The country’s debts quadrupled between 2014 and 2019 amid a surge in infrastructure borrowing under Edgar Lungu, the former president, who lost elections last year to Hichilema. Needless to say that right before Lungu came into power, there had been a collaboration between Norway and Zambia to help the country get better hold of its revenues, via a mineral mining monitoring project aimed at boosting tax revenues. As we learned at the beginning of the week, Zambia is rich in minerals, particularly copper. However, upon arrival in power, president Lungu stopped the program (aimed at helping its country negotiate better deals for its mines), and went into an infrastructure shopping spree with no real regards for what was in his treasury’s coffers; no wonder he got the boots at the end of his first term. This, added to all previous debts, and the pandemic which hit just as the new president was getting into office, made for the perfect storm.

Excerpts below are from the Times talking about Zambia’s discussions this week, and hopefully the start of a better way to close on the debt. Let’s not veil ourselves though, since its creation has the IMF ever helped a single African country come out of problems? Hard to believe that it will – maybe the case of Zambia will be different? You can also read articles from Bloomberg, Atlantic Council, and Financial Times.

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Map of Zambia
Map of Zambia

Not that long ago Chinese credit was easy to get in Zambia. A government department could contact a Beijing lender directly without needing to get it signed off by finance ministers.

Millions of dollars were squandered or used to line pockets. Ministers campaigned in helicopters and the president had a Gulfstream jet. All the while the debts were racking up. It could not last.

We have lost an obscene amount of money on corruption — money that could have been used to feed, house, clothe and educate our children,” said Hakainde Hichilema, a man once mocked as “calculator boy” for his head for dry numbers.

President Hakainde Hichilema (Source: FaceofMalawi.com)

A year after securing the presidency — at his sixth attempt — in a landslide, Hichilema is unpicking the ruinous rule of his predecessor, Edgar Lungu, who threatened to turn Zambia into the new Zimbabwe.

Under Lungu’s administration, international debt quadrupled to more than 120 per cent of Zambia’s GDP. He failed to negotiate a lifeline from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after it became the first African state to default since the 2005 agreement to wipe clean the debts of 30 of the continent’s poorest states.

The $1.3 billion IMF bailout secured by Hichilema’s government last week was seen as a huge vote of confidence in his commitment to restraint and reform. A successful exit from default could make Zambia a model for other states in Africa, where China is the biggest lender and the threat of debt distress is high. China has overtaken the World Bank as the biggest foreign creditor to developing countries.

… Zambia’s debt of $6 billion to 18 different lenders was twice previous estimates.

… New laws on transparency and a cap on future borrowing will keep things honest, [Hichilema] said. “The only change we can probably say is that we have just raised the bar in terms of engagement.

Traditional Coronation of a New Zulu King

King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini (Source: yahoo news)

The Zulu people of South Africa now have a new king, Misuzulu Siqonbile ka Zwelithini who was crowned king in a traditional ceremony last Saturday. The coronation comes after 50 years of his father’s reign, King Goodwill Zwelithini ka Bhekuzulu, and a year-long family feud to determine the rightful heir. For many Zulu people, it is a rare event, the first in 51 years, and totally worthy of celebrations as it welcomes the dawn of a new king of the Zulu Kingdom.

Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and Queen Mantfombi Dlamini (Source: Sundayworld.co.za)

The new king, Misuzulu ka Zwelithini, is 48 years old, and although he is the son of the previous king, some royals had argued he was not the rightful heir and that the late king’s will was in fact forged. Many believed that the feud stemmed from the fact that King Misuzulu’s mother was the late Queen Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu of royal blood given that her father was the late King Sobhuza II of Swaziland and her brother is King Mswati III of Eswatini; her marriage to the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini came with the condition that her first-born son would be first in line for the throne in the event of his father’s death. However, for some Zulus, even though Queen Mantfombi Dlamini held the highest status among the king’s wives as a royal descendant, she was still considered an ‘outsider’ or ‘foreigner’, not a Zulu. In her husband’s will, she had been named as Queen regent – caretaker until a successor was found; however she also passed one month after becoming regent, and left a will in which her son Misuzulu ka Zwelithini was named successor. Since then, there have been a lot of contests in the family.

Celebrations at the new Zulu King’s traditional coronation (Source: Yahoo News)

None of that could dampen the joyous spirit of the thousands that descended upon the KwaKhangelamankengane Palace on Saturday for the traditional coronation of the new Zulu monarch. It was a beautiful celebration. The new king will be officially installed at a public coronation on 24 September – a public holiday in South Africa previously known as Shaka‘s Day – a time when thousands of Zulus would visit his grave to honor him for uniting the Zulu nation.

Please check out images of the celebration on the BBC.

Mixed Reactions to Compaoré’s ‘Apology’

Flag of Burkina Faso

Compaoré’s apology last week raised mixed reactions [Blaise Compaore Apologizes for Thomas Sankara’s Death?]. Almost everybody could smell the trap… It turns out that Compaoré is friend with the current military ruler, and has even visited Ouagadougou, the capital, last month even though he has been found guilty by the country’s courts [Verdict Guilty: Blaise Compaoré Guilty of the Murder of Thomas Sankara].  Many think that he wants a presidential pardon! The coward! See… I always told you that Compaoré is really a coward, always has been, and always will be. After all, he is the one who has changed his citizenship to become Ivorian so as not to be extradited. Imagine that, a man who held the highest position of a nation, finishes and changes his citizenship like some common person… such a coward! Anyways, below are excerpts from AfricaNews.

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Compaore’s apology, issued on Tuesday is leaving mixed reactions as Burkinabe citizens consider the manner and sincerity of the former head of state Blaise Compaoré’s request for pardon.

If they had simply put at the end of the letter, ‘I place myself at the disposal of my country’s justice system’, I would have applauded.” says one passer-by.

… Compaore seized power in the West African nation in a 1987 coup in which Sankara was gunned down by a hit squad. The violent death of his former comrade-in-arms was a taboo subject throughout his 27 years in power.

A Burkina court handed him a life term in absentia in April for his role in the assassination.

… Luc Damiba, Secretary General of the Thomas Sankara International Committee Memorial is disappointed.”You have not been condemned or punished yet nor have you recognised your acts” he says of Compaore.

You deny justice, even defy it and at the end of the chain, when you see that there is no other way out, you come and ask for forgiveness. It’s a forced pardon! It’s as if he was forced to ask for forgiveness.” Damiba lamented. He went further and blasted the apology as “a masquerade… a kind of diversion that he is sowing in people’s minds“.

Compaore’s goal, he said, was “to be able to return to Burkina and get a presidential pardon“.

Blaise Compaore returned to Burkina Faso for several days this month, without facing arrest, after the country’s military leader Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba invited him in the name of “national reconciliation“.

The visit sparked an outcry among civil society groups and political parties, who said uniting the nation should not come at the expense of impunity.

Africa Shines at the 2022 World Championships

Tobi Amusan broke the world record (Source: Getty Images)

Africa had a really good showing at the World Championships in Eugene (Oregon) in the US, this past week, with quite a few gold medals, multiple medals, broken world records, or simply reaffirmation of their domination on their disciplines.

Tobi Amusan of Nigeria broke a world record to win a Gold medal in the women’s 100m hurdles, thus giving Nigeria its first gold at a world championship. Compatriot Ese Brume (Olympic Bronze long jump) won the Silver medal in the women’s Long Jump.

Hugues Fabrice Zango getting his triple jump (Source: bbc.co.uk)

Burkinabe Hugues Fabrice Zango who had won Bronze in men’s triple jump at the Tokyo Olympics, giving his country its first ever Olympic medal, went farther to win Silver at the World Championships this week.

Faith Kipyegon (Source: WorldAthletics.org)

Kenyan athletes were impressive as Mary Moraa got Bronze in the women’s 800m while Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir (Olympics 800m Gold medal) won Gold in the men’s 800m. Faith Kipyegon, the Olympics Gold winner, retained her crown as the women’s 1500m queen of the distance with Gold. Conselus Kipruto took Bronze in the men’s 3000m steeplechase. In the women’s 5000m, Beatrice Chebet took Silver, and Jacob Krop took home Silver in the men’s discipline. The duo of Hellen Obiri (Olympic 5000m Silver winner) and Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi took home Silver and Bronze medals in the women’s 10,000m respectively; while compatriot Stanley Waithaka Mburu took Silver in the men’s 10,000m. Judith Jeptum Korir took home the Silver medal in the women’s marathon

Djamel Sedjati of Algeria took Silver in the men’s 800m.

Gudaf Tsegay celebrating her gold medal in the 5000m (Source: BBC.co.uk)

Gudaf Tsegay (5000m Olympic Bronze medalist) of Ethiopia won Silver in women’s 1500m, and Gold in 5000m; while her compatriot Dawit Seyaum took the Bronze medal on 5000m.  In the 3000m steeplechase, the women Werkuha Getachew and Mekides Abebe took Silver and Bronze respectively; while Lamecha Girma (Olympic 3000m steeplechase Silver medal) took Silver for the men. Letesenbet Gidey (Bronze at the Olympics 10,000m) won the Gold medal in the women’s 10,000m discipline. Gotytom Gebreslase took home the Gold medal in the women’s marathon, while her male compatriots Tamirat Tola and Mosinet Geremew won Gold and Silver in the men’s marathon.

Soufiane El Bakkali (Olympic gold 3000m steeplechase winner) of Morocco took home Gold in the men’s 3000m steeplechase.

Joshua Cheptegei crossing the line (Source: Runnersworld.com)

Oscar Chelimo of Uganda won Bronze in the men’s 5000m. The duo Joshua Cheptegei (Olympic 5000m gold winner) and Jacob Kiplimo (Olympic 10,000m Bronze medalist) took home Gold and Bronze medals respectively in the men’s 10,000m.

Blaise Compaore Apologizes for Thomas Sankara’s Death?

Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara a Ouagadougou

Yes you are not dreaming, nor am I joking. Blaise Compaoré, the past president of Burkina Faso, the one who murdered his friend and comrade President Thomas Sankara, has ‘apologized’ to his family. Is it for real? What is going on? Is Compaoré dying? Why the sudden regrets? or is he hoping to come back in power with the new military ruler? Should we applaud for him? NO! We are candidly interested in your apologies… but brother Compaoré, you need to pay! Tell us how you did it! Give us details! Tell us, who helped you; tell us where our brothers, mothers, sisters, fathers bodies are, and share some of the wealth you have acquired illicitly on our backs for the many years of regression and suffering at your hand. And what about Norbert Zongo [May 3rd: World Press Day – Norbert Zongo]? And then, the message read by the speaker goes, “I hope that we can move forward from now on …” Wait a second, so you can send a letter read by someone else, and you expect us to clap and just turn the page? Oh, I am so sick of people saying words, no actions, and expecting us to just forget, and move on! Actions speak louder than words! As you read, do you think Compaoré is really sorry? Excerpts below are from the BBC.

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Flag of Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso’s ex-President Blaise Compaoré has apologised to the family of Thomas Sankara, his charismatic predecessor who was shot dead during a coup in 1987.

In April, Mr Compaoré was sentenced in absentia to life in prison for his role in the assassination. He had always described the death as an accident [Verdict Guilty: Blaise Compaoré Guilty of the Murder of Thomas Sankara].

Mr Compaoré has lived in exile in neighbouring Ivory Coast since 2014 when he was ousted in a popular uprising after 27 years in power [Who/What did we Celebrate in Africa in 2014?].

I ask the people of Burkina Faso to forgive me for all the acts I committed during my term of office, especially to the family of my brother and friend Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara,” Mr Compaoré said in a statement.

I take responsibility and deplore, from the bottom of my heart, all the sufferings and dramas experienced by all the victims during my mandates at the head of the country and ask their families to forgive me. I hope that we can move forward from now on to rebuild our common destiny on the land of our ancestors.

The message was delivered to military ruler Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who took power in a coup in January, by an Ivorian delegation accompanied by the former president’s daughter Djamila Compaoré.

South Africa is this year’s Women African Cup of Nations Champion

Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) logo

The 14th edition of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (WAFCON) just ended with a win by the Banyana Banyana, South Africa’s national female team. The final was a showdown between the Banyana Banyana of South Africa and the Atlas Lionesses of Morocco in Rabat, Morocco’s capital. The Copper Queens of Zambia beat the Super Falcons of Nigeria to take home the bronze medal of the tournament.

South Africa wins championship (Source: pmnewsnigeria.com)

The Women’s Africa Cup of Nations took place over 3 weeks in Morocco. During these 3 weeks, the best female teams on the continent competed for the top title of champion of Africa. Compared to the men’s tournament, the Africa Cup of Nations which has been in existence for almost 7 decades, the Women’s tournament is relatively young at 28 years of age, and also usually is not vividly followed. This year brought in record following with a full stadium at 50,000 occupancy for the final, which is an amazing feat for a Women’s competition on the continent. The most titled nation in WAFCON history is Nigeria with 11 titles, followed by Equatorial Guinea with 2 titles, and now South Africa with 1 title.

South Africa had been coming 2nd for 4 tournaments taking home the silver medal in 2000, 2008, 2012, and 2018, and this year it finally took home the gold medal. Striker Hildah Magaia scored twice to lead her country to victory 2-1 against Morocco.

The Atlas Lionesses (Source: football256.com)

There were top performances and goals from the different countries participating. Some players stood out including the Moroccan captain Ghizlane Chebbak, Nigeria Rasheedat Ajibade, and South African Hildah Magaia who have been the tournament’s top scorers. Cameroon’s Ajara Nchout and Nigeria’s Sumayah Komuntale also shined by their performances.

Congratulations to the champions the Banyana Banyana of South Africa, and to all the women who proudly represented their countries at the tournament and made us happy.

East African Words in the English Dictionary

Oxford English Dictionary

Drum rolls…  the Oxford English Dictionary has just selected 200 new words from East Africa to be part of its new edition. We all remember the 2020 Oxford English Dictionary which had introduced 29 Nigerian words to its lexicon. This year’s edition features the addition of almost 200 words from East African countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Given that Swahili is the lingua franca in all three of these countries (to a smaller extent in Uganda), it is no surprise that the words added have a strong Swahili origin. The words added include: Asante Sana (thank you very much), pole sana (sorry), Kanga (cotton fabric from East Africa), Chapo (thin pancake eaten for breakfast), Nyama Choma (roasted/grilled meat), collabo (collaborate), tarmac (to work the streets in search of a job; job huntic), jembe (not to be confused with djembe drums – hand tool shaped like a hoe used for digging), sambaza (to send mobile phone credit to someone), duka (small neighborhood store sharing all sorts of goods)…  Isn’t it marvelous how each culture adds to another? With the growth of the Swahili language and its inclusion in schools across the continent, it is no doubt a forward strategy of OED to include these, even though a bit late in my opinion. Since the introduction of Nigerian words into the Queen’s English Dictionary, I have been wondering if these new words actually get used in England, Australia, or other places where English is spoken, or does their use remain just local, and the addition is more of a ‘political’ play on diversity?  Enjoy from the OED website.

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Region in East Africa where Swahili is spoken (linguisitics.illinois.edu)

Recent OED updates have included a significant number of new entries from South Africa and Nigeria. In this quarterly update, the OED continues to broaden its coverage of words from English-speaking Africa, with the publication of close to 200 new and revised entries for East African English. These additions and revisions are for words used chiefly or exclusively in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, three countries which share a common Anglophone background despite their differing colonial histories.

Something else that Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda have in common is their lingua franca, Swahili, and indeed several of the new and revised entries in the East African update are borrowings into English from this language. This includes the oldest of the new entries in this batch, jembereferring to a hoe-shaped hand tool used for digging, which is first attested in an article by British explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton published in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1860. Over a hundred years later, renowned Kenyan writer and academic Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o used the same word in his historical novel A Grain of Wheat, first published in 1967.

One of the newest words in this batch is also a Swahili loan word: sambazaa verb originally used to mean ‘to send mobile phone credit to someone’, but now used more generally to mean ‘to share or send something’. …

Flag of Kenya

Other borrowings in this batch include Swahili forms of address such as mwalimu ‘teacher’ (first attested 1884), as well as Bwana (1860) and its abbreviation, Bw (1973), a title of courtesy or respect prefixed to the surname or first name of a man. There are also expressions and discourse markers of Swahili origin such as asante sana (1911) ‘thank you’, pole sana (1966) ‘sorry’, and ati (2010) ‘as someone said; reportedly, allegedly’.

… The vocabulary of East African English is characterized not just by loan words, but also by lexical innovations based on English elements, several of which have now made their way into the OED. They include words formed through suffixation, such as unprocedural (1929) ‘irregular, illegal’; through clipping, like the verb collabo  (2008) ‘especially of musicians: to collaborate’; and through compounding, such as deskmate (1850) ‘a person who sits next to another at school’. Some English words also have meanings specific to the region. In East African English, the noun tarmac (1982) is also used as a verb meaning ‘to walk the streets looking for work; to job hunt’. A person who is pressed (1958) needs to go to the bathroom, while a stage (1965) is a bus stop or a taxi rank.

In addition to words used throughout East Africa, the OED’s latest update also features words unique to the varieties of English spoken in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The lexicon of Kenyan English is represented by borrowings from a few of its many languages: for example, kiondo (1902) from Kikuyu and Isukuti (1972) from Luhya. A kiondo is a handwoven bag made from cord or string, now usually of sisal, with long handles or straps that can be slung over the shoulder, typical of the traditional handicraft of the Kikuyu and Kamba peoples of Kenya. An isukuti is a wooden drum, traditionally made from a hollowed log, which is usually hung over the shoulder and played by striking with the fingers and palms. Isukuti is also the name of a rhythmic, energetic traditional celebratory dance accompanied by drumming and singing, performed typically at festivals and weddings by the Luhya peoples of Western Kenya, such as the Isukha and Idakho.

Flag of Tanzania

… In Kenyan English, a biting (1997) is a bite-sized piece of food, a small snack, appetizer, or canapé; while a merry-go-round (1989) is an informal cooperative savings scheme, typically run by and for women, in which each participant regularly contributes an amount, and the whole sum is distributed to the members in turn. To shrub is to pronounce or write words in another language in a manner that is influenced by one’s mother tongue, and a shrub (2008) is a word pronounced or written in this manner. To shrub and shrub are colloquialisms chiefly used with reference to English or Swahili words pronounced in a manner characteristic of another Kenyan language.

… As for Tanzanian English, one of the most widely known words from this variety is daladalathe name of a  van or minibus that carries passengers for a fare as part of a local informal transport system. Dating back to 1983, the English word comes from Swahili, with daladala being a reduplication of dala ‘dollar’, perhaps originally as a bus driver’s call. Dala is also the nickname of the Tanzanian 5-shilling coin, which used to be the typical fare for daladala minibuses.

Flag of Uganda

… The vocabulary of Ugandan English draws primarily from Luganda, one of the country’s major languages. Examples of Lugandan borrowings in this batch are kaveera (1994)‘a plastic bag, plastic packaging’; kwanjula (1973)‘an engagement ceremony where the families of the bride and groom formally meet’; and nkuba kyeyo (1991) ‘a Ugandan person working overseas, especially one doing a low-paid or unskilled job’—the Lugandan phrase literally means ‘someone who sweeps’. Katogo (1940) is another loan word from Luganda—it is the name of a typical Ugandan breakfast dish consisting of matoke (banana or plantain) boiled in a pot with various other ingredients. The word later developed a figurative sense, as it began to be used to mean ‘a mixture or fusion of disparate elements; a mess, a muddle’.

Ugandan English also has its share of distinctive uses of existing English words. In Uganda, to cowardize (2003) is to act like a coward or to lose one’s nerve, while to extend (2000) is to move from one’s position so as to make room for someone else. Well done (1971) is used as a friendly greeting or salutation, especially when encountering a person at work or in a state of activity. You are lost! (2013) is also used as a greeting, or in response to a greeting, in a manner similar to ‘long time no see’.

Mali : ECOWAS Lifts Sanctions and France Moves Troops to Neighboring Niger

Map of Mali with its capital Bamako

Over the weekend, ECOWAS (CEDEAO), the regional West-African agency and France’s puppet organization in the region, lifted its 6-months embargo against Mali. Back in January, with tensions escalating between France and Mali, the ECOWAS placed unbelievable sanctions on Mali, closing borders, banking, and more. For the history, Mali has been in disarray since the fall of Libya in 2011 losing up to 80% of its territory to jihadists armed by foreign forces. Faced with 80% of its territory occupied by foreign forces and terrorists, and in order to regain sovereignty over its lands, Mali sought the partnership of Russia, which France screamed against based on The 11 Components of the French Colonial Tax in Africa which denies Africans the right to other military or economic partners without France’s approval [The French Colonial Tax at the Heart of Mali-France TensionsFrance confirms it will withdraw from Mali … moving to neighboring countries and beyondMali Rescinds France Defense Agreements].

Yesterday, the West African bloc ECOWAS has lifted the economic and financial sanctions against Mali’s military government after the promise that Mali will hold elections in February 2024. The move has been celebrated by many Malians who have been struggling under the restrictions and the global rise in fuel and food costs. As many applaud the lifting of sanctions, it is important to analyze why ECOWAS might have changed its mind: a) the countries in the West African block were not aware of how much weight Mali had in the region and the impact to their economies, and were all suffering from the Mali embargo, and thus are scramming to have Mali rejoin its ranks; b) With sanctions lifted, it will be easier for terrorists groups (armed by foreign forces) to travel back into the country easily, as there will be less control; c) a few days ago, the Spanish minister threatened Mali with a NATO intervention to protect European interests in Mali, which he later denied; d) France just moved its troops to neighboring Niger (another puppet). How convenient that the sanctions are lifted a few days after this minister’s outburst, and right before France’s troops move to Niger. Thus, knowing that ECOWAS is France’s puppet in the region, the lifting of sanctions is rather something to be skeptical of, and distrust entirely. No one should fall for this ECOWAS turncoat tactic… Mali should keep its guard high, and we should all pray and fight for the freedom of Mali and Africa as a whole!

African Countries move ahead with New Currencies: The Case of the Sango Coin of CAR

Central African Republic (CAR) flag

As the economy everywhere appears to be in free-fall, with high inflation all over the world, many African countries are taking measures that will help their citizens deal with and hopefully solve some of their internal issues.

President Faustin-Archange Touadera of the Central African Republic (CAR) (Source: ConnecterLeMonde.com)

One such example is that of the Central African Republic (CAR) which adopted Bitcoin as a National Currency last April. This past Sunday, CAR President, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, announced in an online event the creation of the Sango Coin and a zero-taxation “crypto-hub“, the first in Africa. The currency is named Sango after the main African language spoken in the country. This currency will, via the a platform called Crypto Island, allow the country to trade in its vast natural resources (diamonds, uranium, gold, and other minerals). Until now, CAR has been, like 14 other African countries, enslaved by the French colonial tax that is the FCFA which served at one point to ‘siphon’ up to 75% of the countries’ resources directly back to France [Africa is funding Europe!]. It is clear that those African nations need new currencies, and we salute CAR for having the courage to start, even though crypto seems to be unsteady at the moment (like everything else at the moment); it is always scary to be a pioneer, but it is rewarding as well! As a side note, the west tends to overlook, or vilify some of our leaders who try to stand up or do things right for their people. President Touadéra is one of those African leaders who has been demonized for his want to free his country from the French chains, turning to Russia for help in stopping a war in his country which benefited France and its croonies. Rarely do the Western media highlight the fact that President Touadera is also a trained mathematician, and in his free time still teaches students at the University of Bangui in his country.

Excerpts below are from Barron’s. For more, check out articles on Bloomberg, and AfricaNews.

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Map of Central African Republic

Undeterred by the turmoil hitting crypto, the Central African Republic (CAR) — one of the poorest and most troubled countries in the world — has unveiled plans to launch its own digital currency.

President Faustin Archange Touadera, in an “online event” on Sunday, announced CAR would create the Sango Coin and a zero-taxation “crypto-hub“, the first in Africa.

The currency is named after Sango, which with French is one of the two official languages in the landlocked country, rated the world’s second poorest nation under the UN’s Human Development Index.

Through a platform called Crypto Island, the Sango will become “the catalyst for tokenising (CAR’s) vast natural resources,” Touadera declared, providing no timeline or other details.

He hailed Sango and Crypto Island as “a new digital system fed by blockchain,” the internet-based ledger that underpins crypto currencies.

Sango Coin will give the whole world direct access to our resources,” attracting investors and “getting the engines of the economy going,” he enthused.

On April 27, Touadera’s office abruptly announced that the CAR had adopted Bitcoin as legal tender alongside the CFA franc, a currency the country shares with five other central African economies.

It became the first country in Africa to embrace Bitcoin as a national currency, and the second in the world after El Salvador last September.

Touadera on Sunday said 57 percent of Africa’s population does not have access to a bank.

The solution,” he said, was “the smartphone, the alternative to the traditional bank, cash and financial red tape“.

On Twitter, he said, “gold served as the engine of our civilisation for ages! In this new age, digital gold will serve the same for the future.”

Germany to Return Stolen Sacred Statue to Cameroon

Statue of Ngonnso (Source: Mimimefoinfos.com)

Germany has agreed to return a sacred statue stolen in Cameroon in 1902 by a German soldier in the Nso kingdom in the Northwest region of Cameroon. The statue is the only depiction of the queen mother of the Nso people. For the story, Ngonnso founded Banso which marks the beginning of the Nso kingdom in the 14th century when she separated from her two brothers Nchare Yen, the founder of Foumban the capital and the Bamun Kingdom, and Mbe who founded Bankim. From Nso oral history, it is said that Ngonnso was able to conquer, defeat, and ensure that all Nso people stay together. She was a strong woman, who embodied the history and identity of the Nso people. When the German colonial commander in visit in Banso “took” the statue via unknown means in 1902, 120 years ago, it is as if the soul of the Nso people was gone. Special note of gratitude to all activists who demanded the return of Ngonnso for years, and to Sylvie Njobati who launched the @BringBackNgonnso Twitter account in March 2020, tweeting demands for Ngonnso’s restitution and tagging the German museum and its leaders. As always, unity is strength!

To learn more about the return of Ngonnso, check out the article on CNN, and NewsCentralAfrica. The excerpt below is from the BBC.

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Germany has agreed to return a sacred statue stolen from Cameroon at the beginning of the last century.

The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which manages the museums in the capital, Berlin, said it would return the female figure, known as Ngonnso, to the Nso community in north-west Cameroon.

The statue was taken by a colonial officer and donated to Berlin’s Ethnological Museum in 1903.

A prince from the Nso kingdom told the Reuters news agency that the announcement was warmly received in Cameroon.

After more than 120 years, we can only remain happy for it is a moment to commemorate and come closer to our ancestral links with love and togetherness,” Mbinglo Gilles Yumo Nyuydzewira is quoted as saying.

The foundation also said that it will return 23 pieces to Namibia and is planning an agreement to repatriate objects to Tanzania.