Uganda-Tanzania pipeline deal raises high expectations
On Sunday April 11, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Tanzanian President Samia Hassan Suluhu signed an agreement for the construction of the East African Pipeline (EACOP). The $ 3.55 billion pipeline will stretch from the Ugandan region of Albertine Graben, where commercially viable oil deposits were discovered in 2006, to the Tanzanian port of Tanga. At 1,440 km, the pipeline will be the largest heated pipeline in the world and will link two oil fields: the Kingfisher field, operated by China National Offshore Oil Corporation Ltd (CNOOC), and the Tilenga field, operated by Total SA Contruction, is expected to be three years, open the pipeline to commercial use by 2025 at the earliest. The Entebbe meeting also saw the signing between the project’s shareholders, including CNOOC, Total, the Ugandan National Oil Company and the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation.
Hopes for job creation and long-term profits are high among many: Suluhu noted that the project is expected to create 10,000 jobs, and the World Bank estimates that by 2030, oil production of the region will reach a maximum of 60,000 barrels per year. day – could bring Uganda up to $ 3 billion. Notably, the agreements stipulate that oil companies must award at least 30 percent of contracts related to the project to local Ugandan suppliers.
The project, however, encountered resistance from the local and international community over fears of displacement of local communities, the risk of environmental damage and the lack of transparency. In fact, in early March, 263 international and local civil society groups issued an open letter urging banks not to fund the project. In response to environmental concerns, Total said it would limit oil extraction from the national park to less than 1 percent of the protected area and fund a 50 percent increase in the number of rangers in Murchison National Park. Falls, Uganda’s largest protected area.
For more on the challenges of effective natural resource management in the Albertine Graben region, see the relevant commentary from AGI’s Ugandan partner think tank, the Center for Economic Policy Research.
Light rains slow resurgence of locust swarms in East Africa
Following a devastating locust swarm that flooded East Africa with crop-destroying insects in 2020, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reports that locusts in East Africa remain immature and underdeveloped this year due to poor rains. Although FAO has identified a few locust swarms in Kenya’s Rift Valley, a fertile plain that grows Kenya’s staple foods, cautious optimism remains that without heavy rains locusts will not breed, limiting their threat to food security and agriculture-based livelihoods. However, while poor rains can reduce the threat of destructive locusts, it can also result in a poor harvest for an area that has suffered from perpetual drought. In response to this compromise, however, as one Kenyan farmer told The Associated Press, “a poor harvest [is] better than nothing.”
Farmers and activists in the region have already prepared to tackle the pests given their potential to cause widespread devastation. Indeed, 2020 saw one of the worst epidemics in a century. As locust swarms multiplied last year, with billions descending in East Africa, mobile apps have become a very important basic system for tracking swarms. Now, combined with integrated military, NGO and civilian control operations armed with insecticides, locust numbers continue to decline. However, the economic and nutritional damage caused by the locust swarms – an individual medium-sized swarm can consume enough food to feed 2,500 people a day – affected an estimated 19 million farmers and herders in the region. last year, endangering the already fragile food security situation. in the Horn of Africa.
To learn more about the role of technology in mitigating food insecurity in Africa, read “The Future of Data: Unmasking Community Differences to Better Address Food Insecurity” in Foresight Africa 2021 by AGI.
Voters in Chad, Benin and Djibouti go to the polls amid local and national tensions
On Sunday April 11, Chad held its presidential election, which was preceded by a number of protests and arrests. As of this writing, the results have yet to be released, and al-Jazeera reports that the election commission has until April 25 to announce the provisional results. Outgoing President Idriss Deby, who is expected to win, has been in power since 1996. Election day was marked by some violence, the rebel group Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), a politico-military group founded by a dissident army in 2016 and based in Libya, attacked the Zouarké border post.
Sunday also saw Benin’s presidential election in which President Patrice Talon was re-elected with 86.3% of the vote, according to the Associated Press. The results must now be validated by the Constitutional Court. The elections in Benin were preceded by boycotts from opposition parties due to pre-election violence and objections against President Talon for a second term, as he pledged in 2016 to resign after a and subsequently adopted reforms preventing many members of the opposition from running.
Djibouti also voted last week, with outgoing President Ismail Omar Guelleh securing a fifth term – with 98 percent of the vote – amid widespread opposition boycotts, according to al-Jazeera.
Also this week, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed signed a law extending his term for two years despite the risk of international sanctions. The move has been condemned by both the United States and the European Union, with U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken saying the move “will force the United States to reassess our bilateral relations with the federal government of Somalia, to include diplomatic engagement and assistance. and review all available tools, including sanctions and visa restrictions, to respond to efforts to undermine peace and stability. Somalia’s electoral process has stalled since last fall due to the organization of elections, as many want to move away from Somalia’s currently indirect electoral system. Other contentious issues include “the formation of the electoral commission, the selection of commission members for Somaliland and the crisis in the border region between Somalia and Kenya”, in addition to accusations that President Mohamed was using the national intelligence agency to rig the electoral system.