Malian transitional president and prime minister dismissed in coup
Mali’s transitional vice-president, Assimi Goïta, announced on Tuesday that he had resigned from his post the transitional president Bah N’Daw, the transitional prime minister Moctar Ouane and several advisers during another coup. Goïta – who also led last year’s coup – said the dismissals were due to their failure to consult him on a cabinet reshuffle. On Wednesday, the President and Prime Minister of Mali were released from detention after resigning. The resignation letter, according to the AP, puts Mali at risk of further instability. Waiting, Goïta declared himself transnational president of the country and said the elections will take place next year as scheduled.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) published a joint statement categorizing the events as “reckless action … which risks weakening the mobilization of the international community in favor of Mali”.
The European Union has also warned that they are consider measures against those who hinder the transition in Mali. United States declared that it “will suspend security assistance which benefits the Malian security and defense forces that we had previously pursued under the available authorities”. Like the European Union, the United States has also indicated that it will consider sanctions against those hindering Mali’s transition.
This coup follows a previous coup in August 2020 where President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta resigned after members of Malina’s armed forces seized Keïta and Prime Minister Boubou Cissé. Regional bodies, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union, denounced this decision and imposed sanctions on the new Malian leaders.
To learn more about the August 2020 coup, consider reading “Africa in the News: Coup in Mali, Oil Slick in Mauritius, and COVID-19 Updates.” See also “Africa in the News: New Funding to Fight COVID-19 in Africa, Prime Minister of Somalia Voted and Policy Updates in Mali and Côte d’Ivoire” and “Africa in the news: Mali’s transitional government, Somalia’s debt relief, and Togo’s first female prime minister.
European Union invests in African vaccine production capacities
Last Friday, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, presented a Global Health Initiative supported by the EU at the G-20 World Health Summit in Rome. The new initiative – officially dubbed “Team Europe Initiative on Manufacture and Access to Vaccines, Medicines and Health Technologies in Africa”—Invest approximately € 1 billion to promote the development of local vaccine manufacturing capacity in Africa.
Noting that “Africa imports 99% of its vaccines and 94% of its medicines, ”President von der Leyen plans to tackle Africa’s barrier to accessing medicines on both the supply and demand sides. On the supply side, the initiative provides sufficient incentive to mitigate the risk of investing in local African biotech and pharmaceutical companies – with the aim of developing many regional manufacturing centers across the continent. On the demand side, the initiative plans to work collaboratively with African communities and leaders to overcome local market fragmentation, facilitate market integration, consolidate demand, and promote the use of locally produced medical products.
While the long-term result of this substantial investment in the African pharmaceutical and medical industry will enable Africa to become more self-reliant and improve access to medical products, the initiative does not foresee African production of vaccines. COVID-19. Nonetheless, the pandemic has highlighted the structural problem in “the wide gap [vaccine] manufacturing capacities around the world … [and] the importance of diversify global value chains. “
DRC’s Mount Nyiragongo erupts, displacing thousands
In the early hours of May 22, thousands of residents of Goma – one of the largest cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo after Kinshasa –fled to escape the consequences of the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo. Aid groups estimate that lava from the volcano destroyed four villages, leaving at least 5,000 people homeless. The lava also covered a road and half of the airstrip at Goma airport, but stopped 300 meters from the airport and did not enter the city otherwise. Nonetheless, the city experienced tremors that opened up cracks in houses and buildings, posing difficulties for transportation in and out of the city.
The United Nations Refugee Agency has expressed concern this toxic gas from the eruption could present an auxiliary threat. Reports say five of the 32 casualties reported so far have been caused by gas asphyxiation as these people attempt to walk through the cooling lava. DRC authorities have warned residents to remain vigilantbecause new eruptions and earthquakes remain a risk.
Monday’s eruption was not the first to threaten the city. In January 2002, a large eruption of Mount Nyiragongo destroyed 40% of the city and over 4,500 buildings and homes. An eruption in 1977 resulted in the deaths of 600 people.