Provisional agreement on a civilian government in Sudan
In Sudan, the main coalition of pro-democracy parties and the junta, which has ruled since 2021, signed a provisional agreement last Monday to re-establish civilian rule. Since the coup d’état on 25 October 2021 (see press review week 43/2021), the country has been under military rule, which has been accompanied by a further deterioration of the social and economic situation. This is the third attempt to overcome military rule in Sudan. The provisional agreement now signed provides for a two-year interim government until free elections are held, with the currently vacant post of Prime Minister to be occupied in the near future. It has not yet been possible to agree on a concrete timetable for this. However, it was decided that the role of the military would be limited to the Defence and Security Council under the supervision of the Prime Minister, while the companies currently controlled by the military would be placed under the Ministry of Finance. Several more weeks have been given to finalise details of the transitional government, accountability and security reform. International reactions to the agreement, mediated by the UN, the African Union (AU) and the regional IGAD, have been mostly positive, including from Germany and the EU. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States also welcomed the agreement and pledged to provide substantial economic support to Sudan once a civilian government is established. In the country itself, however, the agreement met with harsh criticism in some quarters. Various groups rejected negotiations with the military junta from the outset. They criticise the agreement as not very inclusive and not sufficient to guarantee long-term stability. The demand for justice for those killed since the coup would also not be mentioned. Thousands have therefore been demonstrating again since Monday. Sudanese security forces used tear gas and blocked roads and bridges to suppress the protests in the capital.
Minister of Economic Affairs Habeck travels to Namibia and South Africa
The Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck travelled to Namibia and to the German-African Business Summit (GABS) in Johannesburg last week. On Monday, he signed a declaration of intention for energy cooperation with Namibian President Hage Geingob. In the future, the country in Southern Africa is to be Germany’s most important supplier of green hydrogen. This is produced in Namibia from renewable energies such as wind and solar power and could play a central role in achieving the climate goals. In 2025, the construction of deep-sea ports, which are necessary for the production of hydrogen, will begin. By 2027, up to 300,000 tonnes of green hydrogen could already be supplied annually. The investment in the project, in which a German company is also involved, will be approximately 10 billion euros. This is roughly equivalent to Namibia’s annual economic output, the Federal Minister said. German-African economic cooperation was also the core topic of the fourth GABS, which took place from 6 to 8 December in Johannesburg, South Africa. The aim of the summit is to strengthen economic relations between Germany and African countries. Among the participants were Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economic Affairs Habeck as well as ministers from Angola, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and other African countries. South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa had to cancel his participation at short notice and was represented by Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Industry and Trade. In his speech, Habeck stressed the need for more German investments to flow to Africa and promoted the expansion of renewable energies. Before the opening of the GABS, Habeck also made a stopover in Cape Town, where he visited the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI) at Stellenbosch University and met the director of the institute, bioinformatician Prof.Tulio de Oliveira, one of this year’s winners of the German Africa Award. De Oliveira and his team did important work for global pandemic control with the discovery of different variants of the coronavirus and received the German Africa Award 2022 for this together with his Botswanan colleague Dr. Sikhulile Moyo, which Chancellor Olaf Scholz presented in November (German Africa Award 2022). The discussion focused on the impact of climate change on the spread of diseases and epidemics as well as the expansion of German-South African cooperation in science and politics.
In other news
In Senegal, the 20th anniversary of the Dakar Fashion Week was celebrated from Friday to Sunday. The Fashion Week was organised by Adam N’Diaye, a French designer with Senegalese roots. Based on the motto “made in Africa by African for the world”, 20 designers from Angola, Morocco, Mali and other African countries presented their works on the island of Gorée on Saturday. The island is considered a symbol of the transatlantic slave trade and became a place of memory for it with the Maison des Esclaves (Engl. slave house). For N’Diaye, however, the island also stands for cultural and ethnic diversity, which is why it was chosen as the location for the event. The event not only encourages young people to pursue a career in this field, but also promotes the local fashion industry.