First, a personal note. On Thursday this blog received its 250,000th page view since it began three years ago. The last two months have accounted for almost 40,000 views. The traffic, I hope, is a sign that I am making progress toward my core goal here: offering writing that is accessible enough to inform those unfamiliar with the region, but nuanced enough to communicate the complexity and humanity of major events in the Sahel (not that I always achieve that!). I am grateful to readers old and new, especially the commenters, for making the blog what it is; without engagement from readers, critical feedback on my ideas, debate and discussion, I would have abandoned the project a long time ago. So thank you for reading and participating. And on that note, I am looking for ways to make the blog better and to keep it from getting stale. I sometimes contemplate making substantial changes, such as taking on guest contributors, including intermittent coverage of North Africa, or writing a weekly post in French and/or Arabic, but so far I have hesitated to do so. If you have any suggestions, or if your feeling is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” please let me know, either in the comments or by email. Now the roundup:
BBC: “Africa received its largest ever share of global foreign direct investment (FDI) last year.”
The new government of Senegal has cancelled the licences of 29 foreign fishing trawlers, demanding that they offload their catches in the capital Dakar before leaving the west African country’s territorial waters.
The dramatic move on Tuesday by fisheries minister Pape Diouf follows growing resentment at overfishing and alleged corruption of the previous government’s licencing system. It is expected to defuse threats by Senegal’s 52,000 small-scale inshore fishermen to take direct action against the owners of foreign trawlers.
The Economic Community of West African States plans to send troops to crisis-torn Mali “soon.”
Protests in Mauritania continue. Police broke up a mass sit-in on Thursday. Meanwhile, students at the University of Nouakchott are boycotting classes (Arabic), and several student leaders have been arrested.
Jeune Afrique profiles Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou (French), focusing on his relations with the international community and the contrast he draws with his predecessor, ousted former President Mamadou Tandja.
In a new report, Human Rights Watch says, “The Kenyan security forces have committed widespread human rights abuses against ethnic Somalis with total impunity.”
In other Kenya news, Prime Minister Raila Odinga made headlines this week for expressing fears of ethnic violence during next year’s presidential election (originally scheduled for December 2012, now for March 2013), in which he intends to compete.
The committee, tasked with unravelling the discrepancies between what the federal government paid to fuel importers and the actual amount of fuel imported since 2009, exposed massive fraud in the oil sector. It revealed that $6.8 billion was unaccounted for.
Reuters has more:
Nigeria’s justice ministry said on Friday it would prosecute anyone found guilty of being involved in a $6.8 billion fuel subsidy corruption scheme but urged the public to be patient and allow time for a full investigation.
The recent death of a Somali journalist cast a shadow over the celebration of World Press Freedom Day there.
What else is happening?