Africa Edition | 14 November 2022

Coal is high on the agenda again as country representatives bang their heads together in Egypt to find ways of cutting carbon emissions in a bid to avert an even bigger climate change disaster. This puts South Africa on the spot. When it comes to dependency on coal power plants, the country is in a class of its own – 85% of its electricity is produced in coal power plants. This is way higher than all countries – bar two. Tiny Mongolia (population 3 million) and Kosovo (population 2 million). Electricity generation from coal is extremely problematic for global warming. How did South Africa find itself here? Hartmut Winkler traces the history and points to some solutions.

Big international events, such as the Fifa Soccer World Cup, which kicks off in Qatar next week, invariably put their host countries under scrutiny, not least for their human rights record. COP27 in Egypt was no exception. It provided a rare opportunity for the world to cast the spotlight on human rights abuses in the country. This includes the continued incarceration of Egyptian-British activist Alaa Abd el-Fattah, who is among thousands of political prisoners languishing in jail. Chris Barker reflects on the sudden relaxation of censorship against some media outlets during the global climate conference. He doubts that this signals a new future of civil liberties in Egypt.

Caroline Southey

Founding Editor

South Africa is hooked on fossil fuels: how it got here and how it can get out

Hartmut Winkler, University of Johannesburg

When it comes to dependency on coal power plants, South Africa is in a class of its own: 85% of its electricity is produced in coal power plants.

COP27 shines light on civil liberties in Egypt, but it’ll take work to achieve real freedom

Chris Barker, American University in Cairo

Many people accept the Egyptian government’s restrictions on freedoms, for a variety of conflicting reasons.

Africa’s largest democracy goes to the polls amid rising insecurity

Freedom C. Onuoha, University of Nigeria; Oluwole Ojewale, Institute for Security Studies

Ahead of 2023 general elections, there are increasing concerns that the current spate of violence in Nigeria, if unchecked, could undermine electoral outcomes.

Presidential term limits will be hard to scrap in Kenya – here’s what it would take

John Mukum Mbaku, Weber State University

The purpose of term limits is to minimise corruption and open the government to new ideas that could solve national problems.

Climate change and wildlife: 3 studies that reveal the devastating toll on Africa’s animals

Moina Spooner, The Conversation

Changing habitat ranges, competition for food and water, and biological effects of climate change all pose threats to wildlife.

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