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JEUNE AFRIQUE
Jeune Afrique is a French-language weekly news magazine. It was cofounded by Bechir Ben Yahmed and other Tunisian intellectuals in Tunis in 1960, and is now headquartered in Paris.
​Photo of Burkinabé military officer Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba
Geopolitics
Benjamin Roger

Why African Military Strongmen Are Back In Charge

Five years ago, many analysts predicted that the era of military coups in West Africa had come to an end. But three in the last two years have raised troubling questions about the fate of democracy in the region.

More than a half-century after independence spread through West Africa, democracy had seemed to be finally taking root. In several countries, free elections were held, with the defeated candidates acknowledging their defeat and more and more citizens participating in the democratic process.

Although everything was far from perfect, elections had become a part of the routine. The time of political coups, at its peak between the 1960s and the early 1990s, seemed to be over. And the idea of the military storming into palaces fully armed and announcing on national television the establishment of a committee with a long acronym seemed to be a thing of the past.

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Picture of a woman holding a child
Ideas
Aïda N'Diaye*

Why Western Outrage At War In Europe Never Makes It To Africa

The way armed conflicts have been represented in fiction for decades could explain the racism that has been revealed in Western media coverage of the war in Ukraine compared to multiple conflicts over the years in Africa.

Double standards. That is what is striking when we compare the political and media treatment of the war in Ukraine — and the massive exodus this conflict is creating — to the treatment (or non-treatment) of the multiple crises that have similarly affected African countries in recent decades.

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For example, think back to CBS News special correspondent Charlie D’Agata’s statement on Feb. 25: ”This is not a place […] like Iraq or Afghanistan […]. Kyiv is a relatively civilized city,” he said to underline what he found particularly shocking about the images shot in Ukraine.

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​Supporters of politician Abir Moussi and her Free Constitutional party protest against President Kais Saied during a rally in Tunis
Economy
Frida Dahmani, Hossam Rabie, Nina Kozlowski, and Rania Hamdi

Ukraine War, North African Food Shortages And Whiff Of A New Arab Spring

Rising tensions in wheat productions, explosion of oil prices, fear of the unknown, could the Ukraine war lead to a popular Arab uprising similar to the one in 2011?

TUNIS — History tells us that in 2010-2011 the rise in prices for raw materials, especially wheat, was one of the main causes of the uprisings that spread across the Arab world.

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Today, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is putting many of the world's economies dependent on wheat imports to the test, notably in North Africa. This prompts the question: Could there be a second “Arab Spring?”

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For African Diplomacy, The Ukraine War Opens A Whole New Era
Geopolitics
Amadou Sadjo Barry*

For African Diplomacy, The Ukraine War Opens A Whole New Era

Facing geopolitical devastation caused by the war in Ukraine, the African continent cannot be subordinate and obliged to choose one power over another. It must bring about an African foreign policy for a new multipolar world.

Those still in doubt just have to listen again to Vladimir Putin’s war-mongering speech on the eve of the invasion. The Russian president clearly calls for a reconfiguration of the post-Cold War international order, which would reduce the West’s grip on the world. The first country targeted by this repositioning strategy is the U.S., whose military presence Moscow intends to challenge in Europe, mainly in the East.

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After more than a month of conflict, the question is no longer whether the Russian armed forces will withdraw from Ukraine, but if Putin could take advantage of this new demonstration of force to impose new rules on Americans and their allies, in the new world in which Russia will be a center of politico-military domination in its own right.

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Unzipped! The African Women Breaking Taboos Of Sexuality
Society
Eva Sauphie

Unzipped! The African Women Breaking Taboos Of Sexuality

In countries and communities where sexuality is often kept under wraps, more and more women are taking up their microphones, pens and keyboards to talk about intimate issues without filters.

When the subject of African women's sexuality gets media coverage it's almost always a bad thing, says Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, a Ghanaian writer based in London: "through the spectrum of disease, HIV or repeated pregnancies."

While universal access to sexual and reproductive health services remains a central issue in West Africa, Sekyiamah wants to share other narratives. To do this, she co-founded the blog: Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women.

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Private flights have soared in demand for their ability to skirt certain travel issues
Society
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

How The Pandemic Spread Private Jet Travel Beyond The Super-Rich And Powerful

Once the reserve of the super-rich and famous, private jet travel has soared during the pandemic. Amid border closures and travel restrictions, private charter flights are sometimes the only option to get people — and their pets!? — home.

PARIS — Traveling by private jet has long been a mode of transportation long exclusively reserved for the super rich, extremely powerful and very famous. This article will not report that it is, er, democratizing....but still.

During the pandemic, a surprisingly wide demographic have turned to private jets not because it was a luxury they could afford, but out of desperation, trying to reach a destination in the face of border closures and widespread flight cancellations. Last year, private jet hours were close to 50% higher than in 2020, according to the Global Business Aviation Outlook. While some of the increase can be attributed to more travel in 2021 because of COVID-19 vaccination, it still amounts to 5% more hours than before the pandemic, as Deutsche Welle reports.

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Abdul Wahid shows a manuscript from the 14th century at his house in Timbuktu, North of Mali.
Society
Manon Laplace

An Epic Mission, Preserving The Ancient Books Of Timbuktu

Mali's "mysterious city" welcomes a new class of students trained in looking after ancient books. From conservation to digitization of these works, a colossal task awaits them to preserve this endangered heritage and the secrets they contain.

TIMBUKTU — In the workroom of the Ahmed-Baba Institute of Higher Studies and Islamic Research, time seems to have slowed down. As the dust and the sound of brushes on paper float by, six students hold in their hands one of the most precious heritages of the region.

Ceremoniously, they repeat the same gestures: lifting the pages, one by one, with the tip of a thin wooden spatula, then, with the flat of the brush, ridding the inks and the centuries-old papers of dust.

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Two afrofeminism activists pausing together  - The creative direction inspired by British-Moroccan photographer Hassan Hajjaj.
Ideas
Axelle Jah Njike

African Feminism Exists! A Brief Manifesto

There is a persistent misconception that African women fighting for their rights and building their identity owe a debt to feminism passed down by White women and the West. It is crucial to understand that there are unique forms of feminism that have developed on and of the African continent.

-Essay-

"You cannot go around claiming that an idea or an item was imported into a given society unless you could also conclude that — to the best of your knowledge — there is not and never was any word or phrase in that society's indigenous language which describes that idea or item.”

These words, spoken by the Ghanaian feminist writer and playwright Ama Ata Aidoo, perfectly illustrate why feminism is tirelessly put on trial the moment it is used in reference to sub-Saharan or Afropean girls and women. Here, feminism is seen by many to be an import from the West, an imposition from white women to women of African descent, going against the "true" traditional values of the latter.

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Black and white photo of the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco Wednesday March 4, 2020. Completed in 1993, it is the largest mosque in Africa and the only one in Morocco that non-Muslims are allowed to enter
Society
Fadwa Islah and Soufiane Khabbachi

Morocco Wages "Soft" War Against Islamic Extremism In Prisons

Launched in 2017 to combat radicalization, the Moussalaha program is finding success by helping those incarcerated for terrorism by providing counseling, reducing their prison sentences and following up after release.

RABAT — In Europe, deradicalization policies are often highly contested and their effectiveness is regularly questioned. But Morocco, a majority Muslim country, has become a pioneer in these sorts of programs. To face the terrorist threat on its territory, the North African kingdom is not content with preventing attacks and neutralizing actors. A security source contacted by Jeune Afrique spoke of a "multi-dimensional strategy that does not rely solely on the security approach.”

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Big Prizes For African Writers Don't Change Balance Of Power In Literary World
Society
Umar Timol

Big Prizes For African Writers Don't Change Balance Of Power In Literary World

Novelists from Africa have been receiving some of the most prestigious literary prizes. But there are still questions around who are the world’s literary gatekeepers and what role writers from the Global South can play, writes Mauritian poet and photographer Umar Timol.

-Analysis-

PORT LOUIS, MAURITIUS — In the arena of prestigious literary awards, 2021 was the year for Africa: Senegal's Mohamed Mbougar Sarr won France’s Goncourt Prize, the Tanzanian Abdulrazak Gurnah won the Nobel Prize in Literature and the South African Damon Galgut won the Booker Prize (for English-language novels). All are well-deserved recognitions for the continent, but is the success limited by the expectations of Western critics?

Mohamed Mbougar Sarr won France’s top literary prize for his novel La plus secrète mémoire des hommes (“The Most Secret Memory of Men”) and even he recognized how it expanded who could receive the Goncourt: “It is a strong signal [...], a way, also, to show that France is sometimes much larger and much nobler — in any case much more open — than what we can, what we want to reduce it to."

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The "Potato Crisis" At The Heart Of Algeria's Imploding Economy
Economy
Jane Herbelin

The "Potato Crisis" At The Heart Of Algeria's Imploding Economy

Prices have tripled on the staple product, as farmers and the government blame each other while ordinary Algerians struggle to put food on the table. It's yet another crisis between economics and politics in the troubled North African nation.

Algeria is facing a multifaceted crisis, one of the most serious since the North African country gained independence in 1962. Boiling social and economic unrest has combined with continuing political demands that began with the Hirak uprising of 2019 that called for the end to the decades-long rule of Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

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