What’s Going On: Ghana’s inflation crisis, jailbreak near Nigeria’s capital city & more

Important headlines from across Africa

“What’s Going On” Tallies Notable News Headlines From Across The Continent — The Good, The Bad, And The Horrible — As A Way Of Ensuring That We All Become A More Sagacious African Generation. With This Column, We’re Hoping To Disseminate The Latest Happenings In Our Socio-Political Climate From Across The Continent, Whilst Starting A Conversation About What’s Important For Us To All Discuss. From Political Affairs To Socio-Economic Issues, ‘What’s Going On’ Will Discuss Just That. 

Ghana seeks economic support from IMF for inflation crisis

Ghana’s economic situation has been detrimental to the lives of its citizens. Last month, hundreds took to the streets of capital city, Accra to protest the skyrocketing cost of living in the West African country, with consumer inflation now hitting decade-long highs. In June, the inflation mark increased to 29.8% annually, a two percent uptick from its mark in the previous month. The last time Ghana’s inflation hit the 29% mark was in January 2005, a negative development that reflects the ever-rising cost of consumer goods and consistent weakening of the Ghanaian Cedi.

The country’s statistics agency has stated that the hike in prices were driven up by household items, with the prices of imported good rising more than domestically produced goods for the third straight month. With rising global price for crude products, transportation prices have grown at 41.6%, while food inflation has risen to 30.7%. To combat the “fully blown crisis,” which it blames on external factors like the Covid-19 pandemic and the effects of the war in Ukraine, the Ghanaian government has announced its plans to seek an economic support package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

While still ironing out details for the support package, a mid-term budget review scheduled for Wednesday, July 13, has now been postponed to an unspecified date.

ISWAP claims responsibility for jailbreak near Nigeria’s capital city

Last week Tuesday, armed attackers bombarded the medium security prison in Kuje, on the outskirts of Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja, with residents of the area reporting that they heard multiple explosions. The attack on the prison led to a raid that freed an estimated 600 inmates, among them being the 69 suspects captured and arrested in the fight against insurgent Islamic groups. The Islamic State in West African Province (ISWAP), a Boko Haram offshoot that has allied itself with the global terrorist group ISIL, has claimed responsibility for the attack and jailbreak.

Permanent Secretary at the interior ministry, Shuaib Belgore, told journalists that over half of the escaped population had been recaptured, with some turning themselves over to the police and others captured in their temporary hideouts. However, the whereabouts of many escapees are unknown, including that of Boko Haram commanders like Kabiru Sokoto, the mastermind behind the 2011 Christmas Day bombing that killed 44 people in Catholic Church in Abuja. The jailbreak and disappearance of these type of figures have spawned brow-raising theories, with some claiming that the vacation of armed troops from around the Kuje area was a sign of collusion with the Nigerian security forces to free top insurgents in exchange for abducted individuals in the Kaduna railway attacks.

The president’s remarks, issued through his Twitter account, did little to quell these theories or inspire confidence, even portraying a sense of confoundedness: “How can terrorists organize, have weapons, attack a security installation and get away with it?” With the Nigerian government proving helpless against these groups fuelling insecurity, while expanding their reach beyond the country’s northern region, analysts say that this attack is strategic and ominous, especially for the effect it might have on Nigeria’s future, seeing how close the attack was from the centre of leadership.

Insurgent attacks worsen under Burkina Faso’s new military regime

In late January, Burkina Faso became the fourth West African country—in 18 months—to come under military rule. The coup d’état, which initially started as a mutiny, saw the forceful removal of former president Roch Kabore, and the eventual installation of Lt. col Paul-Henri Damiba who led the mutinous soldiers under the banner, Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration (MPSR). Damiba and his coup-plotting comrades enjoyed public goodwill, basing their forceful entrance on quelling insurgent attacks that have plagued Burkina Faso since armed groups linked to ISIL began to spill over from neighbouring Mali.

Rather than a downtick, though, the violent attacks have worsened under military rule. Last month, close to 100 people were killed in the northern border village of Seytenga, with survivors saying that the assailants moved unopposed in their massacre. It’s the second worst attack in the 7 years since insurgent attacks became prominent in the country, a year after over 100 people were slain in the north-eastern village of Solhan. Since the Seytenga attack, the military government has ordered residential evacuation, and has announced the creation of military zones in order to take back control of the area.

“The plan also aims to cut the sources of supply for terrorist groups which have created corridors in the eastern part of the country to be able to move to refuel, motorcycle, and ammunition,” Mahamoudou Savadogo, founder of geopolitical advisory firm Granada Consulting, told Al Jazeera. According to the UN, Burkina Faso has one of the world’s fastest-growing numbers of internally displaced people, with over 1.9 million forced to flee their homes due to the ongoing conflict.

Morocco & Zambia advance to semi-final of Women’s African Cup of Nations

After its opening week of group stage matches, the knockout phase of the 2022 Women’s African Cup of Nations is underway. Comprising winners and runners up from the three groups, as well as two best losers, countries in the quarter-final stage include host country Morocco, South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia, Senegal, Tunisia, Cameroon, and Botswana. In the first two quarter-final matches played on Wednesday night, Morocco and Zambia emerged winners, with the former edging out a 2-1 win over Botswana and the latter winning 4-2 on penalties, after pulling a 1-1 draw with Senegal after full time and extra time.

Morocco await the winner of the quarter-final tie between South Africa and Tunisia, while Zambia’s semi-final match will be played against the winner of Nigeria’s match with Cameroon on Thursday evening. Along with Morocco, South Africa and Nigeria have been tipped as favourites since the beginning of the competition, but both countries are facing their own form of adversity. Record 11-time champions, Nigeria endured an opening day loss to South Africa, before bouncing back with two clean sheet wins in the group stage, while dealing with the loss of star winger Asisat Oshoala to injury. South Africa enjoyed a dominant 3-win start to the Cup of Nations, but they’ve lost star forward Thembi Kgatlana to injury and are faced with a Covid outbreak.

Semi-final games are scheduled for next Monday, July 18, while the third place match will take place next Friday and the finals will be played the day after. Morocco will also host the 2022 edition of the CAF awards next Thursday, July 21. Nominees for the male categories, headlined by internationally renowned players like Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Riyadh Mahrez, were recently released, with nominees for the female categories to be shared in a fortnight.

[Featured Image Credits: The Guardian Nigeria]