87 episodes

Hosted by Will Shoki, the Africa Is a Country Podcast is a weekly destination for analysis of current events, culture, and sports on the African continent and its diaspora, from the left.

The AIAC Podcast Africa Is a Country

    • News
    • 4.7 • 14 Ratings

Hosted by Will Shoki, the Africa Is a Country Podcast is a weekly destination for analysis of current events, culture, and sports on the African continent and its diaspora, from the left.

    Origins of the scam

    Origins of the scam

    Africa is a Country is happy to announce our new collaboration with The Nigerian Scam podcast, which focuses on examining how episodic iterations of audacious fraud in Nigerian history and contemporary politics intertwine with the ongoing struggle for African independence in the intricate web of global capitalism.
    In the first syndicated episode, Sa’eed Husaini, OAG, and Emeka Ugwu consider the uses and abuses of centering “the scam” as a tool for understanding the failures of independence and the emergence of capitalism in Nigeria. Why did Nigeria come to be associated with the classic internet scam, a.k.a. “yahoo-yahoo” (among other fraudulent activities)? To what extent can the phenomenon of fraud in Nigeria be neatly separated from “legitimate” forms of capital accumulation, such as in the oil sector, the music industry, or Nollywood? Is Nigeria’s case really unique, or is it a slight variation of the failures of petty bourgeois-led independence movements in Africa?  
    Sa’eed is a research fellow at the Center for Democracy and Development in Abuja, and a regional editor for Africa Is a Country. OAG is a food security management postgraduate with a passion for revolutionary politics and discourse who lives in Hull, UK, and Emeka is a Lagos-based book critic/co-founder of Wawa Book Review. He is also a data analyst. 

    • 1 hr 20 min
    Just Us for Palestine

    Just Us for Palestine

    Africa Is a Country is proud to present a new collaboration with the South African podcast Just Us Under a Tree. Once a month we will host an episode of the podcast, which is (mostly) about the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Returning from a long hiatus, its goal is to make it easier to talk about the law and read the news.
    On this episode, Tanveer Jeewa, Dan Mafora, Johan Lorenzen, and Elisha Kunene host International Human Rights Law and Children’s Rights expert, Bryony Fox, to unpack the recent ruling of the International Court of Justice on South Africa’s request for provisional orders against Israel under the Genocide Convention. Tanveer is a constitutional law and property law lecturer, Dan is a lawyer in Cape Town and the author of Capture in the Court (Tafelberg, 2023), Johan works for Richard Spoor suing companies who injure indigenous communities, workers, and consumers, and Elisha teaches law and politics in Cape Town.

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Will there be another uprising in Egypt?

    Will there be another uprising in Egypt?

    In late September, Egypt’s Electoral Commission announced that the country will hold presidential elections in mid-December of this year. On Monday, October 3, incumbent President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced that he would run for a third term. A constitutional referendum in 2019 changed presidential term lengths from four years to six years, and handed Sisi a clean slate, permitting him to run for two additional terms under the new arrangement. Sisi could be in power until 2034.
    Sisi took power in 2013 through a popular military takeover that deposed Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi. Since then, his regime has cracked down on dissent, with tens of thousands of his political opponents (like Alaa Abd el-Fattah) jailed. Economically, Sisi handed the levers of the economy to his comrades in the junta, ballooning the country’s public debt by building scores of grandiose, white elephant projects. For ordinary people, the price of basic commodities has soared as economic restructuring by the IMF looms.
    The election in December is expected to be a foregone conclusion in favor of Sisi. In early October when he announced his candidacy, Sisi addressed the dire economic situation by exclaiming, “By God almighty, if the price of the nation’s progressing and prospering is that it doesn’t eat and drink as others do, then we won’t eat and drink.” This angered Egyptians and in some parts of the country (like Marsa Matrouh), spontaneous protests broke out. 
    Is Egypt on the verge of another uprising? What space is there for dissidents, both on the street and on the ballot box? Do Sisi’s challengers—like Ahmed Tantawi—have any chance of rallying opposition against him? Joining us on the podcast to discuss all this is Hossam el-Hamalawy, an Egyptian journalist and scholar-activist, currently based in Germany. Hossam has written for various outlets, including the Guardian, New York Times, Jacobin, Middle East Eye, New Arab, Al-Jazeer, and others. He also maintains a regular newsletter on Egyptian politics on Substack.
    Image credit Simon Matzinger CC BY 2.0 Deed.

    • 1 hr 9 min
    The People's Cup

    The People's Cup

    Last week, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced the hosts for the 2025 and 2027 African Cup of Nations. Morocco won the right to host the 2025 tournament, while the triumvirate of Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda will host the 2027 edition. Meanwhile, the 2023 edition of the biennial competition, was originally meant to happen in June/July of this year in Côte d'Ivoire but was postponed to January 2024 to avoid adverse weather conditions brought on by the host nation’s rainy season.
    This was an unpopular decision in some quarters, especially in Europe’s Top Five leagues which have long complained about key African players being unavailable at a pivotal stage of the football season. Last week, the footballing world was left puzzled when Italian club Napoli uploaded videos to TikTok mocking their star Nigerian striker, Victor Osimhen. Speculation ran wild, and tellingly, one popular explanation was that Napoli's president Aurelio De Laurentiis was trying to force Osimhen out of the club, due to his expected absence given AFCON duty (Osimhen missed out on the 2021 tournament, and the Super Eagles are strong favorites for next year’s contest). In 2022, De Laurentiis controversially said Napoli wouldn’t sign African players unless they backed out of AFCON.
    Joining us on the podcast to discuss the politics and spectacle of AFCON, is football journalist Maher Mezehi. What can we expect from the tournament in 2024? And what political motives are behind the successful 2025 and 2027 bids, especially with Morocco outbidding Algeria, with both countries resorting to sports diplomacy in their geopolitical rivalry? Notwithstanding the constant consternation from Europe, why is AFCON a tournament that African players treasure above all? 
    Maher Mezahi is an independent football journalist based in Algiers. He covers North African football extensively, and his work has been published in the international media including the BBC, The Guardian, The Telegraph, ESPN FC, and Al Jazeera English. 

    • 50 min
    Sierra Leone decides

    Sierra Leone decides

    Sierra Leone will elect a president and parliament on June 24, its fifth election since a devastating 10-year civil war ended in 2002. Incumbent Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) is seeking re-election in a two-horse race against Samura Kamara of the All People’s Congress (APC). The contest is a re-match of the 2018 vote, when Bio won 51.81% of the vote to Kamara’s 48.19%.
    Like the rest of the continent, the country is facing a cost-of-living crisis exacerbated by global economic shocks. In August 2022, protests in this regard in Freetown, Makeni, and Kamakwie triggered a crackdown from the state, and 20 people were killed. When Bio came to power in 2018, having succeeded APC president Ernest Koroma, he promised to undo the legacy of heavy-handedness and intolerance to criticism that Koroma’s presidency became associated with. Now, many Sierra Leoneans are seeing more of the same.
    Ahead of the elections, restrictions on gatherings have been enforced, as well as a change to the voting system which is causing confusion. Kamara is also facing corruption charges originating from his time as foreign minister under Koroma, and the glacial pace that the case is moving through the courts has resulted in suspicions that Bio is weaponizing the state apparatus to frustrate Kamara’s candidacy.
    This week on the podcast, we are joined from Freetown by Sierra Leonean and American author Ishmael Beah to discuss the elections. Does Kamara represent much of a difference to Bio? How strong are Sierra Leone’s ethnic divisions, which inform most voting preferences? And, what of the youth who led the country’s cost-of-living protests? Ishmael, is the New York Times bestselling author of A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, Radiance of Tomorrow, A Novel, and Little Family released in 2020. AIAC director of operations, Boima Tucker, also joins as a special guest.

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Dreaming of democracy in Sudan

    Dreaming of democracy in Sudan

    For nearly two months, fighting has continued in Sudan between two factions of the country’s military government—the Sudanese Armed Forces, headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces, led by Lt General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.. Fighting has been concentrated in the capital Khartoum and Sudan’s Darfur region, with more than 1,500 people killed. 
    The conflict originated in Sudan’s 2019 revolution, when Omar al-Bashir, the country’s military despot, was ousted after 30 years. Thereafter, the military agreed to a power-sharing deal and transition to civilian rule (after massacring protestors in Khartoum in June 2019). But in October 2021, the SAF and RSF joined forces to depose Sudan’s interim civilian leader, Abdallah Hamdok.
    The proximate causes of today’s fighting stem from a dispute over integrating the RSF into Sudan’s security apparatus. Fundamentally, both sides see the other as an existential threat, a possible foil to their control of vast economic interests, such as gold and gum Arabic. The international community—with its own interests in the Sudanese economy—is also to blame, being overcommitted to the military factions as elite brokers of the transitional process. Excluded in all this are the Sudanese people. Joining the podcast to discuss the roots of the crisis and how ordinary Sudanese people are proving resilient, is Mahder Serekberhan. Mahder Serekberhan is a political science PhD student at Syracuse University. She is the vice chairperson of the Global Pan-African Movement, North America Delegation.

    • 49 min

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