Swarms of locusts up to 40km wide were reported in Kenya © AFP/Getty Images
Swarms of locusts up to 40km wide were reported in Kenya © AFP/Getty Images

Top 10 Africa stories of 2020

posted by Lucy Patchett
7 January 2021

SM looks back at the most popular stories from Africa in 2020. 

1. Somalia declares national emergency over locust swarms

Somalia declared a national emergency in February as vast swarms of locusts destroyed crops across East Africa.  The country’s Ministry of Agriculture said the insects posed “a major threat to Somalia's fragile food security situation”.

2. Nestlé finds 18,000 children in cocoa supply chain

Nestlé doubled outreach to children at risk of child labour in West Africa, as part of wider efforts to create a sustainable cocoa supply chain. It engaged with almost 80,000 children across 1,750 communities in Côte d’Ivoire through its Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System. 

3. East Africa facing shortages due to coronavirus

East Africa experienced shortages of raw materials, capital and consumer goods as imports from China fell due to coronavirus.

4. SAA broke rules in award of in-flight snacks contract

Watchdog the public protector found South African Airways and its subsidiary catering firm AirChiefs acted improperly during a tender to supply “dry snacks”.

5. SA building PPE procurement platform for Africa

South Africa’s government built a platform to procure Covid-19-related supplies for the continent. It created a central procurement process that used Johannesburg and Addis Ababa as transport hubs to store medical supplies imported from China before they were flown on to other countries.

6. Coronavirus: Africa could lose half of GDP

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa warned that supply chain disruptions and other effects from the coronavirus crisis could slow Africa’s growth, with African oil-exporting nations potentially losing up to $65bn in revenues as crude oil prices fell due to production increases and a slump in demand.

7. ‘Running out of time’ to act on locust swarms

Swarms of locusts, which had already destroyed nearly 71,000 hectares of farmland in the African region, crossed into Uganda – Africa's biggest coffee bean exporter. Immediate action was required, warned the UN, as the infestation threatened crop production and food security.

8. UN proposes lockdown exit strategies for Africa

Seven exit strategies from coronavirus lockdowns in Africa were unveiled by the UN in March, including improved testing and gradual segmented reopening, as it attempted to address economic challenges. 

9. SA mulls centralised procurement after Covid-19 scandals

Centralised procurement for personal protective equipment was considered following several scandals and investigations into contracts revealing procurement "irregularities". This included a supplier being paid in full a week before goods arrived.

10. Coronavirus: South Africa U-turns on minerals exports shutdown

South Africa went back on a decision to put in place lockdown regulations that prohibited ports from exporting minerals, amid fears it would lead to a worldwide commodities shortage.

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