Monday, 30 September 2019

Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A) Proudly Announces Top 12 Ventures for its 2019 Series-A Venture Showcase

These companies represent the best investment opportunities on the continent

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, September 30, 2019/ -- VC4A ( is proud to announce the 12 ventures (11 Series A and 1 Seed+) for its 2019 Venture Showcase. These companies represent the best investment opportunities on the continent. They have been vetted by 40 VC investors through a rigorous referral and selection process. The companies demonstrate strong revenues and competitive edge, are well-positioned for regional and internal expansion, and are working on important innovations in the healthcare, finance, transport, commerce and advertising sectors.

The founders will showcase their businesses in front of the investors at Africa Early Stage Investor Summit in Cape Town on 13-14 November 2019, with the aim of raising $250k-$5mln in Series A capital. All companies provide technology-intensive or innovation-based products or services that are currently available in one or more African markets.

Introducing the 2019 VC4A Venture Showcase companies

Without further delay, the 12 companies are: 7keema (Egypt), Brimore (Egypt), Buseet (Egypt), CredPal (Nigeria), CrowdForce (Nigeria), FinChatBot (South Africa), FlexClub (South Africa), LifeBank (Nigeria), Mobiz (South Africa), Snapnsave (South Africa), Yassir (Algeria), and VRapeutics (Egypt) for the Seed+ category.

7keema ( is a technology-enabled healthcare services platform that enhances the accessibility and quality of nursing services while empowering female nurses everywhere.

Brimore ( is a social commerce platform that enables manufacturers to grow on a national scale through a powerful commercial arm of individuals, selling the products to their surrounding circles via all possible channels.

Buseet ( operates private high-end buses in transporting daily commuters. allowing businesses and employees to book trips on predefined routes through their apps.

CredPal ( is a financial technology company that enables consumers to make purchases across online/offline merchants and pay in fixed monthly installments by providing them with instant access to credit at the point-of-sale and also on credit cards.

CrowdForce ( is building an ecosystem of 1 million merchants that will render penetrative market research and financial inclusion services to the billions of consumers in Africa and other emerging markets.

FinChatBot ( develops bespoke Artificial Intelligence-powered chatbots to help financial service providers acquire and retain customers while reducing operating costs.

FlexClub ( is a managed marketplace helping independent drivers on digital platforms access vehicle ownership based on their skills while simplifying how purpose-driven investors can earn competitive returns from funding commercial fleets.

LifeBank ( is a medical distribution company focused on transporting supply chain-sensitive medical products such as blood, vaccines, and oxygen in developing countries using high and low technologies as well as smart logistics.

Mobiz ( is a powerful yet easy-to-use software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that offers businesses of all sizes cutting-edge customer engagement. Mobiz’s proprietary SmartSMS product combines the ubiquity of established mobile channels with the personalization of the web to create unique calls to action.

Snapnsave ( is South Africa’s #1 cashback coupon app that gives shoppers and independent traders cashback when shopping in-store, just by snapping a photo of their shopping receipts.

Yassir ( is an innovative transportation service that can be used with your smartphone anywhere, anytime. It allows everyone to book a driver and to move safely.

And last but not least, our special selection in the ‘Seed+’ investment category is VRapeutic ( It develops virtual reality software for therapy, with a focus on learning disabilities and developmental disorders, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and cerebral palsy.

The lead-up to the main stage in Cape Town

These 12 selected startups will be linked to top VC investors as mentors in the coming weeks and receive bespoke investor readiness training that culminates in a 1-week residency in Cape Town, South Africa. During the residency, the startups will have the opportunity to interact with and learn from their mentors, peers, and partners, before delivering their pitches on the main stage of the Africa Early Stage Investor Summit ( The program offers two days of networking opportunities at the Summit, where entrepreneurs will also engage with interested investors during deep-dive sessions. Moreover, the participants will pitch to a wider audience of corporates, investors and tech professionals at VC4A’s partner event, AfricaCom.

Investor participation has been outstanding this year, with 40 major VCs and multiple angel groups involved in the intensive vetting process. We believe initiatives like this help to build trust and foster collaboration between industry stakeholders, and importantly, create both co-investment opportunities and exit opportunities for our partners.

Interested in attending the 2019 VC4A Venture Showcase and meeting the entrepreneurs behind these 12 companies? Consider joining us in Cape Town in November! Book your front row seat at or get in touch with us by email at: team[at]
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A).
About Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A):
VC4A ( is an ecosystem builder that leverages its infrastructure, network and expertise for the programs that contribute to Africa’s startup movement. Since 2008, the organization designs, structures and implements successful entrepreneurship programs on the continent. VC4A runs an online platform,, featuring the world’s largest database of African startups and connecting local entrepreneurs to learning resources, mentors, investors and partner programs. Visit for more information.
Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A)6

NASA HQ News: NASA Television to Air 10 Upcoming Spacewalks, Preview Briefing International Space Station astronauts are gearing up to perform 10 spacewalks in coming weeks

September 30, 2019
NASA Television to Air 10 Upcoming Spacewalks, Preview Briefing
International Space Station astronauts are gearing up to perform 10 spacewalks in coming weeks
NASA astronaut Christina Koch participates in her first spacewalk on March 29, 2019. International Space Station astronauts are gearing up to perform 10 spacewalks in coming weeks to upgrade solar array batteries and make repairs to the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.
Credits: NASA

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station plan to conduct what may become a record pace of 10 complex spacewalks during the next three months, a cadence that has not been experienced since assembly of the space station was completed in 2011.
Experts will discuss those plans in a briefing at 2 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Oct. 1, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Live coverage of the briefing and all spacewalks will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
The station crew will replace some of the orbiting laboratory’s solar array batteries during the first half of the spacewalks and then refurbish a renowned scientific instrument that explores the fundamental nature of the universe during the final five excursions.
Media wishing to participate in the briefing in person must request credentials from the Johnson newsroom no later than 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30. Media interested in participating by phone must contact the newsroom by 1:45 p.m. Oct. 1.
Participants in the briefing are:
  • Kirk Shireman, program manager, International Space Station
  • T.J. Creamer, spacewalk flight director
  • Keith Johnson, lead spacewalk officer
  • Megan McArthur, astronaut office deputy chief
The first of a set of five spacewalks is scheduled to begin on Sunday, Oct. 6, at about 7:50 a.m. Live NASA Television coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. This series of spacewalks is dedicated to replacing batteries on the far end of the station’s port truss. The existing nickel-hydrogen batteries will be upgraded with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries transported to the station aboard the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle, which arrived Saturday, Sept. 28. These spacewalks continue the overall upgrade of the station’s power system that began with similar battery replacement during spacewalks in January 2017.
The second half of this sequence of spacewalks will focus on repairs to the space station’s Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Dates for those spacewalks still are being discussed, but they are expected to begin in November.
For NASA TV streaming video, schedule and downlink information, visit:
Learn more about International Space Station research, operations, and its crew at:

World Heart Day: Nestlé pioneers health and wellness programs across Central and West Africa

At Nestlé, supporting and promoting our employees’ well-being is part of our commitment to inspire people to lead healthier lives

ACCRA, Ghana, September 30, 2019/ -- With high blood pressure as one of the leading risks for deaths worldwide, and hypertension prevalence rates in some sub-Saharan African countries among the highest in the world (, do you know how to keep your heart healthy?

A number of health factors, including lifestyle, age and family history can all contribute to the risk of heart disease ( and impact on people’s health and well-being.

While age and family history cannot be controlled, research suggests making a few simple changes to your daily routine ( at home, and at work, can make a difference.

At Nestlé, supporting and promoting our employees’ well-being is part of our commitment to inspire people to lead healthier lives (, and we believe more workplaces should be creating an environment to boost the nutrition, health and wellness of their employees.

“As the world’s largest nutrition, health and wellness company, we believe it’s time to invest in happier and healthier employees through health and wellness programmes,” said Rémy Ejel, Market Head for Nestlé Central and West Africa (CWA) Ltd.

“Creating health and wellness activities for employees highlight our purpose to enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier future ( to support a more engaged and productive workforce – and also help to cut down on absenteeism, increase productivity and turnover, and as a result, enhance customer quality and satisfaction,” he added.

Investing in healthy workplaces

Action is already underway to tackle heart and other health issues, and so far, 75% of employers worldwide offer wellness resources, information and/or a general wellness programme, as highlighted by the 2018 Employee Benefits Report from the Society for Human Resources Management ( – marking a change in promoting employee health and wellness.

Globally, Google has invested in a People & Innovation Lab (PiLab) ( to conduct research and think of unique ways to keep its employees healthy. In addition, its Googlers-to-Googlers programme encourages employees to teach other employees fitness practices to keep them healthy. Newmont Goldcorp ( has created the Military Veterans Programs and Support group in the United States to help employees connect and foster a sense of belonging.

In Burkina Faso, Caisse Nationale de Sécurité Sociale ( organises team sports and fitness sessions for its employees, twice a week. Telecel ( also leads football matches with other companies in the country, twice a week in a public square.

These are just a few examples to show how companies in the region and worldwide can all actively contribute to improving employee wellness and invest in healthy workplaces.

Know Your Numbers

Employees at Nestlé also have the opportunity to learn more about their health, and in turn, improve their lifestyle choices through our global initiative, ‘Know Your Numbers Programme’ (KYNP).

Launched in 2017 in CWA, and again in 2019 as a reminder to all employees, it aims to help employees assess their current health status and set personal health goals, while also helping us better understand our employees and create health programmes.

After completing a short, online anonymous Health Risk Assessment (HRA), covering topics such as family health history, tobacco consumption, nutrition and stress, they are provided with an insight on their current health status and areas that need more attention.

Employees can also use their previous biometric results – measuring a person’s physical and behavioural characteristics through blood pressure, weight, height and waist circumference – carried out in the past six months by a health care professional, to support their personalised HRA report.

Assessments can be taken more than once to keep up with changes in their lifestyle and to help track their health and fitness progress.

To support employees further, the KYNP scheme provides them with access to personalised health programmes, guided health investigations and other health initiatives led by Nestlé and other company partners.

In addition, annual employee medical reviews are carried out at our sites across the region each year.

Inspiring employees to lead healthier lives

More health and wellness activities are also currently up and running at Nestlé CWA.

“Employees are encouraged to take part in daily ‘wellness breaks’ at our offices across the region, urging them to move from their desks and combat sedentary behaviour,” explained Gregoire Scilipoti, Regional Head of Human Resources at Nestlé CWA.

He added they are also getting involved in exercise sessions in the office led by fitness experts, including ‘Workout Thursdays’ in Ghana which was launched earlier this year, Zumba classes in Côte d’Ivoire, and training sessions with a fitness coach in Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Nigeria.

They can get active by using the fitness facilities at our Cameroon and Burkina Faso offices managed by a Wellness Committee. As an alternative, all our workers are offered discounted rates at local fitness centres nearby.

“Taking part in fitness sessions is helping me to get fit and healthy, invest in my own personal development and makes me feel part of the company,” said Gbede Koffi Tohonou, junior financial accountant in Burkina Faso for the Nestlé Savanna Cluster.

On specific international days – such as World Heart Day ( on September 29 – employees are also offered nutrition advice and recommendations by experts at organised in-house events, and via internal communication messaging.

Instilling healthy living habits

In Ghana, Nestlé employees are able to enjoy ‘Fruity Tuesdays’, where a variety of fruits are offered to instil healthy eating habits and nutritious snacking.

The Nestlé Nutrition Line, a daily public service radio on nutrition, health and wellness which has been running for nearly 20 years, is still being broadcast in the Ghana office to provide employees with healthy living tips and advice.

“Instilling a healthy living culture among employees and encouraging them to be ambassadors is very important,” said Philomena Tan, Managing Director for Nestlé Ghana.

“This all has value, as by improving the wellbeing of employees through such activities and wellness programmes, these can help to boost efficiency and productivity, benefit their families, our consumers and stakeholders to enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier future,” she added.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Nestlé.
Media Contact:
Marie Chantal Messier,
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Nestlé Ghana Ltd.
Tel. No: +233 50 161 7955

More Nestlé news:
Nestlé Anjoran: Low Budget New Product Development For Importers From Asia [Q&A]

© 2019

CarbonBrief/Prof Duncan McLaren: Guest post: The problem with net-zero emissions targets


Newly-planted trees to help mitigate against the increasing desertification of the Kubuqi desert in China, 8 May 2019. Credit: Xinhua / Alamy Stock Photo. T91Y87
Newly-planted trees to help mitigate against the increasing desertification of the Kubuqi desert in China, 8 May 2019. Credit: Xinhua / Alamy Stock Photo.
30 September 2019 8:00

Guest post: The problem with net-zero emissions targets

Guest postsGuest post: The problem with net-zero emissions targets
Prof Duncan McLaren is a research fellow at Lancaster University’s Lancaster Environment Centre
The UK and several other countries now aim to deliver “net-zero” greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, broadly in line with advice from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Both the IPCC and the UK’s Climate Change Committee have also highlighted the likely need for negative emissions, in addition to increased efforts to cut greenhouse gas outputs, if emissions are to fall to ‘net-zero’.
However, our newly published research – based on findings from expert interviews and stakeholder deliberations – suggests that combining emissions reductions and negative emissions into a single target of reaching “net-zero” may create problems. These could include delayed emissions cuts, but also insufficient focus on developing negative emissions technologies.
Here, we explain how these problems arise and suggest one possible solution.

Target interactions

A net-zero target contains within it two related, but different responses to the problem of rising temperatures. The first is to stop releasing GHGs in the first place, by cutting emissions. The second is to remove CO2 from the atmosphere using “negative emissions technologies” (NETs).
A net-zero target is met when these two balance – when residual emissions are offset by CO2 removals. The problems lie in the interaction between these two. If we pay more attention to removals, how might that affect releases?
Even if negative emissions simply substitute for feasible emissions reductions, there could be negative side-effects. Unlike carbon emissions prevented by mitigation, carbon put into forests, soils or even geological stores could leak back into the atmosphere. And NETs may bring other environmental or social risks, such as heightened competition for land.
But the main problem is that most NETs are still only prospective technologies – they do not exist as large-scale socio-technical systems ready for deployment. Our stakeholder workshops highlighted huge uncertainties in how – or in some cases, whether – different NETs might work technically, economically and politically.
Net-zero plans that rely on promises of future carbon removal – instead of reducing emissions now – are, therefore, placing a risky bet. If the technologies anticipated to remove huge quantities of carbon in the 2040s and 2050s fail to work as expected – or lead to rebounds in emissions from land-use change, for example – then it might not be practical to compensate for the cumulative emissions from mitigation foregone between now and then.
Ironically, researching or investing in carbon removal techniques in an effort to reduce technical uncertainties might heighten expectations of future removals. And such expectations were identified by participants in our research as an important possible factor that could undermine efforts to accelerate mitigation now, through their effects on pathway modelling or carbon markets.

Historic myopia

NETs have been included in climate modelling and policy pathways for many years, but have not generally been clearly signposted. Their growing role has often remained hidden within charts showing falling emissions, until after 2050, when overall emissions become net-negative.
The experts we interviewed – our deliberations and interviews involved 80 people from the worlds of policy, business, academia and NGOs – suggested that this problem both obscured the need to start developing NETs and distracted attention from the tendency of the models to deploy extremely high levels of future negative emissions – from technologies such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS)  – which may not be practically or sustainably deliverable.
As tools for policy development, those same model pathways – which involved slower emissions reductions when NETs were included – are seen by some as having provided new excuses for continued delays in mitigation.
In part this is because the future negative emissions can appear cheaper than accelerated mitigation, because their costs get discounted over the intervening decades. These “integrated assessment models”, therefore, tend to replace near-future emissions cuts with distant-future negative emissions.
In some cases, negative emissions have already substituted for emissions reductions, instead of supplementing them. For example, many forest protection projects would have happened anyway. But when such carbon sink enhancements – a form of negative emissions – are traded as offsets in carbon markets, this means emissions get to continue elsewhere, instead of being cut.
While deployment of NETs as offsets, or as carbon utilisation means that emissions continue – either elsewhere, or at the end of life of the carbon utilisation product – it could still be useful. It might help developers improve the technologies and capture economies of scale and of learning, making them more commercially viable for future removals.
But – as Jesse Goldstein at Virginia Commonwealth University has demonstrated for “cleantech” generally – such deployments also imply specific technological forms, enabling investments and regulatory regimes which, in this case, risk locking-in applications of the technology that sustain or encourage fossil fuel use.
One example is the way that many of the very limited number of BECCS developments so far provide CO2 for enhanced oil recovery, creating more emissions.
Meanwhile, some businesses are setting “net-zero” corporate goals involving negative emissions “offsets”. For example, Heathrow pays for peat-bog restoration as an offset to contribute to “carbon neutrality” in airport operations, while oil major ENI has promised expansive afforestation to offset its operational emissions. Such goals help legitimise continued aviation and fossil fuel extraction.

Ensuring additionality

If negative emissions are necessary for net-zero, but also uncertain, it would seem crucial to ensure that they are delivered in addition to rapid emissions reduction, rather than risking that they might slow it down.
How can we design policy to get both? One potential mechanism, emerging from discussions in our deliberative workshops, would be to insist on formal separation of negative emissions targets and accounting for emissions reduction, rather than combining them in a single “net-zero” goal.
“Net-zero” has only recently become widespread and mainstream, and its introduction was in part an important effort to bring more clarity to the debate. The idea of separation seeks to build on that aim, while avoiding the potential loopholes “net-zero” might otherwise create.
Explicitly setting and managing targets and accounting for negative emissions, separately from existing and future targets for emissions reduction, at all levels from international to sectoral, could help to address the problems outlined above, maximising the additionality of carbon removal and ensuring that negative emissions are appropriately valued.
Separation would have implications for climate target definition; offsets and carbon trading; incentives; and modelling and evaluation processes.
First, in target setting, the separation approach would call for explicit separate objectives and timetables for emissions reduction and negative emissions. Moreover, “net-zero” would no longer be the ultimate end-goal, but instead, a critical stepping-stone: at least some sectors or countries would need to deliver net-negative emissions if atmospheric CO2 concentrations are to be reduced to safe levels.
For example, agriculture could contribute significantly to net-negative emissions through soil carbon storage or enhanced weathering. But if these negative emissions were simply used to “net-off” the impacts of continued high meat production, then the emissions benefits of shifting diets might never be realised and the potential of agriculture to contribute to actively drawing down atmospheric GHG concentrations would be lost.
Similar issues are raised by states that plan to deliver net-zero emissions via the purchase of international offsets, rather than by transforming consumption habits or reducing oil production.
Second, formal separation would also imply developing clear rules for negative emissions in offsetting and carbon trading systems. Removing or excluding negative emissions from carbon markets would be the simplest response.
In theory, although this might reduce the incentives for negative emissions, avoiding offsetting between removal and emissions cuts should push carbon prices higher in emissions trading markets, stimulating more rapid decarbonisation.
Third, separation highlights the need for appropriate financial incentives for negative emissions, rather than relying on a general carbon price. Energy market experience with renewables suggests that there is more public support for targeted mandates and incentives than for carbon pricing – and that this can favour more context-specific portfolios of appropriate technologies.
In the case of NETs, such an approach might mandate increasing levels of long-term carbon storage, encourage research into novel technologies and also support the immediate deployment of existing “nature-based” carbon removal approaches.
Finally, the separation approach implies differences in evaluation and assessment methods, in particular, revised approaches to integrated assessment modelling that are explicit in how they handle and incorporate NETs, and their interactions with emissions reductions.
Ideally, such models should not treat NETs and emissions reductions as interchangeable, as they do now. But relatively minor adjustments – for instance, using lower discount rates or simply reframing scenario design – could significantly curtail the tendency of these models to substitute distant future NETs for near-term emissions reductions.
The separation approach would also increase clarity about the residual emissions allowed within a net-zero goal, facilitating debate about whether such emissions were truly recalcitrant. Perhaps more importantly, it could also highlight those countries or groups that get the benefits of residual emissions. In this way separation could contribute to climate justice.

Exposing interests

In questioning “net-zero” we mainly seek to highlight possible downsides and reframe the challenge to avoid the possible shortcomings of net-zero narratives and approaches.
Clear separation would expose interests and politics, meaning deliberate efforts to substitute negative emissions for emissions reduction could not be hidden behind net-zero rhetoric. In addition, the justice implications of who generates residual emissions would become clearer.
Separation might also be expected to reveal where negative emissions investment and development is inadequate, as well as where negative emissions – or future promises thereof – could undermine or deter emissions reduction.
In questioning net-zero, however, we also want to ensure that it is not seen as the last word in targets. Even if emissions were brought to net-zero by 2050, the world would likely still need to achieve “net-negative” emissions for a period, to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations back to safer levels. At least some countries and sectors will need to go “beyond net-zero”.
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The Conversation/Lucia Ardovini: Egypt’s protests uncover deep cracks in al-Sisi’s strongman façade

Egypt’s protests uncover deep cracks in al-Sisi’s strongman façade

Protesters gather in downtown Cairo shouting anti-government slogans. Stringer/EPA
Popular protests against Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi have spread to at least eight cities, with the largest crowds gathering in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez. These are the most significant demonstrations since July 2013 and since al-Sisi came to power in 2014. He is currently serving his second term.
The protests appear, in part, to have been sparked by a series of videos posted by Egyptian exile Mohamed Ali. In the videos Ali denounces corruption in the military establishment and claims that al-Sisi’s austerity measures have enriched elites and further impoverished the Egyptian masses.
Despite questions around the authenticity of the video, and while many suspect him to be a well-manoeuvred puppet of military elites wishing to topple al-Sisi, his words have struck a chord with tens of thousands of Egyptians.
Al-Sisi toppled President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood government through a military coup d’etat in 2013. Since then he has ruled with an iron fist, which has included a crackdown on Islamists.
This has been accompanied by strengthening Egypt’s ties with Saudi Arabia and securing the continuation of US military aid, all under the guise of restoring Egypt to its position as a regional powerhouse.
His actions have raised growing concerns about the state of human rights in the country.
But there are also many Egyptians who support al-Sisi’s policies and downplay his authoritarianism, claiming he has stabilised and developed the country at a time of rising regional turmoil. These claims are supported by vanity projects such as the construction of a new administrative capital in the desert, which will cost an estimated $58 billion.
However, the protests that spread across the country reveal that not all is well in the land of US President Donald Trump’s “favourite dictator”. Rather, they point to deep cracks in his regime.
They have also come as a shock to many, and are significant given the atmosphere of oppression in the country. Moreover, that fact that the majority of protesters are not members of a particular political party or opposition group signals that there is deep public anger that cuts across different societal groups. As the protests have grown, the regime’s brutality as it cracks down on dissenters has escalated.


Since coming to power, al-Sisi has overseen an escalation of authoritarianism in the country.
Over the past year, the president has openly seized extra-judicial powers that have placed him above the rule of law. This has facilitated a crackdown on all forms of dissent.
In addition, political space is shrinking. There is now almost no room for dissent and opposition figures are routinely arrested and forcibly disappeared.
at the same time, Egypt’s military elites have grown richer under al-Sisi while the number of poor people has risen – from 28% of the country’s 99 million people in 2015 to a third last year. Earlier this year the World Bank reported that 60% of Egyptians were “either poor or vulnerable.”
This explains why Ali’s videos, which openly denounced structural corruption and the military’s role in increasing poverty in the country, struck a chord.
But, until now, protests and manifestations of dissent have been incredibly rare under the military regime. This is mostly because of the high cost of opposition.

Cracking down on dissent

The regime has used tried and tested methods to crack down on the protests. It has interfered with access to social media platforms and messaging apps in an attempt to prevent the organising of further demonstrations, while security forces fired on demonstrators in Suez using teargas, live and rubber bullets. As of Friday 27th, as the country braces for more protests, key metro stations in Cairo as well as Tahrir Square have been shut off. These actions further reveal just how worried the regime is about protests escalating and gaining even more momentum.
Meanwhile, the number of arrests keeps rising. Multiple international sources reported that thousands of protesters were arrested in the first week of the protests, with the number being closer to 2,000 on Friday 27th.
Even more telling is the fact that arrests are not limited to renowned opposition figures. They have also targeted al-Sisi’s critics, some of whom are affiliated to the armed forces, such as the spokesperson of the former army chief of staff Sami Anan.
Coupled with the fact that officers who ran against al-Sisi in the presidential campaigns had already been detained, the latest round of arrests reveals al-Sisi’s growing concern over internal dissent in the armed forces. This suggests his regime is nowhere near as stable or secure as he portrays it to be.
These developments suggest that al-Sisi’s strongman rhetoric is nothing but an attempt to cover up the inherent instability of his regime. It also raises questions about how secure his own position is. Given that the demonstrations spread so quickly around the country, many have started to believe that the military deep state, and those who brought al-Sisi to power, might be looking for a new figurehead.
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