You should know

Officials in Benin are counting votes after Sunday’s election to choose a new president from among a record 33 candidates. Current president, Thomas Boni Yay, told reporters he is ‘leaving behind a unified Benin’ after serving his maximum 2 terms in office. More than 4.7 million voters were expected to cast ballots but if none of the 33 candidate wins a clear majority, a run-off election will be held in two weeks (VOA News).

In Nigeria, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, a chief of defense under former president Goodluck Jonathan, was ordered by an Abuja court to remain in prison until his bail application hearing later this week. Badeh who plead not guilty to all charges has been accused by President Buhari’s anti-corruption Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of stealing as much as 4bn naira ($20m USD) that had been meant for the purchase of military weapons to fight against Boko Haram (BBC News).

ICYMI Defense ministers from West Africa’s G5 Sahel countries met in N’Djamena to begin working together to, ‘establish special rapid reaction forces’ in another attempt to counter the threat of increased violence from al Qaeda and ISIL-linked militants across the region. At the meeting, defense leaders from Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Mauritania committed to forming specialized units to respond to future attacks in the region (Thomson Reuters).

Civic Tech

Digital Kenya editor, Dr. Bitange Ndemo (@bantigito) writes for @Code4Africa on why ‘open data is so important for Africa’s future’. On Saturday, teams from across the continent and around the world came together for international #OpenDataDay to hack solutions to some of the biggest challenges to improving government and increasing civic engagement (Medium).

Our Media Environments

Kofi Yeboah (@kofiemeritus) looks at Penplusbytes recently released Social Media Index (SMI) report on Ghana’s print, radio and TV landscape to figure out how well Ghana’s media houses are using social media (Global Voices).

Biz Dev

The insiders @FirstRound VC say there’s been “a marked shift” in the capital markets and The Watney Rule for startups is the new reality in the boardroom (Medium).

Identity & Culture

As Ghana celebrated the 59th anniversary of its independence (check out #Ghanaat59 for great videos, photos and more from Sunday’s celebrations on Twitter) Gallery 1957 opened its doors as ‘the newest addition to Accra’s already buzzing contemporary art scene’.  Alice McCool with @Okayafrica met up with the gallery’s creative director, Nana Oforiatta-Ayim, to talk about her vision for the gallery and her plans to engage audiences and showcase local artists (OkayAfrica).

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