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News about our programmes 30, Sept. 2014

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Pambazuka News Pambazuka News is produced by a pan-African community of some 2,600 citizens and organisations - academics, policy makers, social activists, women's organisations, civil society organisations, writers, artists, poets, bloggers, and commentators who together produce insightful, sharp and thoughtful analyses and make it one of the largest and most innovative and influential web forums for social justice in Africa.

Latest titles from Pambazuka Press

African Sexualities

Earth Grab A Reader
Sylvia Tamale
A groundbreaking book, accessible but scholarly, by African activists. It uses research, life stories and artistic expression to examine dominant and deviant sexualities, and investigate the intersections between sex, power, masculinities and femininities
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Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya

From Citizen to Refugee Horace Campbell
In this elegantly written and incisive account, scholar Horace Campbell investigates the political and economic crises of the early twenty-first century through the prism of NATO's intervention in Libya.
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Queer African Reader

Demystifying Aid Edited by Sokari Ekine, Hakima Abbas
A diverse collection of writing from across the continent exploring African LGBTI liberation: identity, tactics for activism, international solidarity, homophobia and global politics, religion and culture, and intersections with social justice movements. A richness of voices, a multiplicity of discourses, a quiverful of arguments. African queers writing for each other, theorising ourselves, making our ...more
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China and Angola

African Awakening A Marriage of Convenience?
Edited by Marcus Power, Ana Alves
This book focuses on the increased co-operation between Angola and China and shows that although relations with China might have bolstered regime stability and boosted the international standing of the Angolan government, China is not regarded as a long term strategic partner.
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How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

To Cook a ContinentWalter Rodney
Rodney shows how the imperial countries of Europe, and subsequently the US, bear major responsibility for impoverishing Africa. They have been joined in this exploitation by agents or unwitting accomplices both in the North and in Africa.
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Emerging Powers Digest: 14th Edition, 5 December 2014

In today’s newsletter the Emerging Powers project announces a call for grant applications; gives a summary of Zuma's travels to China and the signing of the 5-10 Year Framework on Cooperation between the two countries; highlights Ethiopia's budding textile industry and relations with China; India's growing investment presence in Africa; militarization of the continent by the emerging actors. The news digest also provides analyses and news reports on China's evolving foreign policy and diplomatic relations. Read these and other news items in this week's edition of the Emerging Powers in Africa news digest.

Call for Grant Proposals

The Emerging Powers in Africa Project is issuing a call for grant proposals. The grants are aimed at examining the political, economic, social and cultural impact of the emerging powers footprint in Africa. The grant is specifically related to empowering civil society actors in gaining the appropriate knowledge and developing the necessary tools to articulate an informed perspective on the emerging powers in Africa and the corresponding impact.

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+ Read the Emerging Powers Digest

+ The Emerging Powers Project Homepage

Pambazuka News Broadcasts

Pambazuka broadcasts feature audio and video content with cutting edge commentary and debate from social justice movements across the continent.

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AU MONITOR

This site has been established by Fahamu to provide regular feedback to African civil society organisations on what is happening with the African Union.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Environment

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Mozambique: Africa’s largest coastal marine reserve created

2012-11-08, Issue 605

The Primeiras and Segundas have been approved as a marine protected area in Mozambique making this diverse ten-island archipelago Africa’s largest coastal marine reserve. Comprising ten islands off the coast of northern Mozambique, and featuring abundant coral and marine turtle species, the protected area will cover more than 1,040,926 hectares.

UN urges foreign fishing fleets to halt 'ocean grabbing'

2012-10-31, Issue 604

'Ocean grabbing' or aggressive industrial fishing by foreign fleets is a threat to food security in developing nations where governments should do more to promote local, small-scale fisheries, a study by a UN expert said. The report said emerging nations should tighten rules for access to their waters by an industrial fleet that is rapidly growing and includes vessels from China, Russia, the European Union, the United States and Japan.

East Africa: US study links climate change to violent conflict

2012-11-01, Issue 604

Hotter than normal temperatures raise the risk of violent conflict in East Africa, while increased rainfall makes such disturbances less likely, according to a new study conducted by the US National Academy of Sciences. For both climate variables, there is about a 30 per cent change in the likelihood of violence occurring in an affected area, the study finds. The results appear to reinforce warnings of climate change leading to more conflict in Africa, which is regarded as particularly vulnerable to the effects of sharp shifts in temperature and precipitation.

Nigeria: Nigeria could close oil fields to curb gas flaring

2012-11-01, Issue 604

Nigeria may shut down oil fields as it tries to clamp down on gas flaring, even if it means a loss of revenue, the petroleum industry's chief regulator said. Africa's top oil producer and holder of the world's seventh largest natural gas reserves is considered to be among the top two gas flarers in the world, burning off unwanted gas, after Russia.

Global: Developing countries firm up common Doha climate talks position

2012-11-01, Issue 604

Negotiators from 46 Least Developed Countries (LDC) met in Nairobi recently to develop a common position to be presented at the November climate talks in Doha. The technical experts said that developing nations will agree on shared goals which include establishment of a new climate treaty, financing and technologies required to accelerate green transition. 'We all have a responsibility in some way to address climate change in order to achieve sustainable development. Africa, small island developing states, and least developing countries, continue to suffer most from the effects of climate change,' Kenya's Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, Ali Mohammed said.

Global: Illegal logging, tax fraud and laundering in the world's tropical forests

2012-11-01, Issue 604

Between 50 to 90 per cent of logging in key tropical countries of the Amazon basin, central Africa and south east Asia is being carried out by organised crime, thus threatening efforts to combat climate change, deforestation, conserve wildlife and eradicate poverty. This rapid response report estimates that the illegal logging trade is worth between USD 30 to 100 billion annually.

Africa: Smallholder farmers need improved stake in Nile's development, experts say

2012-11-06, Issue 604

A new book finds that the Nile river, together with its associated tributaries and rainfall, could provide 11 countries - including a new country, South Sudan, and the drought-plagued countries of the Horn of Africa - with enough water to support a vibrant agriculture sector, but that the poor in the region who rely on the river for their food and incomes risk missing out on these benefits without effective and inclusive water management policies. 'The Nile River Basin: Water, Agriculture, Governance and Livelihoods', published by the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF), incorporates new research and analysis to provide the most comprehensive analysis yet of the water, agriculture, governance and poverty challenges facing policymakers.

South Africa: Nigerian activist calls on South Africans to oppose fracking

2012-11-06, Issue 604

After being banished from his homeland for opposing Shell’s mining activities in the Niger Delta, vocal Nigerian environmental activist and writer Barry Wuganaale has called on South Africans to rally against the prospects of fracking for shale gas in the Karoo. Wuganaale, who witnessed the persecution many Ogonil people in the area where Shell has been operating since 1956 said in excess of R400 billion over 35 years would be needed to rehabilitate the once fertile agriculture land in the Niger Delta damaged by excessive oil mining.

Kenya: Red flag over risks of dumping toxic waste

2012-10-30, Issue 603

The country’s environmental watchdog has raised the red flag over the manner in which medical and electronic waste in the country is disposed. The National Environmental Management Authority in a report says poor disposal of used needles, syringes and other toxic waste on uncontrolled dumping sites have become a major threat to the public health.

South Africa: Billions for clean energy

2012-10-30, Issue 603

South Africa has given the green light to an initial $5.4 billion worth of clean energy projects that will allow it to procure 1,400 MW of electricity and help reduce reliance on coal-fired plants, the energy minister said.

Global: Climate change mitigation 'far cheaper than inaction'

2012-10-30, Issue 603

Tackling the global climate crisis could reap significant economic benefits for both developed and developing countries, according to a new report. The impacts of climate change and a carbon-intensive economy cost the world around US$1.2 trillion a year - 1.6 per cent of the total global GDP (gross domestic product), states 'Climate Vulnerability Monitor: A Guide to the Cold Calculus of A Hot Planet'.

Egypt: Ethiopia and Egypt continue fight for Nile water

2012-10-17, Issue 602

With the first-ever Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) report on the status of the Nile River, the situation between Egypt and Ethiopia and the angst between the two foes finally has some statistics and analysis to deal with. However, it is unlikely to see any changes in the current policies that have both countries eying future water resources along the world’s longest river. Top Ethiopia government officials have told Bikyamasr.com that they are looking at jumpstarting the massive Renaissance Dam project along the Nile River in an effort to increase water resources and energy for the East African country. The move could threaten the regional stability.

Uganda: Report identifies gaping holes in environmental capacity

2012-10-22, Issue 602

'Although the government of Uganda has made significant efforts to put in place fairly elaborate policy, legal and institutional mechanisms to address the environment[al] challenges of the gas and oil sector, the lack of capacity to implement these policies and enforce the corresponding laws has grossly undermined their effectiveness,' according to a recent Capacity Needs Assessment for the Environmental Pillar Institutions in Uganda conducted on behalf of the National Environment Management Authority by an independent consulting company with funding from the US government aid agency, USAID. Inadequate staffing levels, lack of knowledge and skills among existing staff, the absence of appropriate training institutions and chronic shortages of equipment and funds are highlighted as key weaknesses.

Ghana: Forum calls for major mining reforms

2012-10-22, Issue 602

Ghana's National Coalition on Mining (NCOM) held its annual forum on 3 October 2012 at New Abirim in the country's eastern region. It was attended by an estimated 600 representatives of communities, mainly in the catchment area of the mine but also across the entire length and breadth of mining areas in Ghana. The forum took place just after citizens and farmers in the Chirano mining area presented a protest note to the Minister of Lands And Natural Resources. They demanded immediate payment of delayed compensation by Canada's Kinross Gold Corp, for the destruction of their cocoa trees seven years earlier.

Uganda: Anti-pollution taxation in East Africa

2012-10-22, Issue 602

East African Environment Ministers have ended a meeting in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, to discuss a set of radical policy proposals to deal with environmental pollution, including the introduction of a pay-as-you-pollute taxes, according to a statement from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Saturday. The Ministers for Environment and Natural Resources from the IGAD region met to adopt the regional environment policy and strategy as well as the environmental assessment policy framework.

Ethiopia: 'Strengthen role of science in negotiations of climate change process'

2012-10-22, Issue 602

The Second Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA II) ended on Saturday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with participants urging African negotiators and researchers to step up efforts to further strengthen the role of science in the negotiations process. The two-day conference that met ahead of the Doha Climate Change Conference scheduled for December also urged developed countries to raise the level of ambition in order to set the right carbon price which would in turn encourage investment in mitigation activities.

Nigeria: Shell dragged before Dutch court over Nigeria oil spill

2012-10-10, Issue 601

Anglo-Dutch oil and gas super major, Shell, will appear in a Dutch court to account for damage it caused in Nigeria. This is the first time in history, an European company is appearing in a Dutch court. Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) made this known to AkanimoReports in an online statement.

Ethiopia: Committee meeting in Ethiopia to study Nile water, dam project

2012-10-10, Issue 601

Despite ongoing concerns from Egypt and Sudan over Ethiopia’s ambitious Renaissance Dam project along the Blue Nile River, the Nile Tripartite Committee is in the country to study the impacts the dam will have along the country’s Nile River. The International Panel of Experts (IPoE), consists of six experts from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan, and another four international experts. The experts committee, so far in its study has hinted that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will have no negative impact to down stream countries; Egypt and Sudan. However, its final findings and recommendations on the impacts of the controversial project will be submitted to the governments of the three countries in less than 9 months.

Sierra Leone: Pirate fishermen 'export to EU'

2012-10-11, Issue 601

The vast majority of pirate vessels illegally fishing off Sierra Leone are accredited to export their catches to Europe, an environmentalist group says. A report by the Environmental Justice Foundation says West Africa has the highest levels of illegal fishing in the world. Its says pirate fishermen fish inside exclusion zones, attack local fisherman and refuse to pay fines.

South Africa: Alarm over plan to pump acid mine drainage into the Vaal

2012-10-15, Issue 601

A Sunday Times report has said that government planned to pump partially treated acid mine drainage (AMD) into the Vaal River. Earlier, the weekly reported that underground pumps would be used to pipe water from the central basin - underneath Johannesburg - into a treatment plant where it would be partially cleaned, or neutralised. This water would then be released into the Vaal, diluted with clean water from the Lesotho Highlands Project to minimise the harmful impact.

Tanzania: Mixed reaction to Tanzanian investment deal

2012-10-15, Issue 601

Questions are being raised about how Tanzania’s plentiful mining sector will be affected by a potential gold rush from Canadian extractive companies, after the two countries concluded a foreign investment agreement. Jamie Kneen, a spokesperson for Mining Watch Canada who deals with Canadian companies operating in Africa, said the agreement is mostly just 'a political gesture'. Some of the explorations are happening in fragile ecosystems, including a wetland area and a game reserve, he argued, and local community groups are already beginning to voice concerns.

Global: Plantations and Colonialism

2012-10-15, Issue 601

This Corner House briefing argues that the distinction between industrial tree plantations and biodiverse landscapes organized in conjunction with commons regimes is not just a distinction between various vegetable assemblages, but also a social/technical/political distinction. The slave-worked plantations of the past and the industrial plantations of today do not merely prop up colonialism; they are constituted by colonialism. Today's industrial plantations are also intertwined with overaccumulation, overproduction, financialization, and many other so-called 'social' things. Talking about 'sustainable' industrial eucalyptus or oil palm plantations is like talking about 'sustainable colonialism' or 'sustainable overaccumulation'.

Uganda: Women look to save money - and their environment

2012-10-03, Issue 600

The production of a manual, 'A Community Based Guide for Monitoring Impacts of Oil and Gas Activities on the Environment', discusses the history and likely impacts of oil and gas exploration in Uganda, including the impacts of construction of access roads and infrastructure, waste disposal and decommissioning. Community leaders have used this tool to initiate environmental monitoring groups, many of which double up as savings and income generation clubs.

Cameroon: Experts debate cause of increased flooding

2012-10-04, Issue 600

Cameroon has received heavy rain and flooding during the past year. Some experts attribute the unusual weather to climate change, while others point to poor management of dams, reports Global Press Institute.

DRC: Alarm bells over REDD project

2012-10-08, Issue 600

In May 2012, Olam International announced a REDD project for 'sustainable forest management' in the Republic of Congo. The project is a public-private partnership between Olam International’s subsidiary CIB (Congolaise Industrielle des Bois) and the Government of the Republic of Congo. The little information that is available about this proposed REDD project sets off just about all the REDD alarm bells, says this post from www.redd-monitor.org Olam International is notorious for its involvement in illegal logging in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2007, the World Bank’s private sector arm the International Finance Corporation sold its shares in Olam International. Greenpeace described Olam International as a 'Congo-trashing company'.

Cameroon: Need for charcoal hits Cameroon's forests

2012-10-09, Issue 600

Cameroonians are burning increasing amounts of charcoal for cooking and heating as the country’s electricity and gas supplies fail to keep pace with demand, raising concerns among environmentalists about growing deforestation and carbon emissions in the country. At local markets in Yaounde, the country’s capital, sales of charcoal are booming. The trade is especially attractive to young people who are jumping at a rare employment opportunity, and even older traders are now changing their wares.

Namibia: Too soon to tap Namibia's groundwater find, experts say

2012-10-09, Issue 600

The extraction of the much needed water from a large underground aquifer in northern Namibia may need to wait for further studies, officials have warned at a water investment conference. The aquifer, discovered in July, may contain enough water to sustain about one million people living in the area for 400 years at the current consumption rate, as well as boost development through irrigation in this poor, heavily overgrazed area where women and children walk for hours to get fresh water from boreholes.

Africa: New urgency to rethink dam projects

2012-09-26, Issue 599

The massive hydropower dams built on the Zambezi River, the largest river system in Southern Africa, not only supply power to major economies in the region but also help mitigate annual floods. But as electricity demands grow and rising global temperatures affect rainfall patterns, the dams will be unable to meet energy needs or control floods, warns a new study. The study, 'A Risky Trip for Southern African Hydro', was conducted for the NGO, International Rivers by Richard Beilfuss, a hydrologist and environmentalist who teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering in the US and the University of Eduardo Mondlane in Mozambique.

Global: Ocean acidification occurring at unprecedented rates

2012-09-27, Issue 599

Ocean acidification is the process of decreasing pH in the Earth's oceans. This is mainly due to the absorption of carbon dioxide emitted by humans. As CO2 dissolves in seawater, hydrogen ion concentrations increase, thus lowering the ocean pH. Oceans are currently absorbing about a quarter of all CO2 that is released into the air and with the increasing acidity of these marine environments come many concerns about the future of these ecosystems. Recently, at the Third International Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World in Monterey, California, Dr. Daniela Schmidt of the University of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences warns us that the current rates of ocean acidification are unlike any other in the Earth's history.

Global: New study analyzes challenges with international water-related projects

2012-09-27, Issue 599

Large-scale water-related projects are a model global environmental issue. From dams controlling and rerouting water flow to providing access to clean drinking water and monitoring the nutrient quality of water resources, local, national, and international players often have to work together to manage these water resources. A new study of nearly 200 major international water-related projects over the past 20 years has identified existing and emerging challenges and how science can offer solutions. The report claims that 'insufficient and disjointed management of human demands on water and aquatic systems has led to situations where both social and ecological systems are in jeopardy and have even collapsed.'

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