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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.

Read more...

+ 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.

See the list of episodes.

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.

Internet & technology

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South Africa: Mxit, the social media sensation

2012-11-08, Issue 605

When it comes to social media's heavy hitters, there are no bigger players than Facebook or Twitter, right? Not if you're in South Africa. Mobile network Mxit claims to have nearly 10 million users in the country, making it South Africa's most popular social media platform by far, eclipsing Facebook's six million users and Twitter's 1.1 million subscribers. Founded seven years ago by Namibian-born software developer Herman Heunis, Mxit has grown from an instant messaging application into a global mobile social network.

Africa: Mobile phone users in sub-Saharan Africa up by 44%

2012-11-13, Issue 605

The number of mobile phone users in sub-Saharan Africa rose by 44 per cent to 475 million, compared to just 12.3 million fixed line connections, representing the highest proportion of mobile versus fixed line connections in the world. Statistics released by GSMA, a global association of mobile survive providers revealed that mobile industry is driving explosive economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa: Digital revolution lights up Africa with maps, mobiles, money and markets

2012-10-31, Issue 604

South Africa hosts the third annual Tech4Africa conference, in Johannesburg, attracting innovators and entrepreneurs from a dozen countries. Among the speakers are Sim Shagaya, a Nigerian-born Harvard graduate planning to create the 'Amazon of Africa', selling Lagos's increasingly affluent consumer class everything from refrigerators to perfume to cupcakes. His previous venture, DealDey, which offers Groupon-style deals, is now the top-grossing ecommerce site in Nigeria with 350,000 subscribers.

Kenya: Building a digital future in Africa's silicon savannah

2012-10-31, Issue 604

If there is such a thing as an African version of California's Silicon Valley, the country that is arguably leading the race to the future is Kenya. Household tech names such as Google, Intel, Microsoft, Nokia and Vodafone all have a presence here, and IBM recently chose Nairobi for its first African research lab. Kenyans enjoy faster broadband connections than their counterparts in Africa's economic powerhouse, South Africa. And the government plans to build a $7bn (£4.36bn), 5,000-acre technology city that is already being branded Africa's 'Silicon Savannah'.

Madagascar: Preserving national heritage with video archiving

2012-10-25, Issue 603

A Civil Society Initiative has been set up to preserve the ‘collective memory’ of Madagascar by digitally archiving videos detailing its, often controversial, history. Reasons for controversy include disagreement over the tragedy of the 1947 Malagasy Uprising, a perspective limited by language, as well as destruction of historical archives during political crises.

Africa: Africa's top tweeters: political pioneers in the digital debate

2012-10-30, Issue 603

This Guardian UK article lists Africa's top political tweeters, which include David Coltart, Uhuru Kenyatta and Julius Malema.

East Africa: Google calls on East Africa to lower web costs

2012-10-10, Issue 601

International Internet giant Google is urging East African countries to reduce the costs of Internet services in the region to promote more local content being available for users. Google’s Field Access Director Kai Wulff said in Uganda that the region 'receives unlimited capacity and yet a very small portion of it is being used'. He said that this is because rates are too high and called on governments and telecom operators in the region to lower Internet prices in an effort to boost penetration, usage and create wealth.

Kenya: How much will technology boom change Kenya?

2012-10-15, Issue 601

Kenya is seeing a rapid rise in the number of mobile phone apps built by local designers - and both farmers and cash-strapped councils are reaping the benefits. In Nairobi, 'tech-incubators' are springing up, places designed to give young IT entrepreneurs the space - and sometimes a bit of cash - to develop their ideas.

Africa: Urbanization, mobile phones, and digital media trends

2012-10-04, Issue 600

The convergence of African urbanization and technological change, including the rise of digital media, is driving major change on the continent. Perhaps most dramatic, cellphones and other mobile devices, already widespread, are becoming a nearly universal platform, not only for telephony but also for audio and video information and entertainment. This offers a fundamentally different 'media' experience and has already led to an entirely new and largely unrecognized class of independent media–some newly created channels for international broadcasters–serving the African continent. This report traces the dramatic spread of mobile telephony in Africa and examines how this is affecting the news media landscape on the continent.

Global: Communicating research for influence

2012-09-26, Issue 599

This manual from the Association for Progressive Communications is based on success stories and challenges in communicating research for influence. APC translated their knowledge and expertise into tips that other organisations or campaigners may find useful.

Africa: Social media content platform biNu attracts 0.5 million books readers

2012-09-27, Issue 599

Social media content platform biNu entered into a partnership with World Reader. biNu provides a cloud-based, low-bandwidth, smart-phone like service for low-end smartphones and feature-phones. It gives the user a scroll button navigable, icon-based screen. biNu created the World Reader book app. This has then been available to its 4.2 million monthly active users globally, 1 million of whom are in Africa.

Uganda: Ugandans tap smart source to find cheap fuel

2012-09-23, Issue 598

In Uganda, a new smartphone application is helping motorists hunt for the best deal on fuel, by showing users the price at different petrol stations. The application, called Mafuta Go, was created by local information-technology students and has already won an international award.

Rwanda: New lab gives techpreneurs a jumpstart in Rwanda

2012-09-20, Issue 598

With mobile subscribers on the rise and a supportive government backing new initiatives, information and communication technologies are taking off in Rwanda. Now, an innovative space invites young entrepreneurs to develop solutions-based technology for the country.

Global: Twitter app takes on public health

2012-09-16, Issue 597

Twitter, the much beloved social networking site, is set to take on disease outbreaks, after HHS officials announced the release of a new Web-based application tool available to public health officials. US health officials say they can use data gained through the app to complement other health surveillance systems in identifying emerging health issues and as an early warning of possible public health emergencies in a community.

South Africa: Computer geeks unite for open society

2012-09-11, Issue 597

A first for South Africa was a gathering that brought together passionately techno-affluent computer geeks, media personnel and civic society with a craving for open-data systems. Held at Ndifuna Ukwazi’s office in Cape Town over the weekend, the event code-named 'Hackathon' started with a brief introduction to some of the initiative’s key objectives and what the Open Data and Democracy Initiative was about. Comprising a group of young people pushing for a more open democracy, the initiative is made up of ordinary citizen activists, technologists, journalists and entrepreneurs aimed at developing and applying practical open technologies and promoting open data as a means for efficient governance, increased transparency, improved service delivery and empowerment of SA citizens.

Africa: The interactive separatist map of Africa

2012-09-12, Issue 597

This online map from the London Guardian shows what Africa would like if all separatist groups gained independence.

Global: Copyright and the digital divide

2012-07-12, Issue 593

Copyright, and patents, were once about balance – balancing the public interest of encouraging creativity with the public interest of access to creative works and intellectual endeavours, states this article on copyright in the digital age. 'Copyright is not encouraging creativity or intellectual endeavour. By creating private property on goods that were paid for publicly (through paying the academics for their time), all copyright is doing here is creating artificial property rights, artificial restrictions on information.'

Africa: Walking directions for Google maps launched

2012-07-12, Issue 593

In 2010, Google announced the availability of driving directions on Google Maps in many African countries. The internet giant has now launched walking directions for 44 African countries.

Madagascar: Online research network launched

2012-07-08, Issue 592

Madagascar has launched an online research network, the Research and Education Network for Academic Learning Activities (iRENALA), which aims to boost science, technology and education in the country, as well as internationalise its science. The network, launched earlier this month (8 June), will promote discussions between worldwide researchers, students and policymakers, and facilitate access to digitised documents available in virtual libraries, according to Horace Gatien, president of Toamasina University. It will also encourage remote learning in the higher education sector, he said.

South Africa: ‘Zimbabweans in SA take to free messaging service’

2012-07-08, Issue 592

A free text messaging service called EcoChat has become popular with Zimbabweans living in South Africa, according to Econet. The service is free during 2012, and forms part of the Econet ‘Call Home’ SIM card. Similar to popular messenger service What’s App, subscribers only pay standard data rates, which works out to be the fraction of the cost of an SMS.

Africa: Women rival men in cash transfer

2012-07-09, Issue 592

Kenyan women match men almost coin for coin in the now vibrant mobile money transfer market, surveys published by an international polling firm show. According to three studies on payments and money transfer behaviour carried out in Kenya and another 10 sub-Saharan African countries carried out by Gallup and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, both genders are involved in mobile money transfers in equal measure.

Global: No rest for cyber activists

2012-06-21, Issue 590

One and a half years since the beginning of the Arab Spring, activists who guided their fellow citizens through the relatively unchartered terrain of social media activism feel their fight for human rights, democracy and transparency is only just beginning. Many of the leading social media activists in Tunisia, birthplace of the ongoing wave of revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, are not satisfied with the results of the uprising and have set their sights on more ambitious goals: transparency in government actions, monitoring of electoral processes and abolition of laws limiting internet freedom.

Global: Study questions Twitter's role in disaster aftermath

2012-06-11, Issue 588

A study has cast doubt on the innovative role that some claim Twitter, the 'microblogging' social media tool, can play in generating new information during disasters, although it did find that 'tweets' speed up the exchange of existing information. An analysis of tweets sent by people in the United States following the emergency at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant found that most linked to traditional news outlets, such as the New York Times and CNN, for updates.

Global: UN agency plans Flame warning

2012-05-30, Issue 587

A United Nations agency, charged with helping member nations secure their national infrastructures, plans to issue a sharp warning about the risk of the Flame computer virus that was recently discovered in Iran and other parts of the Middle East. The confidential warning will tell member nations that the Flame virus is a dangerous espionage tool that could potentially be used to attack critical infrastructure.

Africa: Explore the media habits of consumers in Sub-Saharan Africa

2012-05-16, Issue 585

InsightsAfrica is an interactive tool providing critical data about the online behavior of urban consumers in six key African markets: Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda.

Africa: Research coalition to boost internet access

2012-05-17, Issue 585

An international group of research organisations are collaborating on a project to boost Internet access in rural Sub-Saharan Africa. The project was discussed at a meeting of the board of the Global Research Alliance (GRA) - an international organisation that seeks to align the efforts of its members with the UN’s Millennium Development Goals - in Sydney, Australia, this month that looked at new strategies for improving access by the developing world to science and innovation.

Global: The destruction of privacy

2012-05-21, Issue 585

This article from www.alternet.org looks at the changing meaning of privacy in the online world. 'None of what you transmit - however personal - through a digital wireline or wireless network is “private.” Rather, through the spectacle of post-modern capitalism, the private has become public, the property of the corporation that owns your keystrokes. The digital revolution has morphed the personal into an electronic commodity; the electronic commodity is the exchange currency of an encroaching, 21st-century digital feudalism.'

Libya: International telecoms investor in court battle for assets in Zambia

2012-04-24, Issue 582

LAP GreenN, the Libyan Investment Authority’s international telecommunications arm and a major foreign investor in Zambia, said on Monday that it was disturbed by the decision last week in the Zambian High Court not to grant interim protection for its seized assets, which were legitimately purchased at a cost of US$257 million. In a statement, made available to PANA here, LAP GreenN said it had decided for valid reasons not to appeal the court decision, but to address the issue in its case against the government, which is scheduled in the Zambian High Court on 9 July, 2012. LAP-GreenN is an US$8 billion telecommunications investment arm of Libyan African Investment Portfolio (LAP) and it claims that its assets in Zambia now have a market-value of approximately US$480 million.

Africa: ICTs and climate change adaptation in the water sector

2012-04-25, Issue 582

This new publication by the Association for Progressive Communications and the International Development Research Centre gathers several reports from developing countries on how ICTs are and can be applied to help communities experiencing water-reated stress, adapt to climate change. While drawing on current experiences in the field of water management and sustainability, the perspective of the authors is primarily from the ICT for development (ICT4D) sector.

Africa: The role of mainstream and social media in the Arab spring

2012-04-18, Issue 581

Representing the struggles for political and societal changes in the Middle East merely as a ‘Social Media Revolution’ of an upper middle class youth is selective and simply does not correspond to the situation, says this article from International Affairs. 'It ignores the majority of poor people, also among the urban youth, and misses out the various forms of creative activism on the ground and their grass-root organisation in forms of neighbourhood patrols and cleaning troops.'

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