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Pambazuka News 259: Women’s rights: A tale of two national assemblies

The authoritative electronic weekly newsletter and platform for social justice in Africa

Pambazuka News is the authoritative pan African electronic weekly newsletter and platform for social justice in Africa providing cutting edge commentary and in-depth analysis on politics and current affairs, development, human rights, refugees, gender issues and culture in Africa.

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CONTENTS: 1. Highlights from this issue, 2. Features, 3. Comment & analysis, 4. Advocacy & campaigns, 5. Pan-African Postcard, 6. Books & arts, 7. Letters & Opinions, 8. Blogging Africa, 9. African Union Monitor, 10. Women & gender, 11. Human rights, 12. Refugees & forced migration, 13. Elections & governance, 14. Corruption, 15. Development, 16. Health & HIV/AIDS, 17. Education, 18. Racism & xenophobia, 19. Environment, 20. Land & land rights, 21. Media & freedom of expression, 22. News from the diaspora, 23. Conflict & emergencies, 24. Internet & technology, 25. eNewsletters & mailing lists, 26. Fundraising & useful resources, 27. Courses, seminars, & workshops

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Highlights from this issue

Featured this week


FEATURED: Ahead of the July AU Summit to be held from 25 June -2 July in Banjul, The Gambia, we carry a series of articles on the AU Protocol on Women’s Rights in Africa. Faith Cheruiyot begins the series by comparing the experiences of The Gambia and Niger
- Roselynn Musa shows why the Protocol offers hope for all
- Khédija El Madani discusses women’s rights and Islam, in this article translated from the French version of Pambazuka News (
- Niger voted down the Protocol in early June. Sibongile Ndashe urges a rethink
- It’s also June 16, the 30th anniversary of the Soweto uprising. Percy Ngonyama says SA youth still find themselves in a dire situation
LETTERS: A reader poem on disability
PAN-AFRICAN POSTCARD: Tajudeen Abdul Raheem discusses the state of South African universities
BLOGGING AFRICA: Sokari Ekine is back with her round-up of the African blogosphere
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: Latest links to news on Sudan and Somalia
HUMAN RIGHTS: East African police charged with failing to reform
WOMEN AND GENDER: Nigerian women meet on arms proliferation
REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: Côte d’Ivoire protection needs remain
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: Calm returns after Guinea strike
DEVELOPMENT: Caution urged on Nigerian debt payments
CORRUPTION: NGOs endorse accountability charter
HEALTH AND HIV/AIDS: G8 slammed on health commitments
EDUCATION: Broken promises and the Day of the African Child
RACISM AND XENOPHOBIA: FIFA to use World Cup to fight racism?
ENVIRONMENT: Liberia timber dealer convicted
LAND AND LAND RIGHTS: Land reform influenced by IMF
MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: DRC journalists attacked in election run-up
INTERNET AND TECHNOLOGY: Continent connects to the internet
BOOKS AND ARTS: Cape Town Book fair ready to go
PLUS: Internet and Technology; e-Newsletters and Mailings Lists; Fundraising and Useful Resources; Courses, Seminars and Workshops; Jobs.

* Read the recent special edition on trade and justice by clicking on Comment by sending mail to [email protected] or online at


Women’s rights: A tale of two National Assemblies in Africa

Faith Cheruiyot


Ahead of the important July AU Summit to be held from 25 June -2 July in Banjul, The Gambia, contrasting experiences from two largely Islamic West African countries reveal the cutting edge importance of the AU Protocol on Women’s Rights in Africa. In the Gambia, Parliamentarians blaze the trail for women’s rights and gender equality by reversing earlier reservations on the Protocol, while in Niger their counterparts vote against its ratification. Faith Cheruiyot in Nairobi interviewed leaders of women’s organisations in the two countries and wrote this article.

Comment & analysis

The promise of the protocol

Roselynn Musa


Recent efforts to document the real situation of women in Africa have produced some alarming statistics, writes Roselynn Musa, who proceeds to outline the provisions of the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa that offer some hope for women on the continent.

Women’s Rights in Islam

Khédija El Madani


It is not Islam that discriminates against women, argues Khédija El Madani, but rather the interpretation of Islamic scriptures by some scholars. “It is therefore time to return to true Islam, to follow the precepts of the Koran and to act according to the example of our Prophet, who has always respected women,” she says.

Niger: Democratic principles and the rejection of the Protocol

Sibongile Ndashe


In early June, Niger’s parliament voted against the African Union’s Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa by 42 votes to 31. Sibongile Ndashe urges the country to rethink it position.

The 30th anniversary of June 16th

Percy Ngonyama


June 16 marks the 30th anniversary of the Soweto uprising against apartheid rule. Percy Ngonyama writes that South Africa’s youth have faced an onslaught from market-friendly economic policies. Rather than a day of celebration, the anniversary should be used as a platform to re-launch and intensify young people's struggles for a genuine "Better life for all".

Advocacy & campaigns

Global: Call for global actions against IFIs


"For more than sixty years, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank together with their partner regional development banks and export credit agencies, have used international finance capital to exercise control and restructure the societies of the South to serve the interests of global private corporations and the economic and geo-political agenda of the few powerful nations that control these institutions."

Nigeria: Protest removals in Nigeria


The Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN), part of Habitat International Coalition (HIC), in cooperation with its member, the Development Initiatives Network (DIN), and with Women Environmental Programme, in Nigeria, have received disturbing news about mass evictions in the city of Abuja. Your urgent action is required in Nigeria.

Pan-African Postcard

Discussing the state of African universities

Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem


African teams in the World Cup have not been performing too badly, but their valiant efforts are not reflected on the scoreboards of the various groups so far. Therefore many of us have been watching the games with a mixture of affirmation that ‘African football has arrived and improved consistently to world class professional standards' and doubts that maybe we are not quite there yet or still lacking in the killer focus.

But we take comfort in the universal fact that ‘the boys are playing well’ although we are not quite resigned to the English consolation psychology of ‘it’s not the wining that counts but participating’ which makes them turn ‘glorious losers’ into celebrities. Africans want victories and are hoping that one of our teams will just move beyond the ‘nearly’ club. So we keep vigil in all kinds of public and private places, glued to the box watching every match. If all fail we have the automatic transfer of loyalties to Brazil or any other team (almost all he major ones) with Black players in them!

Like other people across the world, for the next month work can only be partial unless you are in a football related industry. FIFA is our employer for now! When people are not watching the matches they are discussing those that have happened and making all kinds of spirited predictions about those still to take place. Even those who do not like football are forced to participate in the frenzy because those of us who do will never stop talking about it. Media is saturated with stories about ‘the beautiful game’.

Hence it was with a great sense of sacrifice, personal and political loyalty, that I found myself abandoning Togo's match against South Korea Tuesday evening to go and listen to Professor Okello Oculi, speak at the Unfungomano Hall at Nairobi University. It was part of the Public Debate Series of the African Research and Resource Forum (ARRF) for 2006.

Two reasons forced my hand. One, Okello was one of the radical Pan Africanist scholars who had influenced my intellectual and political outlook as an undergraduate student. He was one of those refugee scholars from Idi Amin's Uganda who were lost to Uganda but gained to many generations of African students in other countries.

Unlike the SAP refugees of the '80s and '90s and the current 'kyeyo' academics in the face of globalisation whose destination are mostly in Europe and North America, many of the Ugandans headed for other African countries and rebuilt their lives, some of them becoming adopted citizens of those countries. They were brains lost temporarily or permanently to Uganda but they were not lost to Africa.

Two other Ugandans had a direct impact on me. Firstly, Prof Yolamu Barongo, who was both a mentor and intellectual father to me. Without him I could have joined the army instead of graduate studies. Another one was the literary icon, Okot p'itek, who did not teach me directly but was an intellectual and political influence through writings and an electrifying presence at seminars, workshops and conferences across Nigeria while he was teaching at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University).

Okello never returned to Uganda and he is more Nigerian than many of us whose only claim is that we were born there. Our lives later became interchanged when I became permanently resident in Uganda as General-Secretary of the Pan African Movement. So whenever we meet we have to talk shop, with him sharing with me what is going on in the rough and tumble of Nigerian politics and I feeding him on my take on the up and downs, the zigzags and sometimes motions without movement in Uganda's politics!

So I could not refuse to go and listen to Okello. The other reason was the topic of discussion: ‘Interrogating the Conditions of The African Universities’. It is a topic that should interest anyone concerned about not just the survival of Africa and Africans but in us controlling our destiny. If we cannot own the thinking process of our society we cannot control or exercise autonomy over those societies. And our universities are very central to this. They are much neglected, abused, maligned and marginalized but we cannot use other universities as the engine of our development.

So many sins have been committed against our universities but they have also been perpetrating many sins against themselves. The mad rush for private universities mushrooming across the continent in the name of privatisation and liberalisation in education may produce more people with degrees but cannot produce more educated citizens. Even within the public sector universities, a two-tier system is in place offering apartheid discrimination based on financial resources. Okello called this FTDs (Financially Transmitted Degrees). He also looked at some of the internal weaknesses in the university systems including the process of recruitment, philosophical values underpinning the establishment of the universities during colonial and post colonial societies, the pressures of SAP, the ideological hegemony of elitism and reactionary values. He used his vast experience in East and West Africa and in Britain and North America to identify what the central problems for our universities are. And this is basically ideological: what is the purpose of a university? He identified lack of creativity and creative thinking and creative interaction between our technicians of knowledge and the society. We study as if our societies do not exist and our societies and governments, businesses, make policies as if we do not have local thinkers and qualified professionals. In plain language: our universities are not organically linked to our societies. There were places of excellence in the past like Dar Es Salaam and Ahmadu Bello university, and even the conservative bent older universities like Makerere, Ibadan and Legon. South African Universities have always been more integrated into the power structure, thinking and shaping the future of their societies.

The discussions, especially the robust interventions by the students (a modest turn out given that Togo was playing) were both nostalgic and sad for me. Inspiring because I felt that the tradition of debate is not dead, though sadly not fashionable anymore. I was also sad that though many of them are angry and believe they deserve better, they are no longer reading or having access to books that could make them turn their anger into a positive force for creativity and social transformation. They also reveal a very crude way in which the university has become integrated into the vulgarity that is dominating our societies.

I kept wondering if all present in a church become possessed by the holy spirit, who will shout hallelujah when and if we get to the promised land? When universities merely reflect the vulgar side of society instead of providing original refection on the society they cease to be a universe of ideas and are doomed to become irrelevant. Hence the current attitude in many countries: If you say you are a graduate, people retort: ‘And so what?’

* Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem is General-Secretary of the Pan African Movement, Kampala (Uganda) and Co-Director of Justice Africa

* Please send comments to [email protected] or comment online at

Books & arts

Africa: Looting Africa

Patrick Bond


Despite the rhetoric, the people of Sub-Saharan Africa are becoming poorer. From Tony Blair's Africa Commission, the G7 finance ministers' debt relief, the Live 8 concerts, the Make Poverty History campaign and the G8 Gleneagles promises, to the United Nations 2005 summit and the Hong Kong WTO meeting, Africa's gains have been mainly limited to public relations. The central problems remain exploitative debt and financial relationships with the North, phantom aid, unfair trade, distorted investment and the continent's brain/skills drain.

Egypt: The art of flight


The Art Of Flight is a guerrilla documentary that was shot illegally in Egypt on camcorders and a laptop. The film serves as a back story to the 2006 massacre of Sudanese refugees in Cairo. The filmmaker was nearly arrested three times during the course of shooting. This feature-length film tells the story of three people – a refugee from southern Sudan, a human rights activist from northern Sudan and an American journalist in self-imposed exile – all living in Cairo.

South Africa: Cape Town book fair ready to go


The Cape Town Book Fair (CTBF) opens its doors from June 17-20 for a series of workshops and discussions on topics relevant to writers, publishers and book-related industries. Taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, the event consists of book launches, readings and poetry sessions. Awards up for grabs include the Alan Paton Award for non-fiction, the Sunday Times Fiction Award and the Noma Award. Under the theme "Celebrate Africa" panel debates about the importance of publishing books in indigenous languages, poetry readings and various seminars will take place.

Programme activities include:
- Author discussion panel on "Making Poverty History in South Africa" with Alan Hirsch (Author: "Season of Hope: Economic reform under Mandela and Mbeki"), Sampie Terreblanche (Author: "A history of Inequality in SA") and Adam Habib (Editor: "Voices of Protest: Social Movements in SA").
- "Portraits of African Writers" with George Hallett and Gavin Jantjies. - Zakes Mda, author of the "Whale Caller", talks about life of writing, and his work.
- Poetry reading by Mphutlane wa Bofelo, poet and social activist.
- "Accumulating and disseminating knowledge in African Studies: The case of the Nordic Africa Institute" with Helena Olsson, (Marketing Manager), Birgitte Jansen, (Librarian) and Dr Henning Melber, (Research Director).
- Contemporary Nigerian Literature 20 years after Africa won its first Nobel prize for Literature - discussion between Harry Garuba, Toyin Akinosho and Muktar Bakare.
- Women's voices - Doreen Baingana on women writing in Africa.

For more information, visit

Letters & Opinions

Malawi: Implementation of the African Protocol

Christobel Mvula


Malawi is one of the countries that ratfied to the African's Women's Protocol in June, 2005. Since then Malawi has created awareness to a number of groups/institutions.

The Ministry of Gender, Child Welfare and Community Services as a National Gender Machinery in Malawi has conducted a number of workshops aimed at creating wareness on the provisions of the Protocol. The following have been sensitized so far

1. Media Houses: almost all media houses
2. NGOs working on gender/women issues
3. Policy Makers particularly Principal Secreatries and Chief Exceutive of Statutory Bodies
4. Parliamentary Caucus on Social Affairs
5. Parliamentary Women Caucus

Future Plans

1.Translation of the Protocol in three local languages to ensure that all stakeholders use the same version without losing sense of the provisions
2. Sensitisation of communities at large

All these have been possible through funding from Joint Oxfam Malawi.

My caring community

Peter Bodo Ong'aro


My caring community
You have always catered for me
You have nursed me
Clothed, fed and sheltered me.

You have given generously
To cater for my needs
And the general community
Within my means you have lived.

People run away from me
But you have always stood by me
Hard times have cropped up though
You find it difficult to hold on.

You find it hard to stand by me
Because the generosity is dwindling
People no longer give generously
For you to cater for my special needs.

The hard times have made you turn away
You even threaten to close down
Institutions of my rehabilitation and education
Because nothing is forthcoming.

You forget that the institutions were built
For my sake
Changing them for other programmes
Will prove that you actually do not care for me.

While I was fruitful you stood by me
Now that I am no longer providing
You are shying away from me
My caring community why have you forsaken me.

Why should I carry the cross
For the sins I have not committed
You have always benefited
At my expense
My caring community why have you forsaken me.

Peter Bodo Ong'aro
Secretary General
Kenya Disabled Development Society
P.O. Box 40500
Nairobi 00100 GPO

Email: [email protected] OR [email protected]

Copyright ©2006 Peter Bodo Ong'aro

Blogging Africa

The World Cup and other blogging debates

Sokari Ekine


As World Cup fever hits the blogosphere, African Shirts - ( follows the Trinidad & Tobago vs Sweden world cup match and decides he is moving to T&T.

“Trinidad and Tobago might be the smallest country to ever qualify for the World Cup, but to compensate for being a small country, they brought the biggest party machine ever. After their 0-0 draw against Sweden, one could be forgiven for thinking that they had won the World Cup. The Caribbean rum company Angustora has organised a few free events centred around Trinidad games. And after the Sweden match, fans of all hues and colours converged on downtown Dortmund, and threw possibly the biggest party since Borussia Dortmund won the Champions League.”

Also blogging on the World Cup, Soul on Ice ( takes us back to 1980s Thatcherite Britain and the infamous Norman Tebbit “cricket test”. Who are you supporting in this world cup? England? Trinidad and Tobago, Angola or Portugal? Ghana or Italy? Argentina or Ivory Coast?

“A friend told me of the sour feeling in Cameroon when France won in '98. In the 2002 World Cup Senegal carried on like they had won the damn thing when they beat France. And most of the French team are African in origin (Patrick Viera comes to mind). Actually I was jumping up and down when they won that one. My recent post on Senegal kinda explores their relationship with France. What is the psychology behind all this? Interestingly more and more second generation Africans and Caribbean’s are returning to play for their countries of origin.”

MentalAcrobatics ( comments on a horrific case of rape in a Kenyan School. A group of male students sodomised another male student who is now in hospital, traumatised and in pain from the ordeal. The sexual assault is made worse when we learn that this was not the first time as the young man had previously reported an incident to the dormitory master. MentalAcrobatics writes that it is hard to believe the school authorities were unaware of what was taking place. He goes on to criticise the failure of Kenyan educational authorities to have a system in place to help deal with the continued violence in schools.

“Again and again, we see extreme violence from high school students directed at other high school students. This latest rape at Upper Hill School is just the latest example of this violence. There are measures that will be taken against the administration at Upper Hill but those actions will come too late to help one young student. We need, as a nation, to put in place a system that will help us understand and come up with solutions to this rising violence in our schools. This violence is growing into an epidemic. If it has not allready reached there.”

Blogswana ( reports that internet penetration in Africa is now 5%, up from 2.5% last year.

“Richard Kassissieh, in Kassblog, writes that at the Maru-a-Pula school 81% of Form 1 students have a computer at home. 15% have broadband Internet access, 55% dial-up, and 30% no Internet access. Maru-a-Pula is a well-funded school located in Gabarone. Students in rurally located schools would have significantly less access, but one can envision that the trend in computer and internet access will continue and spread throughout the country over the next decade.”

Acoustic Motorbike ( comments on sexism in Zimbabwe using her own personal experience. She is verbally accosted by various men as she goes about her daily business. She asks what it will take?

“And, of course, it’s not just about sex. It’s about men’s attitudes towards women. Maybe the message that a woman is not for beating already resonates with many men. But gender based violence is about much more than beatings. It’s about much more than rape or sexual assault. Surely it also includes the safety with which women move around in their own homes, their own streets, shops and neighbourhoods. Women are not for beating. They are also not for raping, heckling, objectifying or harassing. What messages do men grow up with then about what women are for? What do men think men are for? What do women think women or men are there for? Society has changed dramatically in the past 100 years. It is no longer acceptable to judge or stereotype someone on the basis of their race. Somehow gender differences feel like a harder thing to crack. But maybe in 1906 so did racism.”

Black Looks ( writes a piece on “Being a Lesbian Activist in Africa”.

“The LGBT community in Africa live perilous lives and activists because they are challenging the status quo, are in even more danger. They may have to move from house to house in order to avoid being outed by neighbours and reported to the police. If they are able to find work in the formal economy they have to hide their sexuality and bear the psychological pain of living a lie. Alternatively they may have to work in the informal sector, moving from job to job to avoid being discovered. Quite often LGBT activists go into hiding for short periods to avoid being discovered.”

* Sokari Ekine produces the blog Black Looks,

* Please send comments to [email protected]

African Union Monitor

Africa: AU ministers agree on draft democracy charter


Ministers from across Africa have approved a draft charter on democracy that lays down guidelines on elections and good governance. A two-day meeting concluded with unanimous agreement on the draft document in Congo's capital on Saturday. The draft is to be put to an African Union heads of state meeting in Gambia on July 1 and 2.

The Gambia: Invitation to the AU pre-summit women's forum


"I have the honour to invite you to the African Union Women’s Forum which is being organized by the Women Gender and Development Directorate of the African Union, in partnership with African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies and ISIS Women International Cross Cultural Exchange, from 22 to 23 June 2006 in Banjul, Gambia."

Women & gender

Africa: Discussing women migrants


One out of two migrant is a woman. Increasingly present and increasingly visible, women who live and work away from their countries of origin send billions of dollars to their relatives - often more frequently than men. Read this interview with Ms.Ndioro Ndiaye, Deputy Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on the website

Cameroon: Seven convicted of sodomy


Seven of the nine men in Cameroon whose "crime" was attending a gay-friendly nightclub last year have been found guilty of sodomy and sentenced to a 10-month jail term, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission learned Tuesday. Since the men have already been detained in prison for more than one year, they are expected to be released shortly for time served.

Lesotho: Intensified efforts to help rape survivors


The Lesotho government is to improve medical care provided to sexual violence survivors after rape cases reported in the first three months of this year climbed to almost the total number for 2005.

Nigeria: Women meet on proliferation of arms


Women groups under the aegis of Women in Peace-building program (WIPNET) of the West Africa Network for Peace-building (WANEP) have called on the Federal Government to enact a law making un-approved arms importation into Nigeria a criminal offence; and to enact a bill to monitor accountability in arms transaction in government security agencies.

Somalia: IRIN interview with Abdulahai Dahir, coordinator of Somali Reunification Women’s Union


Abdulahai Dahir, coordinator of Somali Reunification Women’s Union (SRWU), works with displaced people in Bosasso. He tries to dissuade would-be migrants from risking the sea crossing by showing them graphic photographs of those who died attempting it. His organisation also helps distribute food to about 3,000 Ethiopians who are stranded and homeless in the port.

Uganda: Soldier Verdict Spotlights Rape in Ugandan Camps


Like most of the female residents of Awere Internally Displaced Persons camp in northern Uganda, the girls rose at dawn that morning in 2002. They set out on foot, with their mother, to harvest crops several kilometers away. The two sisters, both teens, had called the camp home for most their lives. Along with about a million and a half of their neighbors, they were moved from their village to the camp by the Ugandan government in the mid-1990s to protect them from a murderous rebel group known as the Lord's Resistance Army.

Human rights

DRC: Arbitrary arrest and detention


The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the African Association for the Protection of Human Rights (Association africaine de défense des droits de l'homme - ASADHO), members of the SOS torture network, of the arbitrary arrest and detention of Mr. Mukadi Bonyi, lawyer at the Supreme Court of Justice and member of the Council of the Union for the reconstruction of Congo (Conseil de l'Union pour la reconstruction du Congo - UREC), a political party.

DRC: Climate of fear threatens elections


When U.N. Security Council members visit the Democratic Republic of Congo on June 11 and 12, they should insist that the transitional government protect the rights of journalists and human rights defenders, who have increasingly come under attack ahead of the coming elections, Human Rights Watch said in a briefing paper released on Friday 9 June.

East Africa: Police charged with failing to reform


Over the last two days, high level police, civil society and government delegates have met in Arusha, Tanzania, to look at the state of policing in East Africa, and map out a plan for reform in the region. Ms Maja Daruwala, Director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, which facilitated the conference with the East Africa Law Society, said that, “The roundtable has shown the huge amount of interest that the question of police reform in East Africa generates. For decades, the communities of East Africa have been subject to unreformed, undemocratic and unaccountable policing. For the people in those communities, that has meant violence, corruption and brutality.”

Egypt: APC condemns imprisonment of pro-democracy bloggers


The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) has condemned the unjust detention of free speech bloggers and journalists in Egypt. Alaa Seif Al-Islam, a seasoned blogger and APC colleague, is one of four Egyptian online diarists being held in detention for criticising the current regime.

Gambia: Govt pays lip service to torture convention


The parliament of The Gambia ratified the UN Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, claiming that the country had never applied these practices and that it had not been ratified earlier "by omission." On the same day (June 6), however, Reporters sans Frontières released photos of a Gambian journalist who had been severely tortured by national security forces only last month.

Ghana: Campaign launched against violence in mining


A campaign to stop violence in mining has been launched by the National Coalition of Mining (NCOM), a grouping of communities affected by mining and civil society organisations. Reading from a prepared sheet on behalf of NCOM, Gifty Dzah, from ABANTU for Development, said the objective of the campaign was to stop violence by mining companies and state agencies against communities and citizens.

Global: At least 115 unionists murdered in 2005


115 trade unionists were murdered for defending workers' rights in 2005, while 1 600 were assaulted and 9 000 were arrested, an international survey said. Rubber bullets and teargas were a feature of police responses to protests by workers in South Africa. New laws in Nigeria placed heavy restrictions on the right to strike and totally banned trade unions for certain types of worker.

Refugees & forced migration

Africa: Testimony on refugee/IDP protection


Although refugees and IDPs have separate legal regimes, operationally it is important they be dealt with in a more holistic way. As the UK Secretary of State for International Development Hilary Benn put it after visiting Darfur: "Is it really sensible that we have different systems for dealing with people fleeing their homes dependent on whether they happen to have crossed an international border? I have my doubts."

Burundi: Thousands more asylum seekers repatriated


Between April 2005 and March 2006, some 19,000 Rwandan asylum seekers had arrived in Burundi's northern provinces. They were reportedly fleeing persecution under Rwanda's traditional ‘gacaca’ justice system, which the government introduced to expedite trials for thousands of suspects held in connection with the 1994 genocide. Since 12 April, the Burundian government has repatriated 5,206 Rwandans from its northern provinces of Ngozi and Kirundo.

Côte d’Ivoire: Protection needs of IDPs remain acute


After almost four years of seemingly intractable political crisis that has kept Côte d’Ivoire split in half and some 700,000 IDPs in government-controlled areas, there may at last be room for a small glimmer of optimism about the prospects of peace. Yet formidable challenges remain ahead of presidential elections scheduled for 31 October 2006 under a road map established by the International Working Group on Côte d’Ivoire.

Global: 2005 global refugee trends


In 2005, 8.4 million people were counted as refugees, which is a drop from 9.5 million in 2004. However, the number of displaced people due to internal country conflicts increased from 5.4 million in 13 countries in 2004 to 6.6 million in 16 countries in 2005. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres cited Darfur, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo as countries with high displacement rates that must work to remedy the situation. UNHCR officials continue to attribute the decline in asylum seekers to the imposition of tighter asylum restrictions in industrialized countries

Nigeria: Ex-Zim farmers harvest first crops in Nigeria


Zimbabwe commercial farmers who accepted an offer to resettle in Shonga, about 100km north of Ilorin, the capital of the central state of Kwara, began farming in June last year. They all fled Zimbabwe after the government of President Robert Mugabe embarked on its controversial land redistribution programme in February 2000, seizing prime farmland owned from 4 000 white farmers and handing it over to the landless black majority.

Zambia: Ethiopian and Somali refugees arrive in Zambia


More refugees from Ethiopia and Somalia have arrived in Zambia through Nakonde border in Northern province. Out of the 52 refugees, three are women and the rest are men aged between 20 and 30 years. Residents of Chinka are said to be unhappy with the government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for not responding in good time to take the refugees to designated places. The residents feel the continued influx of refugees through Chinka is a threat to household food security in the area.

Zambia: The history of Zambia and refugees


As the world commemorates World Refugee Day on 20th June, it’s worth noting that the history of Zambia and refugees is a history of the overwhelming hospitality of the Zambian people. Zambia has been a citadel of peace for many. The first occurred in 1943 during the second world war when Northern Rhodesia hosted Polish Refugees. The second was in the 1960s after independence when Zambia opened its newly recognised borders to Angolan refugees fleeing from conflict.

Elections & governance

Chad: President finally offers political dialogue


Chadian President Idriss Déby has instructed his government to open a dialogue with the political opposition in a government decree released to journalists. Before the May presidential elections, President Déby had opposed any democratic reforms, causing the opposition to boycott the poll.

DRC: Demonstration held over polls as UN team visits Kinshasa


Thousands of Congolese on Monday took to the streets of the capital, Kinshasa, to demand negotiations that would see the main opposition party included in the country's electoral process. The demonstration came a day after a United Nations Security Council delegation arrived for a visit. Most of the demonstrators were supporters of the Union pour la democratie et le progres social (UDPS), which is led by veteran politician Etienne Tshisekedi and is boycotting the 30 July elections.

Guinea: Calm returns but strikes continue


Calm returned to the Guinean capital, Conakry, on Wednesday after two days of street violence that pitted students and unemployed youths against security forces, but a nationwide strike continued. Eyewitnesses reported seeing up to 13 corpses of people killed in rioting and clashes between soldiers and student protesters.

Madagascar: An uneasy runup to December elections


Tension is rising in Madagascar ahead of elections scheduled for December, after talks between the government and opposition fizzled out. In a bid to ease the political situation, President Marc Ravalomanana held talks with various parties last month, but the overture was boycotted by the main opposition coalition.

Nigeria: Democracy at the crossroads


Nigeria's presidential, legislative and gubernatorial elections scheduled for 2007 have the potential to be a huge milestone in the history and development of democracy in the country, as they will be the first time one administration reaches its constitutionally mandated term limit and must hand over to a successor, begins a document from the Centre for Democracy and Development. "But just as observers concur that the 2003 polls were in many places marred by fraud and violence, the 2007 polls also contain huge potential to go badly off-track; to become not a milestone in democratic consolidation, but instead one marked by malpractice, injustice, criminality, violence, human rights abuses and increased instability."

Nigeria: Nigeria's ruling party in split


Nigerian riot police in the capital Abuja have sealed the offices of a splinter group of the ruling PDP party, following a split on Friday 9 June. The division occurred as prominent party members opposed efforts to amend the constitution to allow the president a third term in office.

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai presents "roadmap to democracy" and ultimatum


Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, appears to have stepped back from launching a long-threatened anti-government protest against deteriorating living conditions. Addressing a press conference in the capital, Harare, Tsvangirai on Friday 9 June instead presented a "roadmap to legitimacy" - an ultimatum to the government.


Global: NGOs endorse accountability charter


The heads of 11 of the world’s leading human rights, environmental and social development international organisations have publicly endorsed the first global accountability charter for the non-profit sector. International NGOs play an increasingly influential role. Global public opinion surveys show higher trust in NGOs than in government and business.
* See for the full charter.

Liberia: Senior officials sacked following corruption probe


In the first high-profile sackings since President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf came to power and vowed to crack down on corruption, three senior government officials and five other mid-level employees have been fired. They were let go for what Sirleaf called “acts of impropriety.” She ordered government prosecutors to begin legal proceedings against them.

Nigeria: Nigeria asks G8 for good governance Bible


Nigeria called on G8 countries and international financial institutions on Saturday to work to create a unified code of good governance principles applicable to both developing and developed countries. G8 finance ministers meeting in St Petersburg on Saturday acknowledged in their joint communique the importance of responsible management of public finances for achieving stability and growth.

Zimbabwe: Tycoon Bredenkamp flees


A major financial supporter to the Mugabe regime, John Bredenkamp is reported to have fled Zimbabwe Tuesday morning after his companies were raided by the state. According to the state mouthpiece – The Herald Newspaper - the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate (NECI) raided Bredenkamp's companies to investigate cases linked to economic crimes. The tycoon was allegedly being probed on allegations of flouting exchange control regulations, tax evasion and contravening the Citizenship Act.


Africa: Debt relief target for world's poorest is massive underestimate


New research from nef (the new economics foundation), published on the day that the Paris club - the informal group of the world's creditor countries - meet to celebrate 50 years of rescheduling the debts of the world's poorest, shows that if the world's richest countries honoured their aid commitments for just five years, all unsustainable debt of the poorest could be written off to such a degree that the basic health and education needs of the world's poorest people could be met.

Africa: Migration as part of development policy


Migration policy issues have to be coherently examined as a part of development policy. The importance of the interoperability of migration and development policy is also emphasized in several political comments of the European Union (Hague Programme, Strategy for Africa). Functional development policy and development cooperation have a strong impact on problems causing migration.

Global: G8 notes new debt traps


Finance ministers from the Group of Eight nations on Saturday warned fast-growing economies against tempting poor countries into new debt traps and told them to coordinate with other lenders. China and Brazil have been singled out in the past as prime examples of countries that are handing out loans to some of the world's poorest countries, even as rich countries are cancelling debt they were owed.

Global: The World Bank, IMF and Growth


Nowadays a lot of economic jargon is flying around in the news media about internal management, external challenges and external conditions being imposed on poor and developing countries. Blame for economic underdevelopment is generally heaped upon poor governance, corruption and a host of other similar factors. The World Bank, IMF and other donor agencies seem to be the whipping boys for almost all the ills of developing country economies- alleged, perceived, or real.

Liberia: Liberia "not ready" for lift of timber, diamond sanctions


Two new reports looking into the exploitation of Liberia's strategic natural resources conclude that the government still is not in control of the resources. Ex-combatants grouped by former rebel leaders are still exploiting Liberian diamonds, timber and rubber, controlling entire regions.

Nigeria: Caution urged on debt repayment


A group, African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANE-EJ), has called on the National Assembly to reject a proposal sent by President Olusegun Obasanjo to settle London Club debt at the expense of key development challenges in Nigeria. The group said it condemned a letter dated May 24, 2006 which President Obasanjo sent to Senate President, Ken Nnamani, asking that the recent $12.12 billion as debt to the Paris Club of creditors should be followed up with $2.15 billion to the London Club.

Tanzania: Trade with China increases


Bilateral trade between China and Tanzania has increased by almost 70%, climaxing at US$47million last year. According to the secretary of bilateral trade at the Chinese Embassy in Dar es Salaam, imports by China from Tanzania went up by 150.1% valued at $17million while exports from China to Tanzania increased by 40.6% to $3 million. The increase is attributed to the special preferential tariff (SPT) agreement-involving 190 tariff items-to the most undeveloped countries in Africa.

Health & HIV/AIDS

Africa: Radical approach to AIDS prevention


Reduce malaria, worms and bilharzia, make border posts more efficient – and HIV rates will drop, argues a US expert. Malnutrition, malaria and bilharzia – coupled with weak governments – are some of the key factors driving the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa, according to US academic Professor Eileen Stillwaggon. Taking a swipe at those who try to blame sexual behaviour for the rampant HIV epidemic in southern Africa, she says that they are caught up in “exotic notions” about Africans.

Burundi: Free health care cripples hospitals


A new policy of free medical care for Burundian mothers and children was intended to improve their lives; instead it has crippled the nation's health system. Public hospitals in Burundi have recorded double, sometimes triple, the number of patients since a presidential directive for free paediatric and maternal health services was implemented on May 1.

Global: Oxfam criticises G8 on health


Oxfam last Friday released a report criticizing the Group of Eight industrialized nations for not providing enough aid to international development programs -including programs to fight HIV/AIDS - and for pulling money from aid budgets to cancel debt owed by developing countries, the AP/Yahoo! News reports. The report, released Friday ahead of this year's G8 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, says three global initiatives - the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Education Fast Track Initiative and the new UN Central Emergencies Response Fund - are "shockingly underfunded."

Kenya: State agency says dispensaries have vital drugs


Essential drugs are now available in public health institutions, even those in remote areas, a government agency has said. The Kenya Medical Supplies Agency chairman said it had stocked Kenya's 2,800 dispensaries and other health institutions with enough drugs and medical equipment. He said the agency was taking the drugs directly to the health institutions after doing away with an earlier system "since it is causing artificial shortages of drugs and it is time-consuming".

Namibia: Govt launches crash polio campaign after outbreak


Namibia is to launch a national polio vaccination campaign after the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed an outbreak of the highly contagious virus. So far seven deaths and 39 cases of the wild polio have been reported, Kalumbi Shangula, permanent secretary in the ministry of health, said on Thursday.

Tanzania: Zanzibar tightens import controls over bird flu threat


Authorities on Tanzania's semiautonomous island of Zanzibar have intensified efforts to control the importation of chicken in a bid to check the threat of bird flu on the island. The deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu has already been reported in several African countries. The poultry industry in Asia and a number of European countries has been ravaged by the disease, which has also claimed dozens of human lives.

Zimbabwe: Harare runs out of TB drugs


Public clinics and hospitals in Harare, are running out of desperately needed drugs to treat tuberculosis as a worsening hard-currency shortage hits state health facilities, it was reported on June 8. Overcrowding and poor hygiene have seen increasing cases of TB surfacing in Harare. The high incidence of HIV/Aids has also led to the spread of the highly infectious disease.


Africa: Are PRSPs changing education policy making?


Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), now operational in sixty least-developed countries, open access to debt relief and are the basis for concessional lending by international financial institutions. Most PRSPs stress education and refer to Education for All (EFA) objectives. However, the strategy and the financing required to achieve them are unspecified.

Africa: Broken promises and the 30th Anniversary of the Day of the African Child

Press release

Global Campaign for Education (GCE)


In Africa today over 40 million children are living with the consequences of broken promises - the promise of being able to go to school. Two thirds of all children in Africa will not complete five years of education. The world's leaders have made this promise time and time again. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Education for All Goals, the Millennium Development Goals and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child all endorse children's right to complete a basic education of good quality.

Kenya: The challenges for education policy review


The appointment by the then Minister for Education, Prof. George Saitoti, of a task force to review the laws governing education, training and research in the country, though belatedly, was a sign that education standards in this country will soon whirl forward. Kenyans look upon the commission with high expectations.

Rwanda: Thousands of genocide survivors now out of schools


Thousands of genocide survivors, whose school fees should be paid by a solidarity fund, no longer attend school and live in difficult conditions, said six members of the Rwandan Parliament in a report published last week by the New Times.

South Africa: Curbing the blackboard exodus


The teacher shortage in SA will reach crisis point by 2008 unless drastic steps are taken to increase the number entering the profession. By 2008, SA will be short of 15,090 educators, according to a study by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). That is with the current learner-to-educator ratios of 40:1 for primary and 35:1 for secondary schools.
Related Link:
* South African Human Rights Commission report on the Right to Basic Education

Racism & xenophobia

Global: Fifa to use World Cup to fight racism


Soccer has struggled for years to rid itself of racism. For this World Cup the governing body of the world's sport is making harmony a central theme. "Football, like most sports, is combative - you play to win. But it shouldn't have anything to do with racism or violence," said Federico Addiechi, head of a Fifa division which deals with corporate social responsibility.

South Africa: Deputy Major plans legal action for racism


Stilbaai deputy mayor Lorna Scott, victim of a string of racist attacks, says she is planning to take "legal action" over the harassment. Speaking at a media briefing in Cape Town with members of the African National Congress' Western Cape executive, she said this could include a defamation action against provincial Democratic Alliance leader Theuns Botha for what she said where "attacks on my character".

South Africa: Post-colonial blacks


"There is a tendency by those who write books and essays for leading journals to downplay the seriousness of today's racial oppression in South Africa," writes Mandisa Majuva in an article posted on "This is achieved through silence around issues of race (or by portraying whites as being the new victims of racism meted out by blacks in the new South Africa) or by choosing to explain reality in terms of economics only."

UK: Muslims protest over terror raid


Muslims have protested outside Scotland Yard against the tactics used by police in an anti-terror raid in east London. Islamic Human Rights Commission chairman Massoud Shajareh told BBC News: "The papers were talking about [how] they became very Islamic in the last few years, as if that is automatically connected to terrorist activity."


Africa: Africa heads of state commit to fertilizer reforms


Heads of state and governments from more than 40 African nations have agreed to lift all cross-border taxes and tariffs on fertilizer, designating mineral and organic fertilizer as a "strategic commodity." They also agreed to establish an African fertilizer financing mechanism within the African Development Bank to significantly increase the availability and access to fertilizer on the continent.

Ghana: Harvesting submerged timber


A Canadian company conceived on the principles of corporate responsibility plans to harvest underwater forests. Clark Sustainable Resource Developments is a new venture that plans to secure and operate licences to harvest underwater forests, beginning on Lake Volta, the world's largest reservoir, in Ghana.

Global: Facts about deserts and desertification


Desertification is found to some degree on 30 per cent of irrigated lands, 47 per cent of rain-fed agricultural lands, and 73 per cent of rangelands. Annually, an estimated 1.5 to 2.5 million hectares of irrigated land, 3.5 to 4 million hectares of rain-fed agricultural land, and about 35 million hectares of rangeland lose all or part of their productivity due to land degradation.

Liberia: Timber dealer convicted


The Dutch timber merchant Guus van Kouwenhoven has been sentenced to eight years in prison for breaking a United Nations arms embargo on Liberia. A Dutch court found that Kouwenhoven had sold weapons to the former Liberian president Charles Taylor in return for timber rights. But he was acquitted of war crimes charges based on allegations that private militias formed by his two timber companies had carried out atrocities.

Malawi: Uncertain future for Malawi's forests


Findings of a recent forest assessment in Malawi show "increasing deforestation rates and unsustainable exploitation of non-timber forestry products" in the country's protected areas. The report indicates that Malawi's valuable national parks soon could be degraded entirely.

Land & land rights

Africa: Land rights for African development


Land and land resources in Africa are increasingly governed by modern tenure systems and less by customary systems. Unfortunately, changing land use and land ownership patterns have not always been accompanied by appropriate reforms in policies, laws, and institutions. Africa must ensure that the current wave of land reform initiatives help to establish needed changes in land rights as well as legal and institutional frameworks.

East Africa: Why ignoring minorities is dangerous!


Despite claims that the world has entered a new era of human rights and democratic representation, minorities continue to be an endangered lot whenever dominant neighbouring peoples have expanded their territories or settlers from far away have acquired new lands by force

Ethiopia: Ethnic conflict claims 100 lives in the south


At least 100 people have died and thousands of others have been displaced during clashes over disputed land in southern Ethiopia during the past two weeks, humanitarian sources said. "The conflict started after the Guji, whose woreda [district] has recently been expanded by the government, started to claim land that previously belonged to Borena."

Rwanda: Driven out of the Forest to 'Save' Gorillas


The Batwa once inhabited the forests of the Virunga Mountains, but by the 1970s, after legislation outlawed hunting and gathering and introduced national parks, the Batwa communities were driven off their ancestral lands. Today, there are about 130 Batwa families living in this area. Most have become beggars or landless labourers working for their Hutu and Tutsi neighbours for less than $1 a day.

Southern Africa: Land reform influenced by IMF, prof claims


Land reforms in Southern Africa are heavily influenced by the IMF and World Bank rhetoric, University of Malawi researcher and lecturer Professor Wiseman Chijere Chirwa has said. "Our research on land shows that land reforms have no serious analysis of the prospects of the poor," Prof Chirwa said. "We have done so many researches in this area but we don't see proper prospects of the poor."

Zambia: A look at land dispute in Zambia


A tiny southern Zambian village has become the focal point of a conflict which pits the poor against a corporation backed by a government determined to roll out economic liberalisation across the country. Over 100 families and 17,000 cattle in the village of Kabanje face eviction from their homes and cattle sheds because Zambia Sugar Plc, a private firm, is claiming ownership of the land.

Media & freedom of expression

Africa: Freedom of expression network issues statement


On June 12 to 13, 2006, the Coordinating Group of the Network of African Freedom of Expression Organizations (NAFEO) met in Lagos to deliberate on:
- media freedom and freedom of expression in Africa
- ways of strengthening organizations working for media freedom and freedom of expression;
strategies and programmes for defending and promoting press freedom and freedom of expression in Africa; and
- plans for strengthening the NAFEO, and developing action plans for interventions to promote the network objectives in the next one year.

DRC: Journalists attacked in elections run-up


As the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) prepares to hold its first elections in more than 40 years on 30 July 2006, Journaliste en danger (JED), Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) are warning that a spate of attacks against journalists and human rights activists in recent weeks could foster a climate of self-censorship in the media and deprive voters of important information.

South Africa: SABC was concerned about being sued over Mbeki film


Concerns about possible legal action resulted in the SABC's decision not to air a documentary about President Thabo Mbeki, according to Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, writes Wendy Jasson da Costa in The Star, as posted on In a written response to questions by DA MP Dene Smuts, the minister denied that the SABC board or any of its members had stopped the "production" of the documentary.

Swaziland: Court denies ban request on media coverage


Acting Chief Justice Jacobus Annandale said the right of the public to information could not be undermined at the behest of an individual. He was referring to the alleged serial killer, David Simelane, who applied for a ban on media coverage of the case. Annandale said the right to freedom of the media and the public's right to receive information were enshrined in the country's constitution

The Gambia: "Independent" reporter Lamin Fatty released on bail


A court in the Gambia freed a reporter on bail this week, more than two months after he was detained by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), local sources told the Committee to Protect Journalists. Lamin Fatty of the Banjul-based The Independent will go on trial June 22 on charges of publishing "false news," they said.

Uganda: Journalists on trial for "promoting sectarianism"


The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply troubled that two journalists are to go on trial in Uganda, charged with "promoting sectarianism" in an article criticizing government persecution of opposition leader Kizza Besigye. Editor James Tumusiime and reporter Semujju Ibrahim Nganda of the independent Weekly Observer face up to five years in jail if convicted.

News from the diaspora

Africa: From brain drain to brain circulation


In the 1960s and 1970s, the flow of scientists, engineers and medical personnel from developing to industrialised nations was thought to have almost entirely negative consequences for the source countries. Recently, there has been growing emphasis on reverse flows of knowledge, skills and money the migrants send home. What was once termed brain drain is now seen as brain circulation.

Kenya: It's a case of two African diasporas


It has become increasingly clear that there are indeed two African Diasporas: the Historical and the New, and the differences between the two have implications far beyond academics. The composition of the two Diasporas is not homogeneous and their ability and inclination to engage in continental Africa are not the same.

Conflict & emergencies

Africa: Examining the economic impact of peacekeeping


There is a need for greater consciousness within UN peacekeeping operations of the potential economic impact of deployment and missions need to be adapted to the war-torn economies where UN peacekeeping missions are deployed, says a new report.

CAR: Silent crisis in northwest lingers


What started as a seemingly insignificant skirmish between the army and antigovernment forces in Ouham Prefecture of northwestern Central African Republic (CAR) has spurred a humanitarian crisis in which almost 100,000 people have been displaced.

Chad: As army pursues rebels, militias fill vacuum


The stench of rotting corpses becomes unbearable. Locals say 75 of their men are buried in shallow graves in this glade on the village's outskirts, killed they say by men on horses, and by their own neighbours. The bodies were hastily buried in mid-May, days after a rag-tag group of men armed with guns, spears, and machetes overran the village in a dawn attack.

Somalia: Regional body imposes sanctions against "warlords"


East African states have agreed to isolate leaders of armed factions in Somalia by imposing a regional travel ban on them and freezing their assets in a bid to help the nation's fledgling transitional federal government restore stability. Kenya took the lead last week, imposing sanctions against Somalia's so-called "warlords" after they and their militia were driven out of Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, by forces loyal to the city's Islamic courts.

Somalia: Somali division over peacekeepers


Somalia's interim parliament is meeting in Baidoa to discuss whether to ask the African Union to send foreign peacekeeping troops into Mogadishu. But the head of the Islamist militia controlling Mogadishu, Sharif Shaikh Ahmed, has rejected any deployment.

Sudan: Rebel splinter faction commit to Darfur peace deal


Factions from two Sudanese rebel groups that had refused to sign the Darfur Peace Agreement signed a declaration of commitment to the pact on Thursday, effectively pledging to abide by its terms. The main wing of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A), led by Minni Minnawi, and the Sudanese government signed the African Union- brokered agreement on 5 May, but breakaway factions of the rebellion refused to sign it, prompting the international community to set a deadline of 31 May.

Uganda: Prospects for peace talks with the LRA uncertain


Efforts by authorities in southern Sudan to mediate in the conflict between the Ugandan government and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) appeared to be stalling at the weekend after Kampala refused to meet the insurgency's leadership because it had been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes.

West Africa: Children in danger - Stop the violence


Africa’s prospects for attaining peace risk being undermined unless action is taken to reel in the horrific violence inflicted on the continent’s children, according to the UN children’s agency, UNICEF. Friday 16th June is the Day of the African Child. It marks the 1976 shooting of school children protesting apartheid in the South African township of Soweto. Three decades on, that anniversary is being used to draw attention to the continued violence suffered by children in Africa.

Internet & technology

Africa: Continent connects to internet


East African countries are leading Africa in the growth of Internet penetration. Tanzania has had a 150% increase in users in the past year while Kenya has increased by 200%, with the number of users having reached 1.5 million. African Internet penetration overall is 4%, up from 2.6% in 2005.

Africa: Microsoft selling hobbled software to poor countries

2006-06-14 reports that: "Surprisingly, no-one seems to have told Microsoft that it is not good marketing strategy to treat your customers as if they are stupid. Which is exactly what the company is doing with the release in Africa of the stripped-down operating system it calls Windows XP Starter Edition."

Global: South Africa pupils interact via laptop linkup


Almost 30 years have passed since the Soweto uprising on 16 June 1976, that defining day in South Africa's history when thousands of black students rebelled against apartheid. To commemorate the anniversary, pupils at Phefeni Secondary School in Soweto, South Africa and Hesketh Fletcher CofE High School in Wigan, UK shared the school day via a LIVE laptop link-up.

Rwanda: To house Eastern Africa cable project


Rwanda has been selected to house the headquarters of the multi-million dollar Eastern Africa Submarine Cable Project (EASSy). The project, which has of recent been dogged by controversy over its ownership, has a membership of 23 countries in the region. The EASSy cable system is a 9900km project expected to run from Durban, South Africa to Djibouti and is supported by the African Development Bank, the World Bank and telecommunications operators.

Uganda: Bwindi telecentre brings MDGs fulfillment in focus


Located at the Congo-Uganda border 500 kilometres south west of Kampala, the Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) Bwindi Impenetrable National Park telecentre - a combination of conservation and technology, is making a whole lot of a difference to the endangered mountain gorillas, eco-tourists, tourist stakeholders and locals who live in and around the park. The telecentre has been nominated as one of the 14 finalists in the "environment" category in the world's best Information and Communication Technology (ICT) projects that competed in the Stockholm Challenge 2006.

eNewsletters & mailing lists

Africa: Chimurenga online


CHIMURENGA is an advertising-free and self-funded quarterly of arts.cultures.politics from Africa for Africa. Visit the website to find out more and to subscribe.

Fundraising & useful resources

Africa: Call for comments


The United Nations Non-Governmental Liason Service is calling for comments on the Secretary-General’s Report on International Migration and Development. Visit the website for more information.

Africa: Call for Nominations of African Women of Distinction


This is a call for nominations for inclusion in the book and video documentary, "African Women of Distinction" (working title) to exhibit in Africa and the US in December, 2006. The African Women of Distinction project profiles the stories and work of twenty women in Africa who embody the essence of leadership, determination, and innovation in addressing social, economic and political issues at local, national, and international levels. This is the first of several editions of this project.

Global: Civil society anti-corruption toolkit


The Corruption Fighters' Tool Kit is a compendium of practical civil society anti-corruption experiences described in concrete and accessible language. It presents innovative anti-corruption tools developed and implemented by TI National Chapters and other civil society organizations from around the world.

Global: Funders network on trade and globalisation


The mission of the Funders Network on Trade and Globalization is to support foundations and other members of the funding community in their efforts to promote global relations, policies and institutions that foster environmentally sustainable, human-centered and just economic development in the US and around the world.

Global: The International Journalists' Network


The International Journalists' Network (IJNet) is the world’s premier resource for the media assistance community. It is an online service for journalists, media managers, media assistance professionals, journalism trainers and educators, or anyone else with an interest in news media around the world.

Courses, seminars, & workshops

Africa: Course on International Financial Institutions (IFI) Macroeconomic Issues


AFRODAD has designed a “Macroeconomic Training course” for civil society organizations in the economic and social justice movement and is inviting applications from interested persons to participate in this week-long exercise. The course will be covered under four different modules whose outline will be sent to candidates expressing interest.

South Africa: Public participation and the APRM - Consultation or co-optation?


The Centre for Public Participation (CPP) would like to invite you to a public dialogue to discuss issues around: Regional Governance and public participation. In the context of South Africa's peer review process in terms of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), and the preparation of the final report due to be presented in July 2006, the public dialogue will attempt to critically discuss the nature of civil society participation in the review process.

South Africa: Workshop on the World Social Forum


A workshop on the World Social Forum ahead of the Nairobi hosting of the WSF in January 2007 will debate how this annual gathering of progressives best generates collective, global-scale, national and local social change.

The Gambia: Civil society engagement in the Gambia


The Civil Society engagement in the Gambia will deliberate on issues affecting Africa's development. The forum will focus on three thematic workshops namely; African integration, Governance, Poverty and Development. These thematic groups will feature issues on Economic Integration, Trade, WTO Processes, EPAs, Debt and Aid, Local Government Reforms and Decentralisation, Political Participation and Development, Youth and Unemployment, Youth and Migration, Youth and HIV/AIDS, Armed Conflict, MDGs and APRM. GCAP Coalition in the Gambia in collaboration with African Youth Coalition against Hunger and delegates from Senegal will be organizing the African youth campaign against EPAs. This is expected to attract a lot of interest and discussions. A communiqué will be submitted to AU Head of States as Civil Society contribution to Banjul Summit. The forum will facilitate interaction among civil society networks and organisations in their quest for a better Africa. The workshops will start on the 19th June, 2006, before the official opening of the AU Summit in the Banjul, The Gambia. Contact Baturu Mboge on [email protected] or [email protected] for more information.

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