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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.

The Inagural 2016 Pan African Colloquium, Barbados

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Back Issues

Pambazuka News 445: Clinton, Africa and US corporate interests

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

Pambazuka News (English edition): ISSN 1753-6839

CONTENTS: 1. Features, 2. Announcements, 3. Comment & analysis, 4. Advocacy & campaigns, 5. Pan-African Postcard, 6. Books & arts, 7. African Writers’ Corner, 8. Emerging powers in Africa Watch, 9. Zimbabwe update, 10. Women & gender, 11. Human rights, 12. Refugees & forced migration, 13. Emerging powers news, 14. Elections & governance, 15. Corruption, 16. Development, 17. Health & HIV/AIDS, 18. LGBTI, 19. Environment, 20. Land & land rights, 21. Food Justice, 22. Media & freedom of expression, 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

This week's issue of Pambazuka News (445) will be our last until 3 September, as we are closing for a short break over the month of August. We still very much welcome article submissions during this period, but ask prospective contributors to be patient with us, as you may not receive a response from the editorial team until after 31 August.

- Firoze Manji comments on Hilary Clinton's African tour
- Steve Ouma Akoth on what they don't tell you about AGOA
- Wangari Maathai on why you shouldn't be fooled by the Kenyan TJRC
- Chidi Anselm Odinkalu asks how to save international justice in Africa
- Nikolaj Nielsen on why the Sahrawi are still waiting for a referendum
- Patrice Lumumbas's poem, Dawn in the heart of Africa
- William Gumede says sexist leaders are damaging the women’s rights agenda
- John Quigley on the perils of prosecuting international crimes
- Merrill Smith speaks out against refugee warehousing
- Agustín Velloso on Equatorial Guinea's thirty years with Obiang
- Gerald Caplan on Abousfian Abdelrazik's battle to get off the UN's blacklist
- Grace Puliyel says countries can gain from brain drain

- Memorable quotations from Mwalimu Nyerere
- Chambi Chachage on Tanzania's tale of two governments
- Paul Mwangi Maina says social networks are a double-edged sword

- Khadija Sharife on pirate bankers and shadow economies
- Ama Biney on the return of a stolen king's head to Ghana

- Addressing violence and discrimination against women and girls is urgent
- End repressive laws targeting women in Sudan

- Simbarashe Mashiri reviews Stanley Makuwe's new play.

- A short story by Karest Lewela

- Lucy Corkin looks at the latest developments in the Macau HubANNOUNCEMENTS: Pambazuka annual break: 10-31 August
ZIMBABWE UPDATE: Student leaders detained in fees protest
WOMEN & GENDER: Kenyan students to undergo pregnancy tests
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: Military amnesty begins in Nigeria
HUMAN RIGHTS: Tanzania albino group worried about stalled cases
REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: Thousands displaced in latest DRC attacks
EMERGING POWERS NEWS: Confucianism at large in Africa
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: Malagasy leaders in crisis talks
CORRUPTION: Former US congressman convicted for corruption in African deals
HEALTH & HIV/AIDS: Saving Namibia’s HIV babies
DEVELOPMENT: Human Development Report 2009
LGBTI: Outspoken activists defend Africa’s sexual diversity
ENVIRONMENT: Fears for forest as Cameroon dam construction begins
LAND & LAND RIGHTS: Botswana frees hunting Bushmen
FOOD JUSTICE: People’s Food Sovereignty Forum 2009
MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: Six Gambian journalists jailed
INTERNET& TECHNOLOGY: More East African countries to benefit from broadband
ENEWSLETTERS & MAILING LISTS: AfricaFocus Bulletin: Kenya: Government of Impunity?
PLUS: seminars and workshops, and jobs

*Pambazuka News now has a page, where you can view the various websites that we visit to keep our fingers on the pulse of Africa! Visit


Clinton in Africa: Promoting US corporate interests

Firoze Manji


cc Marc N
International media attention is focused this week on the visit of the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, to seven countries in Africa. But what is the significance of Clinton’s visit? Does it really hold out hope for Africa? There are three dimensions to this visit: AGOA, oil and natural resource exploitation, and security. And in each case, it is US corporate interests, not the interests of Africans, that are being pushed, argues Firoze Manji from Pambazuka News.

What they don't tell you about AGOA

Tackling taboos around the African Growth and Opportunity Act

Steve Ouma Akoth


cc LBL
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a US policy to encourage the formation of economic ties with countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, sounds generous on paper, writes Steve Ouma Akoth. But a closer look at the situation on the ground in Kenya raises questions about who will really benefit from AGOA, Akoth tells Pambazuka News.

Impunity is a way of life

Don't be fooled by the Kenyan TJRC

Wangari Maathai


cc Tom Maruko
Don’t be fooled by the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission, Wangari Maathai writes in Pambazuka News, its purpose is simply to ‘facilitate impunity, hoodwink and massage the victims and yet again, sweep the crimes under the carpet’. Impunity in Kenya started with the explorers and early settlers who demonstrated no respect for the rule of law of the people they encountered, says Maathai, and given that no leader since ‘has ever been made to account for crimes they commit against the state’, there’s little incentive for things to change now.

Saving international justice in Africa

Chidi Anselm Odinkalu


Many Africans supported the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) because we believed it would help us end high-level impunity for mass atrocities and ‘enable us to attain the best we are capable of,’ Chidi Anselm Odinkalu tells Pambazuka News. But just five years after the ICC received its first case from Uganda, victims of ‘bad government’ across the continent are no longer sure the court can help them secure justice.

The Sahrawi: Seeking solace in a dream

After 34 years of promises, Western Sahara is still waiting for independence from Morocco

Nikolaj Nielsen


cc Saharauiak
‘Comfort and complacency’ have replaced ‘international law and rigour’ at Minurso, a UN mission set up in 1991 to oversee a referendum for the self-determination of the Sahrawi, Nikolaj Nielsen tells Pambazuka News. With the political will of the UN Security Council to push forward the referendum weakened by economic interests, says Nielsen, the Sahrawi are steadily losing patience with relying on international laws and human rights protocols in their struggle for independence.

Dawn in the heart of Africa

Patrice Emery Lumumba


cc Wikimedia
Pambazuka News brings you a poem by Patrice Lumumba (1925-1961), one of the first generation of African nationalists who were both militant and strong pan-Africanists. Patrice Lumumba was elected the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Assassinated by Belgian colonialists and the CIA, Lumumba was a founder member of the Movement National Congolais (MNC), which led the Congo to independence. The image of Patrice Lumumba continues to serve as an inspiration in contemporary Congolese and African politics.

Sexist leaders damage women’s rights agenda

Respect for women’s rights in patriarchal South Africa falls short of constitutional commitments

William Gumede


cc Kudumomo
There is ‘a deep gulf between the call for women’s equality in South Africa’s model constitution and society’s predominantly archaic public attitudes towards women,’ William Gumede writes in Pambazuka News, with sexist views from leaders providing ‘a cloak of legitimacy’ for gender-based violence. If the country’s Gender Equality Commission is to succeed in its constitutional mandate to monitor whether the policy of gender equality is implemented, it must challenge prejudiced political leaders head on instead deferring to them, Gumede argues.

The perils of prosecuting international crimes

Audio interview with John Quigley

Riaz Tayob


cc Castielli
Amid growing unease among many African states about the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) ‘discretionary’ and ‘selective’ application of international criminal law, Ohio University’s Professor John Quigley speaks to Riaz Tayob [mp3] for Pambazuka News, about legal issues that may arise from the prosecution of international crimes.

Speaking out on refugee warehousing

An interview with Merrill Smith



As part of a global campaign to end the ‘warehousing’ of refugees, Merrill Smith, director of government relations and international advocacy for the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, speaks to KANERE (Kakuma News Reflector) about the UNHCR’s position on the practice, the campaign’s most significant successes so far, and the role of a free refugee press in ending warehousing.

Equatorial Guinea and thirty years with Obiang

Agustín Velloso


cc Wikimedia
August 2009 marks the 30th anniversary of Teodoro Obiang Nguema’s coup d’état against Macias Nguema, but it is not an occasion that many in Equatorial Guinea will be celebrating, writes Agustín Velloso. Yet for all his unpopularity, Obiang has won election after election with more than 95 per cent of the vote. Velloso shares with Pambazuka News Obiang’s strategy for playing ‘the democratic game’ in front of the international community.

Abdelrazik's next challenge

Canada won’t back his removal from UN terrorism blacklist

Gerald Caplan


cc M Knight
Abousfian Abdelrazik, cleared of accusations of having ties to al-Qaeda, has returned home to Canada after spending six years in a Sudanese prison, Gerald Caplan tells Pambazuka News. But Abdelrazik’s ordeal is not over, says Caplan, with his name placed on the ‘1267’, a United Nations terrorist blacklist that imposes a total asset freeze on anyone on it. The Canadian government has told him he must get himself off the list, but without their help, this is impossible.

How to gain from brain drain

Grace Puliyel


The emigration of skilled South-Asian professionals may have contributed to brain drain in Kenya, Grace Puliyel tells Pambazuka News, but it is also bringing with it a form of brain gain through financial remittances and access to wider knowledge networks, as many migrants choose to retain ties with the country. It’s a balance governments need to fully understand, says Puliyel, if they want to make the most of the benefits migration offers, while minimising its negative impacts.


Pambazuka annual break: 10-31 August


This week's issue of Pambazuka News (445) will be our last until 3 September, as we are closing for a short break over the month of August. We still very much welcome article submissions during this period, but ask prospective contributors to be patient with us, as you may not receive a response from the editorial team until after 31 August.

Comment & analysis

To stay silent would be a disgrace

Mwalimu Nyerere


cc Wikimedia
Pambazuka News presents a selection of memorable quotations by the late Mwalimu Nyerere, on the topics of Palestine, imperialism and racialism, good governance and life lessons. This material previously appeared in CHEMCHEMI, Bulletin of the Mwalimu Nyerere Professorial Chair in Pan African Studies of the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Tanzania: A tale of two governments

Chambi Chachage


cc Wikimedia
If you want to put Tanzania’s Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda on the spot, Chambi Chachage tells Pambazuka News, just mention ‘the Zanzibar question’ – whether or not Zanzibar should retain its own separate government. Pinda recently sparked national debate by suggesting that Zanzibar is not a country, when he said that he would like to see Tanzania ‘run by a single government instead of two’. If we don’t ‘take the bull by its horns’ and resolve the Union issue once and for all, says Chachage, it will surely ‘explode’.

Social networks are a double-edged sword

Paul Mwangi Maina


cc I C
As social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace and twitter make freedom of speech a reality across the world, Paul Mwangi Maina considers the potential impacts – both positive and negative – of social media tools and citizen journalism on participation in democracy in Africa and beyond.

Advocacy & campaigns

Addressing violence and discrimination against women and girls is urgent

OMCT and Media Rights Agenda


On the occasion of African Women’s Day, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and Media Rights Agenda wish to draw the attention of the Nigerian authorities to the urgent need to address the situation of women and girls victims of gender-based violence and discrimination, in particular sexual abuse.

End repressive laws targeting women in Sudan

Statement by Sudanese women activists


Despite Sudan being a signatory to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, its discriminatory laws against women contradict the declared government commitment to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed on 9 January 2005 and the National Interim Constitution. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) - which Sudan acceded in 1986 - prohibits torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment such as flogging and protects women's rights to be free from discrimination based on sex.

Pan-African Postcard

Pirate bankers, shadow economies

Khadija Sharife


‘In Africa, political power is often used as a “get out of jail free” card, immunising the venal political elite through various mechanisms,’ Khadija Sharife tells Pambazuka News. But, says Sharife, while corruption may be ‘rampant’ in Africa, this is ‘only half the story’: Corrupt government leaders get away with graft much more easily and more frequently, thanks to international financial enablers, based in ‘transparent’ locations from London to New York. The key to addressing corruption, Sharife suggests, is to scrutinise unchecked and unregulated shadow economies 'in developed and developing countries alike'.

Return of stolen king's head to Ghana

It is time for us to reclaim with dignity that which belongs to us

Ama Biney


The preserved head of King Badu Bonsu II has been returned to the Ghana by the Netherlands, 170 years after the Ahanta chief was hanged for ordering the murder of two Dutch emissaries, Ama Biney tells Pambazuka News. The return of the head is not just of cultural importance for the Ahanta people, says Biney, it’s also a significant step in ‘setting right colonial wrongs’.

Books & arts

Dictator ends his life on stage

Simbarashe Mashiri


Simbarashe Mashiri reviews a recent performance of His Excellency is in Love, a play by New Zealand-based Zimbabwean writer Stanley Makuwe.

African Writers’ Corner

Trusting foolishly

A short story

Karest Lewela


‘The other day, as my drowsiness took charge, I heard the nurses whispering. They said how sad it was that I ended up this way. I don’t think it is sad. I think it is sad they think it is sad though. They said I used to be a lawyer – imagine that! Me! A lawyer! I told you I was bright. They mentioned about a generous pardon I had received from the Head of State (HoS). They also said I was very lucky, for I ought to have been sent to the gallows.’

Emerging powers in Africa Watch

The Macau Forum Quarterly

Lucy Corkin


In the third quarterly report on the Macau Forum, Lucy Corkin provides a roundup of the latest political and economic developments in the countries that constitute the Macau Hub. From the recent appointment of a new chief executive in Macau to the Bank of China using Macau as a platform to promote greater ties between China and the Portuguese speaking countries in Africa and Brazil, Corkin astutely explores the interconnectedness between these issues.

Zimbabwe update

Mutambara says MDC has no control in unity government


Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara on Wednesday said the two MDC formations have no power to stop continued abuses of power by ZANU PF, and said the parties have no control in the unity government. Mutambara, who was speaking at a Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) congress on Wednesday, said the MDC’s efforts to influence positive change in Zimbabwe were being frustrated by ZANU PF loyalists fervently opposed to the coalition with the MDC.

Student leaders detained in fees protest


Police have arrested four student leaders after a foiled protest at Zimbabwe's main university over new tuition fees, a human rights group said Thursday. "Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) confirm the arrest and detention of four representatives of the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) at the University of Zimbabwe," the group said in a statement.

Student leaders still in custody


Ten students who were arrested during a meeting at the University of Zimbabwe on Wednesday have been released without charge, but the police are still holding four representatives from the Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (ZINASU). The four, including ZINASU President, Clever Bere and General Councillor Archieford Mudzengi are accused of ‘participating in a gathering, with intent to promote public violence and breach of peace.’

Women & gender

Global: UNSC: Create senior post on women and war


The UN Security Council should urgently establish a high-level post to fill a leadership gap relating to women and armed conflict, Human Rights Watch has said. A special representative of the secretary-general assigned to this issue would be able to push for protection against sexual violence and to promote equal participation by women in peace talks. The Security Council is to hold a discussion on the issue of women, peace, and security.

Kenya: Students to undergo pregnancy tests


Kenyan female students will now have to undergo pregnancy tests at least once a term if the new guideline launched by the Public Health and Education Ministers - Beth Mugo and Prof Sam Ongeri - are implemented. The Guideline was launched amid rising number of pregnancy related school dropouts. The test is supposed to be voluntary, the guideline said.

Kenya: Study accuses health practitioners of carrying out FGM


Health care practitioners are now performing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in a process known as medicalization, which tends to reinforce and legitimize FGM, hence hindering the global effort towards its abandonment, a recent study claims. The joint research study by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nations Children's Fund {UNICEF} has however elicited diverse reactions from Kenyan medical professionals, with some stating that they were yet to catch any medical personnel carrying out FGM.

Southern Africa: Glass ceilings

Women and men in Southern African media


Women are underrepresented in Southern Africa media houses; they hit the ‘glass ceiling’ at senior management and their representation wanes in top decision-making positions. Media women are more likely to be assigned to “soft beats”; to be on non-permanent contracts and to earn less, on average, than men. These are just but some of the findings of the Glass Ceilings: Women and men in Southern African media.

Human rights

Africa: The search for lasting solutions to a deadly trade


Since the global financial crisis hit the mining industry, a dramatic decline in the demand for commodities and the closure of certain operations have seen an increase in the illegal mining trade in Africa. Angola’s law enforcement authorities have reported that more than 6 000 foreign nationals, who were caught illegally digging for diamonds in the country’s north-eastern region of Lunda Norte, have been deported since the beginning of 2009.

Kenya: 4,000 on death row get life


More than 4,000 prisoners facing execution in Kenya had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment on Monday in the largest commutation in history, news sources reported. There have been no executions carried out in Kenya for 22 years. In a statement broadcast on the state-owned radio Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, President Mwai Kibaki said that an “extended stay on death row causes undue mental anguish and suffering, psychological trauma, anxiety, while it may as well constitute inhuman treatment.”

Tanzania: Albino group worried about stalled cases


A Canada-based rights group has questioned Tanzania's commitment to stop albino murders after courts in the northwest of the African country suspended cases against suspected killers due to lack of funds. At least 53 Tanzanian albinos have been murdered since 2007, with most of the killings taking place in the remote northwest regions of Shinyanga and Mwanza, where superstition runs deep.

Zimbabwe: Military sustains grip on diamond fields


Zimbabwe has failed to remove its armed forces from the diamond fields in Marange and to end related human rights abuses there, Human Rights Watch has said. As a result, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) should suspend Zimbabwe immediately. The KPCS, an international group governing the global diamond industry, sent a review mission to Marange in late June 2009 to assess Zimbabwe's compliance with the group's standards, which require diamonds to be lawfully mined, documented, and exported by participant countries.

Refugees & forced migration

DRC: Thousands of displaced in latest attacks by Ugandan rebel group


Some 12,500 people in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been uprooted from their homes in the past month by attacks by the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the United Nations refugee agency has reported. “The humanitarian situation in this remote part of the DRC remains dramatic,” Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva.

Kenya: Urgent aid needed for overcrowded refugee camp


The United Nations refugee chief has appealed for a massive injection of funds to help residents in Kenya’s sprawling and overcrowded Dadaab complex, which he described as “the most difficult camp situation in the world.” Located some 90 kilometres from the border with Somalia, the three camps at Dadaab were built to house 90,000 people but today are home to more than three times that number, mostly Somalis.

Emerging powers news

Africa needs to ‘play smart’ in trade with Asia


Africa's success in avoiding the worst of the economic crisis that has swept the industrialised world has been due in large part to the remarkable growth of trade and investment with China, India, Brazil and other “emerging” developing countries.

Africa: Africa seeks partnership not patronage - African Presidents


Four African Heads of State have drawn the attention of President Barack Obama's Administration to the fact that Africa as a continent was seeking partnership and not patronage. A release from the World Bank Office in Accra on Wednesday said President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia; President Paul Kagame of Rwanda; President Seretse Khama Ian Khama of Botswana and President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal said this in a joint statement.

Company news and analysis


In company news and analysis, FirstRand partners China Construction Bank in Africa, and the contracted Chinese firm will replace faulty SAT-1 at no extra cost to Nigeria.

Confucianism at large in Africa


China has in recent years taken great pains to show the world that it is a well-rounded emerging power with a complete strategy for engagement in places like Africa. Its Confucius institutes are an interesting feature in this show of sophistication.

Cooperation, visits and exchanges


In this week's news on cooperation, visits and exchanges, Chinese special envoy visits Senegal, Nigeria's commerce minister set to visit India, and Liberia cooperates with China to improve its law system.

No place in BRIC for Russia’s economic mess


Lack of structural reforms in the domestic economy puts Russia in an awkward position in the BRIC alliance.

Tensions and rivalries on the continent


This week, Namibia plans to expand its inquiry on China, the U.S. gets nervous about China's growing footprint across Africa, and China opposes the arrest of LRA leader Kony.

Trade, investment and development news


In this week's roundup of trade, investment and development news, a Delhi firm wins $100 mn Ethiopian sugar factory contract, China funds US$1.2 billion project for revival of agriculture in Angola by 2012, and South Africa's wool exports to China are set to hit a new record.

Elections & governance

Kenya: Impunity 'disappoints US'


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has described as disappointing Kenya's failure to investigate a bout of deadly violence after the 2007 election. Speaking in Nairobi on the first day of her African tour, Mrs Clinton urged the Kenyan authorities to end impunity. At least 1,300 people were killed in two months of violence, but the cabinet has resisted calls for a tribunal.

Madagascar: Malagasy leaders in crisis talks


Madagascar's army-backed leader is in Mozambique for emergency talks with three of his predecessors. The Indian Ocean island has been in a state of crisis since Andry Rajoelina forced the elected president, Marc Ravalomanana, to flee in March. The African Union called the takeover a coup and foreign aid has been frozen.

Mauritania: New president takes the oath


Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who was elected in the first ballot of Mauritania's 18 July presidential election on with 52.47% of the votes, on Wednesday took the oath before the Constitutional Court at the Olympic Complex Office in Nouakchott. Senegalese and Malian presidents, Abdoulaye Wade and Amadou Toumani Toure respectively, representatives from several countries and international organisations, the country's acting president, Ba Mamadou, officials from the government, the Senate and the Islamic High Council (HCI), attended the ceremony.

Niger: President claims victory


Niger's President Mamadou Tandja, 71, is claiming victory in a referendum he called to change the constitution and run for a third term in office. Correspondents in the capital, Niamey, say giant posters have gone up in the city bearing a message of thanks to voters from Mr Tandja.

West Africa: Public forum held on Niger


Human rights activists and journalists in Ghana on August 3, 2009 converged at the Ghana International Press Centre in Accra for a public forum to expose the Ghanaian public to the political situation in Niger which has brought in its wake dire consequences for democratic institutions in the country including the media. The forum on the theme “Niger-Democracy Under Threat” was aimed at reminding the public of the need to prevent another violent conflict in West Africa, which has in the last decade experienced a number of civil wars with devastating humanitarian consequences.


Africa: Former US congressman convicted of corruption charges related to African deals


A federal jury has convicted former United States Congressman William J. Jefferson, 62, of New Orleans, of using his office to corruptly solicit bribes, in deals mainly in African states, the Justice Department has announced. After hearing evidence for more than one month, a jury found Jefferson guilty on 11 charged counts, including solicitation of bribes, honest services wire fraud, money laundering, racketeering and conspiracy.

Angola: Private oil firm shareholders have same names as top government officials


A private oil company in Angola, given permission by the state oil company Sonangol to bid for potentially lucrative oil rights, has shareholders with the same names as Sonangol's chairman and other top officials, Global Witness has learned. Angola is one of the two top oil-producing countries in sub-Saharan Africa but most of its people still live in dire poverty.


Africa: World Bank chief heads to Africa as economies hurt


World Bank President Robert Zoellick travels to three countries in Africa next week to see for himself damage inflicted on the region from the global financial crisis and recession. His visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda will focus on encouraging businesses and donors to invest in Africa, as the global crisis seems to be easing in industrialized economies but is still being felt in most of the developing world.

Global: Human Development Report 2009

Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development


Human development is about putting people at the centre of development. It is about people realizing their potential, increasing their choices and enjoying the freedom to lead lives they value. Since 1990, annual Human Development Reports have explored challenges including poverty, gender, democracy, human rights, cultural liberty, globalization, water scarcity and climate change.

Kenya: Why Kenya is unable to exploit Agoa deal


Nine years since the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) was enacted, Kenya is yet to fully benefit from the legislation. Although the country’s slow pace of economic reforms and growth are largely to blame, US stringent import policies have also undermined the benefits. The Ministry of Trade says Kenya’s volume of exports to the US have been minimal. For instance, in 2006, export to the US amounted to Sh21 billion and Sh19.3 billion in 2007 against imports of Sh24.7 billion in 2006 and Sh44.5 billion in 2007.

Southern Africa: The future of the Southern African Customs Union


Tensions over the future of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and trade relations with the EU are rising, as reflected in the plethora of recent media reports. Unfortunately they are so complex that they defy simple categorisation. The most difficult problem concerns the future of revenue distribution within SACU. South Africa substantially subsidises the smaller members - particularly Lesotho and Swaziland - and the South African Treasury is uncomfortable with the subsidy’s extent, given competing domestic fiscal demands.

Health & HIV/AIDS

Africa: WHO launches scheme to improve African diagnostic labs


Laboratories from 13 African countries have joined a scheme to improve diagnostic capacity on the continent. The scheme, to be overseen by the WHO Regional Office for Africa and the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, was announced in Kigali, Rwanda on 27 July.

Mozambique: Closing HIV day care centres brings protesters out


Thousands of people took to the streets of Maputo, capital of Mozambique, and the country's second city, Beira this week, to protest the government's closure of day care hospitals for HIV-positive patients. In Maputo, activists handed Health Minister Paulo Ivo Garrido a memorandum slamming the decision, which they said was a setback in the national response to the epidemic. An estimated 16 percent of Mozambique's 21 million people are living with the virus.

Namibia: Saving HIV-positive babies


While a number of countries in southern Africa have made great strides in improving access to antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for HIV-infected adults, progress in rolling out treatment for HIV-positive infants and children has lagged behind. Namibia is a notable exception. Over 7,600 children are receiving ARV treatment - 100 percent of those estimated to be in need of the life-prolonging medicine - according to Dr Angela Mushavi of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a technical advisor to Namibia's prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) programme.

North Africa: Fighting AIDS in conservative Mauritania


Campaigners against HIV/AIDS in Mauritania face an uphill task to put their messages across, especially those that deal with safer sex and condom use. Campaigners have to cut corners in order to avoid angering the country's powerful religious clerics. "With a predominantly Muslim population that seeks guidance from the Quran, any advocacy outside the main parameters of religion is more often than not frowned upon, derided and scorned," says John Sadeed head OF NADOA, an advocacy NGO in Mauritania that promotes attitudinal changes and positive living for those people with HIV.

Uganda: Government inquiry launched as ARV shortages blamed for deaths


The government is investigating whether a nationwide shortage of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs led to the reported deaths of HIV-positive people in northern Uganda this month. Health workers in Apac district reported that at least 17 people known to have been HIV-positive died over the past month after failing to receive their life-prolonging medication due to supply shortfalls.

Zimbabwe: Global Fund grants $37.9 mln to fight AIDS


The Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria on Friday granted Zimbabwe $37.9 million, resuming support after getting assurances from the new unity government that the money would not be misused. The fund said last year Zimbabwe's central bank had confiscated $7.3 million in 2007 meant for health programmes. The central bank has since returned the money, Global Fund officials said.


Africa: Outspoken activists defend Africa's sexual diversity


The second World Outgames, held in the Danish capital, offered up a veritable smorgasbord of sport, politics and arts while celebrating sexual and gender diversity. But it also reminded participants that bigotry against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, sometimes culminating in violence, remains a scourge across the world.

Burundi: Homosexuals suffer under new anti-gay law


Homosexuals in Burundi say that their lives have been marked with increased discrimination and fear following the East African country’s move to ban homosexual practices. Burundi officially passed the law criminalizing homosexuality in April this year. The interviews conducted by the advocacy group Human Rights Watch documents the difficulties of being a gay or lesbian in Burundi, including instances of sexual violence, family rejection, police intimidation, and now the daily possibility of imprisonment.

Malawi: Parliament bans homosexuality


Malawi’s Constitution Amendment Bill banning homosexual marriages was passed in July this year, during a parliamentary sitting to pass the 2009/2010 budget. During this sitting Member of parliament, Edwin Banda proposed that the constitution should include a clause stipulating that Malawi is a “God fearing nation”, a phrase that would cast homosexuality out as it is said to be ungodly.


Burkina Faso: Protecting the Environment


Burkina Faso’s first plastic recycling centre is paving the way for a new kind of development project. It provides a money earner to the poor while tackling environmental pollution. Local industry also benefits – the recycled plastic granules cost half the price of importing new plastic from abroad.

Cameroon: Fears for forest as dam construction begins


Crouched on a low wooden stool in front of his mud hut in the village of Pangar, Alain Selembe puffs away at his clay pipe, his gaze lost in the surrounding forest, quite oblivious to the noise made by his two playing daughters. All he hears is the rumbling of bulldozers opening up a 30 kilometre road from Deng Deng village to the confluence of the Lom and Pangar rivers, where the government plans to construct a new dam.

DRC: Deforestation in the Congo


As the change in climate is witnessed all over the world, the Congo Basin’s rate of deforestation is being debated as the loss of trees is leading to the destruction of essential animal and tribal habitats at an increasing rate and a large amount of carbon dioxide is remaining in the atmosphere unchanged.

Gabon: Saving the rain forests


Gabon is a sparsely populated country covered mostly in rainforest – just 1½ million people live here. That, and the fact that oil wealth has made per capita income higher in Gabon than most other African countries, are some of the reasons why its natural wonders are so well preserved. But the oil is running out and the government has started selling other mineral resources to foreign investors, which means destroying large tracts of forest.

Global: Africa united at climate change talks


Africa’s position at climate change negotiations is unified and strong, and in fact, as a region, Africa is “probably the most unified”, Department of Environmental Affairs International Cooperation DDG Alf Wills has said. Wills said that developing countries, in general, are unified on the science of climate change. He agrees that the historical responsibility of climate change lies with the developed world, but in terms of the finer details and priority areas of focus, developing countries remain divided.

Land & land rights

Kenya: Conservation refugees - Ogiek face eviction from their forest home


The Kenyan government has given Ogiek communities living in the Mau forest until mid September to abandon their homes or face arrest. Police officers have been stationed around the forest in preparation. The Mau forest has been severely degraded in recent years, largely due to an influx of logging companies and illegal settlers exploiting the area’s resources. The Kenyan government has decided to combat this problem by evicting everyone, including the Ogiek people who have lived there for centuries.

Kenya: Our Ass and the Mau


One thing that is very, very notable about the contentions over the Mau, particularly whether and when to evict, or not and why, is the absence of law-based arguments. The occupiers of the moral high grounds, those who have mounted the high horse, carefully avoid the law. They speak as though it actually does not exist. It is as if there are no land laws that can be used to determine various claims. And that ought to make people quite curious indeed.

Rwanda: British funding to secure land peace


The British Department of International Development (DFID) has committed £20 million that will support a land registration programme for Rwanda. The five-year project will see million of Rwandans attain certified rights to land as well as create a data base of land ownership in the east African state.

South Africa: Eviction of 23 Families in Motala Heights

Abahlali baseMjondolo


This week 23 families living in tin-shanty houses in Motala Heights, Lot 35, were issued with letters, demanding that they pay exorbitant increases in rent - effective immediately - or face eviction. A pensioner, seeking advice about the letters, was told by the Pinetown Legal Aid Board that he would be “in the firing line” if he challenged the so-called landlord. Relatives of the so-called landlord threatened an area coordinator for Abahlali baseMjondolo for assisting the families, warning that they would “come to your home and deal with you.”

Southern Africa: Botswana 'frees hunting bushmen'


Six Botswana bushmen found guilty of hunting without a permit on their ancestral land have been set free with a caution, a lobby group says. Survival International said the "attempt by the Botswana government to punish Bushmen for hunting to feed their families has backfired". The San bushmen of the Kalahari have faced years of legal rows for the right to live on their ancestral lands.

Food Justice

Global: People’s Food Sovereignty Forum 2009


From 13 to 17 November 2009 hundreds of representatives from civil society, nongovernmental and people’s movements of small scale food providers, Indigenous
Peoples, food and rural workers, youth, women and food insecure city dwellers will meet in Rome to share and articulate their findings, proposals and actions at local, regional and global levels. The timing and location are designed to facilitate interaction with the 2009 FAO World Food Summit and to bring the voices and the lessons of people’s organizations to the ears of the Heads of State and Governments and to the international institutions gathered to discuss how to deal with an increasingly hungry world.

Madagascar: Volatile climate, politics leave access to food precarious


Access to food for the people of Madagascar remains unreliable because of the impact of natural disasters, which routinely strike the island State, and continuing political tensions, a United Nations report has warned. The joint Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) mission tasked with assessing crop and food security in Madagascar underscored the effect a run of cyclones on the east coast in 2008-2009 and several years of drought in the south has had on the country’s crops.

Media & freedom of expression

Gambia: Six journalists jailed


Justice Emmanuel Fagbenle, sitting at Gambia's High Court, has pronounced heavy fines and imprisonment against six journalists, including executive members of the Gambian Press Union (GPU), who were charged with criminal libel and defamation of President Yahya Jammeh.

Global: 'Massive attack' strikes websites


High-profile websites including Google, Facebook and Twitter have been targeted by hackers in what is described as a "massively co-ordinated attack". Reports suggest the strike may have been aimed at a single user, pro-Georgian blogger known as Cyxymu. Twitter was taken offline for more than two hours whilst Facebook's service was "degraded", according to the firms.

Sudan: IFJ condemns harassment against female journalist


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned the charges brought by Sudanese authorities against Amal Habani, a female journalist and editor of the column "Tiny Issues" in Ajrass Al Horreya newspaper for having denounced the prosecution of Sudanese women who wear trousers. “This is a blatant violation of freedom of expression. Our colleague just expressed a candid opinion in her column,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of IFJ Africa Office. “These charges are nothing more than harassment and must be dropped.“

Conflict & emergencies

DRC: UN sends protection teams to east amid widespread reports of rape


With reports of widespread rape and other atrocities pouring in from the eastern Kivu provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the United Nations mission there has sent some 40 teams to the region over the past six months to bolster the protection of civilians. By identifying early warning signs of potential threats to civilians the joint UN teams, which include child protection, civil affairs and public information officers, allow peacekeepers to react rapidly to counter them, the mission known as MONUC has said.

Nigeria: Militant amnesty begins


An offer of an amnesty for militants in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta region has come into effect. In the next two months the government hopes about 10,000 rebels will exchange weapons for a pardon and retraining. But reports suggest few rebels have surrendered on the amnesty's opening day, and it is unclear how many armed groups will take part in the amnesty.

Internet & technology

East Africa: More countries to benefit from broadband


Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania are set to benefit from affordable communications services following a US$151 million funding boost from the World Bank. The sum marks the third phase of the Africa Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (RCIP 3), which aims to connect eastern and southern Africa to reliable and high-capacity communication services.

eNewsletters & mailing lists

Kenya: National Government of Impunity?

AfricaFocus Bulletin Aug 4, 2009 (090804)


On July 30, only days before this week's visit of U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to Kenya, the first stop on her 7-country Africa trip, the Kenyan Cabinet decided to reject special prosecution of those responsible for post-election violence in 2007 and 2008, whether under a domestic special tribunal or by the International Criminal Court (ICC), to which the case has been referred. This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains a brief commentary by Muthoni Wanyeki, executive director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), excerpts from an extended interview with Maina Kiai, the former chairperson of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), and links to a number of other related commentaries and reports.

USA/Kenya: What Kind of Partnership?

AfricaFocus Bulletin Aug 4, 2009 (090804)


"Many people had hoped that Kenya's 2007 presidential elections would cement Kenya's democratic progress and would provide a solid foundation for the country to break out of its economic doldrums and begin to achieve some of its enormous economic potential. Instead, the 2007 elections brought trade and commerce to a halt, polarized the country along regional and ethnic lines and for a brief moment nearly brought the country to the edge of civil war." - Johnnie Carson, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa. This AfricaFocus Bulletin, available on the web but not distributed through e-mail, contains the transcript of the July 22 speech by Carson. Another AfricaFocus Bulletin, on the web and sent out by email, contains excerpt from an analysis by former Kenya National Commission on Human Rights chairperson Maina Kiai and other commentaries on recent Kenyan developments.

Fundraising & useful resources

Africa: Gender and Media Diversity Journal 7

Call for submissions - Gender, media, sport and 2010


The Gender and Media Diversity Journal is the biennial journal of the Gender and Media Diversity Centre (GMDC). The GMDC is a physical and virtual resource centre based in Southern Africa, managed by Gender Links and the Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) Network, with linkages in Africa and across the globe. The journal is an intellectual but not academic journal. It provides up-to-date and cutting edge information on media diversity in Southern Africa and the space for the dissemination of research findings and projects; case studies; campaigns; policy developments; and opinion and debate on media practice in the region.

Africa: Graça Machel Scholarship Programme


The key aim of the Graça Machel Scholarship Programme is to help provide the female human resources necessary for economic, social and cultural development in the southern African region and to develop an educated and skilled workforce that can benefit the wider community. Scholarships that target women have long been recognized as an effective approach in addressing gender equality and eradicating poverty.

Emerging Leaders International Fellows Program


The Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York is accepting applications for the spring 2010 Emerging Leaders International Fellows Program. This program provides nonprofit sector leadership training through seminars, applied research and mentorships. The program is designed for young scholars and practitioners from outside the United States who are interested in building Third-Sector capacity in their home countries or regions. The deadline for receipt of application materials is September 3, 2009.

Global: The Tech Awards 2010


The Tech Awards program inspires global engagement in applying technology to humanity's most pressing problems by recognizing the best of those who are utilizing innovative technology solutions to address the most urgent critical issues facing our planet. People all over the world are profoundly improving the human condition in the areas of education, equality, environment, health, and economic development through the use of technology.

Review of Leadership in Africa (RoLA)

Call for submissions


Review of Leadership in Africa (RoLA) is a scholarly journal that provides a forum for the rigorous – theoretical and empirical – examination of the ideas and practices of leadership in Africa in all its ramifications. It publishes original, high quality articles that promote the understanding of the theory, concept and practices of leadership in Africa. The journal invites different perspectives and positions on the leadership question in Africa that allow for a holistic examination of leadership in all its ramifications.

South Africa: Agenda journal no. 82, "Gendered Violence in Education"

Call for submissions


Agenda invites contributions for Agenda journal no. 82, "Gendered Violence in Education". At the forefront of feminist publishing in South Africa for 22 years, the Agenda journal raises debate around women's rights and gender issues. The journal encourages critical thinking, debate and social activism and strengthens the capacity of women and men to challenge gender discrimination and injustices. The IBSS/SAPSE accredited and peer reviewed journal will be published in December 2009.

Courses, seminars, & workshops

Africa: The 2009 Africa Research Conference in Applied Drama and Theatre


The Division of Dramatic Art in collaboration with Drama for Life, Wits School of the Arts, is organising the 2009 Africa Research Conference in Applied Drama and Theatre. This year's conference will aim to facilitate dialogue across disciplines concerning the role of Drama and Theatre in HIV/AIDS education, prevention and rehabilitation.

Certificate in Resources Mobilization for Non-Profits

September 7 – October 2, 2009


Are you an Executive Director or manager of a non-profit organization
Are you working in the NGO sector?
Is your organization’s sustainability threatened by shrinking donor support?
Are you in charge of fundraising and resource mobilisation in your organization
Do want to enhance your skills in fundraising?
Are you a trainer or consultant in fundraising and resource mob ilisation for the non-profit sector?
If your answer to any or all of the above questions is yes, then this 20 days course organised jointly by GIMPA, the Resource Alliance (UK) and the African Women’s Development Foundation (AWDF) Ghana is definitely a must!

South Africa under Globalization: Issues in Foreign Policy and Development

Announcement and call for papers


The African Studies Association of India is proud to announce a seminar; South Africa under Globalization: Issues in Foreign Policy and Development, to be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, on 11 to 12 November 2009.he proposed seminar seeks to address the issues related to foreign policy and development in South Africa under globalisation.

South Africa: The ICTJ Fellowship Program in Transitional Justice

November 2nd to November 20th, 2009


The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) is pleased to announce its 2009 Fellowship in Transitional Justice: a three-week professional development course on transitional justice based in Cape Town, South Africa. This course will be held from November 2nd to November 20th, 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Tanzania: 6th Pan-African reading for all conference


The Pan-African Reading for All (RFA) Conference is one of the most exciting and most memorable literacy events on the African continent. It is organized bi-annually by the International Reading Association’s International Development Committee in Africa (IRA/IDAC) and the National Reading Association in the host country. Under the theme: “Literacy for Community Based Socio-economic Transformation and Development” participants from all over the world will converge in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania from August 10th – 14th, 2009 to share their experiences in literacy and reading promotion initiatives and practices from different countries.

The 2009 MILEAD Fellows Institute

2009/2010 Fellows announcement


Moremi Initiative proudly announces the 2009-2010 MILEAD Fellows. The MILEAD Fellows were selected through a highly competitive selection process and criteria, including their outstanding leadership potential and demonstration of commitment to the advancement of women in Africa. The 26 selected fellows represent some of Africa’s most extra-ordinary young women leaders with the courage and commitment to lead/effect change in their communities.

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