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Back Issues

Pambazuka News 446: Joseph Stiglitz and the limits of liberal orthodoxy

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

Pambazuka News (English edition): ISSN 1753-6839

CONTENTS: 1. Features, 2. Comment & analysis, 3. Advocacy & campaigns, 4. Pan-African Postcard, 5. Books & arts, 6. Letters & Opinions, 7. African Writers’ Corner, 8. Blogging Africa, 9. Emerging powers in Africa Watch, 10. Highlights French edition, 11. Zimbabwe update, 12. Women & gender, 13. Human rights, 14. Refugees & forced migration, 15. Social movements, 16. Emerging powers news, 17. Elections & governance, 18. Corruption, 19. Development, 20. Health & HIV/AIDS, 21. Education, 22. LGBTI, 23. Racism & xenophobia, 24. Environment, 25. Land & land rights, 26. Food Justice, 27. Media & freedom of expression, 28. Conflict & emergencies, 29. Internet & technology, 30. eNewsletters & mailing lists, 31. Courses, seminars, & workshops

Help Pambazuka News become independent. Become a supporting subscriber by taking out a paid subscription. Donate $30 a year.

Highlights from this issue

We open our first issue of Pambazuka News after the break with an article by Samir Amin, arguing that proposals in a UN report on reforms to the international monetary and financial systems sideline the South and ignore the fundamental structural problems that caused the economic crisis.

Meanwhile, Olivier De Schutter talks about Africa and the global food crisis, Abahlali baseMjondolo’s S’bu Zikode discusses the barriers that prevent meaningful engagement between the government and people, Nigel C. Gibson considers Fanonian practices in post-apartheid South Africa and Silvestro Montanaro brings us fresh allegations around the assassination of the former president of Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara.

Elsewhere, Lansana Gberie says it's time for ECOWAS to intervene in the Guinea–Sierra Leone border dispute and Sehlare Makgetlaneng explains why hopes that Obama will change the nature of America’s relationship with Africa are unfounded.ZIMBABWE UPDATE: South Africa wants faster talks
WOMEN & GENDER: Women claim economic stimulus funds
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: AU summit on conflict opens
HUMAN RIGHTS: ICC to take over Kenya poll chaos trials
REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: Somali camps ‘unfit for humans’
EMERGING POWERS NEWS: Emerging Powers news roundup
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: Zambia NGOs in uproar over new law
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: Gabon city locked down amid post-poll riots
CORRUPTION: Nigerian bank chiefs charged
HEALTH & HIV/AIDS: Figures reveal extent of Africa’s neglected diseases
DEVELOPMENT: Poverty, inequality need home-grown solutions
EDUCATION: Pan-African university could launch next year
LGBTI: Circumcision ‘does not protect gay men’
RACISM & XENOPHOBIA: Canada refugee ruling ‘racist’
ENVIRONMENT: Trees ‘vital to food security
LAND & LAND RIGHTS: Research not trickling down to farmers’
FOOD JUSTICE: Moroccan citizen groups to protest food price hikes
MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: Censorship ruins Gabon election
INTERNET& TECHNOLOGY: Finding and funding African innovators
ENEWSLETTERS & MAILING LISTS: AfricaFocus Bulletin: Cape Verde: Transnational Archipelago
JOBS: International Grants Programme Manager – Comic Relief
PLUS: seminars and workshops

*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


A critique of the Stiglitz report

The limits of liberal orthodoxy

Samir Amin


cc NBN
In this week’s Pambazuka News, Samir Amin provides a hard-hitting critique of a UN report on reforms of the international monetary and financial system, from a commission chaired by former World Bank chief economist, Professor Joseph Stiglitz. While the report talks of ‘improving the global economy for the good of all the planet’s inhabitants’ and endorses the necessity of ‘action to resolve underlying structural problems’, Stiglitz’s analysis presents the current crisis as ‘short-term, provoked largely by excesses in credit expansion and suggests that rapid recovery is possible’ says Amin, ignoring the fundamental question of whether growth “set in motion by finance” is a viable form or whether it is a response to a crisis of accumulation. ‘Autonomous decision-making for the countries of the South’ is what is needed, Amin argues, rather than a “top-down solution” that restores the global domination of oligopolies and the ‘United States hegemony’. Samir Amin is a contributor to Aid to Africa: Redeemer or Coloniser?

Africa and the global food crisis

Olivier De Schutter


cc World Bank
In an interview with Afroline (extracts of which appear in this week's Pambazuka News), UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier De Schutter discusses the global food crisis, the 'intolerable' link between agricultural production and the price of oil, and the root causes of hunger. With the December 2009 Copenhagen climate summit approaching, De Schutter argues that it is first and foremost investment in sustainable agricultural models that will strengthen an African continent facing the consequences of climate change and an ever greater need to revitalise domestic programmes.

Meaningful engagement

Bringing government to the people?

S'bu Zikode


© Abahlali baseMjondolo
S'bu Zikode, elected head of South African shackdwellers’ movement Abahlali baseMjondolo, looks at some of the barriers that prevent meaningful engagement between the state and the people, with reference to Abahlali’s experiences in KwaZulu-Natal and in the Cape. Abahlali representatives Mnikelo Ndabankulu and Zodwa Nsibande will be speaking at public meetings in London, UK on 4–5 September 2009.

Abahlali baseMjondolo and the politics of space

Fanonian practices in post-apartheid South Africa

Nigel C Gibson


© Abahlali
Reflecting on the experiences and ethos behind South Africa's Abahlali baseMjondolo shackdwellers movement, Nigel C. Gibson considers the group's 'living politics' in relation to the philosophy of liberation espoused in Frantz Fanon's classic 'The Wretched of the Earth'. With Abahlali growing on the strength of organised, bottom-up protest against the 'ordering and geographical layout' of post-apartheid South Africa, Gibson stresses the movement's significance in challenging those in positions of governmental authority to put the poor themselves at the forefront of solutions to poverty.

Italian revelations on the assassination of Thomas Sankara

Silvestro Montanaro


cc C Skillet
Astounding allegations have come forth about the 1987 assassination of the former president of Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara, through a documentary aired on Italy’s public channel RAI3. The documentary, entitled ‘African Shadows’ and by Silvestro Montanaro, details the alleged links of the American and French secret services to Sankara’s assassins and the involvement of the current President of Burkina Faso Blaise Compaoré. This week’s Pambazuka News brings you the striking three-part transcript of the recent documentary, featuring the testimonies of well-known Liberian figures.

The Guinea–Sierra Leone border dispute

Time for ECOWAS to intervene

Lansana Gberie


cc Wikimedia
Once again, the source of an African conflict can be traced back to unsustainable demarcations of territories arbitrarily drawn by colonial powers and the resulting civil war, argues Lansana Gberie in this week's Pambazuka News. Drawing on interviews as well as personal experience of the Guinea–Sierra Leone border dispute, Gberie focuses on issues such as how the discovery of diamonds escalated the border conflict and proposes a set of steps needed – mainly through the involvement of ECOWAS (Economic Community Of West African States) – to see the dispute brought to an end.

Africa's expectations of Obama are unfounded

Sehlare Makgetlaneng


cc US Army
Given US President Obama’s Kenyan ancestry, hopes have run high that his administration would change the nature of America’s relationship with Africa, writes Sehlare Makgetlaneng in Pambazuka News. But, argues Makgetlaneng, these expectations, dented by Obama’s Ghana speech, have no basis in political, economic and ideological positions articulated by Obama himself. Obama’s interests in Africa, Makgetlaneng suggests, like those of his predecessors, are bound up with the defence and expansion of the strategic interests of the United States.

Comment & analysis

Memories of war in Sierra Leone: The August 18th uprising

Karim Bah


cc B Mikes
Drawing upon near-death personal experience to shine light on the brutality of Sierra Leone's rebel forces, Karim Bah discusses the little-publicised events of the August 18th student uprising in Sierra Leone. What really happened to Vaffie Konneh, an activist who attempted to help with the organisation of student protesters? And why have the ruling class and international community alike abandoned Sierra Leone's youth? Students, Bah argues in this week's Pambazuka News, are the key to reform and should be at the forefront of the struggle for human dignity, social justice and the redistribution of national wealth, wealth which belongs to each and every Sierra Leonean, and not just the country's elites.

Ethiopia: A country behind bars

Etyopian Simbiro


Bad leadership has plagued the Ethiopian people throughout the country’s history, Etyopian Simbiro tells Pambazuka News, and today the once oppressed rebels that overthrew a brutal military junta have become oppressors themselves, stifling human rights and dashing hopes for a better future. In order to return power to the people and avoid the installation of yet another dictatorship, democratic federalism, Simbiro argues, is the way forward.

Realising economic justice by empowering women

Lila Kiwelu


cc Neil JS
Despite scores of studies and summits, gender equality in Africa remains elusive, Lila Kiwelu writes in Pambazuka News. Here Kiwelu shares some practical tools for tackling one of the most important causes of inequality on the continent – African women’s lack of access to and control over resources.

Bringing women into the workforce

It’s time for gender-aware job creation

Michele Ruiters


cc Magnus Franklin
As women in developed and developing countries alike find themselves among those hardest hit by the global financial crisis, Michele Ruiters writes in Pambazuka News on the need for the South African government to exploit opportunities to build a ‘good foundation for women’s equal participation in the country’s economy’, through ‘gender mainstreaming, gender budgeting’ and the inclusion of women in ‘decision-making processes’.

'Tribe' and tribal statistics in Kenya

Samuel Abonyo


cc Tom Maruko
Concerned by government statistics on Kenya's ethnic composition, Samuel Abonyo laments the enduring difficulty presented by the concept of tribe in Kenyan society. First developed under the auspices of colonial-era governance, the practice of tribal geography, writes Abonyo in this week's Pambazuka News, is still going on in today's Kenya. But what really is a tribe? What is the government actually counting? Figures on tribes, Abonyo concludes, remain at best inaccurate and at worst highly damaging in depicting false, divisive categorisations.

Kenyanisation from within: The limits of a new constitution

Cheruiyot Collins


cc Wikimedia
Lamenting the longstanding inability of Kenya's citizens to transcend ethnic divisions, Cheruiyot Collins calls upon Kenyans to free themselves of ethnic jingoism in a bid to steer the country on a true path towards nation-building. While constitutional change and greater responsibility from politicians are not to be discounted, Collins contends in this week's Pambazuka News, ultimately Kenyans must strive for change from within and themselves take responsibility for the pervasive culture of greed and self-interest hampering the country.

Museveni’s letter on 'Bafuruki' political participation

Vincent Nuwagaba


cc D Blume
Concerned by President Yoweri Museveni’s comments on the ‘Bafuruki’ (‘immigrants’), Vincent Nuwagaba questions the assumptions around identity held by Uganda’s premier, calling for greater solidarity and mutual respect between the country’s groups, regardless of origin.

Zimbabwe: A crisis driven by greed

Dewa Mavhinga


cc Michiel Dijcks
Greed on the part of those in authority is the primary driver of the crisis in Zimbabwe, Dewa Mavhinga tells Pambazuka News. Political power is the vehicle these people use to satisfy this greed and that is why they are ‘prepared to shed blood’ to retain it, Mavhinga argues. Until politicians of this kind are removed from office, says Mavhinga, ‘charting a new political direction for Zimbabwe will remain a pipe dream’.

Advocacy & campaigns

Gross violations of human and citizenship rights in Tanzania

The Feminist Activist Coalition


The Feminist Activist Coalition, FemAct, are calling attention to the gross violations of human rights and citizenship rights and breaking of laws carried out by the Tanzanian government operation to forcibly move Maasai pastoralists from their homes in eight villages within Loliondo Division, Ngorongoro districton behalf of the business interests of a private investor from the United Arab Emirates, namely Ortello Business Corporation (OBC).

Seeking support for Kenyans against Impunity

Kenyans against Impunity (KAI)


Kenyans against Impunity (KAI)is seeking support from willing Kenyans to carry out its activities which include public engagement on political and legal process to address among others corruption, extrajudicial killings, enforced evictions, enforced disappearances, mismanagement of public affairs, police brutality, arbitrary arrests, police harassment, rape and gender rights violations.

Kenya 2012 election fever and dealing with the post-election violence

Kenyans Eyes From the Diaspora

Isaac Newton Kinity


The Kenya 2012 general election is around the corner. A decision on where to try the perpetrators of the Post Election violence has not been reached. By September 2010, the 2012 election fever will have began. The Kenyans Eyes From the Diaspora urges for haste in both the prosecution of the perpetrators of the Post Election Violence and the setting up of a conducive and competitive Constitution.

Refocusing the People on the March to the Second Republic of Kenya

Kenyans for Justice and Development


Kenyans for Justice and Development have decided to constitute a parallel people’s government to widen the battlefield now that Kenya's two main parties, PNU and ODM have closed ranks to 'protect and propagate impunity', and to originate pro-people public policies and programmes that we will use to create a national platform for the people’s march to the Second Republic of Kenya.

Pan-African Postcard

Uphold Sudanese women’s human rights

An open letter to President al-Bashir

Mary Wandia and Lila Kiwelu


Mary Wandia and Lila Kiwelu call on Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to withdraw the case against 13 women charged with ‘indecent dressing’ for wearing trousers, under Article 152 of the country’s 'archaic' criminal code. President al-Bashir must repeal the discriminatory provisions in this code, Wandia and Kiwelu write in Pambazuka News, and ensure that Sudan upholds its obligations as a signatory to the AU Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa.

The grand fall of the Grand Coalition Government

L. Muthoni Wanyeki


In the face of an ever greedy, self-interested ruling class, L. Muthoni Wanyeki considers what the majority of Kenyans could do to challenge the seemingly relentless ravaging of the public purse perpetrated by those in office. Firstly, Wanyeki suggests a tax boycott, taking the cue from the Langata Residents’ Association’s response to the Nairobi City Council, and secondly, preparing for new elections, albeit within a political system still in need of broad change. With the political settlement evidently having long reached its limits, Wanyeki argues for the need for the Grand Coalition Government to be entirely deprived of funds if Kenya’s politics is to move forward.

Books & arts

Understanding Sudan’s saviours and survivors

Darfur caught between humanitarian fundamentalism and Khartoum’s divide-and-rule

Harry Verhoeven, Lydiah Kemunto Bosire and Sharath Srinivasan


Reflecting on the analysis of the Darfur conflict offered by Mahmood Mamdani’s ‘Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror’, Harry Verhoeven, Lydiah Kemunto Bosire and Sharath Srinivasan find the book to be praiseworthy in its deconstruction of the conflict’s role within global humanitarianism yet lacking in its engagement with contemporary Sudanese politics. While Mamdani’s analysis of the Western-led global community’s bid to entirely de-politicise the conflict is highly perceptive, Verhoeven, Bosire and Srinivasan contend, ‘Saviors and Survivors’ neglects discussion of significant factors such as the violent, exploitative role of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in the conflict’s evolution. These gaps notwithstanding however, ‘Saviors and Survivors’ represents a thought-provoking and insightful analysis of the misguided state of international humanitarianism and its relation to the Darfur ‘genocide’, the reviewers conclude in this week’s Pambazuka News.

Review of Chris Dolan’s ‘Social Torture: The Case of Northern Uganda, 1986-2006’

Marina Sharpe


Marina Sharpe reviews Chris Dolan’s ‘Social Torture: The Case of Northern Uganda, 1986-2006’. Commending Dolan’s counter narrative to the standard, short-sighted characterisation of the conflict enveloping northern Uganda, Sharpe applauds the author’s success in sensitively capturing the experiences and suffering of the north’s Acholi people.

Screenings of A Place in the City


Still haven’t seen A Place in the City? In this film, made by Jenny Morgan and distributed by Fahamu, members of Abahlali baseMjondolo, the grassroots shackdwellers' movement lay out their case – against forcible eviction and for decent services – with passion, eloquence, and sweet reason. A Place in the City is being screened at festivals in South Africa, the US and the UK in September and October.

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Letters & Opinions

The West is wealthy at our expense

Walugembe Tom


Africa the place is not poor, but Africans are, writes Walugembe Tom – and you ‘do not have to be a genius to figure out’ why.

Zambia needs an electoral complaints authority

Henry Kyambalesa


Henry Kyambalesa makes the case for an electoral complaints authority in Zambia.

African Writers’ Corner

An interview with Julius Chingono



In a concise interview, Poéfrika asks the Zimbabwean poet Julius Chingono about his background and the craft behind poetry.

Blogging Africa

The gift and the curse

A review of the African blogosphere

Dibussi Tande


In this week's review of the African blogosphere, Dibussi Tande looks at Africa's inability to meaningfully exploit its natural resources, corruption in Cameroon, the ongoing water crisis in Kenya and questions of water catchment destruction, and male rape in Congo's ongoing violence.

Emerging powers in Africa Watch

Africa’s Freedom Railway

'How a Chinese development project changed lives and livelihoods in Tanzania' by Jamie Monson

Stephen Marks


This week, Stephen Marks reviews Jamie Monson's book, Africa’s Freedom Railway: How a Chinese development project changed lives and livelihoods in Tanzania. The book tells the story of the TAZARA Railway - a symbol of the first heroic stage of China’s involvement in Africa and an ideologically inspired symbol of anti-imperialist solidarity, in contrast with today’s more pragmatic and market-driven Chinese engagement with the continent.

Highlights French edition

Pambazuka News 112: Mauritanie : Incertitudes politiques et questions raciales


Zimbabwe update

IMF gives Zimbabwe Sh39bn boost


The International Monetary Fund has given Zimbabwe a windfall of more than US$500 million (Sh39bn) after almost a decade of financial restrictions imposed on the economically troubled country. This follows the injection of US$283 billion into the global economy to boost member countries dwindling foreign exchange reserves due to recession.

South Africa wants faster talks


South Africa wants long-running power sharing negotiations in Zimbabwe to move ahead more quickly, a senior member of South Africa's ruling ANC said. Thandi Modise, deputy secretary-general of the African National Congress, said her country wanted to see a recovery in Zimbabwe that would allow millions of Zimbabweans who have fled economic meltdown in their country to return home.

Tsvangirai frustrated by unresolved disputes


Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said he is frustrated with the unresolved disputes with President Robert Mugabe which he said were still pushing the development of the country down. Tsvangirai and Mugabe who entered into a government of national unity early this year have continued to disagree of several issues which have forced donors to fail to commit funds.

Women & gender

Global: Forum opens with claim on economic stimulus funds


Activists from 131 countries has convened to recharge a global movement for women’s health and rights, opening with an appeal from a leading German minister for countries to earmark 1 per cent of their economic stimulus funds for development needs.

Kenya: Killing the cut but keeping tradition alive


An ancient myth from Meru, eastern Kenya, tells of a war during which all the healthy men in the village were deployed to fight an enemy tribe, only to return and find the women had been impregnated by the men left behind, who had been deemed incapable of defending the village. From that day on, the legend continues, Meru women have had their clitorises removed to curb their sexual appetites and ensure their marital fidelity.

Mali: Back to the drawing board for new family code


Legislators in Mali will have to try harder to win support for the next draft of their new family code after the president sent it back to parliament on 27 August for re-drafting. The current draft code recognizes only secular marriages, increases the legal marrying age to 18, gives girls inheritance rights, and makes women equal with their husbands at home, according to lawmakers who said they had not done enough to get backing for controversial parts of the family code.

Niger: HIV-law shortcomings hit women harder


Despite a two-year-old law in Niger penalizing discrimination against people infected with HIV, seropositive women say they still receive substandard health care, are denied employment and risk losing their children because of their status. “When a woman is divorced as a result of her HIV status, it is difficult for her to keep her children,” said Sona Soumaré Conté, president of a local NGO that works with HIV-positive women. "Their husbands are afraid their children will not be well taken care of or will become contaminated.”

Nigeria: Maternal mortality - a rural example


Women, their children strapped to their backs, defy the mid-morning sun and converge on the Primary Healthcare Centre, located on the outskirts of Farasinme village, the Badagry West Council Development Area of Lagos State. Most of the women, and a few men, have trekked to the centre, about one kilometre from the village, for free diabetes and hypertension screening and eye tests. They have come here for a free health service, initiated by the Lagos State Government, offered from time to time via various local government offices and health centres in the region.

Southern Africa: Sexual harassment still rampant in newsrooms

Gender Links


One of the thorniest and most uncomfortable workplace issues in media houses is sexual harassment. Recent research released by Gender Links, a South African non-governmental organisation, suggests that sexual harassment continues to be a problem in Southern African media houses. Glass Ceilings: Women and Men in Southern African Media, resonates with the voices of media women who are fed up, have left, or are considering leaving the noble profession.

Sudan: Women, children increasingly targeted in Southern clashes


Women and children are being increasingly targeted in the escalating attacks against communities in Southern Sudanese states, exacerbating the dire humanitarian situation, say officials. "We have seen a drastic escalation in violence across Southern Sudan this year - from the Equatorial States besieged by LRA [rebel Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army] attacks, to the brutal clashes in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Lake States," Jonathan Whittall, head of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Southern Sudan, said.

Human rights

DRC: Former leader to remain in ICC custody ahead of war crimes trial


A former senior official of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) who has been charged with war crimes will remain in custody ahead of his trial, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided.

Kenya: ICC set to take over poll chaos trials


The International Criminal Court could decide to take over trials of key poll chaos suspects after meeting a government delegation at the end of September. An official of the court made the revelation on Sunday as two Cabinet ministers and assistant ministers vowed to shoot down a Bill that is meant to set up a local tribunal to try the suspects.

Rwanda: Tribunal’s work incomplete


The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda may lose its credibility unless it indicts and tries Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) officers suspected of having committed war crimes in Rwanda in 1994, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the tribunal's chief prosecutor.

Sierra Leone: Whether to criminalize child labour


The child rights act ratified in November 2008 in Sierra Leone criminalizes child labour, but some child rights experts say instead of prosecuting parents, the government should focus instead on getting children into school. “We don’t want to penalize or criminalize poverty. Many of these parents have few options,” said Annalisa Brusati, child and youth protection coordinator at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Sierra Leone. “The aim of the act is to reduce child labour, not to have everyone committing crimes. Parents need to be aware of how to make new choices,” she said.

South Africa: Pretoria addresses apartheid-era lawsuit


In a move hailed by South Africa's victims and survivors of apartheid-era gross human rights violations, the South African government has written to the judge presiding over the South Africa Apartheid Litigation claims, Judge Shira Scheindlin, backing the stand that a New York Court is an appropriate forum for the claims. The claims, against General Motors Corp, Ford Motor Co., IBM, Rheinmetall Group AG and Daimler AG, are based upon allegations that the corporations aided and abetted apartheid crimes, including, torture, extrajudicial killings and denationalization, all committed in violation of international law.

Refugees & forced migration

Ethiopia: Human rights violations and conflicts continue to cause displacement


For decades, Ethiopia has been affected by famine and conflict. In 2009, there have been various reports of internal displacement resulting from conflicts and human rights violations perpetrated by the army and groups opposed to the government. It is difficult to establish the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) as neither the government nor any international organisation has undertaken a profiling exercise. The access of humanitarian and human rights organisations and the media to some areas of the country has been restricted.

Kenya: Somali camps 'unfit for humans'


Hundreds of thousands of refugees from the conflict in Somalia are being forced to live in woeful conditions, the aid agency Oxfam says. It says overcrowded and badly managed refugee camps in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are "barely fit for humans". Dadaab camp in north-eastern Kenya was meant to hold 90,000 refugees, but is now home to almost 300,000 people, and a further 8,000 arrive each month.

Uganda: Returns outpace recovery planning


Since the signing of a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement between the government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army in 2006, about two thirds of the 1.8 million IDPs who lived in camps at the height of the crisis have returned to their areas of origin. However, much work remains to be done to ensure that these returns are sustainable. Basic infrastructure and services in the return areas are inadequate or non-existent.

Social movements

Global: UK continues to exclude NGOs from G20 discussions


The Jubilee Debt Campaign and Bretton Woods Projects, NGOs that are part of the Put People First platform, had their accreditation for the G20 finance ministers’ meeting revoked by HM Treasury. The UK also barred two members of Put People First from attending the G20 London Summit in April with little notice. Representatives of both organisations had received notification of accreditation on Friday, 28 August. Both received emails late on 2 September saying “Unfortunately your accreditation has been withdrawn by HM Treasury.

South Africa: Abahlali baseMjondolo attacked by councillor warlords


A delegation of Abahlali baseMjondolo leaders from Durban narrowly escaped assassination this Sunday by local councillor warlords in Tin Town, Dinizulu township, eShowe. Abahlali have been receiving calls daily from Tin Town shack-dwellers, excluded from an uMlalazi municipality housing project called Sunnydale, constructed by Umpheme Development Ptd (Ltd). Tin Town shack-dwellers are now undergoing mass forced eviction and being left homeless.

Zambia: NGOs in uproar after president signs new law


Zambian president Rupiah Banda has signed legislation regulating the operations of civil society, sending shock waves through the sector, which fears its independence will be severely compromised. Presidential assent means the 2009 NGO Bill, withdrawn in 2007 after widespread protests by civil society and opposition parties, now only needs gazetting to become legislation that will require "the registration and co-ordination of NGOs" and can "regulate the work, and the area of work, of NGOs operating in Zambia".

Zimbabwe: Umvuthwandaba We Zimbabwe


"Umvuthwandaba Voice" meaning The End of Revelations is a publication that pushes the agenda of new formation of the Zimbabwean politics. In a sense that the youth of Zimbabwe would want to riot now and cause a dramatic change in the leadership of any of the front political parties, it might be Zapu, Mdc, and Zanu PF. This has been brought about the youths that are in UK, South Africa and Botswana. In our view we need to see a man or woman age below 35yrs of Age taking the podium as the new President of Zimbabwe.

Emerging powers news

Emerging Powers News Round-up

Sanusha Naidu


In this week’s Emerging Powers news roundup, Sanusha Naidu looks at India and Russia’s investment forays in Nigeria, Namibia and Angola, respectively. China continues to establish itself across the continent, from Cape Verde to Cameroon and Ethiopia. China has also received mention for policies that will benefit domestic and global economic recovery. Elsewhere, Brazil, India and South Africa have held an inter-ministerial meeting to strengthen ties. There is also emerging evident that there is growing competition between India and China in the investment stakes

Elections & governance

Africa: Africa’s big men mess up and pay image cleaners in Washington

Patrick Mutahi


Due to bad governance and human rights violations, African governments have sought to enhance their tattered images abroad since it can make the difference between more and less foreign Aid. In the process, they have paid millions of dollars to lobby groups at the expense of development and democracy instead pursuing the most cost-effective way— putting their houses in order, writes policy analyst Patrick Mutahi.

Benin: Five opposition parties to field single candidate in 2011 polls


Benin's main opposition political parties will field a single candidate in the 2011presidential elections, according to a protocol signed in Cotonou. The protocol said the African Movement for Democracy and Progress (MADEP), the Party for the Democratic Renewal (PRD), the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Party of Benin's Renaissance (RB) and Key Force (FC) had decided to select a candidate for the 20 11 presidential election and future polls.

Chad: Escaping from the Oil Trap


the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, examines the exploitation of oil revenues. Since 2003 they have contributed greatly to the deterioration of governance in Chad and to a succession of rebellions and political crises. The regime uses the revenues as a means to reward its cronies, co-opt members of the political class, and acquire the military means enabling it to reject genuine political negotiations. This has further limited space for the political opposition and civil society and helped keep the country in a state of political paralysis, stoking the antagonism between regime and opponents.

Gabon: City locked down amid riots


A night-time curfew has been declared in Gabon's Port Gentil after violence by opposition activists and attacks on French interests in the city. Earlier, opposition groups clashed with security forces in the capital, Libreville, after presidential election results declared Ali Bongo the winner. France, Gabon's former ruler, has told its 10,000 citizens to stay inside.

Guinea: Respect rights of opposition


Guinea’s coup government should respect the rights of demonstrators and end intimidation and threats against those who express dissent, Human Rights Watch has said. Opposition politicians and at least one human rights activist who have criticized the presumed candidacy of the coup leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, for the upcoming presidential elections have been threatened in recent days.

Madagascar: Opposition wants army to head transition


Madagascar's opposition said on Thursday the military should take the top three posts in a power-sharing government after they failed to reach an agreement with the current leader on who should have control. Andry Rajoelina, a 35-year-old former DJ who ousted former leader Marc Ravalomanana with the aid a dissident army faction in a March coup, has until now remained steadfast in demanding his party retains the presidency and post of prime minister.


Nigeria: Bank chiefs charged


Nigeria has charged more than a dozen bank executives sacked by the central bank for causing losses that nearly crippled the country's banking industry. A spokesman for the Nigerian anti-financial crimes agency said on Monday the charges had been filed against 16 bank chiefs arrested for causing losses amounting to billions of dollars in bad loans for five ailing banks.


Africa: Body warns against a Doha deal at the cost of development


An African group participating in the two-day informal ministerial meeting in New Delhi has stated that a rapid conclusion to the Doha world trade talks should not come at the cost of developing countries’ concerns. “We should not lose sight of the development aspects for the round which ensure the integration of African and developing countries, particularly the least developed countries, in a fair multilateral trading system”, said Rachid Mohamed Rachid, trade and industry minister of Egypt, which is heading the African group at the Delhi meeting of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Doha Round.

Africa: Poverty, inequality need home-grown solutions


A world-renowned scholar of public policy, Yehezkel Dror, recently reemphasised the point that policy and politics “closely interact, often overlap, and in part cannot be separated even analytically”. This seemingly obvious point, with far-reaching implications, has also been made by various eminent scholars. On poverty, Martin Ravallion — a leading scholar on issues of poverty — made, a while back, a similar point: that (poverty) measurement and (public) policy issues are often inseparable. Without doubt, poverty and inequality remain the most pressing challenges confronting Africa specifically. This is not to say that other continents and/or regions do not have a poverty and inequality challenge.

Global: Fragile states - a resource guide


This resource guide introduces some of the best literature on the causes, characteristics and impact of state fragility and the challenge of aid effectiveness and lessons learned from international engagement in these contexts. It highlights the major critical debates that are ongoing within the international development and academic community in relation to understanding and responding to fragile situations.

South Africa: The SA economy: Polarisation paralysis and the struggle for equity

Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen


An emerging description of the South African economy is captured in the words "polarisation paralysis." The term has several renderings and different emphasis across academic disciplines, with important nuance and extensions. Another rendering is that it might provide a metaphor for the first 100 days of the Jacob Zuma Presidency, but also sets the challenge for this term of government. Two features prefigure the shadow boxing over economic policy since the start of the Jacob Zuma Presidency.

South Africa: Threat to nationalise still hangs over mines


Debate on the nationalisation of the mining industry was revived in Parliament, with the chairman of the mineral resources portfolio committee saying the only way to avert it was to create a successful state- owned mining company.And a government official told the committee that such a company already existed, and had begun to build up an asset base.

Health & HIV/AIDS

Africa: Figures reveal extent of Africa's neglected diseases


Africa's neglected tropical diseases (NTD) burden is more than double the burden of tuberculosis and almost half that of malaria, a new analysis has found — raising questions about funding priorities. More than 500 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa suffer from seven key neglected infections, according to researchers writing in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases last week (25 August).

Africa: House screening sees dramatic drop in malaria


House screening can reduce the amount of mosquitoes and prevent malaria related anaemia in children, a Lancet study has shown. Every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria and by 2006 over 247 million cases of malaria were reported resulting in a million deaths of mostly African children. It remains one of the world’s greatest childhood killers and accounts for close to 40% of public health funding.

Ethiopia: Thousands affected by acute watery diarrhoea


Ethiopian health authorities have dedicated three hospitals in the capital Addis Ababa to patients suffering from acute watery diarrhoea (AWD), according to a health official. Thousands of people have been infected and 34 killed by the outbreak, says the Health Ministry. Ahmed Imano, head of public relations in the ministry, said there were fears it could escalate with the rains.

Global: Children's participation in responses to HIV and AIDS


This document looks at the involvement of children, including young children, in responses to HIV and AIDS and examines issues around children's participation. It explores the challenges of enabling children to express their views and priorities effectively and suggests how they can best be supported through a range of appropriate media and communication approaches.

Uganda: Survey shows major ART training gaps for non-physicians


A survey of health facilities providing antiretroviral treatment in Uganda has found that nearly two-thirds of those providing ART are not doctors, and report major gaps in training. Two out of every five of this group had received no training in starting patients on ART and two-thirds had not been trained in how to monitor patients on ART. The findings were published in the August 23 edition of Human Resources for Health.

West Africa: Cote d'Ivoire gets first female presidential candidate


Former Ivorian Minister of Justice, Mrs. Jaqueline Lohoues-Oble, on Thursday announced her intention to run for the country's presidency, whose first round is scheduled for 29 November. Associate Professor of Law and Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Cocody, Oble, who was also a parliamentarian and senior adviser to Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny, is the first woman to run for a Presidential election in Cote d'Ivoire.

Zambia: Treating cervical cancer and HIV simultaneously


The HIV/AIDS epidemic may have contributed to the high incidence of cervical cancer in Zambia, where the number of cases is the second highest in sub-Saharan Africa, and HIV prevalence is one of the highest in the world. Women infected with HIV are thought to be three to five times more likely to develop cervical lesions that can become cancerous. "In a suppressed immunity due to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS makes women more at risk from infection," said Prof Groesbeck Parham, co-director of the Cervical Cancer Prevention Programme in Zambia.


Africa: Pan-African University could launch early next year


The first 'node' of a Pan-African University (PAU) — a continental network of institutions training postgraduate students and promoting research — could open its doors as early as February next year, an African Union (AU) official has confirmed. The node at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa would be the first of five hosted by existing institutions across the continent, said Jean-Pierre Ezin, AU commissioner for science, last week (28 August).

Burkina Faso: NGO wins UNESCO prize for literacy education


One of the two UNESCO 2009 prizes for Literacy Education awarded by King Sejong and financed by the Korean Republic has been awarded to Burkina's "Tin Tua", an NGO in literacy and non-formal education, a press release from the UN special agency has said. The "Tin Tua" programme (Let's develop ourselves, in gulimancema, a local language in Eastern Burkina), got very good results by using the participants' mother tongue, producing material for specific reading and laying emphasis on issues of gender and sustained development of communities.

Sierra Leone: Schools in crisis as teachers go unpaid


Government’s refusal to pay the salaries of thousands teachers, while looking to recruit thousands more, has plunged the schooling system into crisis. With the new academic year poised to start, government and the national teachers’ union are still odds about payment for almost 3,000 teachers who have not received their salaries for over a year.


Global: Circumcision does not prtoect gays from Aids virus - study


Circumcision, which has helped prevent AIDS among heterosexual men in Africa, doesn’t help protect gay men from the virus, according to the largest U.S. study to look at the question. The research, presented at a conference, is expected to influence the government’s first guidance on circumcision. Circumcision “is not considered beneficial” in stopping the spread of HIV through gay sex, said Dr. Peter Kilmarx, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

South Africa: Law failing lesbians on "corrective rape"


"Women are getting killed in the Western Cape," says Ndumie Funda, who runs LulekiSizwe in her "cabin" in the township of Gugulethu near Cape Town. The project is named after her late fiancée, Nosizwe Nomsa Bizana, who was gang-raped by five men and subsequently succumbed to crypto meningitis, and Bizana's friend Luleka Makiwane, who contracted HIV when she was raped and later died of AIDS.

South Africa: Anglican church welcomes and guides gay members


The Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) under the guidance of The Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba has passed a Resolution to provide Pastoral guidelines for the gay and lesbian members of the church living in covenanted partnerships. This decision comes after a Synod of bishops met at the Diocese of Cape Town from the 20 - 22 August this year which was held at St. Cyprians’ Church of Cape Town.

Racism & xenophobia

South Africa: Canada refugee ruling 'racist'


South Africa's ruling African National Congress has condemned as "racist" a decision by Canada to grant a white South African man refugee status. Brandon Huntley, 31, had told officials in Canada he could not return to South Africa after seven different attacks. They included three stabbings, which he said he had suffered as a result of his skin colour.


Africa: Fury at plan to power EU homes from Congo dam


Plans to link Europe to what would be the world's biggest hydroelectric dam project in the volatile Democratic Republic of Congo have sparked fierce controversy. The Grand Inga dam, which has received initial support from the World Bank, would cost $80bn (£48bn). At 40,000MW, it has more than twice the generation capacity of the giant Three Gorges dam in China and would be equivalent to the entire generation capacity of South Africa.

Africa: Trees 'vital to food security'


Countries tackling food insecurity and climate change adaptation can greatly benefit from agroforestry - integrating fleshy plants and trees into their farming systems, environmental specialists say. Sub-Saharan Africa has a history of food insecurity brought on by meagre rains, land degradation, declining soil fertility and bad management of resources, among other factors.

Global: Africa threatens walkout from climate talks


Africa's climate change negotiators led by Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi have threatened to withdraw from the upcoming global climate change talks. The Ethiopian PM said Africa might have to walk out if the December climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark, failed to agree with Africa’s minimum position. “If need be we are prepared to walk out of any negotiations that threaten to be another rape of our continent,” he said.

Nigeria: Abandoned tin mines endanger communities


ERA monitors visited Sabon-Barki community and Gyel District, both in Jos South LGA of Plateau State on August 5, 2009 in response to the growing call by impacted communities for a remediation of the ecological disaster and dislocation wrought on their environment and livelihood by nearly a century of tin mining and the failure of government at the federal and state levels to address the problem.

Southern Africa: Impact of climate change in South Africa: farmers' perceptions


This report outlines how climate change is expected to have serious environmental, economic, and social impacts in South Africa. It states that rural farmers, whose livelihoods depend on the use of natural resources, are likely to bear the brunt of adverse impacts. The research uses a “bottom-up” approach to gain insights from the farmers themselves based on a farm household survey collected from 794 households in the Limpopo River Basin of South Africa for the farming season 2004–2005.

Land & land rights

Namibia: Government calls slow pace of land reform frustrating


The Namibian government has expressed frustration with the slow pace of the land reform programme, saying at the current pace of land resettlement, government will not meet its 2020 target of addressing the skewed land ownership pattern. In a startling revelation, the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement said that the land reform programme in Namibia had been slow.

Southern Africa: Research not trickling down to farmers


Farmers could be losing tonnes of crops every harvest just because no one has bothered to tell them that scientists have found more effective methods of using water to farm. Isaiah Mharapara, chief executive officer of the Agricultural Research Council in Zimbabwe said much research has been conducted on water availability, distribution and use, but most of the findings have not been given to the farmers to use.

Food Justice

Morocco: Citizen groups call for sit-ins to protest food price increases


A national committee against high food prices during Ramadan has called for protests and sit-ins in a number of Moroccan regions, starting with one in Berchid on September 11th, and another in front of the parliamentary building, said committee member Muhammed Ghafri. "A public protest organised by the campaign committee seems appropriate at this time of year, which coincides with summer, Ramadan, the start of the school year and the economic crisis, as we're faced with constant price rises," said Abdessalam Adib, the co-ordinator for the campaign against the rising cost of living.

Media & freedom of expression

Gabon: Election ruined by media censorship


The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned what it called "Gabonese government censorship and restrictions on media coverage of the presidential election, including denial of accreditation to at least four international journalists". In a statement from its headquarters in New York, US, the CPJ said that prior to the election, Gabonese government authorities denied accreditations to international journalists from French media outlets, including international broadcaster France 24 and weekly L'Express, which were known for their probing coverage of late President Bongo's health and wealth.

Mauritania: IFJ calls for release of online journalist


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called for the release of Hanevy Ould Dehah, editor of Taqadoumy website, who was charged with “offending public decency” and sentenced to six months imprisonment by the court in Nouakchott. “This is an unduly severe and political judgment, especially as only one of the charges was finally retained,” declared Gabriel Baglo, Director of IFJ Africa Office. “Our colleague must be released,” he added.

Niger: CPJ expresses concern about imprisoned editor


The New York-based media rights group Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has expressed concern about the health of imprisoned editor Abdoulaye Tiemogo, after his transfer from a hospital in Niger's capital, Niamey, to a prison in a remote town. A CPJ statement obtained by PANA quoted Zeinabou , wife of Tiemogo, editor of the weekly Le Canard Déchaîné, as saying the husband is suffering from malaria and is no longer receiving adequate medical attention in a prison in Ouallam, 88 kilometres to the north of Niamey.

Uganda: Four "Monitor" journalists face criminal prosecutions


Four journalists from Uganda's largest independent newspaper are facing criminal prosecutions, joining four others already charged since 2007, according to local journalists and news reports. Criminal prosecutions against the Monitor are on the rise against the backdrop of mounting national tensions in the lead-up to general elections in 2011. This month, President Yoweri Museveni, who is expected to seek re-election, warned private broadcasters against inciting public discontent with the government.

Conflict & emergencies

Africa: AU extraordinary summit on conflicts opens


The special session of the African Union's Conference on the examination and resolution of conflicts in Africa opened in Tripoli, Libya. This special session presided over by the chairman of the African Union, the Libyan Guide Mouammar Kadhafi, will examine the crisis and conflicts occurring in some parts of the continent, such as Somalia, Darfur and the Great Lakes region. Twenty-seven African heads of state attended the opening session.

Africa: Conflict and state fragility: assessing the impact of the financial crisis


It was thought that Sub-Saharan Africa would be largely unaffected by the financial crisis. However, as many Sub-Saharan African countries are dependent on foreign finance inflows and are even more dependent on commodity based exports, this has been swiftly revised. Subsequently, economists are now warning that although Africa is the least integrated region, it could actually be the worst hit. Furthermore, as the most conflict-ridden continent in the world, any subsequent exacerbation of resource scarcity could increase unrest across Africa.

East Africa: Ethiopian troops enter Somali town


Ethiopian troops have crossed into neighbouring Somalia and seized control of a town from Islamist fighters, witnesses say. Hundreds of troops reportedly entered the strategically important town of Beledweyne.

Niger: Desert flooding wipes out electricity, homes, livestock


Four days of intense rains in Niger’s northern Air Mountains and desert towns at its base have affected 7,000 households, damaged 3,500 homes and caused widespread livestock and agriculture losses mostly in the commune of Agadez, according to local officials. Agadez commune is one of 15 communes in Agadez region.

Nigeria: Government 'will not extend amnesty for militants'


The Nigerian government will not extend the 60-day amnesty offer to the country's oil militants when it expires 6 October 2009, according to President Umaru Yar'Adua. "Those who refuse to take advantage of (the) amnesty will be on their own after October 6, 2009," the President said at the opening of the 2009 Chief of Naval Staff Annual Conference in Uyo, capital of South-east Akwa Ibom state.

Sudan: Scores killed in south Sudan clash


At least 43 people have been killed in clashes between soldiers and cattle rustlers in south Sudan. Women, children and soldiers were killed after fighters attacked a settlement in the Twic East region of Jonglei state, on Saturday, Major-General Kuol Diem Kuol, of the southern Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), said.

Internet & technology

Africa: Finding and funding African innovators


How do you find the entrepreneurs and innovators in Africa who need investment funding to scale? There are really two big issues at stake. First, how to find the right people. Second, what funding level is needed. You’re not going to find the compelling African entrepreneurs while sitting in an office in the US or Europe. It’s only by spending significant time on the ground in the countries you’re wanting to invest in that you find the people you need to know.

Africa: New cables to kick-start new broadband era - study


Total broadband adoption in Africa will increase at a CAGR of 28 percent through 2013 as new undersea cables boost Africa's international bandwidth, a new report from Pyramid Research has stated. The report further said the undersea infrastructure will further reduce the number of coastal countries without any cable access from 19 to one.

South Africa: 12 days to satellite lift-off


The Department of Science and Technology's (DST's) decision to step up efforts to get SA's satellite off the ground seems to have paid off. The department announced this morning that the long-awaited SumbandilaSat will take to the skies in 12 days' time from its launch-pad in Baikonur, in Kazakhstan.

Uganda: Taking action to preent e-waste


To prevent e-waste in Uganda non-profit organisations IICD and Close The Gap will dismantle and recycle outdated or broken computers in Ugandan schools. More than 2000 cost-efficient high-quality used computers from the Netherlands and other European countries will be sent to schools in Uganda.

eNewsletters & mailing lists

Cape Verde: Transnational Archipelago

AfricaFocus Bulletin Aug 18, 2009 (090818)


The headling in Cape Verde's bilingual A Semana on August 13, ( or, read "Clinton's visit to Cape Verde ignored by American media." And if coverage was sparse, historical perspective was even more strikingly absent. Search for mentions of "Hillary Clinton" and "Amilcar Cabral" on the web, for example. Apart from a few mentions of her landing at the Amilcar Cabral International Airport, the only reference one is likely to find is a Fox News attack on Obama administration green jobs czar Van Jones, because of his affiliation with an organization which once praised Amilcar Cabral in its newsletter.

Courses, seminars, & workshops

Kenya: 2010 Peace Festival/ Conference

Drum Cafe, 19-25 September 2010


“THE DRUM CAFE”, is an innovative network of creative and performing professionals with the Central aim of re-defining drum music as a powerful medium of social change in east Africa. The first drum cafe was first hosted by Alliance francaise de Nairobi in September 2006 and supported by various individuals, cultural and artistic institutions. The DRUM CAFÉ 2010 PEACE FESTIVAL will be a seven day celebration presented by and for the various Kenyan ethnic subgroups and communities living in Nairobi.

South Africa: World Summit on Arts


The fourth World Summit on Arts and Culture, a project of the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA), will take place in Johannesburg from 22-25 September, hosted by the National Arts Council of South Africa. Mike van Graan, Programme Director for the Summit and Head of the Arterial Network’s Secretariat will write this weekly column in the build up to the Summit, raising some of the themes and provocative issues that will be debated at the event.

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