Showing posts with label Africa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Africa. Show all posts

18 April 2019

South Africa A Shining Example Of Dismantling Nuclear Arsenal – Analysis

By J Nastranis

As the nuclear weapons and fossil fuel divestment campaigns gather steam, their political impact could be as powerful as the divestment campaign against South Africa in the late 20th Century, which was a critical factor in moving the South African government to end apartheid in 1994, anticipates Thies Kätow, researcher for the World Future Council.

There are hardly any signs that such an expectation will be realized and the campaign under way would persuade heavily armed nuclear states to disarm. Yet South Africa remains a shining example of a country that went from developing its own nuclear arsenal to dismantling it and being an outspoken advocate against these weapons of mass destruction.

The Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan also dismantled and destroyed nuclear weapons systems and facilities – but these were inherited Soviet Union when it collapsed.

Sanity And Humanity Return To The World Bank? – OpEd

By Paul Driessen

President Obama infamously told Africans they should focus on their “bountiful” wind, solar and biofuel. If they use “dirty” fossil fuels to raise living standards “to the point where everybody has got a car, and everybody has got air conditioning, and everybody has got a big house, well, the planet will boil over.”

So when South Africa applied for a World Bank loan to finish its low-pollution coal-fired Medupi power plant, his administration voted “present,” and the loan was approved by a bare majority of other bank member nations. The Obama Overseas Private Investment Corporation refused to support construction of a power plant designed to burn natural gas that was being “flared” and wasted in Ghana’s oil fields.

As David Wojick and I have documented (here, here, here, here and here), eco-imperialist, carbon colonialist policies by the World Bank and other anti-development banks have perpetuated needless energy deprivation, poverty, disease and early death in Africa, Asia and beyond for much too long.

14 April 2019

South Africa’s Election Will Be a Referendum on Ramaphosa, for Better or Worse

James Hamill 

Like all elections, South Africa’s upcoming national vote on May 8—the country’s fifth ballot since the end of apartheid—will see rival parties waging a struggle to control the narrative and frame the contest in the best possible terms. Given the change in the leadership of the ruling African National Congress in December 2017, that means much of the campaign will focus on President Cyril Ramaphosa and the extent to which he is delivering his promised “new dawn” in South Africa following what he has called the “nine lost years” of Jacob Zuma.

Restoring the sense of mission and idealism that drove the ANC in the immediate post-apartheid era after 1994 has been central to Ramaphosa’s platform, as he repeatedly invokes the values and ethos of Nelson Mandela. After 15 months in power, and as the figurehead of the ANC campaign, Ramaphosa will own May’s election result, for better or worse depending on the outcome. .

9 April 2019

Kenya’s Political Truce Holds, Shifting the Political Landscape

Julian Hattem 

This time last year, Kenya was recovering from a bitter presidential election that descended into a constitutional crisis between two longtime political adversaries. After an initial ballot was annulled by the Supreme Court for irregularities, incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta won a repeat election that opposition leader and perennial presidential candidate Raila Odinga boycotted. Amid rising tensions, Odinga rejected the outcome and subsequently proclaimed himself the “people’s president” in an unofficial swearing-in ceremony.

But with memories still fresh of violence that followed Kenya’s contested 2007 election, when more than 1,000 people died, Kenyatta and Odinga abruptly shifted course. In a meeting at Harambee House, the president’s office in Nairobi, the two shook hands and agreed to a truce that watchers anxiously hoped would lead to a new political realignment for East Africa’s largest economy. 

8 April 2019

World’s Poorest Of The Poor To Hit One Billion By 2020 – OpEd

By Dr. Michael A. Bengwayan

In the arid dunes of sub-Saharan Africa, women walk six hours to fetch water with nothing to eat. Arriving home, one mother decides who among her four children will eat the last oatmeal from a food aid caravan three weeks back, and who will starve.

The picture is no different in the Philippines where in the Visayan region, rural mothers scour the forests for something to eat as crops have failed. Their counterparts in Manila eat whatever food they get from the garbage, unmindful of their health.

These are images of the world’s poorest of the poor. They are trapped in long-term poverty where most likely, their children, if they survive, will live in worst or similar conditions. They are hardcore poor, extreme poor and ultra poor. They are the victims of chronic poverty because they are in it for a long, long time, an entire life or even across generations.

5 April 2019

Africa Looks To China And Beyond For Its Energy Development – Analysis

By Timothy Dissegna
Source Link

In a vast continent like Africa, currently entering a new phase in its development, no plans for the future can exist without the availability of raw materials. Now more than ever, the issue must be analyzed through the double lens of industrial progress and environmental sustainability. These are two aspects that seemed opposite until a few years ago, as often proven by the conferences on climate change that have taken place over the past decades, which saw several developing countries (LDCs) claiming their “right to pollute” in order to improve their economies.

China was also a member of that “club.” At the moment, instead, it leads the global ranking of national and international investments in renewable energy, with $360 billion by 2020. Nonetheless, this honorable leadership must be associated with the fact that many of its cities are still included in the Greenpeace/Air Visual top 50 of the most polluted places in the world. The ecological issue with all that it entails – climate change and pollution first of all – plays an important role in the close alliance between China and Africa.

4 April 2019

The Truth About the U.S. Military in Africa

The U.S. military has been expanding its presence and operations in Africa over the past decade. In doing so, it has obscured the nature of its actions through ambiguous language and outright secrecy. It limits the amount of information available about the objectives of its operations, how those operations are carried out, the facilities it uses, and how it partners with governments in the region. At times, this has involved subverting democratic processes in partner countries, an approach that runs counter to years of diplomatic engagement ostensibly designed to strengthen governance institutions. 

Nevertheless, interest in the U.S. military’s activities is on the rise and is set to increase further as incidents like the October 2017 Tongo Tongo ambush in Niger--which left four U.S. soldiers dead--make them more visible. In June, for example, militants from the al-Shabaab extremist group in Somalia ambushed a group of American special operations forces, African Union peacekeepers and Somali government soldiers, killing one American Green Beret.

The U.S. military’s gamble that the public, in both America and across Africa, won’t find out about questionable actions, and won’t have the means to challenge them if they do, is becoming increasingly risky. 

22 March 2019

A First: India Begins Military Exercises With 17 African Countries

By Ankit Panda

On Monday, Indian military personnel were joined by counterparts from 17 African states to begin the inaugural Africa-India Field Training Exercise 2019, or AFINDEX-19. An opening ceremony for the exercises was held at the Indian Army’s Aundh Military Station in Pune, Maharashtra, in the country’s west.

The 17 participating African states include Benin, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, according to a statement by Lt. Col. Mohit Vaishnava, an Indian Army public relations officer.

“The aim of the exercise is to practice the participating nations in planning and conduct of Humanitarian Mine Assistance and Peace Keeping Operations under Chapter VII of United Nations Peace Keeping Operations,” the statement added. It continued:

20 March 2019

Bouteflika May Have Stepped Aside, but the Generals Really Running Algeria Won’t

Francisco Serrano

In any other country, the news that peaceful demonstrations had forced the incumbent president to drop his unpopular re-election bid would have been a startling announcement. But given Algeria’s political system, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s move to withdraw his candidacy for a fifth presidential term and postpone April’s elections, made public on Monday, was welcomed by protesters as only a good start.

Amid a growing protest movement, Algerians are being cautious about Bouteflika’s announcement because of what they call le pouvoir—the shadowy “power” that rules Algeria, made up of an assortment of aging army generals, secret service operatives and party apparatchiks. For decades, they have wielded control from behind the scenes, choosing presidential candidates, rigging elections, dividing opposition movements and using repression when needed. Every important decision is taken behind closed doors. In a way, no one really knows who rules Algeria.

9 March 2019

Fears Rise in Nigeria as Opposition Leader Moves to Challenge Election Results

Philip Obaji Jr.

LAGOS, Nigeria—The last time a leader of an opposition party in Nigeria rejected the results of the country’s presidential election, nearly eight years ago, hundreds of people were killed and tens of thousands displaced in the ensuing violence. Now there are fears of a similar scenario unfolding as Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president long tainted by corruption allegations, heads to court to challenge the outcome of the Feb. 23 election that President Muhammadu Buhari easily won.

Atiku, as Abubakar is widely known in Nigeria, lost by nearly 4 million votes, with 11,262,978 against Buhari’s 15,191,847. He and his supporters dispute the claim by Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission that voter turnout was higher in the northeastern states of Borno and Yobe, where Buhari won handsomely, than in any other part of the country, arguing that frequent deadly attacks by the militant group Boko Haram, including on Election Day, would have made it impossible for people to turn out en masse. They are also claiming that the vote totals from Kano, Kaduna, Kebbi and Katsina states, where the president won by more than 2 million votes, were hugely inflated. 

5 February 2019

Venezuela’s Oil Industry Decline by the Numbers

The United States is the biggest importer of Venezuelan crude oil, and its sanctions will likely hit the industry hard. 

This week, the United States imposed sanctions on Venezuelan oil firm PDVSA in an attempt to force President Nicolas Maduro to relinquish power to opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido. Maduro responded by calling the sanctions criminal and vowed not to allow ships with crude oil destined for the U.S. to leave Venezuela without being prepaid.

The move is the latest setback for Venezuela’s oil industry. Years of underinvestment and government mismanagement, including siphoning off profits to pay for social programs, have taken a heavy toll. Production has fallen from roughly 3 million barrels per day in the late 1990s to 1.3 million barrels per day in 2018. Changes made under the Maduro government and that of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, have led to a decline in foreign investment and a spike in debt. The country’s oil sector is estimated to owe creditors some $100 billion. Whatever the cost of the latest U.S. sanctions, the industry’s downward spiral has no end in sight. 

Foresight Africa: Top priorities for the continent in 2019

In this year’s Foresight Africa, AGI scholars and invited experts illuminate the priorities of the continent in 2019, delving into six overarching themes with recommendations for tackling the challenges that lie ahead. This unprecedented dynamism of the continent is creating opportunities for trade and investment and is drawing interest from an increasingly diverse group of external partners. Democracy is consolidating, although the prevalence of tensions and, in some countries, violence during elections point to areas for improvement. The demographic tidal wave looms closer, and job creation has not yet been able to catch up. Despite continued progress on governance, more efforts are needed to eradicate corruption and to elevate the voice of women and young people in the decisionmaking.

Africa is brimming with promise and, in some places, peril. With its array of contributions, this year’s edition reflects both the diversity of the continent and the common threads that bind it together. With that aim, we hope to promote and inform a dialogue that will generate sound practical strategies for achieving shared prosperity across the continent.

4 February 2019

The Mask Slips to Reveal the Grim Reality of Mnangagwa’s Zimbabwe

James Hamill

The military coup that ended the ruinous 37-year rule of Robert Mugabe was greeted with genuine enthusiasmboth in Zimbabwe and abroad. Any skepticism of Emmerson Mnangagwa was drowned out by the new president’s calming rhetoric about unity and reconciliation and his commitment to a “new beginning.” It seemed churlish, amid such optimism, to deny the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe their moment of hope.

Yet that spirit has been dashed recently as Mnangagwa’s reforms have been exposed as cosmetic, at best. Instead of a new Zimbabwe, it is the same old state within the narrow parameters imposed by the ruling party, ZANU-PF, with no prospect of any change that might encroach upon its power. ...

3 February 2019

Let China Fail in Africa

by Wilson VornDick

America should continue to maintain its key African relationships and interests while China digs a debt hole.

An old African proverb warns that even the best cooking pot will not produce food. American policymakers should consider this saying as they weigh China’s growing clout and the implementation of President Donald Trump’s new Africa Strategy . But China’s economic reach in Africa is teetering on overreach. Just like the prized pot, China may not produce all that is promised. Over the last two decades, China has gained influence as it pumped billions of dollars in projects and investments across Africa focused predominantly on resource extraction and infrastructure. However, this influence comes at a cost. China may be stretching its economic largesse beyond its own capacity, jeopardizing its financial stability both at home and abroad. In July, the Financial Times noted that 234 out of 1,674 Chinese-invested.

Escape From Venezuela

In an escalation of the crisis developing in Venezuela, opposition leader Juan Guaido has now declared himself the country's interim president.

The United States, alongside Canada, Brazil, Colombia and others, were quick to indicate their support for Guaido, leading the beleaguered President Nicolfls Maduro to cut diplomatic ties with Washington - ordering all diplomats to leave the country within 72 hours. The declaration from Guaido comes after two nights of protests in the country which have led to the deaths of at least 14 people.

Venezuela's problems are extensive and varied, with political, social and economic crises making life in the country very difficult. As our infographic shows, this has led to a huge increase in migration out of the country. In 2015, there were almost 700,000 Venezuelans living in other countries. Fast forward to July 2018 and this figure has risen to 2.3 million - representing 7 percent of the country's population. These are only the official figures, too. The actual number that have fled the country is thought to be much higher.

2 February 2019

How South America Ceded the Field in Venezuela

By Oliver Stuenkel

Last week, the young Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself interim president, claiming that the country’s current president, Nicolás Maduro, had forfeited his right to rule by rigging elections in May 2018. Soon after, the United States, Brazil, and most other South American governments (with the exception of Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and Uruguay) recognized Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president.

The decision by the majority of South American governments to back Guaidó was hailed by many as a crucial step forward in confronting Maduro’s authoritarianism. Yet in fact, South America no longer plays any significant role in the Venezuelan crisis. Maduro and his youthful challenger both know that although the armed forces will be the decisive domestic player, the only external actors that really matter are the United States and China and, to a lesser extent, Cuba and Russia.

Understanding Nigeria's Other Security Crises

How has Nigeria responded to a resurgent Biafran separatist movement, and how is it dealing with its other security challenges? 

Fifty years after the Biafran war, a new separatist movement has taken shape in the Nigerian province. In response, the Nigerian government has used a repressive approach to snuff out the movement, arresting activists en masse. The movement’s self-declared leader, Nnmadi Kanu, was at home when Nigerian soldiers stormed his compound. More than 20 people were either killed during the attack or disappeared after it. Kanu himself has not been seen or heard from since. And despite extensive evidence to the contrary, the army maintains that the incident never occurred. 

Though tensions go back at least as far as the devastating Biafran/Nigerian Civil War, which lasted from 1967 to 1970 and resulted in more than 1 million deaths, they have escalated sharply since Kanu ramped up calls for this southeastern corner of the country to form a breakaway nation dominated by members of the Igbo ethnic group.

31 January 2019

As more Africans reach for web, more leaders reach for ‘off’ switch

Collecting the money should have been easy. Alice Ndlovu had done it a million times before. But when she got to the front of the queue at the bank in her hometown of Rusape in eastern Zimbabwe last Friday, the teller shook her head.

Sorry, she said. No service today.

Ms. Ndlovu, a teacher who asked that a pseudonym be used for fear of government reprisal, desperately needed that cash, which her son sent her from Britain to cover the cost of her diabetes medications. So she reluctantly handed over a few crumpled bills and boarded a bus for the nearest town with a bank, more than an hour away.

There, she walked from bank to bank, but every time the answer was the same. Sorry. You can’t pick up your money today.

30 January 2019

DRC Elections and the Fate of the UN MONUSCO Mission

By Wilder Alejandro Sanchez

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) held long-awaited general elections on 30 December to replace President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the country for almost two decades. The results were controversial: opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi was declared the winner, but another candidate, Martin Fayulu, has cried foul, stating that he is the rightful winner and that Tshisekedi’s victory is a result of a pact between him and Kabila. At the time of this writing the Constitutional Court has reportedly confirmed Tshisekedi’s victory.

While this new political crisis hits the African nation, one question that should be asked: What will be the future of the UN mission to the DRC, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO)?

29 January 2019

What Is Happening in Venezuela? How It Got Here and Why It Matters

By Megan Specia

Just two weeks after President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela was sworn in for a second term, an opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, declared himself the interim president, directly challenging the country’s leadership.

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied across the country on Wednesday in support of Mr. Guaidó, and the United States, Canada and many Latin American countries quickly recognized him as the legitimate head of state.

Mr. Maduro, in return, severed remaining diplomatic ties with the United States and ordered its embassy personnel out of the country within 72 hours, a deadline the Americans said they would ignore.

“I am the only president of Venezuela,” Mr. Maduro told the country, speaking from the balcony of the presidential palace on Wednesday. “We do not want to return to the 20th century of gringo interventions and coups d’état.”