Blog entries from: African Arguments

African Arguments

1 to 10 of 163

April 18 2014

From African Arguments Fri Apr 18 2014, 05:03:06

Very good news on Wednesday when Barclays Bank agreed to give Dahabshiil, the Somali remittance company, sufficient time to find another way of transferring money from the UK and elsewhere to Somalia before closing its account with them. Up to $2 billion a year is sent from Somali exiles to their families back home, mainly through Dahabshiil. With much of the country destroyed by war, this inflow keeps millions of Somalis and their families alive, drives what business there is and enables more Somalis to stay and rebuild the country rather than seek exile. Under international money transfer rules, Dahabshiil can collect money from Somali families in the rest of the world and dispense it from shops in Somalia, but only a bank can transfer it across borders. That is what Barclays have been ...

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April 17 2014

From African Arguments Thu Apr 17 2014, 06:32:00

Diamonds and Rubber in Sierra Leone, oil in Angola and Sudan, tantalum and gold in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, copper in Zambia - the list of the natural resource wealth the Africa possesses is a long one. However, these riches have not always been a blessing for the continent. The development of African states is often said to be hindered by a 'resource curse' and, not surprisingly, most contemporary instances of armed contest over state power, authority, and legitimacy contain their fair share of a 'natural-resources' story. Civil Wars ...and natural resources? Intra-state conflicts usually turn out to be a 'mess' of intertwined, related and opposing interests, strategies and actors. This has rarely been more obvious than in the ongoing conflict in the Central African Republic ...

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April 16 2014

From African Arguments Wed Apr 16 2014, 09:32:33

The current conflict in South Sudan has now lasted nearly half a year, killing thousands and displacing hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese. Oil, South Sudan's only major source of revenue, has neither been the reason for nor the focus of the conflict up to this point. But this is rapidly changing as the flow and whereabouts of the oil revenue, as well as the security of the oil fields themselves, moves to the very centre of the conflict. Although production is only at half-capacity, oil revenue continues to fill Juba's coffers with roughly $15 million a day. The income from the oil sector is the main financial support for the government of Salva Kiir in Juba and its armed fight against former vice president Riek Macher and rebel groups. Riek Machar has, in recent weeks, been ...

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From African Arguments Wed Apr 16 2014, 03:26:39

In March, the AU and the Somali National Army (SNA) launched their long-awaited offensive against Al-Shabaab. As was expected, Al-Shabaab withdrew from most areas without putting up much resistance. On the surface, the Somali government has won a huge chunk of territory back from the insurgent group. However, the facts on the ground suggest something else. It would seem that Al-Shabaab has been cut in half, with the allied forces controlling the main roads from Mogadishu to Beledweyne, and from Mogadishu to Baidoa. However, Al-Shabaab continues to ambush allied troops using these roads, and is known to cross from east to west of the main roads whenever it wants. This is made possible because the allied troops occupy the main cities on the roads, with Al-Shabaab continuing to rule some ...

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April 15 2014

From African Arguments Tue Apr 15 2014, 09:57:39

The recent outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa has captured international public attention that seems disproportionate to the scale of the outbreak itself.  This is not surprising.  Ebola is a communicable disease - that is to say, it is transmissible between humans.  In this regard, Ebola is unlike, for example, obesity, which affects c10-30% of adults in Europe and which the WHO has identified as one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century.  The Ebola virus also has a long incubation period - up to 21 days before symptoms become detectable; and a high fatality rate - up to 90%.  The communicability of Ebola, and the long incubation period of the virus, mean that an outbreak may not be contained to a small geographical location, and may ...

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From African Arguments Tue Apr 15 2014, 05:51:39

Tanzania is just starting a major debate on a new constitution for the country, to replace the version adopted in 1977.  Among the many reforms proposed to existing laws, the draft proposed by the Constitutional Review Commission will make radical changes to the framework of citizenship law established by the 1995 Citizenship Act. Some of these changes are clearly positive, especially the removal of gender discrimination in the law, allowing a woman to transmit her nationality to her husband, thus bringing Tanzania into line both with African human rights standards and the strong trend across the continent. Others are more controversial, such as the proposed ending of a ban on dual nationality; which, however, would also be very much in line with continental trends in the past two ...

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April 14 2014

From African Arguments Mon Apr 14 2014, 09:41:50

Review of Luke Patey, The New Kings of Crude: China, India, and the Global Struggle for Oil in Sudan and South Sudan, London: Hurst and Company, 2014, pp.357 (with index),  Pbk £25.00 If you want to know about oil in Sudan and South Sudan and the fascinating role of China in its development, exploitation and conflicts, then go no further than Luke Patey's new book.  It's a complicated, complex work that reads, at times, like the background for a thriller - especially at the start when talking about the cowboy-booted US oilmen from Chevron visiting the dusty south.  But make no mistake; this is not a lightweight, sensational swing through the Sudans for dummies.  It is a very weighty work, meticulously researched and mixing knowledge and in-depth analysis of the ...

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From African Arguments Mon Apr 14 2014, 07:17:46

Koert Lindijer is an award-winning journalist with the Dutch daily NRC-Handelsblad. His articles are not usually widely read in English, but we thought the Anglophone world should also benefit from Koert's many years of experience reporting from Africa. This week, Koert returns to the village of Zèré, where in November he saw how Christians had been attacked and slain by Muslim gangs. Now the roles are reversed. Amidst the rubble of the destroyed mosque of Zèré, in the middle of the Central African Republic, kids mock the Muslim mode of praying. They push their bottoms in to the air and jeer: "Allah, get the hell out of here ". The elderly also join in and shout: "We never want to see them here anymore." Deep hateful cries sound in all corners of the country. ...

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From African Arguments Mon Apr 14 2014, 05:32:51

The sudden about turn by the Zambian President Michael Sata on enacting a new constitution has not only eroded his credibility but is galvanizing the kind of opposition that could see him lose office in the 2016 general election. He obviously senses the danger and has mounted some rear-guard actions. The Catholic FM radio for eastern Zambia recently reported on March 30th of a homily by the Catholic bishop of eastern Zambia, the Rt.-Rev George Lungu in which he disclosed that he had received an angry and threatening telephone call from the president who warned him to stay clear of the constitution debate or else... His government has, in contravention of the terms of reference (which called for the simultaneous release of the draft to the administration and the public), withheld ...

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April 11 2014

From African Arguments Fri Apr 11 2014, 05:21:27

In the unfolding crisis surrounding the dispute over Crimea, it would not be totally inaccurate to say that as far as Africa is concerned, this is a problem in a far away corner of the world. It is also tempting to dismiss Africa as having little interest on the matter. One may accordingly conclude that should the matter come to a vote, either they would not participate in voting or they would simply vote as client states of big powers. A closer look reveals something completely different. When on 27th March the 86th UN General Assembly tabled for a vote a resolution re 'Territorial integrity of Ukraine', not only that most African countries were present during the voting but also their participation in the voting was well-considered. The result of the voting shows that while 168 of the ...

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