Blog entries from: African Arguments

African Arguments

1 to 10 of 219

October 23 2014

From African Arguments Thu Oct 23 2014, 04:53:39

Last year, Diana Cammack and I concluded our book on Governance for Development in Africa with the thought that more aid for development should be delivered by organisations that are not donor agencies. Successful facilitation of institutional change is about problem solving. That means getting and retaining serious local knowledge. It means working in an adaptive, learning-oriented way. It excludes solution-driven approaches that try to implement detailed plans according to a blueprint. It seems doubtful, we argued, that official development agencies will ever achieve the quality of understanding and the management flexibility that this implies. Therefore, donors should be doing more things 'at arm's length', delegating assistance to organisations that have demonstrated ability to work in ...

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October 22 2014

From African Arguments Wed Oct 22 2014, 06:34:05

Last week, a colleague forwarded me an email purportedly written by Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram. Addressed to the International Criminal Court and penned in perfect English, it made the outlandish claim that Nigeria's President Jonathan has been a key sponsor of the Boko Haram insurgency all along. It even claimed many of Boko Haram's attacks have actually been carried out by the government. Even aside from its unbelievable claims, the email bore all the hallmarks of a fake - written in English, the language of the insurgency's Western enemies, and referring throughout to "Boko Haram", a name the group itself eschews in favour of Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'Awati Wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad). As news of Nigeria's ...

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October 21 2014

From African Arguments Tue Oct 21 2014, 11:55:52

On 12 October, 38 signatories sent a letter to the BBC's Director-General to protest against the contents of the documentary 'Rwanda's Untold Story' first broadcast by BBC 2 on October 1. The letter states that the BBC has been "recklessly irresponsible" in broadcasting the film which has "fuelled genocide denial" and "further emboldened the génocidaires". Only three of the signatories (Clark, Hintjens and Murison) are academics working on Rwanda (Linda Melvern calls herself 'Professor', but she is not; she has merely been an honorary professor at the University of Wales Aberystwyth). The others have either shown interest in Rwanda in the past or played a role there, or have a sectoral expertise, e.g. in genocide studies or international criminal law. Some are activists with a ...

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From African Arguments Tue Oct 21 2014, 10:54:33

  Welcome to the newest African Arguments blog: The Nigeria Forum. We are launching this blog several months in advance of the Nigerian general election in February 2015, and continuing it after the p0lls, in order analyse the context of Nigeria's main political event in the next year. We aim to commission and publish at least one new article per week exclusive to African Arguments. We hope that The Nigeria Forum will become a place for discussion and exchange of ideas on the key issues in contemporary Nigerian politics. This project is supported by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). Nigeria 2015: high stakes Nigeria exhibits many characteristics redolent of many African states. These include: High economic growth rates over the past 10 years. A rapidly expanding, ...

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From African Arguments Tue Oct 21 2014, 06:19:55

Reviewed by Martin Plaut - Eritrea is at peace, yet its people are flooding across its borders. As many are being caught reaching the shores of Europe as come from Syria, escaping from that nation's civil war. The Eritrean situation can be summed up in two comparative statistics. In the first quarter of 2014 one Syrian for every 3887 of the population was found to have crossed illegally into the European Union. By comparison, one in every 3411 Eritreans have fled their country. Hundreds of desperate men and women wind up drowning in the Mediterranean or trapped in Calais, attempting to reach Britain. Eritrea finally achieved its independence from Ethiopia in 1993, after a struggle lasting three decades. How is it that a nation born in such hope now finds itself in this position? This ...

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From African Arguments Tue Oct 21 2014, 05:29:12

On the 15th of October, 2014, Mozambique held its fifth multiparty general election. Despite Renamo's almost ritualistic accusation of fraud (not that fraud did not happen, but it would probably not change the outcome of the election) Frelimo once again appears to be heading towards a comfortable win, if not as overwhelming as the previous victory. This election has been seen as especially significant due to the growing challenge of the opposition MDM, Renamo's ability to fight back (quite literally) from the political irrelevance that seemed to be its fate after its disastrous performance in the last election and the generational shift inside the ruling Frelimo party. Armando Guebuza, the former president, is obeying the two-term limit and stepping down despite winning around 75% of the ...

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October 20 2014

From African Arguments Mon Oct 20 2014, 10:28:08

Many Sudanese intellectuals watched on with wry amusement as, in 2011, the global media announced that the popular uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya were the first civilian movements to overthrow military autocracies in the Arab world. Sudan is often overlooked because of its status as a gateway between the Arab and African worlds, but it has already experienced two such events - the October Revolution of 1964, which overthrew the first military regime of Ibrahim Abboud and ushered in a four year period of parliamentary democracy, and the April Intifada of 1985, which overthrew Jafa'ar Nimeiri, the country's second military dictator. Since Umar al-Bashir's coup of 1989 overhauled the short-lived democracy that this uprising established, there has been no 'Third Intifada'. This Tuesday ...

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From African Arguments Mon Oct 20 2014, 06:13:29

MOGADISHU-- Mohamed Abdi Warsame's hand shakes as he places it on my knee. "Some say my brother was killed over a woman," he says. "That's not true. He was killed for the sake of the truth." After the evening prayer on October 21, 2012, Mohamed's brother, a local journalist named Yusuf Warsame, was leaving a mosque in Mogadishu's Medina neighborhood. As he made his way to a pharmacy to find relief for an earache, two pistol-wielding men stepped out of a doorway and shot him multiple times in the back. Mohamed was turning a corner onto the same street when the shots rang out; close enough to witness the gunmen fleeing the scene. "I saw them with my own eyes," he says. "But I was too far away to gaze on their faces." Yusuf succumbed to his injuries one week later in nearby Medina Hospital, ...

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October 16 2014

From African Arguments Thu Oct 16 2014, 11:25:05

We often get famous professors on stage for our meetings but they are not often joined by the scion of South Africa's richest family, a rock star and the head of the British army. Last Friday night at SOAS was different. And the man who made the difference and created that strange and wonderful evening last week was the irrepressible Greg Mills of the Brenthurst Foundation, who has made a life out of studying wars and politics in Africa and the rest of the world. There isn't a conflict zone of the last two decades he hasn't visited and written about. I have known Greg for many years, first as the Director of the South African Institute of International Affairs and then at Brenthurst. He has written or co-authored four other books on current conflicts and now 'Why States Recover - Changing ...

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From African Arguments Thu Oct 16 2014, 09:44:46

South African billionaire Mark Shuttleworth has recently won an important case against the South African Reserve Bank in the Supreme Court of Appeal. The SCA ordered the Central Bank to repay Shuttleworth around £14m, which was levied to allow him to move £235m worth of his assets to the Isle of Man, a tax-efficient British Crown Dependency in 2001. South Africa has strict capital control rules, which maintains the amount of capital available to local borrowers, but Shuttleworth has stridently contended for the past few years that SA's exchange controls are "unconstitutional", "out-of-date", inhibit growth and competitiveness, and make money for South Africa's banks. His victory has been lauded in the business press and by wealthy South Africans, and Shuttleworth has been ...

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