Mansour Sy and Lorenzo Fioramonti join us to share some very different but equally thought-provoking visions on how Africa should approach falling commodities prices, a trend that has thrown many African economies into disarray. Download: MP3 Subscribe: RSS | iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher Follow us and our guests: Desné Masie (co-host): Twitter Peter Dörrie (co-host/producer): Twitter | Facebook | Homepage Mansour Sy (guest): Homepage Lorenzo Fioramonti (guest): Twitter African Arguments: Twitter | Facebook | Homepage Notes El Anatsui “Five Decades” exhibition at the Carriageworks gallery in Sidney Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2016 Why did French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira resign? Action-research network WE-Africa New Economy Accelerator Mansour Sy: Managing commodity price risk for African economies: Now or never Thanks for listening! If you would like to support us, have a suggestion for a topic we should cover or a guest we should invite, please get in touch! There are links to the social media profiles of our hosts above, or drop us a line at email@example.com. The music on this podcast was kindly provided by DJ Maramza.
The CAR’s run-off will determine much more than just who gets the keys to the presidential office. The Central Africa Republic’s (CAR) presidential run-off, scheduled to be held on 14 February, looks set to be the country’s most tightly-contested election to date. After no single candidate emerged with a majority in the first round in December 2015, voters will go to the polls again this Sunday to choose between two former prime ministers: Anicet-Georges Dologuélé (left) and Faustin Archange Touadéra (right). The race is currently too close to call, and whichever candidate emerges victorious will have a whole host of gruelling challenges to overcome once in office. However, the choice the electorate makes could also have much wider implications. Powerful figures and factions have been manoeuvring behind the scenes of both nominees’ campaigns, and the way the contest pans out is likely to determine far more than just who gets the keys to the presidential office. Anicet-Georges Dologuélé: Mr Clean? Dologuélé, a wealthy businessman who served as prime minister from 1999-2001 under former President Ange-Félix Patassé, led the first round with 23.7 %. According to a breakdown of the results, he was able to garner some support in most areas […]
Bt cotton reportedly increased production as intended. So why is Burkina Faso phasing it out? The thorny topic of genetically modified (GM) crops was recently thrust into the global spotlight again. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Bill Gates said that GM crops are a necessary tool to fight hunger and poverty in Africa. But something Gates did not discuss was the news that the largest and most significant African adopter of GM crops – Burkina Faso – recently began a phase out of Bt cotton. Bt cotton is the most widely grown GM crop by poor farmers in Africa. Why would Burkina Faso, a nation that struggles with hunger and poverty, turn its back on the very tools Gates and others so ardently support? How Burkina Faso came to be an early adopter In 2003, Burkina Faso became one of the first African countries to begin field trials of Bt cotton. This was done in partnership with the agriculture company Monsanto. Bt refers to a toxin – Bacillus thuringiensis – that kills one of the world’s most common and pernicious cotton pests, the bollworm. Monsanto agreed to backcross the Bt gene onto local Burkinabè varieties, which were […]
In December 2013, South Sudan erupted into civil war as President Salva Kiir’s army battled rebel forces led by former Vice-President Riek Machar. Tens of thousands were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. The cartoon below tells the story of the conflict and the dynamics of the political marketplace that determined the direction of the peace talks. Text by Alex de Waal. Artwork by Victor Ndula’. The project was co-sponsored by the Cartoon Movement, Justice and Security Research Programme and the World Peace Foundation. Part One: Who Got What?” is available here.
Burundi’s crisis began as a political dispute, but testimony from refugees suggests that some parties to the conflict may be exploiting Hutu-Tutsi divides. Near the small town of Gashora in Rwanda, about 20km north of the border with Burundi, hundreds of children and their mothers sit outside tents (or “hangers”) branded with the UNHCR logo. Young boys play football in worn clothing as they pass the time, while malnourished babies lie in a row awaiting treatment from a special medical tent. Since April 2015, at least 240,000 people have fled Burundi as it has descended into a violent political crisis. A large proportion of these refugees have journeyed north into neighbouring Rwanda, and tens of thousands have ended up here at Gashora Reception Centre before being transferred for more permanent stay at Mahama Refugee Camp. Many have been separated from their loved ones back in Burundi, who may or may not still be alive, and each has his or her own unique story of loss, suffering, and violence. According to official records, the camp received around 17,000 people in April and another 19,000 over the subsequent fourth months before numbers dropped to hundreds per month. Approximately 60% of these are […]
But the same cannot necessarily be said of Kenya’s media houses. On the evening of 23 January, Yassin Juma, a freelance journalist and blogger, was at home with his family when he received an unexpected call. 13 police officers burst into his home, arresting the soft-spoken reporter and searching his premises. They “ransacked everywhere as the children cried”, recalls Juma, who was held overnight before being released. In the lead up to his arrest, the journalist had been exploring claims that the Kenya Defence Forces were warned ahead of last month’s attack in El-Adde, Somalia, a bloody assault in which dozens of Kenyan soldiers are believed to have been killed by al-Shabaab militants. Juma heard from someone who claimed he had shared information with the National Intelligence Service and Interior Ministry before the attack. The journalist pursued the lead, but as soon as he did, was immediately warned his activities were being monitored. “The first time I contacted [the source], a friend in the police tipped me off that my phone was being tracked,” says Juma. The journalist continued his investigation nonetheless, posting updates from his research on social media. But just days before his full story was scheduled to […]
With a cluster of hotly-contested election re-runs coming up and low oil prices squeezing budgets, the next six months will be pivotal for the Nigerian government. There are few moments in which being the president of Nigeria is easy, but over the next six months, Muhammadu Buhari is likely to face some of his toughest tests yet. How his administration deals with these issues could define the government’s relationship with the country over the next four years. The two major challenges coming to a head in the near future are clear to see. On the economic front, low oil prices are squeezing the government budget and undermining the country’s economic prospects. Meanwhile, on the political front, tensions in the Niger Delta and South East continue to simmer as the local economy continues to contract and could heat up further as election re-runs are held over the next few months. What is less clear, however, is how far these two matters could interact with one another to produce an even more troubling mix. Replaying the polls The most imminent hurdles facing Nigeria are the elections that need to be re-held after a significant cluster of results from April 2015 were annulled. […]
President Yahya Jammeh has developed a reputation for surprising announcements. What might be the reasons behind his latest? In a surprise announcement last month, President Yahya Jammeh declared The Gambia an Islamic Republic. In a state TV broadcast, Jammeh – who has gained a reputation for making unexpected pronouncements since becoming the country’s leader in 1994 – pointed to the fact 95% of the population is Muslim and said he wanted to dismantle any remaining vestiges of colonialism. In his address, the president also insisted that the rights of all citizens – regardless of religion – would be safeguarded and that there would not be a dress code for women. But it was not long before the latter promise was broken and a presidential directive was issued requiring female public sector employees to cover their hair during work hours. Another U-turn followed close behind though, with the decision rescinded in a press release explaining that: “Women are His Excellency the president Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya AJJ Jammeh-Babili Mansa’s best friends, they are his sisters and he is here for their wellbeing and happiness at all times. That being the case, this decision that makes them unhappy has been lifted.” […]
There are few tangible solutions to Burundi’s crisis in sight. But there are some positive actions regional and international actors can take. The violence in Burundi is evolving and getting worse. Challenges to President Pierre Nkurunziza’s rule are becoming professionalised, as demonstrated by the attacks on two military camps in Bujumbura last December. Godfroid Nyombare – Nkurunziza’s former chief of secret service and main plotter of the failed coup last May – has reportedly created an armed rebellion. And security forces have started using rape as a weapon of war, signalling their intent to break Bujumbura’s quartiers contestataires psychologically as well as physically. This evolution is all the more worrying given that there are few tangible solutions to the crisis in sight. As summarised by Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN Security Council, Burundi “is going to hell” and there is “no contingency planning, no UN presence, no dialogue”. But what could be done to genuinely improve the situation in Burundi? And by whom? Give Magufuli a call? Diplomacy has so far yielded meagre results. The current crisis originated from Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term and the fact that most of the leaders in the […]
In this podcast, we are joined by Martin Plaut and Gushwell Brooks to discuss the deplorable state of South African politics. Download: MP3 Subscribe: RSS | iTunes | Soundcloud | Stitcher Follow us and our guests: Desné Masie (co-host): Twitter Peter Dörrie (co-host/producer): Twitter | Facebook | Homepage Martin Plaut (guest): Twitter Gushwell Brooks (guest): Twitter African Arguments: Twitter | Facebook | Homepage Notes William Kentridge “Notes Towards a Model Opera” exhibition at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg Justice Malala – We have now begun our descent: How to Stop South Africa losing its way “West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song” exhibition at the British Library in London JT Rappé Thanks for listening! If you would like to support us, have a suggestion for a topic we should cover or a guest we should invite, please get in touch! There are links to the social media profiles of our hosts above, or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. The music on this podcast was kindly provided by DJ Maramza.