Sub-Saharan Africa

US Strategy in Sub-Saharan Africa

June 14, 2012 by

The Obama Administration released on 14 June 2012 a major white paper titled U.S. Strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa. Click here to access the document. The strategy is a solidification of existing policy rather than a statement of new policy. There are no new major initiatives and the paper comes out in a budget climate where it is not reasonable to expect new U.S. government financial flows to Africa. Nevertheless, it does offer a good statement of current U.S. policy towards Sub-Saharan Africa.

No Simple Thing: How Rice Will Reshape the World

June 13, 2012 by

“Have you eaten rice today?” In Asia this time honored greeting is synonymous with ‘how are you?’ and is heard from flooded paddies to corporate boardrooms. A passing reminder of how essential this crop is for the 3.5 billion people whose day begins and ends with rice. From India’s dusty plains to the metropolises of China to the Philippines’ emerald hills no common thread runs through Asia’s diverse cultures, mythologies, and languages like rice.

Horn of Africa Fares Poorly on Minority Rights

May 29, 2012 by

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) is a non-governmental organization working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples worldwide. It produces annually the Peoples Under Threat survey that identifies peoples or groups that are most under threat of genocide, mass killing or other systematic repression. It just released its survey for 2012 and the countries in the Horn of Africa scored especially low; four of them are among countries worldwide with peoples most under threat.

2012 IMF Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa

May 21, 2012 by

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) economic outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa published in 2012 is now available. It offered the following conclusions: Despite difficult external conditions, output in Sub-Saharan Africa grew by 5 percent in 2011. Most countries shared in this expansion. Exceptions included South Africa, slowed by weakness in major European trading partners, and countries in West Africa affected by drought in the Sahel and civil conflict in Cote d’Ivoire.

ILO Urges Worker-Friendly Recovery Policies

April 30, 2012 by

Although economic growth has resumed in much of the world since the 2008 financial crisis, the global unemployment situation remains alarming and could worsen, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO). European governments, in particular, should adopt more worker- friendly approaches in dealing with fiscal austerity, according to the agency’s “World of Work Report 2012″ that was released here and at its headquarters in Geneva Sunday.

Opening the Other Eye: Charles Taylor and Selective Criminal Accountability

April 27, 2012 by

From all that we know Charles Taylor deserves to be held criminally accountable for his role in the atrocities committed in Sierra Leone during the period 1998-2002. Taylor was then President of Liberia, and did his best to encourage violent uprisings against the governments in neighboring countries so as to finance his own bloody schemes and extend his regional influence.

Assessing China’s Role and Influence in Africa

March 29, 2012 by

The most important difference between the United States and China is the very structure of the American and Chinese governments and the way their respective systems engage in Africa. American commercial activity (trade, investment and bidding on contracts) in Africa is conducted by private companies with limited involvement by the U.S. government. If two or more private U.S. companies are competing for the same project, the U.S. government must be impartial, providing essentially equal help to all U.S. interested parties. When this situation occurs, my experience was that the role of the U.S. government diminishes even further.

An African Spring in Senegal?

February 8, 2012 by

For more than a year, opposition supporters in some of sub-Saharan Africa’s more repressive countries have hoped that the wave of pro-democracy protests will spread south from Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. By and large, the wait has been in vain. There is some irony in that the latest candidate mooted for “people power” is Senegal, one of the few African countries with a genuine democratic tradition in the post-independence era. Senegal has strong institutions, and is the only country in west Africa never to have suffered a military coup.

Kenya’s New Constitution and Electoral Reforms

July 25, 2011 by

One of the most important questions facing Kenyans since the sobering aftermath of the 2008 post-election violence is how to put back together the fragile pieces of the country. Violence stemming from tribalism, historical inequalities and a plethora of economic injustices such as poverty, inequality, unemployment and youth underemployment, resulted in the eruption of devastation that is still fresh in the minds of many.