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Africa Politics South Africa

South Africa’s Secondary Pandemic: A Crisis of Gender Based Violence

In South Africa, sometimes known as the ‘destination of femicide’, more than 2,700 women have been murdered as result of gender-based violence (GBV) since 2000. Although grassroots organisations have persistently campaigned to end GBV, many women in South Africa continue to suffer abuse. Now, South Africa’s GBV problem is worsening, as lockdown measures have trapped women inside with their abusers.

 

Africa Politics

Somalia’s Election Impasse: History Repeating Itself

Somalia has found itself in a situation that is very familiar – an election impasse. Despite hopes of a smooth transition of power and a new election model being implemented, multiple challenges faced the election, which was scheduled for February 8th, 2021. However, these challenges are not new, and one has to wonder how Somalia has found itself in this situation again. Regardless of the outcome of the election impasse, the impacts thereof will have long lasting effects on Somalia’s democratic hopes.

Africa She Said

Trade over Aid: How Seamstress Training Creates Economic Opportunity for Women in Ghana

TUMI Ghana is a Kumasi-based social enterprise, that aims to create sustainable income opportunities for women in Ghana through training and employment in the seamstress profession. Recognizing that the possession of employable skills can both be a source of personal dignity and of financial independence, Dutch founder Milou Lommelen has dedicated herself to equipping women with economic opportunity. Beyond equipping women with seamstress skills, TUMI Ghana additionally provides training in entrepreneurship and offers resources related to reproductive health thus helping empower women beyond immediate professional training.

Africa Politics

Côte d’Ivoire – Do new EU laws promise sweet success or a bitter aftertaste?

Impending EU legislation seeks to reduce the Côte d’Ivoire cocoa industry’s reliance on minimum wages, child labour, and environmental degradation. Yet these efforts may be hindered by the coronavirus pandemic, and cynical buyers seeking alternative sources. The EU’s efforts also come as the industry in Côte d’Ivoire sits in the midst of several complex political and legal storms.

Africa Politics

East African Federation Looks Set for Further Delay

The creation of an East African Federation (EAF) has been steadily progressing since the latest initiative began at the very end of the 20th century. The proposed ‘super-state’ has received rhetorical support from African leaders and would be an exciting development in sub-Saharan Africa. However, such progress has been repeatedly beset by setbacks and delays and looks certain to be delayed once again, with the 2023 target for confederation almost certain to be missed. Several underlying issues need to be resolved if the project is to avoid the complete collapse that befell previous attempts.

Africa Covid-19

Could Zambia’s Debt Default Signal a Domino Effect on the African Continent?

In November 2020, news outlets reported that Zambia had become the first African country to default on debt against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, after opting out of a $42.5 million eurobond repayment. Zambia’s external debt payments have increased significantly since 2014, from 4% of government revenue to an estimated 33% in early 2021. As neighbouring countries in Sub-Saharan Africa continue to suffer the economic squeeze of the pandemic, there are fears that others will follow Zambia in defaulting sooner than experts anticipated. 

Africa Economics

End of the CFA franc: A possible turning point in Francafrique?

The CFA franc has long been cited as the representation of France’s economic “grip” on Africa and forms a central pillar of Françafrique – France’s relationship with its former African colonies. However, in an effort to move away from the controversial aspects of the region’s common currency, France and the CFA countries have initiated a number of reforms – with the former also pushing for the adoption of the “Eco” by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). This move would help remove the most visible elements of French influence; however, it is unlikely to assuage the allegations of French neo-colonialism that hamper Paris’ foreign policy objectives. 

Africa Politics

Are COVID-19 Measures Being Used to Stifle Democracy in Africa?

The global pandemic presents a unique challenge to democracy in sub-Saharan Africa. Aside from making it more difficult and more expensive to carry out elections, there is an emerging worry that democratic activity will be suppressed in the name of ‘stopping the spread’. 

Africa Technology and infrastructure

Fake News, Soft Authoritarianism and Challenges to Digital Democracy in Africa

On 27 December 2020, voters headed to the polls across the Central African Republic, one of the continent’s most fragile democracies. The elections were overshadowed by violence as covert disinformation campaigns, waged from Paris and Moscow, sought to inflame communal tensions across the fractured country. Facebook subsequently released a statement, claiming that the platform had removed multiple networks of ‘coordinated inauthentic behaviour’ traced back to the French and Russian militaries whose influence extended far beyond the Central African Republic, encompassing over a dozen African countries, from Algeria to Cameroon. However, this latest incident represents merely the tip of the iceberg of the far more pervasive and increasingly widespread challenge posed by the proliferation of digital media across the continent’s fledgling democracies.  

Africa Under The Radar

Hybrid War Crimes Court Promises Justice But Political Rivalry May Impede Pursuit

The African Union’s call for a court in South Sudan to prosecute and punish individuals responsible for war crimes is a significant overture by the continental organisation. Trials in the aftermath of genocide in Rwanda and the International Criminal Court’s recent efforts demonstrate the benefits of such convictions, but the particular circumstances in South Sudan means prosecutors must remain cogniscent of the precarious political situation.