By Misha Boutilier* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TORONTO (IDN) - The Central African Republic (CAR) is in the throes of an extreme political crisis that exploded in early December 2013 with mass killing in the streets of the capital Bangui. Despite a French military intervention under UN auspices, an increase in aid funding for the CAR, and the accession of a new president committed to national reconciliation, the situation is still dire.
UN officials warn that there is a “high risk of crimes against humanity and genocide,” and the French Ambassador to the UN Gerard Araud has emphasized that the 6,000 peacekeepers currently deployed are insufficient to quell violence between Muslim Seleka fighters and Christian anti-balaka militias.
By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
ROME (IDN) - More partnerships and investments are needed to support the pan-African Great Green Wall Initiative, which has become Africa's flagship enterprise in tackling the detrimental social, economic and environmental impacts of land degradation, desertification, drought and climate change, experts say.
The initiative brings together more than 20 African countries across North Africa, the Sahel and the Horn, international organizations, research institutes, civil society and grassroots organizations, supporting local communities in the sustainable management and use of forests, rangelands and other natural resources in dryland areas. It also seeks to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well improve the food security and community livelihoods in the Sahel and the Sahara.
By Isabelle Ramdoo and San Bilal* | IDN-InDepth NewsEssay
MAASTRICHT (IDN) - The sustained commodity boom of the last decade provided a new impetus to a number of African countries, after decades of economic turmoil. High growth rates, recorded in recent years, uncovered new opportunities to finally address long-standing socio-economic challenges that had hindered the continent’s economic performance for decades. From an economic perspective, to be truly transformative, these opportunities will have to be translated into employment creation, improved productivity and industrialisation, and governments will increasingly be put under pressure to deliver on concrete results.
By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
STOCKHOLM (IDN) - African countries, which are party to the 1996 African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty of Pelindaba and already contribute a signiﬁcant share of the uranium used in the peaceful nuclear industry worldwide, have been asked to develop “a full understanding of their extractive industries, to avoid the risk that uranium will be supplied from unconventional sources – for example, as a by-product of other mining activities”.
By Thibaud Lesueur* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
NAIROBI (IDN | Crisis Group Blogs) - “With two hundred men, we could get rid of most of the LRA in DRC,” a foreign security official told me in August when I was touring the Uele district, in the far north east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Lord’s Resistance Army has been abusing the population there since at least 2008. But in contrast to the foreign official’s confidence, the striking fact was that the fight against what remains of the LRA is at a standstill. It needs fresh impetus, because the LRA has demonstrated repeatedly its capacity to go underground then surge again more violent than before.
By Alemayehu G. Mariam* | IDN-InDepth NewsViewpoint
Zimbabwe had its presidential elections on August 3. The Zimbabwe Election Support Network said these were “seriously compromised”. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai described the polls “a huge farce” and a “sham that does not reflect the will of the people.” Among African Union observers, only Botswana called for an investigation. Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam asks whether elections in Africa are a colossal exercise in futility, but is convinced that change in inevitable – perhaps through the expression of the ‘tornadic’ wrath of the people as seen in the ‘Arab Spring’.
By Jerome Mwanda | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
DAKAR (IDN) - Burkina Faso, a landlocked country of the SaheI, has since 1987 been ruled by President Blaise Compaoré, who established a semi-authoritarian regime, moving from a repressive military rule to a formal multiparty democratic system, but one fully controlled by the president. This enabled him to stabilise a country marked by five coups between 1960 and 1987.
With less than three years left for presidential elections due in 2015, a new report is asking President Compaoré to facilitate a smooth transition and at the same time calling upon international partners, in particular Western allies, to focus no longer exclusively on mediation role in Mali and the monitoring of security risks in West Africa.
By Jaya Ramachandran | IDN-InDepth NewsReport
GENEVA (IDN) - When long forgotten African leaders set up the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, coordinating and intensifying regional cooperation in order to achieve a better life for the people of the newly liberated continent was an important item on their agenda.
Fifty years later, a UN report says that efforts to date to spur jointly reinforcing economic growth on the continent have relied on a “textbook” and “linear” approach to regional cooperation that does not fit with the situation in Africa, world's second-largest and second-most-populous continent with than one billion people.
By Ian Shapiro* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
CAPE TOWN (IDN | Yale Global) - Is Africa rising? Judging by the buzz and optimism of the young business leaders and political trailblazers from across the continent who gathered for the World Economic Forum on Africa May 8-10, the answer is a qualified “yes.” The African Leadership Network – co-founded by Stanford graduates Fred Swaniker, now the CEO of the African Leadership Academy, and Achankeng Leke, director of McKinsey’s Nigerian operations – is emblematic of a new generation of leaders who brim with sophisticated confidence about Africa’s emergence. They are part of the coming elite whose ideas shaped the discussion in Cape Town.
By Zak Rose* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
DETROIT (IDN) - The gold output of Sudan was 41 tonnes in 2012 – compared with 220 tonnes from the continent's largest exporter, South Africa – and export levels will likely experience modest growth over the immediate short term. However, owing to recent government promotion and foreign investment from major mineral companies, some official estimates have predicted a spike in Sudan's gold exports within the next five years.
Government interest in the gold industry stems from a desire to balance against decreasing oil revenues. When South Sudan seceded in 2011, it took roughly 75% of Sudan's oil wealth with it. And while informal gold mining has long been a part of the Sudanese economy – between 500,000 and 750,000 artisanal gold prospectors are active in Sudan – it has only been since the separation of South Sudan that the government has begun to focus on a capital-intensive expansion of the gold sector.
By Zachary Fillingham* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis
TORONTO (IDN | Geopoliticalmonitor.com) - The apparent interventionist success story of a joint French-Malian military force driving Islamists out of northern Mali was suddenly interrupted by a suicide bombing in Timbuktu on March 30.
The bombing was the first volley in what turned out to be an all-out attack on the city by Islamists, and after several hours of intense street fighting, Malian forces had to call in French troops and air support to help them drive the rebels back into the surrounding desert. The day-long battle left three rebels and one Malian soldier dead, but perhaps more importantly, it afforded the Islamists another valuable opportunity to infiltrate into the heart of Timbuktu.