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  • Author: Bruce Gilley
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Twenty years ago, African leaders and intellectuals proclaimed an African renaissance. The grim days of postcolonial Africa, they said, were over. The end of the Cold War and the growing popular disgust with misrule had created an opportunity for lasting change. In its place would come democracy, development, and peace. ''Africa cries out for a new birth. We must, in action, say that there is no obstacle big enough to stop us from bringing about a new African renaissance,'' President Nelson Mandela of South Africa told a meeting of regional leaders in 1994.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Dane Erickson
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Woodrow Wilson School Journal of Public and International Affairs
  • Institution: Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Abstract: In the past decade, the People's Republic of China has made dramatic inroads on the African continent. Many believe China's recent activities in Africa to be the most significant dynamic in international affairs on the continent since the end of the Cold War. Although China has a centuries long history of ties with Africa, in the decades immediately following the founding of the People's Republic in 1949 these ties were largely motivated by ideology as China moved to support African anti-colonial liberation movements and leaders. In contrast, today's re-emergence of Chinese activities in Africa is driven by economic and political interests.
  • Topic: Cold War, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Sarah M. Rich
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Woodrow Wilson School Journal of Public and International Affairs
  • Institution: Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the Center for Migration Information and Management (CIGEM), which the European Union opened in Mali in 2008 to dissuade Malians and other West Africans from attempting to migrate to the E.U., among other objectives. After briefly discussing migration theory, this paper examines the current status of Mali-E.U. migration. It proceeds to assess CIGEM's goals and its strategies to dissuade unauthorized migration. The paper argues that CIGEM will fail to affect the flows of migrants from Mali to the E.U. because the center does not address the structural reasons for migration in today's globalized world. The paper ends with a call for a more honest discussion of labor migration realities and recommends that the E.U. develop a circular, temporary labor migration policy.
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa, Mali
  • Author: Lawrence Woocher
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Each year, the top American intelligence official appears before Congress to present the intelligence community.' s assessment of worldwide threats to U.S. national security. In his 2010 testimony, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dennis Blair included something new. Under the heading ."Mass Killings,." Blair wrote, ."Looking ahead over the next five years, a number of countries in Africa and Asia are at significant risk for a new outbreak of mass killing." He defined mass killing as ."the deliberate killing of at least 1,000 unarmed civilians of a particular political identity by state or state-sponsored actors in a single event or over a sustained period." This appeared to be the first time the senior-most U.S. intelligence official had called attention to the general phenomenon of mass killing.-or the closely related and more common notions of genocide or mass atrocities.-in his annual threat assessment.
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, America, Asia
  • Author: Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Despite being heralded as a democratic success story, Ghana's elections are prone to irregularities, which undermine its prospects for democracy. Civil society organizations are therefore promoting a biometric registration and electronic voting system to ensure credible elections and political stability.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: James Lowenberg-Deboer, Bruce Erickson
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Precision agriculture, in its many forms, has had a significant impact on crop production worldwide. Although it is still searching for its “killer app,” it appears that GPS will become the most valuable type of technology in the field.
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Karel Hirman
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Issues Slovak Foreign Policy Affairs
  • Institution: Slovak Foreign Policy Association
  • Abstract: Energy, energy security and the threat of climate change have been the central issues of international politics in recent years. This was also noticed at the last meeting of the International Energy Agency (IEA) member countries being held in October 2009 at its headquarters in Paris. The ministers of 28 member states (including Slovakia) together with the European Commission agreed that the world is facing unprecedented economic, environmental and security threats and that all of them are, more-or-less, related to energy. Their solution aims at creating a safer, cleaner and more sustainable energy future. In other words, it is inevitable to switch into a low-carbon energy and economy. The events of recent years suggest that the global economy finds itself at the beginning of the end of the 'oil era'. One assumes that traditional fossil fuels, particularly oil, gas and coal, will be, for at least two decades, the basic raw materials for global energy, i.e. for our global civilization. It is also clear, however, that the increase in consumption of the fossil fuels, due to the increase in living standards in the countries of Asia, Latin America or Africa, is limited not only by the size of their reserves, but also by the impact on the environment and geopolitical-security risks arising from their location and transportation routes.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Latin America, Slovakia
  • Author: David G. Victor, Linda Yueh
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Growing demand for energy in developing countries and calls for greener energy worldwide are putting unprecedented pressure on the global energy system. Existing energy institutions are struggling to remain relevant. A new mechanism for cooperation is needed.
  • Political Geography: Africa
209. Banned Aid
  • Author: Jagdish Bhagwati
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As the Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo argues, the concept of foreign aid is flawed -- not just because corrupt dictators divert aid for nefarious or selfish purposes but also because even in reasonably democratic countries, aid creates perverse incentives and unintended consequences.
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Isobel Coleman
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Efforts to provide the world's women with economic and political power are more than just a worthy moral crusade: they represent perhaps the best strategy for pursuing development and stability across the globe.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Isobel Coleman
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Over the last several decades, it has become accepted wisdom that improving the status of women is one of the most critical levers of international development. When women are educated and can earn and control income, a number of good results follow: infant mortality declines, child health and nutrition improve, agricultural productivity rises, population growth slows, economies expand, and cycles of poverty are broken.
  • Topic: Development, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Asia, Middle East
  • Author: Roger Thurow
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: With one billion people already going hungry and the world's population rising, global food production must urgently be increased. The countries that managed such surges in the past -- Brazil, China, India, the United States -- cannot do so again. But Africa can -- if it finally uses the seeds, fertilizers, and irrigation methods common everywhere else.
  • Topic: Agriculture
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, China, India, Brazil
  • Author: William Pfaff
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States has built a worldwide system of more than 1,000 military bases, stations, and outposts -- a system designed to enhance U.S. national security. It has actually done the opposite, provoking conflict and creating insecurity.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Gunter Schubert
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Over the last couple of years, Taiwan studies has seen a remarkable institutionalization in Europe, most notably through the foundation of the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS) in 2004, with its head- quarters at London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS); and the establishment of the European Research Center on Contemporary Taiwan (ERCCT) in 2008, based at Tübingen's Eberhard Karls University. Whereas EATS has gradually gained momentum through its annual conferences, which assemble an increasing number of scholars from Europe and Taiwan, the ERCCT's initial efforts to promote graduate and postgraduate social science research on Taiwan and to offer a platform for European-Taiwanese academic cooperation and dialogue are most promising. This special issue of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs (JCCA) has been produced to tie in with these recent developments in the field of Taiwan studies and aims to become institutionalized as well. The publishers and the ERCCT intend to jointly produce a Taiwan edition of the JCCA at regular intervals to further strengthen European and international Taiwan studies. This will give scholars of Taiwan worldwide a useful and respected channel for presenting the results of their research which does not exist elsewhere. With EATS, the ERCCT, regular Taiwan special issues of the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, and a new book series on contemporary Taiwan published by Routledge and edited by SOAS-based scholar Dafydd Fell, Europe has indeed taken a leading position in developing the Taiwan studies field.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Taiwan
  • Author: Max Rebol
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Center for International Conflict Resolution at Yalova University
  • Abstract: Western observers sometimes shockingly reduce Chinese Aid to Africa to a way of securing access to natural resources. A closer look does not only reveal that China's disbursement of Aid to the continent is relatively unrelated to natural resources, but also that it fills exactly the areas that Western aid has increasingly neglected: Infrastructure, industrialization and manufacturing. Chinese and Western aid work but in many ways can be seen as complementing rather than competing. Western aid since the 1980s focuses almost exclusively on basic social needs, while China's Aid to Africa is more based on industrial cooperation. The tools, such as preferential loans, that China uses hereby are often similar to what has been successful when China was in the role of the Aid recipient. Aid should therefore not be seen as a philanthropic one way transfer, but part of a mutually beneficial strategy that uses policy to channel investment into areas in which they are needed most. There is a fine line between aid and business, but in its relations with Africa today, China is well aware that at home it was not aid that lifted 200 million people out of poverty.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Max Rebol
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Center for International Conflict Resolution at Yalova University
  • Abstract: While economic and political ties between China and Africa have grown substantially in the last years, our understanding of African perceptions of China is still limited. Those pieces of cross country survey data which are available draw a positive picture of African perceptions of China but surveys are not comprehensive and only consider various African countries as a whole. Starting from here, this paper looks into how opinions on China form in different parts of African society, using case studies from unions, political elites and civil society. It comes to the conclusion that trade has an overall bigger impact on popular perceptions of China than FDI, which has been the focus of much literature. While a rising trade deficit has an overall negative impact on perceptions of China, increased Chinese trade is perceived positive by consumers that get more competitive prices and small scale vendors. Civil society organizations in Africa sometimes show critical opinions but are also increasingly engaged by China. Western Media generally tends to portrait China's relations with Africa in a more negative way, than it is perceived by most Africans. Several studies confirm that Africa is the continent that on average holds the most positive views on China.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Tan Hsien-Li
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: While there is much theoretical and academic discussion of human security, as well as regional expressions of human security by the Organization of American States, African Union, and the European Union, little of this is translated into substance except for Japan, which has incorporated human security into foreign policy. This paper examines Japan's definition and aspiration for human security, especially its plans to expand development aid through this modality in Southeast Asia. This scrutiny will encompass Japanese human security foreign policy and its substantive action through the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the UN Trust Fund for Human Security. Thus, the potential for Japanese human security cooperation with Southeast Asian partners will be reviewed in light of Japan's projected trajectory. The paper concludes by positing that bilateral engagement might be expected for the considerable future and suggests policy consolidation before regional engagement can be effected.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Japan, America, Europe, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Scott Fitzsimmons
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Over and above the widely acknowledged threats of international terrorism and the Afghan insurgency, Canada and the Canadian Forces face a number of pressing threats from state and non-state actors, which range from the physical to the fiscal. This paper highlights threats posed by private security contractors in Afghanistan, pirates off the Horn of Africa, foreign states in disputed areas of the Arctic, and the current economic downturn within Canada. Each section of the paper highlights one or more specific threats posed to Canada and/or the Canadian Forces and discusses existing and proposed attempts to address these threats.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, Canada
  • Author: Dr. Adewale Banjo
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: By definition, an armoury is a building used primarily for storing arms and military equipment, especially one which serves as headquarters for military personnel. Thus, an armoury is a military structure or facility where weapons and equipments for the use of the armed forces are stored. It is also a complex constructed for repairing, receiving, storing and issuing of weapons and ammunition. Ammunition is a generic military term meaning an assembly of a projectile and its propellant. If a disaster is broadly defined as an unexpected, low-probability, high-impact event that threatens the viability of an organisation or community and characterized by ambiguity of cause, effect and means of resolution, then an armoury disaster can be defined as an unexpected, high-impact rapidly disruptive event caused by the detonation of high caliber, sensitive, stored military weapons, which are neither risk-free nor immune from unintended consequences. Furthermore, an armoury disaster can also mean sudden widespread or localized military weapon/arsenal or ammunition-related occurrences or accidents.
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Heike Larson
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Infidel is a heroic, inspiring story of a courageous woman who escapes the hell of a woman's life in the Muslim world and becomes an outspoken and blunt defender of the West. Ms. Hirsi Ali takes the reader on her own journey of discovery, and enables him to see, through concretes and by sharing her thought processes, how she arrived at the conclusion that Islam is a stagnant, tyrannical belief system and that the Enlightenment philosophy of the West is the proper system for human beings. In Part I, Ms. Hirsi Ali describes her childhood in Muslim Africa and the Middle East. With her father imprisoned for opposing Somalia's communist dictator Siad Barré and her mother often preoccupied with finding food for her family, young Ayaan and her siblings grew up listening to the ancient legends their grandmother told them-legends glorifying the Islamic values of honor, family clans, physical strength, and aggression. Born in 1969 in Somalia, Ms. Hirsi Ali moved frequently with her family to escape persecution and civil war, living in Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. At a colonially influenced Kenyan school, she discovered Western ideas, in the form of novels, "tales of freedom, adventure, of equality between girls and boys, trust and friendship. These were not like my grandmother's stark tales of the clan, with their messages of danger and suspicion. These stories were fun, they seemed real, and they spoke to me as the old legends never had" (p. 64). Forced into an arranged marriage, she was shipped to Germany to stay with distant family while awaiting a visa for Canada to join the husband she didn't know. At age twenty-two, alone and with nothing but a duffle bag of clothes and papers, she took a train to Holland to escape the dreary life of a Muslim wife-slave. "It was Friday, July 24, 1992, when I stepped on the train. Every year I think of it. I see it as my real birthday: the birth of me as a person, making decisions about my life on my own" (p. 188). In Part II, Ms. Hirsi Ali shares her wonder of arriving in modernity, and her relentless effort to create a productive, independent life for herself. After being granted asylum, she worked menial jobs, learned Dutch, became a Swahili translator, earned a vocational degree, and finally graduated with a degree in political science from one of Holland's most prestigious universities. An outspoken advocate of the rights of Muslim women, she was elected to the Dutch parliament in 2003, as a "one-issue politician"-she "wanted Holland to wake up and stop tolerating the oppression of Muslim women in its midst" and to "spark a debate among Muslims about reforming aspects of Islam so people could begin to question" (p. 295). She became a notorious critic of Islam, at one point daring to call the Prophet Muhammad a pervert for consummating marriage with one of his many wives when she was only nine years old. In 2004, she made a short film called Submission: Part 1 in which she depicted women mistreated under Islamic law raising their heads and refusing to submit any longer. Tragically, the film's producer, Theo van Gogh, was brutally murdered by an offended Muslim, who left on van Gogh's body a letter threatening Ms. Hirsi Ali with the same fate. Since 2004, Ms. Hirsi Ali has had to live under the constant watch of bodyguards, often going into hiding for months at a time. Although the straight facts of her life are in and of themselves admirable, Ms. Hirsi Ali's intellectual journey as presented in Infidel is truly awe inspiring. This journey begins in Africa in the disturbingly dark world of Islam-with its disdain for thought and reason, its self-sacrificial ethics, and its corrupt, tyrannical politics-and ends in the West with her having become an outspoken champion of reason and freedom.
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Canada, Germany
  • Author: Grant W. Jones
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In Winning the Unwinnable War, editor Elan Journo and fellow contributors Yaron Brook and Alex Epstein consider the ideas and events that led to 9/11 and analyze America's response. Arguing that our nation has been made progressively less secure by policies based on "subordinating military victory to perverse, allegedly moral constraints" (p. ix), they offer an alternative: grounding American foreign policy on "the moral ideal of rational self-interest" (p. 188). This they accomplish in the space of seven chapters, divided into three sections: "Part One. The Enemy," "Part Two. America's Self-Crippled Response to 9/11," and "Part Three. From Here, Where Do We Go?" In Part One, in a chapter titled "What Motivates the Jihad on America," Journo considers the nature of the enemy that attacked America on 9/11. With refreshing honesty, Journo dispenses with the whitewashing that often accompanies discussions of Islam and Jihad, pointing out that the meaning of "Islam" is "submission to Allah" and that its nature "demands the sacrifice of not only the mind, but also of self" (p. 33). Says Journo, the Jihadists seek to impose Allah's will-Islamic Law-just as Islamic teaching would have it: by means of the sword. "Islamic totalitarians consciously try to model themselves on the religion's founder and the figure who is held to exemplify its virtues, Muhammad. He waged wars to impose, and expand, the dominion of Islam" (p. 35). In "The Road to 9/11," Journo summarizes thirty years of unanswered Jihadist aggression, beginning with the Iranian takeover of the American embassy in Tehran in 1979. Throughout, Journo criticizes the idea that influenced the actions of America's leaders during this time-"realism"-which he describes as eschewing "[m]oral ideals and other broad principles" in favor of achieving narrow, short-range goals by sheer expediency (p. 20). Because of the nature of their own ideas, says Journo, realists are incapable of understanding the Jihadists and thus incapable of understanding how to act with respect to them. "The operating assumption for realist policymakers is that (like them) no one would put an abstract, far off ideal ahead of collecting some concrete, immediate advantage (money, honor, influence). So for realists, an enemy that is dedicated to a long-term goal-and thus cannot be bought off with bribes-is an enemy that must remain incomprehensible" (p. 21). Journo indicates how realism was applied to the Islamist threat in the years leading up to 9/11: Facing the Islamist onslaught, our policymakers aimed, at most, to manage crises with range-of-the-moment remedies-heedless of the genesis of a given crisis and the future consequences of today's solution. Running through the varying policy responses of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton there is an unvarying motif. . . . Our leaders failed to recognize that war had been launched against us and that the enemy is Islamic totalitarianism. This cognitive failure rendered Washington impotent to defeat the enemy. Owing to myopic policy responses, our leaders managed only to appease and encourage the enemy's aggression (p. 6). After 9/11, President George W. Bush shied away from the realist policy of passively reacting to the ever-escalating Islamist threat-and instead adopted the foreign policy favored by neoconservatives. "In place of 'realism,' neoconservatives advocated a policy often called 'interventionism,' one component of which calls for America to work assertively to overthrow threatening regimes and to replace them with peaceful 'democracies'" (p. 118). Two chapters of Winning the Unwinnable War are devoted to dissecting this policy, "The 'Forward Strategy' of Failure" by Brook and Journo (first published in TOS, Spring 2007) and "Neoconservative Foreign Policy: An Autopsy" by Brook and Epstein (first published in TOS, Summer 2007). In the first of these chapters, Brook and Journo consider Bush's interventionist plan, the "forward strategy of freedom." On the premise that democracies do not wage wars of aggression, Bush launched two campaigns of democratic state building in the Middle East-in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2003, Bush exclaimed, "Iraqi democracy will succeed-and that success will send forth the news, from Damascus to Tehran-that freedom can be the future of every nation" (p. 54). But neither Iraqi freedom nor American security was achieved by Bush's "forward strategy" of enabling Iraqis and Afghanis to vote. Because of democratic elections, Iraq "is [now] dominated by a Shiite alliance led by the Islamic Dawa Party and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI)" (p. 54), and a "further effect of the elections in the region has been the invigoration of Islamists in Afghanistan" (p. 57). . . .
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, Iraq, America
  • Author: Charles Riziki Majinge
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Institution: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: While it has been the responsibility of the United Nations to conduct peacekeeping operations on the continent, the trend is gradually changing. African Union and its regional organizations (RECs) are increasingly assuming responsibility of securing peace and stability on the continent. Many reasons militate in favour of this trend. Chiefly the unwillingness of the United Nations Security Council and of the developed countries to intervene timely and adequately to avert humanitarian catastrophes as happened in Rwanda, Southern Sudan and Angola. Furthermore, the desire of Africa to take steps to address its own problems without heavily relying on assistance from the international community whose availability is neither assured nor sufficient. This contribution argues that Africa can no longer expect the international community to shoulder the burden of peacekeeping in some of the most intractable conflicts on the continent without taking steps to participate actively in the process itself. While Africa has expressed its desire to address its own problems through the vision of “African solutions for African Problems”, African leaders must show greater willingness to fund and strengthen institutions they establish to carry out this vision. Lastly, the paper contends that the international community, especially the developed states, should take genuine and adequate measures to assist Africa realize its vision. A strong African Union capable of securing peace and stability on the continent is in the best interests not only of Africa but also of the international community as a whole.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Rwanda, Angola
  • Author: Hans-Peter Kaul
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Institution: The Goettingen Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: In the years and months before the ICC Review Conference, which took place in Kampala, Uganda from 31 May to 11 June 2010, there were, from the perspective of the International Criminal Court (ICC), quite a number of important if not crucial questions: What would be the course and what would be the outcome of the Review Conference? How would it affect the Review Conference that it would be held not only in Africa, but in an African situation country? Would there be only a narrow, maybe inappropriately narrow, examination of the institution of the Court? Or would there be a review of the entire ICC system as established by the Rome Statute? What about the stocktaking with regard to the four critical themes chosen for this Review Conference, namely cooperation, complementarity, impact on victims and affected communities, and the important question of the relationship between peace and justice? Which amendments to the Statute would be considered or adopted? Above all, would there be any progress or maybe even a breakthrough with regard to the very difficult, unresolved issues concerning the crime of aggression as referred to in Article 5(1)(d) of the Statute? It is against this background of questions, hopes and expectations that this contribution tries to briefly assess the Review Conference. The first part of this introductory comment (A) reflects the author's hopes and expectations prior to the Review Conference. It is based on a speech delivered by the author in May 2010.1 The second part of this comment (B), is a first analysis and review of the course and outcome of the Review Conference. The author hopes that this comparative approach may be an informative and interesting manner to provide in this Article a first summary of what was expected, what happened and what was actually achieved in Kampala. A.
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Kampala
  • Author: Ravi Kanbur
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Macalester International
  • Institution: Macalester College
  • Abstract: The 1980s were a hell of a decade. They began with the reverberations of the second OPEC oil shock and ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall. In between, we had the Reagan-Thatcher-Kohl economic policy era in North America and Europe, the Volcker interest rate shock, the Latin American debt crisis, economic collapse in Africa, the start of rapid growth in China and India, and on and on. Oh, and by the way, in 1989 John Williamson coined the term “Washington Consensus.”
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, Washington, India, Latin America, North America
  • Author: William G. Moseley
  • Publication Date: 08-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Macalester International
  • Institution: Macalester College
  • Abstract: Let me start by noting what a pleasure and inspiring opportunity it is to be commenting on the scholarship of Michael Watts. When I embarked on my field research for my master's thesis in the West African nation of Mali in 1991, I carried three texts with me into the field. These books were Paul Richards' Indigenous Agricultural Revolution (1985), Piers Blaikie's Political Economy of Soil Erosion in Developing Countries (1985), and Michael Watts' Silent Violence: Food, Famine and Peasantry in Northern Nigeria (1983). While the books by Richards and Blaikie were fairly compact, Michael Watts' tome added considerable heft to my baggage (so I showed real commitment in lugging it along). At the time I was not familiar with geography as a field of study, but rather was a student of natural resources management. It was Richards, Blaikie, and Watts who brought me to geography, and in particular to an interdisciplinary subfield known as political ecology. Only later would I learn in my Ph.D. studies what a pivotal figure Michael Watts had been in my chosen discipline and subfield.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: John Blaney
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The ending in 2003 of the 14-year civil war in Liberia and the subsequent progress made there is a 21st-century success story not only for Liberians, but also for Africa, the United Nations (UN), the United States, and many others. Over 50,000 people lost their lives during this struggle, with great suffering endured elsewhere in West Africa as well. economically and socially, the country of Liberia, historically long renowned as sub-Saharan Africa's shining example, was decimated by this conflict and by rampant mismanagement and corruption. Today, Liberia still has serious problems, but under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, impressive progress continues. There is stability, basic living standards are up, children go to school, development assistance projects blossom from many quarters, new Liberian security institutions are matriculating, and even private sector investment is responding with additional badly needed jobs. How was Liberia afforded the priceless opportunity of becoming one of the greatest turnaround stories of the 21st century?
  • Topic: Security, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations, Liberia
  • Author: Frederik Rosen
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The U.S. elevation of security assistance to a core military capability has divided the waters between those who believe the military should stick to preparing strike capability and fighting wars and those who believe the world needs much broader forms of military engagement. Recent developments in strategy indicate that the latter opinion will prevail. The commencement of U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) in 2007 with its civilian command, interagency modalities, and soft power mandate reflects that an amalgamation of military and civilian capabilities is viewed at the highest levels as the way forward for realizing U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Andre Le Sage
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: This article provides an overview of Africa's irregular, nonstate threats, followed by an analysis of their strategic implications for regional peace and stability, as well as the national security interests of the United States. After reviewing the elements of the emerging international consensus on how best to address these threats, the conclusion highlights a number of new and innovative tools that can be used to build political will on the continent to confront these security challenges. This article is intended as a background analysis for those who are new to the African continent, as well as a source of detailed information on emerging threats that receive too little public or policy-level attention.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Sarah E. Mendelson
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: About a month before the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the United States elected its first African-American president, Barack Obama. This historic event, a fitting milestone, brings to life that declaration, which human rights activists and legal scholars regard as the sacred text. Obama's election fulfills a dream of the U.S. civil rights movement, a struggle that relied as much on the UDHR as on the courage of the men and women who for decades fought to make the United States a ''more perfect union.'' For human rights defenders around the world, its significance cannot be overstated.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, America
  • Author: Charles E. Cook
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It would seem to be impossible not to recognize the historical significance and symbolism that Barack Obama's election represents, regardless of whether someone supported Obama, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, or any of the other thirteen contenders for the presidency. Just 45 years after Dr. Martin Luther King's ''I Have a Dream'' speech and Birmingham Public Service Commissioner Bull Connor directed fire hoses to be aimed at civil rights demonstrators, an African-American was elected president of the United States. No matter how Obama fares as president, this is a remarkable milestone in U.S. history.
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, America
  • Author: Tom Selwyn
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Palestine Studies
  • Institution: Institute for Palestine Studies
  • Abstract: Itineraries in Conflict: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Political Lives of Tourism, by Rebecca L. Stein. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2008. x + 152 pages. Notes to p. 178. Bibliography to p. 204. Index to p. 219. $79.95 cloth; $22.95 paper. Tom Selwyn is professorial research associate in the Department of Anthropology, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where he teaches the anthropology of tourism.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Israel, London, Palestine
  • Author: Derek Byerlee, Alain de Janvry, Joan VanWassenhove, Donna Barry
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: To the Editor:Paul Collier ("The Politics of Hunger," November/December 2008) sets out three priorities for overcoming the world food crisis: replacing peasant and smallholder farming with large-scale commercial farms, promoting genetically modified crops, and reducing subsidies to biofuels in the United States. Collier got two of these right but missed the boat with his anti-smallholder bias when it comes to modernizing agriculture, especially in Africa. A focus on smallholder farming is a proven strategy for accelerating growth, reducing poverty, and overcoming hunger.
  • Topic: Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, China, India, Asia
  • Author: Catherine Bertini, Dan Glickman
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Hunger remains one of world's gravest humanitarian problems, but the United States has failed to prioritize food aid and agricultural development. Washington must put agriculture at the center of development aid -- and make it a key part of a new U.S. foreign policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Washington, Asia
  • Author: Ethan B. Kapstein
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In one of the great ironies of history, Africa may well emerge from the current global recession as the only region in the world that remains committed to global capitalism. While the tired industrialized nations of the West are nationalizing their banks and engaging in various forms of protectionism, Africa remains open for business -- promoting trade, foreign direct investment, and domestic entrepreneurship. Analysts in the industrialized countries are concerned that foreign aid flows to Africa might drop because of the recession, but Africans themselves are much more worried about rising barriers to their exports and diminishing private investment from abroad, which could impede the continuation of the impressive economic progress the continent has made over the past decade. It is still a well-kept secret that the African continent has been in the midst of a profound economic transformation. Since 2004, economic growth has boomed at an average level of six percent annually, on par with Latin America. This rate will undoubtedly decline as a result of the global financial crisis, but the International Monetary Fund still projects growth of around 1.5 percent for this year and four percent for 2010 throughout Africa -- a relatively healthy figure by today's depressing standards. International trade now accounts for nearly 60 percent of Africa's GDP (far above the level for Latin America), and foreign direct investment in Africa has more than doubled since 1998, to over $15 billion per year. Overall, private-sector investment constitutes more than 20 percent of GDP. Furthermore, since 1990, the number of countries with stock markets in sub-Saharan Africa has tripled and the capitalization of those exchanges has risen from virtually nothing to $245 billion (that is, outside of South Africa, which has long had an active stock exchange). These "frontier" markets have, until recently, given investors huge returns compared to those found in other emerging economies.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Latin America
  • Author: Leonardo A. Villalón
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: While the question of the relationship between Islam and democracy continues to attract significant attention from scholars and policymakers, African cases have been largely absent from these debates. This article argues that the experiences of sub-Saharan African Muslim societies may nevertheless have much to contribute to our understanding of democratic prospects in the Muslim world. Considering the experiences of three Francophone countries of Sahelian West Africa, it explores the ways in which the democratization experiments led by secular civil society activists in the early 1990s moved from the initial resistance of deeply religious Muslim majorities to an acceptance of democracy as the only legitimating bases of political systems. The article argues that this was possible due to the significant negotiation both within religious society and between religious groups and the secular elite on the actual content of democracy. These cases thus suggest a number of tentative but important lessons for our understanding of democratic possibilities in the Muslim world.
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Leandro Martínez Peñas
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Athena Intelligence Journal
  • Institution: Athena Intelligence
  • Abstract: Nigeria is a country that develops a crucial role in African balance. This fact is due to its population, its oil and mining resources, and its importance for the regional sphere, especially on Sahel and the Gulf of Guinea. For this reason it must pay attention to the problems in which this State is involved, as secessionism and uprising, organized criminality, ecological damage, religious and ethnic tensions. Moreover it must be taken on account that democracy has been established in this region for a relatively short period of time. All these elements seriously threaten the stability of the most populated African nation.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: James D. McGee
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: For years analysts have been predicting that Zimbabwe had reached rock bottom and that a turn-around was imminent. For years they have been wrong, and Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party have maintained political control while simultaneously destroying Zimbabwe's once thriving economy. The question now is whether the postelection violence and hyper-inflation of 2008 finally marked the turning point for Zimbabwe, and if the new unity government can begin to bring Zimbabwe out of its decade-long collapse.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Donald Teitelbaum
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: President Obama's July visit focused global attention on Ghana. His speech to the Ghanaian Parliament, however, was clearly a message to the African continent as a whole. He declared that “…this moment is just as promising for Ghana—and for Africa—as the moment when my father came of age and new nations were being born. This is a new moment of promise. Only this time, we have learned that it will not be giants like Nkrumah and Kenyatta who will determine Africa's future. Instead, it will be you—the men and women in Ghana's Parliament, and the people you represent. Above all, it will be the young people—brimming with talent and energy and hope—who can claim the future that so many in my father's generation never found.” Explaining why Ghana was a particularly relevant place to discuss Africa's future, President Obama stated, “Here in Ghana, you show us a face of Africa that is too often overlooked by a world that sees only tragedy or the need for charity. The people of Ghana have worked hard to put democracy on a firmer footing, with peaceful transfers of power even in the wake of closely contested elections. And with improved governance and an emerging civil society, Ghana's economy has shown impressive rates of growth.” More pointedly, President Obama recognized that “time and again, Ghanaians have chosen Constitutional rule over autocracy, and shown a democratic spirit that allows the energy of your people to break through.”
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Erich Marquardt
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: Seven and a half years after 9/11, the global community faces a resilient and dangerous al- Qa'ida. Despite immense efforts to understand al-Qa'ida, informed analysts disagree widely over its actual strength. Some consider the group a visceral and literal threat to Western civilization. Others proclaim the organization is irrelevant given the isolation of its senior leaders in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Finally, some point to al-Qa'ida's failure to prosecute meaningful attacks in the United States since 9/11, and the absence of successful large attacks in the West since the London bombings in 2005, as evidence of the organization's decline.
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Iran, London
  • Author: David H. Shinn
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: After the september 11 attacks, the Bush administration's foreign policy toward Somalia focused primarily on counterterrorism. This focus was a result of Somalia's proximity to the Middle East, U.S. concern that al-Qa'ida might relocate to the country, a history of terrorist bombings targeting Western interests in nearby Kenya and Tanzania and early contact between al-Qa'ida and individuals in Somalia. Although ties exist between al-Qa'ida and Somalia's al-Shabab militant group, the overwhelming objective of U.S. policy in Somalia should not be confronting international terrorist activity. Instead, the United States should contribute to creating a moderate government of national unity in Somalia, which offers the best hope of minimizing Somali links to international terrorism. Long-term U.S. interests in the Horn of Africa will not be served by a policy that is consumed with military action to the detriment of supporting economic development and a broad based Somali government.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Middle East, Tanzania, Somalia
  • Author: Bülent Aras, Kenan Dağcı, M. Efe Çaman
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
  • Institution: Center for International Conflict Resolution at Yalova University
  • Abstract: This article aims to analyse Turkey's foreign policy towards Asia, which is part of Turkey's emerging universal foreign policy vision. The notion of geographic imagination is provided to theorize Turkey's emerging policy attitudes and behaviors. Turkey's involvement in Asia will focus on the development of economic relations, security cooperation, supporting Asian political schemes for a multilateral world order and playing a facilitator role in Asia's encounter with the West. This new foreign policy orientation links the reform and change in the domestic landscape and Turkey's new activism in Asia, which has opened new horizons in its relations with Asian states and has encouraged policy-makers in their search for a central role in a number of regions ranging from Africa to Asia.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Rumu Sarkar
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Affairs
  • Institution: The European Institute
  • Abstract: A new theme among strategists stresses the need for redefining future military missions to include more emphasis on winning the hearts and minds of civilians. If this task is seen as essential for redrafting operational doctrines for Western militaries, planners also should consider some radical practical changes in defining the desirable profile for soldiers and training.
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Funda Keskin
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Abstract: There is no doubt that gross human rights violations in Darfur exceed the limits of the responsibility to protect of the international community. During the discussions about the situation in Darfur in the Security Council, especially China and Russia put forward the principle of state sovereignty as an argument against intervention. Whatever the result about this contention, it is not possible to take a decision at the Security Council authorizing the member states to intervene in Darfur due to veto right of the permanent members. The African Union as the regional organization would not able to intervene due to its limited capacity and the lack of political will. According to some commentators and states, states like the US or the European Union members who endorse the concept of the responsibility to protect must be able to intervene. Nevertheless, although they never accepted the objection based on the state sovereignty, these states do not have the required political will to intervene by force. This brings us to the result that the major criticism directed against the humanitarian intervention which is its application on a selective basis, persists for the concept of the responsibility to protect as well.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, China, Europe
  • Author: Keiran E. Uchehara
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Abstract: China's foreign policy agenda in Africa forms a part of its thrust to foster cooperation among the developing countries and demonstrate its status as an emerging superpower. The 2000 Beijing Declaration and the Program for China-Africa Cooperation in Economic and Social Development are the basis of the renewed relations. China has developed diverse and varied relations with Africa in all spheres of interaction. However, Africa's mineral and energy resources, required by China's bourgeoning industry, are the major attraction of its re-engagement with Africa in the 21st century. The accelerated growth of China's trade and investment in Africa has stirred controversy among academics and policy makers in terms of the nature of opportunities and challenges for the continent's development, and whether a neo-colonial pattern of relationship akin to the one with the West is likely to develop. The imbalance in trade and investment relations, partly due to economic asymmetries, and China's failure to condemn the repressive African governments and poorly managed economies point to a foreign economic policy which is self-serving and influenced by immediate short-term gains.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Thoko Kaime
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: African Journal of Legal Studies
  • Institution: The Africa Law Institute
  • Abstract: This article examines the cultural-based critiques of the international human rights paradigm generally and children's rights in particular, with specific reference to Africa. In this regard, the paper attempts to identify gaps in the analyses of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Towards that end, the paper proceeds in three parts. In the first section, it situates the discussion within the general framework of children's rights at international law. In the next section, it turns to an examination of the culture-based critiques of the idea of universal rights. Finally, in the fourth and fifth sections, it analyses the documents and literature that focus on the rights and welfare of the child. In the concluding section, the author raises several important questions regarding the propriety of this special category of human rights in the African context.
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Ifeonu Eberechi
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: African Journal of Legal Studies
  • Institution: The Africa Law Institute
  • Abstract: Intrinsic in the concept of international justice for violations of international humanitarian law is the requirement of cooperation by states and, to a large extent, regional bodies with the International Criminal Court (ICC). Unlike domestic courts, the ICC is not endowed with law enforcement power nor could such power be imputed to it as part of its functions. It is against this background that the on-going crisis of corporation between the ICC and the African Union (AU) following the indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for international crime portends a far reaching implication for the administration of international criminal accountability. As part of a broader diagnosis of the reasons for the AU's opposition, this paper, while discussing armed conflicts in Africa, which provides the fillip for gross human rights violations in the region, exposes the contributions of the West. It concludes that an effective enforcement of international justice in the region must include an inquiry into the role of international actors and Western powers in promoting and exacerbating the situation.
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Pacifique Manirakiza
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: African Journal of Legal Studies
  • Institution: The Africa Law Institute
  • Abstract: Africa has been ravaged by armed conflicts and/or oppressive regimes for decades. During those conflicts or oppressive regimes, heinous crimes such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed and made millions of victims. Among these, only a handful number saw some justice. This was possible essentially because the international community took a vigorous stance against the impunity of war criminals and genocidaires by creating international judicial mechanisms, such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), to deal with it. Also, some individual African States have prosecuted international crimes within their municipal courts as well as some western States based on the universal jurisdiction principle. This article analyses the African contribution to the building of the international criminal justice system. It also addresses the African objections against the ICC intervention in Africa and the use of the universal jurisdiction criticized as a form of imperialism and neo-colonialism disguised in a judicial form. It concludes by exploring the feasibility of an African Criminal Court.
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Yemisi Dina
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: African Journal of Legal Studies
  • Institution: The Africa Law Institute
  • Abstract: Professor Henry Steiner et al in the book International Human Rights in Context: Law, Politics, Morals: Texts and Materials described the African System as the “newest, least developed or effective.....most distinctive and most controversial”. However the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights even though in its infancy has managed to be an effective international human rights instrument according to the findings of the study conducted by Professor Obiora Okafor in his book The African Human Rights System, Activist Forces And International Institutions. The book is a testamentary evidence of some of the achievements of this system through the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. The African continent is faced with a number of regional obstacles but Okafor has contributed his well researched work to scholarship by documenting some of the critical issues in the area of international human rights which cannot be found anywhere else. The book can also serve as casebook on African.
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Linda Jakobson
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: The increasingly multi-faceted engagement of China in Africa is part of China's growing global reach. Chinese diplomats strive to promote an image of a peacefully rising power, whereas Chinese businessmen seek natural resources and export markets. As a result, those responsible for Chinese foreign policy strategic thinking struggle to accommodate the needs of this diverse group of actors in Africa, well aware that as a major power, Beijing is expected to address international crisis. In Washington and Brussels, China is criticized for its support of despotic African regimes and its aid programs 'with no strings attached'. In Sudan, in particular, China's credibility as a responsible nation is questioned. This article provides a concise overview of China's evolving diplomacy toward Africa, highlighting the Sino-Sudan relationship, with the aim of shedding light on the drivers and constraints on Beijing's motives and actions on the African continent. The article assesses some of the implications of Beijing's policy choices in Africa for its international relations.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Beijing
  • Author: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Until 2008, thanks to domestic policy reforms, external assistance and high commodity prices, most of the economies of sub-Saharan Africa experienced sustained and accelerating growth for over a decade. Poverty was declining, health and education indicators were improving—albeit from a low base—and there were signs that Africa's HIV/AIDS prevalence rate had begun to decline. Then, in 2008, the continent was subjected to three major global shocks: a 50 percent increase in food prices, a surge in world oil prices that reached $140 a barrel and the financial meltdown and worldwide recession that is still running its course. The initial impact of these shocks was devastating, but African policymakers and the international community responded quickly and effectively, preventing a far worse outcome. Using external assistance, they scaled up existing safety net programs to cushion the poor from the food price shock, and for the most part avoided unproductive but politically compelling policies, such as price controls and export bans. Leaders of the affected countries also increased the share of high food prices accruing to Africa's farmers. Similarly, many oil-importing countries passed on higher fuel prices to consumers, avoiding the temptation to increase poorly targeted and often regressive subsidies. Finally, when the price of oil plummeted, Africa's largest oil exporters were able to withstand the shock because they had been using a conservative reference price per barrel in their budgets and saving the rest. As the global recession worsens, the coming months or years will be extremely difficult for Africa. However, the combination of domestic policy reforms and prudent foreign assistance that enabled Africa to experience economic growth over the past decade and manage the food, fuel and financial shocks thus far, can, if replicated, enable the continent to minimize the impact on its poor and return to a path of self-sustaining growth.
  • Topic: Education, Health
  • Political Geography: Africa