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  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Militant Islamist groups in Africa set a record pace of activity in 2019, reflecting a doubling of militant Islamist activity from 2013. Expanded activity in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin underscores diversification of threat from Somalia.
  • Topic: United Nations, Violent Extremism, ISIS, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Mozambique, Somalia, Sahel, Lake Chad Basin
  • Author: Intissar Kherigi
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: An account of the Arab uprisings of the last decade would be incomplete without an understanding of regional inequalities. While each country’s protests were driven by a distinct combination of grievances, a common factor has been the marginalisation of “peripheries”. The Sidi Bouzid region of Tunisia from which the Arab Spring started is a region rich in agricultural resources yet poor in infrastructure and economic opportunities. Its connection rate to running water is half the national average. A similar story can be seen across the flashpoints of unrest in the Arab world, a story of widening urban-rural divides, uneven regional development and political and economic exclusion of entire regions. Can decentralisation address these grievances? Since the 1980s, decentralisation has been championed as a driver for both democratisation and development, promising to empower regions, granting them political representation and enabling them to create their own economic strategies. However, a key fear among many, from politicians and bureaucrats to ordinary citizens, is that decentralisation is a means for the central state to withdraw from its traditional functions and transfer responsibility for service provision to under-resourced and over-burdened local government. Yet, the demands for freedom, dignity and social justice voiced by the Arab uprisings require the central state to be more present in peripheries, not less. Can decentralisation help achieve greater local development in peripheral regions without allowing the central state to withdraw from its obligations to citizens? Is it even possible to envisage new forms of local development within the framework of highly centralised Arab states? How can Arab states reconfigure their relations with local communities in the context of severe political and economic crises? This article explores these questions in the Tunisian context, where a major decentralisation process is taking place in response to demands for inclusion and development. It argues that in order to produce new modes of local development in peripheries, central state institutions need to fundamentally reform the way they function.
  • Topic: Inequality, Arab Spring, Decentralization , Bureaucracy
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Tunisia, Tunis
  • Author: Alex Walsh
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The 2011 Egyptian protests started in earnest nine years ago on National Police Day on 25 January, a holiday that Hosni Mubarak had introduced to commemorate Egyptian police officers killed and wounded by British colonial forces in 1952. Protesters upended the original meaning of the holiday to turn it into a symbol of police brutality and corruption under Mubarak. In the drama of the 18 days that followed, Egypt’s internal security apparatus fought the protesters in the streets, delivering one shocking provocation after another, galvanizing the protest movement and ultimately contributing to the removal of Mubarak. Since 2011, the police and internal security forces of many countries in the Arab world have been at the centre of the conflicts and struggles that shape the region for better and for worse. Recent and ongoing encounters between protestors and police in the streets of Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria and Sudan are a stark reminder that the police are more than just a proxy target for a protestation of the state. They are also the object of much anger both as a grouping, and in terms of the concept of policing and social control they embody. The impact of this sustained contestation of police behaviour and doctrine in the region deserves reflection. Has the police and policing changed in the Arab world? And if so, in what ways? This paper maps out some of the main modes in which the police and policing have been contested since 2011, and provides a preliminary assessment of its impact. It argues that mass mobilised contestation has only been successful in the instance where institutional reform followed. It notes that hybridisation of policing – where informal security actors cooperate and challenge formal security actors – has spread in many countries but that the concept of state security – with its emphasis on the state over citizens – continues to prevail across the region. Indeed, almost a decade after that fateful 25 January 2011, many of the aspirations of citizens protesting the police are far from realised, even while there are some promising developments.
  • Topic: Protests, Repression, Police, Police State
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Egypt, Cairo
  • Author: Jean Arkedis, Jessica Creighton, Archon Fung, Stephen Kosack, Dan Levy, Courtney Tolmie
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: We assess the impact of a transparency and accountability program designed to improve maternal and newborn health (MNH) outcomes in Indonesia and Tanzania. Co-designed with local partner organizations to be community-led and non-prescriptive, the program sought to encourage community participation to address local barriers in access to high quality care for pregnant women and infants. We evaluate the impact of this program through randomized controlled trials (RCTs), involving 100 treatment and 100 control communities in each country. We find that on average, this program did not have a statistically significant impact on the use or content of maternal and newborn health services, nor the sense of civic efficacy or civic participation among recent mothers in the communities who were offered it. These findings hold in both countries and in a set of prespecified subgroups. To identify reasons for the lack of impacts, we use a mixed-method approach combining interviews, observations, surveys, focus groups, and ethnographic studies that together provide an in-depth assessment of the complex causal paths linking participation in the program to improvements in MNH outcomes. Although participation in program meetings was substantial and sustained in most communities, and most attempted at least some of what they had planned, only a minority achieved tangible improvements and fewer still saw more than one such success. Our assessment is that the main explanation for the lack of impact is that few communities were able to traverse the complex causal paths from planning actions to accomplishing tangible improvements in their access to quality health care.
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy, Children, Randomized Controlled Trials
  • Political Geography: Africa, Indonesia, Tanzania, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Matt Andrews
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: Globalization has fed significant economic gains across the world. The gains lead some policymakers in developing countries to believe in the potential of ‘catch up’—where they leverage the gains of an open world economy to foster rapid progress and compete with more developed nations. This belief is particularly evident in countries like Rwanda, where policymakers aspire to turn the country into ‘Africa’s Singapore’. This paper asks if such aspiration is realistic: Do developing countries really gain enough from globalization to catch up to more developed countries? The paper examines the world economy as a league in which countries compete for winnings (manifest in higher income and production). Wealthier countries are in the top tiers of this league and poorer countries are in the lower tiers. The paper asks if gains from the last generation of growth have been distributed in such a way to foster ‘catch up’ by lower tier countries, and if we see these countries ‘catching up’ by moving into higher tiers. This analysis of the world economy is compared with a study of English football, where over 90 clubs play in an multi-tier league system. Prominent examples of ‘catch up’ in this system include Leicester City’s rise from the third tier in 2008 to become first tier champion in 2015. The paper asks if such ‘catch up’ is common in English football, given the way winnings are distributed, and if ‘catch up’ is more common in this context than in the world economy more generally.
  • Topic: Globalization, Developing World, Global Political Economy, Economic growth
  • Political Geography: Africa, Rwanda
  • Author: Matthew Schwartz, Naz Yalbir
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Fourth Freedom Forum
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, security actors in Kenya and the international community have increasingly viewed young people in Kenya's Muslim communities as vectors for radicalization to violent extremism. A number of large scale economic development assistance programs in the country, even as they promote the intense free market entrepreneurialism that continues to leave the vast majority of Kenyans behind, are also increasingly taking on preventing violent extremism objectives. Against the backdrop of heightened international and domestic concerns over the vulnerability of Kenyan youth to violent extremism, this policy brief focuses on the hardships and priorities of youth in Kenya through the voices of young people themselves. Drawing on a series of focus group discussions conducted by the Kenya Community Support Centre in September 2018, the paper explores the daily challenges confronting young people in Mombasa County as they struggle to make ends meet in the face of joblessness, wage theft, nepotism, and political corruption. While the serious threat posed by al-Shabaab cannot be ignored, the paper argues that the overriding drive to prevent violent extremism among Kenyan youth, especially in Muslim and Somali communities, is not only disproportionate but also counterproductive, threatening to overshadow the overwhelming need for economic justice, governance accountability, and reform.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Youth, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Pauline Le Roux
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The Sahel has experienced the most rapid increase in militant Islamist group activity of any region in Africa in recent years. Violent events involving extremist groups in the region have doubled every year since 2015. In 2019, there have been more than 700 such violent episodes (see Figure 1). Fatalities linked to these events have increased from 225 to 2,000 during the same period. This surge in violence has uprooted more than 900,000 people, including 500,000 in Burkina Faso in 2019 alone. Three groups, the Macina Liberation Front (FLM),1 the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS),2 and Ansaroul Islam,3 are responsible for roughly two-thirds of the extremist violence in the central Sahel.4 Their attacks are largely concentrated in central Mali, northern and eastern Burkina Faso, and western Niger (see Figure 2). Multiple security and development responses have been deployed to address this crisis. While some progress has been realized, the continued escalation of extremist violence underscores that more needs to be done.
  • Topic: Security, Islam, Regional Cooperation, Violent Extremism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, Sahel, Niger, Burkina Faso
  • Author: Kwesi Aning, Joseph Siegle
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Africa’s armed forces are in transition from an independence-era model to one more suited to today’s conflicts and threats. They are increasingly called upon to engage in preventive action, resolve domestic security crises, combat transnational threats, and protect the progression toward more democratic governance. Understanding how African security sector actors’ perceptions may be shifting in light of these changes can provide insights to improving their effectiveness. This study, involving 742 African security sector professionals from 37 countries, assesses differences in the attitudes, motivations, and values of the emerging generation of African security sector professionals. Understanding these differences may raise awareness, provide a basis for reform, and create an impetus for improving the citizen-security actor relationship.
  • Topic: Globalization, National Security, Democracy, State Building, transnationalism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mediterranean, Sahara
  • Author: Wendy Williams
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Recent years have seen record numbers of Africans forcibly displaced from their homes. The most recent figure of 25 million people displaced is a 500-percent increase from 2005. While much attention focuses on economic migrants who are trying to cross into Europe, 95 percent of those who are displaced remain on the continent. Two-thirds of these are displaced within their home countries. In short, the reality faced is more accurately characterized as an African displacement, rather than a European migrant, crisis. This paper explores the drivers of population displacement in Africa, security ramifications, and priorities for reversing this destabilizing trend.
  • Topic: Migration, Diaspora, Political stability, Displacement
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Uganda, South Sudan, Sahara
  • Author: Luka Kuol, Majak D'Agoôt, Remember Miamingi, Lauren Hutton, Phillip Kasaija Apuuli, Luol Deim Kuol, Godfrey Musila
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The internal conflict and resulting humanitarian crisis embroiling South Sudan since December 2013 have exposed the country’s fragility. A weak national identity, ethnically based violence, a legacy of violent conflict resolution, personalized and patronage-based politics, weak institutional checks on the abuse of power, and the absence of encompassing leadership, among other factors, all pose obstacles to peacebuilding. As a result, envisaging a stable South Sudan has become increasingly difficult for many South Sudanese and external observers. With regional and international diplomacy rightly focused on negotiating an immediate end to hostilities, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies has asked a selection of South Sudanese and international scholars, security practitioners, and civil society leaders to share their visions of the strategic issues South Sudan must address if it is to make a transition from its current state of dissimilation to a more stable reality. These visions, taken individually and collectively, are intended to help sketch out some of the priorities and prerequisites for transforming today’s highly fragmented security landscape in South Sudan to one in which its citizens are safe in their own country and are protected from external threats.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Nationalism, Regional Cooperation, United Nations, Humanitarian Intervention
  • Political Geography: Africa, East Africa, South Sudan, Central Africa
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Trafficking in persons has become a multibillion dollar business in Africa that African governments have been slow to address.
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Children, Women, Slavery, Human Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt, Burundi, Eritrea, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Mediterranean
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Conflict is a central factor in the geography of Africa’s food insecurity. The acuteness of this insecurity deepens the longer a conflict continues.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, United Nations, Food Security, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Nigeria, Burundi, South Sudan, Cameroon, Central African Republic
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Declines in violent activity linked to Boko Haram and al Shabaab are balanced by increases in the Sahel, generating a mixed picture of the challenge posed by militant Islamist groups in Africa.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, ISIS, Islamic State, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique, Somalia, Mali, Chad, Niger
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The escalation of violent events linked to militant Islamist groups in the Sahel reflects an array of diverse actors operating within distinct geographic concentrations.
  • Topic: Political Violence, International Cooperation, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Increased attacks from militant Islamist groups in the Sahel coupled with cross-border challenges such as trafficking, migration, and displacement have prompted a series of regional and international security responses.
  • Topic: Security, Migration, Regional Cooperation, Trafficking , Displacement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Sahel, Niger
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: A surge of attacks in the Sahel coupled with declines in activity by Boko Haram, ISIS, and al Shabaab reflect the constantly shifting threats posed by militant Islamist groups in Africa.
  • Topic: Violent Extremism, ISIS, Militant Islam
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt, Somalia, Mali, Sahel
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: With Africa's population expected to double by 2050, the rapid increase in the number of forcibly displaced Africans of the past decade will continue to expand unless key drivers are reversed.
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Diaspora, Displacement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Central African Republic
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Human trafficking remains a significant problem in Africa, exploiting vulnerable individuals—children, women, and men—for forced labor as well as prostitution.
  • Topic: United Nations, Labor Issues, Children, Human Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, North Africa, West Africa, East Africa
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Despite multiple ceasefires and peace agreements signed since the conflict began in 2013, the humanitarian costs to the citizens of South Sudan continue to grow.
  • Topic: Civil War, Humanitarian Intervention, Negotiation, Violence, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, East Africa, South Sudan, Central Africa
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The dynamism of clandestine African migration flows continues to present criminal and violent extremist groups opportunities for exploitation.
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Diaspora, Violent Extremism, European Union
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Southern Europe
  • Author: Rachid Tlemçani
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: As of 22 February 2019, a new chapter of Algeria’s history is being written, one which will establish a new relationship between Algerian citizens and their state. On that day, against all odds, tens of thousands of Algerians, regardless of gender, age, social or professional background, converged on cities and villages to voice their rejection of a fifth term for Abdelaziz Bouteflika in the forthcoming presidential elections. To the call of General Ahmed Gaïd Salah, the army’s chief of staff, to remove President Bouteflika as per Article 102 of the Constitution, and Bouteflika’s subsequent resignation on 2 April, Algerians responded with an even stronger mobilization and their own call, “Système, dégage!”
  • Topic: Social Movement, Democracy, Protests, State Building
  • Political Geography: Africa, Algeria, North Africa, Mediterranean, Algeris
  • Author: Magdi El-Gizouli
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: What is the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) anyway, perplexed commentators and news anchors on Sudan’s government-aligned television channels asked repetitively as if bound by a spell? An anchor on the BBC Arabic Channel described the SPA as “mysterious” and “bewildering”. Most were asking about the apparently unfathomable body that has taken the Sudanese political scene by surprise since December 2018 when the ongoing wave of popular protests against President Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year authoritarian rule began. The initial spark of protests came from Atbara, a dusty town pressed between the Nile and the desert some 350km north of the capital, Khartoum. A crowd of school pupils, market labourers and university students raged against the government in response to an abrupt tripling of the price of bread as a result of the government’s removal of wheat subsidies. Protestors in several towns across the country set fire to the headquarters of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and stormed local government offices and Zakat Chamber1 storehouses taking food items in a show of popular sovereignty.
  • Topic: Mass Media, Food, Social Movement, Protests
  • Political Geography: Africa, Khartoum, Sundan
  • Author: El Mouhoub Mouhoud
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: With ongoing protests in Algeria and wide calls to boycott the presidential poll in July, Algerians’ demands for radical regime change remain relentless. The army’s announcement it is considering all options to resolve the current crisis does not resonate well in a country where the army has been closely tied to regime interests. In this interview, Professor Mouhoud provides a much-needed context to better understand how the protests started and the potential scenarios that may unfold in Algeria over the coming months.
  • Topic: Social Movement, Arab Spring, Military Intervention, Protests
  • Political Geography: Africa, Algeria, North Africa, Mediterranean, Algeris
  • Author: Ahmed Ezzat
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Egyptian cause lawyers have constituted a strong socio-professional group and successfully used “strategic litigation” to challenge the state’s policies and counter its conservative narratives. With President El-Sissi in power and the security grip over legal institutions and courts, doubts were raised as to whether it still makes sense to go to court against the state over matters of rights and freedoms. By reviewing several emblematic cases, the author analyzes the impact of cause lawyering on mobilization and social movements and how it contributed to reshaping the public sphere, as well as the challenges the cause lawyers’ movement faces under El-Sissi.
  • Topic: Human Rights, United Nations, Social Movement, Legal Theory
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Egypt, Mediterranean
  • Author: Magdi El-Gizouli
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: With Sudanese protesters still shouting “Madaniyya” (civilian), only time will tell if the recently signed power-sharing accord will be a true step in the direction towards democratic transition or simply another manoeuvre in Sudan’s longstanding tradition of “tajility” and unfulfilled promises.
  • Topic: Social Movement, Democracy, Protests, State Building
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, North Africa, Khartoum
  • Author: Lamia Zaki
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: In the wake of the Arab Spring, Morocco witnessed street protests demanding, among other things, for the “King to reign but not to rule”. Adopted by referendum on 1 July 2011, the latest Moroccan Constitution was prepared through a year-long participatory process led by a consultative commission. Although it did not fundamentally change the balance of powers at the highest levels of the State, it gave a new impulse to the decentralization process. Article 1 of the new Constitution states “the territorial organization of the Kingdom is decentralized”. It also enshrines the two principles of “free administration” of Local Governments (LGs) and subsidiarity and aims at reinforcing transparency, citizen participation, and governance. The new Constitution has also introduced the principle of “advanced regionalization” to make regions, in addition to municipalities, key levels of LGs in Morocco. In 2015, three Organic Laws (OLs) were issued to specify and operationalize the spirit of the Constitution at the municipal, regional, and prefectural levels.1 The decentralization process has quite a long history in Morocco. It has consistently been put at the core of the policy agenda for several decades and represented an important research topic for many observers of the political scene. Three different analytical perspectives have been put forward (in conjunction with contextual factors) to explain why and with what consequences decentralization has been put at the core of the policy agenda. The first points to the authoritarian management of LGs, based on the alliance built after independence between the monarchy and rural elites to counter the influence of urban and partisan elites.2 Using sophisticated tools (including postponing elections, successively reorganizing electoral maps, increasing the role of deconcentrated authorities), this approach led to the creation of domesticated local elites. Behind the decentralization reforms initiated through municipal charters of 1960 and 1976, researchers have pointed at the centralized and often brutal management of the Moroccan territory and of cities in particular in a context of rapid urban growth.3 A second analytical perspective highlights how decentralization has been presented and used since the 1990s by the Moroccan government as a tool to implement “democratization reforms”. The relative opening up of the political field in the late 1990s and early 2000s led to the emergence of new elites in different fields (entrepreneurship,4 real estate,5 partisan field,6 civil society,7 etc.), who have used their local base to claim rights and/or a political role at the local or national level. The third analytical perspective links decentralization to (“good”) governance reforms that focus more on the rationalization of resources, effective investment and the respect of management rules to promote local development rather than on representative democracy.8 By 2011, Moroccan municipalities were already entrusted with a wide range of mandates pertaining to the creation and management of a wide range of key services.9 Studies have shown how municipalities lack the financial and technical means to implement their missions and remain subject to the strong control of central and deconcentrated authorities.10 Yet other research has also highlighted the impact of these reforms on local notabilities and mobilization. The development of Hirak al-Rif, a protest movement born in Northern Morocco in 2016 and focused on demands for local and regional development, shows that the issue of local policies and decentralization remain at the core of the political agenda in a post-Arab Spring era. This article closely examines the recent legal reforms (2011 Constitution and Organic Laws) and looks at the technical and normative arrangements that have been developed in the wake of the Arab Spring to promote decentralization both at the municipal and regional levels. This approach has hardly been used, yet these often-neglected technical arrangements are the fruit of a bargaining process and have a direct political effect. I will show below that beyond the reforms brought by the Constitution and OLs to encourage local democracy and ensure more autonomy for LGs, important uncertainties remain as to their effective implementation on the ground. In addition to the lack of financial resources, the lack of a clear framework and implementing provisions explain that these legal changes remain largely theoretical (despite the fact that about 40 decrees and circulars that have been produced by the Directorate General for Local Governments (DGCL) at the Ministry of Interior to allow for the effective enforcement of the reforms). Contrary to many studies which consider deconcentration (i.e. administrative decentralization)11 as a way to neutralize decentralization reforms, 12 I will also argue that the deconcentration reforms simultaneously initiated with the “régionalisation avancée” (advanced regionalization) could enhance the scope and impact of the decentralization reforms in Morocco.
  • Topic: Social Movement, Arab Spring, Protests, Decentralization
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Morocco, Rabat
  • Author: Lotfi Tarchouna
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: In order for decentralization to be effective and lead to greater equality in development and political engagement, both processes of codification (i.e. enshrining provisions in the constitution) and operationalization must be guided by strong legal and political foundations, principles and structures. The paper discusses the Tunisian experience of decentralization since the adoption of the 2014 Constitution that described the Tunisian state as a unitary state and enshrined administrative decentralization, thus consolidating the Tunisian decentralized state. It argues that after the fall of Ben Ali, decentralization was seen as a way to preserve the integrity of the unitary state in Tunisia while introducing instruments of participative democracy through a reinvigorated decentralization process. First, it presents the legal and political foundations for decentralization and the new structures that were set up to implement it. Second, the paper addresses the fiscal and logistical challenges of implementation, the importance of collective civil society engagement in decentralized structures and concludes with recommendations and lessons learned from this experience in a country that recently experienced democratic transition.
  • Topic: Democracy, State Building, Decentralization , Engagement
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Tunisia, Mediterranean, Tunis
  • Author: Souha Drissi
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: With the death of President Beji Caid Essebsi on 25 July, Tunisia’s presidential elections were moved up and will be held on 15 September 2019. By the end of the eight-day process of accepting nominations – from 2 to 9 August – the Independent High Authority for Elections (IHAE) had received 971 requests for nomination which include 75 independents and 11 female candidates. On 31 August, the IHAE released the final list of candidates for the presidential race, accepting 26 nominees, including two women, and rejecting 71 applications for failing to meet candidacy requirements. The IHAE is considered one of the achievements of the 2011 Revolution. It is a nine-member permanent body based in Tunis which enjoys administrative and financial independence. Its mission is to “ensure democratic, pluralistic, fair and transparent elections and referendums”2 and supervise and oversee all related processes. The election campaigns started on 2 September and will continue until 13 September, with 17 September as the deadline for the announcement of the preliminary election results and 21 October for the announcement of the final results. In case of no absolute majority vote, a second round will be held after two weeks.3
  • Topic: Politics, Elections, Democracy, State Building
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Tunisia, Tunis
  • Author: Souha Drissi
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: With the death of President Beji Caid Essebsi on 25 July, Tunisia’s presidential elections were moved up and will be held on 15 September 2019. By the end of the eight-day process of accepting nominations – from 2 to 9 August – the Independent High Authority for Elections (IHAE) had received 971 requests for nomination which include 75 independents and 11 female candidates. On 31 August, the IHAE released the final list of candidates for the presidential race, accepting 26 nominees, including two women, and rejecting 71 applications for failing to meet candidacy requirements. The IHAE is considered one of the achievements of the 2011 Revolution. It is a nine-member permanent body based in Tunis which enjoys administrative and financial independence. Its mission is to “ensure democratic, pluralistic, fair and transparent elections and referendums”2 and supervise and oversee all related processes. The election campaigns started on 2 September and will continue until 13 September, with 17 September as the deadline for the announcement of the preliminary election results and 21 October for the announcement of the final results. In case of no absolute majority vote, a second round will be held after two weeks.3
  • Topic: Politics, Elections, Democracy, State Building
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Tunisia, Tunis
  • Author: Ishac Diwan
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: During its first years of transition to a democratic order, Tunisia's efforts were predominantly focused on addressing political challenges. The performance of the country in this regard has been generally positive, as it has managed to consolidate democratic gains despite challenges related to the polarization of politics around identity and religious issues, the rise in insecurity related to attacks by extremist groups, and even the general disenchantment of voters for the existing political elites. However, the gains on the political front came at the expense of economic setbacks. One of the main challenges for the coming period will thus be largely economic. High unemployment, unfulfilled demands for social justice, the rise in corruption, and most importantly in the short term, an unsustainable macroeconomic trajectory, all threaten to upset recent political gains. If the upcoming administration does not address them, social discontent would endanger the hard-won democratic gains.
  • Topic: Religion, Social Movement, Democracy, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Tunisia, Mediterranean, Tunis
  • Author: Dris Nouri
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Since pluralism was introduced in Algeria in the February 1989 constitution, presidential elections have become a means of conferring legitimacy to the civilian façade of military authority. Historically, the army has held centre stage in the country’s configuration of power, holding power explicitly until 1989, then indirectly after facing popular anger in October 1988, which led the armed forces to relinquish their “revolutionary legitimacy” and replace it with elections-sanctioned legitimacy. The conditions of this political openness, however, and the slide into violence in 1991, allowed authorities the opportunity to disable the capacity of elections to bring forth a democratic alternative. Elections were thus rendered periodic events designed to provide the veneer of democratic legitimacy to a supposedly civilian elected president – but who was always chosen in advance by the authorities under a rigged bureaucratic system. While this model didn’t allow Liamine Zéroual to continue his term (1995-1999), Abdelaziz Bouteflika knew how to manipulate the system to the greatest extent, allowing him to stay in power for four full terms, regardless of his deteriorating health conditions, and to even try to devise loopholes for extending to a fifth term.1 The regime did not expect to pay a high cost for running this model. Nor did it understand that the resources needed to maintain the effectiveness of this system in the collective imaginary of the Algerian people were in fact dwindling, be they material resources (revenues from oil and gas used for generous social programmes and clientele networks) or symbolic (revolutionary legitimacy, Bouteflika’s charisma). As such, the planned presidential election of 18 April 2019 – designed to renew the existing contract between the regime, its cronies, and its clientele networks - instead became the catalyst for a peaceful revolutionary movement to emerge. It was the moment when millions of Algerians took to the streets demanding radical change to the state’s mode of operating, the production process, and the distribution of power in society. As a result of the peaceful popular uprising, Algeria’s top brass was forced to intervene to remove the president who was running again for office, and the elections were cancelled in a bid to contain the unprecedented and widespread anger. However, the authorities soon realized that Algerians were demanding something deeper: the cancellation of the de facto delegated power that the military had enjoyed since independence, to be replaced with a true electoral process. In the wake of this realization, the authorities have been trying to neutralize the effectiveness of the popular uprising, going to great lengths to renew the civilian façade.
  • Topic: United Nations, Social Movement, Elections, Protests, Repression, Military Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Algeria, North Africa, Algeris
  • Author: Redouane Boudjemaa
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: On 17 November, the presidential campaign, which the Algerian authorities insist on organizing on 12 December, officially started. This is despite opposition from large segments of Algerians, expressed through rallies across the majority of provinces in Algeria. These protests strongly express the widely held perception amongst the protesters that the upcoming elections will only renew the system (le pouvoir) and anchor the survival of the military regime imposed on the country since 1962. Two prominent slogans sum up this refusal, across all the protests, "no election with the gangs", highlighting the corruption of the regime, evident through the presence of the figures from the era of the resigned/removed president Bouteflika. The other slogan is, "Civilian, not a military, state", meaning that the protesters demand the building of a civilian state, not a military one. It is this slogan that confirms the necessity of breaking, on an epistemological level, with the militarization and securitization on which the political regime was built since Algeria’s independence from France in July 1962. Departing from an attempt to understand the popular movement’s refusal of the 12 December elections, and the authorities’ rigidity to impose its will and pass the election by force, this paper tries to analyze the trajectories of the five candidates in the election, the calculations of the authority, and those of the popular movement, before moving on to some likely scenarios in case the authorities succeeded, or failed, to impose the ballots.
  • Topic: Democracy, Election watch, Protests, Military Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Algeria, North Africa, Algeris
  • Author: Nassim Balla
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: On 22 February 2019, tens of thousands of Algerians took the streets to oppose President Bouteflika running for a fifth term. This unprecedented movement in Algeria, the Hirak, is in many respects particular: it is pacifist, rooted in popular neighbourhoods, and dominated by a young generation of activists. After years of the regime’s disdain (hougra) of the marginalized, of youth, and of political opponents, a spontaneous and peaceful glimmer of hope suddenly emerged. During these protests, Algerian youth have shown incredible creativity in expressing their political demands despite having always been excluded from the formal political sphere and having themselves despised and rejected politics writ large. They have invented complex metaphorical slogans and songs to express their indignation and anger. These chants, however, are not entirely new: they have always existed in Algerian stadiums, where they were traditionally composed by young football fans, the “ultras,” and inspired from Algerian folklore and chaabi (popular) music.1 In the last decade, though, these songs saw an important revival and began encompassing strong political messages deeply anchored in an assessment of the current context. This paper seeks to analyze, deconstruct, and interpret three of these slogans and songs that were born among the ultras in Algerian stadiums and later adopted by all protesters as an alternative to classical political projects. These slogans reflect a long-lasting dissatisfaction with the status quo and are often deeply rooted in popular culture and anthems of the marginalized and forgotten in Algeria.
  • Topic: Culture, Elections, Protests, Youth Movement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Algeria, North Africa, Algeris
  • Author: Garcia Isabella
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex
  • Abstract: In 2018/2019 the CGPE launched an annual Gender & Global Political Economy Undergraduate Essay Prize competition, open to all undergraduate students within the School of Global Studies. The winner of the 2018/2019 competition is Isabella Garcia for the essay “How do global supply chains exacerbate gender-based violence against women in the Global South?” Isabella graduated with a BA in International Relations and Development in July and will join the MA cohort in our Global Political Economy programme for 2019/2020. Given the very strong field of submissions, the award committee further decided to award a second-place prize to Yume Tamiya for the essay “Does the rise of the middle class disguise existing inequalities in Brazil?”. Yume graduated with a BA in International Development with International Education and Development. We are delighted to publish both of these excellent essays in the CGPE Working Paper series.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Women, Gender Based Violence , Global South
  • Political Geography: Africa, Latin America, Mexico, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Author: Elizabeth Stites, Teddy Atim, Ayee Flora Tracy
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: This working paper presents findings on the migration of youth (aged 15–35) from Acholi, Uganda to the urban areas of Gulu and Pabbo in northern Uganda, and to the Acholi Quarter neighborhood in Kampala. Key findings include: Acholi youth migrate into urban areas for a diverse range of reasons; top among these are the lack of economic opportunities in rural areas, inadequate land access, and family disputes. Female migrants in particular also cited being pushed off land and physical and sexual abuse as reasons for migrating, in addition to economic reasons. Many migrants maintain strong economic, livelihood, social, and emotional ties to their rural places of origin, with split-household models being extremely common. Those who did not maintain such ties—mostly women— were among the most vulnerable. The findings of this report have important implications for national and international programming and interventions, especially given the expanding role urbanization plays in Uganda and across the developing world. The provision of urban services, especially education, must meet the needs of the continuing influx of migrants, many of whom prioritize education. Decision making about migration involves not only concerns for the migrant, but also their family, whether or not family members also move.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Immigration, Children, Youth, Urban
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Dyan Mazurana, Anastasia Marshak, Teddy Atim
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Few large-scale, structured surveys have been conducted on the prevalence of alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity committed by warring parties against civilians and how this relates to disability. Using data from a panel survey carried out in 2013, 2015, and 2018 that is representative of all of Acholi and Lango sub-regions in northern Uganda, this working paper reports the prevalence of alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity for individuals and households; their association with disability; and the resulting effects over time on people’s lives in terms of food security, wealth, access to basic services, and healthcare. The study contributes to an understanding of people who have experienced alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity that affect them physically and psychologically; the relationship between experience of these alleged crimes and their experience of disability; the effects of these crimes on their wealth, food security, and access to livelihood and social protection services; the effects of these crimes on their access to basic and therapeutic healthcare; and a better understanding of the key obstacles faced by victims of these alleged crimes when they are unable to receive basic and therapeutic healthcare.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Human Rights, War, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Joseph Halevi
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: The paper highlights the position of German authorities, showing that they were quite lucid about the fundamental weaknesses inherent in a process that separated monetary from fiscal policies by giving priority to the centralization of the former. Instead of repeating the well known critiques levelled against the EMU – for which readers are referred to the unsurpassed treatment by Stiglitz, the essay highlights the splintering of Europe in the way in which it has unfolded during the 1990s and in the first decade of the present millennium. In particular the early economic and political origins of the terminal crisis of Italy are located between the late 1980s and the 1990s. France is shown to belong increasingly to the so-called European periphery by virtue of a weakening industrial structure and persistent balance of payments deficits. The paper argues that France regains its central role by political means and through its weight as an active nuclear military power centered on maintaining its imperial interests and posture especially in Africa. The first decade of the present millennium is portrayed as the period in which a distinct German economic area had been formed in the midst of Europe with a strong drive to the east with an increasingly powerful gravitational pull towards the People’s Republic of China.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Political Economy, History, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, Asia, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Maxim Ananyev, Michael Poyker
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: We demonstrate that civil conflict erodes self-identification with a nation-state even among non- rebellious ethnic groups in non-conflict areas. We perform a difference-in-difference estimation using Afrobarometer data. Using the onset of Tuareg-led insurgency in Mali caused by the demise of the Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi as an exogenous shock to state capacity, we find that residents living closer to the border with the conflict zone experienced a larger decrease in national identification. The effect was greater on people who were more exposed to local media. We hypothesize about the mechanism and show that civil conflict erodes national identity through the peoples’ perception of a state weakness.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, State Formation, State Actors, State, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, Mali
  • Author: Kai Gehring, Lennart C. Kaplan, Melvin H.L. Wong
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: China’s development model challenges the approaches of traditional Western donors like the World Bank. We argue that both aim at stability, but differ in the norms propagated to achieve that. Using fixed effects and IV estimations, we analyze a broad range of subnational stability measures in Africa. Aid by both the WB and China does not increase outright conflict nor any type of citizen protest, on average. Both even reduce outright conflict by governments against civilians. Still, Chinese aid is associated with more government repression and an increased acceptance of authoritarian norms, while WB projects strengthen democratic values.
  • Topic: Development, International Political Economy, Political Economy, World Bank, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Africa, China