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  • Author: Princeton N. Lyman, Kathryn A. Robinette
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: T he election of Barack Obama as president of the United States has aroused expectations around the world, but nowhere as much as in Africa. Obama inherits a record of achievement on the continent from George W. Bush that w ill be hard to match, if not exceed. He will also be far more heavily engaged elsewhere in the world than in Africa, with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the nuclear threat from Iran, problems encompassing Russia and the worldwide economic crisis. Yet, Obama has singular potential to make his mark on Africa as neither his immediate nor earlier predecessors were able to do—that is, to carry his message of personal and political responsibility, which was emphasized in his inaugural address to African leaders. In addition, he can help empower the institutions of Africa's governments and civil society that can demand accountability, service and democracy where Africa has lagged and been held back. These steps will make American aid and trade programs—on which he can draw from an impressive Bush legacy, and which he must still improve—all the more effective.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, Russia, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Anya Schiffrin
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Journalism in Africa has come far in recent decades. The decline of one-party dictatorships, which traditionally kept a grip on the press, has brought about rapid changes. The number of media outlets has expanded and in many countries, such as South Africa and Nigeria, the press is now known for being lively and outspoken. The old days in which the government controlled the one broadcaster, strictly licensed just a few newspapers and kept a tight grip on newsprint allocation are gone in most countries. From having a few dozen media outlets at the end of the colonial period, Africa now has hundreds. Across the continent, small newspapers and radio stations have sprung up, many with just a few thousand listeners and tiny staffs. The rapid expansion of new technology also bodes well for journalistic freedom. Online publications also allow wider participation and the growth of citizen journalism, which can boost governance and promote transparency.
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Wafula Okumu
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: As the African Union (AU) moves toward its tenth anniversary in 2012, it is drawing a great deal of attention to its handling of mounting crises on the continent. Across the continent, the AU is faced w ith crises that test its commitment and capability to fulfill the ambitious agenda it adopted at its formation in July 2002. This agenda includes the promotion of peace, stability, human rights, democracy, good governance and sustainable development. Among the motivating factors for the formation of the Union was to provide Africa with a platform and voice to survive and benefit from the wave of globalization. The AU, as stated in its Constitutive Act, was Africa's response to “the multifaceted challenges that confront our continent and peoples in the light of the social, economic and political changes taking place in the world.” It was concocted as a vehicle for accelerating “political and socio-economic integration of the continent” and for establishing “the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international negotiations.”
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Clapperton Mavhunga
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: The Maxim gun and the Martini-Henry rifle ushered anglophone Africa into 20th century colonialism. The Cold War, in turn, presented a moment for black political elites to acquire weapons (the AK-47 in particular) with which to define and present themselves as African nationalists fighting—with all the material ramifications of this word—to end colonial rule. Could information technology— specifically radio, the Internet and cell phones—be the Martini-Henry, Maxim and AK-47 of the 21st century?
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Katherine J. Almquist
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Since 2001, the United States has dramatically increased its commitment to development in Africa and has transformed the way it is implemented. In the last eight years, U.S. foreign assistance to sub-Saharan Africa managed by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has increased by $5.5 billion, or 340 percent. An additional $3.8 billion has been provided through Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) compacts, ten of which have been signed with sub-Saharan African countries since 2004. The United States is currently on track to meet its 2005 G-8 commitment to double aid to Africa again by 2010. This commitment of financial resources by the United States represents former President George W. Bush's vision of using America's power to help Africans improve their own lives, build their own nations and transform their own future.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, America
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Patrick Awuah is the founder and president of Ashesi University, a private liberal arts college located in Accra, Ghana. He was born in Ghana but left in the mid-1980s to pursue an education in the United States, earning a bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College and a master of business administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He later earned an honorary doctorate from Swarthmore College. After eight years working as a program manager and engineer for the Microsoft Corporation in Seattle, Awuah returned to his home country to found Ashesi University, currently the sole accredited coeducational liberal arts college in West Africa. Awuah solicited massive financial support from the private sector, particularly American corporate donors, like Microsoft. Beginning with a pilot class of thirty students in 2002, Ashesi University now has 352 students, 87 percent of whom are Ghanaian, and 50 percent of whom receive financial aid. Awuah has earned international acclaim for his commitment to creating a model for quality private education in Africa. He spoke to Emily Gouillart of the Journal of International Affairs about the experience of founding and building Ashesi University, the future of education in Africa and the importance of ethics in curriculum building.
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Elizabeth Sperbee
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of International Affairs
  • Institution: School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Since the mid-1990s, China has rapidly expanded its engagement with African states. Study of Sino-African relations has subsequently begun to burgeon. In China into Africa: Trade, Aid and Influence, Robert Rotberg's multinational slate of authors introduce key issues in this literature from a variety of perspectives. The result is a volume worth reading cover to cover. A sometimes redundant, sometimes contradictory assemblage, China into Africa nevertheless provides a fascinating introduction not only to a variety of issues at stake in Sino-African relations, but also, necessarily, to the issues at stake in the study of those relations.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Ahmed I. Samatar
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Bildhaan: An International Journal of Somali Studies
  • Institution: Macalester College
  • Abstract: As Bildhaan ends its ninth year of existence, Somali society in the Horn of Africa enters yet another phase of its endless descent into violent contest over an already pestilent present. Nearly half of the Somali population in the country are now designated as malnourished and, thus, increasingly dependent upon international food assistance. This fact and others make Somalia the worst country in the whole world in terms of the Quality of Life Index.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Ahmed I. Samatar
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Bildhaan: An International Journal of Somali Studies
  • Institution: Macalester College
  • Abstract: It is a bit muggy but still a gorgeous and clear morning in Toronto, Canada, in early August 2008. A brief and comfortable train ride from the center of the city, one of North America's most cosmopolitan urban concentrations, delivers me to the stop where Ms. Maryan Omar Ali, Aryette, was waiting for me to visit with her. After a few minutes of looking for each other among a throng of people in the arrival area—I have not seen Maryan for more than 17 years—we greeted warmly and then left the station together for the very short bus ride to the large building where her residence is located. Maryan, despite the passage of so many years and some testing health-related experiences, looked buoyant, tranquil, and eager to show me around and then engage in a thorough conversation about her background, passion for Somali literary aesthetics and production, and developments in her life in recent years. We arrived at her compact and neat apartment. Her mother, Sahra Omer Goud, whose strong and kind voice I have heard over the telephone on numerous times, was at the door with a genuine welcoming smile. Once I entered, I could smell the appetizing aroma of the legendary Zeila cooking—perhaps the most sophisticated culinary tradition in all of the Somali-inhabited territories in the Horn of Africa. As is customary, we took off our shoes and walked into the living room. Before we sat, I requested to go to the bathroom to put on a comfortable macawis that I had brought with me for the occasion. We washed our hands and began to devour a tasty lunch of spiced and grilled wild-caught salmon, delicious rice cooked with cloves, cumin, and cardamom and flavored with a dash of raisins, followed by lots of fresh salad and fruits. Soon, Maryan and I were sitting opposite each other with the tiny but powerful recording machine between us. We were surrounded by numerous artistic artifacts, almost all Somali, and stacks of carefully labeled disks—a testimony to her well-established reputation, among those in-the-know, as a premier cartographer and archivist of types of Somali literary production. We agreed to divide the interview into three main parts: her background; her collection and knowledge of popular songs; and her courageous fight against an onslaught of breast cancer—an illness heretofore not publicly discussed by Somalis with the misfortune of contracting it.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Canada, Somalia, Toronto
  • Author: Charles Villa-Vicencio
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Georgetown University Press
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Politics, Post Colonialism
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Bjoern Moeller
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The piracy problem off the coasts of Somalia veritably exploded in 2008, due to a mixture of push and pull factors. The general misery in the country pushed Somalis into piracy, and the high earnings from successful pirate attacks pulled businessmen into the pirate business. The international community has sent several patrols to the area, but the decisive factor is what happens on the ground in Somalia.
  • Topic: Crime, International Law, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Jan Cappelle
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The cocoa tree is an important source of income for millions of farming families in equatorial regions. Cocoa originates in the river valleys of the Amazon and the Orinoco in South America. Its discoverers, the Maya people, gave it the name 'cocoa' (or 'God's food'). Cocoa was introduced to Europe in the fifteenth century. Cocoa imports were heavily taxed, and as a result it was consumed as a drink only by the wealthy. Investment from Great Britain and The Netherlands, combined with the launch of the chocolate bar in 1842 by Cadbury, resulted in a greater demand for chocolate. This led to the gradual expansion of cocoa production, spreading to Africa in 1870.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Britain, Africa, Europe, South America, Netherlands, Amazon Basin
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The military junta that took control of the country just hours after President Conté's death on 23 December 2008 has tightened its grip on power. The self-proclaimed president, Moussa Dadis Camara, and his group of midranking officers calling itself the National Council for Democracy and Development (Conseil national pour la démocratie et le développement, CNDD), have shown few signs of moving towards elections by the end of 2009 as promised. As Guinea's dire economic prospects erode popular support, the junta, unpracticed in governing, is also in danger of resorting to authoritarian measures. With the risk of a counter-coup from dissatisfied army elements still present, a democratic transition at best faces a long and difficult road. Concerted national and international pressure is urgently needed to produce a return to civilian rule, even before elections if the junta begins to stall on preparations for a vote.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Human Rights, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Guinea
  • Author: Kelly Campbell, Linda Bishai, Jacki Wilson
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Sudan's upcoming elections in 2009 raise hopes and concerns for the country's future. According to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in 2005 between the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), Sudan is scheduled to hold national and state level elections in 2009. (Elections are to take place for president of the Government of National Unity, president of the Government of Southern Sudan, members of the National Assembly and the South Sudan Legislative Assembly, and governors and state legislatures in all of Sudan's 25 states) However, delays in each phase of electoral preparation—including the passage of the electoral law, the appointment of the nine National Election Commission members responsible for overseeing elections, and the census—have raised doubts about whether the elections will be held within the timeframe outlined in the CPA.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Peace Studies, War
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, South Sudan
  • Author: Christine Lynch, Devon Tucker, Michael Harvey, Jacqueline McLaren Miller
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Drawing on a diverse array of opinions from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, the EastWest Institute's Fifth Worldwide Security Conference brought together specialists from the spheres of policy, academia, and civil society. Participants addressed a variety of issues on the contemporary global security landscape. These ranged from specific security threats (whether illicit trade, the targeting of critical infrastructure or cyber crime) to the role of interested actors (such as business, NGOs, and media), as well as a focus on potential strategies to counter terrorism and extremism (either in terms of constructing global cooperative architectures or, more controversially, the possibility of opening dialogue with the terrorists). A variety of policy recommendations emerged from each session—detailed in the main body of the report—but there were several recurring themes binding the debate together and animating the core arguments of proceedings as a whole. These policy recommendations were not necessarily consensus recommendations but reflected a wide range of debated policy prescriptions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Economics, Education, Globalization, Human Rights, International Security, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: After nearly a year of seemingly endless talks brokered by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Zimbabwe's long-ruling ZANU-PF party and the two factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formed a coalition government in February. Opposition entry into government is a landmark development, and broad segments of the population are optimistic for the first time in years that a decade of repression and decline can be reversed. There is considerable international scepticism whether the flawed arrangement can succeed; many are tempted, with some reason, to second-guess the decision of mainstream MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to accept the deal under SADC and ZANU-PF pressure. But he had no good alternative, given a collapsed economy and humanitarian catastrophe from which his constituency was suffering. Donors should re-engage and apply a “humanitarian plus” aid strategy. South Africa, in collaboration with SADC, should negotiate retirement of hardline senior security leaders in the lifespan of the inclusive government.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Post Colonialism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: Last November, The Carter Center was one of the sponsors of a major health initiative in Ethiopia, in which some 5 million people were treated for trachoma and tested (and treated, when needed) for malaria in a one-week campaign. You might wonder how many staff members The Carter Center sent from Atlanta headquarters to Ethiopia to handle this unprecedented, labor-intensive effort, called Maltra week. We sent one person.
  • Topic: Health, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Ethiopia
  • Author: Sonya Sceats
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Human rights abuses on a massive scale continue to afflict the lives of millions of people across the continent of Africa. As in other parts of the world, the obstacles in pursuing justice are currently insurmountable for most victims. Against this troubling backdrop, the African Union (AU) has decided to add a human rights section to its new court which has been agreed upon but not yet set up. This court is called the African Court of Justice and Human Rights. In the meantime, another pan-African human rights court, the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, has recently opened in Arusha, Tanzania. This court will be wound down to make way for the African Court of Justice and Human Rights but is expected to operate for the next few years at least. These two courts represent the third instalment in efforts since the Second World War to create regional human rights courts. Because they have broad powers to enforce socio-economic rights and the collective rights of peoples, they may be setting an example for new developments around the world. This briefing paper focuses on the African Court of Justice and Human Rights, but it also explains key features of the interim African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights. It addresses questions including: Can victims of human rights abuses bring cases? Will the Court be able to try African heads of state? Will governments comply with judgments?
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare, Torture
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Claire Spencer
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: North Africa may not be as stable as it looks: socio-economic and political pressures are fracturing the consensus between governments and governed and may overtake terrorism and criminality as the region's main destabilizing forces. With political leadership in the region effectively a lifelong position, the growth of authoritarianism is undermining the prospects for achieving political and economic liberalization. Despite the worsening global economic climate, a window of opportunity exists to accelerate socially sensitive and productive domestic investment and open space for greater autonomous political and economic development. Success depends on renegotiating the social contracts on which North Africa's states are based. A broadening of participation, above all through the extension of legal employment, targeted investment on education, health and skills, and the establishment of independent legal and regulatory frameworks, will go some way towards addressing socio-economic stresses. A change in the political environment, however, requires a re-evaluation of how the region's security climate is seen from outside, with adjustments in the kind of support given to regional governments by its key international partners, the European Union and the United States.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Islam, International Security
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The report of the government-constituted Technical Committee on the Niger Delta, submitted to Nigeria's President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua on 1 December 2008, offers an opportunity to reduce violent conflict significantly and begin longer-term regional development in the oil-rich region. The government needs to respond urgently and positively, in particular by accepting a third-party mediator to facilitate discussions of amnesty and demobilisation of militants, in order to dispel growing misgivings in the Delta, save the region from further violence and organised criminality, and ensure Nigeria's continued reliability as a leading source of energy for the world.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Oil, War
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Olga Martin-Ortega, Chandra Lekha Sriram, Johanna Herman
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre on Human Rights in Conflict
  • Abstract: Rule of law promotion is integral to peacebuilding, but not always well integrated It is important to distinguish between technical delivery of rule of law assistance and access to justice as perceived by the population Rule of law promotion and transitional justice may be complementary, or competitive Despite emphasis on the formal sector, informal justice processes are often most accessible to the vast majority Such informal processes may be transformed both by conflict and by peacebuilding activities Emphasis on state institutions in rule of law promotion can inadvertently undermine equal access to justice Given these challenges, the international community faces serious dilemmas about whom to engage, and particularly whether to engage the informal sector at all.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Peace Studies, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Oliver Bakewell
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Today there is great interest in diasporas' role in development across Africa and much enthusiasm for identifying policies that can maximise their contribution. In this new DIIS Brief Oliver Bakewell, senior research officer at the International Migration Institute, University of Oxford, raises four questions that challenge uncritical enthusiasm for diasporas' increased involvement in development: 1) Who is in the diaspora? 2) Where is the diaspora? 3) How does diaspora engagement affect accountability? And 4) What ideas of development are being used?
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Migration
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Nauja Kleist
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Diaspora and migrant associations are often praised as new 'agents of change' for their contributions to development in their countries of origin. While much is known about Latin American hometown associations, there has been less focus on African diaspora associations. This DIIS Brief examines Somali and Ghanaian migrant associations in Denmark and their involvement in development. It shows how associations involve themselves on the basis of particular loyalties and emphasizes the importance of local partners and collaboration.
  • Topic: Migration, Poverty, Diaspora
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Denmark, Latin America
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In 2007 the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that US companies that had done business with apartheid South Africa could be found liable for monetary damages under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) of 1789 (Khulumani v. Barclay Nat. Bank Ltd., 504 F.3d 254 [2d Cir. 2007]). Liability arises, the Second Circuit declared, from their possible connections with human rights violations committed by South Africa during the apartheid era. Firms named in the suit include Bank of America, IBM, Coca-Cola, and General Motors. The governments of the United Kingdom, Germany, and Switzerland all opposed the lawsuit, as did the government of South Africa, which argued that the suit ran counter to its policy of reconciliation. The Bush administration also opposed the suit, but the Second Circuit rejected the argument that the cases could be dismissed for foreign policy reasons.
  • Topic: Apartheid, Human Rights, International Law, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, United Kingdom, America, South Africa, Germany
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The assassinations of the chief of defence staff, General Batista Tagme Na Wai, on 1 March 2009 and Presi- dent Joao Bernardo Nino Vieira early the next day have plunged Guinea-Bissau into deep uncertainty. National Assembly Speaker Raimundo Pereira was quickly sworn in as interim president pending the election the constitution requires. That the killings occurred only months after the acclaimed November parliamentary elections, however, indicates that, in current circumstances, the democratic process cannot cope with the rule of the gun, as well as the extent to which the military's use of force has overwhelmed state institutions. Without outside help to end military involvement in politics and impunity, it may be impossible to halt a slide into further violence. Elites need to stand up to the military, but they require support. The international community should work for an international or hybrid commission of inquiry into the killings. Security system reform needs to be improve d by better international coordination and creation of a national commission with enhanced autonomy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Political Violence
  • Political Geography: Africa, Guinea-Bissau
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Le 4 mars 2007, les deux principaux protagonistes de la crise ivoirienne signaient l'accord politique de Ouagadougou (APO). Ce compromis a, dans un pre-mier temps, apporté un environnement de paix en Côte d'Ivoire. La ligne de démarcation entre les deux pro-tagonistes a été démantelée. Un nouveau gouvernement a été formé et les bases ont été jetées pour apporter une réponse aux deux questions-clés du conflit : l'identité et la citoyenneté ivoiriennes et la légitimité du pouvoir. Mais, plus de deux ans après son adoption, l'APO va mal. Une sortie de crise sera possible uniquement si les engagements pris dans la capitale burkinabé sont enfin suivis d'effets. Sortir la Côte d'Ivoire de sa décen-nie de crise ne nécessitera pas seulement l'organisation d'élections crédibles mais impliquera également des progrès significatifs dans le processus de désarmement ainsi qu'une véritable réunification de l'administration. Ceci demandera la remobilisation de la facilitation burkinabé et une pression accrue des partenaires inter-nationaux sur les acteurs du conflit.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Democratization, Peace Studies, Post Colonialism
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Caroline Pearce, Sébastien Fourmy, Hetty Kovach
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world. It has been democratic since 1991, and the international community considers it to have, overall, a well-performing government and economy. But this should not mask the huge scale of the challenges facing Mali in realising even the most basic rights of its citizens. This challenge is increased by the country's vulnerability to shocks, such as the food and fuel crises.
  • Topic: Education, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali
  • Author: John Magrath, Elvis Sukali
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: A wind of climate change is blowing through the southern African nation of Malawi, bringing confusion to fisherfolk and farmers alike.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Gender Issues, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Malawi
  • Author: Emily Alpert, Melinda Smale
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In July 2008, world food prices reached their highest peak since the early 1970s. Food stocked on grocery store shelves was out of reach. Riots ensued. Millions were afflicted. Another 100 million people were pushed into the ranks of the hungry, raising the total to nearly one billion worldwide. And these numbers could climb again as food prices remain high, and continue to rise in many local markets.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Poverty, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The semi-autonomous north-eastern Somali region of Puntland, once touted as a success of the “building blocks” approach to reestablishing national stability and widely viewed as one of the most prosperous parts of Somalia, is experiencing a three-year rise in insecurity and political tension. At its roots are poor governance and a collapse of the intra-clan cohesion and pan-Darood solidarity that led to its creation in 1998. Intra-Darood friction has eroded the consensual style of politics that once underpinned a relative stability. The piracy problem is a dramatic symptom of deeper problems that, left untreated, could lead to Puntland's disintegration or overthrow by an underground militant Islamist movement. A solution to the security threat requires the Puntland government to institute reforms that would make it more transparent and inclusive of all clans living within the region.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia, Puntland
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Depuis 2003, l'exploitation du pétrole a contribué lourdement à la détérioration de la gouvernance interne au Tchad, menant à une succession de crises politiques et de rébellions. Les retombées financières du pétrole – 53 millions de barils rapportant 1,2 milliards de dollars à l'Etat en 2007 – ont attisé les appétits au sein du régime qui ont, à leur tour, nourri des dissensions et débouché sur des rébellions rapidement soutenues par le voisin soudanais. Les revenus du pétrole ont par ailleurs donné au président Idriss Déby les moyens de rejeter tout dialogue politique véritable, et de répondre aux menaces de renversement venues du Soudan par le surarmement. L'enthousiasme suscité par l'exploitation du pétrole a fait place à un désenchantement généralisé. Pour sortir de ce cercle vicieux et susciter les conditions d'une stabilisation durable du pays, le gouvernement tchadien doit redéfinir un consensus national autour de la gestion des revenus pétroliers, et ses partenaires principaux, la France, les Etats-Unis et la Chine, doivent conditionner leur soutien au régime à cette politique, tout en oeuvrant à la stabilisation complémentaire de ses relations avec le Soudan.
  • Topic: Corruption, Oil
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Myriam Benraad
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Last month, Kamal Hassan, a Somali-American living in Minnesota, pled guilty to training and fighting with al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group in Somalia. In July, two other Somali-Americans in Minnesota pled guilty to similar charges, with the FBI continuing to investigate more than a dozen others who may have traveled from the United States to Somalia. The FBI also recently arrested seven individuals in North Carolina on terrorism-related charges, including one who had spent time in Afghan training camps. These and other recent events have raised new concerns in the United States about the threat of homegrown radicalization.
  • Topic: Security, Crime, Terrorism, Armed Struggle
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, Europe, Washington, North Carolina
  • Author: Joel Negin, Jolyon Ford
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Zimbabwe's long night is by no means over. Nearly a year after the violent and disputed March 2008 elections, and months after the September signing of a 'Global Political Agreement' with the ruling ZANU-PF party, the main faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) agreed in February to take part in a coalition government in which its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, became Prime Minister. The state apparatus in Zimbabwe is currently shared uneasily by reformers and reactionaries with each of the MDC and ZANU-PF having half of the cabinet seats. Hardline ZANU-PF elements remain in government and control the security services, and a quiet but intense power struggle continues.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Development, Foreign Aid, Food
  • Political Geography: Africa, Australia, Zimbabwe
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The killing of at least 160 participants in a peaceful demonstration, the rape of many women protestors, and the arrest of political leaders by security forces in Conakry on 28 September 2009 showed starkly the dangers that continued military rule poses to Guinea's stability and to a region where three fragile countries are only just recovering from civil wars. The military junta, the National Council for Democracy and Development (Conseil national pour la démocratie et le développement, CNDD), is denying its evident responsibility and playing for time by offering what it calls a “national union government” to opposition parties. But with the mood on the streets hardening against the junta, worse trouble is likely unless combined domestic and international pressure is applied to force the soldiers from power.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Africa, Guinea
  • Author: Nick Martlew
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In 1984, one million Ethiopians died during a catastrophic famine. The government at the time hid the scale of hunger until a shocking BBC television report ignited a massive relief effort, supported by the Band Aid movement. Though this was too late for too many, thousands of lives were saved.
  • Topic: Foreign Aid, Food, Famine
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Steve Jennings, John Magrath
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The timing of rain, and intra-seasonal rainfall patterns are critical to smallholder farmers in developing countries. Seasonality influences farmers' decisions about when to cultivate and sow and harvest. It ultimately contributes to the success or failure of their crops. Worryingly, therefore, farmers are reporting that both the timing of rainy seasons and the pattern of rains within seasons are changing. These perceptions of change are striking in that they are geographically widespread and because the changes are described in remarkably consistent terms. In this paper, we relate the perceptions of farmers from several regions(East Asia, South Asia, Southern and East Africa, and Latin America) of how seasons are changing, and in some cases, how once distinct seasons appear to be disappearing altogether, and the impacts that these changes are having. We then go on to ask two critical questions. Firstly, do meteorological observations support farmers' perceptions of changing seasonality? Secondly, to what extent are these changes consistent with predictions from climate models? We conclude that changing seasonality may be one of the major impacts of climate change faced by smallholder farmers in developing countries over the next few decades. Indeed, this may already be the case. Yet it is relatively unexplored in the literature. We also suggest some of the key adaptation responses that might help farmers cope with these changes.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, East Asia, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In 2009, the world is faced with a dire economic situation. No one hesitates to call this situation a crisis, most governments have rushed to prioritise it, and, in response, wealthy countries have pledged $8.4 trillion in bank bailouts.
  • Topic: Education, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Wim Naudé, Augustin Kwasi Fosu
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS OF 2008 HAS INDUCED two negative external shocks in African countries. The first is a financial shock with the availability of credit declining and the cost of international credit increasing (a financial crisis); and the second is a shock relating to the demand for and price of exports, as most of Africa's important markets went into recession and commodity prices tumbled (an economic crisis).
  • Topic: Globalization, Poverty, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Jon Temin
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Over the past few months, much of the international attention devoted to Sudan has focused on “CPA implementation.” Within that focus on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), most attention is paid to the status of Abyei, if and when nationwide elections will happen, border demarcation and, above all else, the 2011 referendum on the status of southern Sudan. But there are other aspects of the north-south dynamic deserving of discussion and strategic thinking that don't receive their due. This Peace Brief describes six of those issues and questions that, while they get some attention, could use a little more as decisive events in Sudan's political history approach.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: David R. Smock
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The demands of the population in the Niger Delta to enjoy greater benefit from the oil produced in their region continue to go unanswered. The people in the Delta complain that oil-spill pollution has made their water undrinkable, gas flaring has made the air unfit for breathing, while revenue from the oil has paid for mansions to be built in the capital, Abuja. Although well armed militias have suspended their attacks for a few weeks, they threaten to resume operations soon. A Technical Committee appointed by Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Aduato make recommendations for action relating to the Delta made its report nine months ago, but the government has taken no action on the report. The government has offered an amnesty to the militants for a period that expires in early October, but so far few militants have responded. Oil production continues to be seriously reduced by the militants' attacks and by the stealing of oil (termed “bunkering”) by militants and others.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Oil
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Jules Siedenburg, Kimberly Pfeifer, Kelly Hauser
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Worldwide, 1.7 billion small-scale farmers and pastoralists are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. They live on marginal rural lands characterised by conditions such as low rainfall, sloping terrain, fragile soils, and poor market access, primarily in Africa and Asia. Such farmers are vulnerable because their farms depend directly on rainfall and temperature, yet they often have little savings and few alternative options if their crops fail or livestock die.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Food
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The stalled electoral process has plunged Somaliland into a serious political crisis that presents yet another risk of destabilisation for the region. If its hard-won political stability collapses under the strain of brinkmanship and intransigence, clan leaders might remobilise militias, in effect ending its dream of independence. The political class must finally accept to uphold the region's constitution, abide by the electoral laws and adhere to interparty agreements such as the electoral code of conduct and memorandum of understanding signed on 25 September 2009, so as to contain the crisis and permit implementation of extensive electoral reforms. International partners and donors should keep a close watch on developments and sustain pressure for genuinely free and fair general elections in 2010.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Sudan is sliding towards violent breakup. The main mechanisms to end conflicts between the central government and the peripheries – the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the Darfur Peace Agreement and the East Sudan Peace Agreement – all suffer from lack of implementation, largely due to the intransigence of the National Congress Party (NCP). Less than thirteen months remain to ensure that national elections and the South Sudan self-determination referendum lead to democratic transformation and resolution of all the country's conflicts. Unless the international community, notably the U.S., the UN, the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council and the Horn of Africa Inter-Government Authority on Development (IGAD), cooperate to support both CPA implementation and vital additional negotiations, return to North-South war and escalation of conflict in Darfur are likely.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Islam, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Middle East, South Sudan
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe, Michelle Swearingen
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Diaspora communities are a double-edged sword. They have promoted peace as often as they have spurred conflict. There are many opportunities to harness the Congolese diaspora to support peace and reconstruction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). ?War and civil unrest have swelled the ranks of the DRC diaspora. These individuals can play a role in strategizing for sustainable solutions - particularly in the mining sector and the fight against corruption. Trans-Atlantic participants in the USIP diaspora dialogue called for tighter regulation, effective transparency, integration of the informal economy, greater investment flows and support for Congolese solutions to Congolese problems. Proposed solutions will be neither effective nor sustainable unless the war is ended and governance improves. This would involve effective regional support for peacekeeping, international efforts to deter spoilers and domestic initiatives to make governance more effective. The DRC diaspora are committed to be a source of advocacy, technical assistance, investment and accountability.
  • Topic: Migration, Diaspora, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Joel Negin, Jolyon Ford
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: What should Australia do to assist Zimbabwe's re-emergence? In March 2009, Australia became the first major donor country to provide assistance to the new power-sharing government in Zimbabwe. Given the pervading influence of hardline elements, many doubt the merits and viability of the 'inclusive government'. Ought Australia continue its support, accepting the risk of buttressing Mugabe and his regime? Or should Australia stand back and maintain pressure for a more acceptable government – at the risk of contributing to theinclusive government's failure?
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, Australia/Pacific, Zimbabwe
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Mutual accountability has become one of several principles that underpin the PBC's work. The commission has facilitated the articulation of mutual commitments as part of the peacebuilding frameworks developed in Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, and the Central African Republic. This has begun to fill an important gap. But, the PBC has so far not fulfilled the full promise of this principle: to serve as a forum where national and international actors can hold each other to their commitments. This brief reflects on the PBC's experience with mutual accountability and puts it into a broader context to highlight why it is an area where the PBC can potentially add value.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sierra Leone, Burundi
  • Author: Lorenzo Cotula
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Over the past 12 months, large-scale acquisitions of farmland in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and Southeast Asia have made headlines in a flurry of media reports across the world. Lands that only a short time ago seemed of little outside interest are now being sought by international investors to the tune of hundreds of thousands of hectares.
  • Topic: Agriculture, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, Latin America
  • Author: Augustus Vogel
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Maritime security challenges in Africa are growing rapidly and represent an increasingly central component of the threat matrix facing the continent. African states struggle to meet these threats because their maritime security structures are misaligned with the challenges posed. Redressing this misalignment will require valuing the coast guard capacity demanded by these threats and constructing the array of intragovernmental partnerships needed to be effective in combating these threats.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: William M. Bellamy
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Despite significant recent gains, Africa's security environment remains fragile with a wide array of ongoing and emerging threats placing great strains on already overburdened governments. United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa have realized some success in recent years, especially when they have involved direct support from members of the Security Council. Much more cohesive interagency coordination under strong White House direction is required if the United States is to contribute to Africa's sustained stability given the region's persistent conditions of poverty, inequality, and weak governance.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, International Security, International Affairs, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations
  • Author: Vijaya Ramachandran, Manju Kedia Shah, Alan Gelb
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Why has the private sector failed to thrive in much of sub-Saharan Africa? Drawing on a unique set of enterprise surveys, we identify inadequate infrastructure (especially unreliable electricity and poor quality roads) and burdensome regulations as the biggest obstacles to doing business. We find as well that the private sector in many countries is dominated by ethnic minorities, which inhibits competition and lowers demand for a better business environment. Solutions include investing in infrastructure, providing risk guarantees, and reforming regulations to lower the cost of doing business, as well as increasing access to education for would-be entrepreneurs.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa