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  • Author: Alexandra de Sousa
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: At this juncture, all findings and projections must be interpreted with caution since our understanding of COVID-19 is evolving, and today’s assumptions may not hold. Nearly six months have passed since this virus has garnered attention and there continue to be numerous key questions immunologists, virologists and epidemiologists have trouble answering. Among them is how COVID-19 will evolve in Africa. As of the time of writing, the number of cases that SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, officially inflicted in Africa is so low[1] that it has been labeled the silent epidemic. The optimists point to the continent’s natural advantages of youth and weather, and its public health experience and resourcefulness[2] as reasons for such low numbers, while the skeptics point to a lack of infrastructure, including testing capacity.
  • Topic: Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Clement Mutambo
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: Fragile states are nations whose institutions of governance are highly susceptible to corruption, deception, and bias. According to the Fund for Peace, the vast majority of Sub-Saharan Africa countries qualify as moderately to severely fragile states. Why? Because African institutions are weak and dysfunctional, and leaders manipulate their systems with impunity. If the fragility fiasco is to be changed, African people need to realize that neither their leaders nor international observations can fix the issue; only the people hold the power to determine their future. Despite the tumultuous conditions in many nations in the Sub-Saharan continent, there is hope. The recent Malawian election demonstrated that despite weak local institutions and inadequate support from the international community, change can be made if citizens unite and demand accountability for corruption and abuses of power. When Malawians realized the outcome of their late 2019 presidential election was rigged, they took matters into their own hands. Even though six international observers, including the United Nations Development Program, Southern African Development Community, European Union, and African Union, argued that the elections were free and fair, overwhelming evidence of ballot tampering suggested otherwise.
  • Topic: Governance, Elections, Fragile States, Courts
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Emily Gilfillan
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for governments around the world. In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic. In addition to a worldwide health crisis, the pandemic has had far-reaching socioeconomic impacts that have been severest for the most vulnerable people and have exacerbated existing inequalities. This presents wealthy countries like Canada with a challenge: addressing the health crisis and economic fallout at home, while simultaneously supporting a global COVID-19 response and continuing to tackle existing development priorities. This report explores the implications of COVID-19 for Canada’s development assistance efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Given that 27 of the 28 poorest countries in the world are located in SSA and half of Canada’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget is expected to go to countries in Africa by 2021-22, it is a priority region. To date, Canada has maintained ODA spending levels, while also providing additional funds in support of global efforts to address COVID-19. Evidence suggests that pre-pandemic priorities in the region, such as gender equality, health, and food security, have not been derailed. Rather, the impact of the pandemic has reinforced the importance of core development objectives such as achieving the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) is fit for purpose to address the gendered impact of the pandemic. It is clear that the pandemic does not affect men and women equally. While the right policy tools are in place, building back better will require Canadian resolve and leadership to stay the course and ensure the most vulnerable are not left behind.
  • Topic: Development, Gender Issues, Finance, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Canada, North America, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Asher Lubotzky
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: In this issue of Ifriqiya, Asher Lubotzky discusses the context, opportunities, and risks involved in the pursuit of a normalization deal between Israel and Sudan. Following the 2019 revolution, the different parties in Sudan agreed to a road map for their transition to democracy, which requires that an elected government be formed by the end of 2022. It is clear, however, that the possibility of establishing official relations between Israel and Sudan is on the table and a serious consideration for both parties. This article purposes to make sense of these dramatic developments in Israel-Sudanese relations, place them in a broader context, and analyze the multifaceted interests of both parties.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Bernard Tembo, Rabecca Hatoongo-Masenke, Chama Bowa-Mundia
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR)
  • Abstract: Of the estimated 3.01 million households in Zambia, in 2015, only 35.8% and 16.1% utilised clean energy fuels for their lighting and cooking services respectively1 (CSO, 2016). Usage and access to clean energy is essential for economic growth, human development and more generally poverty reduction. This notwithstanding, access has remained low in many developing countries. For instance, 1.1 billion of the total global population do not have access to electricity, of which majority are found in Asia, Africa and Oceania (United Nations, 2016). Furthermore, the majority of this population is found in rural areas. Given the centrality of energy to people's everyday life, governments worldwide have devised di erent policies and mechanisms to enhance the use of clean energy. Limited access and use of clean energy is mainly thought of as an issue of a ordability (Barnes and Floor, 1996; Pachauri et al., 2004; Rosnes and Vennemo, 2012; Murtaza and Faridi, 2014; Ismail and Khembo, 2015; GRZ, 2017; Venkateswaran et al., 2018; Kyprianou et al., 2019; Oum, 2019; Yan et al., 2019). Hence, the subsidy policies being implemented in many countries. On the one hand, it has been observed that lack of access to clean energy is a sign of poverty; while on the other hand, access to clean energy helps in the alleviation of poverty (Pachauri et al., 2004; Nussbaumer et al., 2011; Okwanya and Abah, 2018). However, in some cases, access to clean energy is hampered by both the price of the energy (i.e. an a ordability issue) and by availability of infrastructure to deliver the required energy. Thus, in such situations, some governments have had to borrow to facilitate the development and expansion of energy infrastructure; on top of subsidising the use of clean energy. This notwithstanding, the lack of use of clean energy at household level is not well understood. For instance, it is thought that if a household is classi ed as income poor, then it will not be able to use electricity (Pachauri et al., 2004; Murtaza and Faridi, 2014). And in such cases, some governments opt to implement subsidy policies. While this approach has proved useful for some households, it is not an e ective approach of delivering clean energy to the people who need it the most. There is, therefore, great need to identify aspects that determine whether a household would have access to clean energy and let alone use it. This knowledge would be critical in designing policies that hope to increase utilisation of clean energy fuels. As such, this paper sought to understand energy poverty among households in Zambia. Energy poverty is a concept concerned with lack of access and use of modern energy fuels.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Poverty, Infrastructure, Electricity
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zambia
  • Author: Florence Banda-Muleya, Mbewe Kalikeka, Zambwe Shingwele, Philip Ngongo, Shebo Nalishebo
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR)
  • Abstract: Zambia’s current legal framework for public debt management is inadequate. The high level of external debt standing at US$11.2 billion and domestic debt at K80.2 billion due to fast pace of debt contraction; the resulting heightened risk of debt distress; and the weak implementation of the 2017-2019 Medium Term Debt Strategy (MTDS), raise questions on the adequacy of the laws that govern public debt management. Now more than ever, with Zambia quickly headed to its first bullet repayment on its Eurobond debt, the country needs to enhance its legal framework on Public Debt Management (PDM).
  • Topic: Debt, Government, Economy, Public Debt
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zambia
  • 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: Nadine Abdalla
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Various forms of local activism in Egypt are challenging the shortcomings in local governance and the lack of any developmental urban vision. This paper examines three examples from different neighbourhoods in Giza and Cairo. All three share the goal of resisting exclusionary policies while trying to overcome the absence of political means to register their frustrations given the absence of local councils since 2011.
  • Topic: Social Movement, Arab Spring, Urban, Local
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa, Egypt, Cairo, Giza
  • Author: Mohammed Masbah
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The Moroccan monarchy has used political parties, including the PJD, to legitimize the country’s authoritarian political process and structure, and to absorb social and political anger. This paper argues that putting the parties at the frontline without sufficient capacity to enact deep reforms weakens them as a shield against growing popular frustration. While this approach may work in the short term, it risks the country’s stability in the long term.
  • Topic: Social Movement, Authoritarianism, Political stability, Protests, Political Parties, Monarchy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Morocco