Africa

How new Silk Road will cement China as major trading partner for Africa

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In 138 BC China took its first step towards global connectivity with the establishment of the historical Silk Road. Authors: The Conversation Zhang Qian was sent by Emperor Wudi to Central Asia to establish trade relationships. His historic missions enabled China to make contact with the outposts of Hellenic civilisation established by Alexander the Great. These efforts enabled Emperor’s Han dynasty to develop political and trade relationships with Central Asian countries. New ideas came to China, along with new plants ... Read More »

Who says the most liveable city is in the west? Culture doesn’t just live in museums

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The Economist Intelligence Unit’s index claims Vienna is more cultured than Lagos. But it is flawed and subjective Chibundu Onuzo The Guardian A few months ago, I stepped out one morning and saw a coil of animal poo on the doorstep. My mother and I spent a long time trying to figure out what sort of animal had done the deed. We decided, in the end, that a fox was the culprit. But it could also have been a racist. ... Read More »

Crime gangs: Facts, fiction and furphies

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First, an admission – this story is a waste of time. For it relates to the issue of Sudanese crime gangs, where everyone seems to have a firm opinion and no one shows the slightest inclination to change theirs. John Silvester The Age This is not a black-and-white topic. Those who say there is a problem are not necessarily paid-up members of the KKK and those who say there isn’t are not, by definition, ABC sympathisers who believe tofu should ... Read More »

Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, dead at age 80

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(CNN) – Kofi Annan, the first black African to lead the United Nations, has died at age 80. By Laura Smith-Spark, Richard Roth and Joe Sterling, CNN He served as Secretary-General at a time when worries about the Cold War were replaced by threats of global terrorism, and his efforts to combat those threats and secure a more peaceful world brought him the… Annan, who was born in Ghana in 1938, served as the seventh UN Secretary-General, from 1997 to 2006, ... Read More »

Kabila Shows His Hand in DR Congo’s Electoral Poker

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As election preparations in the Democratic Republic of Congo proceed, President Joseph Kabila has announced he will not run for re-election. He may hope this important move will relieve outside pressure for free and fair elections. International actors should keep up the scrutiny. Hans Hoebeke ICG On 8 August 2018, the filing deadline, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s ruling majority coalition announced that Emmanuel Ramazani Shadari would be its candidate in the presidential election slated for 23… The announcement ... Read More »

Fighting the vanilla thieves of Madagascar

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A barefoot farmer is making his way through a forest. Quiet drops of rain tumble steadily through the night, picked out in the light from his torch. Nancy Kacungira * BBC The rusty machete he holds isn’t for cutting down vines or chopping away stubborn branches – it is a defence against thieves. Lots of other men – farmers like him – are out in the rain, patrolling the forest. For the past three months, they have left their homes ... Read More »

Cameroon’s Far North: A New Chapter in the Fight Against Boko Haram

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The Cameroonian government should aim at encouraging more Cameroonian Boko Haram members to surrender. ICG Community service, public confessions, symbolic ceremonies and vocational training can help reintegrate those who do not pose a threat. The government should also prepare for the demobilisation of some vigilantes. What’s new? As fighting between government forces and the Boko Haram insurgents in Cameroon’s Far North diminishes, a lasting peace depends on how the government deals with former members of the… Why does it matter? A well-designed policy toward ... Read More »

The fallout from Turkey’s crisis will cause damage far beyond its borders

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Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s hubris has destablised a nation of pivotal regional importance Simon Tisdall The Guardian Hubris begets nemesis, as the ancient Greeks opined. It’s a life lesson Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s arrogant leader, appears unable to absorb as his country teeters over an abyss of his making. Erdoğan argued in June’s elections that an all-powerful executive presidency was the best way to govern – and he was the best man for the job. His wish was granted. Now Turkey ... Read More »

Can military-style tactics help save the African rhino?

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These magnificent beasts are facing annihilation from ruthless poachers, but environmentalists hope that military-style operations to move the animals across borders may help save the species. Todd Pitock The Age As the sun drifts down on the rolling hills in the heartland of South Africa, Manie Van Niekerk sits with his fingers clasped in his lap. At 52, he wears his hair cropped, which along with a solid physique gives the impression of a man who cannot be easily shaken. ... Read More »

ITLOS ruling: Ghana, Ivory Coast successfully plots all coordinates; boundary dispute settled

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The boundary dispute between Ghana and Ivory Coast has been amicably settled after both parties reached a consensus on the plotting of the coordinates in Accra today. GhanaWeb The Coordinates provided by the International Tribunal for Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in its judgement of the boundary dispute brought before it by Ivory Coast, was to assist both parties draw the line that separates the countries. Head of Ghana’s delegation at the meeting and Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo explained ... Read More »

Kenya or Somalia: Who owns the sea?

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(MENAFN – SomTribune) – For years, Kenya and Somalia have argued over where their maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean runs. The International Court of Justice in The Hague could now decide who owns the sea, a decision that will only suit one. A narrow triangle off the coast of Africa, in the Indian Ocean, about 100,000 square kilometers (62,000 square miles), is the bone of contention between neighboring Kenya and Somalia. Both countries want the area because it supposedly ... Read More »

After the Showdown in Libya’s Oil Crescent

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A renewed struggle this summer over Libya’s main oil export zone cut sales in half, squeezing hard currency supplies amid outcry about mismanagement of hydrocarbon revenues. ICG To build trust, Libyan and international actors should review public spending and move toward unifying divided financial institutions. What’s new? Fighting in June in Libya’s “oil crescent”, a coastal area home to most of its oil export terminals, led to a brief military takeover of oil installations and, subsequently, an attempt to deepen ... Read More »

Namibia’s long fight for justice

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Over a century later, descendants of the Herero and Nama peoples, victims of Germany’s forgotten genocide, are demanding reparations – and an apology. Gouri Sharma reports New Internationalist ‘Justice now,’ they shouted. ‘Give us an apology’, they said, ‘genocide is genocide,’ they declared. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in the German port city of Hamburg. Activists, students and journalists from Germany and the African continent had gathered outside St. Michael’s church, the city’s largest, to begin their protest march ... Read More »

Restoring Public Confidence in Tunisia’s Political System

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Whether Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed will remain in his post or resign has been at the heart of a political crisis for several weeks. Should major political parties and trade unions fail to find a compromise, putting in place a technocratic government could help shore… ICG What’s new? Tunisia is going through a governmental crisis sparked chiefly by a dispute between political forces about whether the prime minister, Youssef Chahed, should resign and by a struggle for control of ... Read More »

Why the media are to blame for racialising Melbourne’s ‘African gang’ problem

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Just before Channel 7 aired a Sunday Night special devoted to Melbourne’s “African gangs” problem earlier this month, the race discrimination commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, went on Twitter to criticise a promotion spot as “fear-mongering and… John Budarick The Conversation The same could be said of a string of stories in the Australian media in recent months on violent incidents committed by “African gangs” or people of “African appearance”. The death of a 19-year-old Sudanese woman at a party in Melbourne ... Read More »

Trump seeks to revive ‘Arab NATO’ to confront Iran

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The Trump administration is quietly pushing ahead with a bid to create a new security and political alliance with six Gulf Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, in part to counter Iran’s expansion in the… WASHINGTON – Reuters Hurriyet The White House wants to see deeper cooperation between the countries on missile defense, military training, counter-terrorism and other issues such as strengthening regional economic and… The plan to forge what officials in the White House and Middle East have called an “Arab NATO” of ... Read More »