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Pambazuka News Pambazuka News is produced by a pan-African community of some 2,600 citizens and organisations - academics, policy makers, social activists, women's organisations, civil society organisations, writers, artists, poets, bloggers, and commentators who together produce insightful, sharp and thoughtful analyses and make it one of the largest and most innovative and influential web forums for social justice in Africa.

Latest titles from Pambazuka Press

African Sexualities

Earth Grab A Reader
Sylvia Tamale
A groundbreaking book, accessible but scholarly, by African activists. It uses research, life stories and artistic expression to examine dominant and deviant sexualities, and investigate the intersections between sex, power, masculinities and femininities
Buy now

Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya

From Citizen to Refugee Horace Campbell
In this elegantly written and incisive account, scholar Horace Campbell investigates the political and economic crises of the early twenty-first century through the prism of NATO's intervention in Libya.
Buy now

Queer African Reader

Demystifying Aid Edited by Sokari Ekine, Hakima Abbas
A diverse collection of writing from across the continent exploring African LGBTI liberation: identity, tactics for activism, international solidarity, homophobia and global politics, religion and culture, and intersections with social justice movements. A richness of voices, a multiplicity of discourses, a quiverful of arguments. African queers writing for each other, theorising ourselves, making our ...more
Buy now

China and Angola

African Awakening A Marriage of Convenience?
Edited by Marcus Power, Ana Alves
This book focuses on the increased co-operation between Angola and China and shows that although relations with China might have bolstered regime stability and boosted the international standing of the Angolan government, China is not regarded as a long term strategic partner.
Buy now

How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

To Cook a ContinentWalter Rodney
Rodney shows how the imperial countries of Europe, and subsequently the US, bear major responsibility for impoverishing Africa. They have been joined in this exploitation by agents or unwitting accomplices both in the North and in Africa.
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Pambazuka News Broadcasts

Pambazuka broadcasts feature audio and video content with cutting edge commentary and debate from social justice movements across the continent.

See the list of episodes.

AU MONITOR

This site has been established by Fahamu to provide regular feedback to African civil society organisations on what is happening with the African Union.

Perspectives on Emerging Powers in Africa: December 2011 newsletter

Deborah Brautigam provides an overview and description of China's development finance to Africa. "Looking at the nature of Chinese development aid - and non-aid - to Africa provides insights into China's strategic approach to outward investment and economic diplomacy, even if exact figures and strategies are not easily ascertained", she states as she describes China's provision of grants, zero-interest loans and concessional loans. Pambazuka Press recently released a publication titled India in Africa: Changing Geographies of Power, and Oliver Stuenkel provides his review of the book.
The December edition available here.

The 2010 issues: September, October, November, December, and the 2011 issues: January, February, March , April, May , June , July , August , September, October and November issues are all available for download.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

transparency

Kleptocratic capitalism: Challenges of the green economy for sustainable Africa

Yash Tandon

2011-06-30, Issue 537


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Africa remains at the mercy of a self-interested international ruling class interested purely in maximising profit at all costs and consolidating its position, writes Yash Tandon. As the continent faces up to the enormous challenge of climate change and the creation of a sustainable ‘green economy’, it must look inwards and draw upon its own expertise and resources and resist the temptation to rely on compromised external ‘experts’, Tandon stresses.

Diamonds and disappearing tax revenues

Khadija Sharife

2010-11-18, Issue 505


cc Stewart Leiwakabessy
Petra Diamonds, the largest diamond-mining group listed on the UK's Alternative Investment Market (AIM), may deal in the glittering rocks that bring lovers together in holy matrimony. But the company’s activities behind the scenes may just be tearing people – and societies – apart, writes Khadija Sharife.

Tear down the stone wall of secrecy

Alemayehu G. Mariam

2010-02-18, Issue 470


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While Ghana appears to be taking steps to make its natural resources sector transparent, accountable and open to public scrutiny, Alemayehu G. Mariam sees Ethiopia slipping further the other way. Mariam understands Ghana’s background in the sector is by no means clean, but he believes the very different attitudes of its new presidency should be an example to Ethiopia and the rest of Africa. He finds Ethiopia instead shrouded in secrecy over its farmland and borderland deals with Sudan.

Kenya's civil society needs a new vision

Zaya Yeebo

2009-07-02, Issue 440


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While acknowledging that Kenya's Grand Coalition Government (GCG) has given rise to much debate and commentary, Zaya Yeebo argues that civil society's ability to influence change without violence is often ignored. Though other African countries see their people's voices expressed through groups such as trade unions and youth organisations, Kenyans' voices are muted by the noisy contestations of the country's political elites. The tendency of the last few years to 'franchise' the role of civil society out to international NGOs must be challenged, Yeebo contends, and Kenyans must look to the recent examples provided by Ghana, Sierra Leone and South Africa of how people power can bring about change. But while Kenyan civil society can draw inspiration and even support from outside, it alone must work to stoke popular pressure if effective and lasting political reform is to be achieved, Yeebo concludes.

Propping up Africa's dictators

Khadija Sharife

2009-07-02, Issue 440


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‘Lone-ranger’ dictators Bongo (Gabon), Nguessor (Congo) and Obiang (Equatorial Guinea) have in fact been sustained by neocolonial relationships set up by France and the international financial system, writes Khadija Sharife. Françafrique, France's postcolonial Africa policy, was designed to create structural dependence and domination by reasserting geostrategic control over natural resources through the use of black 'governors', says Sharife. Illegitimate governments representing external interests have shaped and normalised the inherited legacy of colonialism, Sharife argues. These leaders, Sharife adds, have thus subsequently ‘internalised the economic, cultural, and political imperialism and cultivated an atmosphere of compliance concerning French interests in Africa.’ Unlike the United States, Sharife notes, ‘France treads lightly, attracts little or no attention, and leaves few footprints behind.’

Kenya: Government commitment necessary for police reforms

Louise Edwards

2009-07-02, Issue 440


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The Kenyan government has conceded that the country has a problem with the widespread and systematic use of extrajudicial killings by the Kenya Police Force, as highlighted in a report by UN special rapporteur Professor Phillip Alston, writes Louise Edwards. Now, however, the focus must shift to action to be taken to address the problems with policing the report raises, says Edwards. ‘Police reform is a daunting and long-term process,’ Edward notes, that ‘requires substantial law reform, a radical shift in policing culture from one of impunity to accountability and the restoration of trust between police and the community.’ But, Edwards cautions, ‘None of these urgent reforms will happen in Kenya without the political and financial commitment of the government.’

Unfinished business: Moving Kenya forward

Korir Sing’Oei

2009-06-18, Issue 438


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With Kenya still in the throes of an entrenched crisis, Korir Sing’Oei considers the broader history behind the deficiencies of the country's political system. Arguing that there are clear similarities to be drawn between events such as the state's response to the 1963 Shifta War and today's military crackdowns at Mt. Elgon, Sing’Oei stresses that the government continues to have a single method of conflict resolution, that of state-sponsored violence. But if Kenya's dream of a new constitution is to come to fruition, Sing’Oei concludes, there must be firm resolve to see accountability for its leadership, beginning on the first day of the country's truth commission with an apology from President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga for the post-election violence.

Tired of 'leaders of the people'

A letter of protest to governments and politicians in Africa

Lord Aikins Adusei

2009-06-11, Issue 437


cc Tom Maruko
In a lyrical letter of protest to politicians in Africa, Lord Aikins Adusei writes that people are tired of their self-proclaimed leaders. 'You have consistently ignored all our cry for help even though you know our plights very well', Adusei says, chronicling the challenges faced by people across the continent from poor housing and education to torture and war. 'Aren't you ashamed that after all these years of independence your people cannot feed themselves; cannot read and write; rely on handouts from Europe and America; and the youth are in a hurry to leave the continent for you?', Adusei asks, before closing with the words of caution:'We are watching.'

Climate justice: Turning up the heat

Collins Cheruiyot

2009-06-04, Issue 436


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In anticipation of Denmark's hosting of the United Nations Climate Change Conference – the COP15 – in December this year, Collins Cheruiyot says that now is the time for Africa to be proactive in asserting its right to be heard. Calling upon its leaders to seize the opportunity to represent their continent in Copenhagen, Cheruiyot stresses that Africa must not allow itself to be short-changed on so crucial a challenge.

Lessons in Liberation: Remembering Tajudeen

The Pambazuka News team highlights 15 of our favourite Pan-African Postcards

Pambazuka News Editors

2009-05-28, Issue 435

Pambazuka News has published Tajudeen’s weekly Pan-African Postcard regularly since 2004. While we joke that Tajudeen’s writing was ‘an editor’s nightmare’, it was first and foremost a source of penetrating, incisive insight into pan-African affairs, expressed with humour and an underlying sense of optimism and belief that, however great the challenges the continent faces, by uniting and organising, we can build Africa into a great place for all its citizens. In celebration of Tajudeen’s commitment and contribution to Pan-Africanism – and to the Pambazuka community – we have picked a few of our favourite postcards to share with you. These postcards, listed in chronological order, demonstrate Tajudeen’s uncanny ability to see to the heart of the matter, to understand the workings of the human heart, to clarify complex and controversial issues and to inspire people to work for change.

Imperial projects and the food crisis in the periphery

Ng’wanza Kamata

2009-05-21, Issue 433


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Considering Tanzania's position in relation to food crises around the world, Ng’wanza Kamata laments the inability of Jakaya Kikwete's government to develop the 'agricultural revolution' it once promised. Highlighting that food production difficulties have over the years invariably been attributed to drought and peasant farmers' supposed laziness and poor agricultural methods, Kamata argues that the government should now begin to look in the mirror and acknowledge its own shortcomings. With the budget for agriculture consistently low despite the sector's support for around 80 per cent of Tanzania's total population, the author contends that the country's producers essentially remain subject to the same exploitative relations first imposed during the colonial period. In the face of contemporary political elites' willingness to embrace biofuel production methods, Kamata stresses that the touted agricultural revolution should prioritise the needs and role of the country's poor agricultural majority and not simply bend to the will of foreign corporations.

Riven with divisions: Kenya’s singular tragedy

Kwamchetsi Makokha

2009-05-07, Issue 431


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Disillusionment with the failure of the 2008 peace deal is the only point of consensus in Kenya, writes Kwamchetsi Makokha, with Kenyans using their shared sense of despondency to hide their frustrations with the decision to force two ideologically parallel political systems to work together for five years. Outlining the demise of the country’s institutions from the judiciary to parliament, Makokha argues that ‘unless the international community forcefully reengages with Kenya and progressive civil society finds a way to engage the middle class to reflect more on their role in rescuing the country, the future looks bleak’. While those who wish to ‘provide leadership face innumerable risks and palpable threats’, the absence of individuals with ‘unquestionable moral authority in the public sphere… feeds the despondency that has come to characterise Kenya’, Makokha concludes.

Kenya: One year on

Shailja Patel

2009-01-29, Issue 417

2008 began for Kenyans with the murder of Kenya’s democracy. It ended with the son of a Kenyan migrant winning the US presidential race. In editing this special issue of Pambazuka News, ‘Kenya – one year on’, our guest editor, Shailja Patel, says the questions that arise apply to both these historic events.

Obama and US policy towards Africa

Horace Campbell

2009-01-15, Issue 415

As Obama takes over the presidency of the United States, Horace Campbell contextualizes an Obama presidency in the realities of Africa and the ongoing global finance crisis. He argues that “capitalism should not be reconstituted and rebuilt on the backs and bodies of Africans." For Campbell, the crisis is not simply a cyclical crisis of capitalism; it is a fundamental shift in the global political and economic order. In light of this fast changing world, Campbell is also interested in the possibilities and our responsibilities in bringing about change in and for Africa.

Why we must unveil the queen

Mwangi Kibathi

2008-09-17, Issue 397

In the ancient Spartan democracy, the all the citizens were directly involved in major decision-making processes. As populations and perhaps egos grew, it became impossible to involve everyone in the day to day running of state affairs. A class of fulltime governors who made decisions for the rest of the society evolved. Thus representative democracy was born. This brought about a class of people who by the virtue of their leadership positions acquired (and controlled) more information than the rest of the society....

Aid effectiveness: the question of mutual accountability

Charles Mutasa

2008-09-03, Issue 394

The issue of development cooperation especially aid can be traced back to the United Nations resolution 2626 of 1970 on the international development strategy for the second United Nations development decade where rich countries pledged to give 0.7% ...

Mozambique experience on aid effectiveness

Marta Cumbi

2008-08-26, Issue 394

African countries and donors share the belief that aid has the potential to contribute to economic growth, reduce poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, the way both donors and recipient countries are performing for del...

Interrogating official mechanisms for tackling climate change

Nnimmo Bassey

2008-07-23, Issue 390

Climate Change is accepted today even by die hard sceptics as a real crisis that must be urgently tackled for the preservation of the earth in a form that would sustain human and other life forms. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the best known body of climate scientists who accepts that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations due to human activities

Kenya and Zimbabwe: Challenges and opportunities

Briggs Bomba

2008-07-09, Issue 387

The world’s attention has been riveted in 2008, by election crises in Africa, first Kenya, and now Zimbabwe. In both cases, challenges remain in converting electoral victory to political power. Can a victorious opposition come to power in the face of an obstinate incumbent? This question is particularly relevant when the incumbent regime controls the coercive apparatus of the state and the opposition only has the ballot in its corner. In the battle of the ballot vs. the bullet, can there ever be a fair match, asks Briggs Bomba.

Transitional arrangements for Zimbabwe

SADC Council of NGOs

2008-07-09, Issue 387

SADC Council of NGOs (SADC-CNGO), Southern African Trade Union Coordinating Council (SATUCC) & Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa (FOCISSA), representing broad membership in all SADC member states, are deeply concerned that the developments in Zimbabwe grossly undermines the regional community’s efforts to achieve regional integration and go against the spirit and objectives of the SADC Treaty.

The bear and the dragon

Stephen Marks

2008-06-17, Issue 381

In Africa the "Russian state seems far more ‘upfront’ about pursuing its grand geopolitical projects than the more cautious and patient Chinese. Russia’s private sector too is prepared on occasion to operate with an unashamed directness where others might be more diplomatic." While all eyes are on China's growing influence in Africa, Stephen Marks argues that Russia's bear is quitely intensifying its hug.

The Paris Declaration and aid effectiveness

Yash Tandon

2008-06-10, Issue 379

The Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness will be held this September in Accra. But is aid effectiveness a mirage? Yash Tandon dissects the Paris Declaration in relation to aid effectiveness and reaches the conclusion that "under the pretext of making aid more effective, the aid effectiveness project is a form of collective colonialism by Northern donors of those Southern countries that, through weakness, vulnerability or psychological dependency, allow themselves to be subjected to it at the Accra conference in September." But all is not lost and he also offers a way out.

China’s ‘openness’ has African echoes

Stephen Marks

2008-05-29, Issue 376

China’s media and official reaction to the devastating Sichuan earthquake has been given generally positive coverage by Western media and governments, writes Stephen Marks. It may be a coincidence, but the earthquake and the allegedly more open reaction happen to follow soon after the coming into force of sweeping new Chinese government regulations on transparency - which could be a useful lever for activists seeking greater transparency in tracking the impact of China’s African footprint.

Libya and nuclear energy

Mustafa Adam-Noble

2008-05-27, Issue 375

Libya is getting the backing of Ukraine to build nuclear reactors. Mustafa Adam-Noble looks at the implications of an oil-rich country going nuclear and the possible impact on Libyan people.

More financial and technical cooperation for development!

AFRODAD

2008-05-04, Issue 372

Civil society organisations call upon the membership of the United Nations to encourage the building of development partnerships that increase the volume and maximize the poverty reduction impact of the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA).

Challenges of democratic transition in Africa

Femi Falana

2008-05-15, Issue 371

The challenges confronting Africa's democratic experiments are many and complex and include entrenching constitutionalism and the reconstruction of the postcolonial state, writes Femi Falana. To move Africa forward, emerging democratic governments would have to confront a legacy of poverty, illiteracy, militarization, and underdevelopment produced by incompetent or corrupt governments.

Zimbabwe: Black America must not be silent

Bill Fletcher, Jr

2008-04-17, Issue 363

For Bill Fletcher, speaking out against Mugabe's excesses does not make one an ally of the Bush or Gordon Brown agenda for Africa, or a supporter of the troubling MDC. In this frank article, he argues that what matters is whether "there is a political environment that advances genuine, grassroots democracy and debate in Zimbabwe." On tough issues such as on Obama or Zimbabwe, Black America has to accommodate and learn from different views and not find agents of 'imperialism' in every voice that is critical - solidarity has to accommodate difference

African voices on AFRICOM

Africa Action

2008-04-01, Issue 363

This Africa Action resource provides examples of statements from African leaders from multiple regions who stand opposed to AFRICOM."The stand that many African countries have taken against the military command is one that needs to be supported and needs to be explained to the U.S...

Zimbabwe – who can halt the slide to inevitable violence?

Sam Kebele

2008-04-15, Issue 362

Sam Kabele looks at the fault lines along which violence in Zimbabwe is traveling and calls for solidarity the Zimbabwean people

AGRA, bio-piracy and food as social justice

Mariam Mayet speaks to Pambazuka News

Mariam Mayet

2008-04-10, Issue 361

In this wide ranging Pambazuka News interview, Mariam Mayet, the director of the African Center Biosafety speaks about biopiracy, which she calls "the last frontier", the Alliance for a Green Revolution and its impact on Africa, and food and agriculture as social justice justice.

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