Pambazuka News 516: Voices from Dakar WSF | Egyptian people's power persists

Apart from the looming job losses in Swaziland’s public sector, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have also warned of retrenchments following the government’s decision to suspend procurement from small businesses. The government of the southern African autocratic monarchy has been forced to cut expenditure after its receipts from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) shrunk with 60 per cent.

Freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press are the big gains of Tunisia’s so-called Jasmine Revolution, according to a top Tunisian economist, writer and opposition figure. But he warns that dark days still lie ahead. 'Not even political scientists could have imagined people’s deep hunger for democracy,' says Mahmoud Ben Romdhane, author of the just published ‘Tunisie: Etat, économie et société’ and one of the keynote speakers at the 17th Maghreb Literary Fair ( more

Political leaders have committed to ramping up restoration of the world's forests and tackling poverty in forest communities as part of pledges made at the ninth session Forum on Forests. Rwanda, in central eastern Africa, led the way with promises to launch a 25-year plan to tackle ecosystem degradation and improve rural livelihoods, a move hailed by environmental groups including the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

South Africa is gearing up for its third local government election. In an attempt to break with the authoritarianism of his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, President Jacob Zuma has promised a new approach to these elections, where more responsive candidates are selected that genuinely represent the will of the people. But, asks Jane Duncan, Highway Africa Chair of Media and Information Society at Rhodes University, will the promise of these elections be realised? And will the ANC respect the will more

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara refused to resign, defying a directive from his party to step down and accept a ministerial position after he lost the party’s leadership. Mutambara was replaced by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube as head of the faction of the Movement for Democratic Change at its congress in January, after which the party said he would move to the Minister of International Co-operation and Regional Integration.