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ISS Africa | Africa in 2014: the good, the bad and the ugly

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ISS Africa | Africa in 2014: the good, the bad and the ugly.

Africa is not a country. What might have been an excellent year for some was a disaster for others. For protesters in Burkina Faso who have known only one ruler for the last 27 years, 2014 was a very good year. The peaceful overthrow of Blaise Compaoré at the end of October was a victory for democracy. Whether the strong positioning of military officials in the transitional government will undermine the democratic gains remains to be seen.

Compaoré’s ouster inspired those rejecting their own leaders’ bids to stay on beyond their legal term limits, like in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Republic of Congo or Burundi – and sent a clear warning to leaders in countries like Zimbabwe, Uganda and Angola. The African Union (AU), which should give itself some credit for ensuring that Compaoré was replaced by a civilian-led government in Burkina Faso, also had quite a good year.

AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma got the private sector to contribute to AU programmes, notably the AU Support Mission to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa. Following a fundraising meeting on 8 November, South African cellphone giant MTN came out tops with a sponsorship of $10 million for the fight against Ebola and Masiyiwa’s Econet donated $2,5 million…

Poor nations ‘lose $1 tn in dirty money’ – Americas – Al Jazeera English

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Poor nations ‘lose $1 tn in dirty money’ – Americas – Al Jazeera English.

Developing countries are losing nearly a trillion dollars to crime and corruption, with the disappearance of dirty money hitting some of the world’s poorest regions hardest, a new report has found.

A record $991bn in unrecorded funds left 151 developing and emerging economies in 2012, up nearly five percent from a year earlier, a US-based watchdog that exposes financial corruption said on Monday.

Global Financial Integrity (GFI) found that, between 2003 and 2012, the estimated amount of illicit funds shifted from developing countries totalled $6.6tn and rose at an inflation-adjusted 9.4 percent a year – roughly double global GDP growth…

ISS Africa | THINK AGAIN: In defence of the African Union

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ISS Africa | THINK AGAIN: In defence of the African Union.

The African Union (AU) gets a lot of flak. Critics often argue that it is slow to respond to security threats; that it prioritises power over justice; and that it fails to adequately represent the needs of this continent’s 1,11 billion citizens.

The continental organisation is often dismissed as a talk shop for tyrants, or depicted as an ineffectual, lumbering bureaucracy that worries more about per diems than it does about Africa’s most pressing political problems.

There is merit to some of these critiques. But they don’t tell the whole story, and they leave out the good bits. It is time to give credit where credit is due, and to recognise that – as imperfect as it may be – Africa is in much better shape with the AU than without it…

By Sea and by Ladder, Africans Seek Entry to Spain – NYTimes.com

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By Sea and by Ladder, Africans Seek Entry to Spain – NYTimes.com.

Migrants from Africa continued to pour across the Mediterranean this week, and Spain’s sea rescue service picked up 681 people traveling in 70 small boats across the Strait of Gibraltar. Above, a Red Cross worker helped with a feeding at a sports center in the Spanish port of Tarifa. Below, new arrivals stormed border fences with ladders to try to enter Spain’s northwest African enclave of Melilla from Morocco. Around 50 stayed on one of the fences for hours…

Can women make the world more peaceful? | Global Development Professionals Network | Guardian Professional

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Can women make the world more peaceful? | Global Development Professionals Network | Guardian Professional.

Do women hold the key to a peaceful society? Much is known about the victimisation of women through rape, trafficking, and early marriages, but much is yet to be discovered about how women can be empowered in conflict settings to bridge the gap towards peace.

I recently conducted research analysing female peacemaking and found that women do hold a significant role in the peace process. However, this role is not always long-term, unless gender equality is institutionalised through quotas. A better understanding of how women can transform conflict situations, and how to create space for them to do so, will be vital for the UN and other concerned actors in the coming years.

Billions promised to Africa – here’s how it would be spent | Africa | Africa | Mail & Guardian

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Billions promised to Africa – here’s how it would be spent | Africa | Africa | Mail & Guardian.

“IT is summit season in Africa. The US-Africa Leaders Summit is the second major meeting this year, following the EU-Africa summit in March, and comes hot on the heels of similar summits with France, Japan and Arab nations last year.

Later this year India will hold its second triennial summit with African leaders, as Beijing’s flagship Forum on China-Africa Co-operation waits in the wings for next year.

These summits have recently been similar in that they are carefully wrapped in varying degrees of “co-operation” and “equal partnership” talk, but despite this the headlines are usually around the money and investment promised.

We take a look at the numbers announced so far: (Quoted exchange rates reflect the time the deal was announced.)

1: United States, ($33-billion), August 2014

President Barack Obama has become the first American leader to convene a summit of such magnitude with African heads of state, with the US-Africa summit themed around investment, security and rights issues.

On Tuesday, Obama announced $33-billion in commitments, with American companies planning $14-billion worth of investments in Africa, and his Power Africa drawing an additional $12-billion in commitments to go with the initial $7-billion it had attracted…”

Africa: Behind the smokescreen of charity – Counting the Cost – Al Jazeera English

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Africa: Behind the smokescreen of charity – Counting the Cost – Al Jazeera English.

Africa receives billions in aid from wealthy countries, but a new report suggests that notion is actually a smokescreen for politicians and corporations to plunder Africa’s vast resources.

Aid to Africa amounts to less than $30bn but it is losing $192bn a year and it still remains unclear how much there is in illicit money that is squirelled away in tax havens and money loans to other governments.

So, does aid make a difference to the poor in the region? And are the different nations taking more than they are giving?

Counting the Cost discusses this and more with Martin Drewry, the director of Health Poverty Action.

Watch each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 2230; Saturday: 0930; Sunday: 0330; Monday: 1630.  Click here  for more  Counting the Cost .

 

 

More Africans in extreme poverty than in 1990: UN – Yahoo News

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More Africans in extreme poverty than in 1990: UN – Yahoo News.

United Nations (United States) (AFP) – More sub-Saharan Africans are living in extreme poverty now than in 1990, said a major United Nations report Monday, warning the region will miss most of its development goals.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), set in 2000, strive to halve extreme poverty and hunger in the world by 2015.

They also promote and track progress in tackling issues such as AIDS, maternal and childhood mortality, access to clean water, gender equality and education.

Many targets are within reach by the end of 2015, according to the United Nations’ annual MDG progress report: if current trends continue, targets on malaria, tuberculosis and access to HIV treatment will be surpassed, while the hunger target also looks to be within reach, it said.

But it found that sub-Saharan Africa is lagging behind the rest of the world in its progress, with population growth, conflicts and a decrease in international aid making the timely completion of many goals unlikely…

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