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Central Africa (200)

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is expected to go to the polls to elect a new leader to succeed President Joseph Kabila, whose mandate expires on 19 December. This should have happened towards the end of November but the DRC’s constitutional court recently approved a request by the electoral commission for a postponement. It is now widely expected that polling will take place in 2018.
The 2016 elections of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were scheduled for mid-September this year, and then postponed to 27 November. But the country is still nowhere near being ready to conduct a legitimate vote, and tensions there are reaching critical levels. What should South Africa be doing to help? 'Help'. That was the one-word message I received from my contact in the DRC. It was enough to tell me everything I needed to know.
The integration of transport networks within Africa has long been a priority for the continent, for reasons of trade and political development. Last week, the dream to connect all major African cities through a high-speed railway network took a critical step forward with the signing of a five-year action plan between the African Union and China.
South Africa has contributed billions of Rands in developmental assistance to the DRC. Yet according to traditional definitions of aid, these contributions do not count. In a new article published by the Mail and Guardian, SAIIA's Carmel Rawhani investigates the controversies around defining aid and why South Africa's contributions may actually surpass those of more wealthy ‘Western’ donors.
Tuesday, 30 August 2016

South Africa and the DRC

The South African Institute of International Affairs' (Saiia's) Senior Researcher Neissan Besharati speaks to Polity's Sashnee Moodley about our latest research: South Africa and the DRC – Evaluating a South-South partnership for peace, governance and development. Click here to read the related report Watch the video by clicking on the image above, or click here to view on the PolitySA YouTube Channel.
SAIIA's new report shows that South Africa’s contributions as a proportion of GDP greatly exceeds all other donors, demonstrating the significant role middle-income countries can play in global development.
With eight countries already going to the polls and seven more planning to do so before December, 2016 has been a busy year for elections in Africa. At the halfway point of the year, what can be concluded about democratic processes across the continent? And what can be expected from the coming months?
Nearly 26 years after he was forced out of power, former Chadian president Hissène Habré has been found guilty of crimes against humanity, torture (including sexual violence) and crimes of war committed under his rule from 1982 to 1990. He has been condemned to life imprisonment by the judges of the Extraordinary African Chambers (EACs), a court specially created by Senegal upon the request of the African Union (AU). This was the first trial of its kind on the continent and years of lobbying were necessary to convince the AU and Senegal to proceed with it. In pushing Africa to…
The US Congress passed the African Growth and Opportunity (AGOA) Act into law in 2000 in order to promote US and African trade relations and contribute to economic development on the African continent through export-led growth. AGOA and the US – African trade relationship has been placed under the spotlight in recent months, particularly with regards to the extension of the Act towards September 2015 and around South Africa’s continued benefits under the programme (as the largest AGOA beneficiary). 
SAIIA Research Report No 22, February 2016 Download - English Governance and APRM Programme Africa’s turn to electoral democracy over the past three decades has rightly been hailed as a significant achievement, but it has not rid the continent of restrictive and authoritarian governance impulses. This report attempts to interrogate the concept of ‘freedom’ and how it is faring in Africa. To do so, it conceptualises freedom in terms of ‘constitutional liberalism’, and discusses this conceptualisation in relation to two broad themes: constitutionalism and civil liberties.
President Jacob Zuma’s visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo on 16 October 2015 came at a critical time in the bilateral relations of the two countries, with South Africa having made significant investments in the DRC’s political process since the late 1990s.
After relatively peaceful elections in Guinea-Conakry returned outgoing President Alpha Conde to power last week in the first round of voting, another West African country - Côte d'Ivoire - is heading to watershed presidential elections on 25 October 2015.
The signing of the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (TFTA) two weeks ago in Egypt between three of Africa’s major economic blocs COMESA, the EAC and SADC is an important development for intra-African trade and investment. By taking the first step towards the establishment of an economic bloc spanning the continent from South to North East, the African leaders have also laid the foundation for the establishment of a sizeable consumer market for international investors. Yet, it hardly received the attention it deserved at the AU’s 25th Summit in Johannesburg from 7 – 15 June 2015.
SAIIA Policy Insights No 16, May 2015
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 122, January 2015
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 109, October 2014
On 19 September 2014, the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) in partnership with the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) hosted a policy dialogue on ‘Protecting Civilians in Armed Conflict: Views from the South’.
Monday, 29 July 2013

Congo: the curse of riches

The Democratic Republic of Congo has witnessed another recent outbreak of violence related to the struggle over its rich natural resources. The central African country is faced with a dilemma which is frequently posed in Africa: Is there any way to turn the so-called ‘natural resource curse’ into a blessing?
When the bodies of United States army rangers were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu in 1993, American public opinion could not comprehend why their compatriots had to die for Somalia. Somalia was seen to be far from the ‘American national interest’. In the wake of domestic pressure and the debate about the national interest, Somalia marked a turning point for American involvement in African conflicts. Similarly, the death of 13 South African soldiers on 23 March 2013 in battle between Damara and Bangui in the Central African Republic (CAR) left South African public opinion in a state of incomprehension.
The South African deployment in the Central African Republic (CAR) which created a political firestorm at home, came to a precipitous end when President Zuma announced the forces’ withdrawal on 3 April. Beyond the official explanation which centred on a bilateral military cooperation agreement, unpacking the real rationale behind South Africa’s involvement requires a closer reading of a new African geopolitical script of which Pretoria is very much a part. Such a reading must consider the economic (largely resource) interests that forced the long unstable central African country back into the global media spotlight this past month.
Tuesday, 09 April 2013

South Africa's mission in CAR

South Africa has decided to withdraw its troops from the hapless mission in the Central African Republic (CAR), where 13 troops were killed by rebel forces. At the same time, South African Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula appeared before the Joint Standing Committee on Defence to answer Parliament’s questions on our involvement in the CAR. On 5 April 2013 Tjiurimo Hengari, head of SAIIA's South African Foreign Policy and African Drivers Programme, talked to Summit TV about the latest developments. Click here to watch the video [Duration: 8min 19sec] This video is coutesy of ABN digital/ CNBC Africa.
‘Cui bono?’ or ‘Who benefits?’ is a question often asked by well-known political economist Susan Strange. This was also the guiding question of a recent SAIIA study on the tropical timber trade in Africa’s Great Lakes region. The report, entitled Timber Trade in Africa’s Great Lakes: The road from Beni, DRC to Kampala, Uganda focuses on international, regional and local demand-side drivers of tropical timber exports from the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to and through Uganda.
SAIIA Report No 11, July 2012  Download - English [.pdf] (2.82 MB) Governance of Africa's Resource Programme The report provides a political economy analysis of the trade in tropical timber from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to and through Uganda via the Northern Transit Corridor. The study focuses on international, regional and local demand-side drivers for tropical timber exports from the eastern DRC to and through Uganda.
SAIIA Policy Briefing 48, June 2012
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