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Governance, Democracy and Accountability (771)

Wednesday, 07 August 2013

Turkey: Coups and Trials

The Turkish courts have sentenced an ex-general to life in prison as part of the so-called "Ergenekon trial", a high-profile case involving 275 defendants, including the military, politicians and journalists. The trial centered on a retired military chief of staff, Ilker Basbug, who was accused of plotting to topple the Turkish government. Former Ambassador to Turkey Tom Wheeler, a research associate with SAIIA, joined an expert panel on Voice of Russia to discuss the trial, and its probable consequences for the Turkish government and the nature of governance in Turkey. Click here to download the audio podcast of the show…
Even before Zimbabweans went to the polls on 31 July 2013, the Southern African Development Community’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security raised a litany of concerns about the elections.SADC requested that the election be postponed in order to allow reforms as provided for in the Global Political Agreement to be effected.
As the votes are counted after yesterday's Zimbabwean election, we thought the following article might be of interest. An anonymous social media commentator has attracted the world's attention in the run-up to the election. SAIIA's Yu-Shan Wu (@yushan_wu) and Catherine Grant Makokera (@cathgmak) take a look at what they call "one manifestation of a silent revolution ... taking place."
South Africa’s gold mining industry is in a perilous condition. In the second quarter of this year alone, the gold price plummeted $220 (R2 153) an ounce, partly in the wake of US economic recovery, which has reduced the demand for gold as a secure store of value.
If there is one thing that is different to the 2008 Zimbabwean elections, it is that the 2013 election has a new ‘candidate’. His name is Baba Jukwa. The anonymous social media icon and commentator, portrayed as a cartoon of an old man and coined ‘the Julian Assange of Zimbabwe’, has attracted the world’s attention.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEDear Editors, 29 July 2013 SAIIA Media Alert: SAIIA expert analysis and commentary on the Zimbabwean election  Zimbabwean citizens go to the polls this week for what has been called one of the most important elections in Zimbabwe’s history since independence. President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are expected to contest a tough election; the outcome of which has repercussions for South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Sunday, 14 July 2013

Egypt's unrest

At the beginning of July, millions of Egyptians marched to demand that Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi resign. He was overthrown by the military on 3 July 2013 and the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mansour, was installed as interim president. Hazem el-Beblawi, a 76-year-old liberal economist became interim prime minister to govern under a temporary constitution until parliamentary elections could be held in the next six months.
In a new podcast, SAIIA interviewed participants of the “African Peer Review Mechanism +10: Reviewing a decade of Peer Learning and Projecting a Future of Governance in Africa” colloquium, which took place on 17 and 18 May 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
In 2012, Africa lost an estimated $43-$46 billion to illicit financial flows (IFF). Calculated over time, the size of this “shadow financial system” is staggering. For instance, between 1980 and 2009 the continent is estimated to have lost around US$1.3 trillion. This is according to a report by Global Financial Integrity (GFI) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) released in May 2013.
The recent 19th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, injected new momentum into the decade old African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) with the appointment of new leadership to the APR Forum and the APR Panel. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Barrister Akere Muna will play pivotal roles in the two afore-mentioned governing bodies of Africa’s unique voluntary governance assessment instrument. How will the new appointments affect the mechanism that is heading into its second decade of existence?
SAIIA has recently relaunched its two regular newsletters, which are freely available to all. Trade Perspectives is a bi-monthly newsletter providing insights, analysis and updates on economic governance, trade policy and trade negotiations. This newsletter is produced by the Economic Diplomacy Programme at SAIIA. The next issue will be available this month. Governance Perspectives is a bi-monthly newsletter on the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), governance, democracy and accountability in Africa. It is published by the Governance and APRM Programme at SAIIA. The next issue will be available next month. To subscribe to either of these newsletters, please click here…
The recent global conference of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), convened in Sydney from 23-24 May 2013, provided an opportunity for the EITI board to adopt and launch the EITI Standard, a new set of membership criteria and reporting standards aimed at strengthening the contribution of the EITI to improved governance of extractive industries.
This year’s elections in Zimbabwe may well prove to be a watershed for the Southern African country but as the elections move ever closer, the outcome appears less and less certain.
Increasingly assertive in continental politics and highly visible in a number of key global regulatory frameworks for the extractive sector, observers continue to wonder why South Africa (SA) remains conspicuously absent from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). This year marks the tenth anniversary of the framework as it does the Kimberley Process, another high-profile international regulatory scheme in which South Africa plays an instrumental role in preventing conflict minerals from entering the international diamonds supply chains through certification.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia -  As the leaders of the African Union gather in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to celebrate the continental organisation’s 50th anniversary, more than 46 civil society organisations deliberated on the present state of governance in Africa, by placing the continent’s premier governance mechanism, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), under the microscope.  
Built in 1961 by the Ethiopian government, Africa Hall continues to stand today as a monument of African unity. A stained glass window in the lobby created by Ethiopia’s most well-known artist Afewerk Tekle depicts Africans of yesterday, today and tomorrow in their struggle for freedom and progress. It is in this hall that 32 Heads of State and Government of the newly independent states of Africa met on 25 May 1963 to sign the Organisation of African Unity Charter resulting in the formation of the Organisation African Unity (OAU).
One of the highlights of the upcoming 21st Summit of the African Union (AU) is the 50th anniversary of the founding in 1963 of its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 2013. This occasion will be celebrated under the theme of ‘Pan Africanism and the African Rennaissance’, providing a fitting moment to reflect on Africa’s achievements and shortcomings under the aegis of the OAU since 1963, and the AU since 2002.
The conference report is now available from the Civil Society Colloquium "The APRM +10: Reviewing a decade of Peer Learning and Projecting a Future of Governance in Africa", which took place 17-18 May 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Wednesday, 08 May 2013

Latin America after Chavez

The South African Institute of International Affairs hosts a Speaker’s Meeting addressed by Dr Lyal White, Founding Director of the Centre for Dynamic Markets (CDM) and Senior Lecturer at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), University of Pretoria on  Latin America after Chavez
The South African Institute of International Affairs, Western Cape Branch, invites you to a public seminar to be addressed by Nadège Compaoré  “Access to Information in the South African Extractive Sector: International Initiatives and National Bills” atThe Mountain Club of SA, 97 Hatfield Street, Gardens, Cape Town on Monday 18th March 2013 at 5:00 for 5:30 pm Light refreshments will be served before the event Please RSVP to saiia.admin@telkomsa.net or call Pippa on 083 305 2339 Entrance for non-members is R30 or R15 on presentation of a current student identity card. Parking is freely available on Hatfield Street.   Event…
Wireless communication and social media platforms have provided citizens with previously unimaginable possibilities to engage politically. For example, during the 2012 United States presidential elections, the Barack Obama campaign launched a smartphone app so users could register, donate and link up with like-minded supporters.
The presidential elections in Kenya on 4 March will test the progress Kenyan society has made towards peace and stability after the highly contested and violent elections of 2007. The elections are taking place in an environment of uncertainty. A number of key political contenders face International Criminal Court (ICC) charges for their alleged role in the displacement, torture, persecution and killing of civilians in the aftermath of the 2007 elections.
2013 is a landmark year for governance in Africa. The continent’s African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) marks its 10th anniversary, while the Organisation of African Unity/African Union (OAU/AU) celebrates its 50th birthday.
Event description: The South African Institute of International Affairs, Western Cape Branch, invites you to a public seminar to be addressed by Dr Boy Geldenhuys "Inside Syria and Egypt After the Arab Spring" atThe Mountain Club of SA, 97 Hatfield Street, Gardens, Cape Town on Thursday 7 February 2013 at 5:00 for 5:30 pm Light refreshments will be served before the event Entrance for non-members is R30 or R15 on presentation of a current student identity card.  Parking is freely available on Hatfield Street.   Event Background Dr Barend Leendert (Boy) Geldenhuys (D.Litt. et Phil: B.Th) studied at the universities…
On the eve of the 2013 Mining Indaba, resource nationalism remains a serious investment risk which threatens both foreign investors and resource-producing states alike. With growing attention devoted to the subject, it appears that assertive resource-exporting countries in Africa risk alienating international capital. In newly resource-rich states and older producers alike, some proposals ostensibly aimed at maximising society’s benefits from resource extraction have spooked investors. Much discussion at the Indaba this week will touch on the disparate experiences often termed resource nationalism, but it is worth reflecting on what the term really means.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 134, January 2013
In 2013, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) celebrates its 10th 2013. SAIIA's Yarik Turianskyi speaks to Kojo Busia, Chief of UNECA's APRM Support Section, ahead of the January African Union Summit and APRM Forum about the mechanism's past, present and future. Download the podcast [Duration: 11min 40sec]