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Opinion & Analysis (1033)

Every year, the United Nations Environment Programme celebrates the World Environment Day on 5 June to raise awareness about environmental issues, reflect on what has been accomplished and call for sustained action globally.
On the sidelines of this week’s OECD meetings in Paris, South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies and US Trade Representative Mike Froman will try and overcome the protracted dispute between the two countries on chicken exports.
The theme for World Health Day, held on 7 April 2015, was 'From farm to plate – make food safe.' The main motivation for the theme was the alarming amount of bacteria borne diseases across the globe, transmitted by eating food which is contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances.
A few weeks ago, forces loyal to President Pierre Nkurunziza stymied a coup d’état in Burundi. A few months earlier, last October to be precise, the exact opposite occurred when an army officer in Burkina Faso, Lt Col. Isaac Zida, dislodged in a bloodless coup d’état West Africa’s former strong-man and president of that country, Blaise Compaoré.
A new pricing model for the controversial electronic toll collection (e-tolling) on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) was announced by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa last week, which will dramatically reduce user fees but link unpaid fees to driver's licence renewals.
Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country, and one of the 12 fastest growing economies in the world is heading to a general election on 24 May 2015. There is very little to suggest that the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which came to power after a bloody civil war in 1991 should have much to worry about.
The South Atlantic Zone refers to a grouping of countries from Latin America and Africa that fall on the littoral border of the South Atlantic Ocean. This region holds significant strategic and economic potential for countries from both regions. Traditionally, South Africa’s regional foreign policy is classified as either ‘Latin American’ or ‘African’. However, an approach that conceives of South Atlantic Zone countries as a single entity offers an opportunity to bridge this conceptual and geographic divide while providing a framework for deeper multilateral co-operation.
The 68th session of the World Health Assembly is being held in Geneva from 18 to 26 of May. The focus for this year’s Assembly is ‘Ebola: Ending the current outbreak, strengthening global preparedness and ensuring the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) capacity to prepare for and respond to future large-scale outbreaks and emergencies with health consequences,’ and ‘Health in the post-2015 development agenda’.
This year’s Africa Day commemorations on 25 May – celebrating the founding of the Organisation of African Unity in Ethiopia in 1963 – occur against the backdrop of deadly xenophobic attacks in South Africa. A governance assessment of South Africa under the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) in 2007 emphasised these underlying tensions with foreign nationals.
Detailed and carefully collected foreign direct investment (FDI) statistics are essential for the effective design and evaluation of public policy on inward foreign investment.
In South Africa, it is commonplace to receive a ‘Key to Freedom’ on your 21st birthday. To the recipient, it signifies entry into adulthood and with it the autonomy and ‘freedom’ to forge an independent path. For the parents who bestow this key, it is a conferring of trust in their child to accept the mantle of adulthood with maturity.
‘Isaac, we can no longer go to the movie today. We have a curfew,’ my late dad told me. ‘I understand, dad,’ I responded – and I genuinely did. This was a conversation taking place on a Saturday at home in Ibex Hill, in my hometown of Lusaka in 1978.
The bill to extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the United States’ cornerstone African development initiative, has finally arrived in Congress in the form of the AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act of 2015.
In tandem with the steep fall in global commodity prices, demands for a stronger sustainability focus in Africa's extractives industry is on the rise. This shift is leading communities, industry, government and civil society actors to reassess emerging governance challenges in a low commodity price environment.
Combating gender-based violence was a key theme raised by African countries at the March 2015 session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland. It is clear that this is a serious problem across the continent, as speeches from leaders from South Africa to Egypt demonstrated.
Is there clarity and coherence in current measures being taken by South Africa’s government to address the country’s critical energy challenges?
This year is seen as an important step towards implementing Africa’s future development plans. With the MDGs drawing to a close, the post-2015 development agenda for the continent is framed around Agenda 2063.
How are states employing cultural diplomacy in an increasingly interconnected world in shaping understanding between societies while promoting preferential co-operation between nations? Observers of China-South Africa relations will have noticed the increasing reference to the ‘China Year in South Africa’ by officials on both sides.
History is likely to regard Nigeria's just-concluded election as the defining one that finally put the country on an irreversible course of democratic maturation.
At the recent University of the Witwatersrand’s Mandela Institute Conference on the Private Security Industry Regulatory Act Amendment Bill, commonly known as the Security Bill, National Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa provided the keynote address. From the various presentations at the Conference, held on 19 March 2015, it became apparent that there is a disconnect between South Africa’s national security imperatives and its trade and investment policy.
The South African government wishes to take a more interventionist approach towards inward foreign investment. Its view is that the current system is biased towards big multinationals and it wants more room to pursue the country’s social and economic goals.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and officially its largest economy as of April 2014, is holding presidential and legislative elections on 28 March 2015, which bear in equal measure the hallmarks of continuity and potential ruptures.
The 22nd of March every year marks international Water Day. As the world celebrates its most important life-giving natural resource, it is important to take stock of Africa's water challenges and opportunities. Water is the pre-condition for life and the sustainable management of water is fundamental to achieving Africa's development goals.
The Sharpeville Massacre is deeply engrained in the pages of South African history. The events of 21 March 1960 are now commemorated on Human Rights Day.
After a ‘gloom and doom’ Mid-Term Budget Policy Statement in October last year, it was hoped that Finance Minister Nene’s recent Budget Speech would allay concerns that South Africa’s public finances are in dire straits.
Policymakers in Pretoria, Nairobi and Maseru are holding their breath as the latest renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) makes its way through the partisan gridlock of the US congress. AGOA offers duty free access to the richest market on the planet on 1800 tariff lines, generates over 62,000 jobs in South Africa alone, and sustains apparel industries in countries such as Lesotho and Mauritius.
Recent events confirm that South Africa’s perceived receptiveness towards foreign direct investment (FDI) is declining. Consequently some foreigners are disillusioned, and look to better growth prospects elsewhere in Africa.
The leaders of the African continent declared their resolve to follow through on their 'Agenda 2063' vision at the 24th African Union (AU) Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last month.
The African Union’s emerging 50-year development plan, Agenda 2063, aims to cap a century of the organisation’s work with a thoroughly transformed continent. A central theme is the integration of the AU’s 54 member states, opening up borders, merging markets and speaking with a common voice in global fora.
Since President Mbeki's administration gave way to President Jacob Zuma's one, South Africa has taken a back seat on international issues. This does not bode well for a country like South Africa with so much political capital accrued over the past two and half decades.