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Opinion & Analysis (1028)

The revitalisation of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is evidence of African governments’ renewed commitment to strengthening good governance, development and democracy in Africa. The APRM will be celebrating its 15th Anniversary on 9 March 2018, after a vibrant revival in 2016-2017, marked by Country Review missions in Chad, Djibouti, Kenya, Senegal, Sudan, Liberia, and the recent Uganda Review Mission in 2017.
President Jacob Zuma became ANC president and later president of South Africa when the full impact of the 2008 global financial crisis hit. We experienced our first post-apartheid era recession and an unemployment rate of 24.9%.
With a population projected to double by 2050, Africa is becoming increasingly young. In 2015, 19% of the global population under 25 (226 million) lived in Africa, and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) expects this figure to increase to 42% by 2030.
As institutions mature, they should take stock to gear themselves for the future. Led by Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, a process is under way at the African Union (AU) to do just that. How might this this reform drive affect the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), the continent’s voluntary governance promotion and assessment instrument?
The fall of Robert Mugabe has dominated global coverage of Africa over the past few weeks. In Western coverage of the first week after the coup in Zimbabwe there was speculation about what China knew beforehand and whether Beijing played an active role in pushing for it.
Youth and migration will be central to discussions between African and European heads of state at the upcoming AU-EU Summit from 28 to 29 November in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.
Botswana is a sanctuary for rhinos and elephants in a region that is experiencing a poaching crisis. The country’s law enforcement and anti-poaching strategies are more effective than South Africa’s. A 2017 report by the Institute for Security Studies finds that Botswana’s ‘militarised responses effectively reduce poaching’ through a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy. The authors note the moral reservations of such a policy but forcefully argue that its deterrent effect accounts for Botswana’s relative success in the region, given that most other anti-poaching techniques are highly similar.
The sexual abuse and exploitation of women – in war and peacetime – is one of the most widespread and overlooked phenomena. Frequently exposed to violence and sexual exploitation by armed combatants, women and children have throughout history, been kidnapped, raped and forced into work or to fight on the frontline for causes that are not their own. Only since the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunals in Yugoslavia and Rwanda has sexual violence come to be regarded as an international crime, a crime against humanity and, therefore, a grave infraction of the Geneva Conventions.
Are current developments in Zimbabwe unearthing the country's 'deep state'? Our analysis from 2016 has relevance today as events unfold:
As the dust settles on Kenya’s divisive repeat elections, there is an understandable urge to move forward, to return to a sense of normalcy. Kenya is, after all, the most vibrant economy in the East African region and a bulwark against instability issuing from fragile neighbours.
The COP23 summit takes place amid complex global geopolitical dynamics, with President Donald Trump having announced the US’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in June. The US is currently the world’s second largest producer of carbon emissions after China and its abdication makes this and other international negotiations more challenging. Entrenched national interests have exacerbated tensions.
Global and regional value chain theory and analysis has mushroomed in recent years. Theorists point out that over the past decades world trade has increasingly been characterised by the fracturing of manufacturing and production processes, with different goods and services produced in different geographical locations, ultimately forming part of a single commodity. Specialisation in certain component parts of the whole has become more important than being able to produce and entire product. Lead firms manage to source inputs from across the globe.
‘Better city, better life’ is the UN’s slogan for World Cities Day, falling annually on 31 October. This year’s theme, ‘innovative governance, open cities’, references the idea that urbanisation has immense potential to improve people’s lives. Given the UN’s focus on using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to advance global development by 2030, why is World Cities Day important? And what does it mean for Africa’s cities?
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba was unambiguous on Wednesday when he outlined the current dismal state of the South African economy during his maiden mid-term budget speech.
Do concepts and definitions matter when the work is already under way?
The high seas are in trouble. Overfishing, deep seabed mining, oil rigs, climate change, bioprospecting and increased tourism are just some of the threats facing this massive body of water that makes up 70% of our ocean space and 40% of the earth’s surface.
As South Africa’s Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba prepares for his inaugural Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement on 25 October, one issue will weigh heavily on his mind: how to increase government expenditure to further stimulate growth at a time when the government’s fiscal environment remains heavily constrained.
On the eve of the 2017 Johannesburg Mining Indaba, the Chamber of Mines declined an invitation to the opening gala dinner — part of continuing conflict between the state and the industry over the controversial new Mining Charter.
The recent Open Government Partnership (OGP) High Level Event on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly brought sad tidings for OGP in Africa.
Tomorrow, Liberia will hold an election marking its first post-war handover of power. Cited by political analysts as ‘highly unpredictable’, the ballot will reshape Liberia’s political landscape and may have an impact on peace and security, governance, development and economic growth.
Africa’s leaders, along with everyone else interested in US-Africa relations, have waited eight months for US President Donald Trump’s administration to explain its Africa policy. We aren’t there yet.
South Africa’s recent reversal of a ban on trade in rhinoceros horn has invigorated support for commercial farming of the product. But breeders' argument that a legal market will protect wild populations ignores how the illicit trade in wildlife products actually functions.
João Lourenço has become Angola’s first new president in 38 years. Dr Alex Vines of Chatham House explains why a stable DRC is a top priority for the new leader: A stable and predictable Congo is Luanda’s most important international objective.
Dr Alex Vines of Chatham House writes that Angola’s new President João Lourenço needs to quickly focus on the country’s oil and gas future to attract fresh investment: The country should introduce credible policies to diversify its economy, but in the short term, the new president has no choice but to focus on Angola’s economic lifeblood.
Wednesday, 13 September 2017

AGOA: It’s time to move on

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been the cornerstone of US-Africa trade relations since its inception in 2000. AGOA, which provides sub-Saharan African countries duty-free access to the US market for more than 6,000 product lines, has benefited parties on both side of the Atlantic. But recent developments suggest that AGOA may no longer be best suited to promote economic relations. The US and African countries should now devise an alternative arrangement for when the Act expires in 2025.
Elephants in the wild are under serious threat: Save the Elephants estimates that 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory in Africa between 2010 and 2012.
Has China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) usurped Brics as China’s flagship forum? And if so, what does this mean for future Brics co-operation? These are key questions leaders Michel Temer (Brazil), Vladimir Putin (Russia), Narendra Modi (India) and Jacob Zuma have had to consider at the meeting with their heads-of-state counterpart, China’s Xi Jinping, at the group’s annual summit in Xiamen, China.
In the age of Western powers reorganising their priorities in the global arena, along with their diminishing relative economic and political weight, BRICS’ growing influence cannot be denied.
Global headlines in the run-up to the 9th BRICS summit were dominated by the North Korean missile crisis and the stand-off in Doklam, high in the Himalayas, in Bhutan. The former had a direct bearing on the interests of Russia and China, as they share a border with North Korea, but positioned them on the same side in calling for a de-escalation in tensions between the US and North Korea. In the case of the latter though, it pitted two BRICS members, India and China, against each other.
Although the theme of the 9th BRICS Summit is “A Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”, there is likely to be some underlying tension among the five member states when they meet in Xiamen, East China’s Xiamen province, from Sept 3 to 5.
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