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Opinion & Analysis (1020)

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.
In the wake of the North Korean missile fired into Japanese airspace – on the United Nation’s commemorative “International Day Against Nuclear Tests” on the 29 August - an emergency UN Security Council meeting has been called over the escalation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula.
The Southern African Development (SADC) heads of state met in Pretoria to discuss developments in the region, they will do so under new stewardship from Angola and South Africa. Angola will assume leadership of the Organ on Politics Defence and Security Cooperation (OPDSC), while South Africa assumes overall chairmanship.
A South African court has ordered the government to release a permit to the world’s largest rhino breeder, John Hume. The permit will allow him to host a 3-day auction of his stockpiled rhino horn to local buyers.
A decade after the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) was launched; the AU and EU are laying the groundwork to renegotiate their relationship in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, come November. In preparation, 80 civil society representatives from both continents were invited to share views on the focus of the partnership in July in Carthage, Tunisia.
As the 37th SADC Summit kicks off, the longstanding question of how to best spur industrial growth and development in the region is at the top of policymakers’ agendas. Greater integration of countries into global and regional value chains is a key focus area given the summit’s theme: Partnering with the private sector in developing industry and value chains.
''If you are not at the table, you are probably on the menu.''
On 8 August Kenyans head to the polls to elect a president, parliament and local officials. The world will be watching closely as the two main candidates face each other for the second time. Uhuru Kenyatta (55) defeated Raila Odinga (72) in 2013 with 50.5% of the vote against 43.7%. Latest opinion polls agree that this contest will be tight, but differ on who is leading. IPSOS Kenya gauges 47% for Kenyatta and 43% for Odinga. Infotrak has Odinga narrowly ahead: 47% vs 46%. However, given the failures of opinion polls during the Brexit vote and the US Presidential elections…
The rapid expansion of Africa’s cities over the past decades has meant an increasing demand for infrastructure, service delivery and jobs. At the same time African policymakers, urban planners and researchers are clamouring to find innovative solutions to meet these demands. The onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – which will see a fusion of technologies that blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres – will compound these challenges and experts need to plan adequately for the disruptions.
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