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Opinion & Analysis (1044)

Elephants are in an extremely precarious state in both Africa and Asia. Demand for ivory from Africa has caused significant declines in wild populations. This is now accompanied by new demand for elephant skins from Asia.
The African continent is unique for many reasons: our diverse landscapes, melting pot of cultures, rich biodiversity, fertile soils and vast mineral wealth. We’re the cradle of civilisation. We’re home to the longest river, largest desert and fastest animal. But most notably, Africa is unique because Africa is young. Young and full of potential.
Trump’s unilateral decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal ignored the views and entreaties of America’s closest European allies, the repeated and uncontested findings of the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran was abiding by the terms of the accord, the similar findings by US intelligence agencies and the advice of his own Secretary of Defense. It also provoked a rare public rebuke from his predecessor Barack Obama, who led the multilateral process that produced the accord.
The South African government and the Chamber of Mines are in the process of formulating a new Mining Charter. The charter serves as a blueprint for transforming the mining industry. Its primary aim is to benefit people who were disadvantaged under colonialism and apartheid. The sector was particularly exploitative and left a destructive legacy. Hence the need for a social compact.
When US President Donald Trump announced that he would ask Congress to impose a 25% tariff on more than 1,300 Chinese imports amounting to an export value of US$50 billion, the world held its breath for signs of a full-blown trade war between the world’s largest economies.
China’s decision to suspend presidential term limits is still reverberating around the world. The announcement, made after a vote by China’s parliament in March, prompted some commentators to draw comparisons with “third termism” in Africa, when leaders flout democratic conventions to stay in power as long as possible.
President Cyril Ramaphosa recently completed his first official tour of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region since becoming South Africa’s fifth president, visiting Angola, Botswana and Namibia.
It’s a familiar sight at border posts: women with baskets groaning under the weight of fresh produce, cheap manufactured goods or handicrafts ready to be traded on the other side.
In 2017, more than one hundred countries began discussions on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees. Both seek to arrive at agreed-upon principles and commitments among UN states on issues facing migrants and refugees with the goal of creating a framework for international cooperation. A 2018 report from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that there are currently 244 million international migrants, or 3.3 percent of the global population. Meanwhile, the twenty-first century has witnessed a dramatic increase in refugees, to 22.5 million globally, and internally displaced people, to 40.3…
South Africa’s 2019 general elections will be a critical moment for democracy as the country welcomes a post-Zuma future. Equally important is the impact of his presidency on South Africa’s international standing. This piece will reflect on South Africa’s foreign policy under President Zuma - exploring the direction and key achievements and shortcomings/failures during his tenure. To what extent has South Africa’s foreign policy in the Zuma administration responded to domestic and continental needs?
The lesson of a decade’s state capture in South Africa may be that citizens and organised civil society should not limit active participation in political processes only to election time, and institutions are only as good as the people who respect them in letter and in spirit.
Jacob Zuma has resigned as South Africa’s president – an inevitable move, following the African National Congress’ withdrawal of its support. Two decades after Nelson Mandela tried – and failed – to pass the presidency to Cyril Ramaphosa, the former deputy president and current ANC head has become South Africa’s leader. And the challenges that Ramaphosa will face are almost as daunting as those Mandela confronted in lifting his country from the ruins of apartheid.
With Bitcoin volatility making daily headlines, even those living in the technological ‘Dark Ages’ are realising that the future is digital. Financial transactions, communication and administrative tasks are in cyberspace more often than in the real world. Most people cannot function without their social media, banking and communications apps.
In the Americas, when a young Latina girl turns 15, she celebrates her fiesta de quinceañera, a coming of age ceremony. Across the Atlantic Ocean, Africa’s most important governance self-evaluation and promotion instrument – the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) – will also officially turn 15 on 9 March 2018. These milestone birthdays are important occasions to reflect, but more importantly to look forward. As the APRM gets ready to smash open the piñata, SAIIA looks at what happened at the recent APRM meetings on the side-lines of the AU Summit in dusty, bustling Addis Ababa, and asks what lies…
Hot on the heels of Davos, the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba provides an opportunity for the new ANC president, Cyril Ramaphosa, to send the right signals to the local mining industry and civil society to renew confidence in the sector. South Africa’s mining industry remains a critical component of the economy; a potential flywheel for upstream manufacturing, downstream beneficiation, and horizontal spillovers. If we are to address the problems of youth unemployment, poverty and inequality, due attention must be paid to reviving the mining industry. Doing so will also have positive latent effects on the health of South Africa’s…
One of the enduring images of 2017 was US President Donald J. Trump, a few months into his tenure, squinting bare-eyed at a solar eclipse. During his first year in power, Africa was in a similar position, watching while his presidency slowly blocked out the superpower behind him.
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.
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