SADC: Another step backwards

Peter Fabricius

August 22, 2014

By Peter Fabricius, Foreign Editor, Independent Newspapers, South Africa.

Was Mozambican President Guebuza being just a tad mischievous when he congratulated Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on his political longevity at this week’s SADC summit?

Or was it just projection between sentimental constitutional democrats, desperately seeking meaning in yet another uninspiring gathering of this listless organisation?

The summit adopted a draft protocol on the SADC Tribunal, which ‘neutered’ the court by stripping it of its real power – which is to hear complaints by SADC citizens against their own governments.

And so, in the end, it was worse than just ‘another hollow summit,’ as one newspaper headline put it. It was another step backwards for the rule of law.

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Does it really matter to snub Mugabe?

chris_changwe_nshimbi

Comments icon 2 comments August 19, 2014

By Christopher Changwe Nshimbi, Research Fellow, University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, was conspicuously absent from this month’s, first ever US-Africa summit. Reason: facing US sanctions for poor governance and human rights violations.

Actually Mugabe pulled a hat trick in 2013: he won the election; became the world’s oldest president at 89; and assumed the SADC Deputy Chair, even before he took oath of office.

AU and SADC should have ensured free and fair elections in Zimbabwe 2013. However, the AU has inherent weaknesses regarding intervening in domestic stalemates as in Zimbabwe and Cote d’Ivoire.

SADC should strengthen rules regarding elections, citizens’ rights in electoral processes and SADC’s enforcement role. Moreover, SADC and the AU should revise their approaches to state sovereignty.

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Illicit capital flowing out of Africa often benefits foreign investors

Antonio Macheve Jr

August 16, 2014

By Antonio Macheve Junior from Maputo, Mozambique; 2013 Mandela Rhodes Scholar, University of Cape Town.

The US-Africa Summit built enormous expectations for the development of Africa, particularly in what concerns trade relations, investments and business between African nations and the US.

While American businesses will invest $33 billion in Africa, it is not known how much of the profits will fly back to the US without benefiting local economies, especially the people at the bottom.

In 2011, nearly $77 billion flowed illicitly out of Africa; huge outflows have occurred ever since the continent has had economic ties with the rest of the world.

Some companies investing in Africa do not pay what is due according to local fiscal regimes, furthering corruption and thwarting chances of reaching Africa’s most crucial development goals.

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The Imperatives for Social Protection

The case of Nigeria

angela-adeboye

August 11, 2014

By Angela Adeboye, Managing Partner, Alegna Global Partnerships, Nigeria.

While celebrating the achievements of ten years of pension reform in Nigeria, one is reminded of recent social changes amidst an almost absent social safety net, resulting in widened inequality.

Over 75 million adults in Nigeria do not participate in the current pension scheme, the unemployment rate is about 30% and the incidence of underemployment, disability and poverty remains high.

We must adopt creative ways of funding social pensions, social security and/or social assistance, including royalties from extractive processes or a proportion of value added taxes.

There are huge unclaimed dividends of companies that can be used. Resources in Nigeria belong to all Nigerians, so the gains therefrom should contribute to alleviating poverty.

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Building audit capacity in Tanzania

– A success story

GoranHyden

August 8, 2014

By Göran Hydén, NAI Associate and Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of Florida, Gainesville.

Transparency and accountability have been cardinal principles of the global good governance agenda that has guided the international community in the past couple of decades.

A Swedish aid project has transformed the National Audit Office of Tanzania, resulting in considerably greater openness and stronger institutional checks and balances.

The ten-year long project which began in 2004 after several years of preparation has just been concluded with a most welcome book publication tracing the transformation of NAOT.

The book shows that not everything has always gone smoothly but the overall picture it conveys is that of a successful transformation of the public audit function in Tanzania.

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Leaked document casts shadow over Tanzania’s bright gas extraction outlook

Pernille B

Comments icon 1 comments August 1, 2014

By Pernille Baerendtsen, Danish journalist, coordinator, trainer and photographer focusing on East Africa, expression, media, culture and politics.

No one knows for sure how much gas there is in Tanzania, but estimate-based expectations of gas exploration in Tanzania are soaringly high, upgrading the country’s predicted economic growth rate.

There is growing dissatisfaction with the way the Tanzanian government handles natural resources contracts and communicates information about them to citizens.

Unless publicly scrutinized, decision makers in government remain free to make whatever decisions they choose, unencumbered by any need to protect the public interest.

The recent Statoil agreement may well have cost Tanzania several billion dollars; yet it appears no-one is trying to hold those responsible to account. This latest affair gives rise to further public mistrust.

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Can African small farmers benefit from global trade?

eoghan-molloy

Comments icon 5 comments July 24, 2014

By Eoghan Molloy, Senior Evaluation Analyst/Associate Manager FAO, Rome; until recently Policy Analyst at OECD Development Centre, Paris, contributing to the African Economic Outlook 2014.

Agriculture employs two thirds of Africa’s labour force and accounts for one third of the continent’s GDP. However, it is also the least integrated of all African economic sectors into international trade.

This may be changing, though, as new evidence suggests: horticulture exports from Africa increased more than six fold in one decade outpacing global growth averages and doubling its world export share.

The challenge remains, however, to ensure that African farmers benefit from global value chains. At the very least, how can they be equipped to adapt to the changing dynamics of the agricultural sector?

Going green and social may help African countries diversify products and find niche markets. Developing new varieties of products is a key element of successful strategies in many global value chains.

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Stamping out the FGM practice

Kenya leads the way

Ruth_Njengere

Comments icon 8 comments July 15, 2014

By Ruth Njeng’ere Lehmann, Communications Officer, Equality Now, Kenya

Kenya’s political context is currently charged, and the good things can easily go unnoticed. One example is the fact that Kenya has made remarkable progress in fighting female genital mutilation (FGM).

The National Assembly has showed its determination to protect girls, raising questions regarding the FGM cases reported since the enactment of the Prohibition of the FGM Act (2011).

Kenya recorded the highest decline in Africa, with prevalence rates falling to to 27% from 38 % in 1998. Out of Kenya’s 42 tribes, 38 have traditionally practiced FGM; a few still have extremely high rates.

FGM is very much a global problem. The beliefs and customs that lead to it, as well as the girls who are subjected to it, cross borders—in Africa as well as in Europe, USA and elsewhere.

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AU undermines jurisdiction of its court

What next in the battle against impunity?

obote

Comments icon 1 comments July 10, 2014

By Alex Obote-Odora, Consultant in International Criminal Law and Policy, Stockholm.

Last week, the African Union (AU) amended the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights to provide for blanket immunity from prosecution for African leaders.

The amendment creates an exceptionalism only enjoyed by African leaders. It shields them and their cronies from accountability. This obnoxious law must be challenged by all persons of good will.

The rights of leaders are always tempered and balanced by their duty and obligation to protect the rights of citizens. All acts of a leader must be carried out within agreed legal frameworks.

This decision by the AU leaders is gross abuse of power and a dereliction of duty. ICC’s difficulties in prosecuting Heads of State do not translate into extending immunity to all African leaders.

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Aid and its implications for governance

Malawi marks 50 years of 'independence'.

Khumbo Bonzoe Soko

Comments icon 1 comments July 6, 2014

By Khumbo Bonzoe Soko, Malawian lawyer, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK; regular social and political commentator on Malawi.

Today, 50 years to the day when Malawi became an independent state, it’s important to accentuate the discussion on aid to Malawi as one of the most aid dependent countries in the world.

In any serious debate on the implications of aid for Malawi, no area will be as important as that of governance, i.e. ‘the exercise of political power to manage a nation’s affairs’.

It is impossible to talk of governance in Malawi without mentioning aid. Donors,or development partners as we euphemistically call them, have always had a say in our governance.

As we celebrate the golden jubilee of our independence we will need to find ways of growing our economy to such levels that we are able to govern ourselves without outside help.

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