Talking Points on Economy and Development
Politicians and investors in Africa and around the world speak of
creating good jobs. In practice they most often promote a market-fundamentalist development model that sheds jobs while increasing profits for the 1%.
The "Africa Rising" narrative celebrating rapid economic growth
in many African countries contains a partial truth. New investment
in extractive industries to serve world markets is growing, and there
is rapid growth in information and communication technology as well.
But most Africans, whether in the rural areas or the burgeoning cities,
have little access to the wealth created. Jobs in the formal sector do not
come close to keeping up with expansion of the labor force. And government
policies marginalize the interests of workers and small farmers.
Sustainable development depends on public investment in health, education, and infrastructure, but these investments fall far short
of what is needed.
Significant change in economic policies, in Africa and around the world,
will only come if there is active transnational mobilization for economic justice
for the 99%. Such action must include not only political groups, but also
unions, farmers' organizations, human rights groups, churches, and others
in all sectors of society.
South African platinum miners organize a wildcat strike in October 2012.
T-shirts refer to massacre of striking miners at Marikana in August that year.
Recent bulletins on economy and development
August 18, 2014 Africa: From Kerosene to Solar
The largest marketer of solar lamps in Africa, which recently passed
the one million mark in lamps sold, has set an ambitious target for
the industry. ""Our mission is to eradicate the kerosene lamp from
Africa by the end of this decade," proclaims Solar Aid. Although
achieving this goal would require the pico-solar market to emulate
mobile phone industry's exponential growth path, it may not be as
utopian as it sounds. According to market research company Navigant
Research, "Off-grid solar lighting for base of the pyramid (BOP)
markets, the leading solar PV consumer product segment, is
transitioning from a humanitarian aspiration to big business."
August 11, 2014 Africa: Investment for Whom?
"While governance remains an issue for many African countries,
structural deficiencies in the U.S. financial system are just as
responsible for driving the outflow of illicit capital. ... The
burden for curtailing these illicit flows must be shared equally by
policymakers in the U.S. and in Africa for this partnership to be
effective." - Global Financial Integrity
July 31, 2014 Africa/Global: Talking Points on Common Issues
As African leaders and corporate CEOs gather to meet with
President Obama and U.S. government officials, a wide
variety of civil society activists will also be meeting in
Washington, some in officially recognized side events, others in
alternative venues. Many more will be issuing statements and
communicating their views, some appropriating the twitter hashtag
#AfricaSummit used by U.S. government officials, thus inserting their
views as well into that hashtag stream.
July 29, 2014 USA/Africa: A Dubious Summit
"Starting August 4, the Obama Administration will host a mini replica
of an African Union (AU) summit. As many as 40 heads of state from
the continent will be on hand for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, a
conference that will look at ways to boost trade and investment in
the continent, tap into Africa's burgeoning youth population, and
promote good governance. ... Unfortunately, unless a major change is
made, the summit risks simply becoming an AU heads of state road trip
with a photo-op at the end to confirm that they visited Washington
before returning home." - Adotei Akwei, Amnesty International
by date | by place | by topic
July 14, 2014
Africa: Understanding Organized Crime
July 10, 2014
Africa: Rapid Growth in Mobile Money
July 7, 2014
Africa: Trade Union Perspectives
June 30, 2014
Africa: Clean Energy Most Cost-Effective
June 23, 2014
Central African Republic: Still A Forgotten Crisis
June 16, 2014
Africa: Investor Perspectives
June 9, 2014
Nigeria: Beyond the Hashtag Debates
June 1, 2014
South Africa: Disappearing Diamond Revenue
May 26, 2014
Africa: Fraudulent Trade & Tax Evasion
May 19, 2014
Kenya: Refugee Crackdown "Counter-productive"
May 12, 2014
Africa: Report Highlights Resource Plunder
May 5, 2014
South Africa: Views from the Left
April 30, 2014
Africa: Taxation Key to Fighting Inequality
April 24, 2014
Africa: The High Cost of Remittances
April 17, 2014
Mali: Polls Show Turn to Optimism
April 14, 2014
Lesotho: "Model" Project Drains Health Budget