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 3, 2015 Africa/Global: Climate Change Roundup
Coal is the most damaging of fossil fuels, both for human health and
for the planet. Although it still dominates in some countries,
including South Africa, the case against coal is rapidly gaining
ground around the world. On business grounds as well, coal is losing
its competitive advantage. 2015, many are suggesting, may be the
beginning of the end for coal.
July 29, 2015 USA/Africa: Obama Visit Roundup
In analyzing high-profile presidential visits, it is difficult to
sort out symbolism from substance in the sheer volume of news
coverage and commentary. And despite the flurry of announcement of
"deals" at each stop, the main lines of policy are rarely altered
and often reflect continuity not only within one presidential
administration but also from one administration to another. The
content of private conversations of lower-level officials as well as
others involved in the visits may be just as significant as the
formal meetings of presidents. Even more significant may be the
issues not discussed because common assumptions go unquestioned on
July 21, 2015 Africa/Global: "Stop The Bleeding"
With the exception of inclusion of a statement promising to address
"illicit financial flows," the outcome document of the Financing for
Development conference in Addis Ababa (July 13-16) broke little new
ground. Significantly, rich countries vetoed action on a greater
role for the United Nations in setting international tax standards,
preserving that role for the club of the OECD countries dominated by
the United States and Europe. But civil society momentum for more
significant action is continuing to grow, as was marked by the
launch of the "Stop The Bleeding" campaign at a continent-wide
gathering in Nairobi in June.
July 14, 2015 Burundi: Diplomacy Falling Short
As Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni travels to Burundi for yet
another attempt to mediate in the crisis caused by the determination
of President Pierre Nkurunziza to seek a third term in the elections
now scheduled for July 21, it is clear that international diplomatic
efforts are still failing to reverse increasing repression and
escalation of violence. Despite multiple mediators and international
declarations of concern, most recently calling for disarmament of
the pro-government militias and commitment to a government of
national unity, the incumbent president has good reason to conclude
that he can continue to resist the pleas of his international
critics as well as to repress internal opposition.
by date | by place | by topic
July 6, 2015
Africa/Global: People's Test on Climate
June 30, 2015
South Africa: Marikana Perspectives, 2
June 30, 2015
South Africa: Marikana Perspectives, 1
June 22, 2015
Africa: AIDS Struggle Continues
June 15, 2015
Eritrea: "Rule of Fear, Not Law"
June 2, 2015
Africa/Global: Capital Flows in Context
June 2, 2015
Africa/Global: Tax Justice & Inequality
May 25, 2015
Africa/Global: Africa, Race, and World Order
May 18, 2015
Africa/Global: Decarbonizing Development?
May 11, 2015
West Africa: Ebola Down But Not Out
May 5, 2015
Africa/Global: Renewables Gaining Ground
April 27, 2015
Burundi: On the Brink?
April 22, 2015
South Africa: Saying No to Xenophobia
April 14, 2015
Europe/Africa: Deaths at Sea
April 8, 2015
Garissa: Not Just Numbers
March 30, 2015
South Africa: Energy Futures Contested