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AfricaFocus Bulletin: Latest six bulletins

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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

July 14, 2014  Africa: Understanding Organized Crime
    "We have concluded that drug use must be regarded primarily as a public health problem. Drug users need help, not punishment. We believe that the consumption and possession for personal use of drugs should not be criminalised. Experience shows that criminalisation of drug use worsens health and social problems, puts huge pressures on the criminal justice system and incites corruption. ... We caution that West Africa must not become a new front line in the failed "war on drugs," which has neither reduced drug consumption nor put traffickers out of business." - West Africa Commission on Drugs

July 10, 2014  Africa: Rapid Growth in Mobile Money
    "The mobile money landscape is becoming increasingly competitive, and this is especially true in Sub-Saharan Africa where mobile money is already available in 36 of 47 countries in the region. ... [For one example], Tanzania has witnessed unprecedented uptake of mobile financial services (MFS) in the span of five years. After a humble beginning, when less than 1% of the adult population had access to mobile financial services in 2008, 90% had access by September 2013 - an exponential increase. Likewise, active usage has shown similar improvement, with 43% of the adult population actively using this service in September 2013." - GSM Association reports

July 7, 2014  Africa: Trade Union Perspectives
    "Almost all interviewees who responded to the Solidarity Center survey, when asked about the general economic situation, noted some economic growth. But they also were emphatic that the growth was not accompanied by good jobs and did not trickle down or benefit the majority of the population. ... The message that quantitative macroeconomic growth is not sufficient to lift people out of poverty or improve lives has [also] been a prominent theme in reports by multilateral agencies in recent years." - Solidarity Center report, April 2014

June 30, 2014  Africa: Clean Energy Most Cost-Effective
    "From off-grid LED lighting to 'Skinny Grids,' we can now provide energy access with a fraction of the amount of power we used to need. More importantly, we can unlock affordable initial interventions -- like lighting, mobile phone charging, fans, and TVs plus a small amount of agro processing -- to help people get onto the energy ladder today rather than forcing them to wait decades for a grid extension that may never come. ... It's important to understand that we aren't just imagining this clean energy market growth -- it's already happening." -- Justin Guay, Sierra Club

June 23, 2014  Central African Republic: Still A Forgotten Crisis
    "The crisis that has plagued the Central African Republic (CAR) since December 2012, particularly predation by both authorities and armed groups, has led to the collapse of the state. ... Ending this cycle of predatory rule and moving peacefully to a state that functions and can protect its citizens requires CAR's international partners to prioritise, alongside security, economic revival and the fight against corruption and illegal trafficking. Only a close partnership between the government, UN and other international actors, with foreign advisers working alongside civil servants in key ministries, can address these challenges." - International Crisis Group