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AfricaFocus Bulletin: Latest six bulletins
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March 3, 2015 East Africa: Water, Wind, and Lake Turkana
Lake Turkana, in the far northwest of Kenya and extending over the border into Ethiopia, is the world's largest desert lake, in a region that is central to archaeological investigation into the origin of humanity. It is now also central to two different projects for expanding renewable energy due to come on-line in the next three years, one based on hydropower and the other on wind. While both will significantly expand the input to the East African power grid, critics charge that expansion of hydropower on Ethiopia's Omo River also poses serious threats to the livelihood of local people both around Lake Turkana and upstream along the Omo River.
February 24, 2015 USA/Somalia: Rising Threat to Remittances
When President Obama addressed the White House Conference on Countering Violent Extremism last week, the media buzz focused on his message that it was a counterproductive error to equate Islam and terrorism. Some critics also pointed out the contradictions in trying to win hearts and minds by parsing language while continuing to fuel terrorism with drone strikes and collaboration with repressive regimes. Virtually invisible, however, was the deep collateral damage from the "financial war on terror," which continues to impede remittances from Somali immigrants needed both for survival and economic development in their homeland.
February 18, 2015 Africa: Privatizing Land and Seeds
"The G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition was launched in 2012 by the eight most industrialised countries to mobilise private capital for investment in African agriculture. To be accepted into the programme, African governments are required to make important changes to their land and seed policies. ... [for example] Despite the fact that more than 80% of all seed in Africa is still produced and disseminated through 'informal' seed systems (on-farm seed saving and unregulated distribution between farmers), there is no recognition in the New Alliance programme of the importance of farmer-based systems of saving, sharing, exchanging and selling seeds." - Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa and GRAIN, January 2015
February 11, 2015 Africa/Global: Archbishop Tutu on Fossil-Fuel Divestment
"The destruction of the earth's environment is the human rights challenge of our time. ... The most devastating effects are visited on the poor, those with no involvement in creating the problem. A deep injustice. Just as we argued in the 1980s that those who conducted business with apartheid South Africa were aiding and abetting an immoral system, today we say nobody should profit from the rising temperatures, seas and human suffering caused by the burning of fossil fuels." Archbishop Desmond Tutu
February 5, 2015 Africa/Global: Stopping Capital Losses
"Commercial activities are by far the largest contributor to illicit financial flows (IFFs), followed by organized crime, then public sector activities. Corrupt practices play a key role in facilitating these outflows. The sources of IFFs are from within our continent, and the fundamental responsibility for eliminating the sources rests with the governments of African States. Therefore, the Panel calls for the African Union to take leadership in ensuring that Africa takes the necessary measures to curtail and indeed eliminate all avenues for IFFs." - High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, February 2015
January 26, 2015 Burkina Faso: Hopes for New Beginnings
"Over the next year, the transition away from the Compaoré era [in Burkina Faso] will be full of uncertainties. The opposition leaders are focused on new elections, which they clearly hope to win. Others, closer to the activist networks, are also pushing for more fundamental changes: to improve people's economic and social conditions, root out corruption, reform state institutions, and bring to justice the worst criminals of the ancien régime." - Ernest Harsch