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AfricaFocus Bulletin: Latest six bulletins
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April 24, 2014 Africa: The High Cost of Remittances
"Remittances from African migrants play a vital role in supporting health, education, food security and productive investment in agriculture. Yet many of the benefits of remittance transfers are lost in intermediation as a result of high charges. Africa's diaspora pays 12% to send $200 - almost double the global average." - Overseas Development Institute
April 17, 2014 Mali: Polls Show Turn to Optimism
"In an Afrobarometer survey in December 2012, three quarters of adult Malians were worried that the country was moving in 'the wrong direction.' At that time, at the depths of a profound national crisis, most Malians thought the future looked bleak. A year later, however, a follow-up survey reveals newfound hope in the future. By December 2013, two thirds of all Malians now consider that that the country is headed in the 'right direction.'"
April 14, 2014 Lesotho: "Model" Project Drains Health Budget
A new hospital in Lesotho, touted as a model for public-private partnership by the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC), is already draining the country's health budget and diverting resources from rural health, charges Oxfam International in a new report released on April 7. Cost overruns, high earnings by the private partner, and clauses imposing additional financial risks for the government offset the advantages of the new hospital in improved hospital care in the capital Maseru, the report contends.
April 7, 2014 Nigeria: Security Forces and Insecurity
"Boko Haram is both a serious challenge and manifestation of more profound threats to Nigeria's security. Unless the federal and state governments, and the region, develop and implement comprehensive plans to tackle not only insecurity but also the injustices that drive much of the troubles, Boko Haram, or groups like it, will continue to destabilise large parts of the country. Yet, the government's response is largely military, and political will to do more than that appears entirely lacking." - International Crisis Group, April 3, 2014
March 31, 2014 Africa: Accountability for User Fee Damage?
"In contrast to the untested economic theories of the World Bank's health economists in the 1980s, it turns out the critics had been correct all along: user fees do not raise substantial revenue for the health sector, nor do they make public health interventions more effective." Rather, argues Richard Rowden in a 2013 paper, user fees "turned out to be inequitable and sharply limited access to health care for the poor." Those who imposed these policies, he suggests, should be held accountable.
March 25, 2014 Nigeria: Corruption & Its International Partners
The Nigerian government has pledged to order a forensic audit of alleged missing oil receipts, which Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi reckoned at some $20 billion before his suspension by President Goodluck Jonathan in February. Previous experience with such audits has led Nigerians to be skeptical of the outcome. On a much earlier case, however, this month the U.S. Department of Justice froze some $458 million of assets embezzled by former dictator Sani Abacha and his colleagues during his years in office from 1993-1998.