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AfricaFocus Bulletins, by topic
Major Topic Areas: Economy & Development | Health | Peace & Security | Politics & Human Rights
Special Topics: Agriculture | Aid, Poverty, & Public Investment | Culture & the Media | Debt | Education
Environment & Climate Change | Information & Communication Technology (ICT) | Migration | Trade

Major Topic Areas

Economy and Development Go to full list on this topic
March 3, 2015  East Africa: Water, Wind, and Lake Turkana http://www.africafocus.org/docs15/turk1503.php
    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.

Health Go to full list on this topic
January 21, 2015  Africa/Global: Ebola Lessons & Questions http://www.africafocus.org/docs15/who1501.php
    Media coverage of the Ebola epidemic, which took a sharp downward turn after a handful of patients in the United States recovered, has faded even further into the background as the battle against the epidemic has begun to succeed in the most-affected countries. But those on the front lines warn that complacency could easily allow the still-present virus to hold out and even expand. And although there are clear lessons to be learned, there are also unanswered questions, most notably about international will to implement the imperative of sustainable health systems for the future.

Peace and Security Go to full list on this topic
January 13, 2015  Nigeria: Elections/Security Disconnect http://www.africafocus.org/docs15/nig1501.php
    "These images from Northern Nigeria should be searing the conscience of the world. Some two thousand innocent children, women and elderly reportedly massacred in Baga. A young girl sent to her death with a bomb strapped to her chest in Maiduguri. And lest we forget, more than two hundred girls stolen from their families, still lost. Words alone can neither express our outrage nor ease the agony of all those suffering from the constant violence in northern Nigeria. But these images of recent days and all they imply for the future of Nigeria should galvanize effective action. For this cannot go on." - UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, January 11, 2015

Politcs and Human Rights Go to full list on this topic
January 26, 2015  Burkina Faso: Hopes for New Beginnings http://www.africafocus.org/docs15/bf1501.php
    "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

Special Topics

Agriculture Go to full list on this topic
February 18, 2015  Africa: Privatizing Land and Seeds http://www.africafocus.org/docs15/ag1502.php
    "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

Aid, Poverty & Public Investment Go to full list on this topic
November 19, 2014  Africa: Past Time for Bandaids http://www.africafocus.org/docs14/band1411.php
    Although the new BandAid30 single may raise millions, some of which may actually aid in fighting Ebola, it is also prompting an unusually high level of criticism for its patronizing lyrics and paternalistic stance towards Africa. Even more important, the Ebola epidemic is prompting not only traditional charity but also questioning of the fundamental global failure to invest in sustainable support for health at all levels.

Culture & the Media Go to full list on this topic
Jan 31, 2013  Africa: Press Freedom Index http://www.africafocus.org/docs13/rsf1301.php
    Reporters Without Borders has just published their Press Freedom Index for 2013, with a brief review and ratings of conditions for journalists in 179 countries around the world. While some African countries rank at the bottom of the list (notably Somalia at 175 and Eritrea at 179), other African countries fall in the middle or even close to the top. Namibia (19) ranks above Canada (20). Cape Verde (25) ranks above Australia (26), and Ghana (30) above the United States (32).

Debt Go to full list on this topic
February 5, 2015  Africa/Global: Stopping Capital Losses http://www.africafocus.org/docs15/iff1502.php
    "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

Education Go to full list on this topic
October 27, 2013  Nigeria: Cycle of Violence in Northeast http://www.africafocus.org/docs13/nig1310.php
    The cycle of violence in northeastern Nigeria, confirm two new Amnesty International reports this month, is fueled by indiscriminate killings both by Boko Haram and by the Nigerian military's Joint Task Force (JTF). More than 950 people are reported to have died while in detention by the JTF in the first six months of 2013, while Boko Haram has continued deadly attacks on schoolchildren and teachers.

Environment & Climate Change Go to full list on this topic
March 3, 2015  East Africa: Water, Wind, and Lake Turkana http://www.africafocus.org/docs15/turk1503.php
    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.

Information & Communication Technology Go to full list on this topic
July 10, 2014  Africa: Rapid Growth in Mobile Money http://www.africafocus.org/docs14/mob1407.php
    "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

Migration Go to full list on this topic
February 24, 2015  USA/Somalia: Rising Threat to Remittances http://www.africafocus.org/docs15/som1502.php
    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.

Trade Go to full list on this topic
June 1, 2014  South Africa: Disappearing Diamond Revenue http://www.africafocus.org/docs14/dia1406.php
    "In 2011, South Africa produced diamonds whose uncut, or rough, value was $1.73 billion, or 12 percent of global production, according to the most recent government data available. Yet from 2010 to 2011, diamond-producing companies paid South Africa's government just $11 million in mining royalties, according to the latest Tax Statistics report, produced by the South African Treasury and the South African Revenue Service." - Khadija Sharife