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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
February 20, 2017  Africa/Global: Agribusiness Giants on Merger Path http://www.africafocus.org/docs17/ag1702.php
    "If the Bayer-Monsanto merger is approved, the new merged company will control almost 30% of the global commercial seed market and 25% of the agrochemical market - making it the world's largest supplier of seeds and chemicals. In South Africa, it would control about 30% of both markets. Already today, Monsanto is one of two companies in South Africa that employs 80% of the private sector breeders in maize and 100% of the breeders in soybean and sunflower breeders. " - African Centre for Biodiversity

Health Go to full list on this topic
October 4, 2016  West Africa/Europe: Toxic Fuels for African Markets http://www.africafocus.org/docs16/dd1610.php
    European commodity trading companies in Switzerland, using petroleum 'blending' plants in the Netherlands and Belgium, are exporting toxic fuels to Africa in large quantity. "Their business model," according to a new report from the Swiss organization Public Eye, "relies on an illegitimate strategy of deliberately lowering the quality of fuels in order to increase their profits. Using a common industry practice called blending, trading companies mix cheap but toxic intermediate petroleum products to make what the industry calls 'African Quality' fuels."

Peace and Security Go to full list on this topic
May 5, 2016  Uganda: Accountability and Child Soldiers http://www.africafocus.org/docs16/uga1605.php
    "After two decades spent fighting in the bush, Dominic Ongwen, a senior commander in the notorious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), faces trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on seventy counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. ... the first time that a former child soldier will be prosecuted at the ICC and the first time that an accused faces charges for the same crimes perpetrated against him. As such, the Ongwen trial raises myriad questions and poses difficult dilemmas regarding the prosecution of child soldiers." - Justice in Conflict symposium

Politcs and Human Rights Go to full list on this topic
February 12, 2017  Congo (Kinshasa): Tshisekedi Place Hard to Fill http://www.africafocus.org/docs17/kin1702.php
    "The death of prominent opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi has deprived the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of a unique political figure who was at the forefront of the fight for democracy for over three decades. ... Coming just a month after the signing of a political agreement, which would have put him at the head of an important follow-up committee, his departure robs the opposition of a leader able to combine genuine street-level popularity with an ability to squeeze out political deals." - International Crisis Group

Special Topics

Agriculture Go to full list on this topic
February 20, 2017  Africa/Global: Agribusiness Giants on Merger Path http://www.africafocus.org/docs17/ag1702.php
    "If the Bayer-Monsanto merger is approved, the new merged company will control almost 30% of the global commercial seed market and 25% of the agrochemical market - making it the world's largest supplier of seeds and chemicals. In South Africa, it would control about 30% of both markets. Already today, Monsanto is one of two companies in South Africa that employs 80% of the private sector breeders in maize and 100% of the breeders in soybean and sunflower breeders. " - African Centre for Biodiversity

Aid, Poverty & Public Investment Go to full list on this topic
March 10, 2015  Africa/Global: Falling Short on Climate Finance http://www.africafocus.org/docs15/clim1503.php
    Africa, the continent with warming deviating most rapidly from "normal" conditions, could see climate change adaptation costs rise to US$50 billion per year by 2050, even assuming international efforts keep global warming below 2 degrees C this century, according to a new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.

Culture & the Media Go to full list on this topic
July 6, 2016  Cuba/Sierra Leone: Reclaiming Slave-Trade History http://www.africafocus.org/docs16/sltd1607.php
    As recognition grows that the legacy of slavery and the slave trade is still embedded in the structural inequalities of today's world, scholars are finding new ways to make the lost connections visible. One dramatic and inspiring illustration, featured in this issue of AfricaFocus Bulletin, is the film "They Are We," showing the rediscovery and re-connection in person with their African relatives of an Afro-Cuban community which still celebrates their heritage with dances and songs in a language almost forgotten by current generations even in its villages of origin in Sierra Leone. The film, first released in Cuba in 2013, features the story of this rediscovery, in the voices and faces of the communities who collaborated in the making of the film.

Debt Go to full list on this topic
February 7, 2017  Africa/Global: Transparency Setback, African Agendas http://www.africafocus.org/docs17/iff1702.php
    In the world of large multinational corporations, secrecy is more than the rule rather than exception. Despite this reality, there have been some advances in recent years, including U.S. legislation and regulations requiring disclosure of payments by U.S. oil, gas, and mining companies to foreign governments. Last week, the U.S. Congress revoked this Security and Exchange Commission rule, a year before it was actually to be implemented. Although comparatively little noticed in comparison to the tumult around White House actions, this was an indication that the Republican Congress as well was determined to reverse even modest steps to fight corporate corruption and other similar abuses.

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
January 23, 2017  South Africa: State Capture & Energy Policy http://www.africafocus.org/docs17/saf1701.php
    "Eskom, accused of overly cozy ties with the Guptas featured heavily in the report, with 916 mentions. ... it's Eskom's chief executive, Brian Molefe, who comes out looking the worst. According to cell phone records, Molefe had 58 phone calls with the eldest of the Gupta brothers, Ajay Gupta, between August 2015 and March 2016, just before the Guptas purchased South Africa's Optimum coal mine for 2.15 billion rand ($160 million). Eskom, which prepaid the Gupta's Tegeta Exploration and Resources 600 million rand for coal, had been accused of helping to finance the Guptas' coal mine deal through preferential treatment." - Quartz Africa

Information & Communication Technology Go to full list on this topic
January 30, 2017  Kenya: State of the Internet http://www.africafocus.org/docs17/ken1701.php
    Kenya has long been a global technology leader for innovation in mobile and internet technology, including the use of mobile phones for uses as diverse as cash transfers and crowdsourcing of reports on election violence (in 2008). Kenya also features an active press and civil society accustomed to speaking out about national issues including corruption and human rights violations. With national general elections scheduled for August this year, these assets can play important roles in sustaining peace and democracy. But they may also be threatened by government restrictions or by use of social media for propaganda and incitement to violence.

Migration Go to full list on this topic
November 17, 2016  Somalia: Rising Threats to Dadaab Refugees http://www.africafocus.org/docs16/som1611.php
    "The priority of donors and UN agencies should be on improving conditions in Somalia, not succumbing to political pressure from Kenya to speed up the pace of returns through monetary inducements. Kenya faces very real and very serious security challenges. But it is harmful and wrong to blame the Somali refugee population people who themselves fled to Kenya seeking refuge from violence, persecution, and turmoil at home." - Refugees International

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