Women's representation in politics not improving in Southern Africa
Some nascent legislation is aimed at accelerating gender parity in political positions in many Southern African nations and Madagascar, but the overall trend has been regression.
The South Africa Node writes,
Sources:South Africa Node Aug 2010, pg. 5 - 6
"Climate refugees" a primary challenge or political tool?
An emerging debate on climate refugees highlights the complicated dynamics of linking environmental disasters with their effects that disproportionately affect the poor.
Sources:South Africa Node Aug 2010, pg. 3
Focus on agricultural exports helps shields Malawi from world economic crisis
Malawi is one of Africa’s poorest nations. However, even amidst the global recession it has experienced strong economic growth, owing to a combination of World Bank sponsored debt relief, macroeconomic policy, and an agriculturally-driven economy.
Sources:http://www.imf.org/external/country/mwi/index.htm [see most recent IMF country report]
Murder of infamous apartheid supporter stirs fears of White right-wing resurgence
The murder of Eugene Terre’Blanche, leader of the AWB, a small right wing Afrikaner movement which calls for the creation of an Afrikaner state, has stoked fears of increased political violence. The South Africa Node cites a report which notes that while “the newly elected leader of the AWB, Steyn van Ronge, immediately denounced any suggestion of violence and revenge,” a turnout of some 10,000 people for Terre’Blanche’s funeral hints at broadening support for the AWB movement, the emboldenment of right-wing Afrikaners, or both.
Government paralysis as South African President fails to clearly articulate policy priorities
outh African President Jacob Zuma is facing a crisis of governance. The South African Node cites the political analyst William Gumede, who notes that “during the elections, Zuma had over-promised the different constituencies. Zuma is governing by trying to balance all interests - which on occasion means no policy at all...” The report continues, “uncertainty reigns over where the government stands on policy as every group within the coalition daily issues diametrically opposing policy proclamations.
Reduced interconnection fees to cut mobile phone costs in South Africa
The cost of mobile phone use in South Africa is set to decline. Current rates are higher than other developing countries: the South Africa Node writes that “mobile operators [are] charging more per minute at peak times for their mobile termination or interconnection fee than countries like South Korea, Malaysia and India.” However, “an agreement has been reached with mobile operators to cut interconnection fees, with a further proposed cut in termination rates for mobile and fixed line operators over the next three years.
Angolan small farmers unable to afford fertilizer
The price of fertilizer in Angola has risen to $45 for a 50 kilogram bag, pricing small farmers out of the market. The South Africa Node writes that “The high cost is attributed to logistics, taxes and import duties, and the price of doing business in Africa’s largest oil-exporting country.” The destruction of infrastructure during Angola’s extended civil war makes transporting fertilizer costly and difficult. The high cost of storage facilities in port cities contributes to the expense of imported fertilizer; insufficient industrial capacity makes domestic production unlikely.
Angola passes law to spur biofuel production
Angola recently passed a law aimed at promoting domestic biofuel production. The South Africa Notes writes: “According to the Oil Minister, Botelho de Vasconcelos, the law will address Angola’s national energy needs and ‘preserve the environment given the diversification of the economy’ [sic]. ‘Bio-fuel production will also create jobs and build a renewable energy source and will allow regional integration and promote return of populations to rural areas’.
Reduced water resources in Limpopo River Basin threatens small farmers
A study by the International Food Policy Research Institute [IFPRI], found that water supplies in the Limpopo River Basin will fall over the next two decades, owing to reduced rainfall, disproportionately impacting small farmers who must compete with both commercial farms and mining companies for access to water.
African Development Bank developing a plan for “Africa Green Growth Strategy” pilot projects
The African Development Bank is developing a “Green Growth Strategy”, which will focus on identifying models and potential constraints to sustainable development and poverty reduction in Africa. After the Bank presents the Strategy at a series of stakeholder meetings in August and September 2010, the South Africa Node writes, “a pilot action plan will then be established.