Fighters of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta AFP/Getty Images
- Measuring the unmeasurable All of us are familiar with alarmist media headlines, particularly with regards to Africa. One current strand of this type of rhetoric concerns the projected failure of some countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals. In this case alarm is warranted. As we draw near to 2015, the date by which the MDGs are supposed to have been achieved, it is vital that we ensure that all countries are moving in the right direction. In 2010 there will be a review of progress towards the MDGs. However, tracking whether or not these countries are actually on course to meet the goals is virtually impossible due to the unavailability of robust data.
- “Getting more bang for your buck” I think the Millennium Development goals were rather arbitrary and most of all, I think they were also somewhat unrealistic and not properly prioritised. That said, I think they have a point in that they get people thinking about a goal, they focus the mind. In future, I think we need to be more pragmatic and prioritise the goals so that we get the most bang for our buck.
- Chasing the Dragon Questions of rivalry between the US and China in Africa may represent a Cold War paradigm, but commercially, America is falling behind. Coordinating its interests is going to be a major challenge for the Obama administration
- Helen Clark Exclusive Interview “I’m not interested in anything that’s small in scale. We should not be in anything that is not capable of having system-wide impact”
- Time for a change? With an election looming, the future of the UK’s Department for International Development is once again up for debate, as a new focus is put on the organisation’s independence, focus and internal accountability. Peter Guest reports
- Rise of the Asian NOCs Chinese and Indian pursuit of African oil is well-documented, but other Asian National Oil Corporations, particularly Malaysia’s Petronas and the Korean National Oil Corporation are steadily increasing their presence. Adam Green reports
- Harnessing the desert sun A huge and ambitious project to power Europe using the North African sun is a step closer to being realised, but even if the technology is available, doubts over the political climate and the business model could make it an expensive gamble. Lanre Akinola reports
- Banking on mobile innovation New technology, combined with the high levels of mobile phone ownership in Africa, are allowing customers to access the financial system for the first time. Wendy Atkins reports
- Dr Hamadoun Touré Put communications at the heart of development Dr Hamadoun Touré is an ideas man and when he is in full flow, they come out thick and fast. The secretary general of the International Telecommunications Union of the United Nations is endowed with a genuine belief that at the heart of all solutions to the world’s development challenges is information and communication technology; from the Millennium Development Goals to climate change.
- The long arm of the law A piece of post-revolutionary American legislation, now being used to take major multinationals to court over alleged human rights abuses overseas, is the centre of a debate over the extrajudicial application of US laws. Peter Guest reports
- Playing by the rules The Fairtrade label is finally making inroads into mainstream consumer products in the UK, despite a recession hitting spending.
- Turkey’s change of direction Turkey has rediscovered Africa both politically and commercially as its trade with the European Union slumps in the face of the global economic downturn. Metin Demirsar reports
- Getting the house in order Good governance and enabling regulation for private sector investment in Africa requires capacity building beyond the executive branch of government. David Thomas reports
- The Bujagali Hydro The long-running saga of the $860m Bujagali Hydropower plant in Uganda rumbles on towards the project’s due date in 2011, but disputes are surfacing over the project’s environmental and social impacts. Alex Halperin reports
- Africa’s frontier debt markets will bounce back The global financial crisis has taken its toll on Africa in a number of ways. It depressed the prices of key exports, delayed inward foreign direct investment that would have created new jobs and dampened the flow of remittances from migrant workers. It is generally held, however, that the region’s limited integration with the global financial system has been a blessing, keeping the woes of US sub-prime mortgages and over-leveraged investment banks at bay. However, the crisis also interrupted a process of integration for a handful of countries that stood to benefit from a broader range of financing options.
- De-correlation boosts Francophone markets Africa’s growth performance during the past three years has been the best in more than three decades, and unlike past cycles where boom was usually followed by bust, African growth appears more stable now. Following the surge in emerging markets’ interest over the past decade, African stock markets started to take off in early 2006; although starting from a low base, they have begun to help finance the growth of African companies and continued to offer broader economic benefits.
- Invest in ESG during the downturn Sub-Saharan Africa, home to a larger proportion of poor people than any other region, is rated the most difficult continent in the world in terms of ease of doing business. Corruption, burdensome bureaucracy, inefficient capital markets, lack of access to reliable power, and the effects of diseases such as HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria make many of the region’s economies highly challenging for entrepreneurs and growing businesses.
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“There is a regional consensus that the crisis cannot be allowed to affect regional development”
“Africa probably has more resources than any place you can imagine”
“There can never be soft touch regulation. But it has to be regulation that is not arbitrary. The direction needs to be clear”
“Africa has lots of potential – raw materials and young people – but it needs FDI”