Since the third wave of democratisation swept through the continent in the 1990s, the majority of African states have replaced military dictatorships and one-party-dominant systems with more democratic forms of governance. Today, 61 percent of sub-Saharan countries are “free” or “partly free” according to Freedom House’s 2018 survey – although this is down from a high of 71 percent in 2008.
Which African leaders qualify as an icon? Perhaps this is always a controversial question, but it was much easier to answer, say, 25 years ago, when the public memories of Pan-Africanist champions such as Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere were still fresh, Nelson Mandela had just walked out of prison, and Robert Mugabe was a widely respected leader.
This edition of Perspectives contributes to the ongoing debate on infrastructure development in Africa by sharing snapshots of experience from around the continent, exploring questions about democratic participation, the role of human and environmental rights, and economic transformation.
Informed by the discussions at an international conference jointly organised by the German Development Institute, the Heinrich Böll Foundation and Stanford University on “Emerging Power or Fading Star? South Africa’s Role on the Continent and Beyond”, held 12–14 July 2016 in Cape Town, the articles gathered in this edition of Perspectives shed light on some of the nuances and challenges that define South Africa’s place in the world today.
Activists, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and social movements across the world are facing verbal hostility from politicians, new laws and regulations that curtail their ability to operate, and outright violence. Africa is no exception.
When you write about Africa, make sure to always include sad and starving characters, advises Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainana in his famously ironic essay “How to write about Africa”, which takes aim at Western prejudices. In the same way that everyday laughter has been excluded from all-too-familiar depictions of the continent, African humour and satire as a form of social and political engagement remains underexplored.
For this edition of Perspectives the Heinrich Böll Foundation asked a number of African intellectuals, writers and analysts to provide their take on Africa’s relationship with Europe. The result is a small collection of interviews, short essays and comments that throw light on the complexities and complexes of this relationship, using analysis, imagery, experience, provocation and humour.
Immediately after the World Cup Final, Brazil hosts the next BRICS Summit from July, 14th to 16th 2014. The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will come together and important announcements are expected: a new BRICS Development Bank and a Contingency Reserve Arrangement. On this occasion a special BRICS Summit Reader is available here presenting background analysis and facts.
With this edition of Perspectives, we give Africa-based commentators and experts from across the continent the opportunity to critically reflect on the “Africa rising” story and the sub-narratives it carries.
Although there continues to be widespread popular support across the African continent for the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its mandate to prosecute high-level individuals accused of perpetrating international crimes, strong anti-ICC sentiments are brewing among parts of Africa’s political elite and state actors.
In this essay, the President of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Barbara Unmuessig, critically reflects on the opportunities for and the shortcomings of the concept of a "Green Economy" to influence economic policy making globally, its relationship to the paradigm of sustainable development and the need to rethink our understanding and focus on growth.
As the six-year transitional period defined in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement draws to a close, Sudan is sliding into another crisis. The Heinrich Böll Foundation, which has been working both with civil society partners in Sudan and on Sudan-related issues in the German context for several years, has put together this publication in order to reflect on such scenarios.
The large-scale violence that erupted in Kenya after the controversial 27th December 2007 general elections was no single major explosion. Different parts of the country were affected in very different ways. While many parts of Kenya were burning, the Coast Province remained relatively calm, despite the longstanding history of socio-political tension and even violent conflict in this part of the country.
A culture of violence has emerged in the Horn of Africa, based on traditions of origin, a fixation with territory, a feudal vision of the exercise of power and an "absolutist" concept of conflict. "In Quest for a Culture of Peace" proposes a holistic approach in addressing the region's conflicts.
Civil society has become a critical player in African politics. In Kenya, civil society underwent many changes after the transition from KANU to NARC in 2002, and it was severely affected by crisis after the December 2007 elections.
Kenya has embraced a variety of sub-sovereign financing schemes; the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is only the most well-known among them. Beyond CDF explores innovative ideas about how to employ the CDF and other sub-sovereign financing instruments to provide solutions to the various manifestations of social exclusion, poverty and inequality.
In the Shadow of Death: My Trauma, My Experience is a public testimony of what numerous women went through during the post-election violence that engulfed Kenya immediately after the Electoral Commission of Kenya announced the results of the hotly-contested presidential polls of the December 2007 General Election.
The peaceful transfer of power in Kenya in 2002 still provides a remarkable example of democratic transition in Africa – especially compared to the outbreak of large-scale violence Kenya experienced after the disputed December 2007 general elections.
Today, environmental degradation, social conflict and social strife, poverty, HIV/AIDS, etc. – all of them resulting from or linked to bad governance – have become more of a security concern than the traditional military antagonisms that pitted nations against each other. The main threats to international peace and security are rooted in situations within states rather than between states, and this is especially prevalent in the African context.
The book explored emerging challenges, coordination issues, the institutions and mechanisms, the role of NEPAD, as well as the emerging architecture of regional security in the IGAD region, and how it could be shaped and conceptualized to meet the aspirations of African states and peoples.