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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.

Perspectives #03/2014: What Ya Looking At? Africa Returns the Gaze

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.

BRICS Summit Reader - The Club in the G20 Club

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.

G20 and BRICS Update #19: Dueling Visions

Issue #19: For this issue we have secured the views of four distinguished authors sharing their perspectives on civil society and the G20.

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.

 G20 Update #17: Reflections on the Russian G20 Summit

The October G20 Update presents reflections from the St. Petersburg summit from the perspective of civil society representatives and academica.

Perspectives #01/2012: A Fractious Relationship - Africa and the International Criminal Court

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.

The Green Economy – The New Magic Bullet?

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.

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