New in Africa Renewal
Latest stories and news from the August issue of Africa Renewal magazine.
25 July 2012
Africa’s economic indicators are remarkably positive, capturing the world’s attention
How the right policies can unleash the power of African stock exchanges
Innovation and better infrastructure can draw more visitors
Private equity reaches out to capital-hungry African companies
New calls for contracts to benefit communities
Also in this issue
Some gains, plus commitments to future sustainable development talks
African schools focus on attaining universal primary education
Terror unleashed on the revered Timbuktu mausoleums
Recent coups in Mali and Guinea-Bissau raise eyebrows
Key roles for civil society in keeping violence at bay
Smartphone’s secret to success is affordability
A comprehensive overview of the broad patterns of warfare in Africa, and a few possible lessons for achieving peace
• IDFC, a club that unites 19 institutions from around the world, released a document after a meeting at the BNDES’ headquarters
At a meeting held on June 19 at the headquarters of the BNDES, executives from development banks and funding agencies that comprise the International Development Finance Club (IDFC) issued a statement containing the club’s principles for fostering sustainable development.
In the document, members of the group, which includes 19 institutions from all continents, committed to collaborating with knowledge, resources and tools to facilitate and accelerate the transition process to a more sustainable, social and ecological economy.
Among the commitments made to help economic agents adopt new levels in their environmental practices, there is support for sustainable investments in the infrastructure area and the development of new financial instruments based on sustainability and innovation. The full document can be accessed in Portuguese (http://migre.me/9yNcM) and English (http://migre.me/9yNdD).
“Development banks are a very powerful tool for inclusive and sustainable development,” said the BNDES’ president, Luciano Coutinho. He also recalled the importance of the “stabilizing role” of such institutions in times of crisis like the present.
The President of IDFC and German development bank KfW, Ulrich Schroeder, highlighted the experience of members of the club in “combining public and private funds in financing development”.
Renewable energy, public transport, water and sanitation are among the sectors of infrastructure to be strengthened. The IDFC’s other commitment is to help reduce incentives to non-sustainable production.
In the afternoon, the executives of the IDFC attended the international seminar on Financing the Green Economy and the Sustainable Development, held at the BNDES’ headquarters.
The conference, which marked the 60th anniversary of the Bank, allowed the exchange of experiences on sustainability on the eve of the meeting of Heads of State at Rio+20.
Africa Human Development Report 2012: Towards a Food Secure Future
Published on 15 May 2012
The 2012 Human Development Report for Africa explores why dehumanizing hunger remains pervasive in the region, despite abundant agricultural resources, a favorable growing climate, and rapid economic growth rates. It also emphasizes that food security – the ability to consistently acquire enough calories and nutrients for a healthy and productive life - is essential for human development.
To boost food security, it argues for action in four interrelated areas: agricultural productivity, nutrition, access to food, and empowerment of the rural poor. It asserts that increasing agricultural productivity in sustainable ways can bolster food production and economic opportunities, thereby improving food availability and increasing purchasing power. Effective nutrition policies can create conditions for the proper use and absorption of calories and nutrients. Finally, empowering the rural poor - especially women - and harnessing the power of information, innovation, and markets can promote equitable allocation of food and resources within families and across communities.
- Sub-Saharan Africa’s population, 856 million in 2010, is projected to exceed 2 billion shortly after 2050.
- More than one in four Africans - close to 218 million people - is undernourished.
- Two major biases – towards towns rather than rural areas and towards men, not women – have been principal factors in explaining Africa’s food insecurity.
- African governments spend between 5-10% of their budgets on agriculture, well below the 20% average that Asian governments devoted to the sector during the green revolution there.
- Women are significant food producers, but their control of land in sub-Saharan Africa is less than in any other region.
Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization.
African Potential - It’s Time to ‘Grow Africa’
GLOBAL AFRICAN DIASPORA SUMMIT
What: Global African Diaspora Summit
When: 25th May 2012
Where: Sandton Convention Centre in Sandton CBD, Johannesburg, South Africa
Who: Organized by the African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with the Republic of South Africa
Objectives: The overall objective of the Summit is to discuss how best to harness skills and energies within the continent and abroad for the socio-economic development of Africa and boost synergies as well as facilitate innovation and entrepreneurship through sustainable partnerships with the African Diaspora.
The Summit aims to popularise the Africa Diaspora Summit within the following spheres and sectors:
Government; Academia; think-tanks; Business; Diplomatic Corps; Development Agencies; and the general public
To mobilize African Citizens within the continent and in the Diaspora around the outcomes of the Summit to support the acceleration of the agenda of integration and development on the continent.
Participants: The Summit will bring together leaders from over 60 countries, AU Member States, AU organs, various organizations working for the Diaspora, and other relevant guests
Background: The 17th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union had resolved under Decision (Assembly/AU/Dec.367 (XVII) to convene the Global African Diaspora Summit in South Africa on 25 May 2012 (Africa Day). The Decision marks the culmination of a process of consultations and meetings between the African continent and its Diaspora on the goals, content, objectives and implementation strategy of the Diaspora process.
The Decision facilitated for the convening of a Ministerial meeting in New York on 24 September 2011 to review the outcomes of a previous Technical Experts meeting as well as the Summit documents of 2007 and consolidate them into a Draft Declaration, Programme of Action and Implementation Strategy for the consideration of the leaders of Africa and its Diaspora in the Summit of May 2012. The consolidated outcome documents would then serve as a basic law guiding the programme and its effective implementation.
For Further Information consult the AU website: www.au.int
Bioenergy for Sustainable Development and International Competitiveness
The Role of Sugar Cane in Africa
Edited by Francis X. Johnson, Vikram Seebaluck
Published March 12th 2012 by Routledge – 444 pages
Growing concerns about the impacts of climate change and dependence on fossil fuels have intensified interest in bioenergy from sugar cane and other crops, highlighting important links between energy, environment and development goals. Sub-Saharan Africa is characterized by severe poverty; the possibility to exploit a renewable energy resource offers valuable avenues for sustainable development and could support a more dynamic and competitive economy. This book describes how the bioenergy expansion will improve rural livelihoods, reduce costly energy imports, reduce GHG emissions, and offer new development paths.
Drawing on international experience, it is shown that harnessing this potential will require significant increases in investment, technology transfer, and international cooperation. Because of its high efficiency, the authors argue that sugar cane should be viewed as a global resource for sustainable development and should command much greater focus and concerted policy action. Through an analysis of the agronomy, land suitability and industrial processing of sugar cane and its co-products, along with an assessment of the energy, economic and environmental implications, this volume demonstrates that sugar cane offers a competitive and environmentally beneficial resource for Africa’s economic development and energy security.
With fourty-four authors representing thirty organisations in sixteen countries, the book offers a truly international and interdisciplinary perspective by combining technical and economic principles with social, political and environmental assessment and policy analysis.
Ensuring safe drinking water is a top priority for Africa, since about 340 million people across the continent now lack access.
To Rio and beyond: Africa seeks sustainable solutions
Paving the path to “the future we want”
By Masimba Tafirenyika
A service of the UN system-wide support to the African Union and its NEPAD Programme
21 March 2012 issue online @uneca
Date: Thursday, March 8
Time: 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Location: International Affairs Building 918
Co-sponsored by the Asia Pacific Affairs Council and the Institute of African Studies
See attached flier
Is China a ‘rogue donor,’ or is China helping the developing world pave a pathway out of poverty? Media reports about huge aid packages, support for pariah regimes, regiments of Chinese labor, and the ruthless exploitation of workers and natural resources in some of the poorest countries in the world have sparked fierce debates. China’s tradition of secrecy fuels rumors and speculation. In her latest book, The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa, and in this presentation, Professor Brautigam tackles the myths and explains the realities of China’s growing economic embrace of Africa.
Professor Deborah Bräutigam teaches in the International Development Program at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC. She is also the author Chinese Aid and African Development: Exporting Green Revolution (St. Martin’s Press, 1998).
Date: Wednesday, March 7
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Faculty House second floor
Organized by The Legal, Economic, Social and Environmental Issues Seminar
Jonathan Lautze, Water Advisor at USAID/International Water Management
Institute, will give a talk about transboundary water management and transboundary water law in Africa, focusing on a few case study basins.
Jonathan Lautze has been involved in a range of applied research projects focused on water governance, water security, integrated water resources management, transboundary water management, climate change and water, and water and health. He has published about 20 peer-reviewed articles in journals and books, and has lived and worked in Benin, Ethiopia, South Africa and Sri Lanka. He holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School, Tufts University and a PhD from Tufts Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.