Monthly Archives: January 2013

THE DANGER OF A SINGLE STORY:CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE.

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The Danger Of A Single Story.

”How stories are told,who tells them,when they’re told,how many stories are told,are really dependent on power.”

”Because of writers like Chinua Achebe and Camara Laye….I realised that people like me,girls with skin the colour of chocolate,whose kinky hair could not form ponytails,could also exist in literature.”

”If I had not grown up in Nigeria,and if all I knew about Africa were from popular images,I too would think that Africa was a  place of beautiful landscapes,beautiful animals and incomprehensible people,fighting senseless wars,dying of poverty and AIDS,unable to speak for themselves and waiting to be saved by a kind,white foreigner.”

”The single story creates stereotypes,and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue,but that they are incomplete.They make one story become the only story.”

Chimamanda’s Profile.

Arguably Africa’s best literary flower (DN2), at least from her generation of writers,Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in 1977 in Nigeria.She briefly studied Medicine and Pharmacy then moved to  Eastern Connecticut (U.S.A),graduating summa cum laude with a major in Communication and a minor in Political Science.She holds a masters degree in creative writing from John Hopkins University and an MA on African Studies from Yale as well.Her books thus far include, Purple Hibiscus (her first novel) published in 2003,Half of A Yellow Sun (2006), and The Thing Around Your Neck (2009). Purple Hibiscus is tested on the English Leaving Certificate course in Ireland,the Advanced Placement course in select US schools,as well as the International Baccalaureate course in some schools in the U.K.She’s received awards galore including,the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction (2007).”We do not usually associate wisdom with beginners,but here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers,” says literary maestro Chinua Achebe of her.Her latest book, Americanah,is set to come out on May 14th this year.

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Can non-Europeans think? – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.

”Why is European philosophy ‘philosophy’,but African philosophy ‘ethnophilosophy’ ?”

 Prominent French philosopher Michel Foucault,he of the discourse concept.

Prominent French philosopher Michel Foucault,he of the discourse concept.

 
Michel Foucault,an important influence on postructuralists in international relations,was opposed to the notion that knowledge is immune from  the workings of power.Instead,he argued that power in fact produces knowledge.All power requires knowledge and all knowledge relies on and reinforces existing power relations.Thus,there is no such thing as ‘truth’ outside of power.Postructuralists examine the concepts that dominate the discourse that is International Studies/Relations.That the dominant concepts are highly contingent on specific power relations.It is worth noting that all the major theories of International Studies/Relations i.e. realism,liberalism,Marxism,social constructivism,and postructuralism- all emerged in Europe in response to specific European problems,postcolonialists reckon.Postcolonial scholars question whether such theories can really purport to explain world politics.It is more likely that they continue to justify the military and economic subordination of the global South by powerful Western interests.{Globalization of World Politics}.

”How can history have a truth if truth in itself has has a history?” -Michel Foucault.

Sorry, But Africa’s Rise Is Real.

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Sorry, but Africa’s Rise Is Real – By Charles Robertson and Michael Moran | Foreign Policy.

Voters register in rural Kenya.

 

”For years,whenever economic or financial news from Africa managed to wangle its way through the tales of genocide,famine,and catastrophe spun by western correspondents,the response of pessimists has been to write off all growth on the continent as a crude commodity play.” In a retort(Click on the link provided above) to Rick Rowden’s article –The Myth of Africa’s Rise, apparently exploring why the rumours of Africa’s explosive growth have been exaggerated, Renaissance Capital’s Charles Robertson  and Michael Moran reckon that Rowden makes miscalculations in discounting Africa’s rise.That dismissing Africa’s prospects for growth and comparing it with East Asia today is tantamount to comparing Germany in 1840 with Victorian England at it’s height and saying Germany will never amount to anything.Personally,I opine and indeed as development pundits have it that,development is a problematic concept to define and as such Rowden’s view (development is essentially industrial growth) is just but one of the many takes on development.”Africa Rising”,”Africa’s Century’‘ and many other headlines on Africa’s development prospects  are not mere narratives as some intellectual pessimists and cautious optimists claim.Using adult literacy data provided on 51 African country profiles in the December 2012 – January 2013 issue of The Africa Report (http://www.theafricareport.com ),save for Djibouti,Somalia and the Republic of Congo,Africa’s percentage adult literacy averages 66%.  IMF predicts a 5.3% continued economic growth for Africa.This, experts say will continue to attract investment and particularly so if the US and the euro zone continue to face economic woes.

Profiling African Countries – North Africa.

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North Africa.

Comprising Algeria,Egypt,Libya,Morocco,Tunisia,Mauritania and Sudan,north Africa,as at 2012 had a total population of 220 million people.This is projected to reach 329million come 2050,inclusive of South Sudan.

Algeria.

Population: 36 million, Urban population: 73%,Health expenditure as percentage of GDP: 4.2%,Life expectancy: 73,Adult literacy: 73%, Mobile phone penetration: 99%, Main export: Petroleum oil,which accounts for 95% of exports and 45% of the national budget, Projected GDP growth for 2013: $214.45 billion (current GDP $206.55bn).

Egypt.Population: 82.5 million, Urban population: 44%, Health expenditure as percentage of GDP: 4.7%, Life expectancy: 73, Adult literacy: 72%, Mobile phone penetration: 101%, Main export: Petroleum oil, Current GDP: $255bn, Projected GDP growth for 2013: $275.9 billion.

Libya. Population: 6.4 million, Urban population: 78%, Health expenditure as percentage of GDP: 3.9%, Life expectancy: 74, Adult literacy: 89%, Mobile phone penetration: 156%, Main export: Petroleum oil, Current GDP: $85.1 billion, Projected GDP growth for 2013: $97.6billion.

Mauritania.
Population: 3.5 million, Urban population: 42%, Health expenditure as percentage of GDP: 4.4%, Life expectancy: 58, Adult literacy: 57.2%, Mobile phone penetration: 92.7%, Main export: Tuna, Current GDP: $4.1bn, Projected GDP growth for 2013: $4.4 billion.

Morocco.Population:32.3 million, Urban population: 57%, Health expenditure as percentage of GDP: 5.2%, Life expectancy: 72, Adult literacy: 56%, Mobile phone penetration: 113%, Main export: Phosphoric acid, Current GDP: $97.2bn, Projected GDP growth for 2013: $103.3 billion.

Tunisia.Population: 10.7 million, Urban population: 66%, Health expenditure as percentage of GDP: 6.2%, Life expectancy: 74, Adult literacy: 78%, Mobile phone penetration: 117%, Main export:Petroleum oil, Current GDP: $44.7bn, Projected GDP growth for 2013: $45.6 billion.

Sudan.Population:34.3 million, Urban population: 33%, Health expenditure as percentage of GDP: 6.3%, Life expectancy: *61%, Adult literacy: *71%, Mobile phone penetration: *56%, Main export: Petroleum oil, Current GDP: $51.6bn, Projected GDP growth for 2013: $47.3 billion.(Life expectancy,adult literacy and mobile phone penetration figures include South Sudan).

The northern African (Algeria,Tunisia,Morocco,Mauritania,Egypt,Libya,Sudan) region’s combined GDP projection for 2013 stands at $788.55 billion.North Africa’s university graduation rates in Humanities and Arts between 2008-2010 was 22%,Sub-Saharan Africa’s was 26%In Business and Law, north Africa outdid Sub-Saharan Africa with the university graduation rates standing at 51% and 44% respectively.As for the area of engineering and manufacturing,the university graduation rate in north Africa was  10% and Sub-Saharan Africa’s stood at 4%Western Sahara is one of the 16 non-autonomous territories still on the UN’s decolonization list.Morocco annexed Western Sahara illegally after Spain, the colonial power pulled out in 1975.Twenty one years have since passed a ceasefire was agreed between Morocco and the Saharawi independence movement,the Polisario Front.Upon signing of the ceasefire,the next thing was to carry out a referendum to be organised by the United Nations  Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to determine whether the people wanted to remain part of Morocco or opt for independence instead.The referendum has never come to pass.There are thousands of Moroccan settlers who live in the Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara today.The United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Security Council have adopted a number of resolutions as regards the Saharawi’s quest for self-determination.Indeed,the International Court of Justice advisory opinion on Western Sahara in 1975 held that Western Sahara was not a terra nullius (belonging to no one) at the time of its colonization by Spain and that although there were legal ties at the time of colonization between Western Sahara and both Morocco and Mauritania which sought to annex Western after the Spaniards left,these ties were sufficient to justify decolonization of the territory by any means other than a popular referendum.Violations of human rights by Moroccan forces in the occupied Saharawi territories continue.The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) government that claims sovereignty over the the entire Western Sahara territory,controls about 20-25% of the territory itself while Morocco controls and administers the rest of the disputed territory.

The regional organisation in North Africa is known as the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU).Its member states are Algeria,Libya,Mauritania,Morocco and Tunisia.Formed in 1989,the union hasn’t organised a summit since 1994 thanks to the pronounced differences between its member states.This also stems from the fact that only the Presidential Council has the authority to make decisions which are to be issued by consensus as stipulated in article 6 of the Constitutive Act of the AMU.The tensions between the member countries thus easily affect the running of the regional organisation considering the decision-making authority.Algeria for instance has continuously backed the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people,putting at loggerheads with Morocco.Libya had also earlier withdrew from the organisation after the regional organisation’s member states complied with the UN sanctions following the Lockerbie bombing in 1988.Egypt applied to join the AMU in 1994 during the 16th session of the AMU Foreign Minsters summit.The Maghreb sits right next to the largest trade are in the world-EU and is also on the doorstep of the bustling Middle East.Annual trade between the Middle East and Africa has gown five times to  $49 billion over the past decade from $10 billion in 2002.Foreign Direct Investment in the Maghreb rose from $3 billion a year in 200 to $12.3 billion in 2008.After the Arab Spring,it went down to 6.5 billion in 2011.The AMU recently launched an investment bank with a capital of $100 million.The bank will finance infrastructure projects in Algeria,Libya,Morocco,Mauritania and Tunisia as well as fostering regional integration.

”The welfare of the people is the best way to strengthen the empire.”-Ibn Khaldun.

Primary Source of the data under the seven countries’ profile:The Africa Report – Africa In 2013 http://www.theafricareport.com

Infographic:Africa’s Largest Economies By GDP.(Of MNCs Bleeding A Continent).

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World Bank Dataviz.(Link to the infographic with the GDP stats).

Countries Featured In The Infographic:

South Africa,Egypt,Nigeria,Algeria,Morocco,Angola,Libya,Tunisia,Kenya,Ethiopia,Ghana and Cameroon.

Africa is not poor

Today,Africa’s combined GDP stands at $2 trillion,with many an African country’s GDP growing at 5-6% per annum.The Gross Domestic Product data provided in the infographic however,is from between the years 2005-2009 and as such,it would be vital to note that as at 2012,Kenya’s GDP for instance stood at about 34 billion dollars.South Africa-Africa’s largest economy stood at about $400 billion,almost double the 2009 mark featured in the infographic.Massive potential for growth abounds because Africa is not poor,it is being looted,or better yet,it is just mismanaged.Indeed a UN Economic Commission for Africa report probing illicit financial flows from the continent paints an appalling picture of the  amount of money leaving Africa illicitly.It says the figures on transfer of funds from the developing world to the so-called developed countries could amount to a staggering 1.5 trillion every year.Chaired by former South African president,Thabo Mbeki,the high-level panel which compiled the report points an accusing finger at Multinational Corporations  that apply different means  to siphon off vast amounts that the developing world,including Africa,desperately needs.MNCs account for 66% of global trade totaling to  $44 trillion or there about.MNCs have become the new actors as regards the causative agents of internal displacement in Africa through land grabs.The several ways Africa loses this money include,trade mispricing in invoices exchanged between importers and exporters-both local companies and MNCs,tax evasion,racketeering,counterfeiting,contraband,smuggling,cross-border movements of cash,corruption by government officials and influential businessmen as well as laundered commercial transactions.Africa has lost an estimated $854 billion from 1970- 2008,says the report.”Just one third of the loss associated with illicit financial flows would have been enough to fully cover the continent’s external debt which accumulated to $279 billion in 2008”,notes the report.Kenya’s public debt for instance,currently stands at 48.6 per cent of GDP.Ostensibly,the trend worsened with the average illicit flows amounting to $50 billion per year between 2000-2011.As regards the lucrative business that is ‘dead-aid’ to Africa with an exception of the few success stories of Rwanda maybe,for $1 received in aid,$10 is lost in illicit transfers.

West and Central Africa emerge as the leading ‘victims’ of this continental bleeding.They,both combined, account for 49% of illicit flows from Africa.North Africa accounts for 18% while Southern and Eastern Africa account for 33%.

Specific Countries Cumulative Illicit Flows:Nigeria- $212.7 billion,Egypt-$105.2 billion,South Africa-$81.8 billion,Morocco-33.9 billion,Angola-$29.5 billion,Cote d’Ivoire-$21.6 billion,Sudan-$16.6 billion,Ethiopia-$16.5 billion,Republic of Congo-$16.2 billion.

Closer home,a recent Global Financial Integrity report titled ”Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries”, says that countries in the East African Community saw a combined $1.33 billion lost through illicit financial transactions over the past decade.In the 10-year period,details the report;Uganda lost $680 million,Tanzania-$333 million,Rwanda-$158 million,Kenya-$112 million and Burundi-$49 million.China which is fast  becoming EAC’s largest trading partner  ,is the biggest beneficiary of these illicit flows,accounting for an average of 47% of all illicit outflows over the 10-year period,says the report-GFI.The illicit flows from developing countries and emerging markets,it is believed,could be much higher than reported owing to accurate data,the lack thereof.For more on countries in the East African Community, READ:EAC debt grows as $1.3bn silently siphoned outhttp://www.africareview.com//Special-Reports/EAC-debt-

”Africa,with its underdeveloped governance structures,is particularly vulnerable to this form of exploitation.While the outside world has always been very quick to pin the corruption label on Africa,we have always argued that it takes two to make this deadly dance work.Now it is obvious that powerful multinationals are as complicit,in fact more so,in sucking Africa’s lifeblood as the worst local despot,”writes Anne Versi for the African Business Magazine,an AIC publication,in an article titled:”Multinationals ‘Steal’ $50bn Per Year From Africa.

Illicit Financial Flows:As opposed to capital flight which encompasses both licit and illicit cross-border transfer of funds,illicit financial flows are funds that are illegally earned,transferred and used, and cover all unrecorded private financial outflows-GFI.

Source:data.worldbank.com,www.google.com/publicdata,en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_domestic_product,New African Business Magazine-Blogs,Africa Review (http://www.africareview.com).

Eight Elections That Could Change The World In 2013.

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The Global Races to Watch Next Year – By Ty McCormick | Foreign Policy.(Link).

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Ty McCormick December 31.

In 2012,the world witnessed an unusual number of high-profile elections.Between the battle royale pitting

incumbent Barrack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney,Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin,and the once-in-

a-decade leadership change in China,it seemed like the entire world was in flux.But don’t be fooled bu this

year’s quieter tempo:Everything from the stability of Africa,European debt crisis,to Tehran’s nuclear program will

be influenced by voters at the ballot box in 2013.Click on the link provided above to find out just which these

eight of the most consequential elections coming up this year are.(Paraphrased).

Ty McCormick is an assistant editor at FP.( http://www.foreignpolicy.com ).