Category Archives: Uncategorized

“Le Franc CFA est un Outil de la Servitude Volontaire”/”The CFA Franc is a Tool of Voluntary Servitude”

I don’t know if many people in the course speak or understand French, but I came accross this interesting interview from France 24. It features the co-author of a book titled Le Franc CFA est un Outil de la Servitude Volontaire (The CFA Franc is a Tool of Voluntary Servitude). His main argument is that the 14 African states who are still under the CFA Franc zone are voluntarily “serving” France and purposely putting themselves under this neo-colonialist ruling system because they have not changed their currency unlike other countries like Mauritania, Algeria, Morrocco etc… I don’t personally agree with it, but I found it interesting.

Have a great break!

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Investment in Tanzania

I found this article interesting given some of the discussions we had at the end of class on Thursday, regarding aid vs. investment. Barclay’s Africa Group recently invested 32 billion as new capital into its branch in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The bank stated that it has confidence in the Tanzanian market and opportunities for growth. Barclay’s Africa asserts that it is committed to its “pan-African strategy and to supporting businesses in Tanzania.” Specifically, the natural resources sector and gas development are opportunities that the bank hopes to invest in and have growth.

We frequently discussed the downsides of foreign aid for the continent (e.g. mismanagement and corruption) in class, and began to touch on the potential value of investments as African countries’ economies grow. This investment is an example of confidence in Tanzania’s economy and opportunities for growth, which could serve as another positive step forward for economic development. Since Tanzania’s government is relatively stable, the country presents a good investment opportunity for foreign companies, and Tanzanian businesses will hopefully get on board too.

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News Post: “Making South Africa Great Again”

In this New York Times editorial, writer Sisonke Msimang examines the state of post-apartheid political order in South Africa. He argues that there is a “new spirit of revolt” among the public, with many civil society groups questioning President Jacob Zuma’s ability to effectively govern.

I thought this piece was quite interesting as it warns against complacency and pushes back against the traditional narrative of “South African exceptionalism.” It moreover makes me question whether the national election of 2019 will be the most competitive in the country’s democratic history.

Overall, this piece grapples with a central theme in this course: inclusive development. South Africa, like so many other African states, retains socio-economic institutions that serve the few, rather than the many. While racial barriers have been knocked down, democracy remains exclusive, with the new black middle class increasingly viewing the African National Congress (ANC) as corrupt.

Word Count: 142

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Ghanaians Vote Tomorrow…

Even in what is purported to be one of the most stable and democratic countries on the African continent, presidential candidates still quip on twitter about the possibility of fraudulent elections.This illustrates a collective culture of skepticism and distrust in non-partisan institutions. Tomorrow’s results are critical to watch, not only to see who Ghana’s next president will be but to monitor the parties’ reactions and potential accusations of voter fraud or rigged results.


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News- In Somalia, 11 Killed in Car Bomb Blast in the Capital

Just another example of ongoing extremist violence, affecting the stability and acting legitimacy of the current Somalia government.


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Kenya’s soaring unemployment.

I was trying to understand why other East African countries are ahead of Kenya in terms of growth rate, for instance, Kenya is at 5.6%, while Tanzania is at 6.7%, and I came across this article that explained the shocking high levels of unemployment in Kenya.

Basically, unemployment in Kenya is three times as much as that of Tanzania and Uganda. According to a report by the world bank, “one in every five Kenyan youths of working age has no job compared to Uganda and Tanzania where about one in every 20 young people is jobless.” This was quite shocking to me because at the same, Kenya is also East Africa’s biggest economy, so how can such high levels of unemployment exist in such a robust economy? This new detail for me contributes and corroborates  my research question on the massive inequality in Kenya as characterized by unemployment.

Read the article here:

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Ethiopia Unrest Continues



Protests began to erupt in the Oromia province in Ethiopia as a response to government’s plans to expand the boundaries of the capital, Addis Ababa, into fertile land in Oromia. These protests quickly became anti-governmental and seem to aim for equality among all ethnic groups in Ethiopia. On Sunday, October 2nd, police officers fired tear gas at a festival creating a stampede leading to the death of about 52 people increasing protests in the region in the past few days. The Ethiopian government is known for excessive use of force against protesters and for conducting many unlawful arrests. They have refused assistance from the UN to investigate possible human rights violations. Also, these are not the only protests happening in the country.

Ethiopia is not my country of focus, but I find it important to follow up with current developments of countries we have read about.

**Articles below give more background on the issues briefly outlined here**

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Violent clashes in DRC

In Kinshasa. 09/19/2016. Photo Creds.: Eduardo Soteras/AFP

In Kinshasa. 09/19/2016. Photo Creds.: Eduardo Soteras/AFP

I was looking for some news on Guinea but could not find anything, but instead found this:

Basically, 17 people died today including 3 police officers in Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC, following clashes between civilians and the police. Many (young) people were out in the streets protesting and calling for the presidential election to take place on time; there were multiple arrests, including that of several journalists whom were released soon after.

I know DRC is not my country of focus but this kinda hit close to home. Elections in Haiti are due for the 5th of next month after they have been postponed for almost a year now. Though it’s been a few weeks since the campaign season has officially started, tensions have been high for months now. There’s a strong possibility that the elections might not happen, and if it doesn’t, widespread violence will erupt.

Also, there is definitely some parallel with the incidents that occured in Gabon a few weeks ago.

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