Somalia’s Significant Burden

From studying the underlying burdens that affect African statehood, it becomes apparent that societal failures are not limited to a root cause. Instead the infrastructure that allows a nation to assume legitimacy requires a variety of factors that disables a state from functioning properly. These factors range from foreign interference from both state and non-state actors, ethnic conflict, governance rife with corruption, colonial legacies, etc.. However, this understanding of statehood doesn’t understate the fact that depending on the particular state, certain factors have more weight than others. In regards to the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) a substantial hindrance to its ability to act, as a functioning state would be its unsustainable economic system. This infrastructure has largely been informal and rather fluid, in combination due to periods of conflict/ war and its history of nomadism. The lack of a diverse domestic economic system, which provides more than just agricultural products, has had lasting effects on the nation’s ability to generate revenue. In truth the primary sources of income to the nation has been the “provision of money transfers, transport, and telecommunications services.” These remittances are supplied by the significant Somali diaspora across the globe, which supports the fledgling government. The tangible effects of these financial constraints have primarily affected the pervasiveness of violence within the state. The first example being, the high degree of poverty has left a vast lower class and has utterly destroyed the middle class. Conflict bred out of these disenfranchised classes has proved a breeding ground for recruits of extremist groups like Al-Shabaab, which consistently challenge the FGS. Another example would be the lack of resources available to the government has directly affected their ability to maintain defensive measures both within and on its borders. This has led to alternative methods the FGS has used to sustain a useful military force, such as partnering with stronger states. Allying with foreign forces has had its own repercussions that continually challenge the sanctity of Somalia’s sovereign nature.

With this knowledge of Somalia’s economic situation, focusing on the nation’s long-term economic plan would be my suggestion to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. By doing so, he can lessen the influence that Al-Shabaab has over the narrative which describes the nation of Somalia. Combatting them through a direct contest, such as military conquests and assassinations of leaders only becomes effective to a certain point. The only way to eradicate extreme ideology is through swaying the populace from which the group draws support. Even more importantly, economic improvement can bridge the existing divide between the conflicting states within Somaliland, Puntland, Galmudug, etc… A reasonable starting point for doing this would be continually developing existing and promising relationships with powerful nations. In 2013 the USA recognized the FGS as a nation, as well as a multi-billion dollar international investment was promised to the new government. Receiving investment from the dominant economic powers would provide the necessary diversity to Somalia’s domestic economic infrastructure. A specific region of development that may prove most useful is using the strategic geographic location of Somalia on the Horn of Africa, to gain further support from China and other powers looking to increase their presence in the region.

 

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The Return of Moise Katumbi to the DRC

https://www.ft.com/content/867b40d0-bb80-11e6-8b45-b8b81dd5d080

Exiled Congolese Leader Moise Katumbi

Exiled Congolese Leader Moise Katumbi

In the wake of the Congolese Supreme Court’s decision to allow Joseph Kabila to remain in power after the Congolese President failed to ensure his administration arrange for elections this year, popular exiled Congolese leader, Moise Katumbi, has vowed to return to his home country. This would have major implications for the political situation in the DRC, as Katumbi was ranked as the most popular Congolese leader in a recent opinion poll, and could theoretically mobilize vast support to counter Kabila’s regime. Although Katumbi has announced that he intends his opposition to be peaceful, even assuring Kabila that he would not be prosecuted if he stepped down, it is possible that his return would spark devestating civil conflict. Kabila’s term is set to end December 19. If he does not set down, we will see whether Katumbi keeps his promise, as he has previously promised a return, and has yet to make good on those promises.

 

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Achieving Stable Development through International Engagement in the DRC

In Jeffrey Herbst’s and Greg Mills’ 2006 piece “Africa in 2020: Three Scenarios for the Future,” the authors imagine three different futures for Africa in 2020. The differences between these futures are stark, and according to the authors, depend on a variety of factors. In order to promote a brighter future, the authors advocate for greater agency of African countries in actions and policies, which will affect the continent overall. In 2006, they noted that with the exception of Africa, the continent’s largest countries were not regional and continental leaders. Although in the past decade, we have seen the emergence of some of Africa’s largest countries, notably Nigeria, many still have not embraced such leadership roles. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is an example of a large state which has yet to achieve a commendable rate of development, and thus is unable to act as a leader. Unless in the next four years, the DRC can promote economic growth, political stability, and social equity, it is likely that Herbst’s and Mills’ second scenario will hold true for Africa in 2020. In order to achieve this development, the DRC must engage positively with the world.

Political reform is necessary for the DRC to achieve political stability. With the democratic crisis currently underway as Joseph Kabila nears the end of what should be his final term in office, it is important that the country not only allows for but encourages monitoring of the political situation by developed countries both African and otherwise. It is clear that the people of the DRC desire a well-functioning democracy; the ongoing protests in and around Kinshasa make this evident. In order to assure that the democratic processes which are supposed to be guaranteed by the Constitution occur, it is important for the government to engage with strong democratic powers, especially those on the African continent, such as South Africa, and to allow these countries to monitor and perhaps even facilitate elections and the transition of power.

In terms of economic reform, the DRC is in desperate need of developmental aid from the international communities. I would recommend that the DRC’s leader first secure stable and functioning democracy, in order to promote investment. While Herbst and Mills recommend change as a result of African initiative, in order for the DRC to catch up, I think that assistance from other countries is necessary. In particular, the DRC should establish better bilateral relations with China, leveraging its mineral resources, which Chinese industry so desperately needs, for the types of infrastructure projects that China has been so successful with in other countries across the continent. With improved infrastructure, the DRC will be more able to focus on diversification, thereby reducing dependence on mineral resources. The DRC must stipulate that foreign development projects utilize Congolese labor, thereby helping the citizenry to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for industry diversification.

Finally, the DRC must improve social equity, in order to reduce conflict and encourage productivity. As it stands, Kinshasa operates almost separately from the rest of the country, leaving many outside of the capital feeling alienated, and without opportunity. This leads to civil conflict. Improved infrastructure through partnerships with China will link the rest of the country to the capital, and the use of Congolese labor will, again, improve the workforce. This allows for better social equity, and thus a more cohesive country overall.

With international help, the DRC can establish a stable democracy, improve and diversify its economy, and promote equitable growth. At a certain point of development, the DRC will be able to reduce its need for foreign aid and investment, and can better serve in Herbst’s and Mills’ vision a large country with positive continental influence.

Herbst and Mills. “Africa in 2020: Three Scenarios for the Future.”

Setting the record straight on China’s engagement in Africa

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/democratic-republic-congo/2016-11-15/congos-challenged-regime.

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Reading Post – Africa in 2020

Herbst and Mills’ article on scenarios for the future of Africa effectively ties together the numerous issues and challenges that continue to plague African countries today. It provides an interesting interpretation of events and offers three potential scenarios for Africa in 2020, which is only four years away. The authors suggest that Africa will either take charge, “give and take,” or follow in terms of reforms and initiatives. Expanding upon themes and issues discussed in class, it seems that African countries tend more toward the scenario of “Africa Follows.”

The seven factors and driving factors that the authors suggest will propel change across Africa are still pertinent today. Economic growth, demography, democracy, external environment, the non-governmental sector, conflict, and diaspora, all continue to influence current, and future, political and domestic outcomes on the continent. In particular, economic growth, democratization, and conflict are likely the most pressing issues that have seen minimal improvements in the past 12 years.

The authors assert that economic growth is a necessary precondition for African stability and prosperity and argue that 6% is the target growth rate that countries should strive to achieve (3). Economic grievances are a common underlying cause of political instability and conflict across the world. Many of the same political discontent, rampant unemployment, corruption among elites, and concentration of wealth seen in African countries were also seen in the Middle East, and these factors directly contributed to the Arab Spring. The youth bulge is another critical factor that has exacerbated problems with the economy and prohibited significant improvements in stability. Moreover, the youth bulge and economic grievances have created stagnation or minimal improvement in African economies during the past 12 years. The significant economic growth the authors emphasized has largely failed to take root, which implies that Africa’s overall trajectory has experienced minimal improvement.

According to the article, stagnation and preservation of the present status quo do not bode well for the future of the continent. The “Africa Follows” scenario is the most accurate description of the current state of affairs across the African continent, as African countries continue to not necessarily drive the reform agenda (10). External powers continue to influence development throughout the continent, often acting in their own interests rather than those of African countries. Additionally, frustrations with political and economic reform, or lack thereof, do persist within African countries and continue to disenchant the general public. However the situations the authors predicted about Africa being a place of turmoil are not entirely as bleak or dire as they suggested in 2006 (11). Certainly, growth has been minimal and the status quo has not significantly changed, but many countries are in fact slowly making progress.

This article remains especially relevant today, as the debate over “Africa Rising” being a myth or reality continues on. It is not yet 2020, however 2016 is close enough to the author’s time frame to reevaluate the framework and scenarios they suggested. It is evident that while many of the problems and challenges they mention continue to plague Africa, 12 years is not enough time for significant political, economic, or domestic changes to occur. However, the destabilizing nature of maintaining the status quo and Africa’s continued movement to “follow” will likely be detrimental and a threat for countries in the future. Drawing on historical events seen elsewhere in the world, it is evident that there are patterns that emerge with regards to political changes and conflict, and that many of these events were set off by an unrelated or incendiary incident. The future of African nations and the continent as a whole remains uncertain; however, this article’s articulation of potential scenarios can still serve as a good framework for consideration and analysis. The article provides an interesting perspective for the future of Africa as a continent and considers individual variances that may also occur and puts forth relevant arguments for Africa’s future beyond 2020.

Word Count: 650

Herbst, Jeffrey, and Greg Mills. “Africa in 2020: Three Scenarios for the Future.”Brenthurst Discussion Papers, February 2006, 1-14.

 

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Reading Post

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article by Jeffrey Herbst and Greg Mills. The article, “Africa in 2020,” is very well written and focuses on the key issues that Africa needs to address and overcome in order to substantially move forward. In reading through all of the recommendations and highlighted challenges, I completely agree with most of the author’s assertions. In particular, I appreciated the fact that Herbst puts an emphasis on the need for “Africa to take charge.” In my opinion, this is a foundational ideology that all the African nations need to have in order to substantially move forward in the next 50 years. International assistance is extremely beneficial and the African continent can learn from some of the Western Nations but the majority of the work needs to be done internally. African leaders must lead the charge by example and motivate the states that seem to be less engaged.

The article touches on several factors that will play an integral role in moving Africa forward and there was a couple that I found to be most critical. The first is the need to mitigate and significantly reduce conflict. Herbst and Mills write about the need for African nations to come up with, “ their own conflict management techniques to help end civil wars from African countries themselves.” (Herbst,6) This is the absolute first priority and real challenge that many African states face in their attempt to find long term stability. Many African states are dealing with violent civil wars, terrorist groups, and insurgencies that all aim to incite some form of chaos and destabilize the central government. If these individuals are still allowed to flourish on the African continent, domestic reform cannot occur. Security must be the first priority for all of the states before focusing on any other objectives.

After becoming a much more safe continent, another significant driver for a positively growing continent is the need for consistent economic growth. Major economic reforms need to be made to reduce the amount of poverty in these countries. Besides security, this is the second most important objective. Developing African states can barely support themselves causing a great unrest within the local communities and becoming dangerously dependent on financial aid from international states. African states need to become financially independent and work with each other to help grow their economies. A great idea that I have never really considered was the role of private corporations and industries. Herbst and Mills highlight that a “well functioning private sector will take some pressure off the government.” (7) These private companies can assist the government in a variety of ways similar to Silicon Valley pushes the country forward with technology or other new businesses that further the individual’s quality of life. Private businesses could also help balance international involvement as well.

These are two driving factors that I feel are critical to moving Africa forward. The only thing that I am not completely on board with is the need for most African states to move toward a democracy. This is an incredibly westernized mentality and although I believe democracy is a reasonable option, in some instances there might be better alternatives to minimize corruption and properly direct the country.

Overall, I believe that Africa will take charge and begin to positively direct the continent. International organizations such as the African Union are continually reiterating the need for African states to take charge and there have been great initiatives to help bring these states together. Again, I very much enjoyed this article as it not only challenged me to think about Africa’s future but also introduced real ideas and issues that I believe need to receive more attention.

 

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Future Directions for Tanzania

Tanzania possesses many solid foundations in order to continue its trajectory of growth and political stability, which bodes well for its future role in regional and international spheres. In order to secure their possibility of continued strength and success as a nation, Tanzania must focus on several key issues. Leaders must first focus on addressing and improving underlying domestic problems, encourage and facilitate continued foreign partnerships, and solidify their regional power. All of these factors will help to secure Tanzania’s continued rise as a politically stable and economically relevant nation in the international system.

Throughout this term we have learned about the significance of domestic politics and its ability to affect political and economic stability. Corruption and neopatrimonialism are issues that plague many African governments and entrench domestic political and social divides. State elites are often heavily influenced by the role of neopatrimonial relations in their regimes, which subsequently effects their behavior and motivations in the political sphere and in dealing with various security challenges (Taylor and Williams, 2008). While Tanzania has taken great strides to combat corruption in its political system, it is still susceptible to these challenges. The current president, Magufuli, has lead initiatives to rebuild trust and end rampant corruption in the country (Muvunyi, 2016). Efforts like the ones that Magufuli is leading to combat corruption and to improve the reputation of the government, are critical to increasing domestic security. However, there have still been reports published about corruption and embezzlement of public funds and of issues that plague the judiciary (Otindo). More accountability and transparency is necessary to improve relations between the government and civilians. Additionally, more trust in the government can lead to more political stability, which builds a good foundation upon which leaders can create further changes. The provision of resources and protection of basic human securities should be another issue of critical importance to Tanzanian leaders. A nation should have the dominant role in provision of resources to its population, because it can help prevent the rise of non-state actors, particularly those with violent agendas (USIP). Provision of services further secures domestic stability, which is critical for engagement with other regional and international powers, thus this is something that Tanzanian leaders should focus on

As a relatively stable nation in Africa, Tanzania stands in a good position to increase its regional power and capabilities. It lacks internal strife and has also managed to remain largely uninvolved in regional disputes. However, this domestic stability has not necessarily translated into economic prosperity, which is something the nation could potentially expand by improving foreign partnerships (BBC). Tanzanian leaders should advertise their domestic stability and emphasize it as a favorable market for foreign investors. This could prove beneficial for improving the economic situation, while also improving Tanzania’s international position. China is presently one of the largest providers of economic assistance to Tanzania and gives funds to help improve infrastructure and other sectors. While China remains a key diplomatic partner for Tanzania, instead of letting their relations with this foreign entity weaken, Tanzania should push for and encourage a continued partnership. Because China is interested in Africa for development and economic projects, this is an opportunity that Tanzanian leaders should capitalize on, to help promote their own development and economic prosperity. In addition improving relations with external foreign powers, Tanzanian leaders should also focus on building strong regional partnerships and engaging with its neighbors.

As Herbst (2006) suggests, there will be some ‘winners’ and some ‘losers’ in Africa in the future as development continues and conflicts emerge. Tanzania certainly has the potential to be such a ‘winner,’ if its leaders focus on internal development and fostering foreign partnerships. Encouraging economic growth and limiting corruption are two critical issues that leaders need to focus on in order to secure domestic stability, which will then enable them to improve their relations with other regional and international partners. Tanzanian leaders should be aware of factors that could undermine their success and weaken their ability to succeed; moreover, they should be proactive and attempt to act in advance to mitigate issues that may arise.

Word Count: 677

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14095776

http://tz.china-embassy.org/eng/ztgx/jj/t421433.htm

Herbst, Jeffrey, and Greg Mills. “Africa in 2020: Three Scenarios for the Future.”Brenthurst Discussion Papers, February 2006, 1-14.

Muvunyi, Fred. “Tanzania’s Magufuli Leads Fight against Corruption.” Deutsche Welle Africa, May 12, 2016. http://www.dw.com/en/tanzanias-magufuli-leads-fight-against-corruption/a-19252614.

Otindo, Oscar. “Major Problems Facing Tanzania Today.” Africa and the World. http://www.africaw.com/major-problems-facing-tanzania-today.

Taylor, Ian, and Paul D. Williams. “Political Culture, State Elites, and Regional Security in West Africa.” Journal of Contemporary African Studies 26, no. 2 (June 12, 2008): 137-149.

United Institute of Peace. “Provision of Essential Services.” United States Institute of Peace. http://www.usip.org/guiding-principles-stabilization-and-reconstruction-the-web-version/8-stable-governance/provision-es.

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Engaging with the world to support Botswana’s success

On many measures, Botswana has a strong foundation for success in the future: it has a stable democracy, good governance and government institutions, and solid national security. However, its single-commodity economy, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and regional and continental instability remain pitfalls to its success moving forward. Deepening its engagements with the world—by broadening its economic relationships, harnessing foreign aid for health advancements, and becoming a stronger regional leader—will all help Botswana continue to succeed.

Botswana should broaden its engagement with the developed world to diversify its economy. Though Botswana has largely avoided the “resource curse” and has effectively channeled revenues from its diamond industry to providing good government services to its citizens, a continued reliance on mostly one commodity is risky as a long-term national economic strategy. If the global diamond market was to decline and the country has not diversified, it may be unable to continue providing the same level of services to its people. Engaging with multinational corporations, attracting foreign investment, and expanding private industry to enter other global markets could all help Botswana strengthen its involvement in the global economy and diversify its economy beyond diamonds.

Additionally, continuing to engage in the world through international health aid can help Botswana fully control its HIV/AIDS epidemic. Beyond the direct toll of the disease on people’s lives, HIV/AIDS has the potential to seriously hinder Botswana through economic consequences of a reduced workforce and high health costs. Foreign health aid, such as the United States’ PEPFAR program, has greatly improved the country’s response to the crisis. It is important for the country to not become too reliant on this foreign funding; however, by further engaging with international health programs it can harness this external funding as a way to continue improving the capacity of its own domestic healthcare system to combat HIV/AIDS.

Lastly, Botswana should deepen its engagement with the region and the African continent by working to be a more active leader. In recent years, the president of Botswana has shifted the country towards an “ethical” foreign policy, becoming more outspoken in criticizing human rights abuses and political injustice in other African states. Herbst and Mills note that agency and leadership among African states on a regional and continental level are crucial for helping Africa “take charge.” As an economically and politically successful state, Botswana has the potential to help push for positive change in neighboring states and guide Africa toward greater regional and continental agency. For example, Herbst and Mills state that peacekeeping should increasingly stem from within Africa instead of relying on foreign actors. Because of Botswana’s internal stability, it has the potential to serve as a leader in intra-African peacekeeping. Increased stability and growth in the region and continent can in turn benefit Botswana domestically, as conflict in one state can severely harm the entire region (Herbst and Mills). Thus Botswana should further focus on its “ethical” foreign policy, deepening its role as a political and economic leader by advocating for regional and continental improvement.

Sources

Herbst, J. and Mills, G. 2006. Africa in 2020: Three Scenarios for the Future.

Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S., & Robinson, J. A. (2015). An African success story: Botswana.         Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Songwe, V. and Winkler, D. 2012. Exports and export diversification in sub-Saharan                    Africa: A strategy for post-crisis growth. Africa Growth Initiative, Brookings Institute.

Bollinger, L. and Stover, J. 1999. The economic impact of AIDS in Botswana. The POLICY           project.

http://www.pepfar.gov/countries/botswana/

Malila, I.S. and Molebatsi, R.M. (2014). Botswana’s Experimentation with ‘Ethical Foreign         Policy’. Southern African Peace and Security Studies, 3(1), 5-25.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/09/zimbabwe-castigates-botswana-leader-mugabe-comment-160924055155465.html

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Healing & Developing Uganda

Healing & Developing Uganda

Based on what we have discussed in this term, I would advise Ugandan leaders to improve domestic relations before diving into foreign relations. Uganda is still a very divided nation and the north is recovering from the impact of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army. In terms of international relations, Uganda needs to move away from relations with the US and move towards other interests. The USA provides aid to Uganda for humanitarian and health issues, whereas China, Russia and Netherlands aid development in Uganda. I would in no way advocate for Yoweri Museveni to remain in power, but it is probable that he will be for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, Museveni will need to progress Uganda’s domestic and foreign agenda with the goal of healing and developing Uganda in an equal way.

Uganda serves as an ally to the USA in its fight against terrorism and will likely continue to do so. Perhaps, Uganda can find a way to manipulate that agreement and attain more aid for development. Museveni rarely appears on the international stage, but Uganda’s relationship with the USA can prove worthy. So, I would advise Museveni to either reform the relationship with the USA or find new countries to progress its agenda. This leads back to a central question: what are Uganda’s key interests? Uganda continues to struggle in clearly defining its national interests and needs to figure it out. I have addressed Uganda’s ‘leaders’ as Yoweri Museveni, which can be both a blessing and a curse for Uganda. Museveni controls national interests and everything involving Uganda. Thus, Museveni can enact and progress whichever foreign and domestic policies he sees fit. The blessing in this is that Museveni can enact bills quickly and does not need to cater to a bureaucracy. The curse is obvious: Museveni can just as easily drive the country into the ground with ill-advised policies.

We have learned of many economic crutches throughout the course, such as underdevelopment and the oil curse. However, Uganda’s newly discovered oil deposits might prove to be a major source of future income, which should lead to development. USAID has helped to eradicate AIDS from northern Uganda, which should allow Uganda to focus on growth. The only concern I bring up is that with Museveni leading a near-authoritarian regime, the prospect of fair and equal growth and development is optimistic at best. Uganda has proven effective in conflict resolution in both domestic and foreign disputes. Uganda has proven ineffective in domestic humanitarian issues as its child death rate and ethnic violence.

Museveni needs to heal ethnic sectarianism in Uganda first. Then Museveni needs to establish clear national interests, ideally focusing on development in the north and economic freedom. Foreign investment in Uganda is increasing (China is building factories, while also extracting oil) and Museveni could be instrumental if he ensures Uganda receives its fair share of development. Colonial remnants remain engrained in Uganda, but Museveni is working to eradicate them and bring Uganda to a position of power and influence (hopefully he also promotes equality and democracy).

Word Count 520

 

Republic of Uganda, Ministry of Affairs

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Reading Response, Class 25: The Environment

The environment—weather, geography, shifts in patters of nature, etc.—may seem like one of the few uncontrollable and objective variables to interact with the political sphere, but the largest takeaway from this week’s reading is the politicization of the environment in modern African foreign and domestic relations. From how climate change might affect levels of conflict to external actors funding environmentally hazardous infrastructural projects, the earth itself has become a tool of politics. Across the African continent, the environment—as both talking point and tangible entity—is used by both regional and external powers to actualize both the soft and hard power increases that they seek. This trend is visible both within and across national borders.

In their journal article “Climate Change, Rainfall, and Social Conflict”, Hendrix and Salehyan explore if and how climate change impacts conflict in Africa, and though they conclude that changes in rainfall are not in and of themselves an issue of politics, “conflicts [do] arise over the distribution of resources rather than their absolute level.”[1] Because climate change is a major facet of the monolithic “environmental factor” and impacts availability of resources, succesful resource distribution should be understood to include alleviation of practices that exacerbate the dangerous changes catalyzed by greenhouse gas emissions. Hendrix and Salehyan’s findings thus provide a theoretical framework for how climate change, political decision-making, and civil/social/violent unrest function in tandem. Because the distribution this research refers to is controlled by (depending on the case), local, national, or multi-national bodies, willingness to distribute in a way that minimizes environmental changes even at the expense of profit illustrates these actors’ commitments (or lack thereof) to the safety and stability of their citizenry. Professor Nelson’s research outlined in “Africa’s Regional Powers and Climate Change Negotiations” and Hensengerth’s “Chinese Hydropower Companies and Environmental Norms in Countries of the Global South” each help expand on this relationship between the environment and political motivations, nationally and internationally respectively.

The narrative of “Africa’s Regional Powers and Climate Change Negotiations” shows this phenomenon in the actions of national governments. Nations like Ethiopia, which stands to be majorly impacted by changing weather patterns, are willing to forgo expensive and time-consuming action to stall global warming in an effort to avoid pursuing an unpopular policy. Conversely, regional powers that stand to gain soft power by joining international efforts like the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, as South Africa did.[2] And yet, South Africa continues to be one of the biggest users of coal energy, a huge source of fossil fuel emissions. None of these federal governments, even when feigning partnership against global warming, show a commitment to tangible actions that will reduce weather changes.

On an international level, China’s participation in building infrastructure in Ghana is a case study that illustrates the continued importance of international players exercising power in (what they perceive to be) weaker states. Political scientists, Hensengerth included, attempt to inflate the validity of the pursuit of influence and resources in such relationships, particularly in South-South cases. This line of argument often verges on neo-colonial apology, particularly when the building of a (lucrative) dam like the Bui dam no longer occurs in Western and more developed countries, where it has been deemed to likely to cause disaster.[3]

All of this evidence becomes even more troubling when acknowledging the widely accepted theory of political science wherein social unrest allows those in power to maintain their power. An unwillingness to address climate change—and even a willingness to exacerbate it for the sake of profit—by national and international bodies shows a global trend of leadership failing to have their citizenry as first priority. It seems that power accumulation and maintenance have surpassed avoiding social and civil unrest, a conclusion made clear by the synthesis of these readings on climate change.

[1] Hendrix and Salehyan, “Climate Change, Rainfall, and Social Conflict in Africa”, Journal of Peace Research, 37.

[2]Nelson, Michael, “Africa’s Regional Powers and Climate Change Negotiations”, MIT Press Journal, 124.

[3] Hensengerth, Oliver, “Chinese Hydropower Companies and Environmental Norms in Countries of the Global South”, Environment, Development, and Sustainability, 289.

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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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