- Khadija Patel
US President Barack Obama historic address at the African Union headquarters on Tuesday was every bit as rousing as he intended it to be – inspiring yet cutting, easy-going yet contemporary. No bluster. Just Obama being Obamaesque. Thabo Mbeki’s “I am an African” speech was probably the last big oratory moment by a world leader that could inspire hope for the future and pride in Africa’s heritage. In South Africa we no longer do big inspirational speeches – although some verbal Prozac is probably much needed in a country where people resort to being fed snakes and rats as succour in the face of increasing difficulties. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
Remember when all your friends had a great dot.org idea, all of which were one click away from transforming the world into a rainbow-tinged Utopia? Me neither. But then my circle doesn’t include an Oxford/Harvard/Kennedy School Brahman like Ricken Patel, founder of Avaaz. The site focuses on change through online petitioning, and it is currently “helping” concerned South Africans battle the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) draconian proposed internet regulations. But middle-class South Africans don’t need help to not leave the house for a good cause. RICHARD POPLAK wonders if Avaaz hasn’t finally perfected the art of whining from behind electrified walls.
The 16 December 2014 attack on an army-run school in Peshawar, which killed 150 people, mainly children, and claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (Taliban Movement of Pakistan-TTP), was ostensibly a game changer. A week later, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N) government unveiled a new counter-terrorism strategy, the 20-point National Action Plan with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief Raheel Sharif vowing to target all terror groups without distinction. The INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP reports.
An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report on South Africa last week made it clear: with domestic and international constraints on the economy, the country needs to raise its tax base if it wants to achieve its development objectives. That's even if the government starts to spend its money better. Whether it's the rich or the poor, taxes, they say, need to rise. By GREG NICOLSON.
They’ve won a stage. They’re second in the team standings. And now, Doug Ryder, the Tour de France’s newly anointed strategic genius, is about to make like Hannibal and storm the Alps. But as the Tour takes a break before those gruesome mountain stages, Ryder made the time to chat to Daily Maverick. By RICHARD POPLAK.
The unlikely rise of property developer Donald Trump as the leader in the Republican race for the nomination is an extraordinary parallel to the appearance of Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders as the preeminent challenger to the seemingly inevitable candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton. J. BROOKS SPECTOR puzzles out what this may mean.
The 14 July agreement between Iran and the P5+1/E3+3 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) provides for a peaceful Iranian nuclear programme, in accordance with its rights and obligations under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, and rolls back sanctions. The accord promises a balanced, diplomatic resolution to one of the world’s most complex security challenges. By the INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP.
The ten South Africans arrested in China are back home and the credits are rolling on what most will remember as a good old diplomatic drama with some tense moments and a Hollywood ending. But should we flick the channel so quickly? ALEX ELISEEV, who broke the story and reported on it for a week, doesn’t think so…
Real and figurative borders divide the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Colonial and settler state borders, sectarian divisions and the frontlines of modern day conflict divide communities. Some borders were drawn by colonial administrators, others imposed by external powers. Throughout the history of the region some borders haven’t been used to demarcate countries but as military tactics to encircle communities as a way to enforce a siege. JONATHAN WHITTALL and JEHAN BSEISO detail how Médecins Sans Frontières operates in the theatre of the war-torn Middle East. Long, important read.
It’s easy to be cynical about the Millennium Development Goals, that lofty set of aspirations drawn up in 2000 to measure social progress by 2015. But in one respect, there’s no denying success. According to a new report by the United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAIDS), the Aids targets of the Millennium Development Goals have been not just achieved, but exceeded – ahead of schedule. By REBECCA DAVIS.
As world leaders gather in Addis Ababa to discuss the future of development, and who’s going to pay for it, the Gates Foundation can only look on with impatience. When it comes to financing for development, the Foundation is doing it by itself, on an extraordinary scale. SIMON ALLISON meets its Africa director to talk priorities, accountability and the civil society backlash.
The case of the strange and for the moment, illegal, departure of Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir, has brought to the fore perhaps the most important dynamic currently at play in South Africa. While many people may think it's the slow implosion of Cosatu, or the inevitable break-up of the Alliance, the most important dynamic is in fact the relationship between the African National Congress and our judges. How this plays out will tell us whether the ANC accepts there are legal limits to its power, whether it will play the populist card, and if, one day, it would give up power peacefully. By STEPHEN GROOTES.
It has been a weekend of bonfires and marches in Northern Ireland commemorating the Protestant defeat of the Catholic King James II in 1690 at the Battle of the Boyne. The province has been studied extensively along with South Africa from the 1970s as comparative examples of political and inter-communal violence, policing and terrorism. With peace struck in both in the 1990s, GREG MILLS and DICKIE DAVIS take a look at Northern Ireland’s progress and failings.
Mr President went to Russia, but what did he talk about there other than nuclear deals? At the seventh Brics summit in Ufa, Russia, last week, the partners discussed issues including the new Brics bank, efforts to reform the United Nations, and what the other Brics nations think about South Africa’s revamped visa regulations. REBECCA DAVIS got a debriefing from the South African Brics Think Tank.
The euro zone nations have now reached agreement how to keep Greece in the euro zone and begin the business of sorting out that nation’s messy finances. This happened even as the Northern European nations largely refused to budge on making the Greeks pay for all of their five-year financial party fun. J. BROOKS SPECTOR takes a first look at what happened and what it may mean.
For two decades the North Caucasus conflict has been among Europe’s deadliest. Victims are fewer, with 1,149 killed or wounded in 2013 compared to 525 in 2014, but risks associated with growing Islamic State (IS) influence in the insurgency are high. The INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP analyses the situation, and makes recommendations on how to mitigate some of the effects of violence, corruption, inequality and lack of services.