Africa Blog Roundup: AU Elections, New Aid Models, South Sudan, Kenyan Crime and Twitter, and More

The Economist‘s Baobab calls the recent African Union elections – which failed to produce a new head of the organization – “a humiliating defeat” for South Africa.

At Reuters’ Africa Blog, Alex Whiting argues that emerging donors are “chip[ping] away at aid industry’s status quo.”

Until recently most emerging donors focused their aid on their own regions. Some, like India, China and Brazil, were also major recipients of international humanitarian aid.

But as their economies and political clout have grown, so too has their influence on the humanitarian aid system, which has traditionally been dominated by the mostly Western members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Developmentā€™s Development Assistance Committee (DAC).

The piece has an interesting snapshot of Turkey’s humanitarian activities in Somalia.

The State Department’s Dipnote highlights the work of fourteen activists in the Horn of Africa diaspora community.

Aly-Khan Satchu on “South Sudan’s Oil Cutoff.”

Kim Yi Dionne promotes the University of Oregon’s new “African political ephemera collection.” It looks really cool.

The BBC’s “From Our Own Correspondent” from February 2nd contains a segment on Nigeria’s Boko Haram.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Vanguard looks back at the chaotic month of January and what it has meant to the country.

Last but not least, Chris Blattman flags a new crimefighting initiative in Kenya that uses Twitter.

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One thought on “Africa Blog Roundup: AU Elections, New Aid Models, South Sudan, Kenyan Crime and Twitter, and More

  1. I am extremely pleased that emerging market nations are chipping away traditional Western dominance of the aid industry. The story about the Turks in Somalia is really important.

    I will be even happier when Western aid to Nigeria ceases. We don’t need it.

    We have to admit that 51 years of Western dominated aid has been a failure. The major beneficiaries of aid are usually corrupt government officials and Western aid bureaucrats (who live in opulence – you can see them at the foyer of the Abuja Sheraton and they live in the best parts of town). They are more interested in fighting for funding than alleviating poverty – and fighting for funding means portraying Africa in the worst possible light, in order to attract “sympathy money”. The flip side is that that has the effect of discouraging Western FDI – which is really needed. (Although we could do very nicely with Chinese FDI!).

    Emerging donors like the vilified Chinese may be evil, but Westerners underestimate their appeal. They live frugally and are more likely to be at a similar social level than the locals. They are more likely to live in the same locations, interact with (and not patronise) the locals and thus add more value. They are less risk averse and less likely to waste precious time and resources producing meaningless “reports”.

    They are also more likely to bring new thinking to the table and have an appreciation of how to thrive in a corrupt environment (Africa is not going to magically transform into Switzerland overnight, and an appreciation of that reality is key to succeeding in Africa).

    The Turks and Malaysians, for example, are best placed to assist in the reconstruction of Northern Nigeria. They have infinitely more soft power than any Western nation. (They are Islamic nations that have successfully embraced modernity). If any one can speak with authority and legitimacy on polygamy, early marriage and the importance of Western education in an Islamic context, its got to be them.

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