Africa Blog Roundup: Colonialism, Ghana’s Elections, Ethnicity in Northern Mali, and More

Via Chris Blattman, a new paper that argues, “In the light of plausible counter-factuals, colonialism probably had a uniformly negative effect on development in Africa.”

Via Michael Nelson, George Ayittey on elections in Ghana.

Gregory Mann: “Foreign Correspondents and False Notes”:

Local color and snide observations aside, anyone who can keep shining light on the intertwined dangers of an undisciplined army and the bugbear of ethnic militias—as the author of “the West’s Latest Afghanistan” does, and as Tamasin Ford and Bonnie Allen have done—is making a contribution.

So is it the editors who are ginning up and cashing in bad analogies at will? Who wants us to believe that Mali is like Afghanistan?

Andrew Lebovich: “Northern Mali: The Politics of Ethnicity and Locality.”

The Moor Next Door rounds up recent articles on Mauritania, Mali, Algeria, Tunisia, and the Sahel region.

Lesley Warner highlights key points from General Carter Ham’s recent remarks on counterterrorism in Africa.

Owen Barder: “DFID Transparency Policy Is a Game-Changer.”

Loomnie flags a nice quote on the idea of “Africa rising”:

I wonder if we should perhaps think of sub-Saharan Africa as a collection not so much of jointly emerging markets, but of diverging ones.

Roving Bandit: “Mapping Rebel Groups in the Congo.”

Vote for the name of the US State Department’s blog.

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2 thoughts on “Africa Blog Roundup: Colonialism, Ghana’s Elections, Ethnicity in Northern Mali, and More

  1. How do you mistake Mali for Afghanistan? Different history, different surroundings, different situation at the present. Just because both have a powerful militant group that seeks to install a religious state it doesn’t mean that any lessons from one will be applicable to the other.

    As for colonialism, I don’t know. The best I could think of would be some improvement in health standards that led to population booms and possibly the introduction of some western norms such as more modern legal systems but frankly that could have been done less intrusively (over a much longer period of time) and without the incredible violence across the continent. I can’t really think of any genuine benefits that only came about because of colonialism.

  2. For a while now my mind has been going to and fro on an issue that is very dear to my heart and I see it to be even more exigent to anyone who has the plight of Azawad at heart.
    My thought is taken into the relationship between the two dominant groups in northern Mali: Songhai and the Tuareg. In the recent past, persons who fear the colossal force that will emerge if Azawadians come together to form a common front have through all machiavellian means sown seed of discord among Azawadians. Making good the strategy “divide and rule.” This devilish tactics has entrenched so much so that it has created a thriving mistrust between these groups. Today the Songhai is skeptical towards the Tuareg and the Tuareg in similitude where as Bamako is ripping profitably from this rift. But brothers I have some questions boggling my mind and I will lay them bare.
    Don’t we trade together in Marché Washington and other market places dotted around the sahel? Don’t we live together in Tonka, Bourem, Tessalit and in other townships within Azawad? Don’t we habit the same Sahara? Don’t we inter marry and have almost the same culture? Don’t our children sit in the same class rooms in Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu? Don’t we sit under the trees and in front of the mosque of the Great Askia as well as the Sankoré Mosque to tell stories of the past, present and what the future hold for us? Don’t we move our bodies to the same rhythm be it from Ali Farka, Tinare or Haira Arby? Are we all not at the mercy of the lackadaisical attitude of Bamako towards the development of the north?
    If the answer to all these is yes then I can say authoritatively without any doubt of equivocation that what ripe us apart is but not existing in the face of the gargantuan similarities we share in.
    In a trying moment like now the least we should be concern about is animosity between the Songhai and the Tuareg. This is a time we should do away with all our differences and form a formidable front to squash out all these madness unleashed on us by the Islamists in Azawad. We, more than any other persons or groups, can liberate first Azawad and then develop our region.
    Our relationship goes beyond just being in one geographical location but can be traced back into history. Side by side, we lived in the past together and as one we should be today.
    Let us come together and put our unflinching weight behind a legitimate group that is as concern as we are about our homeland – Azawad. For what MNLA needs today is our support not vitriolic reprimand. The neglect Azawad was subjected to for the past 52 years and still counting is what MNLA wants tell the world.
    I am a Songhai boy and I am for MNLA body and soul. What about you?

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