Africa Blog Roundup: Somaliland, Egypt, Failed States, Gender Politics, and More

The Economist‘s Baobab investigates whether a lack of aid has increased government accountability in the unrecognized state of Somaliland.

Venturing a little outside of my normal geographic coverage, I wanted to share this interesting essay by Jimmy Kainja on Egyptian leaders’ resistance to conditional loans. The issues at stake in Egypt have wide relevance:

Egypt has said no to all the loans with strings attached. Egyptian Minister for International Cooperation, Fayza Abu Naga says Egypt has refused a loan from the World Bank “because if found the terms of the loan incompatible with the Egyptian national interests.” She added that the Egyptian government “would not accept dictated by the World Bank and the IMF.”

The minister is also reported to have lodged a complaint with the USA Embassy in Egypt, warning it not to violet Egypt’s sovereignty by dictating conditions for loans. This was “in response to an announcement by the United States Agency for International Development that it would grant Egypt US$165 million to finance projects for education, civic activities and human rights.”

Are we finally coming full-circle with regards to the aid versus sovereignty debate? Of course it is too early to tell but this sends a signal that the days of paternalistic way of providing loans and grants may be waning. Egypt is moving towards democracy, it has to be answerable to its people, not donors. That is the case with any democratic country. Even dictators always claim to work in the interest of their people.

James Dorsey assesses the implications of the Libyan soccer team’s defection.

Loomnie flags a new Accenture report on financial services in Africa.

Louisa Lombard returns to the Central African Republic and reflects on maternal mortality and the position of the ethnographer.

Amb. John Campbell finds signs of hope for Africa in the new Failed States Index.

Jens Pederson writes that in North Sudan, “the political environment seems to have hardened recently,” while “the [economic] situation has gotten more precarious.”

Michael Nelson looks at environmental problems in Ghana.

Laura Seay and Kate Morris debate the potential and the limits of US influence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including the question of whether the appointment of a special envoy to the DRC would have a significant impact on the situation there.

In the wake of First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit to southern Africa, Dan Moshenberg asks, “What’s a young African woman leader, today, and who decides?”

I leave you with an al Jazeera English video on Senegal’s recent protests:

9 thoughts on “Africa Blog Roundup: Somaliland, Egypt, Failed States, Gender Politics, and More

  1. Egyptians appear willing to forfeit short-term U.S. financial gains for long-term independence. Senators John McCain and John Kerry won’t be convincing many of America’s benevolence.

      • Surely they are trying to leverage U.S. and other foreign investments, but post-revolution polling is consistently and sharply negative. The Egyptians I’ve talked to are of a similar mindset, and Saudi aid could hit the same problems. While KSA’s war-chest is seemingly bottomless, anywhere between $500 million and $4 billion is coming with strings.

  2. What do you guys think about the article on Somaliland and aid?

    I’m a middle class African, and there is virtually no African I’ve met who thinks aid is good idea.

    • Possibly, on the other hand a lack of money doesn’t permit for development either. Additionally there’s the question of whether the African states struggling the most with disease would be able to handle it without medical assistance. Personally I’d argue more for cautious aid in the form of money when there literally is none to be gotten in the state receiving it and to target more effort on actual development and reducing corruption*,

      *Which unfortunately leads nationalists to reject it out of hand for interfering by not making it unconditional and makes nations like China seem more attractive.

      • Many of you just don’t understand how strong the “nationalist” sentiment is. No intelligent African looks forward to young Westerners being anointed as “Africa experts” especially when equally intelligent and more experienced Africans are sidelined.

        There is one thing the Chinese get that the West doesn’t, the principle of respect. Africans might be corrupt, directionless and disorganised, but you are not going to make much headway with them unless you respect them.

        Until recently, I worked as a manager for KPMG, and I was involved in some donor funded work, we also held seminars on aid and the donor community. The general sentiment was that of anger and mistrust of the entire thing. We also had quite a lot of fans of Dambisa Moyo.

        The impact on future relations with the West is yet to be seen.

  3. Pingback: Sunday Reading « zunguzungu

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