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Free movement in West Africa: three countries leaving Ecowas could face migration hurdles

Free movement in West Africa: three countries leaving Ecowas could face migration hurdles

FOR Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, a recent decision to withdraw from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) has thrown up questions about how they will navigate regional mobility in future. Ecowas covers a variety of sectors, but migration is a major one. The bloc’s protocols since 1979 have long been seen as a shining example of free movement on the continent. They gave citizens the right to move between countries in the region without a visa, and a prospective right of residence and setting up businesses. As multidisciplinary scholars, we have previously researched migration governance in west…
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Sudan Armed Forces are on a path to self-destruction – risking state collapse

Sudan Armed Forces are on a path to self-destruction – risking state collapse

IT is now 10 months since the outbreak of civil war in Sudan in April 2023, pitting the Sudan Armed Forces against the Rapid Support Forces, a powerful paramilitary group. The war, which erupted after relations between the two wings of Sudan’s security apparatus broke down, rapidly spread beyond the capital, Khartoum. HARRY VERHOEVEN, Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University More recently, the Sudan Armed Forces have suffered numerous setbacks at the hands of the Rapid Support Forces. For months, army units have struggled to break their grip on much of the capital. The…
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A Sudanese journalist describes the horrors of a war she cannot cover

A Sudanese journalist describes the horrors of a war she cannot cover

YOU cannot become a war correspondent overnight. That’s a reality I’ve been wrestling with for the past 10 months of bitter fighting in Sudan – a conflict that I am personally caught up in, where I’m no longer just a journalist and impartial witness, but a victim as well. HAWA RAHMASudanese journalist covering human rights, peacebuilding, and community issues War correspondents have training and protective gear. They have sympathetic editors and a distance from the story. I don’t have any of those defences. I have, instead, a tormented conscience. Unable anymore to do my job as an independent reporter, it…
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DRC protests: expert explains why Congolese anger against the west is justified – and useful to the government

DRC protests: expert explains why Congolese anger against the west is justified – and useful to the government

SINCE early February, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, has been rocked by protests directed against Western embassies. Protests took place in front of the British and French embassies and in front of United Nations buildings. Throughout the city, American and Belgian flags were burned. KRISTOF TITECA, Professor in International Development, University of Antwerp The protesters are denouncing what they believed to be Western complicity in the war in the east of the DRC. These protests were triggered by the renewed advance of the rebel movement M23. M23 is led by Congolese Tutsi and is the latest in the…
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100 years of radio in Africa: from propaganda to people’s power

100 years of radio in Africa: from propaganda to people’s power

RADIO is thriving across Africa. Exact figures are difficult to come by because audience research differs across countries. However, studies estimate radio listenership to be between 60% and 80% of the continent’s 1.4 billion population. In contrast to many Western countries, where there has been a shift towards streaming and podcasts, traditional radio continues to be widely embraced in Africa. Because of poor literacy levels and uneven access to the internet and technological infrastructure, old-fashioned radio remains a reliable and inclusive medium. This year’s celebration of the 100-plus years of radio offers us an opportunity, as African media scholars, to…
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South African president Cyril Ramaphosa aims for upbeat tone in annual address, but fails to impress a jaundiced electorate

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa aims for upbeat tone in annual address, but fails to impress a jaundiced electorate

THIS year’s State of the Nation Address – delivered annually in February by South Africa’s president – was bound to be stuffed with electioneering messages and slogans. The country goes to the polls any time between May and August and there was no doubt that Cyril Ramaphosa would use the occasion to burnish the governing African National Congress’s reputation. KEITH GOTTSCHALK, Political Scientist, University of the Western Cape That’s indeed what he did. The upcoming elections are the most significant since the country became a democracy in 1994. Numerous opinion polls suggest the ANC will fall below 50% of the…
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Macky Sall throws Senegal’s democratic credentials into doubt

Macky Sall throws Senegal’s democratic credentials into doubt

SENEGAL’S President Macky Sall announced in early February that presidential elections, originally scheduled for 25 February, would be postponed indefinitely. The announcement has raised fears of popular protests, violent repression, a once democratic president transforming into an authoritarian ruler – and possibly even another coup d’état in West Africa. DOUGLAS YATES, Professor of Political Science, American Graduate School in Paris (AGS) There has been a flurry of coups in the region since 2020 – Mali in August that year followed by a second in 2021. Guinea also saw a coup that year and Burkina Faso a year later. In July…
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Hong Kong has every right to implement the “long overdue” Article 23

Hong Kong has every right to implement the “long overdue” Article 23

THERE was a time, a time not too long ago, when Hong Kong was regarded as the outpost of the West on China’s door-step. And then, a little over 26 years ago, the stranglehold of the colonial masters – Great Britain – over Hong Kong came to an eventual end when the territory was handed over back to its rightful owners, the Peoples Republic of China. Under Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous rule, the Western interests gradually dissipated. Reports of the so-called “Hong Kong’s fall from grace” have become a constant in the Western mainstream media. At the heart of the negative…
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South Africa needs to manage migrants better. That requires cleaning up the Department of Home Affairs

South Africa needs to manage migrants better. That requires cleaning up the Department of Home Affairs

LEGAL grievances against the South African Department of Home Affairs, including contempt of court cases, are depressingly common. Too frequently the minister has to apologise to a court, or to ask for more time, on behalf of the department. Most of the court cases involve the operations of the department regarding visas and permits for foreign visitors, immigrants and prospective refugees. Just a few months ago Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said, in legal papers: I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere apology to the Chief Justice, all judges of the high court and Constitutional Court,…
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Hage Geingob: Namibian president who played a modernising role

Hage Geingob: Namibian president who played a modernising role

HAGE Gottfried Geingob served as the third president of Namibia from 2015 until his death on February 4 2024. He was Namibia’s first prime minister from 1990 to 2002 and served as prime minister again from 2012 to 2015. Geingob was born on 3 August 1941. He joined the ranks of the national liberation movement South West African People’s Organisation (Swapo during its formation in 1960. As the official statement declared: The Namibian nation has lost a distinguished servant of the people, a liberation struggle icon, the chief architect of our constitution and the pillar of the Namibian house. As…
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