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AfricaFocus Bulletin: Latest six bulletins
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February 20, 2017 Africa/Global: Agribusiness Giants on Merger Path
"If the Bayer-Monsanto merger is approved, the new merged company will control almost 30% of the global commercial seed market and 25% of the agrochemical market - making it the world's largest supplier of seeds and chemicals. In South Africa, it would control about 30% of both markets. Already today, Monsanto is one of two companies in South Africa that employs 80% of the private sector breeders in maize and 100% of the breeders in soybean and sunflower breeders. " - African Centre for Biodiversity
February 12, 2017 Congo (Kinshasa): Tshisekedi Place Hard to Fill
"The death of prominent opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi has deprived the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of a unique political figure who was at the forefront of the fight for democracy for over three decades. ... Coming just a month after the signing of a political agreement, which would have put him at the head of an important follow-up committee, his departure robs the opposition of a leader able to combine genuine street-level popularity with an ability to squeeze out political deals." - International Crisis Group
February 7, 2017 Africa/Global: Transparency Setback, African Agendas
In the world of large multinational corporations, secrecy is more than the rule rather than exception. Despite this reality, there have been some advances in recent years, including U.S. legislation and regulations requiring disclosure of payments by U.S. oil, gas, and mining companies to foreign governments. Last week, the U.S. Congress revoked this Security and Exchange Commission rule, a year before it was actually to be implemented. Although comparatively little noticed in comparison to the tumult around White House actions, this was an indication that the Republican Congress as well was determined to reverse even modest steps to fight corporate corruption and other similar abuses.
January 30, 2017 Kenya: State of the Internet
Kenya has long been a global technology leader for innovation in mobile and internet technology, including the use of mobile phones for uses as diverse as cash transfers and crowdsourcing of reports on election violence (in 2008). Kenya also features an active press and civil society accustomed to speaking out about national issues including corruption and human rights violations. With national general elections scheduled for August this year, these assets can play important roles in sustaining peace and democracy. But they may also be threatened by government restrictions or by use of social media for propaganda and incitement to violence.
January 23, 2017 South Africa: State Capture & Energy Policy
"Eskom, accused of overly cozy ties with the Guptas featured heavily in the report, with 916 mentions. ... it's Eskom's chief executive, Brian Molefe, who comes out looking the worst. According to cell phone records, Molefe had 58 phone calls with the eldest of the Gupta brothers, Ajay Gupta, between August 2015 and March 2016, just before the Guptas purchased South Africa's Optimum coal mine for 2.15 billion rand ($160 million). Eskom, which prepaid the Gupta's Tegeta Exploration and Resources 600 million rand for coal, had been accused of helping to finance the Guptas' coal mine deal through preferential treatment." - Quartz Africa
January 16, 2017 Africa: Electoral Landscapes
Ghana, Gambia, and Gabon are all small African countries with names beginning with the letter "G," which held presidential elections in 2016. But neither the electoral landscapes nor the electoral outcomes can fruitfully be analyzed without giving greater weight to the contrasts than to the similarities. The same applies to the even wider set of 14 African countries with presidential elections last year, or the 8 so far scheduled to hold elections in 2017.