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AfricaFocus Bulletin: Latest six bulletins
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February 24, 2020 USA/Global: National and Global Inequalities Are Intertwined
The recession that began in 2008 brought new life to the public debate on class and racial inequality in the United States. The #OccupyWallStreet demonstrations in 2011 may have left no institutional legacy, but they shined a spotlight on a yawning wealth gap and the role of the “one percent.” #BlackLivesMatter and related movements challenged complacency on entrenched racism … Public awareness of inequality, like awareness of climate change, was rising even before President Trump took office. But his administration’s sharp turn toward denial and regression on both issues has spurred active opposition and cut into the complacency of conventional Democratic Party politics.
February 10, 2020 Malawi: Historic Victory for Rule of Law
“On Monday, Malawi´s High Court nullified the country’s May presidential elections. The 500-page ruling includes a laundry list of election irregularities — and faults the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) for failing to carry out its responsibilities according to the constitution and electoral law. The court ruled that President Peter Mutharika was “not duly elected” and called for fresh elections within 150 days. … This ruling is historic. It is the first in Malawi and only the second in Africa (Kenya was the first) to nullify an election and call for a rerun.” - Kim Yi Dionne and Boniface Dulani
January 27, 2020 USA/Global: Green New Deal Can and Must Be Global
July 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded worldwide, as a wide swath of the continental United States sweltered with heat indexes of over 100° F. This northern hemisphere summer also saw unprecedented heat waves in Europe and in the Arctic, from Alaska to Siberia. Greenland´s glaciers were melting at a unprecedented rate. Add in more frequent storms, flooding and wildfires, and the scale of the crisis is harder and harder to ignore, even in the United States, where climate denialism has been more prevalent than in any other major country.
January 27, 2020 USA/Global: Beyond Eurocentrism and U.S. Exceptionalism
Since his election, Trump’s erratic policies have aligned the United States with right-wing authoritarians across the globe, fed global currents of xenophobia and racism, and dismayed traditional allies. In 2019, nevertheless, foreign policy was a low priority in the 2020 presidential campaign. In January 2020, the administration´s killing of Iranian leader Qassem Soleimani evoked widespread opposition amid fears of a wider war in the Middle East. Even so, evidence of new thinking on the U.S. role in the world, beyond opposition to Trump, remained sparse. Former Vice President Joe Biden called for a return to American leadership as it existed in an era “before Trump,” and harked back to the “liberal” U.S.-led global order after World War II, which centered the alliance of Western democracies in the North Atlantic and the Cold War against the Soviet Union. But even Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren only took tentative steps towards laying out an alternative foreign policy vision.
January 13, 2020 Russia/Africa: Upping Its Stake in Multi-Player Field
The Russia-Africa summit in Sochi, Russia in late October 2019 prompted a flurry of news coverage, highlighting such headline figures as sales agreements amounting to more than $12 billion. But it was not clear how much this was a real sign of significant expansion of Russian influence or primarily a public relations gloss on more limited involvement. Among the more analytical articles covering the summit was a well-informed article by Joe Penney in Passblue on October 28, which noted that ”While many memorandums were signed, actual contracts were few and far between, inviting speculation as to whether the summit was more about power projection than real business.”
December 16, 2019 Africa/Global: Editor´s Commentaries, 2019
Just before this year’s global climate summit opened in Madrid recently, researchers announced that emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels will hit a record high in 2019. Deeper and faster cuts are needed, beginning immediately and continuing over the next 10 years. The primary responsibility for cutting fossil fuel emissions falls to the developed countries that are historically the greatest contributors to the problem, as well as to countries with large populations such as China and India that are also now among the top in global emissions. Africa is the continent most vulnerable to the devastating effects of climate change, which are already being felt. But with a thriving off-grid solar market and hundreds of millions of people waiting for electricity, Africa also offers huge potential for contributing to solutions.