The Italian mafia has established a hidden but lethal presence in Africa. Its members own diamond mines, nightclubs and land, all with the complicity of corrupt regimes. Italian anti-Mafia authorities estimate that organised crime groups earn €26 billion a year in Italy alone. But the figure only scratches the surface of its economic power. Mafia Inc. is more than ever a global business, infiltrating legitimate economies worldwide. And the extent of the empire is unknown.
As governments fail to make good on healthcare funding promises, women in sub-Saharan Africa have a one in 16 chance of dying in pregnancy or childbirth At a dispensary in Nyaluoyo village in western Kenya, there is just one midwife on duty.
Challenging Canada’s image as a humane, enlightened global actor, Colonial Extractionsexamines the troubling racial logic that underpins Canadian mining operations in several African countries. Drawing on colonial, postcolonial, and critical race theory, Paula Butler investigates Canadian mining activities and the discourses which serve to legitimate this work.
Through a series of interviews with senior personnel of businesses with mining operations in Africa, Butler identifies a continuation of the same colonialist mindset that saw resource ownership and racial dominance over Indigenous peoples in Canada as part of Canada’s nation-building project. Financially, culturally, and psychologically, Canadians are invested in extracting resource-based wealth in the Global South, and – as Butler’s analysis of Canada’s influence over South Africa’s first post-apartheid mining legislation shows – they look to legitimize that extraction through neoliberal legal frameworks and a powerful national myth of benevolence.
Complementing analyses of the industry through political economy or critical development studies, Colonial Extractions is a powerful and unsettling critique of the cultural dimension of Canada’s mining industry overseas.
There are two quotes from September 2, 2005, that have become fixtures in our cultural and political language, and each sums up the ways in which Americans with differing perspectives came to view the disaster of Hurricane Katrina. The first is from George W.
Social sector organizations should be expert fundraisers. They should have a deep knowledge of how to solve problems in their given area. They should be nimble and able to respond to crises and changes in the world. They should be lean, and able to pivot, iterate, and adapt. They should gather data, see what works, and scale their efforts seamlessly to a variety of locations and contexts. And they should do all of this without taking any support for the organization’s core operations and management.
Does anyone else see a problem with this formula? We are asking organizations to meet competing demands—many of which are at odds with how they are funded. We want nonprofits and NGOs to solve problems as effectively as private-sector organizations, and we want them to do it without any of the advantages and with far more constraints.
The nonprofit investigative news outlet ProPublica recently published an article that highlights a number of disturbing Red Cross failures in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake that killed at least 100,000 people. The article does a good job of showing inconsistencies between Red Cross claims and results on the ground as a result of mismanagement and incompetence. For example, the number of homes the organization actually built and the number of vaccinations it delivered are far lower than what it states in its reports.
Analyses like this are important—they let donors know that their money is going where charities claim it’s going. However the article also illuminates some of the unreasonable expectations that society has for social sector organizations. The Red Cross, like many decades-old charities, grew up in a world that expected donations to travel quickly to areas of need without organizations skimming too much off the top. This expectation continues to prevent the social sector from creating problem-solving entities that can adapt to a changing world. We want the Red Cross to respond quickly to major disasters. We want it to create meaningful long-term impact. And we want it to do both of these things while using only 9 percent of its budget to support the fundamental operations of the organization. This doesn’t make any sense. The ProPublica article also looks at the challenges that organizations like the Red Cross face trying to meet competing demands. Rebuilding parts of the world’s poorest country after one of the world’s most devastating earthquakes requires expertise in a large number of areas. The Red Cross needs to understand the technical aspects of rebuilding homes and roads and of the relevant supply chains; it also needs the ability to hire talent, navigate regulations, and understand local customs. These skills are not easy to learn and don’t come cheap. Building skills in-house takes a long time, and contracting out for them is expensive. It seems to me that we need to make a choice. We should either expect an organization like the Red Cross to serve only a band-aid function, or we should allow it to build an organization that can grow and adapt to create longer-term change. We should either ask organizations like the Red Cross to simply deliver aid and move on, or we should stop criticizing them for the failures and costs of trying to do something more ambitious.
The United States of America operates two military bases in Kismayu, Wacaal media has learnt. The first of the bases is located at Kismayu Airport behind a place known as ‘quraca qaloocan’ (the bent acacia tree). The base is near that of the Kenyan forces at the airport. The Kenyans serve in the AMISOM mission but it was not clear the mandate of the US base. The second secret base is located within one of the Jubbaland military camps in the city of Kismayu
Should Africans pursue Stephen Harper for crimes against humanity?
The Africa Progress Report 2015 suggests they may have a solid moral, if not necessarily legal, case.
Led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the Africa Progress Panel highlights Canada and Australia as two countries that “have withdrawn entirely from constructive international engagement on climate.” The mainstream group concludes that Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda have shown “far higher level of ambition” to lessen CO2 emissions than Canada.
The report, which was released last week, adds to a significant body of evidence showing that anthropogenic global warming poses a particularly profound threat to Africans. Although hardest hit by climate change, the terrible irony is that Africa among all continents is least responsible for the problem.
The panther chameleon, a lizard prized in the pet trade for its remarkable color changing abilities, may actually represent 11 different species, report researchers writing in the journal Molecular Ecology.
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