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AD138: Digging a future? Citizens see positive impact of mining in Madagascar

Key findings

  • A majority of Malagasy say that the mining sector contributes “a little” or “a lot” to creating jobs and reducing poverty (76%) as well as to promoting the national private sector (67%). Only about four in 10 (43%) believe that the sector improves security. 
  • Perceptions of mining’s contribution as positive are higher among wealthy citizens and job-holders than among the poor and the unemployed.
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AD137: Rejoining the AU, Moroccans bring decidedly mixed attitudes toward regional integration

On January 31, 2017, the Kingdom of Morocco rejoined the African Union (AU) after a 33-year absence. The country had left the Organisation of African Unity in 1984 after the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) – to which Morocco lays claim – was acknowledged as an independent state and gained admittance to the continental body (Mohamed, 2017).

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AD136: Senegal’s corruption court seen as building trust in government, but credibility weakened by bias

The theft of public funds for personal enrichment by elected and autocratic leaders has been a bane of African development (Amadi & Ekekwe, 2014; Ebegbulem, 2012; Owoye & Bissessar, 2012; Gyimah-Brempong, 2002; Bayart, Ellis, & Hibou, 1999; Lawal, 2007). In 1981, Senegal introduced the offense of illicit enrichment into its penal code and created an ad hoc court to deal with such cases of corruption – the Court of Repression of Illicit Enrichment (CREI in French).

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AD135: World Water Day: Despite progress, some Ghanaians still lack access to clean water

Water is a fundamental human need, yet 663 million people globally live without a safe water supply, according to the World Health Organization (2017). In Ghana, water shortages have forced citizens to queue for hours even after trekking to distant sources (Zoure, 2016). Despite efforts by successive governments to improve public access to potable water, the nation cannot yet claim to have met the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of ensuring that everyone has access to safe water.

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AD134: Though living a security nightmare, Burundians find less fault with formal court system

After Burundi emerged from civil war in 2005, one of the government’s priorities was to develop a professional and credible judicial system. Yet five years on, a Human Rights Watch report (2010) documented “Mob justice in Burundi: Official complicity and impunity,” and subsequent reports have continued to highlight extra-judicial killings, torture, and disappearances blamed on Burundian security forces and political gangs (Human Rights Watch, 2016).

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AD133: A second spring for democracy in post-Mubarak Egypt? Findings from Afrobarometer

In early 2016, five years after the beginning of the Arab Spring, the Economist (2016) reported that hopes raised by the uprisings had been destroyed. “The wells of despair are overflowing,” the newspaper said, the uprisings having brought “nothing but woe.” In addition to stagnant economic growth, rent-seeking was “rampant,” security forces continued to repress the population, and grounds were more fertile than ever for the emergence of radicals “who posit their own brutal vision of Islamic Utopia as the only solution.”

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AD131: Weak support and limited participation hinder women’s political leadership in North Africa

Politics is still largely a male domain. Gains in women’s political leadership have been real but not rapid (Ndlovu & Mutale, 2013). Globally, the share of national parliamentary seats held by women has nearly doubled over the past two decades, reaching 23% in 2016, but that still means that more than three out of four parliamentarians are men (UN Women, 2016a; World Bank, 2016a).

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AD130: Zimbabweans demand accountability in governance, doubt efficacy of elections

Accountability is often described as a cornerstone of good governance, but a more accurate image might be a whole wheelbarrow of building blocks – the president, government agencies, Parliament, the judiciary, opposition parties, the media, and voters all holding one another accountable to form a foundation for democracy.

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AD129: En Guinée, l’intérêt à la vie politique est faible, mais la perception des libertés est forte

ONLY AVAILABLE IN FRENCH.

Depuis 1988, les Guinéens ont progressivement retrouvé leur liberté d’adhérer à toute organisation politique de leur choix et de voter pour leur candidat. En 1990, il y a eu la consécration de ces libertés dans la constitution. Par la suite, le Conseil Transitoire de Redressement National (CTRN) a élaboré des projets de loi qui devaient permettre la formation de partis politiques indépendants, la tenue d'élections nationales, et la liberté de la presse. Les partis politiques furent légalisés en 1992.

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AD128: After 50 years, freedom of association is firmly established, though far from absolute, in Africa

Fifty years ago today, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly enshrined a freedom that we had probably treasured ever since our evolution into social animals – the right to assemble and associate freely. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which was adopted along with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), formalizes the right to peaceful assembly (Article 21) and freedom of association (Article 22), among other fundamental human rights.

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AD127: Winds of change? Attitudes toward renewable energy policy in Mauritius

In recent decades, the number and intensity of climate-related hazards such as floods, hurricanes, tropical cyclones, landslides, heat waves, and droughts have increased around the world (Emanuel, 2005; Coumou & Rahmstorf, 2012). Among climate scientists, there is a broad consensus that these increases are associated with global warming caused in large part by human activity (Hansen, Satoa, & Ruedy, 2012; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2014).

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AD126: South Africans demand government accountability amid perceptions of growing corruption

A report by South Africa’s Public Protector has triggered the latest scandal involving President Jacob Zuma and other state officials, who are accused of improper and unethical conduct in the awarding of state contracts. The report was released as the result of a High Court ruling (Times Live, 2016) and follows court cases related to the 1999 Arms Deal (Corruption Watch, 2014) and the misuse of state funds in the security upgrades of Zuma’s personal home in Nkandla (Mail & Guardian, 2016).

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AD124: In Zimbabwe, tolerance crosses ethnic, religious, national – but not sexual – lines

Given Zimbabwe’s diversity of ethnic, religious, national, political, and social backgrounds, peace and stability would be unthinkable without some degree of tolerance for those who are different. On some fronts, the country has struggled with intolerance. One example is political intolerance, played out in inter- and intra-party conflict turning neighbours against each other. Another is intolerance of sexual difference, with President Robert Mugabe leading a sometimes vicious chorus against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals.

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AD123: ‘Neither good nor bad’: São Toméans critical but optimistic about economic performance

São Tomé and Príncipe’s economy grew by 4.0% in 2013 and 4.9% in 2014; inflation dropped from 8.1% to 6.3%; and the proportion of the population living in poverty declined from 53.8% in 2000 to 49.6% in 2010, according to the government’s second National Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (International Monetary Fund, 2014). Still, that leaves half of the population in poverty while the once-important cocoa sector stagnates, hoped-for oil discoveries have not materialized, and unemployment affects 13% of the workforce (Economy Watch, 2016; African Economic Outlook, 2014).

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AD122: China’s growing presence in Africa wins largely positive popular reviews

Strategic collaboration with Africa has become a priority in the global North, East, and West. Powers that once saw the African continent primarily as a source of raw materials now focus on “partnership” and “development,” following the lead of the U.S. African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) in highlighting mutual benefits of investment and trade. .

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AD121: Approaching presidential transition, Liberians supportive and critical of their democracy

After a decade of relative stability that has included two presidential elections, Liberia is looking ahead to its first post-war electoral leadership transition when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s second term ends in 2017.

Less than a generation removed from civil war, the country is still rebuilding governance and economic structures, and the upcoming elections – which are already drawing candidates from more than 20 political parties – promise to put that progress to the test.

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AD119: Will of the people? Election results and public opinion in Gabon

According to Gabon’s national electoral commission and a subsequent Constitutional Court ruling, incumbent President Ali Bongo won re-election in August against challenger Jean Ping. His razor-thin and disputed victory margin relies in part on extraordinarily strong support and high voter turnout in the president’s home province, Haut-Ogooué. The officially announced results prompted protests in which several people died and many were arrested.

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AD118: Even weak demand for democracy not met by supply in São Tomé and Príncipe

Since gaining independence from Portugal in 1975, the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe has experienced 15 years of one-party rule and, starting with a new constitution in 1990, 26 years of fast-moving multiparty competition marked by frequent changes in government and two attempted coups.

August 2016 brought another transition with the election of former Prime Minister Evaristo Carvalho as president over incumbent and former strongman leader Manuel Pinto da Costa.

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AD117: China ranks high as development model for Tunisia but trails France, U.S. in perceived influence

Tunisians look up to China, the world’s largest economy, as a model for the future development of their country but consider it far less influential in Tunisia than France and the United States, according to Afrobarometer survey results.

Public perceptions are divided as to whether China’s economic and political influence on Tunisia is positive or negative. As for China’s economic development assistance, a plurality (47%) of Tunisians say it helps meet the country’s needs, while about half as many (19%) disagree.

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AD116: Liberians on Ebola: Foreign aid most effective, but government performed well, is now better prepared

Liberia is one of five West African countries hit by the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease. Between March 2014 and May 2015, the epidemic in Liberia produced 10,675 suspected, probable, and confirmed infections and killed 4,809 people, including about 200 health-care workers (Doctors Without Borders, 2016).

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AD115: Job performance of MPs, local councillors: Are representatives serving voters or themselves?

Members of Parliament (MPs) and local government councillors are elected to represent their constituents. In a functioning democracy, these office-holders are expected to represent the public interest and to be accountable to those who elected them.

How well do African citizens think their elected representatives are fulfilling their roles? How do constituents perceive their political leaders’ integrity, their responsiveness, and their commitment to serving the public interest?

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AD114: Facing drought, can Zimbabwe improve on history of food shortage, poor management?

Zimbabwe and other Southern African countries are facing one of their worst food shortages in decades (Oxfam, 2015; Plan International, 2016). In February 2016, President Robert Mugabe declared a state of disaster in rural parts of the country severely hit by a drought largely blamed on the impact of El Niño (Guardian, 2016; Herald, 2016; Reuters, 2016).

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AD110: Les Guinéens désapprouvent la gestion des problèmes prioritaires par le gouvernement

ONLY AVAILABLE IN FRENCH.

En lançant ses objectifs de développement durable (ODDs), l’Organisation des Nations Unies relève que la mise en oeuvre de son nouveau programme exigera la participation de « tous les pays, toutes les parties prenantes et tous les peuples », en tenant compte « des réalités, capacités et niveaux de développement de chacun et dans le respect des priorités et politiques nationales » (Organisation des Nations Unies, 2015, pp. 2-3).

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AD113: Zimbabweans strongly favour free cross-border movement but hold mixed views of SADC

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) counts among its 15 member states1 the region’s richest country (South Africa) as well as some of its poorest; landlocked as well as island states; and states with some of the largest populations in Africa (the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)) as well as some of the smallest (Seychelles).

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