Later this year, after 12 years in office, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will step down as president of Liberia and Africa’s first female head of state, having completed her maximum of two terms. Sirleaf, who came to power after decades of underdevelopment, tyranny, and civil conflict in Liberia, will leave a legacy that has won international acclaim – including the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize – for progress in rebuilding infrastructure, strengthening health care and education, helping to bring warlord Charles Taylor to justice, and seeing the country through the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic (Lane, 2016).
From a legal perspective, Malawi has made tremendous progress toward eliminating discrimination against women. In addition to passing the Gender Equality Act (2012), the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (2006), and the Deceased Estates (Wills, Inheritance and Protection) Act (2011), the government has demonstrated its commitment by embracing gender mainstreaming in policy decisions, legislation, and development plans and programs (Kalinde, 2013; Amundsen & Kayuni, 2016; Dulani & Kayuni, 2014).
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D’après la plus récente enquête d’Afrobaromètre, des changements climatiques – surtout des sècheresses aggravées – ont détérioré la production agricole et la qualité de vie au Benin.
La majorité des Béninois affirment avoir vu des sécheresses plus graves et des conditions de production agricoles empirées dans leur propre région durant les 10 dernières années.
Quand bien même la reddition de comptes est d'une importance capitale en démocratie, il est rare qu'un ancien chef d'état soit poursuivi par une juridiction nationale pour mauvaise conduite dans l'exercice de ses fonctions. Le Burkina Faso se distingue sur ce plan avec les procédures judiciaires enclenchées contre l'ancien Président Blaise Compaoré et les plus hauts dignitaires de son administration pour avoir indûment autorisé l'usage de la force contre des manifestants non armés durant un soulèvement populaire en octobre 2014 (Coulibaly, 2017; Al Jazeera, 2017).
Corporal punishment of children has been a topic of contentious public debate in Zimbabwe since High Court Judge Justice David Mangota’s ruling in March 2017 that the use of physical force to discipline children in school or at home is unconstitutional (Laiton, 2017).
If democracy is “rule by the people,” then “the people” play a decisive part in determining the health of this form of government. Especially when an incumbent president seeks to accumulate excessive powers, the question arises: Will people stand up to defend democracy?
On Liberia’s road from warlord rule to democracy, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s decade-long tenure, government investment in public goods, and peaceful 2011 elections stand as milestones. In October, the country faces another critical test – its first post-civil-war democratic leadership transition, in a lively contest that has drawn more than 20 presidential candidates to replace the term-limited incumbent.
As a small-island middle-income country, Cape Verde is seeking closer ties with mainland African countries to sustain economic growth and development (Daily Graphic, 2017; ECOWAS, 2017). And beyond Africa, Cape Verde is tapping into the economic ambitions of China for investment and technical assistance, especially in the “blue economy” of the country's abundant maritime sector (Vreÿ, 2017; Addamah, 2017).
According to some estimates, up to 3-4 million Zimbabweans live outside their country – a diaspora that may be one-fourth the size of the entire in-country population (UNDP, 2010). Perhaps more than 2 million Zimbabwean emigrants live in South Africa alone.
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Depuis fort longtemps, au Mali, on assiste à des pratiques dégradant le respect des droits et devoirs de citoyen, ce qui a négativement joué sur l’harmonie durable qui déterminait la vie en communauté. Conscients et soucieux de cette dégradation, les autorités maliennes en collaboration avec des organisations de la société civile, visant à renforcer le sentiment d’appartenance nationale et le patriotisme, ont lancé en 2014 un programme de renforcement de sentiment de la citoyenneté au sein de la population malienne.
An effective and transparent administration forms the backbone of a well-run democratic state and market economy in the developing world (Grindle & Hilderbrand, 1995.) Recruitment of public-sector staff based on merit plays an important role in ensuring not only that the machine functions smoothly but also that ordinary citizens have confidence in how their country is governed. Patronage or favouritism can undermine both functioning and public confidence (Anderson & Tverdova, 2003; Seligson, 2002; Chanley, Rudolph, & Rahn, 2000; Rothstein & Teorell, 2008).
For most Burundians, land is both history and livelihood. In a densely populated country where almost nine out of 10 citizens are subsistence farmers, land ownership is a desperate need and a flashpoint for conflict exacerbated by ethnic cleavages and waves of migration and return.
Gender equity is a vital issue in Zambia, the focus of many civil-society organisations as well as government efforts to empower women and eliminate gender disparities (Daily Mail, 2015). The government’s 2014 National Gender Policy and 2015 Gender Equity and Equality Act aim to end discrimination against women, including in access to productive resources, educational opportunities, and quality health-care services (Ministry of Gender and Child Development, 2014; National Assembly of Zambia, 2015).
Zimbabwe’s Constitution of 2013 guarantees fundamental rights and freedoms for citizens, including freedom of speech, association, and religion as well as the right to privacy in their communications (Constitution of Zimbabwe, 2013). In practice, however, fundamental rights may sometimes be seen as conflicting with other priorities, such as maintaining public security.
Though an economic magnet, South Africa is still grappling with serious problems of crime and violence. Both Statistics South Africa and the government’s 20-year review (Presidency of the Republic of South Africa, 2015) reveal significant progress, but both also confirm continued disturbingly high levels of violence.
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Une grande majorité de Béninois ont constamment soutenu la limitation de leur président à un maximum de deux mandats. Mais ils ont résisté à la révision de la constitution qui visait la limitation du nombre de mandats présidentiels à un seul. Et les nouvelles données d'Afrobaromètre montrent que cette résistance se poursuit, mais avec une plus petite majorité.
The widely-discussed idea of a grand coalition of Zimbabwe’s opposition parties to improve their chances of defeating the long-ruling Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in next year’s elections has powerful support among partisans of the main opposition party, Afrobarometer’s most recent survey shows. A slimmer majority of politically uncommitted citizens also favour such a coalition, while ZANU-PF supporters reject the idea by a 2-to-1 margin.
Post-independence, many states in Africa faced a plethora of challenges, from poverty and ethnic cleavages emphasized by former colonizers to corrupt political elites and nonfunctioning institutions. In numerous cases, this mixture resulted in civil war or violence, further weakening the state.
Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown remains an enormous challenge affecting citizens from all walks of life. The government’s 2009 introduction of various foreign currencies was welcomed by many Zimbabweans who, after years of hyperinflation, witnessed a stabilization in general consumer prices. But with lagging economic growth and a continuing drought, the country now faces deflation and has even experienced reverse urbanization due to a lack of opportunities in the cities (African Development Bank, 2016, 326).
Political and military conflict has marked the development of Côte d'Ivoire’s institutions, including its judiciary. During civil war in the early 2000s, the formal justice system was entirely absent from the rebel-controlled Central-North-West regions for seven years, until early 2009 (Human Rights Watch, 2012).
Six years after protests swept Northern Africa in the Arab Spring, Algeria entered 2017 with unrest in the streets. Like many other petro-economies, Algeria relies heavily on high state spending and subsidies. But in recent years, plummeting oil and gas prices have hit the county’s economy hard. Algeria generates about 95% of its export earnings from oil, and faced with dwindling revenues and reserves, the government has been tasked with reducing state spending by 9% in 2016 and another 14% at the beginning of this year (Falconer, 2017; Stratfor, 2017; Wrey, 2017).
- 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.
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).
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).
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.
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).
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.”