Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Is Africa drought a chance to enact new UK policy?


New ways of managing aid are being debated in Britain as global concerns mount over a hunger crisis devastating the drought-affected Horn of Africa.

Randolph Kent, director of the Humanitarian Futures Programme at King’s College in London, says the crisis provides a perfect opportunity for the British government to test its recent promise to reform how it responds to humanitarian emergencies.

The severe drought, caused by the driest weather since 1995 in East Africa, has affected an estimated 10 million people and is expected to continue to worsen into early 2012, according to the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

While Kent acknowledges the importance of a $145 million (90.2 million pound) injection of humanitarian aid from the British government, he says the money will not help prevent the next Horn of Africa drought and that the government needs to become more “anticipatory”.

Update on the refugee camp that now lives in the sky

(Updates reaction from ECHO in paragraph 9) 


Screen grab of the introduction to the online game "The City That Shouldn't Exist"

A few months ago I wrote a story about a controversial online game posted on Facebook called the “The City That Shouldn’t Exist” that was consequently pulled off the Web days after its launch amid claims it objectified refugees and lacked sensitivity.

from Global Investing:

African ministers converge on Lisbon to discuss the North

African finance ministers and other officials are heading to Lisbon for the African Development Bank's annual meeting next Thursday and Friday, with investors, bankers and government officials networking and going to fringe meetings earlier in the week.

It's the first AfDB meeting to take place in Europe for 10 years, and comes at a time when several European countries, including the meeting's hosts, have themselves gone to bodies like the International Monetary Fund for a bail-out.

Could a leaked cable lead to hunger in Africa?


A leaked cable that has sparked a row between Britain and Malawi could give rise to rural hunger in the impoverished southern African nation.

That is the upshot of the spiralling row that has seen Britain suspend aid including its support for a support for a highly successful seed and fertiliser programme in Malawi – and the government in Malawi stick to its guns despite the possible consequences for its people.

Prestigious opportunity for young African journalists


It is the time again when we seek entries for the prestigious FitzGerald prize for young African journalists.

This offers a scholarship for a promising, young (under 30) African journalist or aspirant journalist to do a post graduate BA hons degree at the University of The Witwatersrand ’s Journalism Programme in Johannesburg, starting in early 2012, and to join Reuters thereafter for a period of work experience.

A ‘day of rage’ in Ethiopia?


Ethiopia’s handful of TV channels are not carrying much news lately.  Instead, broadcasters are spending most of their time covering every phase of the construction of a new mega dam along the country’s Nile waters.

From mawkish ballads to patriotic poems and documentaries, programmes are waxing eloquently about how far the impoverished African nation has come since the dreaded Communist junta was toppled two decades ago, by defying Egyptian pressure and embarking on a massive project from its own coffers.

Is Africa still a victim of capital flight?


Once shunned by international investors outside of some core commodities, Africa is now high on the radar screens of many funds seeking good returns across the asset classes.

But while money may be pouring in, how much is still pouring out? Capital flight has long been a scourge of the continent and one of the key reasons for its gut-wrenching poverty and lack of development. And there is plenty of evidence that it remains a significant problem, exacerbated by global tax havens and the opaque nature of extractive industries, oil in particular.

Who are Gaddafi’s on-screen supporters?


Mine has been the least glamorous part in helping cover the war in Libya – assisting correspondents in filing stories from the field and from monitored news reports. 

Of course Reuters has reporters on both sides of the front line, but from Tunis I have been keeping an eye on Libyan television too – partly because it has scrolling headlines in English about the latest crusader, colonial and al Qaeda atrocities which might carry some news but also, I have to admit, from a fascination with the procession of people voicing their support for the Brother Leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

Dadaab Facebook refugee game pulled from web amid claims of poor taste



LONDON (AlertNet) – It’s 3.43 a.m. and you’re fast asleep when a siren on your bedroom wall starts flashing and howling. It’s a red alert from headquarters.

“A crisis?” you say, bolting out of bed. “People in need? Time to suit up!”

Ethiopia/Eritrea: Another war?


Ethiopia is beating the war drums again. After a lull of more than a decade, the Horn of Africa giant is now threatening to attack its neighbour and foe Eritrea over claims it is working to destabilise the country.

When Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said his country would no longer take a passive stance towards Eritrea, it marked an escalation in the bitter war of words that has ensued since a devastating border spat ended in 2000.