Kenya’s March Fourth Election: “Lessons for Governance in the Future”›By Suraiya az-Zubair // Monday, June 10, 2013
By Suraiya az-Zubair
Kenya’s presidential election, held on the March 4, 2013, was one of the most closely watched events in the nation’s history. Political analysts all over the world made predictions as to whether or not the election was likely to lead to violence similar to that which occurred in 2007/8, and breathed a collective sigh of relief when the optimists were vindicated. Understanding the factors that led to this outcome is crucial to create meaningful lessons for governance in the future. Our last article on the Kenyan presidential race pointed out that elections alone are necessary, but not sufficient for democracy. In order to move forward, Kenya and other developing democracies should endeavor to learn from both successes and mistakes.MORE
‘Youth Farming and Aquaculture Initiatives Aim to Reduce Food and Political Insecurity in Senegal’ – New Security Beat›By Leadership Project // Friday, June 7, 2013
By Mark Brennan and Kody Emmanuel, New Security Beat
This blog post first appeared on New Security Beat, the blog for the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program.
The 2011-12 West African food crisis led to riots in Senegal and Burkina Faso as well as food insecurity for millions of rural and urban poor across the region. The crisis emerged from a number of factors, including instability in northern Mali, increases in global food prices, and low rainfall in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 growing seasons. Many countries in the region are now reassessing and expanding domestic agricultural capabilities. At the top of the agenda for Senegal, a democratic republic on track to reach many Millennium Development Goals, is reducing youth unemployment and increasing domestic agricultural capacity.MORE
Transformative Effects of Women, Youth and Technological Innovation›By Gregor Young // Wednesday, May 1, 2013
By Gregor Young
Management Systems International
Today, May 1st, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host a conference entitled African Women and Youth as Agents of Change through Technology and Innovation. This conference, co-hosted by the African Technology Policy Studies Network, will present examples of technology innovation by women and youth in Africa, as well as discuss the critical role of leadership and innovation mentorship for sustaining future generations on the continent, enabling a brighter future.
Additional discussion on the role of technology and innovation relating not only to development, but to the status and participation of women and youth, is timely. The past decade has seen exponential growth in adoption of increasingly available and context-specific ICT solutions across the African continent. Many citizens and civil society groups have begun to demonstrate the vast potential of technology to improve several key sectors and daily realities of life in developing countries. Early targeted innovations in ICT have started to foster improvements in the accountability of government, generated new areas of economic opportunity, facilitated more savvy participation in local markets, and advancement of gender equity. Locally-developed models for future engagement of people and markets through technology in the developing world abound; these should have of attention of the development community, to provide evaluation and investment in the most promising models. Local technology innovators have the potential to create beneficial systems for their users, installing predictability and accountability into areas which previously were undermanaged or not available to common citizens (the success of M-Pesa in Kenya, and a recent new business offering, comes to mind). Perhaps most critically, extant and emergent uses of ICT are creating fissures in long-standing traditional political and social power dynamics, empowering economic participation and vast numbers women and youth to have their voices and concerns heard. The upcoming conference at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars seeks to examine how to and with what resources, women and youth can become effective change agents in their own communities and continue to strive towards social equity and economic well-being.MORE
Mentorship, Coaching, Board Service, Sponsorship…How Will You Pay it Forward TODAY?›By Liz Ngonzi // Monday, April 29, 2013
I’m really thrilled about and honored by the opportunity to share my perspective on “Paying it Forward” through this blog post and on May 1st during the Wilson Center’s African Women and Youth as Agents of Change through Technology and Innovation event, as part of its Paying it Forward: How to Sustain New Generations of Female and Youth Leaders in STI panel.
My awesome mom, Hilda Rwabazaire Paqui always likes to remind me that from the time I was a teenager, I’ve always been sought out as a mentor to others. She instilled in me the necessity of giving back to others as a means to demonstrate my gratitude for all the blessings I’ve received in my life. When the Wilson Center contacted me to participate in its event and subsequently requested that I write a piece, I was naturally excited to do both, as I am being provided with the opportunity to share how I’ve “paid it forward,” supporting others with similar perspectives about the interconnectedness of who we are as people. I am particularly interested when this allows me to engage with Africa, as I was born in Uganda and am passionate about the continent as a whole.MORE
The Search for Antiseptic War›By Ann Phillips // Monday, April 22, 2013
By Ann L. Phillips
Recent Public Policy Scholar at the Wilson Center
The U.S. Government has made clear that stabilization missions requiring deployment of large numbers of personnel—military and civilian—are not on the agenda for the foreseeable future. Not only budget constraints but also sobering experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have produced a strategic shift. As the U.S. draws down its presence in Afghanistan, it’s fair to say that the lives lost and billions spent to stabilize the country and provide a foundation for Afghan development have not produced progress commensurate with the effort. In early 2012, the Pentagon released its strategic defense guidance, “Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense,” which underscored a new reliance on Special Forces, technology, and intelligence to protect and promote U.S. national security interests. Drones have become a centerpiece in the new approach; the ramifications of which are already visible in hotspots around the globe. In Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia, the U.S. deploys drones in increasing numbers to gather intelligence and to kill high value insurgent and terrorist targets. In Africa, drones outfitted only to gather intelligence at this time are front and center in U.S. counter-terrorism efforts. The underlying goal of these new efforts is to monitor extremist groups and to help shape an inhospitable environment for them in Mali, Nigeria and Niger.MORE
Doing More: Linking Governance and Positive Maternal Health Outcomes›By Derek Langford // Thursday, April 4, 2013
By Derek Langford, Program Assistant for the Africa Program
Sub-Saharan Africa is perhaps the riskiest place for a woman to give birth. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), African women comprise approximately 56 percent of the maternal deaths and 91 percent of HIV-related maternal deaths worldwide every year. In order to bring life into this world, women in Africa literally must put their own lives on the line. This is alarming, yet not surprising. For some time African governments, healthcare professionals, and the international community have been acutely aware of the scope of this problem in Africa and its ramifications for the continent. It is well understood that healthy women give birth to, and rear, healthy children who then, in turn, are able to positively impact society. Conversely, a motherless child is 10 times more likely to die prematurely than children who grow up with a maternal figure. What is shocking, but gets very little news coverage, is that we know how to impact this situation for the better – good governance is essential for positive maternal health outcomes.MORE
Five Simple Points To Take Away From The 2013 Kenyan Elections›By leadership project // Thursday, March 14, 2013
Politics is more than elections
A few hours before an official winner was declared in Kenya’s election, New York Times correspondent Jeffrey Gettleman tweeted: “Raila REJECTS Kenyatta victory in Kenya election. A 2007 type scenario could be shaping up. See story at http://nytimes.com.” This rhetoric is not unique: Throughout the week after the vote the media warned of a 2007-like crisis. But what this election has demonstrated is that comparing elections without looking at the process and politics of what happens between obscures more than it explains.
Analysts, journalists and even political scientists tend to treat elections as fixed events. Elections are compared to other elections; electoral violence is compared to previous instances of electoral violence; and all other institutional progress (and digression) is swept aside. But in new democracies a lot happens between elections, both good and bad. Power arrangements are re-shaped, societal transformations occur, and political institutions are strengthened and weakened. In Kenya, there is a new constitution; there are new leading candidates; there is a new electoral commission; there is an integrated international community; there is a stronger and more ubiquitous press; there is a new national land policy.MORE
All Eyes on the Ballot: Kenya’s Presidential Elections›By Suraiya az-Zubair // Monday, March 4, 2013
Earlier this month, the Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Johnnie Carson, made the remark that “choices have consequences,” with regard to the March 4th elections in Kenya. He was interpreted by many to be referring to the two candidates who have been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) – Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto – and the detrimental effect their being elected could have on Kenya’s diplomatic relations worldwide and their ability, if elected, to rule effectively while under a cloud of indictment. Similar remarks by European Union envoys have led to accusations from Kenyan officials that they were inflaming an already volatile political situation and illegitimately interfering with a sovereign nation’s domestic affairs.
The Kenyan reaction to these comments is, to some extent, understandable. Strained diplomatic relations are not the only, nor even the most worrying, consequences Kenya may have to deal with in the wake of its elections. The Kenyan government’s first obligation is towards its people, and recent experience has shown that the humanitarian and economic ramifications of a troubled election can be devastating. The aftermath of the electoral battle between Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki in 2007 resulted in 1,200 deaths, and hundreds of thousands more displaced, in a period of intense violence linked to the closely contested vote. Local businesses and foreign investors who are vital to Kenya’s growth faced huge losses, and prices of household goods increased by 20-30% in the weeks following the election, even in those provinces not directly affected by the violence.MORE
Avoiding the Resource Curse in East Africa’s Oil and Natural Gas Boom›By leadership project // Thursday, February 14, 2013
This year, Texas-based Anadarko and Italian partner ENI are due to make the final investment decision on whether to construct one of the largest liquefied natural gas facilities in the world in Mozambique. The complex would allow them to tap into deep off-shore gas fields that could rival Australia and Qatar as the largest liquefied natural gas reserves in the world.MORE
How Should America Respond to Economic Opportunities in Africa?›By Steve McDonald // Monday, February 11, 2013
By Steve McDonald, Director of the Africa Program and Leadership Project, The Wilson Center
U.S. policy toward Africa has been on autopilot for much of the past four years, following a laundry list of good intentions that established priorities for Africa’s well-being and U.S. security interests. However, a truly sustainable and forward-looking U.S. policy toward Africa should refocus attention on Africa’s opportunity as an economic powerhouse of the future, a strategy that combines both domestic self-interest and an opportunity to help Africa move forward. An emerging landscape of stable economies and growing democratic freedoms in much of Africa is allowing the continent, for the first time, to take advantage of its extensive natural resource endowments, its improving human capital, and its increasing attractiveness to global investors. U.S. policymakers have shown recent signs of understanding Africa’s position and are seeking to strengthen economic relations with African countries. They would be wise to formulate a comprehensive economic policy, not just with interagency coordination, but also in full partnership with the legislative branch, with the private sectors in Americaand Africa, and with African governments.MORE