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  • NAI researcher Papa Sow on field work.
    What makes me tick: Papa Sow on migration within Africa
    We've asked NAI scholars why they chose a career as a researcher and what motivates them in their work. Papa Sow talks about the need for more research on people´s movement on the African continent.
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  • Freeman Mbowe, leader of Tanzania's main opposition party Chadema, is escorted as he arrives at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate Court, where he is facing terrorism-related charges, in Dar Es Salaam on 6 August.
    Tanzania: Opposition arrests cast doubts over democracy agenda
    The arrest of Tanzania’s main opposition party’s leader raises questions about President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s commitment to democracy. The president is likely using the hard-line approach against the opposition to strengthen her position within the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party ahead of the 2025 presidential election, according to NAI researcher Liisa Laakso.
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    Towards an African feminist institutionalism for women’s political representation
    A new book, Gendered Institutions and Women’s Political Representation in Africa calls for a focus on institutional barriers to women in politics – formal and informal – as an introduction of isolated formal gender equality reforms have provided mixed results. Despite this, African countries without quotas are still looking towards these reforms as the main model for promoting political empowerment. This policy note argues that these need to be combined with a regendering of institutions working against more women in politics and suggests steps towards an African feminist institutionalism for women in politics.
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    Taxation for inclusive development: challenges across Africa
    Improved tax revenue performance goes hand-in-hand with broader development of the economy. A well-designed tax system can support a structural transformation process that includes job creation and higher incomes. Conversely, poor tax system design can tilt this process towards generating low-paid jobs.
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  • Images of Kenneth Kaunda during the state funeral service of the Republic of Zambia's founding president Kenneth Kaunda at the Lusaka Show Grounds, Photo: GCIS
    Aggressive election race in the shadow of late Kaunda
    “There are bound to be comparisons of judgement and leadership style”, NAI researcher Patience Mususa says of Zambia’s 12 August presidential election – scheduled to be held a month after the country’s first ruling president Kenneth Kaunda was laid to rest. The heavily contested election has been marred by violence and comes at a time when hospitals are being overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases.
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    Uphill struggle for small-scale miners in Africa
    Small-scale mining is a fundamental livelihood for many poor people in Africa. But it is dangerous work and bad for the environment. A NAI research project investigates whether transformations to sustainability can arise in small-scale gold extraction.
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  • A family walks past a mural promoting vaccination for COVID-19 in Duduza township, east of Johannesburg, South Africa
    Africa mobilises to meet escalating Covid-19 crisis
    Africa is in urgent need of Covid-19 vaccines as the third wave grows in several countries. Initiatives from the continent seek to complement insufficient donations from COVAX.
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  • Kenneth Kaunda and then Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa during the Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation meeting in 2015. Photo: GCIS
    Hamba Kahle, KK!
    Kenneth Kaunda, first president of independent Zambia, died on 17 June. Like most of his peers, Kaunda embodied the ambiguities and contradictions of a generation leading the struggle for self-determination, human rights and democracy against an oppressive colonial regime, who once in power reproduced some of the repressive features to maintain control, writes NAI Senior Research Associate Henning Melber.
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  • UNICEF, WHO and the UN together with other partners hand over the first Covid-19 vaccines to Ministry of Health of Ethiopia.
    Problematic for African governments to build trust in Covid-19 vaccination
    Uncertain access to Covid-19 vaccines makes public messaging difficult for African governments still dependent on Covax donations.
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  • Women sorting and washing minerals at Site Kansonga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
    Mining in Africa: Artisanal and small-scale miners will be the last to reap benefits from world's green shift
    With its abundant mineral resources , Africa is well positioned for the global shift to using cleaner energy. The continent has a large share of cobalt, manganese, graphite and other minerals that are critical for making batteries for electric vehicles and storing energy from wind and solar power.With the right investments, Africa could industrialise its mining sector and increase its share of revenues as global demand for battery minerals grows, experts say. But what about the continent’s nine million artisanal and small-scale miners, will they also benefit from the expected boom?The vital role of artisanal and small-scale miners in the production of battery minerals – e.g. in the case of cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – is making it increasingly difficult for consumers and companies to turn a blind eye to dangerous working conditions, human rights violations and the use of child labour in the sector.There is also a push from many of the miners themselves for formalisation and legalisation by creating mining cooperatives, with state-subsidised equipment that would make work practices safer. Also, political leaders in Zambia and other countries with rich mineral resources, are showing a growing interest in “nation-building programmes” , which could lead to increased investments in social infrastructure such as education and health in connection to mining sites.We have spoken to Nellie Mutemeri, associate professor in the School of Mining Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, and NAI researchers Patience Mususa and Cristiano Lanzano about what the world’s green transition might entail for artisanal and small-scale miners.Content
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  • Cash transfer payments to women in Freetown
    The social contract in Africa: Unclear tax systems create accountability vacuum
    Strengthening the social contract is a challenge in unequal societies. This, says NAI researcher Jörgen Levin, is why African states must create simple, efficient and fair tax systems that are capable of redistributing public resources effectively.
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  • Bridget Bwalya Umar sitting by window checking her phone
    What makes me tick: Bridget Bwalya Umar on researchers as honest brokers
    We've asked NAI scholars why they chose a career as a researcher and what motivates them in their work. Bridget Bwalya Umar talks about the advantage of having a background in the natural sciences and how important it is for researchers to act as honest brokers.
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  • People sitting in a restaurant, with President Suluhu Hassan showing on a wall-mounted TV.
    Suluhu Hassan is expected to liberalise Tanzania
    It seems that Tanzania's new president is investing to normalise the country's relations to the outside world, says NAI Senior Researcher Liisa Laakso.
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  • View from the Katanga Plateau, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
    Boosting industrialisation, dealing with climate change – or both?
    The green transition of the world economy entails great economic opportunities for Africa. The continent has a large share of the world’s cobalt, manganese, graphite and other minerals used for the batteries needed to store energy from wind and solar power.With the right investments, Africa could industrialise its mining sector and increase its share of revenues as global demand for battery minerals grows. It would mean that the continent could break the “resource curse” which has held many African countries back since the days of colonial rule. But as consumer demand for electric scooters and cars grow, so does the realisation that there are not enough battery minerals on the planet to go around.How to use non-renewable minerals responsibly and strategically, in order to improve life for as many people as possible, will be among the most important questions for business and political leaders in the coming decades. The challenges are particularly evident in Africa, the fastest urbanising region in the world, where many cities still have inadequate electrification and infrastructure. Faced with the needs to boost industrialisation and deal with climate change, Africa is at a crossroads. We have spoken to Antonio Pedro, director for Central Africa at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and NAI researcher Patience Mususa to understand the different perspectives.Content
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  • Three workers with face masks packing maize seed at Kamano Seed Company warehouse in Lusaka, Zambia.
    Pandemic makes life hard for rural distributors
    The global Covid-19 pandemic is affecting farming and rural livelihoods in landlocked Zambia. Prices of essential agricultural inputs go up when imports are stuck at closed borders.
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  • Women from conflicting clans in El Wak, Somalia, sitting inside in a circle with a written document in the middle.
    The social contract in Africa: State authority challenged by multiple power centres
    A social contract requires that citizens recognise and submit to the authority of the state, which in turn provides for them. In many African countries, however, various power centres compete for people´s loyalty.
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  • The Rubavu-Goma border crossing between Rwanda and DR Congo, with a lot of people in the streets.
    AfCFTA will lead to uneven gains for members
    The removal of trade barriers in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), launched this year, will affect member states very differently, according to NAI researcher Jörgen Levin. Côte d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe and Kenya top the list of states that are likely to benefit greatly. Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar are likely to see relatively small effects.
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  • Closeup photo of Alassane Ouattara with raised hands.
    Democratic backsliding in Côte d’Ivoire - Legislative elections tighten Ouattara’s grip on power
    The ruling RHDP’s victory in legislative elections in March 2021 has tightened incumbent President Alassane Ouattara’s grip on political power in Côte d’Ivoire. Though Ouattara has taken a conciliatory stance towards the opposition since his re-election, his control of political institutions, low voter turnout, electoral violence and the president’s international status heighten the risk of further democratic backsliding in Côte d’Ivoire.
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  • A women group meeting on health education
    The social contract in Africa: social movements must claim bigger role in public arena
    Sustainable development entails more than economic growth. It needs societies built on trust and inclusivity, and mutual agreements on rights and obligations. Yet, in many African countries, the social contract between state and citizens is weak.
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  • A collage of poetry books from Ugandan publishing house Kitara Nation.
    Home delivered poetry in Uganda
    A strict Covid-19 lockdown forced Ugandan poetry performance group Kitara Nation to go into publishing. The books have now found their way to Uppsala and will make an important contribution in the NAI library.
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