Anschaire Aveved, PhD.
Anthropologist and Independent Researcher
Two separate notions on who is an Anglophone have been gathering attention and shaping up against one another since the onset of political unrest in the North-West and South-West administrative regions of the Republic of Cameroon. The first and prevailing notion, especially outside of the country, is that Anglophones are English-speakers of the country’s English-speaking area corresponding to the former British Southern Cameroons.. In the background of this notion is the assumption that Anglophones are the bulk of Cameroonians, wherever they are, who have been presumably educated in English and have thus become, more or less, the bearers of English language and British culture. Common law and the British-inspired educational curriculum have been epitomized by the demonstrations of lawyers and teachers as the expression of that culture and its resilient façade in the country’s political institutions.
Ali El Aallaoui, PhD., Analyst & Researcher in Geopolitics of North and West Africa, El Aaiun Western Sahara
The Saharawi are a people of nomadic origin whose traditional range lands were mainly located in so-called Western Sahara. The emergence of the Saharawi as a people claiming the independence of this territory, which they consider as their national territory, is the consequence of colonial history and the long process of decolonization, which is still incomplete.
Following the departure of the Spanish regime under Franco in 1973, the occupation of the territory in 1975 by the Moroccan and Mauritanian armies dispossessed the Saharawi of their land for a second time. This dispossession has continued since, with the Saharawi fighting and denouncing such an occupation, both within Western Sahara by passive and active resistance (including demonstrations severely repressed by Moroccan occupation forces) and outside the territory, by a war waged until 1991, and since then by negotiation.
Professor Erik Reinert, Technology Governance and Development Strategies, Tallinn University of Technology
‘This tendency to Diminishing Returns was the cause of Abraham’s parting from Lot, and of most of the migrations of which history tells’ wrote the founder of neo-classical economics, Alfred Marshall, in the first edition of his textbook Principles of Economics(1890). In a footnote he refers to the Bible’s Genesis xiii : 6: ‘And the land was not able to bear them that they might dwell together; for their substance was great so they could not dwell together’. (Marshall 1890: 201).
Marshall’s observation also applies to today’s migration patterns: from countries where most activities are subject to constant or diminishing returns to countries whose key economic activities are subject to increasing returns to scale. Diminishing returns occur when one factor of production is limited by nature, which means that it occurs in agriculture, mining, and fisheries. Normally the best land, the best ore, and the richest fishing grounds are exploited first, and – after a point – the more a country specialises in these activities, the poorer it gets. OECD (2018) shows how this occurs in Chilean copper mining: every ton of copper is produced with a higher cost than the previous ton.
Rose Jaji (PhD), University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
Researchers, whether their research sites fit into the classical home-field dichotomy or conflate home and the field, plan the field trip with the supposition that they will find research participants. What researchers may not have discussed on the numerous academic platforms available to them is the possibility of encountering a research-fatigued or research-weary community. Potential research participants may also have expectations of the research. But do researchers consider research from the perspective of research participants and what it means to tell one’s story and not see the relevance of the research to one’s life? Relevance of the research to research participants plays an important role in facilitating access (Coleman 1996). Some research participants may have participated in previous researches and may want to know why they should keep telling their stories. I address my experiences as I carried out research with farmers in an irrigation scheme in Zimbabwe and urban refugees in Kenya.
Tarnjeet Kang, Ph.D., Research Fellow, Zambakari Advisory
The Chasm between Communities and Institutions
During the course of my dissertation fieldwork in South Sudan, from 2014 - 2015, I found many discrepancies between the realities I witnessed and encountered on the ground, and the images that were being promulgated by the international community providing aid as well as the journalists reporting on conflict in the country. For outsiders that depend on these constricted views, it is easy to underestimate the level of labor and productivity that occurs in South Sudan to generate income and assume that the majority of citizens are complacently dependent on foreign aid due to underdevelopment and the conflict. Unfortunately, this view was perpetuated at times by the international aid workers that I interviewed, and then exacerbated by representatives of the national government where it was purported that community members were too reliant on the government for services. However, in approaching my research project with an expanded view of what constitutes self-determination, productivity, and growth on the part of communities, I was able to contribute to the documentation of the vital role that community self-determination has in meeting the needs of citizens in areas where governments and NGOs have failed. This narrative is often missing from existing literature, which inherently limits our knowledge of both the historical and contemporary realities we encounter when designing programs, policies, and research studies.
Rose Jaji (PhD), University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
A non-coup coup; a coup by any other name is still a coup. What is interesting about the recent coup in Zimbabwe, is that while the world found occupation in whether what had happened was a coup or not, Zimbabweans themselves were in utter disbelief that President Robert Mugabe was finally on his way out and sooner than expected. Most of them had become resigned to him leaving the presidency upon his death. Focused on the goal to see President Mugabe out of office, no one seemed to care anymore about how this would happen; the end justified the means. Now that his departure seemed possible and imminent, they wanted him to leave soon, or, in the words of some of the people interviewed by the media during the march, they wanted him to leave “like yesterday”.
Patience Kabamba (PhD), Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah
Each country has its icons and heroes. They are figures of history who are the symbols of the nations. Generally, countries build monuments to celebrate their memories and their accomplishments. Etienne Tshisekedi was a human being who symbolized one of these rare historical trajectories of his country since the first state coup in 1964 by Mobutu Sésé Seko, Congo’s former president who reigned from 1965 to 1997. Soon after his law studies at the University of Lovanium on the outskirt of Kinshasa, Tshisekedi was appointed “commissary” (minister) of Justice by then General Mobutu during his first coup d’Etat in 1964. Tshisekedi was therefore part of the first government of Mobutu who, a few years earlier, had organized the assassination of the former premier minister Patrick Lumumba in 1961. Thsisekedi worked as Mobutu’s Minister of Justice, Minister of Interior, an Ambassador to Morocco, and was part of many governments since the Mobutu’s second coup d’état in 1965. Tshisekedi was part of the political life of Kinshasa until he passed away at the age of 84. First, I will talk about Tshisekedi, the man. Second, I will lay out the ideology Tshisekedi has been fighting for during his entire political life. In the introduction as well as the conclusion I will give a brief understanding of the current situation of the Congo and the direction the country is heading.
Muhammad Dan Suleiman, University of Western Australia, Perth
In recent years, West Africa has come into the global spotlight due to the prevalence of famines, religious terrorism, anti-state rebellions, and arms, drugs and human trafficking. These developments are the product of both local and global dynamics and they remain substantial challenges for the region in 2017 and beyond. There have been positive developments, including an emerging consolidation of support for democratic transitions of power through both popular protests and elite-led regional diplomatic and military interventions against unconstitutional changes of government or attempted unlawful retentions of power. While there are positive developments, concerns have increased of late about insecurity in West Africa in an era of violent criminal and political movements operating across borders. Indeed, West Africa suffers from ethno-religious tensions, political instability, poverty and natural disasters. West Africa is a vast sub-region. Nevertheless, I offer below a highlight of key developments and events to watch in a few countries and locations in the sub-region, and the best way to address pressing issues.
Kyle Anderson (MS), Data Analyst Research Aide, The Zambakari Advisory
Richard Rivera (MA), Statistician & Psychometrician, The Zambakari Advisory
Prior to its birth on July 9th, 2011, the area that is now South Sudan has faced instability, which can be seen as a result of its history of colonization that has, in turn, led to a legacy of instability and violence (Metelits, 2016). The current conflict in South Sudan can be thought of in terms of social, political, and economic factors. The Fragile States Index quantifies these factors, creating a composite score for each country. As of 2016, out of 178 countries that were studied, South Sudan was the second most fragile, only trailing Somalia (Fragile States Index, 2016).
This piece discusses two research questions investigating events within the five years following the birth of South Sudan: 1) What is the frequency and distribution of the interaction of actor type and event types for events in South Sudan from July 9th, 2011 to July 8th, 2016?, 2) What is the frequency and distribution of actor types within the different states in South Sudan from July 9th, 2011, to July 8th, 2016?
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