William F.S. Miles (*) has edited a volume on “Political Islam in West Africa: State-Society Relations Transformed” (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner; 221 p., ISBN 978-1-58826-527-2), to which he contributed the opening chapter (‘West African Islam: Emerging Political Dynamics’), and a concluding section (‘West Africa Transformed: The New Mosque-State Relationship’). Other contributors include Robert Charlick (*), with a chapter on ‘Niger: Islamic Identity and the Politics of Globalization’ and Leonard Villalón (*) writing on ‘Senegal: Shades of Islamism on a Sufi Landscape’.
Célestin Monga(*) was invited to deliver the annual Bradford Morse Distinguished Lecture sponsored by the African Studies Center at Boston University. The title of his presentation, given on 22 April, was : “Is Africa Really at a Turning Point? : The Economics and Politics of Hope”. Célestin Monga’s latest book, “Un Bantou à Washington” (Paris:PUF, 2007; 204 pages -ISBN-10: 2130565050 /ISBN-13: 978-2130565055- €14,00)* carries a dust jacket that reads: “From Cameroun’s jails to the World Bank”. Such is indeed the unusual, but not altogether illogical itinerary of a man who, 18 years ago, as an up-and-coming banker in Douala, became an overnight cause célèbre when he was jailed for publishing a scathing open letter to President Paul Biya, the man who has ruled Cameroun for over 25 years and shows no sign of wanting to leave power. A campaign orchestrated by exiled Camerounian writer Mongo Beti eventually led to Monga’s release – and to his departure for the United States where he was affiliated with Harvard University, MIT and Boston University, while simultaneously completing a doctoral degree in France.
Throughout those years, Monga wrote abundantly. His “Anthropologie de la colère” (1995) was translated into English as “The Anthropology of Anger”. “L’argent des autres” was published in 1998, and “Sortir du piège monétaire” (co-authored with J.C. Tchatchouang) in 1999. He also contributed a continous flow of articles, opinion pieces and interviews in the Camerounian press as well as in the diasporic media.
Disillusioned –but not dispirited- by the failure of the democratization process in Cameroun, Monga concentrated on his career as an economist after he was recruited by the World Bank. In 2001, he received the President’s Award for Excellence for his work in Burkina Faso. He subsequently worked on Central Asia and the Baltic states before being promoted to the rank of Lead Economist attached to one of the Bank’s vice-presidents. In May 2006, he was awarded the coveted “Good Practice Award” by the then President of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz.
Meanwhile, he has kept his hand in the affairs of his native Cameroun, not only through his writings, but also through his support for the independent Université des Montagnes at Bangangté in the Western part of the country. In April, he wrote a long and impassionate “open letter” to the Camerounian artist Lapiro de Mbanga (aka “Ndinga Man”) whose protest songs, released over a 30-year career, have led to his imprisonment. Monga concludes his letter by quoting Martin Luther King’s words: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” (v.:“Lettre ouverte à Lapiro ou le procès du régime Biya” http://www.cameroon-info.net/cmi_show_news.php?id=22470
* “Un Bantou à Washington” is followed by (and derives its title from) “Un Bantou à Djibouti”, a personal notebook written while Monga was working as a banker in that former French enclave some twenty years ago (and long since out of print).
Alice Sindzingre(*) a signé un article initulé “Relativiser le poids de l’histoire” à propos des théories du développement dans Le Monde- Économie du 14 décembre 2007.
(*) Names listed in the GRAF Directory / Noms figurant à l’annuaire du GRAF
# Boubacar Boris Diop (*), dont le dernier ouvrage “L’Afrique au-delà du miroir” (Paris: Éditions Philippe Rey, 2007; 190 pages -ISBN : 9782848760681-€16,00) s’attache à déconstruire une image du continent noir colportée par les médias, a participé avec 22 autres co-auteurs à la rédaction de “L’Afrique répond à Sarkozy : Contre le discours de Dakar” (Paris: Éditions Philippe Rey, 2008; 478 pages -ISBN-10: 2848761105 / ISBN-13: 978-2848761107- € 19,80).
Marie-Ange Somdah (*) a été choisi comme chef du département d’Anglais à l’Université de Djibouti et invite les membres du GRAF à le contacter à l’adresse de l’université: Avenue Georges-Clémenceau, Djibouti-Ville, République de Djibouti (ou, par courriel, à l’adresse: email@example.com).
William F. Miles (*) was a guest speaker in the Spring session of the Walter Rodney Seminar Series (offered since 1979 at Boston University’s African Studies Center) with a lecture titled: “When Ph.D. Meets G.I.: The Format and Ethics of Africanist Consulting for the U.S. Military” Later in the same series, Boubacar Boris Diop (*) gave a talk (“African Intellectuals Respond to Nicolas Sarkozy” ) dealing with the continuing reactions to Nicolas Sarkozy’s controversial ‘Dakar speech’ of July 2007. Two days later, Diop offered another lecture Harvard University on: “La littérature face au génocide des Tutsi du Rwanda”.
Theodore Trefon (*) who heads the Contemporary History Section of Belgium’s Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, in addition to holding visiting appointments at the KUL (Catholic University of Leuven) and at the University of Kinshasa, has taken up the directorship of the Belgian Reference Centre for Expertise for Central Africa/ Centre belge de référence pour l’expertise sur l’Afrique centrale (E-CA — CRE-AC). On 21 & 22 February, the Centre held an inaugural international conference on: “Congo: State, Peace, Economy & Well-Being” at the Egmont Palace in Brussels. E-CA — CRE-AC’s aim is to promote improved access and dissemination of knowledge about central Africa in order to ensure an efficient mobilization of the expertise needed by central Africa for its development. The Centre is a policy-oriented development tool and a catalyst for networking. It is mandated to provide a better understanding of the region by promoting dialogue and the exchange of information between the scientific and academic spheres, NGOs, government and the private sector. Information on E-CA — CRE-AC can be found at http://www.eca-creac.eu/index.php?en-home and the final report of the February conference is available at: http://www.eca-creac.eu/downloads/conference/eca-creac_conference-rapport_final.pdf.
Trefon’s latest publication (co-authored with Balthazar Ngoy) is: “Parcours administratifs dans un Etat en faillite: Récits de Lubumbashi (RDC)” [Tervuren/Paris: Les Cahiers de l’Institut Africain/L’Harmattan, 2007 • 162 pages – ISBN-10: 229-6-03686-4 / ISBN-13: 978-2-296-03686-4 • € 15,00 • Coll.: “Cahiers africains”, nº 74].
Rwanda: littérature et arts graphiques dans la préhistoire d’un génocide”. Par ailleurs, Pierre Halen signe un texte intutulé:“Bwiza ou la beauté: quelques documents sur la fascination tutsie” (pp. 61-88) dans la collection que Jacques Walter et lui ont réuni sous le titre:“Les langages de la mémoire. Littérature, médias et génocide au Rwanda”. Les contributions réunies dans ce volume étudient la manière dont la littérature, les médias, la bande dessinée ou le théâtre ont affronté ces questions, tentant de dire malgré tout quelque chose, et l’essentiel si possible. L’ouvrage est édité par le Centre Écritures, Université Paul Verlaine-Metz. (Littératures des mondes contemporains, série Afriques n° 1, 366 pages • 22,00 €. Pour la table des matières, voir: http://www.univ-metz.fr/recherche/labos/ecritures/collection-lmc/Couverture–TM-Rwanda.pdf.
Dans la même série figure également unouvrage rédigé par Charles Djungu-Simba K. “Les écrivains du Congo-Zaïre. Approches d’un champ littéraire africain” (série Afriques n° 2, 329 pages • 19 €,00 . Table des matières: http://www.univ-metz.fr/recherche/labos/ecritures/collection-lmc/CouvertureTM-Congo-Zaire.pdf.
Pour commander ces ouvrages:
- Par courrier: Université Paul-Verlaine–Metz -UFR lettres et langues, Secrétariat Recherche; Ile du Saulcy F- 57045 METZ CEDEX 01
- Par courriel firstname.lastname@example.org ou email@example.com
(Frais de port = France: 3€ + 1€ par livre supplémentaire, Etranger: 5€ + 2€ par livre supplémentaire).
Milton Krieger (*) has published “Cameroon’s Social Democratic Front: Its History & Prospects as an Opposition Political Party (1990-2001)” (Bamenda: Langaa Research and Publishing, 2008) 115pp., $24.95. The book is distributed by Michigan State University Press in North America, and by ABC (Oxford) in Europe.
Daniel Bach (*) contributed a chapter on “The European Union and the African Union” in John Akokpari, Angela Ndinga-Muvumba and Tim Murithi (eds.), The African Union and its institutions, Fanele & CCR: Auckland Park and Cape Town, 2008.
Invitation for contributions to a dossier of the magazine Politique africaine to be published in 2009
Issue coordinated by Luís de Brito
Mozambique after “socialism” and war: a “success story”?
Independent since 1975, Mozambique is today regarded as a “success story“ by donors, for whom examples of efficiency and good results of development aid are rare. Converted to the virtues of the market economy since the second half of the 1980s, after the failure of the “building of socialism”, and emerging in 1992 from a long and destructive civil war, this country, which had become one of the poorest in the world, experienced a very high growth rate and noteworthy political stability over the past decade. But is it really justified to talk of success?
Two major axes are proposed for the attention of authors who wish to contribute to this issue of the magazine, the objective of which is to undertake a critical reflection on the dynamics and processes of transformation under way in Mozambique.
From service economy to aid economy. What “development”?
The colonial economy of Mozambique developed since the end o the 19th century in an atypical fashion: as a supplier of raw materials to the industries of the metropolis and as a protected market for Portuguese exports. At the same time, Mozambique developed very strong economic ties with the countries of the hinterland, particularly with South Africa and Rhodesia. Most of the goods handled by the main ports and railways were in transit to or from these countries. Furthermore, there developed a broad movement of Mozambican migrant labour to these same countries. Equilibrium on the balance of payments was thus guaranteed by the export of labour and by the provision of rail and port services. But this balance was suddenly ruptured with independence, Under the Marxist inspired regime set up by Frelimo, the massive and rapid exodus of the settlers led to the abandonment of many factories and trading and other services, and also to the emptying of the state bureaucracy. At the same time, Frelimo’ solidarity with the liberation movements fighting against the South African and Rhodesian regimes, provoked strong hostility from those regimes, particularly expressed in support for opposition forces, from which Renamo was born as an armed rebel movement.
Faced with these challenges, the economic bankruptcy of the new independent state was practically inevitable. Neither the independence of Zimbabwe in 1980, nor the Nkomati Accord, signed with South Africa in 1984 led to the end of the armed conflict with Renamo or prevented the decline of the economy. Due to the war, which spread to all provinces n the country as from 1983, the economic liberalisation carried out under the aegis of the IMF and the World Bank produced few results until the second half of the 1990s. The peace re-established in 1992 allowed the take-off of the economy, sustained by massive reconstruction aid and later by some major industrial investments, which had a noteworthy impact on the indicators for two digit economic growth, but which created only a few thousand jobs, and very little tax revenue for the state. The state budget remained dependent on foreign aid for over 50% of its expenditure.
It was in this period that the formation of a national bourgeoisie picked up pace, benefiting, directly or indirectly from the privatisation, from opportunities for mediation/alliance with foreign investors, and sharing with staff and employees of the NGOs most of the benefits from international handouts. “Poverty” has become an excellent “export product” which in itself justifies the continuation of foreign aid.
The benefits of economic growth do not reach most Mozambicans. Broad sectors of rural society and of the urban strata are suffering a real loss of income, and are in a situation of great vulnerability faced with inflation, particularly the increase in food and transport prices. Faced with a state that promises everything but does little for the mass of the people, indifference begins to give way to expressions of violent revolt, similar to the “bread riots” known from other African countries. This poses the question of the relationship between citizens and state power, and with democracy.
The difficult construction of democracy
In the political sphere, the successes seem still more modest than in the economic field. Frelimo has managed to remain in power through winning all the presidential elections (even though there are doubts about the 1999 results) and by obtaining absolute majorities in parliament, but it has not proved capable of making a clean break with the tradition of the one party state. The clear political legitimacy of Renamo, expressed since 1994 in the vote of millions of Mozambicans is still systematically denied by Frelimo, which continues to refer to its origins and past links with the racist regimes of Rhodesia and South Africa. Under these conditions, elections organised under Frelimo control without great transparency have been losing importance in the eyes of a growing number of voters. Indeed, after the great mobilisation aroused by the first multi-party elections (with an 87% turnout), the renewal of political life that was expected from instituting a competitive political system did not occur, and the following elections showed the disillusion of the electorate with the abstention rate growing from 33% in 1999 to about 50% in 2004.
Another political reform, decentralisation, also aroused great expectations. But the decentralisation policy sketched in the 1990 Constitution, based on local elections in the districts was abandoned, after the results of the first general elections showed that the opposition might win control of a significant number of district governments, and it was replaced by a model of municipalisation limited to33 cities and towns. This municipalisation should gradually reach new places, but ten years after the first municipal elections, the government has decided to create only ten new municipalities for the next elections. This was the terrain on which the country experienced its first change in political power, because Renamo candidates were elected as mayors in five municipalities (including Beira, the country’s second largest city) and a majority in the municipal assemblies in four of these cities and towns. However, the value of this democraticexercise was affected by the poor voter turnout (an average of 23% for the 33 municipalities taken together), Under these conditions, those elected cannot be considered to have acquired great legitimacy.
To a weak system of political representation, we can add an equally weak civil society. The trade unions set up during the period of the one party state remain mostly linked to Frelimo. Furthermore, the economic and political context is not favourable for worker mobilisation, given that workers face a high rate of unemployment and are concerned above all not to lose their jobs. Although there are a large number of other non-governmental organisations in Mozambique, these were mostly set up thanks to the availability of funds from international aid, and play a role as instruments for the redistribution of this income. With some rare exceptions, they do not contribute towards expanding the democratic space.
The two thematic lines proposed here in a synthetic and provocative manner do not prevent authors from submitting draft articles on other themes.
The drafts should be sent by 30 June 2008 to firstname.lastname@example.org . The final versions should be submitted by 30 November 2008.
Robert Kappel (*) and Esther K. Ishengoma have co-authored “Business Constraints and Growth Potential of Micro and Small Manufacturing Enterprises in Uganda” published in May 2008 by the German Institute of Global and Area (GIGA) in Hamburg as nº 78 in their series of working papers. Observing that Ugandan micro- and small enterprises (MSEs) still perform poorly, the paper utilizes data collected in Uganda in March and April 2003 to analyze the business constraints faced by these MSEs. Using a stratified random sampling, a sample of 265 MSEs were interviewed. The study focuses on the 105 manufacturing firms that responded to all questions. It examines the extent to which the growth of MSEs is associated with business constraints, while also controlling for owners’ attributes and firms’ characteristics. The results reveal that MSEs’ growth potential is negatively affected by limited access to productive resources (finance and business services), by high taxes, and by lack of market access.
Andreas Mehler (*), Ulf Engel (*), Lena Giesbert, Jenny Kuhlmann and Christian von Soest have published another working paper in that same series (nº 75) titled: “Structural Stability: On the Prerequisites of Nonviolent Conflict Management” (April 2008). The concept of “structural stability” has been gaining prominence in development policy circles. It refers to the ability of societies to handle intra-societal conflict without resorting to violence. This study investigates the preconditions of structural stability and tests their mutual interconnections. Seven dimensions are analyzed: (1) long-term economic growth, (2) environmental security, (3) social equality, (4) governmental effectiveness, (5) democracy, (6) rule of law, and (7) inclusion of identity groups. The postulated mutual enhancement of the seven dimensions is plausible but cannot be proven. The most significant positive relationship appears between “democracy” and “rule of law,” respectively, on the one hand and the dependent variable “violence/ human security” on the other hand. This points to the usefulness of the political concept of structural stability to promote development policy agendas in this area at least. Applications that reach beyond these initial findings will, however, require further research.
All GIGA Working Papers are available free of charge at: www.giga-hamburg.de/workingpapers.
Mapping Integration and Regionalism in a Global World: The EU and regional governance outside the EU
GARNET/ Sciences Po Bordeaux/ Centre for International Governance and Innovation Conference
3rd Annual Meeting of the GARNET network
Sciences Po Bordeaux, University of Bordeaux , 17-19 September 2008
Crossing Cultures Senegal 2008
Crossing Cultures offers a stimulating travel and educational program focused on the French-speaking Republic of Senegal, West Africa. The program dates for the 2008 Crossing Cultures program are June 23 –July 8. It will be ID’s 19th program to Senegal.
Led by two former Peace Corps volunteers, this well-established program appeals to people in and out of academia. It works well for those who want to experience family life and community projects in the rural areas of this diverse nation, and for those with special interests in dance and music training, environment, government, agriculture, language or education and health projects.
The Crossing Cultures group is small, no more than five, allowing the leaders to tailor activities to the participants’ interests. Reasonable cost. Extended stays for volunteer work or field study can be facilitated. For more information, contact: Janet L. Ghattas, General Director.
Intercultural Dimensions, Inc. PO Box 391437, Cambridge MA 02139 USA
Voice: 617 864 8442
Intercultural Dimensions, Inc. is a tax-exempt 501(C)(3) educational organization.
Le nouveau service “France 24” (L’actualité internationale 24h/24) comporte une section “Afrique” que l’on peut visiter sur le site: http://www.france24.com/france24Public/fr/nouvelles/afrique.html
(NB: versions anglaise et arabe disponibles)
(*) Names listed in the GRAF Directory / Noms figurant à l’annuaire du GRAF
Subscriptions to the GRAF Newsletter are $10 per year
(Checks payable to / chèques à l’ordre de : Boston University, African Studies Center/GRAF)