North Africa and the Sahel should be the EU’s #1 priority

This post originally appeared on The FRIDE Blog‘s IDEA of the Week section:

The European Foreign Affairs Council approved a “European Union Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel” almost a year ago, recognising the importance of the region for the EU. During recent months however, violence in Syria and the build-up of tension between Iran and Israel have moved the EU’s attention to this corner of the Middle East. The region’s geo-strategic importance justifies the EU’s attention, but not at the price of neglecting the North African “chapter” of the Arab spring. In fact, events such as last week’s controversial declaration of semi-autonomy for the Eastern Libyan province of Cyrenaica reminds us that this should be considered as the EU’s external action top priority. Sigue leyendo

Anuncios

It’s that time of the year… On Africa’s eleven top posts in 2011

The end of the year brings with it all sorts of compilations, lists and summaries of the good, the bad and the ugly of the year that’s coming to an end. And On Africa is no exception to this – see here the top-10 stories of 2009 (in English and in Spanish/español), and the ten photos that summarise 2010 (although without photos 😦 since the links broke when I transferred from Maneno to WordPress earlier this year and I have not fixed it yet…).

This year, I have compiled a list of the most viewed original posts written this year (according to WordPress). What this means is that the list excludes posts written in the past (the post most viewed this year is this one on Conguitos, a politically incorrect Spanish brand of sweets, written in march 2010). Also excluded are those posts that serve as self-promotion for pieces published for other media but to which I have made reference here.

So, whilst technically incorrect, the list makes this up in relevance, for these posts reflect better some of the most important news and stories in the African continent and beyond; with some exceptions – South Sudan independence, the war in Côte d’Ivoire (both these stories have op-ed pieces devoted to them and can be viewed on the “Other Work” section), as well as cultural notes. What is there includes: Zambia’s presidential election, Bin Laden’s death, Kenya’s invasion of Somalia and the “Arab spring” among others…

Enjoy these stories, leave below any comments you may have, and have a wonderful festive season and end of the year and beginning of 2012! Sigue leyendo

The Role of New Media and Communication Technologies in Arab Transitions – new paper

Last week FRIDE published the policy brief titled “The Role of New Media and Communication Technologies in Arab Transitions”. It is my latest publication for FRIDE; in this case, and given that it deals with a topic outside my geographical area of expertise, it is co-authored with Barah Mikaïl, FRIDE colleage and expert on the Middle East and North Africa.
Below is the abstract of the paper, and the full document can be dowloaded by clicking here.
I hope you find it interesting, and if you have any comments, please post them below. Sigue leyendo

Three down, who’ll be next?

Reuters Africa blog asks an interesting question, I’m sharing here, since I would love to hear your thoughts on this one!

Three of the ten longest serving African leaders have fallen this year:

Ben Ali – Tunisia 23 years,
Hosni Mubarak – Egypt 30 years
Muammar Gadhafi- Libya 42 years

Of the next seven on the list:

Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea (32),
Jose Santos of Angola (32),
Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (31),
Paul Biya of Cameroon (29)
Yoweri Museveni of Uganda (25)
King Mswati III of Swaziland (24)
Blaise Campore of Burkina Fasso (24)

Who would be next to go? And how?

Hip-hop: soundtrack of the revolution

Kilifeu and Thiat, members of Senegalese hip-hop band "Keur Gui of Kaolack" (Source: Africanhiphop)

This is Lara Dotson-Renta in “Hip Hop & Diaspora: Connecting the Arab Spring” at the Arab Media & Society online journal (h/t Africa Is a Country):

From the outset, these [Arab protest] movements have been accompanied by a very strong musical component, from troubadours in Cairo’s Tahrir square to the adhans uniting in both faith and protest. Yet it has been hip-hop that has become the most iconic and widespread soundtrack of the Arab Spring and, interestingly, it is having the double effect of helping to mobilize activists in the countries directly impacted by the pro-democracy movements while also solidifying links between Arab diasporic communities in the West with those still residing in the ‘homeland.’

And in today’s news (from the BBC):

Prominent Senegalese rapper Omar Toure, who is a vocal critic of President Abdoulaye Wade, has been arrested. […]
The police did not give reasons for the arrest of Mr Toure, who is popularly known as Thiat.
He spoke at an opposition rally on Saturday to urge Mr Wade not to run for re-election next year.
Several opposition leaders joined his fans outside the main court in Dakar to demand his release, our reporter says.
They said the arrest was the latest sign of growing intimidation in Senegal in the build-up to elections.
Mr Toure is a member of the We’ve Had It band.
In January, he helped launch the Enough is Enough movement, which is galvanising youth to register for the elections.