Africa: Politics and Societies South of the Sahara

How German Investors Want to Save Angolans From China

Posted in African Politics, Angola, Global Africa by ruben eberlein on March 27, 2009

German corporations are eager to get much more deeply involved in the Angolan market. Huge public infrastructure investments, a booming oil and an emerging gas sector as well as the demand for machinery attract the attention of companies. With high-level political support, German investors want to challenge a perceived Chinese dominance in this oil-dependent nation that is shaped by fierce social inequalities. A comment. (more…)

‘The Land Reforms in Zimbabwe Are Still Popular’

Posted in African Politics, Zimbabwe by ruben eberlein on March 24, 2009

Interview with Prof Sam Moyo, Director of the African Institute for Agrarian Studies (Harare) and President of Codesria (Dakar). He talks about the relationship between Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown and land redistributions and explains his view on what has to be done in order to get agriculture in the country started again. (more…)

‘A Danger to Health’

Posted in African Politics, South Africa by ruben eberlein on March 23, 2009

The policy of the South African government under ex-president Thabo Mbeki vis-à-vis the Aids pandemic has been held responsible for thousands of unnecessary infections and deaths. In his article ‘Thabo Mbeki, HIV/AIDS and bogus scientific controversities’ Cardiff-based researcher Martin Weinel describes how the former president created an ‘inauthentic scientific controversity’ by lending credibility to a small group of academic dissidents on the Aids/AZT subject. Read his essay here, and a response by Anthony Brink here.

Rents, Politics and Crime

Posted in African Politics, DR Congo by ruben eberlein on March 22, 2009

The history of the Congo, today called the DRC, bears witness to the affinity of political rule and organised crime. Read an English version of my article from Konkret 5/06. If you prefer German, find the original version here (as pdf). (more…)

The Stench of Oil in a ‘Republique des Copains’

Posted in African Politics, Chad by ruben eberlein on March 19, 2009

It was supposed to be so different: The World Bank took a lead several years ago on corporate and public responsibility, declaring that Chad’s newly discovered oil wealth will benefit the poor in that Central African country. The Chad-Cameroon Pipeline Project, connecting the oil fields in Doba with the Cameroon coast more than 1000 km away, was the biggest single investment in Africa at the beginning of the 21th century. Six years after the first oil began to flow, the picture is sobering, to say the least. (more…)

Robert Mugabe: Our Dearest Enemy

Posted in African Politics, Zimbabwe by ruben eberlein on March 2, 2009

This is an article  published by the German monthly Konkret (pdf here). It deals with the current situation in Zimbabwe and argues that it is quite cheap for Western governments to criticise Zanu PF and Mugabe because there is not much at stake for them in terms of economic or political-strategic interests.

I report as well on the current debate among academics and activists with regard to the causes of Zimbabwe’s socio-economic downturn and the effects of land reforms. An article by Mahmood Mamdani, well-known political scientist, in the London Review of Books (December 2008) triggered this discussion. (more…)