Interesting Events

There are two interesting sounding events about Kenya this week.  Know of any more?

{Tuesday} Looking Past Kenya’s Election: Ethnic and Institutional Challenges to Inclusive Development 4:30pm @ SAIS

{Wednesday} Kenya Decides: The 2013 Presidential Election 1:00pm @Brookings



Patriotic Burgeoise

“This unprecedented act of good will in South Africa gives expression to our view of the patriotic bourgeoisie whose outlook reflects a deep understanding of development challenges and limitations facing South Africa and its people.”

That’s the African National Congress (ANC) writing about Patrice Motsepe’s – the richest black man in South Africa – pledge to give half his income to charity.

John Campbell writes more about Motsepe’s pledge and the term “patriotic bourgeoisie”

Interesting Events

I have a new goal of attending more Africa-related events in DC.  I’ll share upcoming events that fit into this category here, every week or two.  Please comment with details if you know of others I didn’t list!

{WednesdayTime to Listen: Hearing People on the Receiving End of International Aid at the USAID Learning Lab. Speaker: Dayna Brown

{Wednesday} Young Professionals in Foreign Policy DC presents: Stories From The Field – A Conversation With American Diplomats.  (Membership required) 

{Friday} Mapping Corruption in Community-Driven Development Projects, a case study in Kenya at CGD. Speaker: Jean Ensminger

Graph of the Week


From The Economist in October 2012 (via Rachel Strom)

I haven’t studied urbanization for it’s own sake, although I almost always include a measure of urbanization in my analysis. The backward sloping arrows for Zimbabwe, Madagascar, and Liberia have piqued my interest, but is the answer simply that conflict is bad for growth?

On a related note, could it be the case that urbanization only increase GDP per capita if people move to the cities for actual jobs, not theoretical jobs / to escape from rural life?  Rapid urbanization when there aren’t jobs could only lead to an increase in slum dwellers, where the quality of living will rarely be better than before.


Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Right?  Yea, probably not so much when it comes to this little blog of mine.  I fell off the blogging wagon for a bit or maybe I was on the blogging wagon and now I’ve fallen off (you know because when your off the wagon you’re doing something again).  Oh never mind, that detail isn’t important.

So where have I been?  We’ll I’m now based in D.C. which means we packed up all of our earthly belongings and moved them almost 3,000 miles from one side of the country to the other.  Other than that I’ve been working on two great projects – a Financial Analysis and Capacity Assessment of a Project in Sierra Leone and some research on changing identities in Kenya.  Both projects have involved getting some new stamps in my passport, so here are some pictures of my travels for your enjoyment.

Stuck in a Sea of Okadas in Freetown, Sierra Leone

Stuck in Bumbuna, Sierra Leone

View from the Office – Nairobi, Kenya

Dusty Elephant @ Elephant Orphanage – Nairobi, Kenya

Tongue-in-the-cheek birthday cards for Zuma

The people at the Mail and Guardian did it again.  Apparently nobody is safe from their sarcasm, not even President Jacob Zuma on his 70th birthday.

“As the country wishes President Jacob Zuma a happy 70th birthday, the Mail & Guardiansends has imagined more appropriate birthday wishes that are unlikely to see the light of day.”

Below is their imagined card sent from Helen Zille (leader of the opposition DA) to Zuma.  You can see all of the cards HERE


Africa’s Largest Class Action Law Suit?

“They came on horseback or by foot, trudging through Lesotho’s highlands and clutching tattered identity documents to back their claims that South Africa’s gold mining firms ruined their lungs.”

That’s Ed Cropely via Reuters writing about “the biggest class action suit Africa has ever seen” in  Special Report: From Gold Dust, a Billion Dollar Claim

“It’s hard to estimate the potential size of a silicosis class action. South Africa is the source of 40 percent of all the gold ever mined. At its height in the 1980s the industry employed 500,000 men – two-thirds of them from Lesotho, Mozambique and the Eastern Cape – although production has fallen behind China and Australia and employment since halved. But silicosis can take years to show up and check-ups are at best haphazard. A 2005 study by the National Institute of Occupational Health in Johannesburg, based on autopsies of miners, suggested 52 in every 100 had the disease.”



ShoutSA 2012

There’s definitely some unfortunate timing here with the recent release (and subsequent social media storm) on Kony 2012.  When I first watched this video, I really liked it.  I think trying to speak to people through music is an excellent way & South Africa certainly has enough musical talent to pull this off.

But then I started thinking more about the video, and about its goals.  Who is ShoutSA?  What do they do with my R20?  How can a video support the fight against crime?  I took to searching around the interwebs for some of this information, and apparently the people at ShoutSA got the message because this is what I found:

You can also see a list of their donations on their website

Even if I’m still not clear how much money they’ve received in donations and sponsorship relative to the almost R600.000 they have donated over the last 2 years, at least I was able to find some information. (Although R600,000 seems like an awfully small number to me).

This message shared by Danny K, when speaking about crime in South Africa, certainly resonates with every South African

It’s easy to say it’s the other guy’s problem but until we understand that we are all in the same boat and if there’s a hole in the hull, we’re all going down!

and perhaps that’s why these videos are so popular.

On Stop Kony 2012

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go to twitter and search #Kony2012.

You can see the video that caused all the hype here:

But you should also read this: Kony 2012 campaign: Oprah and bracelets won’t solve problem (from The Guradian via Bill Easterly)

And then to learn more about the group behind the video “Invisible Children” read this: Invisible Children: Saviors or Sensationalists

Then you can read this – In Defence of the @Kony12 campaign

Some more food for thought (via Jillian C York, HT: Laura Seay ):

If we say #Kony2012 is a good idea, then we’re approving an environment in which causes compete by production value. Like Hollywood.