Areas of Engagement


By Raphael Obonyo | Earlier this year, the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited at least four African countries; Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola and Kenya, with the aim of deepening economic ties in the continent.

The Premier's visit to Africa was significant because it sought to increase China's engagement and investment in the Continent. During his visit, the Premier signed multibillion deals and cooperation agreements.

Member States in the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that met at its 12th session on 16-20 June in New York are negotiating a set of goals and targets based on a 'zero draft' prepared by the OWG Co-Chairs Ambassadors Macharia Kamau (Kenya) and Csaba Korosi (Hungary).

They met in 'informal-informals' mode on 9-11 June with intense work on the first seven proposed goals as the July deadline for the OWG's work draws closer and continued in this mode into the week that was originally scheduled to be in a formal mode.

The development community is turning its attention to this new middle class to understand its potential role and what kind of development actor this may become. Two initial questions arise from the outset of the debate: What do we mean by middle class (whether it is old or new)? and how do we define it?

For African and other developing countries, inequalities are a critical issue particularly at this present conjuncture of Africa experiencing a period of great optimism about its prospects. On the one hand, some of the fastest growing economies are in Africa, with Africa’s economic growth having been consistently above 5 per cent on average since 2002, except in 2009 when it was below 4 per cent. On the other hand, over three decades of economic liberalization policies have not been accompanied by the expansion of  employment opportunities at the same pace, in many African countries.

Editorial | by Stefano Prato and Arthur Muliro

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

At the moment when world leaders and key thinkers are discussing about the post 2015 development goals, the question of political participation, social inclusion, and economic empowerment in all sectors of life and society, both in rich and poor countries are increasingly threatened by ineffective and inadequate institutions and policy making. This age is marked by the disconnect between governance and citizenship. A widespread phenomenon, in emerging as much as in mature economies and democracies.

by Ruth Aine Tindyebwa | Released in November 2013, The State of East Africa report 2013 quickly soon became a hit. Why? It relived information and raised so many questions. It gave answers to the theories that the East Africans had, that for a long time remained unanswered.  The report has made stops in all of the East African cities, it has been handed over to the civil society, government and the general public.

by Alphonse Rugambarara | The question of development aid has been under discussion for several years, but donor countries and organizations have continued to try out various aid programs without being able to answer the question posed by Dambisa Moyo: 'Why do the majority of sub Saharan countries flounder in a seemingly never-ending cycle of corruption, disease, poverty, and aid-dependency, despite the fact that their countries have received more than US $ 300 billion in development assistance since 1970?'

Philip Oxhorn is a Professor of Political Science at McGill University and the Founding Director of McGill's Institute for the Study of International Development, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Latin American Research Review. A former Associate Dean (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies) at McGill, his research focuses on the comparative study of civil society and its role in supporting democratic regimes, particularly in Latin America.