World Atlas: Countries With The Lowest Income In The World April 16, 2017Posted by OromianEconomist in Economics.
Tags: Africa, Africa is still struggling with poverty, Burundi, Countriies with very low income, Development, DR Congo, economics, Ethiopia, Ethiopia: The 2016 Multidimensional Poverty Index, Least developing countries, Liberia, Malawi, poverty
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Malawi’s Economic Issues
According to World Bank data, the country with the smallest GNI per capita is Malawi, with 250 international dollars of income per person. Although the country enjoys a democratic and stable government, the economy continues to operate within a poor fiscal environment, characterized by the country’s high debt levels. The social environment is characterized by a proliferation of inequality and poverty, with over a half of the population being considered as poor, and one-quarter of it living in extreme poverty. The low agricultural productivity is one of the main obstacles in reducing the poverty, further worsened by increasing erratic weather patterns.
Post-Conflict Poverty in Burundi
Burundi, with a GNI of 270 international dollars, is the country with the second smallest GNI per capita. Even if the country is in the process of transitioning from a post-conflict economy to a stable, peacetime economy, poverty remains at troublingly high levels. The country is focusing on developing its basic social services, modernizing the public finance sector, and upgrading institutions and infrastructure across the board. Though it possesses a modernized industrial establishment, it above all relies on the agricultural sector, energy production, and mining for the majority of its revenues. The growing economy will increasingly offer more employment opportunities, and hopefully improvements in the standard of living will be quick to follow.
Underdeveloped Resources in the Central African Republic
The Central African Republic has the third-smallest GNI per capita value (330 international dollars). While it’s true that the country has recently been devastated by a political crisis, the Central African Republic was among the countries with the highest poverty rates well before the recent tumultuous events. The country possesses abundant natural resources but, unfortunately, they are generally very underdeveloped. Subsistence agriculture represents almost one-third of the gross domestic product. Exports of diamonds and wood, while relatively significant domestically, have clearly not been enough to raise the economy to the level of a major global power.
Liberia’s economy was gravely affected by the Ebola crisis that swept Africa for much of the new millennium. Indeed, the outbreak essentially reversed many of the important gains the country has made in the fights against political and economic insecurity and poverty. The quarantines implemented due to the Ebola epidemic affected the production and exports of rubber as workers were restricted in their daily travels, and contamination from African goods became a global concern. The weak business environment constrains the growth of manufacturing industries, and most of the important sectors suffered production disruptions due to the epidemic. The economy of Liberia definitely needs effective implementation of an economic recovery plan
Other Countries With Low per Capita GNIs
Besides these countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, Gambia, Madagascar, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Ethiopia are all struggling with extreme poverty as well. Within them, GNI per capita rates vary from 380 to 550 international dollars. This often becomes even more concerning when considering that income disparities often leave the general population in an even poorer state the already bad numbers would suggest. Collectively, these countries need strong economic reforms to begin to fight poverty and increase the welfare of their citizens and secure stronger standings on the global economic scene.
|Rank||Country||GNI Per Capita (USD)|
|3||Central African Republic||$320|
|5||Congo, Dem. Rep.||$380|
Power: A curse to a nation but A drug to a Leader May 31, 2015Posted by OromianEconomist in Colonizing Structure, Corruption in Africa, Sham elections.
Tags: Africa, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia's sham elections, Freedom House in response to comments by Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Sham elections, UNPO
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At this time as I Write my country is facing a crisis! Our President wants to run again for the third-term, and almost everyone, substracting the ruling party wants him gone! So he has decided to use violence towards the peaceful manifestations and The number of the deaths so far is unknown to us, but i assume it is of a greater number for such a short period. I understand Politic’s main purpose is not to detriment but to govern countries which is why I believe some african leaders (not naming anyone in particular) have misinterpreted the purpose of it. Some african countries dont remember the last time they had a different leader. Is it because Power is too sweet? Or is it because of the love of leading? As much as I try to be optimistic, I highly doubt these leaders are experienced enough to claim power and rule…
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Is the age of #Africa’s political ‘ big man syndrome’ nearing an end? Burundi’s turmoil points to a shifting social and political landscape. #Ethiopia. #Oromia May 21, 2015Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Burkina Faso.
Tags: Africa, Africa's big man, Africa's cheetahs versus hippo, African Studies, Burkina Faso, Burundi, The Tyranny of Ethiopia
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Burundi’s turmoil points to a shifting social and political landscape
Clár Ní Chonghaile, The Guardian, Thursday 21 May 2015
Analysts see the upheaval in Burundi as symptomatic of a public craving for principled politics and an end to the era of the autocratic statesman
The upheaval in Burundi may bear many of the hallmarks of a classic African military coup but, for some analysts, the crisis is indicative of a newfound public hunger for good governance, and a reaction against administrations run by political strongmen who cloak repression in the trappings of democracy.
As global leaders work on the sustainable development goals (SDGs), a blueprint for governing development over the next 15 years, young people in Burundi are making their own demands, of their leaders as well as international donors.
Their appeals for democracy and abuse-free institutional processes mirror the call in SDG 16 to promote the rule of law, ensure equal access to justice, and develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions.
Burundi refugees say there is no turning back as fears grow of reprisals at home.
Burundi’s crisis began in late April after the ruling CNDD-FDD party nominated President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a third term in the country’s June elections, despite a two-term constitutional limit. Protesters took to the streets and clashed with police.
Then, on 13 May, Major General Godefroid Niyombare told reporters that he had dismissed the president. The attempted coup was short-lived, however, and Niyombare is now on the run. Nkurunziza is back in charge, and fears of reprisals are widespread.
Rights groups say at least 20 people have been killed and more than 110,000 Burundians have fled to neighbouring countries, raising fears of a “severe humanitarian crisis”.
Some observers predict a drawn-out period of uncertainty and violence, with particular risks for opposition activists and the media. Protests continued on Wednesday, while the government said local and parliamentary elections would be delayed for a week but the presidential elections would go ahead as planned on 26 June.
Some elements of the crisis – the timing of the coup to coincide with the president’s absence at a regional summit, the fear of ethnic tensions exploding – seem to hark back to Burundi’s unstable past. But Jesper Bjarnesen, senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute, says the dynamic is different this time.
Bjarnesen visited the Burundian capital Bujumbura recently and met with young activists who style themselves “the Arusha generation”, a nod to the peace accords that, in 2005, brought an end to a 12-year civil war between Hutu rebels and the mainly Tutsi army.
For these activists, ethnicity is no more the issue than Nkurunziza himself: rather, they feel the president has violated the constitution.
“It’s about political principles,” says Bjarnesen. “That is remarkable. It’s not that long ago that ethnicity was in many ways the … defining split. What I got from [the activists] was this sense that formal politics are just not a useful medium for those not in power.”
Yolande Bouka, a researcher in conflict prevention and risk analysis at the Institute for Security Studies, says Burundi’s government has long shown a disdain for the Arusha peace accords that has chipped away at trust between political actors.
The protestors and the opponents to Nkurunziza’s third term are trying to evoke an African spring
Jesper Bjarnesen, senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute
“Should the conflict drag on and erode inter-ethnic trust … it is possible to see a flare-up of ethnic tensions,” says Bouka, adding that the international community should have acted sooner on warning signs that the authorities were cracking down on dissent after the 2010 elections.
Nkurunziza is not alone in attempting to use almost absolute political power to extend his rule. Next door, Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, is said to be considering another term despite a two-term limit. Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, already one of Africa’s longest serving leaders, has already changed the constitution to allow him to run again.
There are more cautionary tales. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila was forced to withdraw a bill seen as an attempt to extend his term after protests in January. Nkurunziza may also be mindful of Burkina Faso’s former president, Blaise Compaoré, one of Africa’s longest serving leaders, who was forced from office after he tried to change the constitution and run for another term.
End of Africa’s ‘big men’?
The idea that the “big man” model of rule is running out of steam may be gaining traction among the continent’s leaders.
At a regional summit this week, west African heads of state discussed a proposal to limit presidential mandates. The proposal was rejected because of opposition from Gambia and Togo, where there are no term limits, Reuters reported. But the discussion did not go unnoted.
“The protestors and the opponents to Nkurunziza’s third term are trying to evoke an African spring, with Burkina Faso setting the precedent. They are trying to use public protests to end a regime that has used both legal and illegal ways of reinforcing its grip on power,” says Bjarnesen.
Burundi unrest leaves 50,000 refugees facing dire conditions in Tanzania.
Thierry Vircoulon, project director for central Africa at the International Crisis Group, says Burundi’sproblems are in the 2010 elections, which most opposition parties boycotted.
“The first mandate of President Nkurunziza was about the consolidation of his power within the ruling party, and his second mandate was about the consolidation of his grip over the institutions and the preparation of his third mandate. This is a pattern that we see in a lot of post-conflict regimes in the region,” says Vircoulon.
A former Belgian colony, Burundi is one of Africa’s poorest countries, ranking 180 out of 187 states in the 2014 UN human development index. It relies on foreign aid for half its national budget. Britain’s Department for International Development ended bilateral aid in 2012, and has been criticised by a parliamentary committee for doing so.
Bjarnesen says that while donors are in a catch-22 situation, suspending assistance will only hurt the poorest. This month, the EU said it would withhold €2m ($2.2m) of aid, while Belgium also announced a suspension of electoral aid.
“Cutting aid in itself just does not work,” says Bjarnesen. “The threat now of cutting funding to the elections, who is that serving?”
For Bjarnesen, elections now would be devastating for the opposition but perhaps palatable to international partners – a situation that encapsulates an ideological tug-of-war between the merits of stability versus true democracy.
“To a large extent, the international community would rather have some sort of elections and then relative stability rather than continued political instability with the threat of conflict,” he says.
“That’s the biggest weakness of the response from the international community: it’s so short-sighted and focused on visible symptoms … whereas what is actually keeping the status quo is this kind of structural violence that has been in place since Nkurunziza came to power.”
Bjarnesen is critical of “international lenience” towards African governments. “The argument would be these are young democracies, they need time to develop … I think that moment has passed. I don’t see any reason why you would measure democracy in Burundi against standards other than those you use in the UK or Sweden.”
Africa Rising: From Burkina Faso to Burundi, Africa’s Cheetah Generation rises against corrupt and failed rule. #TPLF. #Ethiopia May 12, 2015Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Corruption in Africa, Dictatorship.
Tags: Africa, Africa Rising, African Studies, Against Tyranny, Ambo, Burkina Faso, Burundi, George Ayittey, George Ayittey: Africa's cheetahs versus hippo, The Tyranny of Ethiopia
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“The Cheetah Generation refers to the new and angry generation of young African graduates and professionals, who look at African issues and problems from a totally different and unique perspective. They are dynamic, intellectually agile, and pragmatic. They may be the ‘restless generation’ but they are Africa’s new hope. They understand and stress transparency, accountability, human rights, and good governance. They also know that many of their current leaders are hopelessly corrupt and that their governments are contumaciously dysfunctional and commit flagitious human rights violations.” George Ayittey, the distingushed Ghanaian economist.http://theafricaneconomist.com/ethiopia-2013-year-of-the-cheetah-generation/#.VVHnoI5Viko
PROTESTS from Burkina Faso to Burundi have been sparked by youthful populations with little hope of employment and by leaders who have in some cases ruled for decades.
The discontent, which began in Burkina Faso in October, spread to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in January, and has now crossed the continent to Burundi, prompting regional leaders to call an emergency meeting after two weeks of protests and at least 14 deaths. Mass demonstrations in Burkina Faso ended Blaise Compaore’s 27 years in power.
“Underpinning a lot of these protests is anger about stalled development, rising food prices and cutting fuel subsidies,” Clive Gabay, an expert on African politics at the Queen Mary University of London, said. “You have this youthful, unemployed population that has been sidelined.”
While sub-Saharan Africa has grown faster than every region except developing Asia in the past 10 years, there aren’t enough jobs for the 1 billion people on the continent. An extra 450 million jobs need to be created in the next 20 years to match the expansion in the number of working-age people in the region, the International Monetary Fund said last month.
About 40% of people in Africa are under 15 years old, the most of any region, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The unemployment rate for people 15 to 25 years old living in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, is three times higher than the rest of the working population, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Rwanda President Paul Kagame has warned that the violence in neighbouring Burundi threatens stability in East Africa. Youth have led two weeks of protests to prevent President Pierre Nkurunziza from seeking a third term in office next month. The Constitutional Court approved his request, despite the opposition claiming it violates a 15-year-old peace agreement that sets a two-term limit.
The nations that will likely watch closely what happens in Burundi are those with elections scheduled in the next two years, Yolande Bouka, a researcher on conflict prevention at the Institute for Security Studies in Johannesburg, said. Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania and Uganda all have polls during that period.
There is “serious discontent with the type of governance offered by the leaders,” Bouka said. Given the large youth population and unemployment rate “it is not surprising that people take the street to address unresponsive government.”
Burundi ranks eighth-lowest on the United Nations Human Development Index, which measures indicators such as income, child mortality and education. Congo is second-to-last on the 190-member list.
“In many countries it’s a risky thing to go on a protest and you’re not going to risk getting arrested or shot unless there’s something real at stake,” Gabay said. “There’s something else that’s propelling people onto the street and for me they’re economic issues.”
https://magic.piktochart.com/embed/6055699-africa-bombUsing social media like Twitter and Facebook, young activists can mobilise faster than in years gone by and can collaborate across borders. The movements in Congo and Burkina Faso draw inspiration from Senegalese artists, who began protests in 2011 against power outages. The Senegalese movement was key in mobilising youth to vote President Abdoulaye Wade, who had ruled for 12 years, out of power a year later.
Demonstrations erupted in Congo in January when lawmakers tried to change electoral laws in a way that could have delayed elections. That would have extended the 14-year rule of President Joseph Kabila, who took over when his father was assassinated in 2001.
Congolese activists met with artists and musicians from Senegal and Burkina Faso in March. The police arrested them in the Congolese capital and accused them of “promoting violence.” Kabila, who faced criticism from Human Rights Watch, said he will not run for office next year.
Presidents for life
While there are countries in sub-Saharan Africa with leaders who have been in power for more than three decades, including Zimbabwe, Angola and Equatorial Guinea, political opposition there says they are suppressed.
Rwanda’s Kagame, who has been president since 2000, also hasn’t faced popular opposition as he says he is open to staying another term. Parliament is reviewing a petition signed by 2 million people who support changing the constitution to allow for a third term.
“African people are tired of presidents who aren’t delivering to their people and they’re tired of presidents who want to stay for life,” Thierry Vircoulon, Central Africa director for the International Crisis Group, said by phone. “There’s a sort of exasperation because governments aren’t delivering.”
-With assistance from David Malingha Doya in Nairobi and Michael J. Kavanagh in Kinshasa.