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POWER

By Richard Lee | June 20th, 2013
Power section of Money, Power & Sex: The paradox of unequal growth

Power and Inequality in Africa - William Gumede, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Public and Development Management, Wits

African countries have always suffered from unequal power relations with their former colonial powers and other industrialised nations. Simultaneously, deep inequalities have also existed within individual African countries between ruling elites and ordinary citizens, whether based on class, gender, age or access to decision-making. However, the world is undergoing radical structural transformations, which are dramatically altering global power dynamics. Africa has the chance to benefit from these global transformations but only, as William Gumede argues, if Africa overhauls existing – often archaic – institutions, leaders and attitudes and brings new ideas, concepts and leaders to the fore. "Failure to do so and Africa as a continent and many of its constituent countries face being left behind again, and perhaps being condemned to remain stuck in perpetual underdevelopment, instability and global marginalisation.

Empowering the Powerless: Law is the ultimate weapon the weak have against the strong - Mrs Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC)

In recent years, the relationship between the ICC and Africa - or at least Africa's leaders - has grown increasingly tense. The current Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, is from The Gambia and she is very clear about where her priorities lie - with the victims. For her, the law is the ultimate weapon that the poor have against the weak. However, as she made clear in this speech at the OpenForum in 2012, without consistent and strong support from key stakeholders - including political leaders and international institutions - the Court will not be able to fulfil its mandate, and prospects of ending impunity and securing justice for victims will be undermined.

India and Africa: Building an equal relationship in an unequal world - Aniket Alam, Senior Assistant Editor, Economic and Political Weekly

India’s sudden emergence as a major player on the African stage has sent analysts scrambling for ideas and insights. The simple fact is that India needs Africa’s resources, markets and political support as much as Africa needs India’s capital, commodities, services and aid. Indeed, as Aniket Alam argues, this is a rare example of a relationship of near equality between an emerging ‘superpower’ and a largely underdeveloped region. Combined with the collegiality that built up during various anti-colonial struggles, this ‘equal’ relationship provides a unique opportunity to forge a mutually beneficial economic and political relationship that can keep the exploitative aspects of capital export and natural resource extraction in check. If the political leadership is able to build on this opportunity, it may well provide a new template for partnerships in an unequal world.

Myths and Migration: What are a million Chinese really doing in Africa - Howard French, Associate Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Almost all the coverage of China's relationship with Africa is simplistic and divided into two very clear camps - the China-bashers and the China-boosters. But very seldom do reporters or writers make the effort to focus on what the estimaged million Chinese in Africa are actually doing - or what really brought them here. With that in mind, Howard French spent much of 2011 on the road in Africa encountering Chinese migrants in 15 countries, exploring their communities, dwelling in their workplaces and sometimes staying in their homes – trying to understand the way they interacted with the African people of the countries they had emigrated to. Because understanding what is going on under the radar, well beneath the level of official policies, plans and initiatives, is every bit as important as analysing China’s geopolitical strategy and the official responses of 54 African countries to it.

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