A collection of papers that address pressing issues of concern in countries or regions across the continent.


Evidence for the “New Variant Famine” Hypothesis in Africa

The ‘new variant famine’ hypothesis (NVF) provides an analytical framework and a set of predictions regarding future food crises in poor countries stricken by generalized epidemics of HIV/AIDS. This paper summarises the principal claims made by NVF and evaluates recent evidence for and against the hypothesis. It concludes that two of the major components of NVF (concerning patterns of vulnerability and trajectories of livelihoods) are thus far, supported by empirical data and that a third component (concerning mortality) is as yet untested. The positive evidence is, however, still sparse.  READ MORE


Alex de Waal – Foreign Policy Centre Paper
Why is the entire African continental economy no larger than Spain’s, and the combined GDP of the 40-plus countries that lie between South Africa and Egypt scarcely bigger than the annual turnover of ExxonMobil? A weary consensus has emerged that blames low prices for Africa’s agricultural exports, corruption, cash-starved infrastructure and, increasingly, the devastating economic impact of AIDS.  READ MORE
Human Rights Organisations and the Political Imagination
This paper tries to tell two parallel stories, of the evolution of human rights as an activity, in the west and in Africa. Let me open with an image, a time when, it seems, the two stories had a common point, from which they diverged. The veteran American activist Bill Sutherland describes how Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta ‘were visibly impressed when, on that fateful night in 1957, the British flag was lowered, and the flag of Ghana was raised.  READ MORE


AU Issues Paper – Regional Peace and Security
A sustainable peace and security order across Africa requires the establishment of a ‘security community’ in Africa, that is, a community that transcends international boundaries in which the settlement of disputes by anything other than peaceful means is unthinkable. This is more than an inter-state order that formally outlaws aggression and other forms of conflict, and amounts to a complex inter-relationship between all branches of governments, civil society, the private sector, and citizens themselves.  READ MORE
The Architecture and Capacity of the African Union
African Heads of State have committed themselves to the establishment of the African Union. This has ambitious structures, which will require considerable skill and capacity if they are to function effectively. A carefully phased and prioritised process could enable these institutions and structures to be set up incrementally and to maximum effect.  READ MORE
The Economic Dimension to the African Union
This Issues Paper is intended to identify some of the principal issues surrounding African regional economic integration and the African Union. Economic integration in Africa is an imperative if the continent is to achieve its potential, and to participate on equal terms in the global economy. This paper is concerned with a broad range of issues relevant to regional economic integration, which could be the foundation for the African Economic and Monetary Union  READ MORE


Class and Power in a Stateless Somalia
The class structure in the riverine areas of southern Somalia (the irrigable lands along the banks of the Jubba and Shebelle rivers) can be described in the following simplified terms…..  READ MORE