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Saturday, 20 March 2010

Quick notes

Interesting debate in Namibia over campaign finance. According to IPPR, no party in Namibia voluntarily publishes its accounts. Parties do not follow the Electoral Act's stipulations on foreign funding, seeing it as unworkable and only occasionally announce that they they have received foreign funding, such as SWAPO's acknowledgement in 2003 that it had received N$240,000 from the Chinese Communist Party.

Canada's mining industry players are resisting a new bill that tries to keep in check their activities abroad. The miners argue "it sends a message to the world that the government questions the integrity and performance of its mining industry".

Rapid urbanisation has now put the world's greatest cities are under threat from deadly moving tectonic plates. The next Big One could strike Tokyo, Istanbul, Tehran, Mexico City, New Delhi, Kathmandu or the two metropolises near California's San Andreas Fault, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Or it could devastate Dhaka, Jakarta, Karachi, Manila, Cairo, Osaka, Lima or Bogota. The list goes on and on.

A new VOX EU article argues that “cloud computing” will be next big technology. It will have a dramatic effect on how we live our lives and how we do business. The economic impact of the diffusion of this technology could match that of telecommunication infrastructures in the '70s and '80s or the introduction of the internet in the '90s. Once diffusion gathers apace, cloud computing could significantly boost GDP growth and could create around a million EU jobs within five years.

Grasian Mkodzongi writes on the thorny issue of land reform. According Mkodongi, while it is ‘undeniable’ that Mugabe used land reform ‘to boost his political legitimacy’, no one can ‘justify the continued existence of a dualistic land ownership structure decades after independence, in a country whose struggle for liberation crystallised around the land issue’.

A EU funded draft legislation in Uganda is causing problems. Opponents argue that the controversial Counterfeit Goods Bill threatens access to life-saving generic medicines in the country.  Few people realise that much of the legislation in African countries is drafted by donors. I was baffled when I bumped into a certain youngling posted to Zambia from a certain European country who claimed he would be "drafting legislation".

5 comments:

  1. Another view on cloud computing:

    http://www.economist.com/science-technology/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15640793

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  2. An over-politicised state?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8546952.stm

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  3. Social change - reducing tribalism and other conflicts by using television soap operas:

    http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/601/index.html

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  4. Thanks for the link to the story on campaign financing in Namibia. This is very interesting. I wonder what it would take to have the same happen in Zambia. With elections around the corner, I would be very interested to know who is financially backing ALL the political contenders.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Grasian Mkodzongi writes on the thorny issue of land reform. According Mkodongi, while it is ‘undeniable’ that Mugabe used land reform ‘to boost his political legitimacy’, no one can ‘justify the continued existence of a dualistic land ownership structure decades after independence, in a country whose struggle for liberation crystallised around the land issue’.

    The 'boosting his political legitimacy' part seems like an obvious effect of giving people the land they have been trying to get back for over a century now.

    And although I applaud the recognition that family farms are more efficient than these giant estates, and especially the recognition that white farmers in Africa are little more than administrators, I disagree with the standard issue MDC policies that there have to be the right to sell the land and a 'land audit' so there are no people holding 'multiple farms'.

    About Pambazuka, Stephen Gowans writes the following:

    One reason for the failure of progressive scholars to acknowledge the role played by Western governments and ruling class foundations in destabilizing Zimbabwe may be because they too benefit from the same sources of funding. Campbell’s critique of Mamdani, for example, was published at Pambazuka News. Pambazuka News is a project of the US ruling class Ford Foundation and of the Open Society Institute [10], a vehicle of billionaire financier George Soros to promote color-coded revolutions, under the guise of democracy promotion, in countries whose governments have been less than open to Western exports and investments. Pambazuka News is also sponsored by Fahamu [11]. While Fahamu no longer lists Western governments as funders, it has, in the past, been funded by the US State Department through USAID, by the British Parliament through the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, by the British government through the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British Department of International Development, and by the European Union. The US, Britain and EU are on record as seeking the overthrow of the Mugabe government. They fund the organizations that disseminate anti-Mugabe analyses and sloganeering. They do so with one aim: to overthrow the Mugabe government. Campbell’s protesting that he is opposed to imperialist interventions is a bit like buying crack on the street while professing opposition to drug dealing, or placing a Think Green sticker on the bumper of your new SUV. Similarly, progressive scholar Patrick Bond, whose anti-Mugabe diatribes can also be found at Pambazuka News, describes the overthrow movement Sokwanele as an independent left, seemingly unaware it is on the US government payroll. [12]

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