product of my past

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photograph of the week – Female African entrepreneurship

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The infographic, by Afrographique,  depicts the percentage share of formal firms that are owned by women in Africa. Data from the World Bank.

Written by Eliza

November 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Posted in Unreported world

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Mobile phones in Africa – an interview with Chris Locke of the GSMA Development Fund

Chris Locke is the managing director of the development fund at the GSMA, an organisation that represents nearly 800 of the world’s mobile phone operators. In this interview, he shares his thoughts on Africa’s mobile phones market, the developmental benefits of mobile tech and what he sees as the greatest barrier to further growth. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

October 26, 2011 at 12:07 am

Sound bite: Right here all over – Occupy Wall Street video

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Alex Mallis, a filmmaker from Brooklyn, New York has captured, in a beautiful short film, the community that is forming around the Occupy Wall Street movement.

What is particularly fascinating is how they have recognised and captured the power of social media to make sure their story is told to the world.

With a recent poll finding that the American public support the protesters, they might be on the streets of New York – and across the United States – for a while yet.

Written by Eliza

October 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm

A tale of two Cameroons – should we be calling for two elections?

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On Sunday 9 October, Cameroonians will cast their vote in a presidential election few believe to be free or fair. Many have already commented on the tactics used to undermine the opposition’s campaigns or the fact that with only days until the election, the incumbent, President Paul Biya is yet to be spotted on the campaign trail. But precious little has been said of an open wound at the heart of this failed democracy. That is of course, until reports emerged over the weekend of the alleged arrest of 200 people who gathered to celebrate more than 50 years of independence in Southern Cameroons.

According to a Facebook post, shared on the blog ZoFem, Mola Njoh Litumbe, an activist campaigning for the restoration of Southern Cameroons, was on October 1, placed under house arrest, though it is unclear from the post if he was involved in the independence day celebrations. The unnamed writer, a journalist, said: “I write to confirm that Mola Njoh is under house arrest. It is in front of his residence that police men have just beaten me [and] seized my identification (ID) card.”

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Written by Eliza

October 5, 2011 at 7:19 am

The autumn of their discontent – the #occupywallstreet movement

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CC Andrew Shiue, Flickr. Occupy Wall Street 17/09/2011

I am a sucker for a call-to-action, and on Wednesday, 28 September, spotted tweets calling for the most audacious sort: #OccupyWallStreet. Cryn Johannsen, founder and executive director of All Education Matters had been tweeting ferociously for hours, by turn rallying the troops and encouraging others to join the sort of protests that, after the Egyptian revolution in February this year, have sprung up from Burkina Faso to Bahrain.

With Cryn’s permission, I am posting an excerpt from a blog she wrote for Loop21 explaining why Americans were taking to the street and why #OccupyWallstreet is now a national movement.

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Written by Eliza

October 3, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Making the case for organic cotton

CC Yosef Hadar / World Bank

On Friday, 9 September, I hosted the Africa Fashion Guide book launch on behalf of its author, Jacqueline Shaw. The evening consisted of two panel discussions, the first on ethical fashion and the second on African fashion. The latter sparked debate about what is ‘African fashion’? Was is style over substance without a satisfactory focus on developing skill in garment making or in building an industry. My views on this will be blogged later.

But what also came across from the former was how little people understood the benefits of ethical fashion. Like the general public, much of the audience – though involved in the fashion in some way – were uncertain about how organic cotton, for example, differed from conventional and what the point  was. Last year, I wrote a piece for the Ecologist highlighting the development benefits of organic cotton. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

September 26, 2011 at 1:40 am

What is Libya’s new democracy if it is built on racial hatred?

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With the support of the great and the good, Libya is inching ever closer to what we hope will be a democratic future.

On 1 September 2011, leaders from some 60 countries gathered in Paris for a conference on the future of Libya and to deliberate on ways to support Libya’s government-in-waiting – the National Transitional Council (NTC).

The “friends of Libya” meeting hosted by French President, Nicholas Sarkozy and the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, pledged to maintain military pressure of Colonel Gadaffi and to release funds to support the NTC and a transition to democracy in Libya. Speaking at the event, Sarkozy said: “We are all committed to returning to Libya the money of yesterday for the building of tomorrow.

Much would have surely been discussed at the event, not least, as the Russian media suggests, the scramble for Libya’s oil. But one important issue would have surely been ignored: the ongoing racially-motivated attack on Libya’s black population by the rebel forces. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Eliza

September 12, 2011 at 8:03 am