#moneypowersex: the blog

the online interactive zone that provides a space for the free-flow of words, images, thoughts, discussions, and ideas around the OpenForum 2012 theme, 'money, power, sex: the paradox of unequal growth.'

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A short clip of the proceedings of the Open Forum ‘Power’ sessions. Beautiful people, brilliant minds, amazing conversations. Stay tuned for full video!


Produced and Directed by Illume Creative Studio.

Twelve years ago, the influential Economist magazine described Africa as “the hopeless continent”. Last year the same publication ran the headline: “Africa rising: the hopeful continent”, noting that some of the fastest-growing economies in the world are in Africa.

According to the 2012 Africa Progress Report, seven in every 10 people on the continent live in countries that have enjoyed an economic boom – growth rates averaging in excess of four percent for the past decade. From 2005 to 2009, Ethiopia recorded higher growth than China, and Uganda outperformed India.

The World Bank’s most recent estimates suggest that the number of poor people in the sub-Sahara region fell by around nine million between 2005 and 2008.

While there is clear evidence that in the past decade the continent has made significant gains in areas such as reducing infant mortality, curbing the spread of HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria, and promoting economic growth, the findings of the report show that for the vast majority of Africans, life on the “hopeful continent” remains a daily challenge.

Entitled, “Jobs Justice And Equity – Seizing Opportunities in Times of Global Change”, the 2012 Africa Progress Report (APR) says that after a decade of “buoyant growth”, wealth disparities within and across African countries are “increasingly visible”, with almost half of Africans still living on less than U.S.$1.25 a day.

“The current pattern of trickle-down growth is leaving too many people in poverty, too many children hungry and too many young people without jobs,” says the APR. It notes that governments are “failing to convert the rising tide of wealth into opportunities for their most marginalised citizens” and that unequal access to health, education, water and sanitation is “reinforcing wider inequalities”.

The report also finds that smallholder agriculture has not been part of the growth surge, leaving rural populations trapped in poverty and thus vulnerable to disease and marginalisation.

The Africa Progress Panel – a group of 10 individuals chaired by the former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, publishes the APR. Other members include Mozambique humanitarian and former South African first lady Graca Machel, former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, Ivorian businessman Tidjane Thiam, Bangladesh Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, French economist Michel Camdessus and musician and activist Bob Geldof.

The panel says it chose to highlight justice and equity in the 2012 report because “they are missing from the lives of too many Africans, making the present growth socially unsustainable”.

Nonetheless, the continent’s economic growth has helped it make significant progress towards the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets. In the past decade, the number of children who die before their fifth birthday has fallen by half from the number who died before the age of five in the decade from 1990 to 2000.

(cont. reading)

via dynamicafrica

Cape Town
Radio station:     Bush Radio 89.5FM
Website               http://bushradio.wordpress.com/
Listen Live          http://tunein.com/radio/Bush-Radio-895-s6367/

Accra
Radio station      X FM 95.1FM
Rebroadcasting  Vibe FM 91.9FM
Website X           http://www.xfm951.com/       Listen live: http://radio.gjoy24.com/online/X_FM_951 
Website Vibe      http://vibefm.com.gh/vibe/    Listen live:   http://streema.com/radios/Vibe_FM_2


Dust Magazine will also be tweeting the debate live from Accra! Follow @DustAccra


Nairobi

Radio station      Ghetto Radio 89.5FM
Website              www.ghettoradio.co.ke
Listen Live          http://www.thisisafrica.me/radioplayer/live/ghettoradio
Host                    Linda Ochanda

 

Money Power Sex Debate Series: Has Democracy Brought Blind Hope?

All over the world, democracy is pitched as the ultimate salvation of the state. It is the panacea for political problems; the benchmark for social progress; the pathway to economic success. In African countries, the notion of democracy rode the high-spirited coattails of independence. With national government structures freed from the heavy presence of colonial masters, democracy promised an era of state-sanctioned freedom: one in which citizens could claim their power to get what they need, from governments that they want – governments that were answerable to people, not the other way around.

 

But today, this hopefulness has been replaced by frustration with leadership that is anything but answerable. Seun Kuti, Nigerian musician and son of the late Fela Kuti, references this disenchantment when explaining the inspiration behind his latest album, ‘From Africa with Fury’ – a title he chose to convey the building frustration of young African people with a system that has failed them at all levels. Kuti says, “In Africa we do not have leaders, we have rulers. These rulers first serve the interest of multinational corporations and western powers before they consider the welfare of their people. People had forgotten this. Democracy brought some blind hope…”

 

The #moneypowersex radio debates will explore the questions: has democracy brought blind hope? How do the triumphs and failures of democracy manifest around the axes of money, power and sex? Do deeper problems with global economic dynamics get overshadowed by the hyped-up pursuit of national ‘democracies’?

 

The questions are not just public, but also profoundly personal. How does the idea of ‘democracy’ interact with more deeply-rooted prejudices, such as patriarchy or homophobia? What is the role of the individual in sustaining political systems, for better or worse?

 

Most importantly, if democracy has brought real hope, how can this be strengthened to redress inequalities? But if it has brought blind hope, where is the real hope to be found? These questions and more will be examined in light of current affairs in each of the countries where debates will be taking place, all of which are identified as leading democracies in the continent: Ghana, Kenya and South Africa.

 

The debates are being organised by ThisIsAfrica (www.thisisafrica.me) in collaboration with OSISA. Podcasts of the debates will also be available on the OpenForum and TIA websiteS within a week, as well as at the forum itself.



CAPE TOWN DEBATE

 

Monday 14 May

Bush Radio 89.5fm

3-4pm SAST/CAT

 

Participants

Hemel Besem – Hip-hop artist and activist

Ncebalaza Manzi – September National Imbizo coordinator
Rebecca Davis – Daily Maverick journalist
Marion Wanza – Occupy Cape Town organiser

 

Host

Bassie Montewa

 

ACCRA DEBATE

Tuesday 15 May

Vibe FM 91.9

11-12pm GMT

Rebroadcast Wednesday 16 May

XFM 95.1

11-12pm GMT

Participants

Bridget Babiee Dappah – News Anchor and social commentator 

Nana Oye Lithur – Director, Human Rights Advocacy Centre
Tic Tac – Hip-Life Musician and producer

Agyeman Badu Akosa – leading member, Convention People’s Party

Host

Kojo Mensah


Food for thought for the OpenForum Youth Summit. ‘Is this land your land or my land?’  

Check out the pieces below by Youth Summit participant, Arrianna Marie

  1. 'The Great Land Rush: Land Grabs & Food Security' - http://thesojournerproject.wordpress.com/2011/10/
  2. Land Grabs and Post-War Development in South Sudan: http://thesojournerproject.wordpress.com/2011/12/23/land-grabs-and-post-war-development-in-south-sudan/#more-301
  3. Forcible Resettlement and Land Grabs in Ethiopia: http://thesojournerproject.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/forcible-resettlement-and-land-grabs-in-ethiopia/

“Everything is argued over in this world. Apart from only one thing that is not argued over. Nobody argues about democracy. Democracy is there as if it was some sort of saint in the altar from whom miracles are no longer expected. But it’s there as a reference. A reference. Democracy. And no-one attends to the matter that the democracy in which we live is a democracy taken captive, conditioned, amputated. Because the power..the power of the citizen, the power of each one of us, is limited, in the political sphere, I repeat, in the political sphere, to remove a government that we do not like and replace it with another one that perhaps we might like in the future. Nothing else. But the big decisions are taken in a different sphere, and we all know which one that is. The big international financial organisations, the IMFs, the World Trade Organisations, the World Banks, the OECDs. All..not one of these entities is democratic. And so, how can we keep talking about democracy, if those who effectively govern the world are not chosen democratically by the people? Who chooses the representatives of each country in those organisations? Your respective peoples? No. Where then is the democracy?” 

- Jose Saramago

We will be posting images, songs and text daily that challenge some of the conventional paradigms on political systems.

These are linked to the radio debates that will be taking place around the question: Has Democracy Brought Blind Hope?

Vote #TRUTH or #FAIL and leave a comment!

Open Forum Speaker Ory Okolloh on ‘The Making of an African Activist’

voa dynamicafrica:

The two weeks since Egypt’s abrupt cancellation of a Mubarak-era gas-export deal with Israel have seen an exchange of indirect threats and warnings between the two countries, culminating in an apparent Israeli military build-up on the border of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

“In recent days, Israel appears to have begun preparing for military deployments on its southern border,” Tarek Fahmi, head of the Israel desk at the Cairo-based National Centre for Middle East Studies, told IPS.

On Apr. 22, Egypt unilaterally cancelled a 2005 export agreement for the sale of natural gas to Israel, which for the past five years had ensured a steady supply of Egyptian gas from the northern Sinai Peninsula to Israel. Egyptian energy officials attributed the move to Israel’s failure to meet payment deadlines, stressing that the decision was “not politically motivated.”

Israel, which is said to depend on Egyptian gas for some 40 percent of its electricity needs, was quick to register its opposition.

Several Israeli officials warned of the move’s dire implications for the Camp David peace agreement, signed between Egypt and Israel in 1979. Israeli opposition leader Shaul Mofaz called on his country’s chief patron, the United States, to intervene on Israel’s behalf.

The Israeli Finance Ministry went so far as to describe the move as “a dangerous precedent that casts clouds over the peace agreements and the atmosphere of peace between Egypt and Israel.”

While Israeli officials have vowed to take legal action to ensure the supply of Egyptian gas, local energy analysts say Egypt was well within its legal rights to opt out of the deal.

“The Israeli purchasers failed to pay their bills to the tune of some 100 million dollars,” Ibrahim Zahran, Egyptian petroleum expert, told IPS. “The contract clearly states that if either party fails to live up to its obligations, the other has the right to terminate the agreement.”

Egypt first began pumping natural gas to Israel in 2008, based on a deal hammered out three years earlier that allowed Egypt-Israel joint venture East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) to sell Egyptian natural gas to Israeli buyers, including the government-run Israel Electric Corporation.

Given Israel’s broad unpopularity on the Egyptian street, the gas-export deal has met with widespread public opposition since its inception. Critics note that, by providing Israel with Egyptian gas at far below international prices (while Egypt itself suffers from chronic energy shortages), the deal effectively supports - albeit indirectly - Israel’s ongoing occupation and annexation of Palestinian land.

(cont. reading)

Power in Numbers (via anotherafrica.net)

Few could have anticipated that the suicide of Tunisian vegetable vendor Mohamed Bouazizi, aged a scant 26 years old, would precipitate the largest uprising and independence movement since the liberation of the Soviet Union’s satellite states 20 years ago. Mistreated by Tunisian authorities, his story instantaneously resonated in the hearts and minds of a great many. Ultimately achieving what generations of critics had failed to do, to rally the masses into setting aside their fear of reprisal.

“We cannot have a leader who dyes his hair”

a poignant however comical quote made by an Egyptian citizen in Cairo on Egypt’s former dictator Hosni Mubarak. For nearly 30 years, controlling Egypt through its heavy-handed secret police this modern day pharaoh got unceremoniously ousted this past spring through a peaceful uprising, one that reclaimed the promises due a democracy – to afford its citizens rights, freedom and the possibility to dream.

This sudden loss of fear for regime leaders in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria has had repercussions on their respective domestic affairs but has also shaken the global geopolitical balance. For decades Western powers, such as the US and France, ignored human rights violations perpetrated by these regimes in favour of stability. Overnight these powers have had to revise their policies towards their former “friends”, not without confusion and mishaps.

In retrospect the collective actions of Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans alike were not out of the blue whatsoever. In a globalised world, aspirations for a better life cross borders both physically – as consumer goods – and through the collective sense of lost opportunities experienced individually. For the young people of Northern Africa and the Middle East it has certainly led to increasing restlessness.

However given economic developments in recent years, one can only wonder if what we are seeing now is in fact the start of a global re-distribution of wealth?

According to Eurostat the Euro zone over the past four years has only shown marginal growth, if any, peaking at 1% in 2010. All the while the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) numbers show that although employment rates stagnate, the African continent has experienced steady, increased growth around 5% during the same period. These figures also list that of the top ten fastest growing economies in the world, seven are African.