Richard Dowden

A regular blog from RAS Director, Nicholas Westcott.

 

Wednesday, 6 April 2016
Written by Richard Dowden
When my email was hacked recently I shocked myself dreaming up the most horrific forms of torture I would personally inflict on the perpetrators. But when Mossack Fonseca was hacked last Monday – in an organised attack by journalists – I cheered the hackers.   We at RAS have been talking about the effect of tax evasion on Africa for over a decade. We wrote about it when Prime Minister Tony Blair was trying to launder his reputation post Iraq in 2005 by escaping to Africa. His... more
If Shakespeare were alive today, he would probably be writing plays about African presidents rather than medieval kings. Nowhere else in the world has such dramatic and personal politics. Uganda is a case in point. In this East African nation, the re-election of President Yoweri Museveni on 18 February has always been a foregone conclusion. Having ruled for 30 years now, he will almost certainly extend his rule after the election tomorrow and probably keep extending it until he dies in office... more
Monday, 4 January 2016
Written by Richard Dowden
Africa is no longer a continent of palaces and peasants. There is now a solid middle class, which is one of the chief factors that drove Africa’s economic growth from around 2000. This coincided with more aid for development, an end to many of the wars that had dogged the continent in the 1990s, Chinese demand for commodities, and internet connectivity with the rest of the planet. These range of factors drove growth in the new century at more than 5%. In the 1970s, Africa grew at 4.2%,... more
Friday, 6 November 2015
Written by Richard Dowden
Forty years ago today (6 November), Morocco invaded Western Sahara, a former Spanish colonial possession – mostly made up of desert – in West Africa. As Spain walked away, Morocco claimed the territory as part of its ancient empire. The UN had declared that it was up to the people of the territory to decide their own future, but before they could do so, King Hassan II of Morocco organised the “Green March” in which hundreds of Moroccans were bussed to the border... more
Thursday, 8 October 2015
Written by Richard Dowden
Africa suffers from adjectives: hopeless, dark, rising. Good or bad they are all wrong and should be banned. The only adjectives we should use these days should convey only the size and complexity of the continent. Vast, varied and complex are fine. At the Financial Times Africa Conference on Monday the mood began gloomily with talk of the collapse of oil and mining prices. Ivan Glasenberg, the CEO of Glencore, the world’s biggest mining company whose shares are now almost junk, was the... more

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