Richard Dowden

Dowden on Africa

A regular blog from  Richard Dowden, RAS Director and author of Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles

Richard writes on African news, politics, business and the word on the street from his unique perspective as a journalist with 30 years' experience of covering Africa for various publications including The Independent, The Times and The Economist.

Richard writes regularly for publications including The Guardian, Foreign Policy, and The Times, a selection of his recent writing published else can be read here

 

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
Wednesday, 30 September 2015
Written by Richard Dowden
Is the UK government at long last beginning to grope towards a new relationship with Africa? The decision to send troops – in a non-combat role – to Somalia and South Sudan, as well as Prime Minister David Cameron’s recommitment to spending 0.7% of the UK’s gross national income on aid, are a demonstration of a renewed commitment to Africa. But both those conflicts have been going on for some time, so why now? The timing suggests that Cameron feels the need to justify... more
Thursday, 30 July 2015
Written by Richard Dowden
President Obama’s message to Africa’s rulers at the African Union in Addis Ababa today will encourage Africa’s economic growth but he will also be critical of the dictatorial tendencies that still abound in Africa’s politics. Africa, he says, needs strong institutions, not strongmen. Never since the end of the Cold War has there been such a dearth of leadership on the continent. South Africa and Nigeria are the continent’s major powers but President Jacob Zuma of... more
Stephen Ellis who died yesterday was one of the greatest Africanists of his generation. He was also a great friend to me and my family and also to RAS. He edited African Affairs from 1998 to 2006 bringing several bright young academics to the journal. Stephen was a cool observer of Africa and took on the big themes that dominated Africa after the end of the Cold War. After graduating from Oxford, he was a volunteer teacher in Cameroon and then worked as a civil servant in London for a while... more

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