Richard Dowden

A regular blog from RAS Director, Nicholas Westcott.

 

Friday, 27 March 2015
Written by Richard Dowden
This week’s election in Nigeria is the most important African event of the decade. The ‘Africa Rising’ story can only continue if the continent’s biggest economy is stable and its rulers can transform the lives of its 174 million people, as well as the region and the entire continent. The choice is stark. Africa is the continent with the most potential, the least development and the greatest underused human talent and neglected potential. Nigeria is the big one: The... more
Thursday, 26 March 2015
Written by Richard Dowden
Last week President Salva Kiir of South Sudan rejected all the main proposals put forward by the African Union to bring peace to Africa’s newest state. Standing on the temporary podium erected for Independence Day just over three and a half years ago, he refused all attempts at compromise with Riek Machar, the former Vice President. Standing in a black suit and cowboy hat, surrounded by praise singers, ministers, religious leaders, foreign ambassadors and school children, he read... more
Friday, 6 March 2015
Written by Richard Dowden
I may have been wrong about the end of President Robert Mugabe. I assumed that nothing in Zimbabwe would change until he was carried feet first out of office. In one way that is correct. He will not retire. He will try to retain the title of President of Zimbabwe until he dies. He told a recent visitor that work keeps him young and went on to say what a wonderful woman Mrs Thatcher was. Sadly, he said, she died young because she gave up office and stopped work. He really did try to befriend... more
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Written by Richard Dowden
If you said the words “Africa” and “food” and asked most people in the western world what the connection was, I would bet my Sunday lunch that many people would say: “None. They don’t have any. They’re all starving.” So the news in The Lancet this week that Africans have the best diets in the world is wonderful and spectacularly ironic. According to the researchers, out of the top ten best national diets in the world only one is not African,... more
Monday, 9 February 2015
Written by Richard Dowden
In December 2011 Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint spoke at an RAS Africa Business Breakfast. I was chairing it and in the question and answer session I asked him about HSBC's role in corporate companies mis-invoicing and money laundering and the subsequent loss of revenue to African countries.  He denied that HSBC was involved in any such practices. After he left his successor Stuart Gulliver admitted that HSBC's anti-money laundering should have been stronger and more effective... more

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