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, 18 April 2014
Written by Richard Dowden
Very good news on Wednesday when Barclays Bank agreed to give Dahabshiil, the Somali remittance company, sufficient time to find another way of transferring money from the UK and elsewhere to Somalia before closing its account with them. Up to $2 billion a year is sent from Somali exiles to their families back home, mainly through Dahabshiil. With much of the country destroyed by war, this inflow keeps millions of Somalis and their families alive, drives what business there is and enables more... more
Thursday, 10 April 2014
Written by Richard Dowden
I don’t know why I keep them, but I have never been able to just throw them away. Two small green folded cards found at a road block in Rwanda in 1994. “Karita Y’Ibiranga Umuntu – Carte d’Indentite Republika y’u Rwanda”. The name on one is Mugema. Resident of Gatore. No 0422828 Ethnie – Hutu. A boy of 20 with a round head and wearing a neat white shirt stares out. The name on the other is Gahigi Protais. Resident of Nyirabujali. No 781123 Ethnie... more
Richard Dowden spent last week touring South Africa looking at projects where the country leads the world or is working on things you would not expect to find in Africa. This is the first of his reports. Each day this week he will add a short description of another project.    In South Africa last week I saw: a mobile robot being programmed, a magical film studio, a radio telescope system that explores galaxies and dark matter, polluted mine water being purified. And I went down... more
Wednesday, 19 March 2014
Written by Richard Dowden
The referendum in Crimea is a dangerous precedent reminiscent of the Austrian Anschluss and the other uprisings in eastern Europe to join Germany in the 1930s. I used to think that Europe’s states had grown naturally, organically – in contrast to Africa’s imposed borders. That I thought was a major reason for Africa’s weak states and small local wars. Then I read up on the post World War One settlement and discovered that Europe’s borders had been reset by three... more
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
Written by Richard Dowden
  Uganda’s war over homosexuality threatens to spread to other African countries and has further damaged the increasingly strained relationship between Africa and Western donors. For the donors it is a matter of human rights for minorities – a corner stone of democracy. For Africa it is part of the push back against the Western donors and the assertion of an African agenda. In Africa’s very religious – Christian or Muslim – societies, it is a matter of... more

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