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The private sector rises, civil society pays the price

Elections in Africa have become extremely fraught affairs. Maybe they were always fraught affairs.

But, in the hullaballoo surrounding the so-called Second Liberation — the return to political pluralism and the supposed end of the era of military coups d’état — we seem to have forgotten that fact.

We’ve ended up nonplussed and surprised. At the growing strength of the new authoritarianism, at election-related violence that now seems almost inevitable.

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A Gigantic Art Exhibition in Africa

Deep in the heart of Africa lies the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, a forest along the banks of the Osun river in Yoruba land of Nigeria. It is a gigantic art exhibition sustained by spiritual culture, the last of hundreds of sacred forests which used to adjoin the edges of most Yoruba cities before recent urbanization. The whole grove is a temple for the ancestral-based Olorisha religion and consists of thousands of small shrines, sculptures and ornaments of gods, goddesses in theirs joyful union. This Sacred Grove is regarded as the abode of the goddess Osun, the personification of the waters of life and the spiritual mother of the Osogbo township. It is said that the goddess would give prosperity and protection to her people if they built a shrine to her and respected the spirits of the forest.

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Africa Rising? No, Africa Stalled

Cape Town — Africa’s premier survey of the quality of governance across the continent shows that it has not improved in the past four years.

“Overall governance progress in Africa is stalling,” says Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese-born entrepreneur whose foundation runs the Ibrahim Index of African Governance.

The latest edition of the index, the first to include data from all 54 countries across the continent, was published on Monday. The authors of the new report used data for the four years between 2011 and 2014 to compare progress in different categories of governance, and in different countries.

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Vet care for nomad livestock

According to the International Livestock Research Institute, over 330 million African and Asian farmers directly rely on sheep and goats for their livelihood. Animal infections reduce productivity. Most vulnerable are those who migrate with the seasonal cycle, because they lack veterinary support for their animals.

A pilot project in the arid county of Isiolo in east Kenya brings veterinary services closer to nomads to improve milk production and reduce the transmission of disease among livestock. The project, aimed at building resilience in the face of a changing climate, has been so successful it is set to be replicated in other arid areas of the country.
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Maximizing the benefits of oil and water discoveries in Turkana, Kenya

Kenya’s newly discovered oil is located in a part of the country marked by extreme poverty, high levels of illiteracy and insecurity primarily arising from years of neglect by successive governments. With the discovery of large water reserves as well, hopes in the region are high that life is set to improve for the people. But how can these dreams be realised?

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Liner Notes No.11: Musicians engage Morocco’s ‘African’ identity through Gnawa

The typical jazz festival in Morocco is characterized by a celebration of the Andalusian legacy of Morocco’s musical heritage, focusing on the sounds of Iberia’s Arab and Islamic past. But there is another type of music important to Morocco’s cultural heritage that is often overlooked at the country’s flagship music festivals. Gnawa music is the spiritual songs and rhythms to emerge from Morocco’s formerly enslaved and whose origins are in West and Central Africa. The only cultural institution to focus on showcasing this culture is the annual Gnawa and World Music Festival in Essaouira, a former trans-Saharan slave entrepôt on Morocco’s southern Atlantic coast.

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Direttore Responsabile Giuseppe Frangi