New African review August/September issue

African Update – 20/09/12

In this issue, among other stories:

  • Cover story; “We are not against Africa,” says ICC
  • Special feature; Corruption in Europe – lessons for Africa
  • Features; Ghana after Atta Mills, Bright future for Zimbabwe, Who rules South Africa, Controversy over president’s death in Malawi, among other feature articles
  • New African Markets; The African Finance Corporation
  • Health/Opinion; UNAIDS defeating HIV in Africa


For some time now the International Criminal Court, ICC, has been under heavy criticism because of its “apparent bias or selective prosecutions”. The outcry has come predominantly from Africa, but with rising support from other regions of the world.

In mid June, the ICC appointed a new chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, a Gambian, to replace Moreno O’Campo, from the USA. Was Bensouda’s appointment meant to assuage and pacify Africa? Did African states try to get one of their own at the top to protect their own interest? Or was it a step towards redeeming the image of the ICC? These are perhaps some of the questions behind the cover story, based on an exclusive interview with Bensouda. New African presents Bensouda’s arguments, which although largely in defense of the ICC, also outline her plan of action as the chief prosecutor.

Bensouda “denies the court has unfairly focused on Africa.” She takes offense that this so called African bias is based on “the words of a few powerful, influential individuals” and does not seem to take into account “the millions of anonymous people who suffer” from the crimes of the same few powerful and influential individuals. Reading through the interview, it becomes clear that in spite of the leads and perceived threats pointed out by the interviewer, Bensouda was adamant that “no one [would] divert [her] from the course of justice.”

Even though Bensouda is categorical in her responses, and in how she sees the position of the ICC in the future, she fails to satisfactorily address some questions raised on issues such as selective prosecutions, and the indictment of Bush and Blair among others.

CORRUPTION IN EUROPE – Lessons for Africa

Corruption is one area where African countries or governments have been repeatedly accused of. Indeed, it is thought that corruption is one of the main reasons behind the slow economic growth of African states. In this special feature, New African presents a review of a document published by Transparency International in conjunction with the Directorate-General Home Affairs of the European Commission, regarding the state of corruption in 25 member states of the European Union.

But why would a Pan-African magazine devout its precious pages on a matter that is purely European? New African says it does so in view of the lessons Africa can learn from the damning report on corruption within the European Union. Ironically, the European Union has been one of the leading voices in condemning corruption in Africa. But now, the report says, “Corruption is a major problem in Europe.”

Entitled, “Money, politics, power – corruption risks in Europe,” the report states “the ongoing financial crisis has brought into stark reality the price of complacency about corruption in Europe.” That while the crisis is caused by a confluence of factors, among the most important causes is “the failure to put in place adequate measures to prevent, detect and sanction against legal and illegal forms of corruption.”

New African summarizes key points regarding corruption in Europe and how they can serve as important areas for Africa to examine her policies and revamp existing mechanisms to combat corruption. For example, it points out that other than traditional forms of corruption e.g. bribery; weak oversight and ineffective regulations (which are linked to ‘legal corruption’ e.g. influence peddling) contribute to poor macro-economic outcomes.

Among key avenues to corruption mentioned in the report and which New African has highlighted include “excessive and undue influence of lobbyists in the corridors of power…promoted through opaque lobbying rules and existence of [unrestricted] revolving doors.” Revolving doors mean unregulated departure of senior public officials from the public sector to take employment in the private sector. When this happens, “they skew decision making to benefit a few at the expense of many.” Key institutions implicated include political parties and parliaments. The private sector is blamed not only for its failure to play “a meaningful role in preventing and combating corruption,” but also for having “weak internal standards of corporate governance and integrity.”

Public administration is said to be prone to corruption particularly with regard to public procurement process that is described as “a corruption risk spot.” The protection of whistle blowers is also highlighted as an important step towards curbing corruption. Whistle blowing is described as being “crucial to ensuring transparency and exposing corruption, wrongdoing and mismanagement in both public and private sectors.”

New African concludes the article by saying that if Africa is reading between the lines, then it has to give up something – and that “it is corruption that must go.”


New African has featured a number of articles covering a number of countries: It reports on the political disarray in Ghana following the sudden death of president Atta Mills in July, barely five months to the general election. It also picks up a similar story from Malawi where the problem, however, is the controversy surrounding the circumstances under which Malawi’s president died.  From Zimbabwe, an outgoing US ambassador is reported as saying that the long-term future of Zimbabwe is bright, however, that that will not be without a price to be paid – putting “focus on things that matter.” In South Africa it is reported that other alternative centres of power are on the rise, and thus the days when ANC, the ruling political party enjoyed absolute power are indeed numbered.


In this article, New African looks at how Africa has been gradually taking steps towards mobilizing resources from within Africa for its own development. It looks at African Finance Corporation, one “particularly successful initiative that has tackled this question.” The article, drawn from a debate entitled, “Africa transforming Africa” is laced with insightful contributions from a high level panel of respected executives drawn from different sectors across the continent.


In this article, based on a revelation from Dr.Michel Sidibe, the executive director of UNAIDS, New African reports that “after two decades of HIV running riots in Africa, the continent now appears to be getting on top of it.” According to Dr.Sidibe, Africa is defeating AIDS, but the risk is that the fight may not be sustainable if the present strategy is maintained. The weakness of the present strategy, he says, lies in the fact that there is still too much dependency on outside support, whether financial, material or ideological. New African reports that Dr.Sidibe is of the view that “Africa cannot make progress if we do not ensure that HIV programmes are owned by the people.”

For an in depth reading of these and other articles, see New African August/September issue.


Reviewed by Daniel Swegenyi for Humanitas Afrika

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New titles in our library 12/2016

Our library has aquired a number of new and interesting books. Here is the list of the latest titles.

  • Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith
  • Fashion Cities Africa by Hannah Azieb Pool
  • Frantz Fanon: Toward a Revolutionary Humanismby Christopher Lee
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty by Robinson, James A., Acemoglu, Daron
  • Shakespeare in Swahililand: Adventures With the Ever-Living Poet by Edward Wilson-Lee
  • A History of Modern Africa: 1800 to the Present by Richard J. Reid
  • Authentically African: Arts and the Transnational Politics of Congolese Culture by Sarah Van Beurden
  • Children in Slavery through the Ages by by Gwyn CampbellSuzanne MiersJoseph C. Miller
  • Global Health in Africa: Historical Perspectives on Disease Control by Tamara Giles-Vernick
  • Rumba on the River: A History of the Popular Music of the Two Congos by Gary  Stewart
  • Women and Slavery, Vol. 1: Africa, the Indian Ocean World, and the Medieval North Atlantic by Gwyn Campbell
  • Women and Slavery, Vol. 2: The Modern Atlantic by Gwyn Campbell
  • Cahier d'un Retour Au Pays Natal by Aimé Cesaire
  • Healing Traditions: African Medicine, Cultural Exchange and Competition in South Africa, 1820-1948 by Karen Elizabeth  Flint
  • Global Education Policy and International Development: New Agendas, Issues and Policies by Antoni Verger
  • Black Skin, White Coats: Nigerian Psychiatrists, Decolonization, and the Globalization of Psychiatry by Matthew M. Heaton

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