Web Features

The latest in-depth analysis of African and United Nations issues by the Africa Renewal team.

  • 22 April 2014

    Accountability in South Sudan – the African Union steps up

    Images of Charles Taylor being arrested and indicted in 2006 for his crimes in Sierra Leone's brutal civil war were splashed over the front pages of global news sites. When he was convicted in 2012, the spectacle was widely broadcast around the world. Elsewhere, the wheels of justice at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda have been grinding away steadily since 1995. Out of 95 indictments, and some 49 convictions later, complaints continue that génocidaires are still at large.

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  • 22 April 2014

    A World Free of Wartime Rape is Within Our Reach

    Conflict-related sexual violence is a war crime mired in myths and shrouded in secrecy and stigma. Perhaps the greatest misperception is that it is an atrocity of a bygone era, and that in today’s age of high tech warfare rape is no longer used as a weapon of mass destruction. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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  • 15 April 2014

    Hole in the Heart of Africa

    The Security Council has approved my proposal to deploy a United Nations peacekeeping mission to the Central African Republic – opening the way for 10,000 troops and almost 2,000 police to bring a semblance of order to a nation in ruins. I have just returned from a visit to the country to see the situation first-hand. Desperate is an understatement.

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  • 24 January 2014

    South Sudan – from cease-fire to sustainable peace?

    “We were picked up at checkpoints or during house searches. They recognized us by our accents, or by the traditional marks on our faces. 200-400 of us were brought to a room of a police station, so small that we were suffocating. Suddenly they opened fire on us from two windows. I fell to the ground, and was protected by the bodies of dead and injured lying on top of me. Some of the wounded were moaning, and they opened fire twice again during the night.”

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  • 16 December 2013

    Mandela’s struggles for peace and justice in Africa

    On 27 November 1995, a calm voice issued this jarring statement on the BBC: “Abacha is sitting on a volcano. And I am going to explode it underneath him.” It belonged to Nelson Mandela. He was 77, and had already been president of South Africa for a year. Mandela was referring to Gen. Sani Abacha, an obdurate and corrupt dictator in Nigeria who, in addition to still holding the winner of his country’s presidential election in solitary confinement, had just executed the writer and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other activists from oil-blighted Ogoniland.

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  • 16 December 2013

    The African tiger that leaped out of a cage to world leadership

    Conventional wisdom has it that tigers never roamed the African jungle. Indeed there are no tigers on the continent today, except a few that were brought to South Africa from China. But Nelson Mandela had a different opinion. “I maintained that while there were no tigers to be found in contemporary Africa, there was a Xhosa word for tiger, a word different from the one for leopard, and that if the word existed in our language, the creature must once have existed in Africa. Otherwise, why would there be a name for it?” he wrote in his autobiographyLong Walk to Freedom.

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  • 12 April 2013

    Japan: Africa’s subtle but effective partner

    JICA President, Akihiko Tanaka. Photo: Africa Renewal/Bo Li

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  • 5 April 2013

    Rwanda genocide survivors struggle to rebuild their lives

    Waking up one day to hear that her entire family had been slaughtered sounded like a horror movie to Jacqueline Murekatete. And yet it happened to her and scores of men, women and children in the east African nation of Rwanda some 19 years ago. From 6 April 1994, close to a million Tutsi ethnic minorities and some moderate Hutus were hacked to death in a killing spree that lasted for about 100 days. Hutu extremists were behind the brutal murders.

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  • 20 March 2013

    To be forever free!

    Every day sees visitors breaking down in tears while touring 97,000-square-foot Elmina Castle, west of Cape Coast, Ghana. Built in 1482 by the Portuguese as a gold trading post on the Gulf of Guinea, it was turned into a fortress for the transatlantic slave trade by the Dutch in 1637.

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  • 22 February 2013

    In Zimbabwe, learning Chinese is a lucrative investment

    Ni hao, Chinese for “hello,” or ting bu dong, meaning “I hear you, but I don’t understand,” are two expressions one often overhears today in Zimbabwe’s capital. It is one of the results of tenacious efforts by governments, private companies and individuals across Africa, but in Zimbabwe particularly, to learn the Chinese language and understand China’s culture.

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  • 11 February 2013

    Mothers’ health is improving across Africa

    In recent years, the shrill cries of a newborn baby have been bringing more shouts of joy than of anguish in maternity wards across Africa. That is because maternal deaths are decreasing on the continent, says Gifty Addico, a South Africa-based adviser for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). New figures in a UN report, Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2010, show that maternal mortality has declined by 41 per cent in the past 10 years in sub-Saharan Africa.

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  • 1 February 2013

    ‘Take away the guns,’ women tell UN envoy

    Zainab Bangura, UN special representative on sexual violence in conflict, speaking after her mission to the Central African Republic.Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

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  • 28 January 2013

    Somali diaspora’s remittances cast a lifeline

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  • 15 January 2013

    What does the ‘Doha Climate Gateway’ mean for Africa?

    Parched earth in Tahoua Province, Niger. Africa is highly vulnerable to climate change.Photograph: UN/WFP/Phil Behan

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  • 28 December 2012

    Floods: Stemming the tide in West Africa

    Flooding can be particularly devastating for poor communities.Photo: UN/Logan Abassi

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  • 21 December 2012

    New HIV infections are falling dramatically in Africa

    A Liberian soldier shows off his juggling skills at a World AIDS Day event, “Zero New Infections”, sponsored by the Joint UN Programme on AIDS and HIV (UNAIDS), in Monrovia, Liberia.

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  • 3 October 2012

    Photo highlights of the General Assembly

    Behind the scenes with Africa Renewal at the 67th UN General Assembly

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  • 2 October 2012

    Burundi’s push for universal education

    Offering free education, making it compulsory and supporting it politically has been the winning strategy behind Burundi’s successful bid to ensure that virtually all children get a primary school education. In a recent report by the UN Secretary-General, Burundi topped the list of countries having made the greatest strides in education, although it remains among the poorest countries in the world.

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  • 2 October 2012

    ‘Inspire change, make every day a Mandela Day’

    Children of ProjectArt, a Harlem, New York summer arts camp, create Nelson Mandela inspired art and messages for peace

    Children of ProjectArt, a Harlem, New York summer arts camp, create Nelson Mandela inspired art and messages for peace.Photograph: Africa Renewal / John Gillespie

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  • 2 October 2012

    Human rights is essential in fight against HIV/AIDS

    Ms. Pillay wrote this article in advance of the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC, 22-27 July.

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