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Giving Meaning to Action and Research: Notes on the ‘One Health’ Approach from a Sociological Perspective

DEVELOPMENT - 22. November 2023 - 0:00

The One Health (OH) approach emphasizes the need to tackle the challenges of human, animal and ecosystem health using a more integrated approach. Since the mid-2000s and even more since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, public health scholars and policymakers have been paying an increasing attention to the One Health approach. The authors retrace the different reconstructions on the origins and meanings of the One Health approach also by referring to a case study jointly conducted by sociologists and veterinary epidemiologists in the context of dairy cattle farms located in the provinces of Turin and Cuneo. According to Beck (1992), in risk societies, the division of labour between science, politics and economics breaks apart and must be renegotiated. Moreover, according to Pierre Bourdieu, One Health is understandable, in sociological terms, as a social field, that is arenas where actors’ relations stem from the different positions in the field and from their different dispositions (habitus). Dominant groups are also recognizable. In this perspective OH takes shape as a peculiar form of real (or possible) utopia: that of using the network of connections by which we grasp the risks to formulate an integrated strategy able at promoting health from a global and systemic standpoint and preventing the potential for irreversible destruction.

Beaulah N. Chombo

D+C - 21. November 2023 - 11:45
Beaulah N. Chombo dagmar.wolf Tue, 21.11.2023 - 11:45 Beaulah N. Chombo

is an economist and works at the Zambia Development Agency. 

Kategorien: english

Challenging Global Development while Defending Modernity and Enlightenment Thought

EADI Debating Development Research - 21. November 2023 - 9:21
By Tanja Müller The latest book in the EADI Global Development Series has recently come out with the apt title Challenging Global Development: Towards Decoloniality and Justice. It is a timely and important book, not least because it provides good summary of the history of ‘development’ and Development Studies, up to contemporary debates. It interrogates …
Kategorien: english, Ticker

23-11-21_Claire Davis - USA - democracy

D+C - 21. November 2023 - 2:00
23-11-21_Claire Davis - USA - democracy dagmar.wolf Tue, 21.11.2023 - 02:00 US President Joe Biden has framed his foreign policy as a battle for democracy against autocracy. However, the US is struggling to uphold democratic values both at home and abroad United States Democracy in danger in the United States US President Joe Biden has argued that the world is engaged in a contest between democracy and autocracy. Yet his administration, like those of his predecessors, frequently works with authoritarian leaders abroad. At home, the minority political party is undermining democratic institutions in an attempt to hold onto power. 21.11.2023High-income countries Hintergrund USA SDG16 Demokratisierung Regierungsführung

Since his campaign against then-President Donald Trump, Joe Biden has frequently spoken of “the battle between democracy and autocracy” that he claims is taking place around the globe. In a speech on foreign policy in 2019, he accused Trump of failing to uphold basic democratic principles, thereby jeopardising the United States’ standing in the world. Instead of being driven by “chest-thumping” and “Twitter tantrums,” Biden says, US foreign policy should aim to “defend and advance our security, prosperity and democratic values.”

The difficulty is that security, prosperity and democratic values often come into conflict. The US has a long history of prioritising its national security and economic interests over democratic concerns. During the Cold War, the US allied with autocrats such as Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines and François Duvalier of Haiti to limit the spread of communism and the influence of the Soviet Union.

Aline Burni Niels Keijzer 29.04.2022 The relentless global decay of democracy

Compromise and containment

Nowadays, the US is making similar compromises to contain China. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has persecuted his opponents and brought the country closer to one-party rule. His administration has eroded the independence of the judiciary and endangered the human rights of non-Hindu minorities. Nevertheless, President Biden welcomed Prime Minister Modi to the White House in June 2023. The two countries struck numerous business deals despite protests from demonstrators and some US lawmakers. The Biden administration views India as a bulwark against China, both militarily and economically.

The US has also proven willing to work with Saudi Arabia. Early in his administration, Biden called for an end to arm sales to Saudi Arabia given the country’s human-rights abuses in the war in Yemen. Arms sales have continued, however; as recently as September 2023, the US State Department approved a sale worth $ 500 million according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

The Biden administration has repeatedly shown that it considers Saudi Arabia too strategically important to sever ties over moral principles. Oil production in Saudi Arabia impacts petrol prices in the US, and high petrol prices could damage Biden’s chances of re-election in 2024. US officials have also recently pushed to normalise relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, partly as a way to limit China’s influence in the region. It remains to be seen, however, whether Biden’s willingness to set aside democratic values will bear fruit – oil prices remain high, and Saudi–Israeli relations have been damaged by the current war with Hamas.

The Biden administration, like its predecessors, has also worked with, for example, Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Poland, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates – countries whose democratic track records are spotty at best and non-existent at worst. Thus, Biden’s rhetoric belies the pragmatism that has always driven the US’s foreign policy approach. Whether Biden is guilty of oversimplification or hypocrisy, he would do well to treat allies and adversaries more consistently and not call out abuses in some places while ignoring them in others. The situation is complicated, however, by the US’s own democratic backsliding. According to the Liberal Democracy Index of Varieties of Democracy, the producer of the largest global dataset on democracy, the US has undergone substantial autocratisation in the past 10 years. The structural deficits of US democracy are being exacerbated by political polarisation and attempts by one of the two major parties to stay in power by any means necessary.

Democracy in the United States

Despite the way it positions itself abroad, the US government has always been somewhat ambivalent about democracy. There are numerous impediments to majority rule. For example, when the country was founded in the 18th century, government leaders worried that people would not be well enough informed to elect candidates for national office directly. When US Americans vote for president, they are actually voting for electors. Electors in each state cast their votes based on the winner of the popular vote. Most states have a winner-takes-all approach: if a candidate wins the popular vote in Florida, for instance, he or she wins all 30 of Florida’s electoral votes. The upshot of the winner-takes-all approach is that people who vote for the losing candidate essentially have their votes nullified. Furthermore, it is entirely possible for a candidate to win the nationwide popular vote but fail to gain enough electoral votes to win the presidency. The reverse is also true: both George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016 lost the popular vote but nevertheless became president.

Citizens’ votes also do not count equally in the Senate, the upper chamber of the US legislature. Each state is allocated two senators, meaning that states with small populations have a disproportionate influence compared to states with large populations. For example, each senator from the state of Wyoming represents about 290,000 people. By contrast, each senator from the state of California represents about 20 million people. Yet their votes are equal in the Senate. In recent years, citizens of more populous states have voted for Democrats, the US’s left-wing party. Voters in less populous states have favoured Republicans, the right-wing party. Since there are more states with small populations, it has become easier for Republicans to represent a minority of Americans while still holding a majority in the Senate.

Republican insurrection

The structural advantage of Republicans in the Senate is especially important because the party is attempting to undermine democracy in a variety of ways. In the Senate, the minority party can use a tactic called the filibuster to delay voting on contentious legislation. Overcoming a filibuster requires securing 60 out of 100 Senate votes – a steep hurdle in today’s polarised political climate. In the past, Republican senators have used the filibuster to block anti-lynching laws and civil-rights legislation. More recently, they blocked a voting rights bill that would have restored some of the voting protections that Republican-led states have dismantled. Critics contend that Republican lawmakers want to make voting more difficult for Black and Latino voters, who tend to vote for Democrats. Republicans’ voter base tends to be white, and thus Republicans’ outsized influence in the Senate also means that the interests of white voters are overrepresented.

Republican lawmakers were particularly eager to restrict voting following the 2020 presidential election. Former President Donald Trump lost both the electoral and the popular vote to Joe Biden, yet instead of accepting the results, right-wing groups and some Republican lawmakers alleged that they were the result of widespread voter fraud. The issue came to a head on 6 January 2021, when Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol to stop lawmakers from counting states’ electoral votes. Five people were killed and 140 wounded in the most violent attack on the building since the British burned it down in the War of 1812. No evidence of voter fraud has been found, and Trump has been indicted on criminal charges for his repeated attempts to overturn the legal outcome of the 2020 election. However, it took the legal system a very long time to indict Trump, even though it was obvious that crimes had been perpetrated. The implication is that it may prove impossible to sentence Trump before the next election.

André de Mello e Souza 17.11.2023 Brazil defended democracy more effectively than the US

It is difficult to predict the future of democracy in the US. On the one hand, US Americans can take comfort in the fact that voter fraud is largely a fiction. On the other hand, confidence in election integrity has been eroded. Republicans seem increasingly inclined to challenge the validity of any election they lose. Trump has already attempted one coup. Barring a lengthy prison sentence, there is no reason why he could not attempt another.

Nevertheless, Biden cannot afford to alienate the entire Republican Party, just as he cannot afford to ignore countries that fall short of his democratic ideals. The Republican Party has evolved from an anti-slavery party in the 19th century to a champion of big business and small government in the 20th to an instrument of Donald Trump’s chaos in the 21st. Not all Republican officials or voters are happy about Trump’s influence, though. And while Biden has signalled his willingness to reach out to such people, the Democratic Party in general has done little to address the frustrations that propelled Trump to power in the first place. Countering the threat to American democracy will require both parties to acknowledge their failures, a process that would surely also boost the US’s credibility abroad.

Hans Dembowski 05.10.2020 Kleptocracy and authoritarianism

Claire Davis is a freelance translator who has worked for D+C/E+Z since 2013. Currently she is also an instructor of German at Truman State University in Missouri, USA.

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Kategorien: english

Was macht eine gute Digitalpartnerschaft mit Afrika aus?

GDI Briefing - 20. November 2023 - 17:16

Eine erfolgreiche Digitalpartnerschaft mit afrikanischen Ländern baut auf vertrauenswürdigen Datenaustausch, pragmatische Wirtschaftspartnerschaften und den Mittelstand. Um dies zu erreichen, bedarf es von deutscher Seite einer expliziten Auseinandersetzung mit dem afrikanischen Digitalmarkt ebenso wie einer verstärkten Koordination zwischen den einzelnen mit dem Thema betrauten Ressorts.

Kategorien: english

Emerging disputes over land and leadership in urban villages on the airport reserve in Abidjan

GDI Briefing - 20. November 2023 - 15:19

The study focuses on growing land and leadership conflicts on the public domain of an expanding airport city. The ethnography shows the deep-rooted nature of these disputes and links them to the expropriation and sidelining of customary landowners in Abidjan. In order to regain visibility and political weight, and earn themselves a spot at negotiations on urban development, landowners have resorted to a performative form of land resource management. Political recognition and profit-sharing served as the main source of motivation. The housing shortage and competition between different levels of government have also had a major impact.

Kategorien: english

Child deaths from wasting are predictable and preventable: WHO chief

UN #SDG News - 20. November 2023 - 13:00
Worldwide, 45 million children under five are wasted, meaning they are dangerously thin for their height, and roughly one million die each year from the condition, the Director-General of the World Health Organization told the Global Food Security Summit held on Monday in London. 
Kategorien: english

Sheillah Abaho

D+C - 20. November 2023 - 12:56
Sheillah Abaho dagmar.wolf Mon, 20.11.2023 - 12:56 Sheillah Abaho

is a Uganda writer based in Kampala.

Kategorien: english

Working better together? A comparative assessment of five Team Europe Initiatives

GDI Briefing - 20. November 2023 - 10:15

The concept of Team Europe takes a central role in current policy debates on the EU’s international cooperation and is commonly understood as a strategic and practical way of redefining how the EU jointly engages with international partners.The most visible outputs of the efforts made under the Team Europe label to date are the so-called Team Europe Initiatives (TEIs). TEIs are joint flagship activities that combine the contributions by the EU, selected member states, banks and other European actors in relation to specific themes in a specific country or region, or those being pursued at the global level. Two years after the first TEIs were launched, and coinciding with the Spanish Presidency of the EU Council,1 this Policy Paper analyses how Team Europe and a selection of associated TEIs have progressed to date since the overall approach was endorsed by the Council in June 2020. Based on a review of the literature and key policy documents, we analyse TEIs’ contributions in the four dimensions of: (a) visibility and communication; (b) effectiveness and development impact; (c) ownership; and (d) dynamics of harmonisation, integration and joint planning. Five case studies of TEIs are subsequently selected to analyse comparatively, on the basis of semi-structured interviews with 30 respondents, the design choices and the challenges and opportunities associated with preparing and implementing actions and joint efforts among European actors and with partner countries. They concern two regional TEIs and three TEIs in selected EU partner countries, respectively located in and covering Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Kategorien: english

Demokratisierung und Demokratieversprechen im heutigen Afrika

GDI Briefing - 20. November 2023 - 9:54

Bonn, 20. November 2023. Den Zustand der Demokratie in Afrika zu beurteilen, gestaltet sich zunehmend schwieriger. Angesichts der Schlagzeilen und Trends sind sich Beobachter*innen uneins darüber, ob die Demokratisierung in den meisten Ländern des Kontinents „ausgedient hat“ oder noch „Kurs hält“.

Die Demokratie steht weltweit unter Druck, was sich etwa an demokratischen Rückschritten oder dem wachsenden Autoritarismus und Populismus erkennen lässt. Dieser Trend geht auch an Afrika nicht spurlos vorüber – manipulierte oder unfaire Wahlen in Sierra Leone, Simbabwe und Côte d’Ivoire oder schrumpfende Räume für politische Opposition und Zivilgesellschaft in Benin, Senegal, Uganda und anderswo sind nur einige Beispiele. Viele demokratische Freiheiten schwanden in den letzten Jahren, als viele Regierungen die bürgerlichen Freiheiten im Zuge der Corona-Pandemie eingeschränkt und die Staatsgewalt militarisiert haben. Diese Entwicklung hält bis heute an.

Die jüngste Putschwelle in West- und Zentralafrika hat die Demokratie in diesen Ländern weiter ins Wanken gebracht. Da neue globale Player, wie etwa Russland, sich bei den Putschisten und selbst ernannten Regierungschefs anbiedern, ist es unwahrscheinlich, dass diese Akteure demokratische Werte in der Region übernehmen wollen, schließlich könnten diese ihren Interessen zuwiderlaufen.

Aufgrund dieser Ereignisse sehen Experten den Zustand der Demokratie und die diesbezüglichen Aussichten in vielen afrikanischen Ländern zunehmend kritisch. Beispiele aus jüngster Zeit zeigen jedoch, wie sich der Abwärtstrend aufhalten lässt und wie die richtigen Hebel demokratische Elemente erneut zum Erstarken bringen könnten. Auf dem Kontinent gab es in Sachen Demokratie einige positive Entwicklungen: Die Entscheidung des Verfassungsgerichts in Malawi vom Februar 2020, die von Unregelmäßigkeiten geprägten Präsidentschaftswahlen von 2019 zu annullieren, die erfolgreichen Präsidentschaftswahlen in Gambia im Jahr 2021, der Regierungswechsel in Sambia 2021 und der erste demokratische Machtwechsel auf den Seychellen (2020).

Bei der Bewertung der Demokratie sowie in Demokratie-Indizes wird allerdings oft die Frage ausgespart, ob sich die Mehrheit der Afrikaner*innen für die Demokratie ausspricht und ob diese Präferenz stärker ist als die Tendenz, nicht-demokratische Alternativen in Betracht zu ziehen. Es besteht ein Zusammenhang zwischen dem Zustand der Demokratie und der Lebenswirklichkeit der Menschen in Ländern, in denen die Demokratie in Gefahr und der Autoritarismus auf dem Vormarsch ist. Das heißt, ein demokratischer Rückschritt „passiert“ nicht einfach so.

Eine aktuelle, für die jeweiligen Staaten repräsentative Umfrage von Afrobarometer zeigt, dass die Unterstützung für die Demokratie unter den Afrikaner*innen seit 2014 bemerkenswert stabil geblieben ist. Etwa zwei Drittel ziehen die Demokratie jeder anderen Regierungsform vor. Ebenso lehnt eine beträchtliche Mehrheit regelmäßig eine Ein-Mann-Herrschaft (~80 %) und eine Einparteienherrschaft (~80 %) ab. Natürlich gibt es dabei einige wichtige länderspezifische Unterschiede. Im Vergleich zu 2014 ist die Unterstützung für die Demokratie in Sierra Leone (+25 Prozentpunkte), Tansania (+22) und Uganda (+17) am stärksten gewachsen, während sie in Mali (-36), Burkina Faso (-26) und Südafrika (-21) am stärksten abgenommen hat.

Der Großteil der Befragten unterstützt demokratische Normen und Institutionen, wie z. B. regelmäßige freie und faire Wahlen (75 % Unterstützung in den Jahren 2021/22), der Respekt gegenüber Gerichtsurteilen durch den Präsidenten (75 %) und die begrenzte Amtszeit des Präsidenten (74 %).

Während die Mehrheit der Befragten zwar die Demokratie zu befürworten scheint, sprechen viele gleichzeitig von einem Demokratiedefizit. In der Vergangenheit gab nur etwa die Hälfte der Befragten an, in einer Demokratie zu leben, und sei es nur in einer mangelhaften. Noch weniger Menschen (~38 % im Jahr 2021/22) zeigten sich mit dem Funktionieren der Demokratie in ihrem Land zufrieden. Natürlich ließe sich hier argumentieren, dass diese subjektiven Eindrücke viel zu positiv ausfallen, blickt man auf die deutlich düsteren Bewertungen der Demokratie durch Fachleute. Grundsätzlich wird anhand der Umfragen vor allem erkennbar, dass die Demokratieversprechen auf dem gesamten Kontinent hinter den Erwartungen und Wünschen der Bevölkerung zurückbleiben.

Dieses Missverhältnis könnte die Unterstützung der Bevölkerung für die Demokratie mit der Zeit aushöhlen. Während die Befragten bestimmte Alternativen zur Demokratie, wie etwa die Ein-Mann- und Einparteienherrschaft, deutlich stärker ablehnen, als dass sie die Demokratie als Regierungsform befürworten, ist die Zahl derer, die eine Militärherrschaft ausdrücklich ablehnen, im Laufe der Zeit zurückgegangen. Etwa die Hälfte der Befragten hält es inzwischen für legitim, dass das Militär die Kontrolle über die Regierung übernimmt, wenn die gewählten Regierungschefs die Macht für eigene Zwecke missbrauchen. Da immer mehr Menschen von Machtmissbrauch seitens der politischen Führung berichten, könnte in immer mehr Ländern die Zustimmung zu militärischen Interventionen wachsen. Die Demokratie steht auf dem Prüfstand.

Thomas Isbell war Assoziierter Wissenschaftler am IDOS im Programm Transformation politischer (Un-)Ordnung. Er ist Politikwissenschaftler und arbeitet derzeit als Postdoctoral Research Fellow an der Universität Kapstadt und bei Afrobarometer.

Kategorien: english

CSOs to launch a report on private sector engagement and development effectiveness

Reality of Aid - 20. November 2023 - 8:01

Following severe global crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate emergency, wars and conflicts, and inflation, the world is now further off-track from attaining the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The private sector has been held up as a ‘silver bullet,’ with private financing touted as a means of filling the gaps in development undermined by national governments and multilateral institutions. In recent years, the sector has emerged as a key development actor, and given […]

The post CSOs to launch a report on private sector engagement and development effectiveness appeared first on Reality of Aid.

Kategorien: english

We can’t leave anyone behind - 20. November 2023 - 8:00
It is urgent to assist the 360 million people worldwide who need humanitarian assistance, write Carlos Zorrinho and Mónica Silvana González. MEP Carlos Zorrinho is EP Standing Rapporteur for Humanitarian Aid (S&D, PT). MEP Mónica Silvana González is former EP...
Kategorien: english

23-11-20_ Derrick Silimina - Zambia - promoting regional trade

D+C - 20. November 2023 - 2:00
23-11-20_ Derrick Silimina - Zambia - promoting regional trade dagmar.wolf Mon, 20.11.2023 - 02:00 COMESA, a regional economic community with 21 member states, is promoting intra-regional trade in Africa and helping at a time when the world faces immense disruptions COMESA Promoting regional trade in Africa The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), a regional economic community in Africa with twenty-one member states, is promoting intra-regional trade in Africa and helping many nations at a time when the world faces immense disruptions. 20.11.2023Sub-Saharan Africa Nowadays SDG17 Arbeit Handelspolitik Regionale Wirtschaftsgemeinschaften Technologie Rohstoffe Volkswirtschaftliche Entwicklung

COMESA reported intra-regional trade to have hit $ 9.9 billion as of 2022 from $ 9.2 billion recorded in 2019. Many member states, including Zambia, are pledging continued support to the initiative. While taking over the chair of the regional economic bloc from his counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt during the recently held 22nd COMESA Summit in Lusaka, Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema, said: “It is therefore incumbent upon ourselves to combine our resources to promote trade and investment that will support sustainable growth and create jobs.” 

The regional summit’s theme was: “Economic integration for a thriving COMESA, anchored on green investment, value addition and tourism.” With a combined population of 580 million and a GDP of $ 768 billion, member states’ potential for intra-COMESA trade is enormous and the demand for value-added products is bound to keep growing well into the future. 

Recently, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo signed a Cooperation Agreement for the Development of a Value Chain in the Electric Vehicle Battery and Clean Energy sector. Recognising that about 70 % of the world’s cobalt reserves are in Zambia and the DRC, the two neighbouring countries harmonised their strategies to develop policies in the mining and industrial sectors for the success of the initiative.

Mining experts say the joint initiative is aimed at promoting value addition and regional integration of the continent’s vast mineral resources, in recognition of the global transition to decarbonisation and the expected increase in demand for e-technologies.

In line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which seeks to become an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its citizens, leaders from the regional economic bloc agreed to pursue opportunities locally and within the region.

Kenya’s President William Ruto is committed to COMESA’s vision of prosperity through economic integration. Ruto said Kenya is championing the radical repositioning of Africa as the clean, young, green continent of the future to exploit the opportunities arising from the global transition to green industrialisation and to transform the challenges posed by the climate crisis into opportunities to lead the next industrial revolution. 

“Our theme for the 22nd COMESA Summit resonates powerfully with Kenya, especially our aspirations for radical national transformation. The promotion of green investment to power a zero-carbon global industrial order is a priority,” Ruto said. 

President Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi focused on the special nature of challenges that the region has faced since 2017. These have devastated people and economies and include Cyclone Idai, tropical storms Ana and Gombe and Cyclone Freddy. He also highlighted other challenges faced in the last six years which include droughts, the effects of the Russian-Ukraine war and outbreaks such as Covid-19 and cholera. 

Raphael Mweninguwe 01.05.2023 Ruins after cyclone Freddy

“All of these factors have become the perfect storm that has our region in a weak position in the context of global trade. Our only chance for improvement is through leveraging the strength in our numbers, to integrate our economies urgently so that we have collective resilience against unpredictable forces that are coming against us with greater frequency over time,” Chakwera said. 

Derrick Silimina is a freelance journalist based in Lusaka.

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Kategorien: english

23-11-19_Rabson Kondowe - Malawi - food processing

D+C - 19. November 2023 - 2:00
23-11-19_Rabson Kondowe - Malawi - food processing dagmar.wolf Sun, 19.11.2023 - 02:00 Malawi’s food processing industry has great potential but cannot keep up with demand. Cooperatives can be part of the solution Labor market Developing Malawi’s food sector The country’s food-processing industry has great potential. However, it cannot keep up with demand. Cooperatives can be part of the solution, as the example of Malawi’s oldest dairy cooperative shows. 19.11.2023Sub-Saharan Africa Hintergrund SDG1 SDG2 SDG8 SDG9 SDG12 Arbeit Armutsbekämpfung Ernährung, Hunger Landwirtschaft, ländliche Entwicklung Privatwirtschaft

Malawi’s economy depends on agriculture, which employs over 80 % of the population, according to World Bank data. Productivity remains low and keeps the food sector from meeting the rising demand. The gap is filled by imports.

Despite the large share of the agricultural sector, less than two percent of Malawi’s population work in the country’s food processing industry. There are only few businesses, and they suffer from limited technical and business capacity, lack of financing and poor linkages to both farmers and the consumer market. The industry largely consists of small and medium-sized businesses, including cooperatives, which deserve particular attention.

A cooperative is a business jointly owned and democratically controlled by its members to meet their shared needs. The members share collective responsibilities, and each of them has a say in how the business is run. Benefits derived from the cooperative are distributed equitably among the members. Cooperatives cut across all sectors of Malawi’s economy with agro-business cooperatives leading the pack at 70 %. Financial cooperatives follow at 10 %. Other industries include beekeeping, furniture, mining and services like cleaning.

Creating new jobs

Cooperatives play a vital role in generating jobs in Malawi, and they have the potential to become even more important, including for the country’s food processing industry. Take, for example, Bvumbwe Dairy Farmers Cooperative Society (BDFCS), Malawi’s oldest dairy cooperative. It started in 1998 with 10 farmers who were given two cows each by the government. Over the years, the cooperative’s membership swelled to 1500 farmers. Following the branching out of most members, it stands today at 71 farmers with 160 cows. The BDFCS employs both its members and seven additional staff for daily operations.

One of the staff members is 25-year-old Lucia Mwale. She works at the BDFCS factory at Bvumbwe Trading Center in the rural district of Thyolo, about 30 kilometres south of Blantyre, Malawi’s second largest city. Mwale operates a milk processing machine for the production of value-added products such as yogurt and chambiko, a local sour milk product.

A single mother who once struggled with unemployment, Mwale found a new lease of life through her role at BDFCS. “When I left my first job as a shopkeeper, I stayed unemployed for four years,” she said. “I am now able to provide for myself and my child.”

Malawi’s most established food processing companies are located in the country’s three main cities Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu. However, it is rural cooperatives like BDFCS that provide opportunities where job prospects are particularly dim. “Indeed, our cooperative and many others can really change the narrative here, where unemployment looms large,” says BDFCS secretary Charles Jota. “Our goal is to one day sell our yogurt, chambiko and milk in retail shops across the country, just like the way these established dairy companies do. Once we do that, we are going to employ a lot of people,” he adds.

Rabson Kondowe 04.01.2022 “The middle class is missing’’

Hindered by bureaucracy

Like many other businesses in Malawi, BDFCS is facing hurdles. Market access and growth are crucial issues. “Our small size hinders us from creating more jobs. The first step towards expansion hinges on obtaining certification from the Malawi Bureau of Standards, enabling us to market our products nationwide,” says Charles Jota. He deplores that BDFCS has been unsuccessfully applying for a certification since one year and thus remains limited to distributing its products on the local market in Thyolo.

Cumbersome procedures to get Malawi Bureau of Standards certification are a common problem for many small or medium businesses in agro-processing like BDFCS, hindering them to diversify their market reach and extend beyond the rural sphere. Relying solely on the rural market, however, can prove financially insufficient to fuel growth.

While challenges persist, Smith Nkhata, a lecturer specialised in food technology and nutritional sciences at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, believes cooperatives are a working model to uplift economies in Malawi. “Beyond offering livelihoods, cooperatives embody a larger vision. One where sustainable expansion not only supports employment but also nourishes a community’s socio-economic fabric,” he says. Nkhata points out that employees in food processing require thorough and proper training in order to contribute to more impactful growth.

Local food processing

According to Nkhata, most established food processors gravitate towards urban centres for the availability of expertise, electricity and established markets which ultimately leaves the rural areas as a mere source of raw materials. He proposes a transformative approach of fostering value addition at the grassroots level.

The merits of establishing processing in plants in rural areas are plentiful, Nkhata explains. For example, proximity to raw materials offers advantages. Numerous companies headquartered in urban hubs source their raw materials from remote regions, incurring substantial transportation costs. By contrast, processing units in rural areas could not only harness local resources and offer much-needed employment but also present cost-effective alternatives for established food processing players.

For individuals like Lucia Mwale, BDFCS has not only provided a livelihood but also ignited a passion for food processing. “I continue to learn a lot,” she says. “I hope one day to have my own diary business and employ as many people as I can.”

Rabson Kondowe is a journalist based in Blantyre, Malawi.

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Postcolonial oceans: contradictions, heterogeneities, knowledges, materialities

GDI Briefing - 17. November 2023 - 10:40

Dieses Buch leistet einen Beitrag zur Untersuchung von Ozeanen, Meeren, Küstengewässern und Flüssen im Kontext der Blue Humanities, indem es sich dem Thema Wasser aus verschiedenen epistemologischen, narratologischen, geografischen, kulturellen und disziplinären Perspektiven nähert und diese miteinander vernetzt. Die Beiträger:innen aus Afrika, Asien, der Karibik, Europa, Nordamerika und dem Pazifik beschäftigen sich mit den Verflechtungen zwischen Ozeanen, Küstengebieten, Flüssen, Menschen, Tieren, Pflanzen, Organismen und Landschaften in den Bereichen Kulturgeschichte und Kulturwissenschaften, critical race theory und postkoloniale Studien, Meeres- und Umweltstudien, Linguistik, Literatur-, Film- und Medienwissenschaften.

Kategorien: english

David Lancy

D+C - 17. November 2023 - 9:04
David Lancy dagmar.wolf Fri, 17.11.2023 - 09:04 David Lancy David Lancy

is a US-American cultural anthropologist. He is a pioneer of the Anthropology of Childhood as a sub-discipline and professor emeritus at Utah State University.

David Lancy
Kategorien: english

23-11-17_André de Mello e Souza - Trump - Bolsonaro

D+C - 17. November 2023 - 2:00
23-11-17_André de Mello e Souza - Trump - Bolsonaro dagmar.wolf Fri, 17.11.2023 - 02:00 Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro adopted similar strategies, but Brazil offered a stronger and faster response against threats to presidential election results than the United States Authoritarian leaders Brazil defended democracy more effectively than the US Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro adopted similar strategies, but Brazil offered a stronger and faster response against threats to presidential election results than the United States. 17.11.2023Latin America and the Caribbean High-income countries Hintergrund Brasilien USA SDG16 Demokratisierung Recht, Verwaltung Amts- und Regierungsführung

As presidents, both Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro posed a threat to democracy in the US and Brazil respectively. However, analysts agreed that Brazil is far more vulnerable to such a threat than the US. Democratic political institutions of the latter are considered to be more established and stable.

Brazil has experienced several collapses of democratic rule, usually through military intervention. The latest lasted 21 years, from 1964 to 1985, so democracy is still relatively young at 38 years, and political instability was common throughout most of the 20th century.

But after both Trump and Bolsonaro lost their bids for reelection in 2020 and 2022 respectively, Brazil reacted much more quickly and forcefully to Bolsonaro than the US did to Trump.

The two leaders employed similar strategies during their time in office to mobilise their supporters and cast doubt on election results. After they lost elections, both claimed the elections had been rigged.

In the US, a mob of Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol on 6 January 2021, in an attempt to overturn the Electoral College vote, resulting in five casualties and more than a hundred injured people. Meanwhile, Brazil witnessed a similar event on 8 January 2023, when mobs, donned in the country’s colors, launched an attack on the Supreme Court headquarters, the Presidential palace and Congress in Brasília. Their goal was to violently overthrow the democratically elected President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who had taken office on 1st January. The ensuing chaos resulted in widespread vandalism and the destruction of several historical and artistic works.

André de Mello e Souza 21.01.2023 8 January 2023 in Brasília looked like 6 January 2021 in Washington

The same playbook

The similarities between the two events and the strategies used by Trump and Bolsonaro are not coincidental. Bolsonaro has made no attempt to hide the fact that he deliberately copied Trump’s playbook. However, the consequences of their failed challenges to election results were quite different in the US and Brazil.

Although Trump is facing multiple federal and state lawsuits accusing him of paying off a porn star, appropriating classified information and business fraud, as well as trying to overturn the election, he is still the most powerful politician on the American right. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has repeatedly tried to portray himself as the target of political persecution. In doing so, he has effectively used his position as a defendant to galvanise his supporters.

More than two years after his first presidency, it seems like he is about to win the Republican nomination for president again, with a large lead in the polls. His renewed candidacy for president can be secured regardless of the outcome of the court cases pending against him – the American constitution does not disqualify individuals convicted of crimes from running for or serving as president.

Bolsonaro is the subject of numerous criminal investigations as well. In addition to the charges from 8 January, he is accused of publicly discouraging the use of face masks during the pandemic and linking Covid-19 vaccines to HIV/AIDS infections, embezzling jewels donated by the Saudi government, falsifying his own vaccination certificate, interfering with the federal police and leaking confidential information about the electoral court, among other things.

André de Mello e Souza 14.05.2023 The Yanomami are dying, and their blood is on Bolsonaro's hands

However, less than a year after his presidency, two rulings of the Brazilian Electoral Court rendered Bolsonaro ineligible to run for any political office for eight years. In June 2023, the court ruled that he had abused his power when he made unfounded claims to foreign diplomats about the reliability of Brazil’s electronic voting system. In October, the court once again found him guilty of abuse of power when he used the celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of Brazil’s independence last year for election campaign purposes. Bolsonaro cannot run for president again until the 2030 elections, when he will be 75 years old. He says he will appeal to the Supreme Court, but it is highly unlikely that he will be able to overturn the two judgements.

The responses to the events in Brasília and Washington differed too. In Brasília, more people were immediately arrested. According to the Brazilian Minister of Justice and Public Security, around 200 people were detained. The US Capitol Police counted at least 14 arrests in Washington.

Harsher sentences

In addition, the Supreme Court’s judgements against the members of the mob that stormed the government buildings in Brasília were handed down more quickly and with much harsher sentences than the judgements against Trump supporters who were involved in 2021.

In the US, those convicted of conspiracy against democracy can appeal. In Brazil, it was the Supreme Court that convicted the conspirators, so there is no higher court to appeal to. The judgements handed down by the Supreme Court are final.

The reason for the different responses of the US and Brazilian institutions lies in the differences between the political and state structures of the two countries. In the US, elections are organised by the states, with different procedures for eligibility to vote and the way in which votes are cast and registered across the country. In contrast, in Brazil, the entire electoral process is centralised and governed by the Electoral Court, which usually decides, among other things, which candidates are eligible to run. Brazilian electoral law temporarily bars politicians who abuse their mandate from running for office, as in the case of Bolsonaro.

The Brazilian electoral system also did a better job of preventing Bolsonaro and his supporters from waging a protracted battle over the election results, as Trump did. In the US, the vote count was slow and delayed the announcement of the results by days. After that, the Electoral College process took another two months. In addition, elections and audits were conducted in every state. Trump and his supporters therefore had more time and numerous targets to organise attacks on the electoral process. In Brazil, an electronic voting system counted the votes in just two hours and the central electoral authority, not the TV news channels, announced the winner that same evening.

The Brazilian system also allowed the authorities to crack down much more aggressively on anti-democratic fake news in the aftermath. The Supreme Court ordered searches, seizures and arrests.

Nevertheless, the measures in Brazil to combat electoral misinformation were not without criticism. The courts were accused of being disproportionate, e.g., against people who merely criticised the courts. The sentences for members of the mob that attacked the government buildings were also considered too harsh by several legal scholars.

Overall, analysts view Brazil’s political system as potentially more susceptible to abuse. Because the Brazilian system places too much power in the hands of the seven judges of the Electoral Court rather than the voters and subnational entities, it allows for less checks and balances and less local oversight.

As a final note, the political aftermath of these anti-democratic challenges in the US and Brazil varies significantly too. In the US, a substantial portion of the Republican Party has embraced unfounded election-fraud claims, leading to the enactment of new voting laws and the election of extremist Trump-supporters to national and state legislatures, as well as to the leadership of the House of Representatives.

In contrast, in Brazil, the conservative political establishment has largely distanced itself from election fraud claims and Bolsonaro. Conservative leaders and voters appear more inclined to favour moderate candidates like São Paulo’s governor, Tarcísio de Freitas, as promising presidential candidates from the political right. This shift away from extremism could potentially reduce political polarisation in Brazil and bring political disputes more in line with the constitution.

André de Mello e Souza is an economist at Ipea (Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada), a federal think tank in Brazil.
X/Twitter: @A_MelloeSouza

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The EU this week finally sealed an agreement on a new treaty that will govern relations with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) community, but the refusal of 35 of the 79 ACP states to sign it has cast a shadow over its merits.
Kategorien: english

Stories from the UN Archive: Marlon Brando, the UN’s first frontman for water

UN #SDG News - 16. November 2023 - 13:00
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