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

 

Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Written by Richard Dowden
I hesitated before commenting on Paul Kagame’s decision to end term limits on the presidency. He changed the Rwandan constitution and will now rule Rwanda for as long as he wants to. It’s the will of the people, he says. He organised a referendum and I waited to hear the debate weighing up the pros and cons. There was no campaign and no debate. Did we hear any report of dissent from within Rwanda? Not a whisper. The referendum went ahead. 98% of Rwandans voted yes. Why shouldn... more
Monday, 4 January 2016
Written by Richard Dowden
Africa is no longer a continent of palaces and peasants. There is now a solid middle class, which is one of the chief factors that drove Africa’s economic growth from around 2000. This coincided with more aid for development, an end to many of the wars that had dogged the continent in the 1990s, Chinese demand for commodities, and internet connectivity with the rest of the planet. These range of factors drove growth in the new century at more than 5%. In the 1970s, Africa grew at 4.2%,... more
Friday, 6 November 2015
Written by Richard Dowden
Forty years ago today (6 November), Morocco invaded Western Sahara, a former Spanish colonial possession – mostly made up of desert – in West Africa. As Spain walked away, Morocco claimed the territory as part of its ancient empire. The UN had declared that it was up to the people of the territory to decide their own future, but before they could do so, King Hassan II of Morocco organised the “Green March” in which hundreds of Moroccans were bussed to the border... more
Thursday, 8 October 2015
Written by Richard Dowden
Africa suffers from adjectives: hopeless, dark, rising. Good or bad they are all wrong and should be banned. The only adjectives we should use these days should convey only the size and complexity of the continent. Vast, varied and complex are fine. At the Financial Times Africa Conference on Monday the mood began gloomily with talk of the collapse of oil and mining prices. Ivan Glasenberg, the CEO of Glencore, the world’s biggest mining company whose shares are now almost junk, was the... more
Wednesday, 30 September 2015
Written by Richard Dowden
Is the UK government at long last beginning to grope towards a new relationship with Africa? The decision to send troops – in a non-combat role – to Somalia and South Sudan, as well as Prime Minister David Cameron’s recommitment to spending 0.7% of the UK’s gross national income on aid, are a demonstration of a renewed commitment to Africa. But both those conflicts have been going on for some time, so why now? The timing suggests that Cameron feels the need to justify... more

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