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

 

Suddenly the British election has an international issue: African migration to Europe. The sight of boatloads of poor Africans heading towards our southern European beaches induces primeval fears of being overrun. Keep them out! The sight of drowned bodies of men, women and children in the water and rows of coffins, many of them very small, induces pity. Something must be done! Or shall we just switch channels?  Then comes the thought:  This is only the beginning.  1,700 people... more
Thursday, 9 April 2015
Written by Richard Dowden
The first time I saw Uhuru Kenyatta speak was in Addis Ababa at the 2012 World Economic Forum. As he stepped down off the platform, his assistant slipped and tumbled heavily down the steps. Everyone rushed to help him. Kenyatta was closest. He turned, saw the man was not badly hurt and looked away. He did not help him to get up. On November 23rd last year Kenyatta was in Dubai watching a Formula 1 race. Meanwhile, twenty-eight Kenyans were taken off a bus in Mandera County and murdered by... more
Friday, 27 March 2015
Written by Richard Dowden
This week’s election in Nigeria is the most important African event of the decade. The ‘Africa Rising’ story can only continue if the continent’s biggest economy is stable and its rulers can transform the lives of its 174 million people, as well as the region and the entire continent. The choice is stark. Africa is the continent with the most potential, the least development and the greatest underused human talent and neglected potential. Nigeria is the big one: The... more
Thursday, 26 March 2015
Written by Richard Dowden
Last week President Salva Kiir of South Sudan rejected all the main proposals put forward by the African Union to bring peace to Africa’s newest state. Standing on the temporary podium erected for Independence Day just over three and a half years ago, he refused all attempts at compromise with Riek Machar, the former Vice President. Standing in a black suit and cowboy hat, surrounded by praise singers, ministers, religious leaders, foreign ambassadors and school children, he read... more
Friday, 6 March 2015
Written by Richard Dowden
I may have been wrong about the end of President Robert Mugabe. I assumed that nothing in Zimbabwe would change until he was carried feet first out of office. In one way that is correct. He will not retire. He will try to retain the title of President of Zimbabwe until he dies. He told a recent visitor that work keeps him young and went on to say what a wonderful woman Mrs Thatcher was. Sadly, he said, she died young because she gave up office and stopped work. He really did try to befriend... more

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