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

 

It is not often you hear a Vice President of the World Bank calling for revolution, but Oby Ezekweseli did just that at the Royal African Society’s Annual Lecture last week. There is an unwritten rule among politicians globally that they do not rubbish their rulers when they are abroad, but Oby – who would not describe herself as a politician – did not hold back. We should have guessed how fired up she was when the former minister in President Obasanjo’s... more
A few years ago I would have celebrated the end of US global hegemony but it is hard to be optimistic about the future of democratic values, human rights and a free market global economy – the formula which America proclaimed as the future when the Cold War ended in 1989. It seemed for a few years to be working as dictators were toppled and democracy proclaimed. But far from liberating nation states, the US and Britain’s attack on Afghanistan and second invasions of Iraq as well as... more
Thursday, 16 October 2014
Written by Richard Dowden
We often get famous professors on stage for our meetings but they are not often joined by the scion of South Africa’s richest family, a rock star and the head of the British army. Last Friday night at SOAS was different. And the man who made the difference and created that strange and wonderful evening last week was the irrepressible Greg Mills of the Brenthurst Foundation, who has made a life out of studying wars and politics in Africa and the rest of the world. There isn’t a... more
Wednesday, 1 October 2014
Written by Richard Dowden
Next time you pick up a glossy document from one of the global consultancy companies promoting investment opportunities in Africa, count the number of times the word ‘could’ appears. Also the phrase “potential to become…”. These global megafirms, whose word is life or death to small countries, give the impression that Africa has only just been discovered, a hidden El Dorado of investment opportunity. Get on a plane to Ouagadougou tomorrow and make your fortune.... more
Thursday, 4 September 2014
Written by Richard Dowden
A loosely interconnected Islamist uprising is spreading from Syria in northern Arabia to Mali in West Africa and threatens to produce terrorism in Europe and the US. That is the clear and immediate danger. But the Western response to it may signal the demise of the American-led global prescription which followed the end of the Cold War in 1989. Washington proclaimed democracy, human rights and the free market. But from now on those values may be trumped by one simple demand: security. When the... more

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