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

 

Despite contradictory messages coming from within the Nigerian government it looks increasingly as if President Goodluck Jonathan has decided on negotiation with Boko Haram to secure the release of the 270 kidnapped girls. This could mean the release of Boko Haram prisoners from jails as well as cash paid to the movement’s leadership, according to a senior Nigerian security source. Although the girls may be released, the source said, Boko Haram will be enriched and strengthened and will... more
Where in the world would the disappearance of more than 240 schoolgirls have been ignored by the world’s press for almost two weeks? The answer is Borno state in north-east Nigeria. Had they died in a plane crash or a sinking ferry anywhere in the world it would have been global front-page news that day. So why wasn’t it? Because north-east Nigeria is one of the most neglected, least governed, least visited places on the planet. Tucked in the top-right-hand corner of Nigeria, it... more
Friday, 18 April 2014
Written by Richard Dowden
Very good news on Wednesday when Barclays Bank agreed to give Dahabshiil, the Somali remittance company, sufficient time to find another way of transferring money from the UK and elsewhere to Somalia before closing its account with them. Up to $2 billion a year is sent from Somali exiles to their families back home, mainly through Dahabshiil. With much of the country destroyed by war, this inflow keeps millions of Somalis and their families alive, drives what business there is and enables more... more
Thursday, 10 April 2014
Written by Richard Dowden
I don’t know why I keep them, but I have never been able to just throw them away. Two small green folded cards found at a road block in Rwanda in 1994. “Karita Y’Ibiranga Umuntu – Carte d’Indentite Republika y’u Rwanda”. The name on one is Mugema. Resident of Gatore. No 0422828 Ethnie – Hutu. A boy of 20 with a round head and wearing a neat white shirt stares out. The name on the other is Gahigi Protais. Resident of Nyirabujali. No 781123 Ethnie... more
Richard Dowden spent last week touring South Africa looking at projects where the country leads the world or is working on things you would not expect to find in Africa. This is the first of his reports. Each day this week he will add a short description of another project.    In South Africa last week I saw: a mobile robot being programmed, a magical film studio, a radio telescope system that explores galaxies and dark matter, polluted mine water being purified. And I went down... more

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