Richard Dowden

A regular blog from RAS Director, Nicholas Westcott.


Wednesday, 21 May 2014
Written by Richard Dowden
Kaye Whiteman devoted his life to journalism in and about Africa. Outside Nigeria he was probably the most knowledge person in the world on the minutiae of Nigerian politics He had a lifetime fascination with its flow; the swirls and eddies, as well as the sudden torrents and spectacular falls. He wrote about it carefully and shared his passion generously with anyone who cared to listen. A thoughtful, gentlemanly man, he had a wonderful way of delving gently into political motivations. But his... more
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