Media Review for January 8, 2013

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 01/08/2013

Please note: The following news items are presented here for informational purposes. The views expressed within them are those of the authors and/or individuals quoted, not those of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, the National Defense University, or the Department of Defense.

Today’s News

The Myth of Africa’s Rise
Recent high growth rates and increased foreign investment in Africa have given rise to the popular idea that the continent may well be on track to become the next global economic powerhouse. This “Africa Rising” narrative has been most prominently presented in recent cover stories by Time Magazine and The Economist. Yet both publications are wrong in their analysis of Africa’s developmental prospects — and the reasons they’re wrong speak volumes about the problematic way national economic development has come to be understood in the age of globalization. Foreign Policy

IMF’s Lagarde says conflict ‘enemy No 1′ of Africa growth
[...] “Security is too fragile in many countries and especially here in West Africa. If there is no peace, the people simply won’t have the confidence or courage to invest in their own future, and neither will [foreign investors],” she said. West and Central African nations, which have long struggled to stamp out the recurring cycles of political turmoil that have plagued the region since independence a half century ago, witnessed a surge in violence in 2012. Mail and Guardian

Africa’s middle class prospers, but at a price
In Ghana, the middle class is growing fast. It’s a trend typical across the whole continent. But, there are rising concerns about the impact of the development and whether certain parts of society are being left behind. Deutsche Welle

The Disengagers: Kerry, Hagel, and the end of American military adventurism?
[...] Obama’s choices for secretary of state and defense, respectively, Kerry and Hagel are both veterans of the Vietnam war, and although one became a liberal Democrat and the other a conservative Republican, both were defined by their Vietnam experience. Both developed a willingness to challenge conventional military wisdom and a desire to avoid more Vietnams in the future. For Hagel, this ultimately meant breaking with his own party when he saw America’s involvement in Iraq heading in a dangerous direction. Foreign Policy

How John Kerry Could Out-Internet Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State
[...] With rumors that John Kerry may be tapped to take Clinton’s place when she departs the agency this month comes rising speculation over how the current chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee might handle State’s technological mandate. But a better question isn’t what would happen to “21st-century statecraft” under Kerry — it’s what it would take to convince Kerry to consider digital a priority. Kerry is a manager, and a very capable one. But he’s not an ideas man. So unless there’s a compelling argument to do something differently, he’ll simply leave alone many of the programs Clinton put in place. That’s especially true for a project like digital diplomacy, which is valuable precisely because it distributes responsibility downward and away from top-level officials. The Atlantic

Secretary Madeleine Albright: On the U.S. Responsibility to Protect
Former U.S. Secretary of State thinks the U.S. has a responsibility to protect other countries facing crisis. She was here last month as part of a panel on preventing genocide, Responsibility to Protect…, which 92Y presented along with the U.S. Holocaust Museum. On the U.S. responsibility to protect, Albright was unwavering: “If we know everything that’s going on, and we detest it, why don’t we do something about it?” The Huffington Post

Reprisal fears cloud Libya probe into US consulate attack
[...] Benghazi-based analyst and political science professor Khaled al-Marmimi said: “Investigators are afraid to keep probing the case because they are concerned extremists will kidnap them at any moment. “The authorities are ignoring the presence of Islamist extremists in the region. They are keeping silent on the issue and have not engaged them in any dialogue.” Libyan investigations are usually carried out by members of the state security apparatus and then referred to the judiciary authorities through the office of the prosecutor general. Times Live

Mali crisis paving way for militant attacks on France: judge
The insurgency that has seized the north of Mali is paving the way for attacks on France as more French Muslims of African origin are finding a cause in the conflict, Paris’s top anti-terrorism judge warned on Sunday. Times Live

Ansar al-Din threat stokes Sahel fears
Malian Islamist group Ansar al-Din revoked its peace pledge last Thursday (January 3rd), upending talks with Bamako. “We have put on hold an offer we’ve previously made to the Malian government to stop hostilities in northern Mali and at the same time hold the negotiations that we started weeks ago with the Malian central government,” Sahara Media quoted Ansar al-Din leader Iyad Ag Ghaly as saying in a statement. Ag Ghaly added that the group was “not left any option in the face of Mali’s desire to wage war”. Ag Ghaly said the pledge to end hostilities had been “torn out” of his delegation during “rough negotiations” in Algeria. But Ansar al-Din said it was “still open to any serious start of negotiations”. Magharebia

Qaeda, Ansar Dine convoy headed for assault on Malian town: sources
Sources revealed to Al Arabiya early Saturday that fighters from al-Qaeda and the armed Ansar Dine extremist group, running a convoy of 100 vehicles loaded with weapons, were heading toward Mali’s northern town of Moti. The convoy moved Thursday morning from the Islamist-held town of Timbuktu towards Mopti, in a step seen to express al-Qaeda’s intention, along with other religious groups in the north, to expand its control over cities still under Mali’s rule. Al Arabiya

Ghana President Sworn In Despite Election Challenge
John Dramani Mahama was sworn in as Ghana’s president Monday, following last month’s disputed presidential and parliamentary polls. However, members of the main opposition party boycotted the ceremony, saying the vote was stolen. Mahama took the oath of office before regional heads of state, dignitaries and tens of thousands of citizens Monday, promising he would not let his country down. VOA

Somalia: Ugandan Rebel Group Has Links With Somali Militants, a Report Says
A UN report alleges that there is a link between Somalia’s Al Qaida inspired group of Al Shabab and the Ugandan rebel group of Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and that the two group’s connection is spreading through east Africa. According to the report, ADF has established a link with Somalia’s militant group of Al Shabab which is now weaker after Somali government forces backed by African union thrashed the group in many battlefields in south Somalia. Shabelle News

USS Gonzalez to relieve Oscar Austin in piracy mission
The U.S. Navy is sending the guided missile destroyer USS Gonzalez to shore up anti-piracy operations across the Mediterranean and off the east coast of Africa. The destroyer deployed Friday from Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia and is expected to help police the world’s most dangerous region for piracy, according to a Navy news release. There were 278 piracy-related incidents in 2012 through Dec. 3, according to the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center, which tracks worldwide attacks. Of those, 71 occurred near Somalia. The bureau reported 406 total attacks in 2009. Stars and Stripes

Exclusion drives Central African Republic revolt and, this time, France won’t intervene
The French dubbed it the neglected “Cinderella” of their African colonial empire; modern observers have called it a “phantom state”. Landlocked, isolated and poverty stricken despite reserves of gold, timber, uranium and gemstone quality diamonds, Central African Republic has been racked by rural rebellions for more than a decade. Reuters

Making fun of Morsi becomes riskier in Egypt
Egyptians love to have a good laugh. Since the fall of Hosni Mubarak they’ve relished the fact that they can now voice their humor publicly. As it turns out, though, they might not be able to do so with impunity. Deutsche Welle

Will the oil curse come to Congo? (VIDEO)
Congolese living in the Virunga National Park worry oil speculators have little interest in supporting locals. Globalpost

Civil war still rages in Nuba Mountains, thwarting Sudan, South Sudan peace
Four months ago, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was widely praised for helping to orchestrate an agreement between Sudan and South Sudan that everyone said would help halt the economic implosion of both countries, then locked in a standoff over what share Sudan should have in oil produced in South Sudan. But now, with South Sudan on Wednesday marking the second anniversary of the referendum that led to its independence, the country’s oil rigs still sit idle and Sudan still refuses to let its oil flow north to the sea. The reason can be found here, deep in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains, where Africa’s longest-running war still rages, largely out of sight. A charred tank smolders from a recent battle. Corpses, some baby-faced, dot the golden fields and rocky hillsides. The air stinks. A victorious band of rebels gloats. McClatchy News

How Will Ban Impact on Genital Mutilation?
For the estimated 140 million girls and women living with the consequences of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), it is already too late. But since a global ban on FGM was passed at the end of last year, activists hope many more will now escape this brutal practice. Alvilda Jablonko, coordinator of the No Peace Without Justice Programme on FGM, has been fighting for such a ban in the U.N. General Assembly since 2010. It was finally adopted Dec. 20, 2012. allAfrica

US ‘greatly concerned’ over Gambia cleric’s detention
The United States expressed “great concern” Monday for the safety of outspoken Gambian religious leader Imam Baba Leigh, who was arrested last month and is being detained incommunicado. The cleric was arrested on December 3 after criticising President Yahya Jammeh’s regime for executing nine death row inmates last year. AFP

Banned Morocco Islamist group ‘ready to form party’
A top member of Morocco’s largest Islamist group, whose founding leader died last month, has said that the banned but tolerated opposition movement was ready to enter the political fray if the authorities allowed it to. “If we submit a request to form a political party, we will find ourselves up against the justice system, which is in the hands of the state,” Fathallah Arsalane, the Justice and Charity movement’s number two, said in an interview published on Monday. AFP

Oxfam’s new Africa campaign reveals a misguided messiah complex
The British charity Oxfam recently released an updated version of the Book of Lamentations. Something about how “the relentless focus on ongoing problems at the expense of a more nuanced portrait of [Africa], is obscuring the progress that is being made towards a more secure and prosperous future.” That’s chief executive Barbara Stocking, as quoted by the BBC. Apparently the charity’s been doing some polling recently (in the UK), and coming up with interesting results. In one poll half of the respondents confessed that Africa conjured for them images of hunger, famine and poverty. In another poll, almost half of the 2,000 respondents thought Africa’s biggest challenge was hunger. Three out of four were suffering from ‘Africa-fatigue’ The Guardian

Algerian ‘bank hacker’ wanted by FBI held in Thailand
An alleged Algerian computer hacker wanted by the FBI on suspicion of stealing millions of dollars from US banks to fund a life of luxury has been arrested in Bangkok, Thai police say. The FBI have been tracking 24-year-old Hamza Bendelladj, a computer science graduate, for three years. He is reported to have begun hacking into banks at the age of 20. BBC

South Africa: Women Drinking To Harm Babies
Mothers in one of South Africa’s poorest areas are drinking heavily to deliberately damage their unborn babies – just so they can claim disability benefit. Life is so tough with unemployment high and crime rampant in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, that a newborn baby represents a form of income for the mothers. State benefits mean 250 South African rand (£20) per child per month for an impoverished family. But disability allowance is a far more lucrative 1200 rand a month (£85). It has led to a spike in the numbers of babies born with disabilities. Sky news

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