[in] focus

Kazakhstan-Africa Relations: Understanding the Status Quo

lonagqizaThe year 2015 was a very challenging and unsettling year for the world where conflicts and the global economic downturn dominated the proceedings. Although it was a challenging year, there were positives, such as cooperation between some countries which was assisted by multilateral organizations namely the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN).

Read more ...

Venezuela’s legislative change leads to ideological battle; what does this mean for the people?

nalediplaaitjiesFor the first time in 17 years the Venezuelan socialist Partido Sociolista Unido de Venezuela PSUV party under the leadership of Maduro lost its legislative majority in the December 2015 elections. Economic depression and high inflation rate led to the victory of the Mesa de la Unidad Democrática (MUD) opposition, comprised of a coalition of more than 20 parties. This piece serves to analyze the political atmosphere in Venezuela following the appointment of a new legislature.

Read more ...

Common perceptions and public diplomacy: lessons from Venezuela

Wayne JumatWith the recent accession to power by the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), through legislative elections, much has been said about Venezuela’s turn towards democracy and the overturn of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela’s (PSUV) control of the National Assembly, in the public and on social media. Therefore, it is crucial that democracy must be considered as a larger subset of governance systems, and the key desire of governance systems should be efficiency in service of its people regardless of political or ideological convictions. In other words, the debate should prioritise governance systems and their (in)efficiency in servicing the basic needs and dignity of their people instead of the common narrative of democracy versus the rest. This would allow for a more nuanced discussion that brings in issues of conflicting value-systems, misunderstanding of the application of law and rights and potentially forced cultural and systemic changes.

Read more ...

China’s Role in Wildlife Conservation in Africa

lonagqizaWildlife poaching flourishes where security and governance are weak. The revenues generated by this illegal business funds corruption, human trafficking, armed militant groups and other forms of crime. The illegal wildlife trade market has become a multibillion-dollar industry that has left some African species on the brink of extinction. This trade has been rated as the fourth most lucrative illegal business in the worldwith China rated first.

Read more ...

Myanmar’s general elections: The people have spoken, will the military listen

dlaminiThe results of Myanmar’s general elections that took place on the 8th of November 2015, promise a new era in a country that has been dominated by military rule for the past decades. However, this will only be judged by the willingness of the military to pave way for a more inclusive and democratic government.

Read more ...