The euphoria that greeted the upsurge in democratisation in the 1990s seems to have waned across the continent in recent years. In the early 1990s, there was a strong belief that democracy would not only expand basic rights, it would also improve citizen choices and governmental policy making, stimulate stagnant economies, and lift people out of poverty. Yusuf Bangura suggests some ways of overcoming the inequalities and gaps in democratic governance

Continuing socio-economic polarisation in South Africa has been compounded by the diminished status and use of indigenous languages, says Bhekumuzi Abdul Shabalala. He argues that this is raising concerns about the functional limitations of the law and its complicity in maintaining the prevailing social hierarchies and unequal power relation in the country today

The unintended consequence of US sanctions on the living standards of ordinary Sudanese has been exceptionally severe.  A look at a few key sectors – finance, transportation, agriculture, health, and information technology – highlights the damage that has been caused to the lives of ordinary people in Sudan by over 20 years of a the US sanctions regime,  including the State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST) listing

Global commodity prices have fallen sharply in the last 12 months; the capacity to raise domestic revenues in Africa is waning; donor financing to achieve the MDGs remains precarious; and the anticipated structural change that will diversify the continent's economies, expand employment and improve incomes is proving elusive. Revenue bargains may hold the key to breaking out of the vicious circle, argues Yusuf Bangura

It is now more than two decades since the Beijing conference adopted the Declaration aimed at improving the rights of women. How have women in Africa fared in the intervening years?  Cristina Duarte says that although progress has been made there is still a need to stop side-lining African women, who are among the most creative and entrepreneurial in the world. Or else Africa’s renaissance will be stunted

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