Ugochi Anyaka-Oluigbo understands the devasting impact of climate change better than most. She was born and raised in the commercial city of Aba, Abia state in Nigeria but regularly travels to her home town, Amucha, in Imo state where she witnessed first-hand how erosion of the local landscape swallowed up her neighbourhood’s homes and farmland, cut off communities and threatened livelihoods.
Today she’s one of Africa’s leading environmental journalists and has made it her mission to give a voice to vulnerable communities in Nigeria and across the continent that continue to grapple with erosion, flooding, desertification and other extreme weather patterns exacerbated by climate change.
African women are particularly at risk, she says. “I think women are hugely affected by climate change. I’ve seen the impact of this, where women have no place to go to: they are threatened, they know that they might sleep and never wake up and that they might be swallowed up.”
When it was first coined in 2001, the term ‘BRIC’ seemed little more than a quirky acronym. Since then, the term has quickly become universal shorthand for the emerging markets’ ascent in the global economy.
Brazil, Russia, India and China – and South Africa since it joined the fold in 2010 – have all come a long way since former Goldman Sachs Chief Economist Jim O’Neill first spotted their potential 14 years ago. Despite riding out the global financial crisis remarkably well, the mighty BRICS have not been left completely unscathed. The average growth rate of each country has slipped by more than two percentage points over the past decade.
At a recent IBA conference, From BRICS to MINT… and Beyond!, O’Neill said that China was the only one of the original BRICS that hadn’t disappointed him, clocking an average growth rate so far this decade of eight per cent. Although he acknowledged weaker commodity prices were partly to blame for poorer performances in Brazil and Russia, he maintained his view that rule of law is vital for economic success. If all these countries can ‘succeed in doing all the things that are necessary for rule of law, then they’re going to get somewhere’, he says.
The founder and chair of KARAMAH – Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights was appointed to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom in June 2011. Here she shares her views on women’s rights in the Middle East, the developments and implications of the Arab Spring and Western perceptions of the Muslim world since 9/11.
In March this year, over the course of some of the most turbulent days in recent Egyptian history, US-based charitable and education organisation KARAMAH – Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights – conducted three workshops in Cairo. While many other organisations would have shied away from tackling contentious issues on Egyptian soil during this period, KARAMAH took the opportunity to bring together hundreds of scholars and intellectual leaders to discuss Islam, the rule of law and women’s rights in the country’s capital.
While the Democratic Republic of Congo is among the world’s most resource-rich countries, it has also been crippled by war and corruption. IBA Global Insight assesses the ongoing fight to establish law and justice in the heart of Africa.
In June last year, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) celebrated 50 years of independence from Belgium. Despite the festivities, the country had little to celebrate. The DRC has been characterised by brutality for over a decade and an estimated 5.4 million people have died from the effects of the country’s two recent wars. Although the 2006 election – the country’s first free elections for four decades – suggested progress, the country has seen the rape of more than 200,000 women and children over the past 12 years. The eastern provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu, which share a border with Rwanda, have been two of the areas most affected by violence, displacement and insecurity due to continuous clashes between rebel groups, pro-government militia and the armed forces.
Following its successful hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2010 last summer, South Africa has had much to celebrate. In December, the coveted BRIC group opened its doors to South Africa and invited the country to a meeting in Hainan in April. The decision has been met with some criticism, but the invitation to become the ‘S’ in ‘BRICS’ highlights the country’s growing importance on the world stage.
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