Tag Archives: africa

Botswana elections: Liberal Democrats help sister party and its “calm revolutionary of our time”

Three chiefs and justice gaborone botswana by BoHeMIoYesterday was polling day in the General Election in Botswana. 57 parliamentary seats are up for grabs along with council seats across the country. The Botswana Democratic Party has been in power since the country gained independence in 1966. The Liberal Democrats have been helping our sister party, the Botswana Movement for Democracy, which has been fighting the election as part of a coalition of opposition parties, the Umbrella for Democratic Change. In early August, their campaign suffered a huge blow when BMD leader and Vice Presidential candidate Gomolemo Matswaledi was killed in a car accident on the way back from a visit to Johannesberg.

Top Liberal Democrat campaigns guru Victoria Marsom, who has the by-election victories in both Brent and Eastleigh under her belt, has been working closely with the BMD for the past year as part of a project funded by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy. She’s travelled to Botswana twice, once in June and she’s there now for this last week of the campaign. I had a bit of a surprise the other night when I found this from her on my Facebook timeline:

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , , , and | 99 Comments

Opinion: Emerging markets could mean the end of the elephant, but it’s not too late

For some years I have been sponsoring an African Elephant called Grace. It was a birthday present that I have never had the heart to cancel. She is fortunate enough to live in a conservation area in Kenya. Grace is one of approximately 400,000 African Elephants still alive in the world, their population having been slashed by 50% since 1989, driven predominantly by the ivory trade. Despite an increasing shift in western attitudes very little has changed. Ever expanding globalisation and the economic crisis has resulted in several fluctuations in ivory demand, perpetuated by international ivory trade deals that have …

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Clegg on UK and EU relationship with Africa: “more trade, fairer tax and greater business transparency”

Nick Clegg gave a speech at the Africa Jubilee Business Forum which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Organisation for African Unity. Here are the highlights:

Political rights must go in tandem with economic growth

Everybody, of course, wants growth – the key decision is how you achieve it. More and more African countries face a choice between the economic models of authoritarian capitalism, on the one hand, and liberal democracy, on the other.

In countries like China, authoritarian capitalism argues the case for economic growth ahead of political freedoms. And it’s a seductive argument in view of surging growth

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LibLink: Lynne Featherstone – mobile money opens new opportunities in Africa

Lynne Featherstone writes on Huffington Post about the exciting innovation of mobile money:

There is money in the air in Mozambique. The deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and I have just watched Nilza and Herculano transfer 100 meticais (about two pounds) via mobile phone. They may both be standing in front of us for this demonstration, but in a country where less than 12% of adults have a bank account, the benefits of these mobile money systems can be large.

The Department for International Development (DFID) supported the launch of M-Pesa mobile money transfer when it was first launched in Kenya

Posted in LibLink | 1 Comment

Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: “From Eastleigh to Africa – and back again!”

Nick’s latest weekly missive focuses on two places: his visits as party leader to the Lib Dem by-election campaign in Eastleigh, and his visit as Deputy Prime Minister to Mozambique and Ethiopia to focus on ‘the three Ts’ – tax, transparency and trade. Here’s his letter in full…

libdem letter from nick clegg

Like so many of you, I’ve been to Eastleigh this week. I was there to visit a local college with our excellent candidate Mike Thornton on Monday, and after a brief stop off to see the kids, I headed straight

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LibLink: Lynne Featherstone on ending violence against women and girls in Zambia

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone is currently visiting Zambia and blogging her trip for the Huffington Post. In her first post she writes:

My first visit since arriving in Zambia was to a UK aid adolescent girls empowerment programme in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of the capital, Lusaka. This initiative is supporting more than 1,500 of the most vulnerable girls, providing safe spaces and mentoring to help build their confidence and life skills.

The girls I met told

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LibLink: Vince Cable – Where is Africa’s share of the spoils?

In the Independent, Vince Cable complains that Africa sees little of the vast profits from its natural resources:

Each year, international oil, gas, forestry and mining companies make large payments to the governments of resource-rich developing countries, though their citizens see very little of it. Charities have estimated that in Africa this income is six times greater than the aid the continent receives. Where does all this money go?

Posted in LibLink | 6 Comments

Lynne Featherstone MP writes… First ever Lib Dem DFID Minister, first trip to Africa

A month after taking up my new role as Minister for Africa in the Department for International Development, I’m currently on my first trip to the continent – South Sudan, via an overnight stop in Kenya.

Though I’ve actually been to Africa in my role as International Champion for Tackling Violence against Women Overseas, a role I’ve held since soon after the Coalition was formed, I’m anxious to see first-hand the work that DFID does toward alleviating suffering, bettering people’s lives and working with partner governments to improve their

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Opinion: Lib Dems should promote Somaliland’s case for international recognition

While Scottish Liberal Democrats are playing a full part in the debates about the country’s constitutional future, they should not forget problems facing other less fortunate small lands.  The plight of Somaliland is a case in point and is exercising the Scottish branch of Liberal International.

The first problem Somaliland confronts on the world stage is that people confuse it with lawless Somalia.  It is an immediate neighbour and shares Somali culture but is largely peaceful and enjoys a recent record of solid democratic progress.  So are its achievements in the troubled Horn of Africa lauded?  Not a bit of it, …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

Opinion: With Darfur still burning, the question that must be asked – has the Liberal hand lost its touch in times of crisis?

With the relentless genocide in Darfur still incendiary, our attention must turn to the lack of affront from the liberal contingent. Unlike the Arab/Israeli conflict or the violence in Sri Lanka, the Liberal Democrats have lucid policy on the crisis in Sudan. Without a doubt the strength of Lib Dem rhetoric does not match the strength of our policy. This begs the question: has the Liberal hand lost its touch in times of crisis?

It was Liberals who hailed the end of Apartheid. The recent death of Helen Suzman was a poignant reminder of this. It was liberal democracy that salved …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments
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    So I can take comfort from the idea that a uniform national swing with us on 8% will give us 23 MPs. From this I...
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    @ David But secondly, also be prepared to confront the EU. That does not mean threatening to leave, but it does mean gently pointing out...
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