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African geopolitics and their implications for Durban civil society I, 11 January

As global commodity super-cycle ends, Africans continue uprising against ‘Africa Rising’
Patrick Bond

Speakers: Gabriel Hertis, China Ngubane, Daniel Dunia and Patrick Bond
Date: Monday 11 January 2015
Time: 12:30-14:00
Venue: CCS Seminar Room 602, 6th Floor, MTB Tower, Howard College, University of KwaZulu-Natal

The African continent is going through several heart-wrenching processes. Economically, the 15-year old strategy promoting natural resource exports as the primary route to capital accumulation has fallen apart. A renewed investment strategy by corporations from the West and from emerging markets desirous of African commodities, including the BRICS, has hit numerous barriers, not least the 50%+ crash of commodity prices since 2011. Social resistance to this 'extractivism' is rising, reminding of the series of African uprisings that began in Tunisia five years ago. But with Africa's remilitarisation, Western imperial and BRICS sub-imperial processes threaten to intensify resource conflicts in existing sites. On the other hand, major proposed mega-projects are not likely to be funded due to the declining economic rationale. One of the most important areas to assess these contradictions is the Great Lakes, where severe tensions in Burundi - including a threat of an African Union invasion force and US government meddling - harks back to prior tragic episodes. The Paris climate summit - which failed to generate a strategy to lower global warming to survivable levels - adds another dimension: an anticipated quickening of refugees from sites of drought and other extreme weather. All these processes are being felt in Durban, where xenophobic incidents began to multiply in the last weeks of 2015. A civil society strategy linking political economy, political ecology and genuine democratisation has never been more necessary.

Gabriel Hertis, China Ngubane and Daniel Dumia are with the African Solidarity Network; all have been involved in refugee politics for several years and played key roles in the 2015 anti-xenophobia mobilisations. Hertis is from Rwanda and Dumia is from the DRC. Ngubane and Patrick Bond are based at the UKZN Centre for Civil Society - Ngubane as head of the Dennis Brutus Community Scholar Programme and Bond as director and senior professor of development studies.


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