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Africa in the News: A South African Presidential Surprise, Continued UN Action on CAR, and AGI to Host a Capitol Hill Briefing on Employment

Anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele speaks at a news conference in Cape Town

Anti-apartheid Activist Mamphela Ramphele Joins Opposition in bid for South African Presidency

Ms. Mamphela Ramphele announced that she will run for the presidency of South Africa with the Democratic Alliance (DA) political party.  The DA is the main opposition group in a country that has been ruled by the African National Congress (ANC) since end of apartheid in 1994.  Ramphele has an impressive personal background as a World Bank manager, anti-apartheid activist, doctor,  academic and businesswoman.  In 2011, Forbes Magazine listed her as one of Africa’s richest women.  Ramphele will be the first black presidential candidate of the DA, a political party that has historically drawn much of its support from the country’s white population.  The DA’s current leader, Helen Zille, has called Ms. Ramphele’s decision to align herself with the party a “game-changing moment” for the South Africa.  However, the ANC’s secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, had much harsher words for the move, calling it a “rent-a-black” ploy.  Elections are slated for late April and early May.

The UN Continues Taking Incremental Steps in the CAR

The UN Security Council has voted to impose a travel ban on and freeze the assets of the perpetrators of violence in the Central African Republic (CAR), as well as individuals who violate the arms embargo on the country and those who block the delivery of much-needed humanitarian relief.  The identities of these individuals will be announced at a later point in time.  The UN has also voted to send EU troops to the country.  The roughly 500 EU troops will reinforce the 5,500 African Union and 1,500 French troops already stationed there, bringing the total to 7,500 troops.  Current troop levels have not done much to quell the sectarian violence or redress the country’s ongoing humanitarian disaster.  In late February, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will publically address the issue of whether UN peacekeeping troops should also be dispatched to the country.

AGI to Host Youth Employment Capitol Hill Briefing

On February 7, the Africa Growth Initiative will host a lunch briefing on youth employment in Africa for Capitol Hill Staffers. The briefing will take place at 12:30 p.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building.  The event will feature Louise Fox, coauthor of a recent IMF report on African employment prospects and professor at the University of California in Berkeley.  Peter Shiras, executive vice president of the International Youth Foundation, will also speak.  If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Jen Potvin at jpotvin@brookings.edu by February 6.  Transcripts and audio from previous Hill briefings hosted by AGI are available on the Brookings website. 

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