rrotberg has written 185 posts for Africa and Asia: The Key Issues

Brazil’s Deepening Malaise: Burning Forests and Corruption

With the Amazon burning and politicians regaining impunity after political and economic corruption scandals recede, Brazil’s rule of law is suffering one sharp blow after another. Although President Jair Bolsonaro campaigned as an anti-corruptionist, and as someone who would crack down hard on crime more generally, South America’s biggest country is sliding rapidly into a … Continue reading

Africa’s Vanishing Mammals

  Africa’s animals are being driven towards extinction, largely because of Chinese-sponsored poaching, but also because of rising Indigenous human populations and their pressure on available grazing land. As we saw in my last column (“Killing Off Africa’s Iconic Animals, Summer, 2019) elephants and rhinoceroses are at the greatest risk; poachers are killing both big … Continue reading

The Ruthless Robert Mugabe Finally Goes

Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s death Friday at the age of 95 removed a brutal leader who helped to liberate Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) from local white settler rule in 1980, presided for a few years over an educational and economic renaissance, and then succumbed to corruption and megalomania from about 1992 to 2017, when he was finally … Continue reading

The corruption trial of former president Omar al-Bashir is a victory for Sudan – and all of Africa

Sudan’s trial this week of former president Omar al-Bashir for corruption is a striking blow against political impunity in Africa. Its impact on Sudan may be less potent, however, than its sharp message for the remainder of the continent. The trial also emphasizes the power of Africa’s new middle class. Mr. al-Bashir ruled Sudan despotically … Continue reading

Zimbabwe’s Food Crisis and Broken Promises

Thanks to drought, cyclones, gross mismanagement, inflation, currency manipulation and continued corruption, as many as half of more than 13 million Zimbabweans will experience hunger this year. President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s postcoup administration promised better, but has delivered only economic hardship, fiscal chaos, massive electricity shortages and political desperation to his once rich country. Zimbabweans eat … Continue reading

Killing Off Africa’s Iconic Animals

  Many of the iconic fauna that are indelibly associated with Africa, and that attract so many local citizens and foreign tourists alike, no longer spread limitlessly across the vast savannahs of the mid-continent . Nor are many of the larger animals of the un- broken forest often visible . This century’s massive escalation of … Continue reading

Africa’s Need for Power

Africa is desperately short of electricity and an array of distinguished Chinese firms are helping the nations of Africa to remedy their power needs by constructing new or renovating old generating stations, erecting more than 300 dams, and extending transmission facilities. Most of the numerous projects involving Chinese concerns in these sectors are successful, especially … Continue reading

China and the Loss of Africa’s Timber

Africa’s massive deforestation, a dangerous result caused by population pressure and China’s increasing demand for lumber, is helping to accelerate the harmful effects of climate change, flooding, and drought. Timber, mostly un-processed whole logs, is Africa’s third largest export to China, after oil and minerals. To save Africa from wanton impoverishment, China will need to … Continue reading

China and Africa’s Vanishing Mammals: Part Three

Asian demand for African wild mammals, as we saw in Parts One and Two, is strong. Asians covet African ivory and rhinoceroses’ horns, lion claws, pangolin scales, and many other animal parts so that they can be used to make traditional medicinal remedies – supposed cures for a range of maladies. Ivory is also desired … Continue reading

How South Africa’s new president can restore legitimacy

Because President Cyril Ramaphosa’s new leadership of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) was only narrowly validated when citizens voted in last week’s parliamentary election, he will have to work even harder than ever to bolster legitimacy. He won last week’s national parliamentary election with a reduced majority and a far-less ringing endorsement of … Continue reading

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