Stories written by Servaas van den Bosch

File photo of flooded Caprivi village. Credit:  Flythefish/Wikicommons

Zambezi Floods Displace Thousands in Namibia

Thousands of people and livestock in the Caprivi Strip have had to be evacuated as annual floodwaters rise in the Zambezi. However, loss of life has been kept to a minimum as informal warning systems prove to be effective.

WATER: Working Together on River Management

Postwar Angola is keen to expand irrigation for much-needed development, Namibia is prioritising clean drinking water and sanitation, while Botswana wants to preserve the integrity of the world-renowned Okavango Delta for tourism.

SADC trade ministers lining up for a photo opportunity after the Mar 4, 2011 meeting. Namibian trade minister Hage Geingob is pointing to the ground. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Non-Tariff Trade Barriers Springing Up

Despite regional initiatives that even include the eventual possibility of a ‘‘Cape- to-Cairo’’ free trade area, protectionist impulses have caused non-tariff barriers to spring up across Southern Africa.

An activist's t-shirt with the names of companies. EPAs seek to give European companies free access to African markets. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

SOUTHERN AFRICA: A Region of Winners and Losers, Not Partners

As Southern Africa prepares itself for another year of economic partnership agreement (EPA) negotiations with the European Union, trade analysts say any deal should be about more than just liberalised trade.

SACU heads of state cutting the cake at the union's centenary celebration in 2010. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

TRADE: South Africa Losing Interest in SADC Customs Union

A schism about the division of revenues in the world’s oldest customs union threatens to derail the process of regional economic integration in Southern Africa.

An income grant enabled Bertha Hamases to find a job. Credit:  Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

NAMIBIA: Basic Income Grant: ‘Let Others Taste What We Have Tasted’

A universal Basic Income Grant (BIG) would create laziness and dependence among Namibia’s poor, say politicians. A daring pilot project set out to prove that this untrue. IPS spoke to one of the beneficiaries of the BIG.

Supporters say an income grant lays a strong foundation for economic empowerment, responsibility and ownership. Credit:  Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

NAMIBIA: ‘You Know I’m Hungry, Feed Me Today’

A universal income grant in Namibia would alleviate poverty in one of the most unequal societies on earth, say campaigners. Free handouts only lead to laziness, responds an unwilling government.

Drawing water from the Calueque Canal - infrastructure upgrade will improve access for rural comunities in Angola and Namibia. Credit:  Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Securing Safe Water for a Million More

Long years of armed conflict have obstructed development in the areas on either side of the Angola-Namibia border. Now a 45 million dollar infrastructure upgrade is set to improve access to clean drinking water and decent sanitation for one million people.

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Together Against the Rising Water

A decade after heavy floods wrecked havoc in Southern Africa, the region is better prepared to monitor and respond to seasonal flooding. This is thanks as much to the growing strength of transboundary institutions as it is to technical improvements.

South African retail chain logos on a mall in Windhoek, Namibia. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

DEVELOPMENT: African LDCs Won’t Benefit Much from BRICS Arrival

South Africa landed a coveted membership with the Brazil, Russia, India and China bloc (BRIC) by marketing itself as a gateway to Africa but analysts doubt whether this development holds real benefits for poor countries on the rest of the continent.

The Zambezi at the border where Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabawe meet: basin-wide cooperation can help to avoid flood-related damage. Credit: Brian McMorrow/Wikicommons

Floodwaters Rising Across Southern Africa

As South Africa declares a national disaster due to flooding, other countries in the region hold their breath while water levels continue to rise.

(l-r) South African trade minister Dr Rob Davies and Namibian trade minister Hage Geingob at a briefing after the bilateral meeting on Nov 4. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

TRADE-SOUTHERN AFRICA: EPA Talks Will Miss Latest Deadline

While a trade deal between the European Union and Southern African countries is close it will not be concluded before the end of this year. In the meantime, South Africa remains in pursuit of an ambitious regional integration agenda.

Fishing boats in Cape Town harbour, South Africa, with Table Mountain as backdrop. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

TRADE: South Africa Flexing its Muscles With Poor Neighbours

The beleaguered Southern African Customs Union (SACU) has to face up to serious challenges at its upcoming heads of state meeting in October, including the divergent interests of its member states and the lack of coordinated industrial policies in the union.

Horse mackerel being prepared for export in the Southern African country Namibia's port of Walvis Bay. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

AFRICA: Liberalised Services Still Require Proper Regulations

With African countries' trade remaining inordinately dependent on natural resources exports, their economies could benefit from liberalisation of trade in services but only as long as proper domestic regulatory frameworks are put in place, some trade experts argue.

Tralac Executive Director Trudi Hartzenberg shows the centre's yearbook on regional integration. Tralac is conducting a study on the tripartite FTA. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

AFRICA: “Future Lies in a Free Trade Area From Cape To Cairo”

African governments’ ambitious plan for a tripartite free trade area (FTA), stretching from South Africa to Egypt, could be more realistic than getting existing ineffective regional customs unions on the continent to work.

(l-r): Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and South Africa's Jacob Zuma. The SADC summit called for the lifting of international sanctions against Zimbabwe. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Rallying Around Mugabe While Economic Unity Lags

Southern African leaders used the 30th Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit of government leaders to rally around Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s land seizures, in a move that undermines regionalism, while lamenting their own failure to implement their decisions on regional economic integration.

Activists at the People's Summit, which is running parallel with the SADC heads of state summit in Windhoek, Namibia. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

ECONOMY: “Borderless Southern Africa Is a Pie in the Sky”

Regional economic integration plans in southern Africa are not rooted in reality, according to civil society organisations holding a parallel meeting alongside the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Namibia’s capital of Windhoek.

Angelica Rumsey: "Border officials will harass women even if their papers are genuine." Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Women Traders “Blocked” From the “Big Business”

"Africans do not believe women can do big business," fumes Zambian trader Angelica Rumsey.

AFRICA: Bring Water Into Climate Change Negotiations

Longer periods of drought, decreased river flow, higher rainfall variability and lower soil moisture content: water is at the heart of the impacts of climate change. Yet the precious commodity scarcely features in climate negotiations.

Containers being offloaded in Walvis Bay, Namibia, for further transport into Southern Africa. Credit:  Servaas van den Bosch/IPS


European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht has appeased leading European civil society organisations about the negotiations for a Southern African economic partnership agreement (EPA), promising "not to put undue pressure" on countries.

Himba traders in downtown Windhoek, Namibia. The economic partnership agreements will not benefit marginalised people, critics say. Credit: Servaas van den Bosch/IPS

TRADE-SOUTHERN AFRICA: The End of EPA Acrimony May Be in Sight

Southern African trade ministers have pledged to sign a significantly scaled down economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) before the end of 2010. Could this be the conclusion to years of divisive negotiations?

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