Stories written by Stephanie Nieuwoudt

WORLD: Inviting Africans to G8 Meeting “Is Just Window-Dressing”

Questions are being asked about whether the Group of Eight invitation to seven African states to attend its summit in Ontario, Canada, reflects its concern about the litany of unmet promises dating from its 2005 Gleneagles meeting -- or whether it merely amounts to another bout of window-dressing.

SOUTH AFRICA: Public Sector Struggling with Shortages of 80 Drugs

South Africa is experiencing a shortage of over 80 different drugs in its public health sector, including flu vaccinations and medication for tuberculosis and high blood pressure. The severity of shortages varies from province to province and hospital to hospital, depending on the leadership and skills levels of management.

SOUTH AFRICA: ‘Shoot to Kill’ Comment Shocks Judge

In more than 34 years as a judge, he has not been as deeply concerned by anything as he was by the recent comment of a South African deputy minister of police that police officers should shoot and "kill the bastards".

ECONOMY-AFRICA: Pros and Cons to Huge Chinese Investment in DRC

Concerns abound about a nine billion dollar Chinese investment in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, especially around environmental consequences and transparency. And, on the Chinese side, investors complain not only about the lack of security in the DRC but about their own government not providing enough support.

TRADE: What Will China’s Legacy in Africa be by 2049?

With its recent history of tremendous economic growth, China has a few lessons to teach Africans. But African governments should be vigilant in ensuring that their countries also reap benefits from their relations with China.

ENVIRONMENT-SOUTH AFRICA: Opportunities Spring From e-Waste

There was an audible gasp when Kirsten McIntyre told the audience that e-waste is the third fastest growing waste stream in the world, with between 40 and 50 million tons of computers, TVs and washing machines being "thrown away" each year.

Making their voices heard: Trinidadian Bekezela Mguni joined others demanding the G20 honour pledges to support AIDS prevention and treatment. Credit:  William Farrington/IPS

ECONOMY: "Put Africa on the G20 Agenda in Pittsburgh"

With South Africa being the only African country with a seat on the Group of 20 (G20), while serving as co-chair of the working group on reforming the International Monetary Fund, it has "a moral obligation towards the continent to call for more responsible management of the global financial system".

TRADE: 2010 Soccer World Cup May See More Snorting than Kicking

It is the middle of the day but 25-year-old Lyle Arendse of Athlone on the Cape Flats, Cape Town’s sprawling hinterland, is at home. He left school nearly 10 years ago and has since been unemployed. "It is because of drugs -- tik (methamphetamine or "crystal meth") and heroin -- that I left school," he acknowledges.

Moeletsi Mbeki: The policy "strikes a fatal blow against the emergence of black entrepreneurship". Credit:

Q&A: “South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment Has Failed”

Moeletsi Mbeki, brother of former South African president Thabo Mbeki, believes that the government’s centrepiece policy of black economic empowerment was in fact the creation of the country’s white economic oligarchs to co-opt black leaders.

AFRICA: Organic Farming Could be Answer to Food Insecurity

Commercial farmers sometimes fail at organic farming because they switch over too quickly, ditching all chemicals, which is as traumatic for the soil as "a drug addict going cold turkey".

AFRICA: "Boost Development Through Labour-Intensive Farming"

Development in Africa should be boosted through labour-intensive production on small to medium-sized farms. To advance food security in Africa, governments should assist small farmers with credit lines and infrastructure while buffering them against fluctuations in world food prices.

ENVIRONMENT: GM Should Not Just be Dismissed, Nor Just Accepted

After a protracted court battle of seven years, a small South African environmental organisation won a major legal victory against the multinational agri-chemical and seed giant Monsanto.

ENERGY: South African Government Edging Towards Renewable Sources

South Africa is slowly moving towards exploring renewable energy sources, having set itself a target of three percent of energy being generated from renewable sources by 2013.

Annemarie Konstabel prepares pears at Welgemeen. Credit:  Stephanie Nieuwoudt/IPS

SOUTH AFRICA: Finally Owning the Land That They Have Been Tilling

Bathed in sunlight on a crisp autumn morning, the Welgemeen farm in the Ceres district in the Western Cape province is a shining example in the otherwise patchy track record of land reform in South Africa.

Helen Zille: 'When you buck the narrative and say, sorry, the content of the job comes first, you are labelled a racist and a sexist.' Credit:  Stephanie Nieuwoudt/IPS

POLITICS-SOUTH AFRICA: 'One Miracle at a Time'

The African National Congress comfortably won almost two-thirds of the total vote in South Africa's recent elections, to retain power at the national level and in eight of the country's nine provinces.

ECONOMY: Insurance to Even Provide Cover Against Global Crisis

The global economic crisis makes it even more imperative that investors ascertain the economic and legal conditions in foreign countries.

WORLD: Investors Eyeing South-South Trade to Help End Crisis

Despite the challenges that the global economic crisis poses to Africa and other developing regions in the southern hemisphere, South-South trade still offers huge opportunities as there is room for growth beyond the current levels.

Patricia de Lille: "They focused on a shopping list of weapons, instead of development." Credit:  Stephanie Nieuwoudt/IPS

Q&A: ‘‘Arms Deal Scandal Threatens Democracy in South Africa’’

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) vilified politician and former anti-apartheid trade unionist Patricia de Lille when she made allegations about graft in the country’s notorious multi-billion dollar deal with British, French, Italian, German and Swedish arms manufacturers back in 1999.

Protesting gender-based violence in Cape Town. Credit:  Miriam Mannak/IPS

RIGHTS-SOUTH AFRICA: Election Campaign Silent on Violence Against Women

With its emphasis on gender equality, the South African constitution is regarded as a great example for many other developing countries. Yet, despite laws intended to protect the rights of women like the Sexual Abuse Act and the Domestic Violence Act, women in the country still suffer indignities at the hands of police and in court.

ECONOMY: Africa Is of ‘‘Strategic Importance’’ to Gulf States

According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, the average annual return on investment in Africa is between 65 and 70 percent higher than in any other country, including China.

TRADE: 'Gulf States’ Technology Can Be Swapped for Africa’s Food'

Countries in the Gulf and in Africa can form mutually beneficial partnerships, with Africa supplying fertile arable land and the Gulf investing in technology, fertiliser and other agricultural inputs.

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