Buntwani 2015 Heads to South Africa to Ask How Technology is Changing Governance Practices

This week nearly 100 delegates from across the globe meet in Johannesburg for Buntwani 2015. This event provides a platform for reflection, analysis and candid dialogue on the impact of technology-supported initiatives aimed at empowering citizens to voice their concerns and demands, as well as improve governments’ responsiveness and accountability.
The theme of Buntwani 2015 is, “The Next Step in Innovation for Good Governance: Moving the dialogue forward from potential to impact”.

Calling for Researchers: Democratic Governance

OSISA is a growing African institution committed to deepening democracy, protecting human rights and enhancing good governance in the region. It‘s vision is to promote and sustain the ideals, values, institutions and practices of open society, with the aim of establishing vibrant and tolerant southern African democracies in which people, free from material and other deprivation, understand their rights and responsibilities and participate actively in all spheres of life.

CSOs Condemns SADC Protocol on Plants

Civil society organisations (CSOs) from around the world have condemned a Southern African Development Community (SADC) draft protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (Plant Breeders’ Rights), saying it spells disaster for small-scale farmers.

The groups, representing millions of farmers globally, have submitted a list of their concerns to the SADC secretariat, urging it to throw the document away and consult farmers and CSOs.

NGO Identifies Three Agribusiness Hotspots

Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural African Plant Products (ASNAPP), a NGO with offices in a number of countries across the continent, recently identified three areas in Southern Africa that hold good potential for the cultivation of fresh produce or food processing.

The organisation says that the horticulture industry in Namibia is relatively small, and the bulk of fresh fruit and vegetables are imported from South Africa.

Zimbabwe Referendum Test for SADC's Mediation Efforts

The South African Development Community (SADC) will know in the next few months if its mediation efforts in Zimbabwe have achieved the desired effect, when the country goes to a referendum on a new draft constitution, followed by general elections.

In 2008, SADC mandated South Africa to facilitate talks between President Robert Mugabe, his arch-rival the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and a smaller break-away MDC faction.

Devastating Impact of Global Fund Crisis

According to an article Richard Lee, everyone knew that the crisis at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria will have a serious impact across Southern Africa, which is still the epicentre of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Lee, who says that no one knew how serious the crisis will be and/or what will be most affected, notes that new research from Malawi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe highlights how devastating the cancellation of Round 11 funding has been on the HIV and TB response in the region.

SADC Infrastructure Plan Welcomed

South Africa has welcomed the adoption of a regional infrastructure master plan by Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders.

The SADC Heads of State approved the plan, which is expected to boost regional trade, following their two-day summit in Mozambique.

The plan, to be implemented over a 15-year period beginning from next year, will serve as a key strategy to guide setting up of efficient and cost-effective trans-boundary infrastructure connecting all SADC member states in areas of energy, water, information and communication technology and transport.

SADC Faces Food Shortage

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states have been warned of an impending food shortage as a result of poor rains this season.

SADC executive secretary, Tomaz Salomao, says that the region will experience an overall cereal deficit of 5.5 million tonnes.

Salomao says that, "This will therefore result in an increase in the number of people requiring humanitarian assistance in terms of food and non-food intervention."

UNESCO: No Education for Marginalised Groups

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) says that some marginalised communities, including the San people of Southern Africa, still do not have access to formal education.

The agency argues this lack of education makes it difficult for them to contribute to the economic development of their communities, countries and the region.

It also states that most of the world’s 370 million marginalised indigenous people - representing approximately five percent of global population – do not have access to education.


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