Afrika Focus

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 0772-084X / 0772-084X
Published by: Brill Academic Publishers (10.1163)
Total articles ≅ 1,343
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Latest articles in this journal

Published: 9 June 2021
Afrika Focus, Volume 34, pp 167-171; https://doi.org/10.1163/2031356x-34010008

Abstract:
Through the ethnographic lens of so-called gangs and anti-gangs, this doctoral thesis investigates the politics of everyday policing in the conflict-affected city of Goma (Democratic Republic of Congo) and the distinct style of street authority it produces. The gangs and anti-gangs focused upon in this doctoral study are marginalised youths from Goma’s popular neighbourhoods, who see it as their mission to protect the cities’ inhabitants from the everyday “crime” and violence committed by maibobo (street children) and other gangs. To understand how gangs and anti-gangs carve out a political space for themselves within Goma’s broader policing environment, and impose themselves as street authorities, I draw from three main theoretical concepts: liminality, performance and the political imagination. The doctoral thesis is situated in bodies of literature around urban violence and (in)security, conflict studies, vigilantism and civilian policing groups, governance, and the exercise of public authority. Methodologically, besides the main method of ethnography, this PhD relies also on visual methodologies – in particular a collaborative filmmaking methodology that was developed during the course of the research.
Published: 9 June 2021
Afrika Focus, Volume 34, pp 172-181; https://doi.org/10.1163/2031356x-34010007

Abstract:
Today, female genital cutting (fgc) is more often performed by health professionals. In this dissertation we aim to answer the question of why mothers opt to medicalise their daughters’ cut, and how this decision relates to their social position within their community. We focus on Egypt and Kenya. The first important conclusion of our research is that increasing medicalisation and decreasing fgc prevalence can coexist. Moreover, we identify three major drivers behind mothers’ choice to medicalise their daughters’ cut. Firstly, mothers argue that they opt for a medicalised cut to reduce the health risks related to the cut. They seek a less harmful but still culturally acceptable alternative. Secondly, the medicalisation of fgc is socially stratified. Thirdly, medicalisation may act as a social norm in itself. In conclusion, we state that the debate about medicalisation should be more nuanced and that the general discourse on medicalisation should be challenged and empirically grounded.
Annelies Verdoolaege
Published: 9 June 2021
Afrika Focus, Volume 34, pp 3-5; https://doi.org/10.1163/2031356x-34010010

, Arzeena Bhowarkan
Published: 9 June 2021
Afrika Focus, Volume 34, pp 28-49; https://doi.org/10.1163/2031356x-34010004

Abstract:
Mauritius won its first victory when the “tribunal constituted under Annex vii of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea” delivered its award “in the matter of the Chagos Marine Protected Area (mpa) Arbitration, between the Republic of Mauritius and the United Kingdom”. The award declared that the mpa established around Chagos by the United Kingdom was against international law. However, the decision desired by both Mauritius and the Chagossians is found in the dissenting opinion, which is, as a matter of law, non-binding. The dissenting opinion is to the effect that the tribunal had jurisdiction to consider the issue of sovereignty over Chagos and that if such issue was considered, Mauritius had a strong case for winning back sovereignty over Chagos. This article aims to make the dissenting opinions more widely known and reflect on the legal value of such opinions, alongside their high political and moral value and relevance to Mauritius and the Chagossians.
Published: 9 June 2021
Afrika Focus, Volume 34, pp 106-126; https://doi.org/10.1163/2031356x-34010001

Abstract:
Non-formal apprenticeship opportunities have a clear record of effectiveness, as evidenced by several research studies. After completing short-term vocational training, apprentices demonstrate the required vocational skills. How is learning constructed in a non-formal learning process? What forms of interaction are developed? What are the determinants of the effectiveness demonstrated by apprentices? This article answers these questions by analysing data from a survey that evaluates the elements of the training context and the level of skills acquired by apprentices. It shows that there is great flexibility in the organisation and techniques of learning, as well as permanent interdependence between apprentices, which facilitates the co-construction of skills.
Published: 9 June 2021
Afrika Focus, Volume 34, pp 155-166; https://doi.org/10.1163/2031356x-34010009

Abstract:
Smoked fish products are an important source of animal protein in Ghana. They are processed on traditional ovens (namely, the Chorkor smoker and the metal drum), which results in elevated product contamination with carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (pah s). The main regulatory marker for pah s is benzo(a)pyrene (BaP). An improved oven called the fao-Thiaroye Processing Technique (ftt) has been proposed as an intervention. This study evaluated the efficacy of that intervention and evaluated consumer response to its products. Sardinella sp. was smoked separately on the ftt and the traditional ovens and their BaP levels determined. Whereas the mean BaP in the ftt product was 0.2 µg/kg (ten times lower than the EU limit of 2 µg/kg), the levels in the Chorkor smoker and metal drum products were 60 µg/kg and 26 µg/kg, respectively (up to 30 times the EU limit). Consumer acceptance did not differ between ftt and traditional oven products. This suggests that ftt is an efficacious intervention whose products are acceptable to consumers.
Published: 9 June 2021
Afrika Focus, Volume 34, pp 50-74; https://doi.org/10.1163/2031356x-34010005

Abstract:
The financial sustainability of microfinance institutions (mfi s) is crucial if their benefits are to be enjoyed in the long run. This study investigated the determinants of mfi s’ financial sustainability at growth stage. The study aimed to address the following questions: are factors influencing financial sustainability at maturity equally important at growth stage? What influence do lending terms have on financial sustainability at growth stage? The study used panel regression models and four-year survey data from 106 rural mfi s in Tanzania. Decomposition of lending types was adopted to unveil the contribution of lending terms to financial sustainability. We found that most factors influencing financial sustainability at maturity stage are equally important in influencing sustainability at growth stage. In addition, two factors appear to affect financial sustainability at growth stage only. Moreover, lending terms matter in determining financial sustainability at growth stage. The study provides insights on how lending terms can be used to influence financial sustainability at growth stage.
Published: 9 June 2021
Afrika Focus, Volume 34, pp 75-105; https://doi.org/10.1163/2031356x-34010002

Abstract:
For the last two decades, scholars within the dominant, largely Western, approaches to democratic consolidation have considered the consolidation of democracy in sub-Saharan Africa to be stymied, if not impossible. Drawing on the various models of this democratic consolidation, this article seeks to examine whether African (and Latin American) democracies have really failed to meet all the necessary criteria of democratic consolidation, or whether the measures and/or application of the dominant approaches are methodologically flawed in their application to non-Western cases. The case study analysis suggests that while Senegal has sufficiently met the ‘alternation of power’ requirement as well as demonstrating significant deepening of democracy, it has failed to maintain low levels of governmental corruption – a necessary criterion for consolidation according to the dominant approaches. Moreover, given their contagion effect, larger regional instabilities pose a significant threat to the country’s democratic survivability. However, as the case study analysis suggests, while these factors remain a matter of concern, when comparisons are drawn with countries such as Italy, Greece and Spain, they may not be as crucial in explaining why Senegal and other new democracies are not considered consolidated democracies as they may initially seem.
Olushola Samuel Fadairo,
Published: 9 June 2021
Afrika Focus, Volume 34, pp 127-154; https://doi.org/10.1163/2031356x-34010003

Abstract:
An understanding of how the System of Rice Intensification method of the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP) has influenced sustainable solutions to smallholder paddy farmers’ challenges of poor yield and marketing in Kindia Prefecture, Guinea informed this study. Causal research design was used, involving a survey of 126 beneficiaries and 78 non-beneficiaries of waapp. Data were collected mainly on the farmers’ enterprise characteristics: improvement in productivity, sales, and income from paddy. Data were summarised using descriptive, t-test and regression statistics at α0.05. waapp- and non-waapp-participating farmers had >10 years of farming experience. Most waapp farmers (67.5%) achieved higher sales and income from paddy than in the past. The productivity of the waapp farmers was higher and significantly different from that of the non-waapp farmers (t = 3.173; p < 0.05). Farmers’ opinion of market prospects after waapp intervention (β = 0.190) and their age (β = 0.237) significantly influenced their change in productivity. The waapp increased paddy production.
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