The Careless State: Using ‘easy money’ to retain power, pursue vanity projects and cushion the elite

A key difficulty to understand the point at which states fail their citizens is in the criteria — when exactly is a state fragile or failed?

by Ray Hartley and Greg Mills

Failed, fragile, weak, collapsed, vulnerable, moribund, straggling, struggling, crisis, quasi-failed, “non-state”, broken, invisible, insufficient, stillborn, phantom, or even Potemkin states (those that pretend to work, but don’t), have all been put forward as models of state dysfunction.

A key difficulty to understand the point at which states fail their citizens is in the criteria — exactly when is a state fragile or failed? There appears to be no single reason or a tipping point at which a state becomes officially “failed”, an imaginary dividing line between success or normality and failure. Countries, after all, exist on a spectrum or continuum rather than in a binary world of success or failure.

South Africa to receive vaccines in January

7 January 2021

In a presentation to parliament on Thursday, 7 January South African Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize provided details on the government’s Covid-19 vaccine procurement and roll-out strategy.

Mkhize said that the aim of vaccination is to prevent morbidity and mortality, and achieve herd immunity and prevent ongoing transmission.

He said that he was pleased to announce that the Serum Institute of India (SII) has given permission to make a public announcement and start engaging with all relevant stakeholders in preparation for the roll out. The teams from the National Department of Health and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) were fine tuning and aligning all the regulations processes to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays or regulatory impediments to activate this roll out.

SA Government outlines rollout plans for COVID-19 vaccine

4 January 2021

Government has set a minimum target of 67% of the population to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in an effort to achieve herd immunity, says Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize.

South Africa recently made the down payment to secure the COVID-19 vaccine for 10% of the population.

In a media briefing on Sunday on the country's COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy, the Minister said the rollout of the vaccine will be done in phases beginning with the most vulnerable in the population.

Phase one includes frontline health care workers (HCW), with a target of 1 250 000 people.

New dawn for SA trade with Africa

4 January 2021

The 1st of January 2021 marked the start of South African firms trading under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and with the United Kingdom under the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Mozambique–UK Economic Partnership Agreement.

“South Africa has put in place the legal and administrative processes for preferential trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on 1 January 2021, in line with the decision by the 13th Extra-Ordinary Session of the Assembly on the AfCFTA on 5 December 2020 to start trading under the AfCFTA. [This is] on the basis of legally implementable and reciprocal Tariff Schedules and Concessions, with agreed Rules of Origin,” said the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic).

The Andrei Stenin photo contest exhibition
Ambassador of Russia, Ilya Rogachev addressing guests at the opening of the exhibition (Photo by Dilon Bhana)

28 December 2020

The winning photographs of the Andrei Stenin International Photo Contest are on exhibit at the Apogee Gallery in Waterkloof, Pretoria until 6 January 2021.

This year the opening of the exhibition took place on 22 December 2020, which marked Andrei Stenin’s 40th birthday. Stenin, a famous Russian photographer, was killed on editorial assignment and the contest which was launched in 2014 in his honour, aims to discover young talented photographers from around the world.

Opening the exhibition, Ilya Rogachev, Ambassador of Russia to South Africa said that it is natural that the Republic of South Africa is among the host countries for the Stenin Photo Exhibition, given an impressive participation record of South African photographers at the Andrei Stenin Contest.

The Last Gasp to Impunity and Dominance: Defeating the TPLF clique

26 December 2020

Ethiopia’s history of modern political struggle largely revolves around democracy, economic gains and equality. In pursuit of these interests and principles, competing parties engaged in a struggle though none of them, so far, achieved a comprehensive and lasting solution that could bring Ethiopians together in their quest to a viable nation-state that is democratic and prosperous.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) dominated the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)—a coalition of four parties—Oromo Democratic Party, Amhara Democratic Party, Southern Ethiopia People’s Democratic Movement, and Tigray People’s Liberation Front—that ruled Ethiopia for 27 years (1991-2018) was not an exception. The popular protests against the EPRDF which started in 2015 had seen the end of the domination of the TPLF in the EPRDF in 2018.

BRICS Partnership: United for a Better World

23 December 2020

On 17 November 2020 XII BRICS Summit took place – the main event of Russia’s chairmanship in the organization. The Summit, which was originally scheduled to be hosted in “Russia’s Northern Capital”, Saint Petersburg, for the first time in history, was held online, due to difficult epidemiologic situation around the globe. Still, it is noteworthy that despite COVID-19 pandemic and severe challenges it posed before humanity, BRICS did not cease its activities – under Russia’s chairmanship over 150 events of various levels were held, both via videoconferences and in-person meetings. The most tragic paradox of the COVID-19 pandemic, to our mind, is that its very logic suggests strict isolation of the countries from each other, yet none of them can withstand pandemic’s hardships on its own. BRICS countries proceeded from a common understanding that the only way to overcome the coronavirus crisis is through mutual aid. As a result, the five countries provided each other valuable support (this includes material help: PPE, test systems etc). We believe this alone describes better than words that BRICS has proven itself a strong, reliable alliance and that it is truly one of the priorities of the Russian Federation’s foreign policy. Instead of isolation, the BRICS members displayed unity and mutual aid, reaffirming organization’s status as one of the world’s most important ones.

Judge Desai appointed as legal services ombud

13 December 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed recently retired Judge Sirajudien Desai as the Legal Services Ombud in terms of Section 47 of the Legal Practice Act No. 28 of 2014.

In terms of the Legal Practice Act, Judge Desai is empowered to investigate complaints, alleged maladministration, within the ambit of the Act, and actions which may affect the integrity of the legal profession, among others.

Following discussions with Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola, the President appointed Justice Desai to advance and safeguard the integrity of the legal profession in the country.

Qatar, a futuristic country

18 December 2020

Commemorating Qatar’s National Day on 18 December Mr Tariq bin Ali-Faraj Al-Ansari, Ambassador of Qatar to South Africa speaks of the good relations his country has with South Africa as well with Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Lesotho, which he also represents.

The day is a commemoration of the establishment of the State of Qatar by the late founder Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed bin Thani on December 18, 1878. Ambassador Al-Ansari says that Qatar has been continuous in its achievements generation after generation.

A Yemeni farewell and welcome

18 December 2020

Ambassador Ahmed Hassan, Chargé d'Affaires of Yemen to South Africa hosted a reception as a prelude to the celebration of 25 years of diplomatic ties between Yemen and South Africa which takes place on 3 January 2021.

Hassan also used this opportunity to welcome newly accredited ambassadors from Egypt, Mauritania and Sudan and said that he looked forward to working with them.

Praise was heaped on South Africa’s Deputy Chief of State Protocol, Ebrahim Edries, who Hassan said was always available to assist. Edries has been appointed South Africa's de facto Ambassador to Morocco (he will officially be charge d'affaires) and the reception was used as an opportunity to bid him farewell and wish him well in his new posting.

Climate Ambition Summit 2020
(Image by Pixabay)

18 December 2020

New York, London, Paris, 12 December — Global climate leaders took a major stride towards a resilient, net zero emissions future today, presenting ambitious new commitments, urgent actions and concrete plans to confront the climate crisis.

Co-convened by the United Nations, the UK and France, in partnership with Italy and Chile, on the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement, today’s Climate Ambition Summit marked a major milestone on the road to the crucial UN climate conference COP26 in Glasgow next November.

75 leaders from all continents outlined new commitments at the Summit. This is a clear signal that the Paris Agreement - more than ever before the compass of international action - is working to steeply increase climate action and ambition.

20th IORA Council of Ministers Meeting

18 December 2020

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) hosted the 20th IORA Council of Ministers (COM) Meeting on 17 December 2020, virtually.

This year, IORA held its first Council of Ministers virtually, welcoming its 22 Member States and 10 Dialogue Partners, to discuss ways in coordinating efforts to achieve IORA’s vision for a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Indian Ocean region as outlined in the Jakarta Concord and IORA Action Plan.

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