African Renaissance - latest Issue
Volume 13, Issue 1-2, 2016
Source: African Renaissance 13, pp 7 –9 (2016)More Less
We are pleased to introduce the June 2016 issue of the African Renaissance which focuses on scholarship from the Gambia. Although the Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, its culture is the product of very diverse influences. The Gambia's dynamic economic and socio-cultural landscape makes it a fertile ground for social scientific scholarly research. However, very little has been written on the Gambia, its society and socio-cultural diversity. This issue will attempt to fill this void and contribute immensely to producing knowledge on the Gambia by Gambians. The articles in this issue focus on several topics of importance in Gambian studies, ranging from maternal wellness, fertility, youth livelihoods and tourism and information and communication technologies.
Source: African Renaissance 13, pp 11 –30 (2016)More Less
Pregnancy-related mortality is an enormous topic that others have studied comprehensively and widely. Despite this, the contribution of nutrition and exercise to maternal wellness and survival has not been addressed systematically. Nutrition, antenatal exercise and maternal health practice are often not effectively integrated. However, malnutrition in pregnancy can lead to increased risk of death, complications, susceptibility to infection, reduced activity levels, and lower productivity. The health benefits of regular physical exercise in pregnancy include maintenance and improvement of physical fitness and cardiovascular endurance, prevention of excessive gestational weight gain and glucose intolerance, conditioning of the muscles needed to facilitate labor and improvement in psychological adjustment to changes in pregnancy. Nonetheless, most of the causes of maternal morbidity and mortality in the Gambia such as anaemia, haemorrhage, prolong labor and eclampsia has some degree of association with the status of maternal nutrition and level of physical activity. Under-nutrition and obesity among women co-exist as major nutritional problems in the Gambia. The Gambian culture plays a major role in limiting exercise during pregnancy. Despites all the efforts on nutritional supplementation during pregnancy, malnutrition and lack of exercise is still a major problem affecting the health of pregnant women in this country. Therefore maternal health programs in the Gambia should alert pregnant women of the need to adjust their nutritional and physical exercise levels in order to achieve and maintain a desirable nutritional status and weight for their own health as well as for better birth outcomes.
Source: African Renaissance 13, pp 31 –44 (2016)More Less
Fertility is one of the most dynamic variables that can affect the demographic characteristics of a population, its size, rate of increase, geographic distribution, age and sex structure, life expectancy and family composition. Today, following the path of More Developed Countries (MDCs), a demographic transition from high fertility and mortality to low fertility and mortality can be said to be underway in most of the Less Developed Countries (LDCs) (Adebusoye, 2001). However, this transition is reported to be slowest in Sub-Saharan Africa (ibid). Similarly, slow decline in infertility rates are noted in the Gambia (Gambia Bureau of Statistics, GBOS). The fertility rates recorded during the population and housing census of 2003 and 2013 were 6.7 and 5.4 respectively. Moreover, the report of these censuses also show that Basse, the southern part of the country and predominantly a Soninke community, had the highest fertility rates of 6.9 in 2003 and 6.2 in 2013.
The Soninke society in the Gambia is primarily rural and its highly gender-stratified culture is very supportive of high fertility. Indeed the patrilineal descent, patrilocal residence, inheritance and succession practices and hierarchical relations have remained unchanged in this society. Low status of women, early marriage, extended family system and polygamy are the main driving forces of high fertility among the Soninke people. However, the desire for large family size is restricted by the practice of child-spacing achieved by traditional family planning methods, which are not effective and sometimes dangerous to the health of the women. Despite the free contraceptive services in the Gambia, contraceptive uptake is still low (9%). Low patronage for modern contraceptives is associated with the low status of women in this society. Therefore, the problem of high fertility in the Gambia, especially among the Soninke tribe should be considered from a sociocultural perspective if programs to ameliorate this critical problem are to achieve success.
Source: African Renaissance 13, pp 45 –73 (2016)More Less
This study investigates the economic strategies that young Gambians employ to achieve their aspirations of fulfilling socio-cultural obligations. In particular, the study explores the economic activities of young Gambians who engage in diverse informal economic activities in the fringes of the Gambia's tourism sector to provide for themselves and their families. Known as beach hustlers, they consist of small entrepreneurs, principally peddlers, vendors and others who provide informal services with the aim of making a livelihood directly from tourists. Whilst existing research tends to mostly focus on the activities of beach hustlers who engage in transactional sexual activities with tourists as a means of earning a living or getting an opportunity to travel, this study focuses on the strategies of those of those who resort to alternative economic strategies.
Drawing on data collected from multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2013 and 2014 in Kololi, the country's main tourism hotspot on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, the study uses the cases of two 'beach hustlers' to shed light on hustling strategies of young Gambians. The study discusses how 'beach hustlers' take advantage of the Gambia's booming tourism industry by engaging in diverse informal economic activities. This study shows that majority of young Gambians who find it increasingly difficult to migrate to the West pursue local livelihoods to fulfil their aspirations of social and economic advancement. The study further shows that the strategies young Gambians employ are influenced by the structural constraints and opportunities that appear in specific space-time conditions. By doing so, this study contributes to the literature on the economic strategies that young urban youths employ to achieve their aspirations.
Source: African Renaissance 13, pp 75 –99 (2016)More Less
New Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), the internet in particular, have the potential to bring about unprecedented social and economic development (World Bank, 2011). In developing countries, ICTs have been envisioned as innovative and indispensable tools of growth and poverty reduction. This view, which is being promoted within the framework of the Information Society (Castells, 1996) and later the Millennium Development Goals (Byrne, Nicholson & Salem, 2011), is envisaged to be achieved through development interventions (Mercer, 2005; World bank, 1998, 2000; UNDP, 2001). This is premised on the notion that ICTs, the internet in particular, is the biggest driving force behind economic growth and access to them will help poor and marginalised communities to get access to the information and services they need to improve their livelihoods.
Author Afeikhena JeromeSource: African Renaissance 13, pp 101 –131 (2016)More Less
Nigeria is currently ranked as the 12th largest producer of oil in the world and Africa's biggest oil producer, with daily production estimated at about 2.4 million barrels. Nigeria also has the second largest proven oil reserves in Africa and the 10th largest in the world.
Author Oluyele AkinkugbeSource: African Renaissance 13, pp 133 –164 (2016)More Less
This chapter examines the upward and downward swings that characterize global commodity markets and prices; these phenomena have been regular occurrences over past decades and may continue far into the future, until at least, suitable substitutes are found for oil, gas and other non-renewable solid minerals. The sharp swings have been identified as one of the significant forces driving macroeconomic instability and the apparent inability of African countries in general to, on any sustained basis; efficaciously utilize the gains from export earnings in the last four to five decades - after political independence in most of the countries. But for Botswana and South Africa, the African countries whose foreign exchange earnings, and by implication, government revenue and fiscal space depend significantly on commodity export trade - Nigeria, Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea (oil export dependent); Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania (Solid Minerals export dependent); Ghana, Cote D'Ivoire (Cocoa export dependent), etc. - have not done particularly well in terms of managing earnings from the extractive industry and agricultural products' exports. Hence the effects of the booms and bursts in global prices of primary commodities are easily transmitted in the form of declines in output (real GDP) and income, fall in external reserves, deficits in trade and current account balances, depreciation of national currencies, increases in public debts and budget deficits. Computed correlation matrix reveals rather strong relationship between these variables and the weighted indices of all commodity prices, oil price and metal price indices averaged over all sub-Saharan Africa (see UNDP RBA 2016). Available statistics from the UNDP, IMF, the World Bank, African Development Bank and other relevant sources, also reveal the extent of the importance of one or two commodities - high commodity concentration (monocultural nature of export trade) and low diversification - on autonomous foreign exchange earnings and by implication in many cases, government fiscal space, in a number of sub-Saharan African countries.
Author Simeon H.O. AlozieuwaSource: African Renaissance 13, pp 165 –198 (2016)More Less
This paper focuses on economics of the Boko Haram violence on Africa's most populous black nation, Nigeria. While it adds to the corpus of the literature on the insurgency, its point of departure is that it looks beyond the analyses that view the crisis essentially in a non-materialistic religious terms to perspectives that focus on the underlying economic factors driving the insurgency. In this context, the paper does not necessarily dwell on the socio-economic factors that provide the army of socially-disadvantaged northern youths from which Boko Haram recruits its foot soldiers. The paper focuses on the economics of the area in which the violence occurs and argues that beyond the façade of Boko Haram's religious posturing, a robust underground economy and profiteering, including the prospect of an oil economy around the Lake Chad Basin area, have sustained the violence and have the potential to prolong the crisis.