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A number of proposals today support a substantial increase in foreign aid levels to sub-Saharan Africa even though this region already receives a historically unprecedented volume of aid. This essay reviews the evidence regarding the potentially negative effects of aid dependence on state institutions, a topic which has received relatively little attention. We note several pathways through which political institutions might be adversely affected and devote particular attention to fiscal and state revenue issues. In addition to reviewing the economic literature on the aid-revenue relationship, this essay brings in the longstanding political science literature on state-building to consider the potential impact of aid dependence on the relationship between state and citizen. We conclude that states which can raise a substantial proportion of their revenues from the international community are less accountable to their citizens and under less pressure to maintain popular legitimacy. They are therefore less likely to have the incentives to cultivate and invest in effective public institutions. As a result, substantial increases in aid inflows over a sustained period could have a harmful effect on institutional development in sub-Saharan Africa.

The proposed project seeks to support a site visit to Angola followed by a policy dialogue that will bring together Chinese and Southern African policymakers, academics, businesses, constructors and civil society actors, including community members to discuss China’s Africa development model of resources for infrastructure and its impact on local communities. The project will produce a series of brief research papers from a number of SADC countries which will foster debates and formulation of policy proposals to reshape trade and economic relations between China and southern Africa.

“We agreed on the important role a free and independent media should play in Somalia, and welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the killing of journalists, and to promote press freedom.”
(Somalia Conference 2013: Official Communiqué at GOV.UK.)

Yesterday’s conference communiqué was unambiguous on the need to protect the media in Somalia. Here’s a selection of the international groups working on media policy issues in Somalia, and a couple of recent reports about the media environment in the country – let us know via the comments what we’re missing, and we’ll update the list.

EU fact sheet from Dec 2012 detailing some of the activities of the Somalia Media Support Group of donors, NGOs, and international organisations, and insights into the future strategy for supporting Somalia’s media sector to 2015
CIMA‘s compilation of where Somalia sits in various international press freedom rankings
– Somalia sits in 2nd position in the CPJ’s Impunity Index for killings of journalists
Article 19 has been tracking the development of Somalia’s media law, and recently held a conference on protection of journalists in Mogadishu
– the BBC’s media development arm, BBC Media Action, produced a media environment analysis and a policy briefing about the role of the media in 2011
– the InfoAsAid project we featured a couple of weeks ago includes a pretty comprehensive Somalia media/telecoms landscape report from early 2012 (also here)
– the Center for Law and Democracy published a media law and policy review for Somalia in late 2012 (here’s a piece from Albany Associates about the report)
– Albany Associates is also supporting the government and the UN’s AMISOM more broadly on communications
NORAGRIC is a less usual source for media landscape information, but here’s their March 2012 report on Somalia
– Danish NGO IMS supports a Somali radio station, Radio Ergo
Global Voices covers Somalia with reasonable regularity, as has the Guardian‘s Data Blog

And finally, here are some stats on social media usage in Somalia, courtesy of Social Bakers.

If you ask Kenyan journalists what is taking place at the editorial level, they will unanimously respond: “Media ownership.” An editor from Eldoret, Rift Valley highlights the difficult position that editorial staff are in: “I am an editor of an enterprise where the owner at times intercepts my reporters in a bid to alter our editorial perspectives. He actually changes content to suit his desires and those of his political friends. I have threatened to resign if he continues.”
[…]
The report finds that while media ownership is sometimes obvious, media owners often use their spouse, parents or trusted friends to register their media outlets, making it difficult to obtain clear data on media ownership. For instance, the researcher notes that the connection of presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta with MediaMax (owner of Kameme FM, Milele FM, The People and K24 among others) is factually true but legally untrue because the name of Uhuru Kenyatta does not appear in any legal document.