On September 7th, 2015, former Chadian President, Hissène Habré, returns to court to face trial on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture. The alleged crimes were committed during his time in power from 1982 to 1990. An estimated 40,000 people are reported to have died or disappeared under his regime.
Hissène Habré fell from power after a military coup in 1990. He has been living in exile in Senegal since December 1990. His trial before the Extraordinary African Chambers in the Senegalese courts crowns a hard-won battle led by victims’ groups and human rights activists all over the world. This is no small performance. It took over 20 years to bring this case before the Senegalese courts to hold Habré accountable for the crimes perpetrated under his rule.
In June 2015, at the 25th session of the General Assembly of the African Union in Johannesburg, President Macky Sall of Senegal tabled the African Higher Education Summit Declaration and Action Plan for adoption by African Heads of State. The declaration and plan was the result of a March summit in Dakar that was sponsored by TrustAfrica and its partners.
A Watershed Moment for African Philanthropy
The AGN finally managed to successfully host its bi-annual assembly in Arusha, Tanzania. The assembly was initially supposed to have been held in Accra in 2014 but the Ebola outbreak and the Government of Ghana’s subsequent ban on International Conferences left the organizers with no choice but to look for an alternative venue. It was worth waiting for. The discussions that took place focused on the significance of the emergent African philanthropy sector, its aspirations without being naïve to the potential constraints and pitfalls in the African and global context and the role of African philanthropy in promoting social justice across sectors. In this article I will focus on some of the difficult conversations that took place regarding the space, role and future of African philanthropy.
“Stop the Bleeding: Campaign to End Illicit Financial Flows from Africa” is the attention-grabbing name of a new campaign launched in June. Aimed at halting the enormous outflow of the continent’s monetary resources, the initiative is envisaged as a campaign rooted in African experiences and reinforced by global Africa solidarity linkages. It is being carried out by TrustAfrica and a group of African civil society organisations with the aim of mobilising students and youth, trade unions and grassroots social movements to raise their voices for change.
On 26 and 27 May, 2015 TrustAfrica’s International Criminal Justice (ICJ) Fund hosted the first in a series of pan-African convenings it is organizing this year for advocacy and human rights groups on best practices in advancing international criminal justice on the continent. This meeting took place in Dakar, Senegal on the theme “Engaging with International Criminal Justice in Africa: Lessons Learned in Mobilization and Advocacy”.
This convening will review ICJ advocacy strategies by showcasing our partners’ accomplishments, identifying the challenges they face, and fine-tuning our engagements to add value to their work.
Co-hosted by the Institute for Security Studies and TrustAfrica.
Africa is still at the heart of international criminal justice and the need for proper and holistic delivery of justice on the continent is high. While the International Criminal Court remains a key institution to ensure accountability and provide justice for many African victims, including in Côte d’Ivoire and Mali, African countries must also step up to the challenge. By strengthening national legal systems and regional mechanisms, countries can ensure justice and close the impunity gap.
In West Africa, valuable efforts are already being made to do just that. For example, the Extraordinary African Chambers in the Courts of Senegal will start the trial of former Chadian President Hissène Habré. At the same time, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Community Court of Justice, in its individual complaints framework for human rights violations, provides reparative justice to West Africans.
Johannesburg – June 25th, 2015
On March 10 – 12, 2015 over five hundred delegates from Africa and beyond gathered in Dakar, Senegal, for the first summit on Africa’s higher education. The summit was a remarkable platform for defining an agenda for the African Higher Education Sector, and ended with a Declaration and Action Plan on revitalizing higher education for Africa’s future.
Read the message from the Executive Director
Africa loses approximately US$50 billion annually through Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs). The AU/ECA’s High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows report and other studies argue that Africa lost over US$1 trillion through IFFs in the last 50 years - an amount similar to Official Development Assistance in the same period. Many, including ourselves at TrustAfrica, have always been cautious about the over dramatised narrative of “Africa Rising” especially as it mostly uses Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of growth. Other Human Development indicators such as Gross National Income (GNI), access to affordable health care, education, and decent jobs are rarely considered in the ongoing optimism surrounding Africa.
Africa has the world's youngest population and the term "youth" covers a wide age range from 15 to 35. While acknowledging the diversity among communities and across African countries, unemployment, access to education and health care, social equality andengagement in the political process emerged from the discussions as cross-cutting concerns that must be addressed to leverage the potential of Africa's current and next generation.
Philanthropy has a role to play and the conference ended with a challenge to funders to engage in the same intentional collaboration and partnership they so often encourage the organizations they support to do.
During the 2015 AGAG conference on “Generation Next: Youth Shaping Africa’s Future” we spoke with Tendai Murisa Executive Director of TrustAfrica based in Dakar, Senegal about his views on the impact of young people in shaping Africa’s future.