Africa – 18 November 2014

Gloves off as Zambia succession battle spills into the courts, and ruling party picks mystery candidate
Zambia’s acting President Guy Scott attends on November 11, 2014 the funeral of late President Michael Sata at Heroes Stadium. BARELY had deceased Zambian president Michael Sata been buried Tuesday, than the gloves came off.
The battle had been simmering but the combatants took the ring in full zest after Zambia’s succession battle spilled to the courts, and the ruling party picked a candidate whom they are yet to reveal as its flag bearer in elections that will likely have impact on economic policy. Mail and Guardian

Why Botswana, Senegal and Malawi could be the next ‘Black Spring’ nations
ECONOMIC indicators such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), household income and unemployment data are among the most heavily relied on by policy makers looking to evaluate the effectiveness of their prescriptions.
But in a recent survey, a US research firm argues that these classic measures miss the point—that of gauging how people are really feeling.
Why does it matter? The report says leaders disregard this measure at their own risk: few saw Egypt’s Arab Spring coming, but the data did: earlier surveys had consistently showed that while personal incomes were rising, Egyptians, when asked if they felt they were thriving, answered consistently in the negative. Mail and Guardian

Social protection may be the key to uplifting Africa’s poor
Graça Machel, the widow of former South African president, Nelson Mandela, says social protection investment has huge inter-generational impacts. (Andreea Campeanu, Reuters)
When countries first started supporting disadvantaged households with cash transfers, there was a chorus of concern: it would create dependency; these hand-outs would discourage people from working, and not reduce poverty.
Five years later, for scores of countries that are testing cash transfers and safety net programmes, the sky hasn’t fallen in. A growing body of evidence suggests that social protection measures – with cash grants leading the way – are, in fact, an innovative and efficient way of reducing poverty. Are they the most effective? Perhaps. What is certainly clear is that far from being a cost, they are an investment. Mail and Guardian

A call to rethink the dearth of women landowners in Africa
Displacement, climate change and entrenched abuse block the support women need to enter the agriculture sector, and to be able own land.
While land implementation targets are good, delegates at the African Union Commission’s land policy conference doubted whether these are achievable due to a deeply-entrenched system of patriarchy.
A call has been made to the 54 member countries of the African Union (AU) Commission to increase the number of women who own land to 30% by promoting land policies that would address this issue within the next 10 years. Speakers at last week’s land policy conference hosted at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa noted that 60% of land in Africa remains uncultivated. Mail and Guardian.