A Voice from Africa

In view of the topical nature of Third World issues, this online journal from Africa may be of interest. A summary has been turning up in my mail for some time, courtesy of one of the many email groups that flood my in-box with more stuff than I can read. Clearly it has free market tendencies but I have not read enough of it to form an opinion on its quality. Reader beware!

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Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

Well Rafe, since you can’t be bothered forming an opinion about links you put up here, I’d thought I’d help you out

Al Bundy
Al Bundy
2022 years ago

Fair go, Nabs!

I reckon if an outfit has a good website, it must be kosher.

Like this one, for example.

http://www.ukacrown.com/

Rafe
2022 years ago

Nabs, I am not sure what your five minutes of googling proves about the content on the site. What is the problem with the article on US double-standards on free trade, and the one on over-regulation of business? Not new or earth-shattering stuff, but what do you expect in a monthly newsletter?
I assumed, at my risk, that the stuff emanates from Africa and since we spend so much time talking about them I thought it might be helpful and informative to find what they say themselves.
I don’t see that anyone has grounds for complaint about non-left organisations setting up branches, some will recall that the international communist movement either infiltrated or created a host of front organisations to push their destructive agenda.
I think the motives of the free trade movement are quite acceptable by comparison and it will help to focus on the content of the newsletter and be less obsessed with the source.

wbb
wbb
2022 years ago

The source is more interesting than the content, Rafe, as it tells us whose agenda they are pushing.

Everything on it eventually links back to US organisations.

As a Voice From Africa it’s as authentic as Bob and Bono.

Rafe
2022 years ago

The question is whether their agenda will improve the situation of the people of Africa. Would you like to say what is the matter with the pieces on free trade and regulation that I mentioned in the previous post?
Question the agenda by all means, tell us what you think the agenda is and what is wrong with it.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

Yes, I was probably too impressed with my own googling to make the central point as clearly as wbb did.

African Executive well may have some interesting or valid material but to point to it as an insight into what’s really happening in Africa now is just stretching things too far. I’d have thought a thoughtful, skeptical and inquiring mind like yours Rafe would have made some effort in checking out stuff before promoting it here.

And yes of course, folks pushing all sorts of ideological barrows set up websites and front organisations advancing their views by stealth. That can be good or bad according to your taste, but a site that sets out to position itself with authouritive sounding titles and links yet does not provide any info about who actually produces it, is one dodgy barrowload by anyone’s standards.

I mean we know more about who runs Atlantis than who runs AfricExec (great link, Al).

GregM
GregM
2022 years ago

Nabakov

The site looks similar in content to the endless industry newsletters I used to get as junk mail when I worked for major Australian companies. Often they were largely a form of self-promotion for industry lobby groups or accounting firms or management consultants.

That is not to say that they, or it, are worthless. The good ones contained interesting, and at times challenging, articles.

Clearly “African Executive” is promoting a business and market economics agenda, which is made clear on its parent website; http://irenkenya.org/. It is also pretty clear too that the organisation and the magazine are a one-man band effort of James Shikwati, but with support from free market/laissez-faire organisations, mainly American, but that is not, of itself, a ground for criticism.

Nor does it make the magazine inauthenic in representing an African view, any more than Australian communist views are or were inauthentic in representing an Australian view because they could be sourced back to the writings of a 19th Century European economist.

I think that for a lot of African executives and businessmen, who do not have the elaborate support mechanisms and information sources readily available to developed-world executives, web magazines such as this can go some distance to make up that deficiency. They certainly will need all the support they can get if Africa is to trade its way out of poverty and magazines like this can do little harm in providing some of that support.

For those who don’t share a business or free market perspective on the solution to African poverty, well there are plenty of web resources available from the “compassion” industry, who over forty years, and at the cost of over US$500 billion of aid, have conspicuously little to show in terms of achievements that have benefited Africa.

For those who have a broad and critical mind the “African Executive” is a resource they can use to fairly critique on the merit of what it says, and to compare with the alternatives on offer.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

GregM, I have no problems whatsoever with supporting the growth of an economically liberal and democratic Africa, free of corruption and mismanaged and shonky aid programs.

My original point was the bad faith, and the general sleaziness that Africa is too often basted in, implied by not having any kind of checkable masthead.

“I think that for a lot of African executives and businessmen, who do not have the elaborate support mechanisms and information sources readily available to developed-world executives, web magazines such as this can go some distance to make up that deficiency.”

Mate, been there, done that. I spent a fair chunk of my working life in business/trade media and corporate communications, which included helping set up business publications in second and third world regions. There was always an astroturf element about it, but at least we went to the trouble of sourcing original material from the people on the ground as well. That’s how you build credibilty with yer audience, not by filling all the pages with material reprinted from outside “think tanks” and rehashed wikipedia entries. Honestly I despair of this generation of corporate spinners and opinion wranglers. Too bloody lazy.

And how did you know it was a James Shikwati/wwwirenkenya.org/ production? It’s not mentioned anywhere on the AfricExec site itself.

One of the fundamental factors in creating a workable and reasonably democratic free market economy is transparency. Precious little of that at AfroExec.

At least the kind of industry newsletters I used to work on, and that now cross my screen and desk too, clearly identiiy someone more responsible for their content that just a email address.

One could almost think they’re trying to veil the identity of their backers. Not a good look for the future of an open, accountable and sustainable investment-ready African business community.

GregM
GregM
2022 years ago

Nabakov, I understand where you’re coming from now and I agree with you. I’ve just come from looking at another shonky site where there are no details of any editorial staff, board members, trustees, funding bodies, admin staff or any kinda colophon-related info at all. Check it out; http://smh.com.au
Another bum site.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

Rafe did say “reader beware”, So why, GregM, are you busting a gut to make a beware reader backtrack?

And speaking as a vain and proud googler m’self, I’d love to be shown how many clicks got you from AfroExec to James Shikwati.

Sometimes you can use too much uhuru.

GregM
GregM
2022 years ago

Nabakov, no googling is needed. The information is contained in the African Executive site.
Three clicks will take you to James Shikwati.
First; click on “Magazine Archives”
Second; click on “The African Executive Issue 1”
Third; click on “An African Child Is Born” (the bottom article of Issue 1, which explains the launch of the new magazine and its affiliations) and read the article. At the bottom is the name of the author, and magazine editor, James Shikwati.
Hakuna matata!
Can you tell me how many clicks it takes to get to the name of the current editor-in-chief of the SMH – either through its site or by googling?