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Podcast: 'In Chains' Episode 3

In the third episode of our new themed series In Chains, we speak with Dr. Alexis Aronowitz from University College Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands, who is the author of the article, “Regulating business involvement in labor exploitation and human trafficking” published in Journal of Labor and Society.

Brill Publishes Two New Book Series in the Social Sciences

Brill is pleased to announce the addition of two new peer-reviewed book series to its Social Sciences publishing program: International Studies in Maritime Sociology and Studies in Political Economy of Global Labor and Work. The series will be published online and in print.

Brill adds Two New Journals to Its Social Sciences Publishing Program

Two journals, the Journal of Labor and Society (JLSO) and Protest, have been added to Brill’s expanding publishing program in the Social Sciences. Both journals will be published online and in print. Previous volumes of JLSO are already available on Brill’s website, the first issues of Protest are planned for publication in 2021.


Acquisitions Editor


Jason Prevost

V&R unipress

Julia Schwanke


Africa-Europe relations revolved around several major issues during the year. African crises once again drew a lot of attention in European media and political circles, especially with regard to France’s intervention in Mali and its aftermath and the end-of-year escalation of violence in the CAR and South Sudan. The fate of African migrants to Europe made headlines but did not result in much political action. The future of relations between Africa and Europe was a recurring theme during the year, highlighted by the AU’s 50th birthday celebrations and apparent in several discussions at the continent-continent level and between the EU and African Regional Economic Communities (RECs). African politics also came into focus, particularly the elections in Kenya, Mali and Zimbabwe. Nelson Mandela’s passing was widely mourned throughout Europe. Security cooperation continued to be a major area of focus, particularly in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel regions. The evolution of mutual interests in sustainable economic development resulted in significant progress in tortuous EPA negotiations.


The dominance of the ruling party continued, though speculation about the succession to long-term president, José Eduardo dos Santos, continued unabated. Opposition parties and youth protests were vocal in their criticism of the government’s poor social track record and violence against opposition activists, but protests were met with violent repression and the country’s human rights situation deteriorated markedly. Abroad, Angola positioned itself as a power-player within the CPLP, flexing its financial muscle against Portugal and Brazil, and diversified South-South economic partnerships. Despite further economic growth, the socio-economic conditions for the majority of the population remained dire, with a high cost of living, low salaries, and underfunded public services.

Despite economic growth indicating nascent economic recovery, the political climate was sensitive throughout the year. President Thomas Boni Yayi’s personal credibility was at risk after allegations of a murder plot against private investor Patrice Talon and when cases against certain suspects were dismissed by the judiciary in both France and Benin. Political debate was dominated by the president’s proposals for a revision of the Constitution, which were widely seen as part of his alleged ambition to go for a third term (the present constitution stipulating a two-term limit). A series of cabinet reshuffles demonstrated the country’s political instability.

Domestic politics was dominated by the political parties’ primary elections in preparation for the 2014 general election. The country sustained its proactive foreign policy guided by its core values of democracy, good governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights. A key economic development was the successful relocation of the centralised diamond sales from London to Botswana’s capital, Gaborone. Modest economic growth was recorded, despite an unstable global economic environment, although socio-economic disparities persisted.


President Compaoré’s political standing diminished in both domestic and international affairs. Preparations for the introduction of a second parliamentary chamber mobilised the opposition and significant parts of civil society to protest against the government. Critics described the senate as a costly instrument that would protect the regime’s power. The reversal of the leadership in 2012 had created internal tensions in the ruling party, the ‘Congrès pour la Démocratie et le Progrès’ (CDP), but in rural areas the party proved its dominance in a partial municipal elections rerun and in many mayoral elections. Internationally, Compaoré continued to act as the official ECOWAS mediator for Mali and his country made a strong contribution to the UN military mission in that country, but he gradually lost political influence because he had a difficult relationship with Mali’s newly elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Burkina’s economic development remained largely dependent on industrial mining, while the biggest employer – the cotton industry – achieved a good harvest, encouraging optimistic forecasts for this volatile and vulnerable production sector.

The prospect of the 2015 general elections had a significant impact on the functioning and strategies of domestic political actors. 2013 was marked by increased tensions between the two main partners in the coalition government, the dominant party, President Nkurunziza’s CNDD-FDD, and the smaller UPRONA. These tensions were particularly related to the activities of the National Land Commission and land law reforms, contentious amendments to the Constitution, and Nkurunziza’s eligibility for a third term as president. The return to Burundi of self-proclaimed opposition leader and FNL chairperson Agathon Rwasa did not significantly affect the unity or strategy of the opposition coalition, ADC-Ikibiri. Relations between the government and various social sectors – media, bar association, trade unions, university students, etc. – were marked by animosity. Burundi stepped up its involvement in peacekeeping operations on the African continent. Early in 2013, the UN presence in Burundi was extended for another year, but the government strongly insisted that UN involvement be scaled down from early 2014 onwards. The central market in the capital city Bujumbura was destroyed by a massive accidental fire, which caused tremendous damage to the local economy. After an alarming depreciation in early 2013, the national currency stabilised later in the year.


From the institutional point of view, Cameroon made significant progress with the creation of the Senate, an event that had been awaited since 1996 and a key factor in arranging the succession to President Biya, in power since 1982. The country also faced serious security problems: for the first time, the north witnessed abductions of French citizens, officially attributed to elements of the Nigerian-based Boko Haram movement, while armed groups of Central Africans carried out several murderous raids in the east. The crisis in the CAR also precipitated the arrival and temporary stationing of the French Army on Cameroonian territory, which gave rise to tensions.


In March, Prime Minister José Maria Neves was reconfirmed as leader of the ruling ‘Partido Africano da Independência de Cabo Verde’ (PAICV). However, he had already announced that he would step down from the party leadership in 2015, one year before the next general elections. In June, Ulisses Correia e Silva, the mayor of the capital, Praia, was elected unopposed as the new leader of the opposition ‘Movimento para a Democracia’ (MpD). While the overall domestic economy was increasingly affected by the economic crisis in the eurozone, the tourism sector continued to resist its impact and registered a 3.4% increase in visitors.


With the massive crisis in the CAR and on-going troubles in the DRC, Central Africa proved to be the least peaceful sub-region on the continent. Absorbed by crisis management, sub-regional organisations were incapable of playing a positive role in socio-economic development. However, most economies showed fairly good results in terms of GDP growth. Despite this single positive trend, the impression grew that the sub-region was falling further behind all the rest with regard to more or less all governance issues, resulting in a diminished capacity to meet future challenges.


The year saw the rising and declining star of yet another politico-military entrepreneur at the helm of the state. Michel Djotodia declared himself president after a rebel alliance swept the Bozizé regime overboard. However, in the aftermath of the uprising, Djotodia was unable to stabilise his regime – and even less the country as a whole. In the western half of the country bloody encounters between predominantly Muslim Séléka groups and Christian militias spiralled out of control, leading to interreligious massacres. The humanitarian situation remained disastrous throughout the year.