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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

In many respects, 2016 defied imagination – or at least expectations – in the evolving Africa-eu relations. While in Africa key steps were taken towards Morocco’s accession to the au, fundamental choices in the opposite direction were faced by the eu following the United Kingdom’s referendum in which a narrow majority voted to leave the eu. The year marked an important step forward in eu-Africa economic and trade cooperation through the provisional application of the epa with sadc and the ratification by a number of middle-income countries of their bilateral interim epas. The same uk referendum, however, was a key factor in Tanzania’s reluctance to ratify the eac’s epa with the eu, although concerns over the implications for its industrialisation strategy played a more important part. The same motivation informed Nigeria’s blocking of the West African epa.


While the family of President dos Santos consolidated its grip on the economy, the head of state indicated he would retire from active politics in 2018; this was confirmed later in the year when the ruling party nominated its candidates for the 2017 elections. Although this heralded the possibility of future political change, domestic politics continued to be dominated by the ruling party. The economic crisis worsened, and the persecution of dissidents continued, putting a damper on Angola’s activities on the international stage, which were markedly reduced in ­comparison to the previous year.


The major event of the year was the presidential elections, won by Patrice Talon. The new president portrayed his government and politics as a complete break with the policies of the outgoing administration. After years of ambiguous foreign relations, particularly with donor countries, the new president attracted new donor interest and was able to rely on the anticipated confidence of the donor community. The new administration diversified Benin’s portfolio of international partners but its rhetoric still had to translate into action. Economic and social vulnerability remained high, although Benin did not experience any major economic shocks.

The year was dominated by preparations for celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Botswana’s Independence on 30 September. This coincided with the launch of Vision 2036 as Vision 2016 drew to a close. Opposition coalition talks were also in motion. A vocal foreign policy continued, with open disparagement of countries that debased the ideals of democracy and human rights and good governance – much to the chagrin of most of its African peers and resulting in a degree of isolation. Socio-economic barriers and risks continued to pose challenges; the economy remained vulnerable to external oscillations and failed to realise broad-based growth.


After the inauguration of Roch Marc Christian Kaboré as president in December 2015, he named his prime minister and new government at the beginning of 2016. The new government faced significant challenges throughout the year, including increased insecurity due to terrorism, an emboldened opposition, and promoting justice and national reconciliation. Security in the northern regions deteriorated significantly as jihadist groups exploited the porous borders between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, conducting attacks on security forces and civilians. Relations with Côté d’Ivoire grew tense as former president Blaise Compaoré received Ivorian citizenship in exile and Ivorian officials became implicated in the September 2015 coup d’etat. Burkinabè citizens residing in Ouagadougou also suffered a number of public health crises related to droughts, flooding and outbreaks of dengue fever. However, the government successfully obtained donor support for their National Social and Economic Development Plan promising several development projects and initiatives in the future.

The year was marked by a continued political crisis in the aftermath of the 2015 elections. The dominant party, the cndd-fdd, underwent restructuring in order to restore its internal coherence and, at the same, consolidate its control over state institutions. Opposition parties remained divided. Despite declarations by some armed movements, there was no significant military insurgent activity. A political dialogue took place both inside the country and under the mediation of the eac. Aid sanctions were imposed by a number of traditional development partners, including the eu. This gave rise to considerable diplomatic tension between Burundi, neighbouring Rwanda and Belgium, the country’s main bilateral aid donor. Burundi’s human rights performance, most notably as a result of the activities of the Imbonerakure cndd-fdd youth wing, was strongly criticised at the international level. Burundi withdrew from the Rome Statute on the icc. At the socio-economic level, the crisis and the aid sanctions negatively affected citizens’ purchasing power.


Three elections shaped the political scene. In March, the opposition ‘Movimento para a Democracia’ (MpD) won the legislative elections for the first time since 2001. In the municipal elections in September, the ‘Partido Africano para a Independência de Cabo Verde’ (paicv) lost six of the eight municipalities it had previously controlled. The MpD increased its share of municipalities from 14 to 18. In the presidential elections in October, the incumbent, Jorge Carlos Fonseca (independent backed by the MpD), was re-elected. Despite the ongoing economic crisis in other sectors, tourism continued to grow significantly.


The next presidential election, scheduled for 2018, was one of the main preoccupations of the majority of political players, who sought to discern the intentions of 83-year-old President Paul Biya, who had been in power since 1982. The atmosphere appeared increasingly tense within the presidential party, with some of its cadres advocating a change and others supporting the status quo incarnated by Biya. The latter faced two serious crises: a railway disaster involving the French corporate group Bolloré, and large-scale protest movement in the country’s two English-speaking regions, which was still ongoing at the end of the year. The armed group Boko Haram continued to pose a substantial threat to security in the north, with implications for the agricultural sector and livestock farming. As a result of the drop in oil prices and the increase in military expenditure, the country’s economic situation remained fragile, thus compelling the authorities to turn to the imf, under pressure from France.


For both political and economic reasons, 2016 was a crisis-ridden year in the sub-region. Elections were held in six of its eight countries but, with the exception of those held in the car, they could hardly be interpreted as supporting democratic development. Deadly clashes related to the still bloody aftermath of the civil war in the car and Boko Haram insurgencies in the Lake Chad area, as well as domestic political struggles in Gabon and Congo and the constant recurrence of localised confrontations between rebel groups and the government in the drc, perpetuated what might be seen as a sad routine, though a continuing drama for those directly affected. Oil economies in the sub-region did not manage to cope with the continually low world market oil prices. Both exports and imports, as well as government income and expenditure, decreased in the majority of countries. As new debts were acquired, the economic outlook for the coming two years was rather grim.


The transition phase after the overthrow of President François Bozizé in 2013 ended with presidential and legislative elections, but the new institutions barely had an influence on (in)security, and close to none in the eastern half of the country. Large parts of the territory were under the control of rebel movements, though infighting along ethnic (and no longer religious) lines clearly increased. un peacekeepers were only partially successful in keeping the various armed groups at bay and became increasingly unpopular. The upsurge in violence clearly impinged on economic recovery.