Alexander O'Riordan

Alexander O

Alexander O'Riordan has worked on aid and development effectiveness for the EU, UN and various governments in over twenty countries. He has recently moved to Cape Town to complete his doctoral studies on the political economy of donor allocations of funding.

The Islamic State and a Burgeoning Refugee Crisis: Whither Democracy and Social Justice?

Picture credit: New arrivals in Lebanon last year. Refugee Khatar with three of her six children in a cowshed on a farm in the Bekaa valley (CAFOD Photo Library/flickr) Alexander O'Riordan - While the world shudders at the horrific and systematic brutality of the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), it pays scant attention to the fuel that powers organisations such as militant jihadist groups. Meanwhile there is an escalating refugee crisis developing in Syria, as ordinary people flee the jihadism of the Islamic State. Somewhat bizarrely, this enormous human rights crisis is growing alongside a decrease in donor assistance. While...

Will the BRICS Bank Be a Game Changer for Africa?

Picture credit: Financial Express Alexander O'Riordan - Last week Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) announced they are joining forces to establish a BRICS alternative to the World Bank. The BRICS bank will be capitalised to the tune of $50 billion or about the same size as the World Bank’s loan to Brazil. While the size of the initial capital allocation does not stack up in comparison to the World Bank’s, this could still prove to be a significant opportunity to change the global system more in favour of the...

Namibia's Gender Zebra

Picture credit: Libertina Appolus Amathila, Namibia Alexander O'Riordan - A quiet gender revolution the like of which has been unseen in Southern Africa and perhaps anywhere in the world, is now firmly underway in Namibia. The ruling party, SWAPO has not only committed to filling half of its seats in parliament with women but also committed to what they call a ‘Zebra system’ whereby if a Minister is a woman then the Deputy Minister will be a man and vice versa. Even more ambitiously, the implication is that the roles will be switched in successive...

Are Corporate Social Investment Programmes Serious about Social Justice in South Africa?

Picture credit: Business Launchpad Alexander O'Riordan - Last week the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science held a two-day workshop on “Serious Social Investment” with respect to corporate social investment (CSI) in South Africa. The workshop, the fifth of its kind, focused on “initiating new conversations around the vision for South Africa and the benefits and value propositions for all involved in the CSI sector.” Clearly the organisers are calling for a clearer vision of the role of CSI in...

Why Russia Will Win In Ukraine

Picture credit: 4thmedia.org Alexander O'Riordan - This weekend Crimea’s hastily organised referendum concluded as expected with an ethnically Russian majority population voting overwhelmingly to merge with Russia. The Western response of sanctions and punitive measures against Russia for its shamefacedly opportunistic occupation will prove in the long run to be largely bluster. There is no doubt the Kremlin is anxious to counter a growing Western-leaning politics in the region and to annex a strategically important part of Ukraine....

The Economics of Stability in South Sudan

Picture credit: A young girl holds the South Sudan flag courtesy Timothy McKulka/USAID/Wikimedia Commons. Alexander O'Riordan - Little more than two years since declaring independence, South Sudan is now in what can only be described as a civil war. Right now representatives of both sides are in Addis Ababa for peace talks backed by Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya amongst others. While many pundits have and continue to point to ethnic based threats to stability, few have paid enough attention to the raw economics of the situation. South Sudan’s government inherited one of the world’s poorest and most...