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.

How the ANC and SWAPO Exploit African Insecurities to Stay in Power

Picture credit: Namibian Presdient Hifikepunye Pohamba; his wife Penehupifo Pohamba; First Lady Bongi Zuma and President Jacob Zuma courtesy GCIS Alexander O'Riordan - From the outside Namibia looks just like South Africa with vast and growing income inequalities, high unemployment and a national politics dominated by their liberation struggle as well as a colonial and pre-independence history, as if not more brutal than South Africa’s. Political appointments dominate the executive with payoffs to former exiles and veterans an open secret and rumours of unchecked corruption part of everyday conversation. Unlike in South Africa, however, the ruling...

The End of Hope: SA Civil Society's Race to the Bottom

Picture credit: Narrator Online Alexander O'Riordan - A cursory scan of the NGO job boards confirms the widely held assumption that South Africa’s civil society organizations are struggling to get funding. Organisations appear to be in crisis, jobs are hard to get, salaries are markedly below market norms and rumours abound that established NGOs are on the verge of bankruptcy. Last month, for example, the press reported that the Treatment Action Campaign publically protested rumours it was on the verge of bankruptcy; many others are...

The Gentle but Subversive Power of South-South Cooperation

Picture credit: Brazil Alexander O'Riordan - In 1995 the World Bank took the rare step of commissioning a documentary on its negotiations of a structural adjustment programme in Uganda. The documentary crew followed negotiations for six months in Uganda and at the Bank headquarters in Washington D.C., having access to meetings at the highest level such as between the presidents of Uganda and the World Bank. The documentary demonstrates that that there is never really any doubt about whether the World Bank will provide funding to Uganda...

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...