27th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

ji-hlavadok-revuecdfEmerging producersInspiration Forum

Despite the fact that Africa has been facing challenges in the post-colonial world, it is a progressive and in many ways rich continent with a huge potential for change. A number of new trends have developed in the field of technological innovation, agriculture, international relations as well as education. New movements emerge, together with new possibilities in terms of work mobility and migration, and the middle class is growing. Climate change also brings an important stimulus. What are the challenges Africa is facing and how will the continent deal with these challenges?

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Africa, Our Neighbour

The world’s fastest growing continent, Africa, is facing climate change, security conflicts, unemployment, massive internal migration and growing dissatisfaction of the young population that calls for better government and more justice and social emancipation. The continent is also becoming one of the priorities of the Czech and European foreign policies. The stronger Africa is, the stronger we are too. Why should we care about maintaining an equal partnership with our African neighbour and what are our shared perspectives and opportunities for us to use?

GuestsTomáš Petříček, Kalifa Samaké, Ifesinachi Comedy Nwanyanwu, Arkia Touré
ModeratorMichael Rozsypal


What Moves Africa

Africa is often associated with a high degree of migration. But we only see images capturing the situation along European shores, while ninety percent of the migration occurs inside Africa. Knowledge of economic and geopolitical trends will enable us to better comprehend the reasons why some Africans choose to leave their country or region or even the continent. How is (internal) migration affected by the security situation or climate change? What role does urbanization and labour migration play in this context? And how to devise functioning migration policies that would reflect the complex realities burdened with the legacy of colonialism?

GuestsPeter Tinti, Tereza Němečková
ModeratorTereza Hronová


For Africa Cooler

Agriculture is a topic that is critical across continents. Africa, too, shares our efforts to find ways of adapting agriculture to the changing conditions in the context of climate change. It is not only about agricultural strategies but also about political and economical tools to reform agriculture towards a more resilient landscape, sustainable prosperity and good management of human labour and knowledge. What can we learn from each other in this respect?

KeynoteNdoni Mcunu
GuestsAlexander Ač, Barbora Sedová
ModeratorAndrea Filipi


Imagination at Scale

Modern technologies have opened possibilities people had never dreamed of. Suddenly, many of our problems can be easily solved. Technology does not change our lives only in Europe, but it also brings change to remote parts of Africa. Tailor-made innovations for Africa often challenge our imagination and fall within the realm of science fiction. What exactly are they? Do they help inhabitants solve their problems or do they produce new problems? Does Africa give rise to unique innovations that reflect on the local life experience?

GuestJonathan Ledgard
ModeratorTomáš Lindner





Alexander Ač (SK)

A researcher at the Academy of Sciences' Global Change Research Institute in Brno. He focuses on the isotope analysis of tree-rings and soil carbon emissions inventory. He studied environmental ecology at Pavel Josef Šafařík University in Košice, Slovakia. Later, he earned his PhD in applied ecology at South Bohemia University in České Budějovice, Czech Republic. He has co-edited a book called Věk nerovnováhy (The Age of Imbalance) about global and local impacts of climate change. He has translated a book called Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air by David J. C. MacKay into Czech.

How would you describe your work and your goals in the context of plant ecology and global climate change?
My focus is on the effects of global climate change on plants, trees and ecosystems. I research the development in the context of these changes in both the past and present, and with future outlook. It is about understanding the feedback and interactions of plants in the light of ever-higher demands placed on (not just) plants due to human activity. One of the key questions of the current plant physiology is the understanding of how long plants and terrestrial ecosystems will be able to help us slow down the increase of CO2 concentration in the air.

What do you consider important in the light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
I believe the main concern of our society in today's complex world should be to make sure we achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible; by that I mean the zero consumption of fossil fuels. Only then our planet stops getting warmer. If we keep putting off these essential decisions, the risk connected to the ongoing warming of oceans and atmosphere will be significantly higher.

What resonated with you the most from this year's literature and artistic releases?
I must mention the Czech translation of The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells. The author describes in plain terms what is ahead of us unless we manage to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As for books in English, I can recommend Our final Warning by Mark Lynas. True, there have already been several “final” warnings, but at some point, we won't be able to avoid the consequences that scientists continue to warn us against.

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Andrea Filipi (CZ)

PhD candidate in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge, specialized in the politics of protest and in the Great Lakes region in Africa. She spent ten years as an international civil servant with the United Nations, working as a political officer and special assistant in the UN's peacekeeping department. Andrea has lived and worked in Burundi, South Sudan, Sudan (Darfur), and East Timor. Andrea currently teaches on the "UN and the Politics of Peace" paper for the Pembroke-King's Summer Programme at Cambridge, and co-directs an introductory course on African Studies at the Masaryk Democratic Academy, a think tank in Prague, Czech Republic.

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Tereza Hronová (CZ)

She is a media coordinator of People In Need. She also makes audio-documentaries for Czech Radio and news reports for TV programme Objektiv. She has been to Africa more than 15 times, visiting Zambia, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Angola, DR Congo, etc. She prefers to travel with a video camera and enjoys spending time with locals, listening to their stories in order to retell them back in the Czech Republic.

How would you describe your work and your goals in the context of Africa?
When I go to Africa, it's mostly work related, with a camera, to take part in different projects of People in Need. I go there in search of ordinary stories of ordinary people so that my Czech compatriots know more about their way of living. People in Africa have often the very same problems and face the very same challenges as we do. I feel it's important to point out Africa is not a single country – there are huge differences across the continent. Living in Botswana can be completely different from living in South Sudan. And life in the city can be very different from life in the country. But I also see Africa from a “development point of view”, because I work for People In Need. I can appreciate that even a little help from the Czech Republic can go a long way in changing people's lives.

What do you consider important in the light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
I feel climate change is a big issue. Regarding Africa, it is a very pressing problem, because a lot of studies show that developed countries contribute to this change much more than developing ones. But the effects of the changes are much urgently felt in poorer regions. Climate change is not something that is going to happen. It is happening right now. I've met a number of farmers, fully dependent on their crop, who desperately and in vain waited for rainy season. And these changes are also linked to migration. Soon, it will be impossible to live in some parts of Africa…

What resonated with you the most from this year's literature and artistic releases?
I love documentary cinema and I've formed close ties with the One World Festival. I'm sorry that the festival was first cut short because of the first wave of Covid and then by the second one. During the selection process, I was able to see Downstream to Kinshasa by Dieudo Hamadi about a group of war invalids from DR Congo, who go to the capital city to demand war indemnity owed to them. I hope the film will be soon accessible to wider audience; it was a very inspiring watch.

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Tomas Lindner (CZ)

Since 2008, Tomas Lindner has been working for weekly periodical Respekt where he runs the foreign editorial section. He mainly focuses on Germany, geopolitics, contemporary Africa, migration, and integration. He is the author of a book of reports from South Africa entitled Waiting for the Rain Season (2008), and together with Ondřej Kundra he wrote a book on the causes of radicalisation amongst young European Muslims entitled My Son, A Terrorist (2017).

How would you describe your work and your goals with regard to writing about Africa?
Years ago, my interest in contemporary Africa and the frustration of it being neglected in the Czech media led me to journalism. I choose topics that, in my opinion, represent significant trends in the development of the continent and are not just "news." When I write about "crises," I focus on explaining the context, that is, the historical and political contexts, rather than describing human suffering. While on my travels in search of a new story to cover, I don’t look for extreme situations like war. Instead, more surprisingly, I look for stories that seem less spectacular at first glance but bring us closer to reality in Africa. Every year, I make it my intention to write a longer text about the recent history of Africa - something we know little about here in the Czech Republic due to our more Eurocentric approach to teaching history. To sum things up, I try to show the different levels of contemporary Africa and excite the reader a bit about this amazing continent.

What do you consider to be important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
I could, of course, make a long list, but instead I’ll choose something that concerns the Czech Republic and motivates me to be a reporter. The Czech public debate is very provincial, and most media outlets have neglected foreign news for a long time. I see little interest in what is happening in the European Union, which we really should be seeing as a 'domestic' issue rather than a 'foreign' one. There is also only a minimal interest in global issues and sub-Saharan Africa. And although this might sound like an overused cliché, you can’t deny how true it is to say that the world is connected in ways like never before. If, as individuals and as a society, we do not devote more time and attention to events beyond the borders of the Czech Republic and Europe, we will become disoriented in it all. The prevailing feeling is that the world has "gone crazy" and is dangerous, and that it’s best to shut ourselves out from everything. But if we actually work to try and understand the world, then I see two opportunities: we’ll find inspiration for solving many domestic problems and we’ll better find out how, as individuals, schools, cities and the state, we can contribute in the fight to overcome global challenges.

What resonated with you the most from this year's literature and artistic releases?
Well, speaking about Africa, I’m amazed at how many new African works have become accessible now more than ever before, all thanks to Netflix. While it’s only just the beginning (Netflix wants to collaborate more with African screenwriters and directors), I hope that someday we’ll be able to watch African films as easily as European ones; and as a result, we’ll get a better idea of African society, culture, and pop culture. Out of the African films available on Netflix, I highly recommend the Senegalese-French film Atlantics.

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Jonathan Ledgard (UK)

A leading thinker on risk, technology, and nature in Africa. He mobilises investments in artificial intelligence and robotics in emerging markets and advises to head of state level.
As a director at the avant-garde École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne he invented the droneport concept for Africa. Previously, he spent two decades as an award-winning correspondent for The Economist, reporting lead stories from many countries and several wars - including a decade as Africa correspondent. He is a critically acclaimed novelist. Submergence was a New York Times Book of the Year and was adapted for Hollywood by Wim Wenders. He works with major artists on nature-based installations.

How would you describe your work and your goals with regard to developments in the field of AI?
My ambition is to help bend machine intelligence towards the natural living world. How will an AI perceive a non-human life form? How can it help save that life form from extinction

What do you consider to be important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
For me, right now, all my thinking is addressed to artificial intelligence and species survival.

What resonated with you the most from this year's literature and artistic releases?
For technically minded readers I would look at Vaclav Smil's Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities, MIT Press (2019). Also, for geeks, a must read is the staggering work of professor Karl Friston at University College London and colleagues: The Markov blankets of life: autonomy, active inference and the free energy principleAnd, quite separate, I recommend Simone Seil's The Need for Roots, which is in many ways relevant to our end of industrial society moment.
Finally, Ursula K. Le Guin's

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Ndoni Mcunu (South Africa)

Researcher focusing on climate change, agriculture, biodiversity. Currently pursuing a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) at the Global Change Institute at Witwatersrand University in South Africa. She is also a founder & chief executive officer of Black Women in Science (BWIS) a non-profit organization which aims to deliver capacity development interventions that target young black women scientists and researchers.

How would you describe your work and your goals with regard to environmental sustainability?
I focus on understanding African landscapes through farmers, climate change and food production. My key areas are on climate change, resilience and food production. My goal is to understand how to make farmers (small and large – scale ) more resilient to the impacts of climate change through methods such as diversification.

What do you consider to be important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
There are two matters:
1. The black lives matter movement caused an uprising of a concept called “Intersectional Environmentalism”: which is the inclusive version of environmentalism that advocates for both the protection of people and the planet. It identifies the ways in which injustices that happen to marginalised communities and the earth are interconnected. When talking about climate advocacy and activism, there is a need to be aware of the different trade-offs rural communities face.
2. Due to COVID19 there has been a great need to improve access to food. It showed the dependency of food production on local small-scale farmers. Small scale farmers are the majority of farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. However, they are the least supported in skills development. There is a concern to develop these farmers and to ensure equal developmental access to women farmers as well. Women practice most of the farming yet they do not have land rights. So there is a high need to look at the food enterprise in developing countries.

What resonated with you the most from this year's literature and artistic releases?
The Article „Read Up on the Links between Racism and the Environment by Somini Sengupta“, New York Times, June 5, 2020.

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Tereza Němečková (CZ)

Works as a teacher and researcher at the Department of International Trade at the Metropolitan University of Prague and has long since been involved in the economic development of Africa. In recent years, after taking numerous trips to Morocco, she has become more interested in how the country of Morocco has been developing in comparison to the overall economic development of the North African region.

How would you describe your work and your goals in terms of the development of African studies?
Both the past and present of Africa are shrouded in many myths due to the fact that the interests of certain groups distort the history of the continent (see, for example, the King of Belgium’s recent apology for the violence and cruelty carried out during Belgian rule in the Congo, which showed a long-term deliberate distortion of Belgium’s activities in the Congo) as well as the fact that we have only misconceptions about the real, present-day lives of many Africans. This is often due to a lack of substantial data that could help us evaluate the present situation in local societies. For this reason, I see it as a challenge not only to immerse oneself in the study of the African continent, but also to acquaint students and the general public with topics that might seem a certain way at first glance, but upon taking a closer look we can discover a number of facts that break the stereotypical ideas we have that are so ingrained in our heads.

What do you consider to be important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
Perhaps now more than ever, 2020 has revealed how strong yet fragile the global economic system is and how it’s founded on the over-exploitation of natural resources, rising income inequality, and economic interests that go against the interests of the majority in society. Regions like Africa are likely feeling the impacts of this the most. We, the people of Czech society, should take more of an interest in the development of the globalized world and the economic, environmental, and social impacts it has. Simply because we are an open economy that is heavily dependent on this system.

What resonated with you the most from this year's literature and artistic releases?
I found the answers to many questions about the current global economic system as well as plenty of food for thought in the book Good Economics for Hard Times by Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee. Shortly after its publication, both authors were awarded the Nobel Prize for their contribution to the (development) economy. I was also fascinated with the new book, Born and Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, by American comedian of South African origin Trevor Noah, who describes the problems of South African society in a very colorful way. According to economic data, South Africa has one of the largest economies on the African continent, yet it suffers from an incredible number of internal problems… problems that it has been trying to find the right solutions for, but to no avail.

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Ifesinachi Comedy Nwanyanwu (NG)

Award winning self taught visual artist, poet, philosopher, environmental activist and Nigeria cultural Ambassador. His works are exploratory, mostly using waste and found objects to create conversational art pieces modelling labyrinthine creative growth that intervolve socio-political texture and spirituality. He works and lives between Abuja and Prague.

How would you describe your work and your goals in the context of building relations between the Czech Republic and African countries?
My works are homogeneous and organic, it's very comfortable in any country or place I have been. My focus has been consistent in extracting energy from my surroundings and synergizing potentials to create a sustainable environment. In my work as a cultural practitioner, I have had the opportunity to work in different countries. With my current experience coming to the Czech Republic and married to a Czech lady, I feel homely and more settled to empower cultural diplomacy that will benefit the Czech Republic and African countries. My vision is a two-way traffic approach of exposing the Czech Republic to appreciate and know Africa in her rich and colorful heritage: her resourcefulness and contribution to global civilization, and to export the Czech culture, development, and economic opportunities to Africa.

What do you consider important in the light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
I think this is an important time to be human, to have empathy, to share the love. Society should take seriously that after this situation, life will continue, so it's important to inspire hope and courage, and not despair and fear. The public art installation I am working on now is a graphic image of what I consider is important in our society. It's called Naše Deka, a 150 X 200-meter sculpture. The process involves residents of Prague donating used clothes for the project. I will weave that used clothes into an allegorical “deka” that symbolizes care. Because when one is cold and vulnerable, and you give the person a deka, you have inspired life and encouragement. The current situation has made the society vulnerable, and we need a communal deka, “naše deka”.

What resonated with you the most out of this year’s literature and artistic releases?
In the area of art-creation which I focus on, I have come to witness how global history is documented by different forms of creative expressions. The covid-19 has given a universal language for creatives to explore. It's been an era where creatives have tried to freeze the situation in many conversational approaches. In recent history, there hasn't been a time where the global cultural space has activated one narrative to explore.

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Tomáš Petříček (CZ)

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic for the Czech Social Democratic Party. He previously worked at the same ministry as a deputy, as well as at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. In addition, he has advised members of the European Parliament. He has a doctorate in international relations from Charles University in Prague. In the field of science, he deals with the topics of energy policy, sustainable development, and political economy.

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Michael Rozsypal (CZ)

Journalist and moderator. For a period of eight years, he worked at Czech Radio where he led political talks on the analytical journalism station ČRo Plus and moderated debates and morning broadcasts. He majored in political science at FSV UK. He enjoys the theatre and James Bond.

How would you describe your work and professional goals in the media?
I mainly engage with political talks. My job is to be a critical opponent of our guests and to question them incessantly on behalf of the public. I enjoy leading head-to-head debates where people with different perspectives, experiences, and skill sets analyse the same problem. My goal is to be critical of any and all information and to try and verify it.

What do you consider to be important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
Simply put – we should focus more on what’s happening around us. It's simple yet complicated at the same time. The current situation has shown us that it’s impossible to lock ourselves up in our own homes because many of our problems in this day and age go beyond our own living space.

What resonated with you the most from this year's literature and artistic releases?
I've recently been excited about NoD experimental theatre performances. They produce fantastic theatrical pieces that are completely original and have a good outreach.

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Kalifa Samaké (ML)

PhD student in molecular and cell biology, genetics and virology at Charles University in Prague. Kalifa is working on researching the immunogenetics of animals. His long-term goal is to improve the availability of food in the tropics. He is the founder of the initiative Pour l’environnement et le developpement (IAD - Initiative for Environment and Development), which focuses on educating young people on the importance of environmental protection and development.

How would you describe your work and goals in terms of reflection on the relation between Czechia and African countries?
The Czech Republic has at its disposal technologies that are lacking in most African countries. Those countries, on the other hand, have natural wealth that the Czech Republic lacks. In my opinion, cooperation between African countries and the Czech Republic could function as an advantageous exchange of resources and technologies. I am currently working to establish a dialogue with government officials. I’d like to point out that the relationship between the Czech Republic and Mali doesn’t have to only be a military one. It is also possible in other areas, such as culture, education and business. I also create awareness of our culture among Czech citizens, because I think that the knowledge of the African continent is relatively low here.

What do you consider important in the light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
Human beings are increasingly encroaching on wildlife. This results in an increase in zoonoses (diseases of animal origin transmitted to humans), such as avian and swine flu - and the current COVID-19 situation. We must, therefore, focus on planning demographic development and, above all, on better environmental governance in order to maintain the balance of ecosystems.

What resonated with you the most out of this year’s literature and artistic releases?
This year I focused more on studying and reading professional literature. And because of the coronavirus crisis, I didn’t have the opportunity to attend any cultural events. One thing I can mention is the documentary Welcome to Sodom, which I saw last year at the One World Festival. It was interesting to see people in Ghana recycling waste from around the world.

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Barbora Sedová (SK)

A researcher focusing on the mechanisms of climate impacts on human migration, inequality and conflict risk in developing countries. She co-runs FutureLab – Security, Ethnic Conflicts and Migration at the Climate Change Research Institute in Potsdam, Germany. She also pursues her PhD in economy at Potsdam University and works for Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) in Berlin. In the past, she worked for consulting company PwC in the Netherlands, the Slovak Ministry of Environment, the German Bundestag and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

How would you describe your work and your goals at the intersection of migration and climate change?
I explore climate changes and their impact on human migration, inequality and conflict risk in developing countries. The general goal of my research is to improve adaptation strategies so that they reduce negative effects of climate changes to a minimum. I rely especially on the econometric and GIS approaches.

What do you consider important in the light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
Some important questions our society should be asking are: How to convince the general public about the importance of climate changes reduction (e.g. by introducing a carbon tax)? How to fairly distribute the resulting costs among countries and generations? What are the most effective adaptation processes to the irreversible impacts of climate changes? And how can we protect the most vulnerable?

What resonated with you the most out of this year’s literature and artistic releases?
The film I want to mention was distributed last year, but I haven't seen it until this year. It's called Queen & Slim and offers a very engaging perspective on race issues in the United States. What I read is mostly boring and academic; it's mostly dry science I don't want to bother you with… The one academic paper I really enjoyed reading was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, and later, the New York Times published an extensive report on climate migration inspired by it. The paper shows how the human climate niche will shrink within the next 50 years. Unless we introduce stricter measures to reduce climate change, the consequences will be primarily felt in the world's poorest countries. It's more than likely that migration will be one of the most important adaptation strategies to these impacts.

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Peter Tinti (USA)

An award-winning journalist focusing on conflict, security, human rights, and organized crime. Among other outlets, Tinti’s writing and photography has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, World Politics Review and Vice. He is the author, with Tuesday Reitano, of Migrant, Refugee, Smuggler, Savior.

How would you describe your work and your goals as a journalist?
I write about how migrant smuggling takes place in the context of intentional policy choices.
While migrant smuggling is technically a form of transnational organized crime, for many asylum seekers and migrants, smugglers are the only way that they can reach safet. According to international law, people have a right to seek asylum if they feel that they are in danger of death or persecution, but practically speaking, governments do everything they can to make exercising this right nearly impossible. Thus, we have created a world in which tens of millions of people are on the move due to things like conflict, climate change, repressive governments, and extreme poverty, yet governments are increasingly trying to limit mobility, and in some cases, criminalize it.
The drivers of global displacement are unlikely to subside, and yet, the response by wealthy governments around the world is to militarize, securitize, and to externalize borders wherever possible. None of the policies being pursued, either at the government or international level, actually address the underlying problems that drive people to seek asylum.

What do you consider to be important in light of the current situation and what issues do you think we, as a society, should take seriously?
My biggest concern right now is the worrying trend of governments using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext for criminalizing asylum seekers. That is, in the name of “national security” or “public health,” governments will block asylum seekers from arriving on their territory, or deport individuals before they have had a chance to go through the asylum seeking process.
There has been a long and rapidly growing trend of governments reaching agreements with “transit” states (often in exchange for development aid, military equipment and technology transfers, or budgetary support) in order to block asylum seekers from ever reaching their borders. The US and the EU, for example, heavily rely on these types of schemes, outsourcing the dirty work to repressive governments and in some cases militias. These methods will be easier to sell to the public if governments feel they can claim that asylum seekers represent a public health risk

What resonated with you the most from this year's literature and artistic releases?
Rather than recommend one particular book or movie, I would ask that everyone seek out information about their own country’s treatment of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers.
Many of us live in states that we think have basic rule of law and respect for human rights, but so much of what our governments do to irregular migrants and asylum seekers happens in the shadows. Sometimes it is the policies that are problematic or immoral. Other times it is their implementation or lack thereof.
Most of us do not actually see or encounter these bureaucratic systems in our lives, but they exist and the cruelty, injustice, and even violence that they perpetuate is there every day, even if it is not in the headlines.

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Arkia Touré (ML)

She has been working as a journalist in Mali for more than 15 years. As a reporter for the national radio and television station Mali (ORTM), she covered news in the fields of development, healthcare, economics and education. Currently, she works at Studio Tamani, a radio station based in Bamako, which broadcasts programs offering analysis of the socio-political and security situation through 70 partner stations throughout Mali. In her work, she also focuses on women's rights.

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ZAHO ZAY (Maéva Ranaivojaona, Georg Tiller, Austria, France, Madagascar, 2020)
DAKHLA: CINEMA AND OBLIVION (Arturo Dueñas Herrero, Spain, Western Sahara, 2020)

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If you want to delve deeper into this topic, we offer you a selection of the most interesting sources that we came across while thinking through the program of this year's Inspiration Forum.


The spread of innovation culture across Africa in recent years has been accompanied by a boom in startups and tech hubs, which play a crucial role not only for future business development, but also for the development of local communities. However, technological development in certain regions remains affected by high prices of mobile data, lack of access to fast Internet connections and dictators shutting off the Internet in places ruled by them. This article, which belongs to the Africa Innovators series, also describes Africa’s largest tech company and the role of China in African financial technologies. The broader series focuses on people, companies and strategies that seek, use and implement African solutions for global issues.

“As startup and tech ecosystems mature across the continent, local talent will have increasingly growing work opportunities on the continent. Data however shows the best African country to be a startup CEO or developer is South Africa.”


In her study for the OECD, Chesney McOmber from the University of Florida focuses on how climate change affects women living in the area of Sahel. She identified women, along with youths, the elderly and disabled people, as the most vulnerable population group. This is because women in countries such as Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger are very economically dependent on agriculture, food processing and distribution. Lack of access to natural resources (such as water) due to the climate crisis could not only significantly affect their ability to perform the labour that sustains their livelihood, but could also make them face more danger as they venture farther out for water.

“Out of necessity, those with the resources to do so shift livelihood strategies and adapt to changing socio-economic pressures. Those without such resources are left vulnerable to these changes and less equipped to respond to current and future climate crises. Among those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change are women.“


A number of studies from recent years (such as this one) show that the vast majority of migration in Africa happens between different African countries. People most often move into other countries within their region of Africa and only a small fraction of them leave the continent. In his article about West African migration, Ahmadou Aly Mbaye not only describes the various factors that motivate or force people to move – from demographic changes and the worsening security situation in certain countries to the rather dramatic impact of climate change on people’s livelihoods – but also presents alternative strategies that could help with solving some of these problems.

“Finding alternative coping strategies beyond migration and fights over scarce resources is difficult but essential. It requires focusing development policy (and donor support) on more sustainable adaptation strategies. This will require diversifying economic activities away from weather-dependent activities like artisanal fishing and traditional agriculture, which can be achieved through modern agricultural, horticulture, and livestock techniques, and by adding value to traditional crops and primary products through integration into global value chains.”

The book Migrant, Refugee, Smuggler, Saviour, co-written (with Tuesday Reitano) by the IF guest Peter Tinti, offers a fascinating view of Sub-Saharan migration through the eyes of smugglers while also reflecting on the current state of global asylum policies. It describes how the development of local smuggling networks was prompted by a large number of comparatively well-off Syrians fleeing from war and how the economic impact of transit migration helped with developing infrastructures in some local communities.


The new European Commission has decided to dramatically change the EU's relations with Africa. According to the Commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, the EU would like to treat its neighbour, the world’s second most populous continent, as an equal partner with a promising future and reconsider the old narrative dominated by terms such as “development aid.” However, some observers view the proposed steps as insufficient and fear that they will fail to account for the historically unequal relationship.

“The new strategy talks about fighting illicit financial flows, but does not propose a fair tax system in which European companies pay taxes in the African countries where they make their wealth, which could give an important push to those economies. It talks about building peace, but does not foresee sanctions on EU members that break the rules regarding arms sales, which would support the AU’s Silence the Guns 2020 campaign. It talks about ways to protect forcibly displaced populations in Africa, but does not put forward specific actions to expand safe and legal pathways for migration to Europe.”


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