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Deepening Democracy through Access to Information

Saliem Fakir

Saliem Fakir

Fakir is interim executive director of the African Climate Foundation – saliem@africanclimatefoundation.org

Climate change post COP 28

16th February 2024 You must have felt a bit of a daze with the cacophony of announcements at the twenty-eighth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations... 

The value of tacit knowledge for economic success

26th January 2024 Michael Polanyi, the brother of the famous Karl Polanyi (the writer of The Great Transformation), says in his book, Tacit Knowledge, that “we can... 

Of policy wonks, Utopians and realists

15th December 2023 Policy wonks like me are in the business of persuasion and perhaps a little grandstanding. The picture of the world we want has to be a different... 

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Fractured trade, inflation and prospects for climate action

17th November 2023 The world is in a very different place to where it was when the World Trade Organisation (WTO) came into being in 1995: geopolitics and geoeconomic... 

Climate summits are about both reality and unreality

13th October 2023 Climate gatherings are traditional stomping grounds where calls for radical change can be met with lukewarm or whimsical responses, but you can be... 

Technocene – the age where technology takes over the world

15th September 2023 The concept of ‘technocene’ is not novel; in fact, there are lots of writings on this concept. The Technocene age holds the premise that we are not... 

Transitions and the politics of national sovereignty

18th August 2023 One of my favourite childhood authors was the science fiction writer Arthur C Clarke, the author of 2001 Space Odyssey – which was later turned... 

Antidevelopment – the paradox of development

7th July 2023 It has been said by some that those who desire to ensure we have a more sustainable planet and oppose fossil fuels are antidevelopment. Indeed, the... 

The problem with dogma

16th June 2023 “Bad ideas matter. They have their own coherence and own power”. These words are attributable to Timothy Snyder, a US historian who specialises in... 

Dullness versus the creative: prospects for development and human wellbeing

19th May 2023 Africa’s problem is not fossil fuels or the continent’s dependence on raw land and minerals but the lack of capacity to transition from these... 

Micro-arguments and process of large change – Part 2

21st April 2023 This article is a continuation of the last instalment of this column, which concluded by highlighting the transformative power of a single legal... 

Micro-arguments and the process of large change – Part 1

10th March 2023 ‘All men (women) are intellectuals  . . . but not all men (women) have in society the function of intellectuals.” – Gramsci. It seems incremental... 

Is Eskom a dead project?

17th February 2023 “Where you arrive does not matter so much as what sort of person you are when you arrive there.” – Seneca, letter XXVIII. Our coal situation is... 

Green hydrogen - reflections on the new green gold

20th January 2023 South Africa had its first investor and policy summit in Cape Town in late November when President Cyril Ramaphosa opened the hydrogen conference.... 

Lost and damaged: reflections on COP27

16th December 2022 Yes, I was in Sharm El Shaik, Egypt, attending the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change... 

Value of stability for political and economic progress

11th November 2022 Stability can be a recurrent fable that we tell ourselves that we have in order to preserve the idea of the ‘good’ life – sometimes at the expense... 

Extraction: it’s everywhere and on everything

7th October 2022 “We live not only in a market economy but more generally in a market society – that is to say, a space of civilisation where all human relations... 

Europe’s gas addiction undermining Africa’s energy transition

9th September 2022 The sad thing about the Russia-Ukraine war is that the 1.5 oC-aligned energy transition looks set to be interrupted once again. We are here today... 

Reflections on ESG, net zero and corporate citizenship

12th August 2022 It is important to locate environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals and net-zero targets in the context of corporate citizenship today.... 

Inflation, climate change and fossil fuels – we enter a new crisis

29th July 2022 Who would have thought that we would enter a new inflationary era? Even US Federal Reserve chairperson Janet Yellen was caught off guard by the... 

Africa can decarbonise faster than the rest of the world

3rd June 2022 It is oxymoronic to talk of Africa decarbonising – with the exception of South Africa and a few other countries, the continent has the lowest per... 

The basis for good judgment: can we really know?

6th May 2022 Over the past decade, I have been engaged in an inquiry into the nature of judgment, given that I have had the privilege of setting up new entities... 

Ukraine and the geopolitics of energy

8th April 2022 “It takes two mirrors for the correct image of one’s self” (Diary of Patricia Highsmith, 1968). By now we are all aware of Russia’s invasion of... 

Observations on Africa’s climate and development nexus

11th March 2022 It has always been maintained and will continue to be maintained that the route to curing the climate challenge in Africa is to define a new... 

A significant year for climate in South Africa

11th February 2022 The year 2021 should be remembered as a turning point for climate change policy and diplomacy in South Africa. It is hard to recall a time when so... 

The Just Energy Transition Transaction in South Africa

21st January 2022 Sometimes the ‘impossible’ seems far-fetched and unrealistic, but it can be on the cusp of happening, even if it still has some journey to cover.... 

Some takeaways from COP26

3rd December 2021 We are in what we may call slow burn and incremental shock of climate vulnerability – recent events tell a story of increased frequency of extreme... 

New economic frontier for climate change action

26th November 2021 Last year, marked a tectonic shift in the climate change arena, and this was spurred on by the recognition by the European Union (EU) that no... 

Organising for climate change: the ‘two cultures’ problem

22nd October 2021 Ulrich Beck wrote: “One can possess wealth but one can be afflicted by risks; they are, so to speak, ascribed by civilisation . . . Risk society is... 

The need for grit – industrialism in Africa

10th September 2021 Extractive industries offer no long-term solution for countries that continue to rely on their natural resources as levers for an economic boost;... 

Of insurrection, malls and hunger

27th August 2021 We have been made to believe the narrative that things were under control When, in July, looting and rioting broke out in KwaZulu-Natal and parts... 

Intersectional issues in renewables: the race debate in the energy sector

16th July 2021 We must guard against the idea that green means socially responsible and equitable. Green and optimum social outcomes are not synonymous;... 

The private versus the public: living within the hierarchical system

18th June 2021 Societies that are most vulnerable to economic piracy need countervailing forces to protect them from those who deliberately pursue actions... 

Gas-exporting countries in Africa and the problem of a displacement equivalent

14th May 2021 The public discourse around gas is intensifying. Climate activists have now made gas – which has been touted as being better than coal and a... 

Climate finance and the political economy of finance

9th April 2021 In his book, Feline Philosophy, which is about what cats can teach humans, John Gray points us to a few lessons. One of these is pertinent to what... 

The tragedy of abundant resources

12th March 2021 The coming into being of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) is giving momentum to an idea that has been very long in the making – a... 

The politics of knowledge production

12th February 2021 It has been an interest of mine for a long time – this question concerning the production of knowledge systems. The part that I will not focus on... 

Political economy of the just transitions in Africa

22nd January 2021 The term ‘just transition’ may seem a neologism, but in reality it is not so new. It originated from the depths of US labour movement struggles in... 

The framing problem and judgment– how to be aware of how not to frame

4th December 2020 For the human mind to cope with the world, it has to develop a set of frames of the world, or what can also be called heuristics. These sets of... 

Liberty, environmentalism and corporate power

6th November 2020 Individual utilitarianism is seen as primordial in conventional Western economic tradition. However, individualism does not always lead to better... 

Climate resilience: optimising strategies against uncertainty

9th October 2020 Climate resilience in Africa can only be optimised if other forms of social protection work in concert. This means you may not achieve success,... 

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