Friday, May 9, 2014

Screenings: 23rd European Film Festival, May 13- Jun.1 2014 @ Alliance Française Auditorium

23rd EU Film Festival
Dates: May 13 – June 1, 2014
Venue: Alliance Française Auditorium
Time: weekdays - 5.30 & 7.30 pm and weekends - 3.00, 5.30 & 7.30 pm

Entrance: Kshs 50

1.  ATMEN (Breathing)
Drama – 2011 – 94 minutes | General Exhibition (GE)
Screenings: 13th May @ 5.30pm & 24th May @7.30pm

Acclaimed directorial debut from veteran Austrian actor Karl Markovics.  The film is an eloquent portrait of an incarcerated teenager attempting to win parole by working at a local mortuary. To his horror and disgust, he has to handle corpses.  His co-workers are bullies very like his prison warders. Yet Roman must endure this job if he is to get parole and begins to respect the solemn work of handling the dead and starts to come to terms with his own youthful crime.
Nominated for the ‘European Discovery of the Year’ at the 2011 European Film Awards and Winner of  “Label Europa Cinemas”at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival

1. LA TÊTE LA PREMIÈRE (Headfirst)
Romance – 2012 –  89 minutes| Above16 (+16)
Screenings: 13th May @ 7.30pm & 24th May @ 3pm
Young Zoé takes to the road in search of a writer she admires. She believes that a road trip might give purpose to her life. Along the way, she meets Adrien, a young actor who is intrigued by her elusive personality and decides to follow her.

2. TURQUAZE (Turquoise)
Drama – 2010 – 96 minutes | Above16 (+16)
Screening: 20th May @ 7.30pm and 30th May @ 5.30pm

The film explores the lives of immigrants who find themselves torn between two lands and cultures, with roots in neither.   This moving and joyous romantic drama introduces a trio of Turkish brothers, living in Belgium, who redefine family dynamics after their father’s death

1. TMAVOMODRÝSVĚT (Dark Blue World)
War/Drama/Romance – 2011 – 112 minutes | Parental Guidance (PG)
Screenings:  14th May @5.30pm and 31st May @ 7.30pm

An epic romantic drama by the Oscar winning director, Jan Sverák. It is about two Czech pilots, serving together in the UK’s Royal Air Force during World War II, who fall in love with the same woman. The film flits between a post-war camp where Franta is a prisoner, an “enemy of the people” because he flew for the RAF during WWII, and England during the war where Franta is like a big brother to Karel, a very young pilot.
1. KAPRINGEN (A Hijacking)
Drama/Thriller – 2012 – 103 minutes | Parental Guidance (PG)
Screenings: 27th May @ 7pm – Ciné-Café and 1st June @ 7.30pm

The cargo ship MV Rozen is heading for harbor when it is hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. Amongst the men on board are the ship’s cook Mikkel and the engineer Jan, who along with the rest of the seamen are taken hostage in a cynical game of life and death. With the demand for a ransom of millions of dollars, a psychological drama unfolds between the CEO of the shipping company and the Somali pirates.

2. JAGTEN (The Hunt)
Drama – 2013 – 115 minutes | Above16 (+16)
Screenings: 14th May @7.30pm, 22nd May @5.30pm and 30th May @ 7.30pm

A powerful story of a man wrongly accused of child abuse. Lucas leads a contented life in a small town. A teacher by training, he has been left jobless by the closing of the local school.   He now works in a daycare, looking after kids during the day and drinking with their parents in the evening. Everything changes, however, when — in a moment of anger — one of Lucas’ charges tells the daycare owner he sexually abused her.
Winner of the ‘Best Actor’ Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and the ‘Best Screenwriter’ Award at the 2012 European Film Awards

1. 9 MOIS FERME (9 months stretch)
Comedy – 2013 – 82 minutes | Above16 (+16)
Screenings: 15th May @ 5.30pm and 25th May @ 7.30pm

The film tells the story of a morally upright judge; Ariane Felder, who discovers she is pregnant by a criminal wanted for murder.  Ariane can’t remember a thing and tries to find out what could possibly have happened.
Winner of the 2014 César Awards for Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay

2. LE PONT DES SAVEURS (The Brige of Flavors)
Screening: 19th May  @ 7pm - CINE-CONCERT

The French duo ‘Bridge of Flavours’ made up of saxophonist, Julien Petit and pianist, Guillaume Cherpitel, present a Ciné-Concert.  The magic of live musical performance set to silent films from the early 20th century including ‘Paris qui dort’ (Paris Asleep) by René Clair and ‘Le voyage dans la lune’ (A trip to the moon) by Georges Méliès, comes to stage.
Following the success of the Oscar winning film “The Artist’, the two musicians started experimenting with silent films and through jazzy compositions influenced by African music, salsa, soul, rock and funk, the duo invite you to rediscover the special alchemy from the very early days of cinema.

Drama – 2012 – 105 minutes | Above16 (+16)
Screening: 15th May @ 7.30pm and 31st May @ 5.30pm

A psychological and political thriller set in1980s East Germany. Barbara, a doctor, has applied for an exit visa from the GDR. Now, as punishment, she has been transferred from Berlin to a small hospital out in the country. Jörg, her lover from the West, is already planning her escape. Barbara waits, keeping to herself. Working as a paediatric surgeon under her new boss Andre, she is attentive when it comes to the patients, but quite distanced toward her colleagues. But Andre confuses her with his confidence in her professional abilities, his caring attitude, his smile. Is she under surveillance? Is he in love? But as the day of her planned escape quickly approaches, Barbara starts to lose control. Over herself, over her plans?
Silver Bear for Best Director at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival (2012)

1. ΝΎΦΕΣ(Brides)
Drama/ Romance – 2004 -128 Minutes | Above16 (+16)
Screenings: 12th May @ 6.30pm, 20th May @5.30pm and 24th May @5.30pm

Set in the turbulent social and political climate of 1922, Brides tells the story of 700 young women, some of them teenagers, from Greece, Russia, Turkey and Armenia, who were loaded on a ship heading for New York. They were proxy brides carrying a wedding gown and a photograph of their future husbands. The film illuminates the migrant experience through a moving tale of love, duty and sacrifice.
2004: Greek State Film Awards for Best Film

2. Ο ΒΥΣΣΙΝΌΚΗΠΟΣ  (Cherry Orchard)
Drama – 2000 – 141 minutes | Parental Guidance (PG)
Screenings: 16th May @ 5.30pm and 28th May @ 5.30pm

LyubovRanevskayaleft Russia to escape troubling memories of the death of her son. Now her family is riddled with debt and Lyubov and her teenaged daughter have come home to the family estate looking for a way to pay their bills. Much to their dismay, the Ranevskayas are forced to sell their land to a crude businessman who intends to build a housing development in what was once the family’s cherry orchard.

1. LA GRANDE BELLAZA (The Great Beauty)
Drama/ Comedy –  2013 - 142 minutes | Above16 (+16)
Screenings: 16th May @ 7.30pm, 26th May @ 7.30pm and 1st June @ 3pm

Journalist Jep Gambardella has charmed and seduced his way through the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades. Since the legendary success of his one and only novel, he has been a permanent fixture in the city's literary and social circles, but when his sixty-fifth birthday coincides with a shock from the past, Jep finds himself unexpectedly taking stock of his life, turning his cutting wit on himself and his contemporaries, and looking past the extravagant nightclubs, parties, and cafés to find Rome in all its glory: a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty.
Winner of the 2014 Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film, the 2014 Bafta Award for the Best not in the English Language

1. DE MARATHON (The Marathon)
Comedy/ Sport-Drama – 2012 – 107 minutes | Above16 (+16)
Screenings: 17th May @ 3pm and 28th May @ 7.30pm

For four disillusioned men there is more at stake than merely finishing the Rotterdam marathon.
Gerard, Leo, Kees and Nico - four friends born and bred in Rotterdam - work side by side in Gerard’s garage, but business has suffered a down-turn. Through Youssoef, the foursome comes up with the inspired idea to get a sponsor and take part in the Rotterdam Marathon in order to save the garage from going under. In the midst of all the preparations for this ultimate run and the saving of the garage, there is actually more at stake for the four guys than just getting to the finish...

1. TIGRE V MESTE (Tigers in the City)
Comedy/Drama – 2012 – 90 minutes |Above 18(+18)
Screenings: 17th May @ 5.30pm and 29th May @ 5.30pm

Three friends about to turn 30 call themselves animal names: BADGER, HYENA and PIGEON. They like to spend time together in their favorite bar in the Bratislava city Zoo, but they all feel that something is missing – they starve for a soul mate for life. After years of fantasizing about a woman’s voice on the radio, Badger finally decides to meet her. Badger’s life takes an unexpected twist, when his friends discover, that a man is trying to kill him. The man is a Russian ex-hit-man hired to kill Badger for his extensive zeal as a state prosecutor, working against local mafia. At the same time, the killer happens to be the husband of the radio speaker, with whom Badger just started a romance. The circle is closed. Now it’s not only a question of falling in love anymore. It’s about staying alive

Drama/Fantasy – 2012 – 104 minutes
Screenings: 23rd May @7.30pm and 29th May @7.30pm

Set in southern Spain in 1920s, Blancanieves is a tribute to silent films.  It is a silent-movie melodrama version of Snow White and the Sven Dwarfs.  Carmen is the beautiful daughter of a once dashingly handsome bullfighter, now a widower and invalid, married to a scheming nurse.  After her stepmother’s bungled murder plan, Carmen is discovered in the woods by a travelling band of bullfighting dwarfs who discover Carmen’s extraordinary talent for bullfighting.
Winner of the 2013 European Film Award for the Best Costume Designer and the 2013 Goya Awards for Best Film,  Best New Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score,  Best Original Song

2. LAS AVENTURAS DE TADEO JONES (The Adventures of Tad Jones)
Animation/Adventure/Comedy – 2012 – 92 minutes
Screenings: 18th May @3pm and 31st May @3pm

Tad is a celebrity archeologist and adventurer just like his hero Max Mordon... in his dreams! In reality, Tad is a Chicago construction worker. One day, however, he is mistaken for a real Professor and takes his place on a flight to Peru in search of the Lost City of Paititi. Professor Lavrof and his beautiful daughter Sara are waiting for the famous professor to crack the code. Unfortunately for Tad, Sara is engaged to real-life hero Max Mordon, but Max has secretly betrayed the Professor by teaming up with the evil Kopponen and his shady Odysseus corporation. Time for Tad to step up.
Winner  of the 2013 Goya Award for the  Best Animation Film and Best New Director

Drama – 2010- 110minutes | Above 18(+18)
Screenings: 17th May @ 7.30pm and 26th May @ 5.30pm

Martin escapes his alcoholic father for the summer job of his life at the exclusive Royal Yacht Club in the idyllic archipelago of Stockholm in 1975. He meets true love for the first time and is being groomed by Gösta, a playboy in the centre of high society.  Martin is inevitably drawn into one of the greatest scandal of all times in Swedish crime history.

1. LES GRANDES ONDES (Longwaves)
Comedy – 2013 –  85 minutes | Above16 (+16)
Screenings: 18th May @ 5.30pm and 22nd  May @ 7.30pm

It is April 1974 and Julie Dujonc-Renens, young feminist journalist and the cunning Joseph-Marie Cauvin, leading reporter for the Swiss radio, have been sent to Portugal to investigate Switzerland’s aid to poor countries. Sparks fly during the bus trip with Bob, sound engineer approaching retirement. The projects financed by Switzerland prove to be calamitous and the workers’ revolution that suddenly breaks out doesn’t help, obliging our heroes to disregard first the radio’s management, and then their own codes of conduct.

Comedy – 2014 – 90minutes | General Exhibition (GE)
Screenings: 18th May @ 7.30pm and 25th May@ 5.30pm

NEXT GOAL WINS is a hilarious and moving exploration of what it really means to be a winner in life.

Comedy/Romance – 2012 – 87 minutes | Parental Guidance (PG)
Screenings: 21st May @ 7pm – Ciné Café and 25th May @ 3pm
Director: Bob Nyanja. Starring : Bernard Safari, ShirlenWanjari, Charles Kiarie

Afraid of losing the woman of his dreams, Muntu, a small fry criminal, pretends to own a profitable market stall. His honest attempts to turn his lies into reality fail, due to the ubiquitous local corruption. Impersonated as “Captain of Nakara”, wearing a stolen military uniform, Muntu manages to succeed in defending his rights, his happiness – and ends up elected as Kwetu’s president!

Drama/Thriller – 2010 – 98 minutes |Above 18(+18)
Screenings: 23rd May @ 5.30pm and 1st June @ 5.30pm

Set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The efforts of an 'operator' named Riva to obtain a secret cache of valuable petrol bring him up against the local crime boss - and his beautiful girlfriend.

Monday, May 5, 2014

NETmundial 2014: The Birth of Multistakeholderism on World Stage

Brazilian President Rousseff Opening NETmundial
The NETmundial conference ( which was held in São Paulo on April 23-24, 2014 was a culmination of events brought about by revelations of former NSA contractor turned whistle blower Edward Snowden.  
This meeting which was organised by the Brazilian Government and ICANN sought to address two issues namely;
  1.  Internet Governance Principles, and
  2.  the Roadmap for the future evolution of the Internet Governance Ecosystem
Normally, these two issues would not appear to be contentious, neither would they be areas where governments/states seek to have a greater say. However, in light of the startling revelations about NSA mass surveillance on the American public plus a number of world leaders. It was inevitable that issues of internet governance had to crop up especially given the role internet currently plays in a globalised world.
Hence, with the issue of internet governance on the fore, the main question was how the world was going to address this issue. Was this issue going to be solved through a multilateral approach? In which case you have the tried and tested approach, where you would have world governments/states discussing issues on internet governance. In such a scenario a key constituent would have been locked out. Therefore, the less tried multistakeholder approach which is usually synonymous with civil society had to be tried.
In an audacious gamble the Brazilians choose to try the multistakeholder on issues of internet governance in a world conference where government’s delegations would also be present. The Gig as it were was aptly named - the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance [some delegates went as far as calling it the ‘world cup’ before the world cup]. For those not in the know Brazil will be hosting the world cup from June this year].
The NETmundial conference organisers invited delegates from four main background categories, namely;
  1.        Government
  2.        Private Sector
  3.        Academia
  4.        Civil Society and
  5.        Technical Community
In the run up to the conference there had been a call for submissions and under this there were 187 submissions made in time which formed the basis of NETmundial draft outcome document which had been updated as of March 14, 2014. This document was then made available for public comments. The document attracted over 1370 comments.

The submission made have been excellently analysed here

The Conference
I arrived in São Paulo a day before the conference kick-off and thus I missed the usual pre-conference roundtables and opening cocktails which normally give you a pulse of the meeting before kick-off and the expectations we all have before such events. However, I was able to chat with a number of folks before the conference kick off at my hotel and most of us were pessimistic about any outcome document given the diversity of delegate’s backgrounds.

Day 1 – Wednesday, April 23 2014
The first think that captured you when you arrived the meeting venue itself, the Grand Hyatt. The majestic building at the heart of São Paulo business district meant the Brazilians meant business!
The registration was very smooth and took very few minutes plus, the security was adequate.
The opening ceremony went on quite well with speeches from; Virgilio Almeida [NETmundial Chairman who has a striking resemblance to the former Brazilian President Lula], Wu Hongbo [UN Under-Secretary-General who made the announcement of the appointment of Janis Karklins as IGF chair], Nnenna Nwakanma from Civil Society who gave an excellent speech, Vint Cerf from the Private Sector, Tim Berners Lee [Academia] and Fadi Chehadé [Technical Community]
The Brazilian President H.E. Dilma Rousseff accented to the Marco Civil Act before giving her address and formally opening the meeting.
After tea break, there was a long session dedicated to ‘welcome remarks’ mostly from government representatives and other stakeholders present. Out of this session, of note was Michael Daniel Speech – special assistant to the president & cybersecurity coordinator [US], on USgovernment’s announcement earlier this year of its decision to relinquish the oversight responsibility on IANA exercised by the USA’s government.
As has been pointed out in other articles, this session could have been better used but it is understandable that when you have governments represented – such ‘welcome remarks’ sessions are inevitable.
The real business of NETmundial forum got cracking in the afternoon with setting of the goals session immediately after lunch and the first working session dealing with internet governance principals following.
The submissions were open to the floor under four categories; Governments, Civil Society, Academia and Private Sector.
For those not physically present there was the remote hubs participation – through video and online participation through a text stream.
Under the working session 1 – Principles part 1. Most of the submissions centered on human rights with South American CSO’s delegates pushing for a stronger wording of the human rights clause. Other principles had a number of submissions with cybersecurity strongly following esp. issues of internet surveillance. Culture and linguistic diversity also had a number of submissions.

 Day 2 – Thursday, April 24 2014
On Day 2, it was a continuation of the working sessions with working session 2 – Road Map part 1 taking place in the morning. This session was initially scheduled for Day 1 but took place on Day 2 due to time constraints on Day 1 and the fact that the executive committee had to retire for deliberations on Day 1 submissions.
Thereafter, there were two more working sessions; principles part II and road map part II.
The afternoon session was occupied with discourse on Beyond NETmundial – NETmundial and Internet Governance Ecosystem. The critical question asked during this sessions was how the NETmundial input would find its way to IGF and other high level forums that would influence a binding document in future. Also, issues emerging under this session were the transition/handover of US government oversight responsibilities plus the reforming of ICANN to deal with the new responsibilities envisioned.
Thereafter, it was a long wait for the final outcome document, initially scheduled to be announced during the closing sessions scheduled for 1700 Hrs but which took place from 2000 Hrs as a result of last minute negotiations.
The closing session was chaired by Virgilio Almeida – NETmundial chairman and it is at this point it was announced that a final document had been agreed upon by most of the stakeholders present. This document was read out by Adam Peake and Jeanette Hofmann who had been instrumental to achievement of this feat. This final document was aptly named the São Paulo Multi-stakeholder Statement by Virgilio Almeida ( 

The São Paulo Multi-stakeholder Statement
Going through the São Paulo Multi-stakeholder Statement one of the things that you notice from its preamble is that the document is a non-binding outcome document. Thus, we are still a long way in the journey for a binding Internet Governance Principles however this is a good starting point.
  1.        Under the Internet Governance Principles
The document identifies a set of common principles and important values. Also, it goes further to state the internet is a ‘global resource’ which should be managed for the public interest.
The document goes further to enumerate nine key principles;
  1.        Human rights & shared values,
  2.       Protection of intermediaries,
  3.        Culture & linguistic diversity,
  4.        Unified & unfragmented space,
  5.      Security, stability & resilience of the internet,
  6.       Open & distributed architecture,
  7.        Enabling environment for sustainable innovation & creativity,
  8.       Internet governance process principles and
  9.       Open standards
Under the above principles, of note is the comprehensive human rights & shared values principle which references human rights identified in this document to the human rights enumerated in the universal declaration of human rights.
Unified &unfragmented internet space. Prior to this meeting there were fears that the internet as we know it today would be under the threat of countries or regions coming up with their own ‘internets’. This going forward seems to be an issue that was resolved at NETmundial.
Security, stability & resilience of the internet. This principle had a quite a number of submission made during the plenary with issues of net neutrality and incorporation of states and Corporates being floated. However, the final document did not factor this in and this clause remains as had initially been formulated.
The internet governance process principles are very well articulated in this document and of note is this clause -
‘Open, participative, consensus driven governance: The development of international Internet-related public policies and Internet governance arrangements should enable the full and balanced participation of all stakeholders from around the globe, and made by consensus, to the extent possible’.
Under this clause the only issue I have is the definition of consensus.

2.       Roadmap for the future evolution of the internet governance

The roadmap for the future evolution of internet governance is very well articulated in the document and points out;
‘Internet governance framework is a distributed and coordinated ecosystem involving various organizations and fora’.
It also points out the Tunis Agenda as a model for multistakeholder-ism and calls upon the participatory nature for internet governance.
Under the roadmap the following issues are addressed at length;
        i.            Issues that deserve attention of all stakeholders in the future evolution of Internet governance.
       ii.            Issues dealing with institutional improvements.
      iii.            Issues dealing with specific Internet Governance topics
     iv.            Points to be further discussed beyond NETmundial:
       v.            Way Forward
Of note were the points meriting further discussion such as roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, jurisdiction issues, benchmarking systems and net neutrality

Politics of NETmundial plus Overall Winners and Losers
NETmundial had its fair share of political dynamics at play. For a political scientist one could not help noticing that in an election year President Rousseff had to portray a strong image esp. against US. With the enactment of Marco Civil Act during the opening ceremony of NETmundial, this was to shove up her support.
 The rejection of the final document by Cuba and Russia was by all means not a coincidence. On the final day of NETmundial the Russian president had been quoted as saying the internet is a CIA project!
India on the other hand is going through an election and thus perhaps this was at the back of the government delegates hence they needed time to consult with the new administration. China on the other hand did not raise any objections during the closing ceremony but it remains to be seen their next moves. China has been a strong proponent of multilateral approach to issues of internet governance.

  1.        President Rousseff – Brazilian President
  2.        Mr. Fadi Rousseff – President & CEO of ICANN
  3.        ICANN - Organisation
  4.        Brazil – Country [leader in South America]
  5.       Internet Governance Forum – Institution [funding and lifespan]
  6.        Africa
  7.    European Union
  1.        US Government [oversight responsibilities of IANA]
  2.        Russian Government
  3.        China
  4.        Cuba
   The final outcome document can be accessed here

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Event: Party/DJ sets - Ten Cities Rooftop Party, Mar. 8 2014 @ The Mall, Roundabout – Westlands

Ten Cities Roof Top Party Poster
Date & Time: Saturday, March 8 2014 9.00 pm
Venue: The Mall, Roundabout, Westlands
Entry: Kshs 300

DJ Set’s by: DJ Satelite – Luanda, Trust the DJ – Johannesburg, Afrologic – Lagos and Just a Band – Nairobi

Performance by: Fena Gitu & Wangechi

TEN CITIES is coming back to Nairobi. After last year’s pumping warehouse concert in April, it’s time for another episode. Therefore we are inviting TEN CITIES participants from sub-Sahara Africa creating a unique night-out experience Nairobi hasn’t seen before. Expect diverse and raving DJ sets from Afrologic(Lagos), Trust The DJ(Johannesburg), DJ Satelite(Luanda) and Just A Band (Nairobi) that will navigate you through genres like Kuduro, Kwaito, Afro Beat, Dub, House, Techno and much more.

TEN CITIES is a music and research project that brings together musicians and writers from ten cities in Africa and Europe. The project initiates music production and details the unwritten history of club culture in Cairo, Johannesburg, Luanda, Lagos and Nairobi as well as in Berlin, Bristol, Kyiv, Lisbon and Naples. TEN CITIES is a process, focusing on creating and producing, carried forward by travels and visits. During this process, the project aims to create networks that are open and involves a constantly increasing number of participants.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Brookings Institute Memo to the US President – Big Bets and Black Swans: Securing the Future of the Internet by Peter Singer & Ian Wallace

At the beginning of every year the Brooking Institution releases the Big Bets and Black Swans – a memo addressed to the US president with policy insights and actionable recommendations on challenges lying ahead.  Of interest to me is that this year’s memo among other things addresses the internet.

Peter Singer and Ian Wallace memo to the president looks at how the Barack Obama administration can secure the future of the internet as we know it today. This comes against the backdrop of Edward Snowden’s jaw dropping revelations about the activities of the National Security Agency. This revelations have kick started a debate among nation states and internet stakeholders on the future of internet. One of these stakeholder meetings is set to take place in Sao Paulo - Brazil in April 23-24, 2014. This stakeholder meeting is an ICANN organised meet with the support of Brazilian government which had big fallout with Obama administration over NSA spying concerns of President Dilma Rousseff.

One of the main agenda of the ICANN Brazil Gig is to come up with principles of ‘internet governance’. Peter Singer and Ian Wallace in their memo to the president rightfully point out that once Edward Snowden raised the damning report of NSA activities Washington has taken a back seat on matters of protecting the internet since they do not have the moral authority to pontificate on such matters given what NSA has been doing. However, the two authors seek to have the president raise the priority of internet policy and strategy. In so doing the United States would play a pivotal role in the raging debate on ‘internet governance’. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Speech on Innovation, Technology and the 21st Century Global Economy by IMF MD Christine Lagarde at Stanford University

IMF Boss Christine Lagarde in Kenya I Photo Courtesy of IMF Flicker Images 
'there are over 200 Million people looking for work across the globe. If the unemployed formed a country, it would be the 5th largest in the world' - Christine Lagarde, MD IMF
Find the full speech here

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Publication: Filling the Blank Space of Global Art Peripheries: Measurements of Art Mobility & their Ambivalence in Nairobi by Olivier Marcel

Filling the Blank Space of Global Art Peripheries: Measurements of Art Mobility and their Ambivalence in Nairobi, Kenya by Olivier Marcel of Bordeaux 3 University
In recent years, art made in Africa, particularly in the metropolitan context, has witnessed a substantial increase in attention coming from transnational institutions. While many researchers have pointed out the deceitful nature of contemporary art’s globalization, this turn of events still challenges the way we conceive the space of contemporary art. In this paper I use cartography as a critical tool to approach the international mobility facilitated by two art organizations based in Nairobi, Kenya. 
Olivier Marcel takes a critical look at art mobility in Kenya through the lens of two cultural institutions, Goethe Institut Nairobi and Kuona Trust. 
His research findings offer interesting perspectives and his use of cartography to map out art mobility offers visual account of relationships that exist and might have been missed in the art space.

This is a worthwhile paper to read and it can be accessed here

[Event] Feb. 13 Protest + Special Sermon by Rev. Timothy Njoya on the State of Nation, Feb. 13 2014 @ Outside Parliament

Feb. 13 2014 Protest Poster
Date: February 13, 2014
Venue: Uhuru Park, Freedom Corner – Parliament
Time: 10 am
Dress Code: Black T-Shirt

Agenda: Insecurity, Unemployment, Corruption, Poverty, Sick at 50, Culture of Impunity and Mutilation of the constitution.

Special Sermon by Rev. Dr. Timothy Njoya on the State of the Nation

Performances by: Sarabi Band and Anto NeoSoul + many other acts

Come with a Kenyan Flag and a roll of tissues.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Event: Kenya’s Songs of Protest: Documentary & CD Compilation Preview Concert, Jan. 31 2014 @ Alliance Française

Songs of Protest
In the recent past Kenya experienced different forms of protest. The protests have ranged to the eye catching Occupy Parliament protests lead by photo activist Boniface Mwangi protesting the high pay Members of Parliament enjoy to the recent protests against new taxes by county governments.   

Musicians have not been left behind and you have quite a number of young musicians telling truth to the people in power through music. Some of this music is quite popular since it deals with issues of bread and butter and the current problems being experienced. 

Therefore the exhibition above ought to be a MUST attend event for anyone interested in issues of governance.

Date: January 31, 2014
Venue: Alliance Française
Time: 7-11 pm
Free Entrance

Performance by: Just a Band, Sarabi, Eric Wainaina and Makadem
Hosted by: John Sibi-Okumu

Friday, January 24, 2014

Opportunity: Washington Fellowship of Young African Leaders 2014 by January 27 2014

Lecture: Origins of Political Order by Prof. Francis Fukuyama on Jan. 22 2014 @ Strathmore Business School

Lecture Poster
Professor Francis Fukuyana gave a lecture titled the Origin of Political Order on Wednesday evening at the Strathmore Business Auditorium. The lecture was premised on his most recent book going by the same title.  The professor kicked off his lecture by giving us a background on the thought process plus what influenced him to come up with this book. The September 11 2001 twin tower attacks by terrorist and America's quest to attack Iraq and result to a nation building war / exercise were the catalysts. Hence he embarked on a search of the origins of political order since intervention by the United States tended to get things wrong on the countries that they wanted to 'democratise'.

The professor also enumerated the evolution of political order and classified this into three components namely;

  1. The State [the formation of the state as we know it today by the Chinese and how war and dynasty conflicts was instrumental to this. Notable was the mention of German Sociologist Max Weber]
  2. The Rule of Law [under the rule of law the professor highlighted the role of religion and notable mention was Pope Gregory the 7th and his work on reforming the Catholic Church]
  3. Institutions of Accountability [Lastly, was democracy and why he prefers to Accountability as opposed to democracy]
On the last classification, the professor went to great lengths to showcase that in authoritarian regimes such as China there is considerable accountability in this case in economic terms. The central committee is try as much as possible to secure economic opportunities for its citizens and this nuance is as a result of its unique history. 

Lastly the Prof. Fukuyama tried to tackle Africa from the position of an outsider. He concurred with the Africa Rising narrative and made specific observations. He then concluded by making us aware of a sequel to his book will be published this year. The book looks at the origin of political order in Africa.

The output and learning points from Prof. Fukuyama was there is need to understand local nuances before engaging in democratisation projects by international institutions. I think his works might inform current concepts such as R2P.

Find Prof. Fukuyama Bio and his current projects here:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

IMF’s MD Christine Lagarde Visit to Kenya: Dispatches from Mindspeak Forum

Mindspeak Poster
I attended the Mindspeak forum on Monday, January 6 2014 where the key guest was the IMF MD Christine Lagarde. Ms Lagarde was in the country for a three day working visit.

Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), will visit Kenya from January 5–8, 2014, to meet with policymakers and other representatives of Kenyan society. – IMF Press Release No. 14/01 January 2,2014

Notable things picked from this session is despite the look east policy adopted by Kenya plus the perceived thawing of relations brought about by the ICC case the country has been engaging the IMF. To date Kenya has received almost $ 1 B from the time IMF. The monies we necessitated by a rapid decline in the value of Kenya Shilling to the dollar in the year 2012. The country applied for IMF short term lending which was approved and disbursement of these funds was divided into three tranches. The last which was approved by the BoD of IMF just before Lagarde jetted in.

Other insights gain from the MD speech was the health of Kenyan Economy. As pointed out –

‘Indeed, Kenya’s economic gains over the past few years have been nothing short of remarkable. Coming on the heels of a delicate political transition, growth remains robust—at more than 5 percent in 2013. And a set of bold economic reforms have laid the foundations to lift the economy to middle-income status within the next decade—if Kenya maintains the reform momentum.’ - Christine Lagarde

This is essentially important given Kenya will be launching a Eurobond either at the end of this month or in February 2014. The assurances from the IMF will certainly go a long way in making the bond issue a success.

The other aspects which were addressed by the speech were the growth prospects for SSA tagged together with the risks to look out for. In her off the cuff remarks Ms Lagarde mention with the recovery of Western markets capital is expected to flow back from emerging markets to the developed markets as the returns there become more meaningful.

‘Overall, we expect Sub-Saharan Africa to enjoy continued robust growth—which our projections in October place at 5 percent in 2013 and close to 6 percent in 2014. But this outlook is not without risks. Policymakers must remain vigilant to threats from slower demand in emerging market economies, unfavorable changes in commodity prices, or higher financing costs.’ - Christine Lagarde

On the quest of Middle Income Status by Kenya m/s Lagarde offered a roadmap in her three C’s namely;
  1. Completing fiscal devolution; 
  2. Closing infrastructure gaps; and 
  3. Continuing regional
The full speech by m/s Lagarde can be accessed here