SA must clean up its act in Africa – Its future depends on it

This article appeared in Sunday Times Daily (South Africa) in the Opinion and Analysis section on 31/08/2021:

https://www.timeslive.co.za/sunday-times-daily/opinion-and-analysis/2021-08-31-george-philipas–sa-must-clean-up-its-act-in-africa-its-future-depends-on-it/

It has certainly been an active 18 months or so for President Cyril Ramaphosa and his foreign policy pivot to Africa.  As Chairperson of the African Union (A.U) last year and at the G20 summit in November, he championed decisive measures to counteract the impact of the pandemic on Africa as a whole.  Seeking debt relief, increased vaccine procurement and waivers on vaccine patents to encourage domestic African production.

And just last month, South Africa deployed 1500 South African troops making up the bulk of the multinational force under SADC command to counter the growing threat of an Islamic insurgency in northern Mozambique.  

Continue reading “SA must clean up its act in Africa – Its future depends on it”

A New Chapter in Greek-African relations or just a flash in the pan?

An edited version of this article appeared in Greek Business File (July/August 2021 issue):

A new chapter in Greek-African relations or a flash in the pan?

When Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias heralded a new chapter in relations between Africa and Greece to a gathered host of African ambassadors for Africa Day to mark the establishment of the African Union late last month, it hardly made waves.  Statements of good intention towards the oft-neglected continent are nothing new.  But a flurry of recent diplomatic activity, including a new diplomatic mission in Dakar, Senegal and the announcement that Greece will contribute to the French-led peacekeeping mission in the Sahel, would suggest that Dendias’s assertion might this time actually be backed by action.

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The source of inflation that nearly no-one is focused on and everyone needs to worry about…

The great inflation debate that begun in earnest following the current U.S administration’s US$1.9tn coronavirus relief package in early Spring 2021 has morphed into something more serious than the jovial sideshow that is was before.   Recent monthly U.S consumer price inflation (the percentage increase in prices across a range of representative goods and services) continues to overstep forecasts.  In June in the U.S it came in at a whopping 5.4% – the highest jump since the early 80s.  If this persists, at stake is the end of cheap money upon which advanced economies have come to rely so heavily upon – that is, if increases in interest rates are deployed to combat the problem and one that has not reared its ugly head in a generation.

Continue reading “The source of inflation that nearly no-one is focused on and everyone needs to worry about…”

Why worries about inflation are missing the point…It’s the debt (and low productivity) stupid… We are in the last days of the post-1945 economic miracle

From a repeat of the Roaring 20s to the Boring 20s to “That ‘70s Show”, describing the decade ahead by diving deep into the past for comparisons has become a bit of a fad. 

It’s certainly a fun thought experiment for those who care about these things.

But there is a serious unspoken truth to it all. 

Continue reading “Why worries about inflation are missing the point…It’s the debt (and low productivity) stupid… We are in the last days of the post-1945 economic miracle”

A sense of continuity for the South African Cypriot diaspora

This article was published in the Sunday Cyprus Mail on 20th June 2021

In an affluent suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa, where ex-colonial houses sit comfortably next to shiny new shopping centres, is the unassuming building that has housed the Cyprus Brotherhood of South Africa since 1952.

Continue reading “A sense of continuity for the South African Cypriot diaspora”

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Why the eternal struggle may not be so eternal for much longer.

While many commentators are raising their proverbial arms in the air and decrying the intractability of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the current violence may have exposed a path to an end game – for better or for worse – between the two sides. 

As familiar as the eternal and depressing rocket exchange between Hamas and the IDF is, causing predictable and well-trodden consequences and damage, it seems that this this time the confrontation feels different in scope.

Continue reading “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Why the eternal struggle may not be so eternal for much longer.”

Where have all the Greeks gone? The story of Greeks in Africa

A shorter version of this article appeared in the Sunday Cyprus Mail on 4th April 2021 and was re-published in Economia – the Greek business and finance media group on 27th April 2021

https://cyprus-mail.com/2021/04/04/where-have-all-the-greeks-gone-the-story-of-greeks-in-africa/

Today there remain only a few Greeks in Africa, mainly in the metropoles of South Africa. These last remnants only hint at a rich past that tied generations of Greeks to the vast African continent. There are some who still remember this prosperous past. Minis Papapetrou, a retired engineer who grew up in Sudan and now resides in Athens describes how he and around 200 members of the ‘Greek Community of Sudan’ still meet periodically in the Greek capital. Before covid disrupted life, they regularly gathered for Christmas and Easter, even though most, including Mr Papapetrou himself, left Africa almost 50 years ago. So powerful is the memory of the place that bonds them. “When we get together, or go to the club, our conversations are all about when we were back in Sudan,” he sighs. “Do you remember that? Do you remember when we went there? It’s a nice feeling to remember the country you were born.” Mr Papapetrou represents the last in a line of three generations of Greeks whose fortunes ebbed and flowed with those of the continent.

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The broken social contract and the paradox at the heart of Brexit

Up until about 2004 when I emigrated to Africa – first to Kenya and then South Africa, I had lived in London all my life. 

From Greek heritage I always considered myself English growing up. A born and bred Londoner.

Even when people would retort, “yes, but where are you actually from?” puzzling over my generic dark, Mediterranean physical features, I would brush the slight aside and proudly declare allegiance to Blighty – water off a duck’s back as the old British saying goes.

Moving abroad, that sense of nationhood only deepened. Distance makes the heart grow fonder and all that – A proverb probably borne out of the intense passion of a thousand long-distance relationships fueled by well-engineered love letters in well-crafted English as described in the best traditions of 19th century British romance novels of the Jane Austen persuasion.

But all that changed with the Brexit vote on 23rd June 2016. 

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This is how a Superpower dies… State Sponsors of Terrorism and U.S. Foreign Policy in Sudan

A superpower begins to fade under the weight of its bloated size and over-confidence.  Through arrogance and careless mis-steps it bungles and self-sabotages to the point it starts creating problems it could have easily avoided, undermining its strength and capacity to shape global events to its will along the way.

Nowhere are these early seeds of destruction for U.S. better-exposed than in its dealings with Sudan. 

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The End of the Age of Labour. We are entering the Era of Automation & Neo-Socialism: A Look at Daniel Susskind’s ‘A World Without Work’

I grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, a time that saw the end of the Cold War and a new wave of prosperity.  An age when the modern industrialised capitalist economy reigned supreme and globalisation, then still in its infancy, seemed to be the answer to global poverty. We clung to the hope that it would raise billions out of subsistence. 

Continue reading “The End of the Age of Labour. We are entering the Era of Automation & Neo-Socialism: A Look at Daniel Susskind’s ‘A World Without Work’”