Ioannis Gatsiounis

Archive for 2012|Yearly archive page

New Africa or New Hype? *

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2012 at 6:23 am

May 14, 2012

KAMPALA – The global media have rightly been criticized over the years for paying too little attention to Africa ‘s strengths and successes. War, poverty, disease, that’s all they mention, grumble the critics.

But of late coverage has begun to even out, with greater attention paid to the continent’s world-beating growth rates, greater stability and investment, and a global-minded business class choosing to stay or resettle in Africa instead of flee. Read the rest of this entry »


Love and War – the video version

In Uncategorized on April 18, 2012 at 10:42 pm

April 19, 2012

Two short interview clips – one on love, one on fighting.

Baseball Manager Flailed for Cheering Castro (and a word on Günter Grass)

In Uncategorized on April 10, 2012 at 12:19 am

April 10, 2012

A manager for a Florida baseball team has come under fire for allegedly saying he loves Fidel Castro.

I empathize with the nearly one million Cuban exiles who have escaped Castro’s ruthless reign of deprivation for the pastel sunsets of south Florida. But I can’t support the witchhunt calling for Ozzie Guillen’s suspension and resignation. It’s one man, one opinion. In America. Get over it.

No one – no one in the free world – has the right not to be offended. One has the right to choose to get offended. And that’s where it should end. But don’t expect the law to punish others for your choice. Read the rest of this entry »

Blast from the Past: Interview with Uganda Mayoral Candidate

In Uncategorized on April 9, 2012 at 3:59 am

April 9, 2012

It’s been brought to my attention that a video clip I did nearly a year ago has been attracting a swarm of vitriolic comments online. That happens in the world of media (especially when you challenge deep-seated convictions) and so I have rarely if ever felt compelled to respond. This case is different.

Apparently in Uganda it’s improper for a foreigner to grill a local politician, even if the said politician is accused of vote-rigging, goes on to defend the practice, and for good measure chooses to attack the rights of sexual minorities. What’s more it’s okay for the aspiring mayor – being a Ugandan – to turn questions about the stunted state of Ugandan politics into a paranoid rant about the United States, because well, that’s where the interviewer was from. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview on American Foreign Policy

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm

April 8, 2012

Happy Easter to All!

Here is a recent interview I did for Sanyu FM in Kampala.

Attracting US Investment in Africa*

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2012 at 6:19 am

April 4, 2012

KAMPALA – The US-China rivalry in Africa has basically boiled down to aid versus trade.

The US has won unmatched influence through its cash donations, on which African governments depend to fight everything from malaria to terrorism.

China has dramatically countered through trade, surpassing the US to become the continent’s largest trading partner two years ago.

But a string of moves capped by the introduction of a new trade bill in the House and Senate last week indicate that Washington is now playing to win the trade war too. Read the rest of this entry »

A4C’s Failings Need Not Feed Disillusionment

In Uncategorized on March 5, 2012 at 4:08 am

March 5, 2012

KAMPALA – A flutter of umbrage seems to surface each time I opine to opposition supporters that Activists for Change lacks the discipline, resourcefulness and alternative narrative to force regime change here.

The panicky pessimism is understandable. A4C is the only (semi-) organized, over-arching vehicle for social protest – in a country where official abuses are growing at an alarming rate.

The silver lining is this trend may soon render the rebel-rousing coterie unnecessary. Read the rest of this entry »

China Outduelling the West in Africa?

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2012 at 1:46 am

February 28, 2012

One hears often that China is superseding the West as the dominant force in Africa. I read it implied most recently this morning in an article by Mwangi Kimenyi of the Brookings Institution. “…U.S. foreign direct investment to Africa remains low and declining relative to other countries – especially China.”

Over the weekend, curled up on a lawn chair along the rippling Nile, I read a back story in Harvard Business Review reporting that America’s KFC plans to open 15,000 outlets in China alone by 2015.

Side by side, these two articles capture why the West isn’t more invested in Africa, a point too often omitted from coverage of China vs. the West in Africa. China isn’t so much beating the West in Africa. Rather, the West goes where it sees opportunity. It doesn’t see much opportunity in Africa. Let China take the gamble, its actions are saying, let it, literally, pave the way with its high-risk, low margin infrastructure projects. If investment conditions improve, we’ll come in. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Walk to Work Reloaded Won’t Make a Bang

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2012 at 7:42 am

January 26, 2011

KAMPALA – The recent announcement that Activists for Change is “reloading” the Walk to Work campaign, in which Ugandans are to walk from their residents to their place of employment in a peaceful expression of discontent with the direction of the country, is welcome news to the reform-minded here.

It was Walk to Work I, last April, that challenged the nothing-we-can-do mindset with a yes-we-can refrain, and the timing of Reload is auspicious: bribery scandals are rocking the ruling party, national debt and inflation are soaring. Bank interest rates have edged toward 30%. Electricity subsidies are set to end. Youth unemployment is at 83%. There’s a lot for ordinary Ugandans to be angry about.

And yet Walk to Work Reload has all the makings of a bad Hollywood sequel. Read the rest of this entry »