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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Out of Africa

Sitting in Heathrow on my way back from research and vacation in South Africa.

The research is the beginning of a project on investment incentives for renewable energy in South Africa, in cooperation with the South African Institute of International Affairs and the International Institute for Sustainable Development. As South Africa tries to reach universal electrification, its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol (p. viii) enable it to access funds from the Global Environmental Facility and foreign private donors. As a result, it is one of the most active countries for renewable energy projects, particularly wind and solar. In fact, it was one of the top 10 recipients of renewable energy foreign direct investment in 2011.

On a more personal level, since I played my tiny part in anti-apartheid solidarity actions in the 1970s and 1980s, I visited several of the most important anti-apartheid sites, which the country is actively promoting for tourism, such as Constitution Hill in Johannesburg (formerly a prison that housed Mahatma Gandhi and numerous other anti-apartheid activists, now the site of the country's Constitutional Court), Soweto, and Robben Island.While I risked little more than disciplinary probation at college, it was sobering to see the places where fighting for basic justice could cost you your life.

Next week I'll post my long-delayed review of the great Good Jobs First report, Megadeals.