lunes, 15 de julio de 2013

CLASS SEVEN. Regional visions: The Future of Africa

These different autors see the future of Africa differently. Watch the videos and extract six main ideas from them to bring to the class.  We start with Hans Rosling. He uses his fascinating data-bubble software to burst myths about the developing world. Look for new analysis on China and the post-bailout world, mixed with classic data shows. Woudl you say that in Hans Rosling’s hands, data sings? That some global trends in health and economics come to vivid life? And the big picture of global development—with some surprisingly good news—snaps into sharp focus? We continue with George Ayittey talking about leaders and corruption in Africa. We will complement this visions with further reading in class, focusing on Morocco -since it is the closest country in Africa to Spain- and specials on South Africa, Rwanda and Namibia and the particular set of international relations that help us to explain the conditions of these countries today.

Talk by Hans Rosling
Let my data set change your mind set. Video here.

"Hans Rosling is a professor of global health at Sweden's Karolinska Institute, his current work focuses on dispelling common myths about the so-called developing world, which (he points out) is no longer worlds away from the West. In fact, most of the Third World is on the same trajectory toward health and prosperity, and many countries are moving twice as fast as the west did.

What sets Rosling apart isn't just his apt observations of broad social and economic trends, but the stunning way he presents them. Guaranteed: You've never seen data presented like this. By any logic, a presentation that tracks global health and poverty trends should be, in a word: boring. But in Rosling's hands, data sings. Trends come to life. And the big picture — usually hazy at best — snaps into sharp focus.

Rosling's presentations are grounded in solid statistics (often drawn from United Nations data), illustrated by the visualization software he developed. The animations transform development statistics into moving bubbles and flowing curves that make global trends clear, intuitive and even playful. During his legendary presentations, Rosling takes this one step farther, narrating the animations with a sportscaster's flair.

Rosling developed the breakthrough software behind his visualizations through his nonprofit Gapminder, founded with his son and daughter-in-law. The free software — which can be loaded with any data — was purchased by Google in March 2007. (Rosling met the Google founders at TED.)

Rosling began his wide-ranging career as a physician, spending many years in rural Africa tracking a rare paralytic disease (which he named konzo) and discovering its cause: hunger and badly processed cassava. He co-founded Médecins sans Frontièrs (Doctors without Borders) Sweden, wrote a textbook on global health, and as a professor at the Karolinska Institut in Stockholm initiated key international research collaborations. He's also personally argued with many heads of state, including Fidel Castro. [texts excerps from TED site]

Talk by Hans Rosling: Let my data set change your mind set. - See more at:

Talk by Hans Rosling: Let my data set change your mind set. - See more at:

Talk by Hans Rosling: Let my data set change your mind set. - See more at:

Ghanaian economist George Ayittey talking about leaders and corruption in Africa. 
See video at TED clicking here.

Questions to address

  1. How does these videos reflect on the future of the African continent?
Further reading

Africa in International Relations link
Daniel Bach, 2013

The World´s Most Dangerous Place: Inside the Outlaw State of Somalia
James Fergusson
Da Capo Press, Cambridge (MA), 2013