Completion of road Dédougou-Tougan… will this lead to a bump in votes for MPP in 2020?

Dédougou-Tougan : 60 ans après, le rêve se réalise Kantigui a été témoin du branle-bas de la population de la capitale provinciale du Sourou pour traduire reconnaissance au président du Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, ce mercredi 26 juin 2019. Les fils et filles de la province, l’ancien Premier ministre, Paul Kaba Thieba, en tête, entendent dire merci au chef de l’Etat pour avoir été celui qui a désenclavé l’un des dernières provinces du pays à n’être pas relier au reste du territoire par le bitume. Kantigui comprend la joie des Sourounkè (habitants du Sourou), car ce projet, une des priorités des différents gouvernements depuis les années 1958, a été, au fil des années, un serpent de mer. Kantigui se réjoui que le rêve, vieux de plus d’un demi-siècle, soit aujourd’hui une réalité. L’on se rappelle également que le prolongement du tronçon Tougan-Ouahigouya, long de 94 km, est déjà presqu’acté. Kantigui ne peut être que ravi de voir l’ambition présidentielle se traduire en acte au profit des populations afin de stimuler le développement local et favoriser l’intégration économique régional.

Source: Yacouba Isaac Zida démarche des journalistes – Quotidien Sidwaya

Posted in Burkina Faso

Stay with Me, by Ayobami Adebayo

Stay with Me, by Ayobami Adebayo came out in 2017 and received good reviews. I picked it up the other day in our university library. A decent read, it is a domestic drama set against backdrop of Yoruba culture and Nigeria in the 1980s. Personally, I do not find dramatic stories of marriage problems (and boy does this one have them!) that interesting. The writing is competent, though sometimes it seemed like the author and editor lost track of what they were trying to accomplish (occasional fast-forwards, multiple points of view…) and Akin’s point of view sections are far less interesting than Yejide’s, and one fundamental issue with him is never really explained or explored, which was kind of weird.

The author talks about her book:

Posted in Book and film reviews

Recent reading, novels and short stories

Harp of Burma, Michio Takeyama. 1946. For our book club (whose rule is under 200 pages). Not politically correct by any means, this tale of a Japanese company towards the end of the Burma war in 1944 was apparently intended as a redeeming novel for young people in Japan to draw the right lessons from the war. Lots of understated Buddhism, but too many stereotypes about Burma.

Nebula Awards Showcase, 2018. Mostly the stories tended towards fantasy, which is not my preferred genre. Unless Ursula K. Le Guin is writing. I enjoyed reading “Seasons of Glass and Iron” by Amal El-Mohtar, “Blood Grains Speak Through Memories” by Jason Sanford, and “Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea” by Sarah Pinsker, and “The Orangery” by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam.

The Stone Country, by Alex la Guma. Fine writing, classic political prison novel.

Vladimir Nabokov, King, Queen, Knave. A lot of fun to read. When I retire, English PhD, on Nabokov. how come nobody is studying his work?

Short stories in The New Yorker.

  • John L’Heureux, “Escape.” One’s own imminent suicide has to be pondered, by writing a story about one’s father and his bad death. Yikes was my only reaction. this story was so close to home, with Alzheimers and Parkinsons and getting older.
  • Camille Bordas, “The Presentation on Egypt.” A father’s suicide has to be filtered and processed by mother and daughter. A finely-etched portrait. Not revelatory, more like a chapter in a novel.
  • Ben Lerner, “Ross Perot and China.” A family sketch. And definitely part of a novel. Very little to chew on here. Like leaving a time capsule for 1,000 years from now: how did some humans live and what did they think of?
  • Lauren Groff, “Brawler.” Sad tale of a teenager whose mother is dying. Yeah, beautifully written but definitely not my groove when I have a teenage daughter at home!
  • Greg Jackson, “Poetry.” Very literary story, about a couple and their relationship, and maybe dying after eating some fruit on the beach.
  • Te-Ping Chen, “Lulu.”  Political story about a young woman in China who gets obsessed with… justice and liberty. And her brother, who isn’t.
Posted in Book and film reviews

Les Paul and Mary Ford “There’s no place like home”

Posted in Music

Revenue-strapped government of Burkina Faso? I don’t think so.

Government revenue has been rising steadily over the past 15 years. While there are many competing demands for funds, the amount available has increased. So analyses that start by saying “the government does not have the funds” are misleading. the government has more funds than ever, and the allocation of those funds is, as always, a political challenge.

BF government revenue

Posted in Burkina Faso

How much is the Trump trade war helping African consumers of soybean?

According to the IITA, Africa imports about 1.5 million tons of soybean a year.  Let’s say that Trump’s trade war with China has been the reason that soybean prices have fallen from $10 a bushel to $7.50 a bushel over the last year or two.  There are 36 bushels in a ton so African countries are saving $2.5 x 54 m bushels = $135 million each year. Not enough to change consumption or nutrition very much unless there is a huge import surge. of course, we must also remember that soybean has been a rapidly growing crop in many production regions in Africa, and a price slump could slow that growth, and the consequently the externalities that come from developing the export market and the processing market.

Posted in Burkina Faso, International trade issues

Recent reading: Beard, Twain, and Pinsker

Sarah Pinsker, Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea. Short stories set in the future. Billed as sci-fi, but these did not appeal to me as much as I had hoped. Nicely done, small moments of human insight. When I read sci-fi though I usually want more of a sense of wonder.

Mary Beard, SPQR. Fun reading this over last few weeks, a long history of the Roman Republic. I knew very little about that history. I wonder whether it will stick. But so interesting the institution of the two elected consuls. And how little historians actually know.

Mark Twain, Roughing It. Amazing to think this was an incredibly literate person, with keen insight, traveling for months in the western territories, only about 150 years ago. Not something you read straight through. I pick it up and read a dozen pages at a time.  The opposite of sci-fi, I guess. He relishes the tall tales, Twain does.

Posted in Book and film reviews