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BBC Africa Debate


Current issues that matter to Africa go under discussion and are brought to the attention of a global audience.

Current issues that matter to Africa go under discussion and are brought to the attention of a global audience.


United Kingdom






Current issues that matter to Africa go under discussion and are brought to the attention of a global audience.




Can You Trademark Culture?

September's Africa Debate comes from Cape Town, a hub of design and fashion, where we focus on the appropriation of national or traditional designs, crafts and symbols by mostly western high-end brands and artists. We discuss when and how cultural borrowing turns into cultural appropriation. Accusations of appropriation range from the Damian Hurst sculptures at the Venice Biennale - which he says are stylistically similar to celebrated works from Nigeria's Kingdom of Ife but critics say are...


Is Uganda the Best Place to be a Refugee?

Uganda is now home to the largest number of refugees in Africa, according to the United Nations refugee agency. More than one million South Sudanese have sought refuge in the country to escape conflict and famine. Analysts say Uganda has progressive policies that allow refugees freedom of movement,access to land, free healthcare and education. But how effective are these laws? Nancy Kacungira chairs this month's debate with a live audience in Kampala, Uganda. Photo: Two South Sudanese...


What Will Fix Africa’s Air Transport?

Often the quickest route from one African country to another is via Europe. More than 80% of airlines operating in the continent are foreign. Can Africa develop an efficient and affordable home-grown air transport sector? The BBC's Nancy Kacungira debates the big questions with an audience in Ghana.


What Will it Take to Rebuild The Gambia?

After more than 20 years under the authoritarian rule of former President Yahya Jammeh, Gambians have great expectations of the new administration. They want a well-performing economy, jobs, good health care and education, and an accountable government that will uphold the constitution. Many people are also hoping the new government can help stem the large number of young Gambians who every year perilously try to cross the Mediterranean sea in the hope of making a better life in Europe....


Is Journalism in Africa Threatened by Fake News?

Plastic rice. Death hoaxes. ‘Marry twice or go to jail’. How can journalists preserve audience trust in an era of social media and – some say – fake news? Do social media platforms have a responsibility to curb the spread of fake news? And can government censorship can ever be the answer? The BBC’s Akwasi Sarpong and Didi Akinyelure debate the big questions with an audience in Malawi. (Image: A stack of newspapers branded with a red ‘fake’ stamp. Credit: Thinkstock; BBC.)


What is Life Like for Women Without Children in Africa?

What are the options for childless couples? And, is choosing not to have children taboo? In many African communities fertility is highly prized and women without children are frowned upon. Infertility affects one in six couples of childbearing age worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation. In Africa, the number of women unable to conceive after a first pregnancy can be as high as one in three.


Should Street Vendors be Regulated?

Over 55% of Africa’s GDP comes from the informal sector, that’s about 80% of the labour force. Many of those are street vendors selling everything from samosas to mobile phone chargers. But are they a menace or an asset? Should the informal sector be regulated and crucially taxed? Or should governments encourage people creating employment for themselves? This month's Africa Debate goes to Uganda to look into street vendors and the informal economy in our cities. Picture: Street vendor in...


Is corruption Africa's biggest killer?

Recorded in Dar es Salaam,Tanzania where President John Magufuli has declared war on corruption. Many think corruption is an African problem, but is it worse in other parts of the world? BBC's presenters Zuhura Yunus, Owen Bennet-Jones and an audience discuss whether Africa deserves its reputation for being corrupt and if a dictator is necessary to eliminate corruption. Or is democracy the best way to expose wrongdoing and to get it dealt with?


Should social media be regulated?

Recorded during the Social Media Week event in Lagos, the programme picks up an issue that is current to the concerns of many Africans who have used social media for political mobilisation and to monitor public officials. More recently, Nigerians have been reacting angrily to a draft bill proposed in the country’s Senate which aims to punish anyone who “propagates false information”. The bill’s opponents say it will censor free speech on social media where public corruption is exposed.


Has Africa outgrown development aid?

Ten years ago, the UK-government-led Commission for Africa was launched at the British Museum. It coincided with a popular global movement to Make Poverty History in Africa, a revival of Live Aid concerts, and a string of promises from G8 leaders to increase aid to Africa. The Commission encouraged partnership between Africa and the developed world, rather than a relationship of dependency. Is this happening? A decade on, how relevant or necessary is development aid? Is Africa now in a...