Friday, March 13, 2020


Three poems Kenyan author, poet and playwright Alexander Nderitu have published, in Chinese translation, in THE WORLD POETS QUARTERLY (February, 2020). This is the second time his poetry has been translated and published in Chinese, the first time being in 2018. Nderitu, who currently works as a book editor and theatre critic, is a recipient of the Business Daily 'Top 40 Under 40 Men' award (2017). 

The Editor-in-Chief of the international poetry collection was Dr. ZHANG ZHI, President of The International Poetry Translation and Research Centre (IPTRC).



I am excited to announce that my narrative poem, 'Someone in Africa Loves You' (Kenya's representative poem on Commonwealth Poetry Postcards) was recently translated into French by Osckin-wens Gankoue Nke (pictured) from Congo Brazzavile.


Paul Auster once said that 'Translators are the shadow heroes of literature' and Osckin-wens is a testament to that. His translation is fantastically rendered, and even more faithful to the original than the author expected!
'Someone in Africa Loves You' has previously been translated into Arabic, Chinese, and Kiswahili. The original, English, version can be found at

Below is the French version, and if anyone else would like to take a crack at translating this love story into their native tongue, then the author can be reached at


Quelqu'un en Afrique vous aime

La grande fille blonde n'est pas venue en Afrique de l'Est en aventure,
Elle était étudiante à Oxford avec une spécialisation en histoire
Et Elle voulait voir les sites utilisés pendant l'esclavage
Et les reliques de la rivalité arabo-portugaise.
Je l'ai d'abord aperçue marchant seule au bord de la mer qui se balançait
Et quelque chose à son sujet m’a frapper l’esprit et m'a mordu.
Je lui ai demandé son nom et elle a dit: "Suzanne ... avec un" e "".

De là, il n'y avait aucune distance entre nous;
Je l'ai emmenée voir les ruines de Gedi et celui de Jésus
Et la nuit, nous nous sommes émerveillés devant un ciel aussi brillant qu'un miroir
Et acclamé les cracheurs de feu et les danseurs des limbes
Avec des peaux d'ébène qui brillaient au clair de lune comme des rasoirs.
Suzanne a changé ces vêtements en tenue tropicale et j'ai tressé ses cheveux
Ensuite nous avons dansé sur la musique de Bob Marley & The Wailers.
Où qu'il soit, Cupidon devait être très heureux -
J'ai dansé toute la nuit avec Mlle 'Suzanne avec un "e".'

Suzanne est restée allongée sur la plage pendant des heures à prendre un bain de soleil pour son bronzage;
Je lui ai appris le swahili, elle m'a appris l'argot cockney.
Les sages disent que le temps et la marée n'attendent personne
Et il était trop tôt pour Suzanne de revenir.
Sans elle, la vie sous les tropiques n'est tout simplement pas la même,
Je suis tellement irritable que mes camarades de plage disent que je deviens fou.
J'ai envoyé un e-mail à Suzanne disant: "Quelqu'un en Afrique vous aime."
Et elle a répondu en disant: «l’Afrique me manque et tu me manques toi aussi.
C’était signé: «Suzanne avec un« e »».

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

CFTA Deal Revives Pan-African Dream

If fully implemented, the African Continental Free Trade Area will be the world’s largest trading bloc

Can Africa’s lion economies stand up to the Asian Tigers? Is there a genuine possibility of Africa forming a trading bloc that would rival the EU, China and the US markets? The African Union (AU) would reply in the affirmative. And they have some success to back up their Pan-Africanist dream. In 2012, the AU and its member countries agreed to develop a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). On 21 March 2018, close to 50 African Union member states signed the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement in Kigali, Rwanda. The signings took place during the official opening ceremony of the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the AU Assembly of Heads of State. ‘I wish to acknowledge all the leaders, past and present, involved in bringing us to this point,’ Rwandan President Paul Kagame and current Chairperson of the African Union said. ‘We are reaping the rewards, of their foresight.’

The CFTA aims at creating a single market for African goods and services by eventually removing tariffs on 90% of items and facilitating the free movement of business people and investments. 44 out of the 55 countries immediately signed up for it, which created the framework for a free-trade area with over 1.3 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of over USD $3.4 trillion. However, for the agreement to come into effect, it will have to be ratified by the parliaments of at least 22 member states. There are other challenges as well. In the short term, individual economies are expected to take a hit due to the removal of tariffs but thereafter enjoy such benefits as economies of scale. According to a study by the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), conducted in February 2018, if all tariffs were to be fully eliminated in the CFTA, there would be ‘substantial welfare gains’ of about US$ 16.1 billion, even after deducting US$ 4.1 billion of tariff revenue losses. That said, non-tariff barriers to trade (NTBs) could still slow down the overall pace of business. NTBs include rules of origin, quotas, embargoes, technical and administrative regulations, and licensing procedures for individual countries. Internationally, CFTA will have to contend with the protectionist policies of some major powers. US President Donald’s Trump ‘America First’ policy, for example, affects countries wishing to do business with the world’s largest economy.

But the AU remains optimistic. The gains clearly outweigh the challenges. According to the UN Economic Commission on Africa, intra-African trade could increase by 52.3 per cent under CFTA (and double if non-tariff barriers are also eliminated). Intra-African exports stood at a measly 18% in 2016, according to the Brookings Institution, far below Asian and European internal trade averages. And CAFTA is not just good for the economy – it has the potential to accelerate continental integration. It’s underpinned by a Pan-African philosophy.  During the historic CFTA signing, the Africa Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said:

‘We have come here driven by the conviction that integration is not an option, but an imperative. To paraphrase Emperor Haile Selassie at the May 1963 Summit, the giant Africa cannot wake up if it remains divided…Therefore, we are here to fulfill the aspiration of our peoples for integration and unity….We have come here to lay a new milestone, to take another step in the Pan-African journey, whose intellectual seeds were sown more than a century ago.’

Marcus Garvey would be pleased.