PAMBAZUKA NEWS 214: Focus on G8: Make looting history
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Featured this week: Focus on the G8
- Helping Africa shouldn’t be so much about making poverty history, as making the looting of Africa by rich countries history, argues Firoze Manji
- Operation Murambatsvina - sweep out the trash – has torn through Zimbabwe like a Tsunami and Zimbabweans are feeling like the rest of the world is ignoring their plight, says Mary Ndlovu
COMMENT AND ANALYSIS:
- Issa Shivji is not optimistic that the G8 summit will produce significant changes for the millions of people trapped in poverty
- Bob Geldof is only the latest in a long line of Europeans who have appointed themselves as spokespersons for Africans, writes Patricia Daley
- Social movements and civil society activists will be meeting in Mali for their own G8 counter summit. Barry Amanita Toure explains why
- George Dor critiques the recent debt cancellation “deal” for Africa, the Blair Commission for Africa and the rise of Paul Wolfowitz to the top job at the World Bank
- Raised Voices is a unique project that traveled the world to gather views of the majority world on the G8
- Expect sugar-coated statements and hot air from G8 leaders, says Thomas Deve, who discusses various mobilizations to injustice including the World Social Forum and Global Call to Action Against Poverty.
- The best service the world could give Africa, argues Makeda Tsegaya, would be to support struggles to transform leadership on the continent
- Marie Shaba, chairperson of the Tanzanian Association of NGOs, discusses how the G8 can assist Africa’s development
PAN-AFRICAN POSTCARD: Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem on why Live 8 and G8 attention for Africa “is like being offered a handkerchief by the same person who is beating the hell out of you.”
GLOBAL CALL TO ACTION AGAINST POVERTY: African voices on the G8 via SMS; news from mobilizations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique
PLUS: Links to news on conflict, human rights, elections, development, refugees, women’s rights, media, environment, jobs and books…
Make looting history
Some 120 years ago, in 1884-85,, European governments met in Berlin to 'negotiate' the carving up of Africa - a meeting that in essence was very little different to this week's G8 meeting in Gleneagles. Had Bob Geldof and Comic Relief been around at the time, would they have held pop concerts in Paris, London, Berlin, Brussels, Lisbon etc. calling on their rulers to be nice about carving up the continent, to ensure that a few more crumbs fell off the table into the mouths of the poor while they carried out their project of occupation, colonisation, military subjugation, looting and genocidal slaughter? The very idea sounds absurd because we have the benefit of hindsight.
But why are things any different today? In many post-colonial countries real per capita GDP has fallen and welfare gains achieved since independence in areas like food consumption health and education have been reversed. The statistics are disturbing. In Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole per-capita incomes dropped by 21% in real terms between 1981 and 1989. Madagascar and Mali now have per capita incomes of $799 and $753 down from $1,258 and $898 25 years ago. In 16 other Sub-Saharan countries per capita incomes were also lower in 1999 than in 1975. Nearly one quarter of the world's population, but nearly 42% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa, live on less than $1 a day. Levels of inequality have also increased dramatically but worldwide. In 1960 the average income of the top 20% of the world's population was 30 times that of the bottom 20%. By 1990 it was 60 times, and by 1997, 74 times that of the lowest fifth. Today the assets of the top three billionaires are more than the combined GNP of all least developed countries and their 600 million people.
Since the early 1980s, economic and social policies of African countries have been subverted to serve the interests of the west - the repayment of debt, and the opening up of the countries to the needs of voracious international capital. Africa has abundant natural resources, yet their exploitation by capital has not lead to the development of the forces of production nor to the improvement of life chances or life expectancy for the majority. Instead, the countries with the richest resources are the ones that have been torn apart by civil war (Angola, DRC, Sierra Leone, Liberia etc) or subjected to gross environmental degradation (as in Nigeria).
The western media and the western 'development' agencies feed us with a diet that makes us think that "poverty" is the problem. But poverty is not the problem. It is the looting, theft and frank exploitation that forces Africa's people into destitution, that impoverishes them, and prevents millions from realising their full potential as humans.
Just look at the looting involving aid and debt. According to the OECD, total resource flows to developing countries between 1982-1990 was $927 billion. In the same period, developing countries remitted $1,345 in debt servicing alone - a difference in favour of the west of $418 billion. To understand the size of that, it's worth noting that the Marshall Plan transferred to Europe the equivalent of $70 billion in today's prices. In other words, developing countries are providing through debt servicing alone the equivalent of more than two Marshal Plans every three years. And that is assuming that all aid sent to developing countries was actually spent there. ActionAid calculates that only one third of G7 official aid in 2003 was 'real' aid. The rest was 'phantom' aid which may have achieved other goals, but did not help to fight poverty. Only 10 cents of every dollar of US aid is 'real' aid. The 'best performer', according to ActionAid, was the UK - but even there, nearly a third of aid was found to be phantom. And substantial proportions of that aid is used to hire private consultancy companies whose task is the privatisation of water supplies.
The G8 meeting should be seen as a gathering of the descendants of the Berlin Conference. Their agenda is fundamentally the same. We shouldn't be begging them to be nice about it. We shouldn't be begging them to carve us up 'fairly'. Let's end this charade about 'fighting poverty': turn, instead, to fighting those who cause and profit from impoverishment.
* Firoze Manji is director of Fahamu and Pambazuka News editor
* Please send comments to [email protected]
Operation Murambatsvina - sweep out the trash – has torn through Zimbabwe like a Tsunami, describes Mary Ndlovu. Hundreds of thousands of people have been internally displaced, but the true cost of the government operation on the livelihoods of people is almost impossible to predict. As the G8 meets in Scotland and African leaders conclude an African Union Summit in Libya, Zimbabweans feel that the rest of Africa has turned its back on them.
Towards the end of May a tsunami struck Harare, flattering everything in its path - informal businesses, solidly built homes, shacks, orphanages, churches, even a mosque; it took with it people’s lives, livelihoods, family life, their spirit to survive. Like the Asian tsunami in December, the number of its victims and the total cost of the destruction are hard to quantify; unlike the Asian tsunami, it is man-made and continues in wave after wave of senseless brutality, reaching every corner of this increasingly miserable country.
The government calls it Murambatsvina – sweep out the trash – or Operation Restore Order. But Zimbabweans have rejected the government’s term, for they are not trash, and order has not been restored. Only the term “tsunami” adequately portrays the suddenness, the scale and the nature of the catastrophic destruction which has been visited on us - not by erratic nature, but by our own government.
Suddenly, with virtually no warning, police in central Harare descended on informal traders, breaking and burning their stalls, confiscating or destroying their wares, and arresting thousands. By the following week, the attacks had spread throughout Harare and to other urban centres in the country, and the assault on informal housing had begun. Six weeks later, the operation continues. Police of various descriptions move from township to township, ordering residents to destroy their illegal dwellings or have them smashed. Sometimes sufficient warning has been given for people to remove their furniture and salvage some of their building materials, other times the bulldozers are hot on the heels of the police, disrupting funerals, chasing people from their cooking and their bathing. At least six people have been killed directly by the police actions. Many others, especially babies, the aged and those suffering from AIDS have succumbed to exposure, shock and hunger as they huddle through the cold nights in the rubble of their homes.
Now, in the depth of the winter season, tens of thousands remain camped in the open, dazed and unbelieving. Others, perhaps hundreds of thousands, have moved into the houses of friends or neighbours or relatives, who were already overcrowded, or sleep on verandahs. Thousands are crammed into churches where they have been offered shelter and are being fed; some have managed to sell their furniture to raise the bus fare to go to their rural homes, where they face an uncertain future with no food or housing.
How do we expect them to react when our President tells UN experts that the action is for the good of the people, and they appreciate what has been done for them? Can it ever be for someone’s good to destroy their home when you have nothing to replace it with? When you tell them they are rubbish, maggots, who are not wanted? When you cause them the utmost trauma of preventing them from feeding their families? When you destroy the huts of orphans and smash the centres that were caring for them; when you bulldoze a clinic that was providing anti-retrovirals to AIDS patients and tell them to go to rural areas where there are no medicines.
Surely a government which turns so viciously on its own people must be acting in response to a serious threat to its power, an armed rebellion or organised sabotage at least. No. Not at all. That has not happened and government has not mentioned it. The government says it is seeking to reduce crime and restore order to the cities of Zimbabwe. There has been too much illegal activity and this must be stopped; informal trading venues and illegal dwellings were havens for criminals, foreign exchange dealers, fraudsters; purveyors of stolen property, making once beautiful cities filthy and unsafe. This is a clean-up operation which will catch the criminals, drive the forex back into the banks, and black market goods into legitimate channels.
It is unspeakably depressing to watch government and party leaders trying to defend the indefensible. Raze whole suburbs to catch a few criminals? Deprive people of earning a living to stop thieves? How many more thieves will be created? With a national housing backlog of two million units, bulldoze more than 80,000? Where is the once very professional police force whose training teaches them how to identify and apprehend criminals? Where are the health officials who enforce hygiene standards and the town planners who design orderly housing developments? Why the sudden need to restore beauty to the cities?
Of course it is true that the cities of Zimbabwe have deteriorated during the past ten years. Visitors from other parts of Africa once gawked at Harare, wondering how such a beautiful, orderly municipality could really be African. It was well-planned, most people were in employment, there was little sign of the shanty towns and street traders common in other African metropolises.
But things have changed, for several reasons. First is the deterioration in standards of government, especially the growth of corruption, which sees by-laws flagrantly ignored for the price of a small bribe, and awarding of contracts to cronies incapable of delivering the services. Second was the effect of the economic decline resulting from the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP), introduced in the early 1990’s. Many urban workers lost their jobs, and government encouraged them to turn to the informal sector to create their own incomes, in manufacturing, services and retail trading; councils which resisted were ordered by central government to relax by-laws to accommodate them. Third was the effect of the farm invasions of 2000 and thereafter. On the one hand these produced a flood of displaced farm workers, many of whom crowded into the slums of Harare, and on the other it opened former farmland to be allocated without any planning to loyal supporters of ZANU PF for informal settlement. Fourthly, when the opposition MDC won control of most urban councils between 2000 and 2002, government deliberately undermined their operations, using its powers under the Urban Councils Act to prevent rate increases in line with hyperinflation. Borrowing powers to develop housing and upgrade crumbling infrastructure, especially in water and sewage reticulation, were systematically denied. The decline of Zimbabwe’s cities is in large part, therefore, the direct result of government’s economic and political mismanagement.
Then suddenly, without consultation, public deliberation, or even the simplest level of information, government declared itself obsessed with illegality, and determined to eliminate it from Zimbabwe. This seemed strange in view of the fact that it is the government that has been content to ignore legality whenever it threatened to restrict its own operations, flouting court orders in regard to holding of elections, seizures of land, release of detainees from prison, and prosecution of known criminals. But Zimbabweans have come to know that government uses the law when it finds it convenient and abuses it to pursue its political goals.
In this case, the line between legality and illegality has become blurred. Many of the informal traders had licences issued by the local authorities, but many did not. Many of those who did broke the law in other ways, by receiving stolen goods or dealing in foreign currency or black market goods, but most did not. The settlements around Harare which have now been destroyed had the blessing of the highest government authorities, who had allocated stands, arranged in some cases for financing, and publicly encouraged the recipients to build homes. Does this make them legal if the necessary planning laws have been ignored? The people are now being punished for taking government instructions as legality.
The cry by government that traders and home-owners were illegal is thus partly correct, and partly not. However, the methods used in carrying out their operation of destruction are clearly not legal. The actions of the police have all been taken without due process, and violate statute law, our constitution, and international law.
The Urban Councils Act specifies that an illegal structure can only be destroyed when notice of 28 days has been given to the owner and occupier and opportunity has been given for a court application; no one was given such notice. The common law does not permit the deprivation of property in the possession of anyone without legal sanction; those who had their buildings and their trading goods destroyed or seized had their property illegally despoiled. The constitution guarantees the right to be protected from arbitrary deprivation of property, and from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Surely destroying one’s home and leaving them in the open is cruel and degrading by anyone’s estimate. The United Nations Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights provides that everyone has the right to shelter, while the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights has been interpreted, in a case brought against Nigeria, to mean that a government may not evict anyone from his home without providing alternative accommodation. How can our government claim that it is restoring legality, when all the means it is using are quite clearly infringements of the law at every level?
The effects and costs of the operation are certainly too huge to measure. Six weeks since its beginning, the tsunami continues to destroy people’s lives. The original estimates of 200,000 to 250,000 persons displaced have by now doubled. The 300,000 school children displaced from schools was given by the Ministry of Education for Harare only, after only two weeks of demolitions. In Mutare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Beitbridge, Harare itself, and many other towns and cities, countless thousands more have since been affected. A million traders and their families losing their livelihoods will have an immeasurable effect. Of course many will begin again because they simply have to feed their families, legal or not legal. But in total, how much business is being lost for every sector of the economy? And how many of these were sending money and food home to the rural areas. We simply can’t know.
Perhaps falling back in horror at what they have done in the past weeks, the government has suddenly announced a programme of reconstruction. Thousands of stands will be serviced and houses built over the next three years. Although only four houses have been built in a week, 9,000 are to be ready in two months. This raises more questions than it answers: where will the money come from in a cash-strapped economy? Who will pay for the houses? And most important of all - if government can mobilise the money to build houses, why didn’t they do it before smashing down the ones that already existed? The cost of re-housing Indonesian communities affected by the natural tsunami last December is estimated at $US5 billion for 500,000 still homeless. We have at least that number of homeless people now. Where in our wildest dreams do we imagine we will get funding to rebuild what we have ourselves destroyed? Our economy was already in a state of complete collapse - what some have referred to as meltdown. Rebuilding on this scale is pure delusion.
But as government’s efforts at damage control pick up pace, more themes have emerged. Applicants for new trading licences and allocation of stands will be “vetted” - a term that has not been defined. It is only assumed that they will be checked for criminal records (few will be found) and asked to produce ZANU PF membership cards. Already we are told that the stands at Whitecliff Farm are being reserved for civil servants - police, army and CIO primarily; they are certainly not the people who were displaced. Women arrested for protesting were finger-printed and told they would never get vending licenses again. “Presumptive taxes” will be levied on informal traders, who will pay income tax on “presumed income”. While party lackeys wheel and deal and survive on kick-backs and bribes, the struggling poor will provide for the instruments of their own oppression.
Perhaps more sinister, all these processes of “reconstruction” have been removed from the local authorities who legally have responsibility for them. Licences have always been issued by the councils, not by the police. Housing stands have been allocated by the council housing departments. Now we have unknown authorities responsible for allocating these resources. We have new “task forces” controlled by the army assigned to supervise the reconstruction. Clearly, there is an all-out attempt to usurp the designated powers of elected councils completely and emasculate any democratic participation of the people. We are truly heading for a military state, where central government takes everything, leaving no democratic space for anyone else. We are even to have chiefs for cities, since they will better implement government policies! Government is no longer by elected officials, answerable to the people. It is by appointees of those clinging to power by the barrel of the gun.
As we struggle to give a rational explanation for these seemingly deranged acts of destruction several points emerge clearly:
1. This is very obviously a pre-emptive assault on urban populations, the stronghold of the opposition, and the potential source of any meaningful threat to ZANU PF’s power; its main aim seems to be to forcibly relocate poor people to rural areas by making it impossible for them to live in towns;
2. It is not only an attack on towns, but on informal activities in rural areas as well – wood carvers and sculptors, gold diggers, even fishermen; nor is it an attack only on opposition supporters, as many of ZANU PF’s members have also been affected;
3. It seeks to impose government and ZANU PF control on sections of the economy where their grip has slipped in recent years - in the control of foreign exchange rates, the collection of taxes and the determination of who benefits from resource allocation. As such it is a desperate attempt to ensure that the little wealth that remains is channelled through the hands of government, to be spent as they see fit;
4. It is not going to improve the national economy - in fact it will cripple it further, and it will have horrendous consequences on the lives of millions of Zimbabweans, reducing hundreds of thousands more to penury;
5. It has been undertaken in a typically ZANU PF way - suddenly, violently, illegally and recklessly, without regard to the disastrous consequences;
6. One more very large nail has been hammered into the coffin of Zimbabwean democracy, which is rapidly being replaced by an illegitimate oligarchy amassing wealth for themselves while the people starve, and maintaining their position by military rule.
And Africa turns its back. They do no want to know. We helped South Africans when they were fighting a force too powerful, why do they deny us the same? We do not want to be rescued by the developed world. We want to be rescued by our fellow Africans, understanding our plight and standing by the principles to which they committed themselves in the African Union, the Harare Declaration, numerous international human rights instruments, the SADC and NEPAD. Why do they not care? Why do our pleas fall on deaf ears?
* Mary Ndlovu is a Zimbabwean human rights activist
* Please send comments to [email protected]
* Read the “The Zimbabwean Crisis and the Challenges for the Left” a Public Lecture delivered at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal by Brian Raftopoulos.
Aid with one hand; Guns with the other
Q&A with Issa Shivji on the G8
Global leaders like UK prime-minister Tony Blair have been vocal in stating that 2005 is a year where progress must be made on Africa's development. The G8 summit - an opportunity for rich world leaders to put their heads together and change the global development machinery - is now underway in Gleneagles, Scotland. Debt relief, aid flows, global trade and climate change are on the agenda of one of the highest profile G8 meetings ever. But well-known African commentator Issa Shivji is not optimistic that this summit will produce significant changes for the millions of people trapped in poverty.
PAMBAZUKA NEWS: There has been a deluge of promises and debate around issues of aid and debt ahead of this G8 summit. What, if anything, can Africans expect from world leaders this time around?
ISSA SHIVJI: Little. Promises based on utterly wrong premises yield little beyond further humiliation of the African people as permanent beggars. Debt and aid belong to the same system, the system of exploitation of African resources. "Aid as imperialism" is as true today as it was thirty years ago when Teresa Hayter wrote a book with that title.
PN: Reading the various media reports around the G8 there is a very real sense that it is all about Tony Blair's plans for Africa, or Gordon Brown's promises, or what George Bush is or isn't prepared to do. Why is it that African voices seem to be so sidelined in events that are so crucial to their lives?
IS: Truly African voices have been and are being sidelined. This is the show of the very people who plan poverty in the first place! Poverty in Africa, both historically and in contemporary times, is due in no small measure to the exploitation and plundering of its resources by Western multinational capital. The crucial point for me is not that the Africans have little say in Blair's and Brown's plans but that Africans have lost all voice in controlling their own resources, their own destiny.
PN: What is the relevance of Blair's Commission for Africa report, the G8 event and the various other initiatives taking place during 2005? How should African people engage with these initiatives?
IS: Isn't it a cruel irony that a leader of a country that followed Bush into destroying a developing country (Iraq) and that has increased its arms sales to Africa fourfold in the last four years should be spearheading the fight against African poverty? If this is not cyncism, what is it? Commissions on Africa have been many but this was the first time in recent history that it was established and led by the very people whom we used to call 'neo-colonialists'! It is African leaders who like poodles dance to the tune; the African people in their villages have little time to engage in such dances!
PN: Tony Blair's plans for Africa are presented as being anti-poverty, but critics argue that they mask age-old policies that will continue the exploitation of Africa. What's so wrong with Blair's - and by extension - the G8 approach to ending poverty?
IS: As I said, the very premises are wrong. The underdevelopment of Africa and the resultant poverty are the outcome of a long historical process of exploitation of the continent by Western imperialism. That relationship continues today in an even more blatant form as the resources of Africa - from mineral to bio-resources - are siphoned off through various mechanisms that we associate with globalization: the so-called free trade, and various other associated policies such as privitisation and marketisation of the African economy. So while Africa's economies get integrated in global circuits, African people get marginalised. One hates to be cynical but it is literally true that while Blair gives aid with one hand to reduce poverty, he sells arms with another to kill the poor.
PN: Once again, African leaders will attend the summit and be granted an audience with G8 leaders. Are African leaders getting anything substantive in return and are they correct to engage in this way? What should they be doing which they are not doing?
IS: We shouldn't forget that Africa and generally the people of the South are on the defensive. The confidence and arrogance of the nationalist period has been defeated. Imperialism has assumed a more offensive and aggressive posture. African leaders today are more compradors than nationalists. So long as African leaders seek legitimacy from their imperial masters rather than their own people they will continue to appear with bowls in hands at the doorsteps of the G8.
PN: The G8 development approach is largely based on building Africa through a free market economy that attracts foreign investment and trade. What would an alternative development agenda for Africa look like?
IS: There is no doubt in my mind that we, in Africa, have to develop a nationalist, a Pan-Africanist vision, both political and developmental. And this vision has to be in opposition to the domination of imperialism, read globalisation, just as the nationalist vision in the last century was in opposition to colonialism. More than ever before we need Nkrumahs and Fanons who saw in African unity and in the unity of the oppressed people and exploited classes a counter-force, which would be the harbinger of an alternative vision and an alternative path of development.
PN: Plans are afoot to create a human white band around Edinburgh as a symbol of demands for trade justice, debt cancellation and more and better aid. What is your assessment of these mobilisations?
IS: I do not wish to be cynical of the well-intentioned who would want to bring the "plight" of Africa to the world stage. But I would like to see much more and in a more sustained fashion the well-intentioned people with red bands surrounding Edinburgh and highlighting without ambiguity and prevarication the pillage of Africa; pillage through trade, investment, debt and dubious policies.
PN: What is the most effective action that organisations in Africa should take today that will make a significant impact on the relationship between our countries and the G8?
IS : Ultimately, the liberators of Africa will be Africans themselves. Organisations in Africa have to sink their roots among their own people and free themselves of this dependency syndrome. We have to organise and mobilise for a second independence in every sense of the world. Fundamentally, the relationship between Africa and G8 is an unequal exploitative relationship. That is the fundamental premise which should be our point of departure.
* Issa Shivji is Professor of Law at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
* Please send comments to [email protected]
Bob Geldof and the Livingstone connection: Africa not yet saved?
Bob Geldof is only the latest in a long line of Europeans who have appointed themselves as spokespersons for Africans, writes Patricia Daley. With a distinct brand of humanitarianism they have acted to serve the demands of global capitalism, suppressing African voices and aiding the exploitation of the continent.
Bob Geldof’s rally against poverty in Africa seems to have incurred admiration from well-meaning whites and indifference or resentment from Africans. The questions the critics pose are: who gave this pop star the authority to speak for us; why does he represent Africa in such a one dimensional way? Can’t he and his supporters see the realities on the ground? Can’t he see that Africans want to speak for themselves? Geldof seems to believe that his mission is noble. To him and his supporters, the moral argument is clear: the West is rich, Africa is poor; the West has the means to help Africa out of poverty. The argument is so simple that only the easily cynical would seek to dispute it. Through his celebrity status Geldof hopes to mobilise western public opinion to put pressure on the leaders of the capitalist world to be more benevolent to Africa.
To understand the Geldof phenomenon, we need to look historically at the role that Africa has played in the European imagination and in global capitalism. Geldof’s crusade and attitude is not new. He is only the latest in a long line of European men whose personal mission has been to transform Africa and Africans. David Livingstone, the celebrity of his day, embarked on a similar crusade in the late 19th century, painting Africa as a land of ‘evil’, of hopelessness and of child-like humans. His mission was to raise money to pursue his personal ambitions.
‘Darkest Africa’ occupies a special place in the white man’s psyche; it remains a place where he [and she] can achieve heroic status. Therefore, does it not make sense that African voices are silenced? Michel Foucault’s treatise on the relationship between power and knowledge may be old hat in academia, but still relevant in the real world. Sir Bob would lose his authenticity and thus his power if he was to give space to the multiplicity of African voices; many of which would certainly challenge his stance.
It may seem amazing that in the twenty-first century, with increased mobility, greater communication and an African heading the United Nations that many westerners are more comfortable with European interlopers translating Africa for them. Perhaps, only then could some be persuaded, as one famous Irish comedian was, ‘to give money to those bloody niggers’. Africa remains the object of western desires not the subject of its own destiny.
Livingstone’s and Geldof’s humanitarianism fits well with the demands of global capitalism, serving to obscure distinct phases in the exploitation of Africa. Livingstone’s redemption of the African savage was very much tied to colonial conquest and exploitation of the continent’s resources; a mission that Livingstone supported in the marriage of commerce and Christian morality. The consequence for most of Africa was dispossession, forced labour, de-humanization, oppression and genocide, as in the Congo Free State.
Geldof’s Live Aid also occurred at a time when neo-liberal policies were being forced on recalcitrant African countries. The results are fully documented: collapse of health and education services, increased unemployment and privatization, leading to greater impoverishment of the masses. All this occurring while westerners bathe in the glory of their collective benevolence to the ‘lost continent’. Geldof was even rewarded for his chivalry with a knighthood.
How convenient for Live 8 - an upsurge of western popular goodwill - to occur at the same time as a new scramble for African resources? With the threat from China, Africa’s oil and other strategic minerals are even more critical to the continuance of western economic dominance. One just has to consider the significance of Africa’s resources in the west’s push for peace settlements in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is beneficial to western capital for Africans to be seen as the architects of their own misery. Mugabe, thug as he is, is no worse, and certainly less so, than many other leaders in Africa’s post-colonial history, yet his vilification fits into the discourse of corruption and self-inflicted harm and justifies the prevailing view that Africans cannot be trusted with their own destiny. Racism is not often used in explanations of the west’s attitude towards Africa, yet it remains a fundamental component of the west’s interaction with Africans – nowhere is it more visible than in the diaspora. How can one claim to want to save a people, when one is complicit in the marginalization of their relatives? The irony has not been lost on Africans.
Geldof, like Livingstone before him, represents the cultural arm of global capitalism. The inequalities he rallies against are reproduced by the very capitalist system he supports. How many artists, fading or otherwise, would turn down the promotional opportunity of playing to an audience of the magnitude predicted for Live 8? In the cultural as well as in the development industry, African poverty serves as a vehicle for wealth creation.
Those people, whether on the right or the left, who are conversant with the realities of Africa, know that aid will not ‘save’ the continent and deliver the promised land; that the problem in Africa is not poverty but impoverishment and that Africa needs freedom not redemption. Africa’s creativity has to be released through true democracy and not the compromise of ‘good governance’ and western tutelage.
Livingstone’s and Geldof’s suppression of African voices, whether deliberately or inadvertently, aids the continued exploitation of the continent. Geldof has the capacity to transcend Livingstone’s shortcomings, if only he would listen to Africans and engage with issues of reparations and the politics of truth. He would certainly get more diaspora Africans among his London audience, despite their lack of appreciation for rock music.
After Live 8, when African resources are delivering wealth to western trans-nationals and African people suffer further degradation, be it wars, hunger or political oppression, they are likely to find little external support. After all, a whole generation of western civil society will say, “did they not receive debt relief?” “Are they so incompetent or corrupt that they could not make good use of our bountifulness?” In Africa, people will continue to live and die and a lutta continua…
* Dr Patricia Daley holds the posts of University lecturer in Human Geography, and Fellow and Tutor in Geography at Jesus College, Oxford. She is an African from Jamaica.
* Please send comments to [email protected]
False promises to Africa from Blair and the G8
Barry Amanita Toure
In a small corner of Mali far from the fanfare of the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, social movements and civil society activists will meet from 6-9 July to discuss international political and economic mechanisms which constrain the national policies of developing countries of the South. “Faced with the G8, which plays the role of a totally illegitimate world board of directors, African social movements are organising themselves to formulate alternatives to current neo-liberal policies and are firmly resolved to show their determination,” writes Barry Amanita Toure.
Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, has decided to make Africa one of the priorities of the next G8 summit to be held from the 6th to the 8th of July 2005 in Scotland. The report of the Commission for Africa, written for the occasion, recommends among other things doubling aid for Africa, cancelling poor countries’ debts “as quickly as possible”, removing rich countries’ customs barriers against African products as well as strengthening “good governance” in our countries. One can only support Mr. Blair’s initiative to finally bring to the G8 governments’ attention this set of problems that social movements throughout the world have raised for years.
However, being an African social movement, we find it difficult to have faith in all this talk. Are the governments of the world’s richest countries suddenly gripped by a guilty conscience in the face of the disastrous consequences of policies they have imposed on Africa for years? Is there a real will to change or was this report only meant to hoodwink the British electorate?
We must admit that a close look at rich countries’ current policies towards Africa tends to make us sceptical. In the nineties, the IMF, the World Bank and the G8 had already promised to write off the poorest countries’ debts, an initiative called Heavily Indebted Poor Countries. This initiative received a huge amount of publicity: the international press announced 90% debt cancellation and even 100% after the Cairo Euro-African summit (April 2000).
Debt reduction linked to this initiative depended on the implementation of structural adjustment programmes, dubbed War on Poverty Strategic Framework. However, upon close analysis the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative turns out to be one more ‘publicity stunt’ on debt cancellation. If we look at the debt levels of those countries which ‘benefited’ from this initiative, we see that, not only has the debt not been reduced but it has even increased.
Our States, being the good students of the IMF and the World Bank that they are, have meanwhile privatised our countries’ public sectors and have disengaged themselves from the health and education sectors, thus contributing to the growth of poverty. The report emphasises the importance of “good governance” in African countries but our governments will soon have nothing to manage, given that all of the State’s functions are now being carried out by the private sector.
On the other hand, doubling of aid to Africa is without a doubt indispensable given the pauperisation of our countries (more than 300 million Africans live on $0.64 a day), but care would have to be taken to ensure that this aid is really destined for African countries and not business enterprises from the North. In fact, aid is often used to fund lucrative contracts involving donor country enterprises implementing projects totally ill suited to the local context.
In speeches, rich countries pretend to contribute to the development of Africa but in reality, Europe and the USA are negotiating free enterprise deals that impose the opening up of African agricultural markets and competition between our economies and those of the North. How will African farmers be able to compete with American and European farmers when the latter benefit from substantial export subsidies? How will a local enterprise be able to continue selling its product in the face of massive importation of goods produced at much less cost by multinational companies? It therefore appears that G8 countries resort to double speaking and that they have unfortunately got us used to vain promises that are never followed by concrete action.
Due to the importance of this year’s G8, which is meeting once more to make false promises to Africa, we feel that it will be very important to mobilise African social movements and civil society to take firm action to reject Blair and the G8’s fraud.
This is why, as has been the case each year for the past four years, the Coalition for African Alternatives Debt and Development (CAD Mali) is organising the People’s Forum in Mali.
This year, it will be held in Fana from the 6th to the 9th of July 2005 so as to run concurrently with the G8 summit. This People’s Forum is a critical opportunity to inform and sensitise African social movements on international political and economic mechanisms, which constrain the national policies of developing countries of the South. Faced with the G8, which plays the role of a totally illegitimate world board of directors, African social movements are organising themselves to formulate alternatives to current neo-liberal policies and are firmly resolved to show their determination.
* Mrs. Barry Amanita Toure is chairperson of CAD-Mali (Coalition for African Alternatives Debt and Development)
E.mail : [email protected]
* This article was translated by Andrew Tichaenzana Manyawu ( [email protected]) For the French version of this article please click on the link below.
* Please send comments to [email protected]
De nouveau, de fausses promesses de Blair et du G8 à l’Afrique ?
Tony Blair, le Premier Ministre de la Grande Bretagne, a décidé de faire de l’Afrique une des priorités du prochain G8 qui se tiendra du 06 au 08 juillet 2005 en Ecosse. Le rapport de la Commission pour l’Afrique rédigé pour l’occasion recommande entre autres le doublement de l’aide à l’Afrique, l’annulation de la dette des pays pauvres « aussi vite que possible », la suppression des barrières douanières des pays riches contre les produits africains et le renforcement de la « bonne gouvernance » dans nos pays. On ne peut que soutenir l’initiative de M. Blair de porter enfin à l’attention des gouvernements du G8 ces problématiques qui sont soulevées depuis des années par les mouvements sociaux à travers le monde.
Cependant, en tant que mouvement social africain, nous avons du mal à croire à ces beaux discours. Les gouvernements des pays les plus riches du monde sont ils saisis tout d’un coup d’une crise de culpabilité face aux conséquences désastreuses des politiques qu’ils imposent à l’Afrique depuis des années ? Y a-t-il une réelle volonté de changement ou ce rapport était- il seulement destiné à séduire l’électorat britannique ?
Il faut avouer que l’examen des politiques actuelles des pays riches envers les pays africains nous porte au scepticisme. Déjà, dans les années 90, le FMI, la Banque Mondiale et le G8 avaient promis une annulation de la dette des pays les plus pauvres, initiative nommée PPTE (Pays Pauvres Très Endettés). Cette initiative a largement été médiatisé : la presse internationale a annoncé 90% d’annulation et même 100% après le sommet euro-africain du Caire (avril 2000). Les allègements de dette liés à cette initiative ont été conditionnés à la mise en uvre de programmes d’ajustement structurels, baptisés Cadre Stratégique de Lutte contre la Pauvreté. Pourtant, à l’analyse, l’initiative PPTE se révèle un "effet d’annonce" supplémentaire en matière d’annulation de dette. Aujourd’hui, si nous examinons le montant de la dette des pays qui ont « bénéficié » de cette initiative, nous nous apercevons que, non seulement la dette n’a pas diminué mais qu’elle a même augmenté. Nos Etats, en bons élèves du FMI et de la Banque Mondiale, ont pendant ce temps privatisé le secteur public de nos pays et se sont désengagés du secteur de la santé et de l’éducation, contribuant ainsi à l’accroissement de la pauvreté. Le rapport souligne l’importance de la « bonne gouvernance » dans les pays africains mais nos gouvernements n’auront bientôt plus rien à gérer, toutes les missions de l’Etat étant à présent assurées par le secteur privé.
D’autre part, le doublement de l’aide à l’Afrique est sans aucun doute indispensable face à la paupérisation de nos pays (plus de 300 millions d’africains vivent avec 0,64$/jour) , mais il faudrait s’assurer que cette aide est bien destinée aux pays africains et non pas aux entreprises du Nord. En effet, l’aide est souvent consacrée au financement de contrats juteux pour les entreprises des pays donateurs, en mettant en place des projets complètement inadaptés au contexte local.
Dans les discours, les pays riches prétendent uvrer au développement de l’Afrique mais dans la réalité, l’Europe et les USA négocient des accords de libre échange imposant l’ouverture des marchés agricoles africains et la mise en concurrence de nos économies avec les marchés du Nord. Comment les agriculteurs africains pourront-ils aujourd’hui rivaliser avec les fermiers américains ou européens lorsque ces derniers bénéficient de subventions considérables aux exportations ? Comment une entreprise locale pourra t’elle continuer de vendre ses produits face à l’importation massive de biens produits à moindre coût par les multinationales ? Il semble donc bien que les pays du G8 tiennent un double langage et ils nous ont malheureusement habitué à de vaines promesses qui ne sont jamais suivies d’actions concrètes.
En raison de l'importance du G8 de cette année, qui se réunit de nouveau pour faire de fausses promesses à l'Afrique, nous estimons qu'il sera très important d'avoir une mobilisation et une action forte des mouvements sociaux africains et de la société civile en rejetant la fraude de Blair et du G8.
C’est pourquoi, comme chaque année depuis 4 ans, la Coalition des Alternatives Africaines Dette et Développement (CAD Mali) organise le Forum des Peuples au Mali. Il aura lieu cette année à Fana du 6 au 9 Juillet 2005 en contrepoint au G8. Ce Forum des Peuples est une opportunité d’information critique et de sensibilisation des mouvements sociaux africains sur les mécanismes politiques et économiques internationaux qui contraignent les politiques nationales de développement des pays du Sud. Face au G8 qui joue le rôle de directoire du monde sans aucune légitimité, les mouvements sociaux africains s’organisent pour construire des alternatives aux politiques néo-libérales actuelles et sont bien résolus à montrer leur détermination.
Mme BARRY Aminata TOURE
Présidente de CAD-Mali (Coalition des Alternatives Africaines Dette et Développement)
E.mail : [email protected]
G8, Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa and debt
In the context of this week’s G8 meeting, George Dor critiques the recent debt cancellation “deal” for Africa, the Blair Commission for Africa and the rise of Paul Wolfowitz to the top job at the World Bank. He concludes that they represent “nothing other than a new means of continuing the exploitation initiated under the times of conquest, slavery and colonialism”.
The upcoming G8 meeting or, more accurately as regards economic matters, the G7, to be held in Edinburgh, UK, will put the spotlight on Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa and the issue of debt.
Much has been made of the commission on the release of its report in March and the announcement on debt consequent on the meeting of Finance Ministers in preparation for the G7. But, at most, these developments amount to little more than a reflection of the need to react to the persistence of the activities of Jubilee and other social movements over the years. A closer look at these initiatives suggests very little to celebrate.
Debt “Cancellation” and Control of Africa’s Economies
Starting with the debt issue, the ministers announced an amount of debt to be cancelled of a mere US$40 billion for African and other countries. This is a fraction of the total debt of African countries of US$300 billion and of countries in the South of US$2 400 billion. It is less than the amount of more than US$50 billion that the United States spends EACH YEAR on its illegitimate occupation of Iraq.
It also compares poorly with the G7 offering in Cologne, Germany, in 1999 of US$100 billion. Moreover, the intermittent promises of the G7 include amounts promised before but not fulfilled. In other words, they are little more than recycled promises.
In the case of the Cologne announcement, the real intention was not to provide debt relief but to rescue the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank from their crisis of legitimacy and enforce their continued control over the economic policies of the countries in the South. The institutions were strengthened in the form of the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs). Of course, these new initiatives were also quickly exposed for what they really are, structural adjustment in new guise.
Most importantly, the current offering, like that of 1999, is contingent on countries implementing economic reforms, in other words it is premised on a fundamental difference with the Jubilee South slogan, “total and unconditional debt cancellation”. This is cancellation for countries that have gone through the IMF and WB hoops, those that accept these institutions’ structural adjustment conditions. In other words, it is another deal to strengthen the IMF and WB.
Previously, the G8, IMF and WB have used debt as an instrument to dictate our economies in the form of making loans for debt servicing conditional on IMF and WB policies. Now debt relief/cancellation and grants are being put forward as the new instruments to dictate our economies. If a country wants relief, it first has to meet the prescribed conditions, it has to toe the line.
A related critical point is that debt relief/cancellation does not necessarily translate into more money to spend on meeting people’s needs. The relief may indeed result in less debt servicing, but this is only forthcoming if countries have agreed to the conditions that include cuts in government spending and promotion of the private sector. Indeed, this is the case in Zambia: in order to jump through the hoops to be included in the G7 list of 18 countries, it had to further cut state expenditure over and above the decades of cuts that the debt regime had already forced on the country. That is to say, it will get cancellation with less money to spend on people’s needs.
On the word “cancellation”, this does seem to be an advance on the previous rhetoric of debt “relief”, but the offer only covers 18 countries and it is not yet clear whether it amounts to 100 percent cancellation even for this short list of countries. In the case of the Latin American countries, for example, much of their debt is related to a multilateral institution, the Interamerican Development Bank.
The Blair Commission, Neoliberalism and the International Financial Institutions
As regards the Blair Commission, in its opening lines it states, “For its part, Africa must accelerate reform.” There are two important issues here. First, the report suffers from the recurrent syndrome of blaming the victim for corruption, conflict and war. There are indeed too many instances of African leaders who are guilty of one or more of these charges. But, the role of the Northern countries in slavery, colonialism and the imposition of neoliberal policies and the impact of these Northern interventions on poverty and death across the continent are simply ignored.
Secondly, while the report more explicitly refers to reform of political governance in order to address corruption and conflict, it also makes repeated references to various forms of “economic reforms”. In other words, in failing to address the neoliberal cause of so much of Africa’s current destitution, it simply reiterates that Africa must continue to follow this neoliberal path at a faster pace.
This is perhaps most evident in relation to the report’s treatment of the multilateral institutions. It fails dismally to address the negative impact of the World Bank and IMF on the destruction of African economies and the poverty and death that this has led to. It has been estimated that World Bank and IMF structural adjustment programmes are responsible for the deaths of 19 000 children in the world every day. Yet, the report simply asserts that “The African Development Bank needs to be strengthened… The IMF and World Bank need to give higher priority to Africa’s development.”
Paul Wolfowitz, Military Invasion and Economic War
It is no small surprise that the new President of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, echoed this call and visited the continent immediately on assuming office. Wolfowitz was the architect of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, which led to the expansion of United States military influence in the Middle East and the awarding of multi-million and billion dollar contracts in Iraq to corporations with close ties to the Republican Party leadership.
He has a history of being against détente and arms control during the years of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. He supported Asian dictators like the Indonesian General Suharto on behalf of the Reagan administration. He has been a persistently strong proponent of more spending on defense.
Wolfowitz was eagerly pushing for regime change in Iraq well before 9/11. He defined leadership as, “not lecturing and posturing and demanding, but demonstrating that your friends will be protected and taken care of, that your enemies will be punished, and that those who refuse to support you will regret having done so." He helped convince George Bush 1 to use force to remove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, and urged Bill Clinton to turn his attention “to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam’s regime from power.”
He lied about the purported weapons of mass destruction and claimed, "Intelligence about terrorism is inherently murky, and the US must be prepared to act on less-then perfect information.” He later admitted that oil was a significant reason for the invasion and occupation, stating that North Korea will only be treated to sanctions because it is not sitting on “an ocean of oil”.
The sinister combination of George Bush’s appointment of his man in Iraq to lead the World Bank with the call for the World Bank to play a more significant role in Africa is now being pushed as a boost for Africa’s development. Wolfowitz’ role in the destruction of Iraq and the World Bank’s role in poverty and death on the African continent are being brushed under the carpet. Trevor Manuel, South Africa’s Minister of Finance, described Wolfowitz as a ‘wonderful individual, perfectly capable’. Even some critics are suggesting that Wolfowitz be given a chance in his new role and that the World Bank be given yet another chance on the continent.
Wolfowitz visited Nigeria, Burkino Faso, Rwanda and South Africa from 12 to 18 June. Jubilee South Africa and the Anti-War Coalition organised two demonstrations on 17 June, one outside the offices of the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and the other at the Gauteng Provincial Department of Finance and Economic Affairs. The message was clear: “Paul Wolfowitz is not welcome in South Africa, he must go home! The World Bank, its partner, the IMF and related international financial institutions should be shut down!”
For Jubilee South Africa, the opposition to these institutions is based on both their role in the use of debt to impose structural adjustment in the countries of the South as well as their impact on South Africa. The World Bank and IMF supported the Apartheid regime and its institutions in the form of substantial loans until they were instructed to stop doing so. They have returned in the post-Apartheid era to shape the country’s neoliberal macroeconomic and social policies, manifesting in rising unemployment and lack of access to social services.
The Blair Commission, Trade and Resources
The Blair Commission’s handling of trade issues also reflects its insistence that Africa insert itself into the neoliberal global world. It calls on Africa to produce cheaper goods for the world market and suggests that rich countries allow African goods somewhat more access to their markets. In other words, African countries are being told to continue on the path of orientating their productive activities towards exports at the expense of producing the goods and services needed by the people of Africa.
The report’s recommendations on trade must be seen within the broader context of a world in which the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has assumed enormous power and in which unbalanced regional trade agreements are being foisted on African countries. African economies are being opened up to the goods of Northern countries, undermining local production and resulting in increasing unemployment. The report’s approach will, at best, offer limited opportunities to larger-scale private sector enterprises with the capacity to engage in export activities, while continuing to undermine small-scale production, rural economic activity, food security and the like.
The commission does highlight some of the most glaring manifestations of Northern exploitation of the continent. For example, it talks of “conflict resources” and implicitly acknowledges that Northern banks are holding stolen assets, Northern corporations are guilty of making bribes, and the oil, minerals and other extractive industries are less than open about their payments. However, its recommendations in this regard are by and large vague. It notes that “assets stolen from the people of Africa by corrupt leaders must be repatriated” and “Firms who bribe should be refused export credits.” From previous experience, there just isn’t the political will or clout to give effect to these recommendations.
As for resources, the commission is very much in keeping with the meagre offerings of the Finance Ministers in relation to debt. It suggests a mere US$25 billion per year to be committed by donor countries, to be implemented by 2010. This could be doubled by 2015, subject to the condition that “good governance in Africa must continue to advance.”
It argues that half of this amount should go to education and health. It makes positive recommendations on removing primary school and patient fees, but instructions of a similar kind by the United States Congress to the Treasury, World Bank and IMF have gone unheeded before. Most significantly, the pennies proposed in the report won’t come near to restoring the levels of finance to health and education on the continent so consistently undermined by the World Bank and the IMF in the decades of imposed structural adjustment.
Finally, the report argues that a third of the 25 billion a year should go to “growth and poverty reduction”, a euphemism for an increased role for the private sector and a “doubling of expenditure on infrastructure”. This includes large, regional transport and power projects. To date, projects of this sort have realised large profits for Northern and South African corporations at the expense of increasing indebtedness and environmental destruction on the continent.
There are substantial similarities and convergences between the Blair Commission and Thabo Mbeki’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad). This is particularly so in their neoliberal orientation towards the World Bank, IMF, trade and large infrastructure projects. The report has no qualms about exposing Mbeki’s capitulation to the neoliberal approach in stating that, “The developed world must support the African Union’s Nepad programme to build public/private partnerships in order to create a stronger climate for growth, investment and jobs.”
The Blair Commission and the G7 Finance Ministers’ announcement on debt thus represent no more than two additional moments in the decades of neoliberal exploitation of the continent. This is, in turn, nothing other than a new means of continuing the exploitation initiated under the times of conquest, slavery and colonialism.
* George Dor is Jubilee South Africa General Secretary.
* Please send comments to [email protected]
Majority world voices on the effects of G8
'Raised Voices: Testimony from the majority world on the effects of G8 polices on their lives' is a multi-media project that captures a diversity of voices from varying perspectives in text, audio and video. Raised Voices on the G8 captures the viewpoints of people from around the world in countries such as Brazil, South Africa, India, West Papua, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya and more. Below we have reproduced five Raised Voices from Africa. To read more Raised Voices and to download and video and audio files of those interviewed, visit the Raised Voices website at http://www.raisedvoices.net/
Tayo from Nigeria on corruption
I am Tayo Adesina. I am from Nigeria. I'd like to speak on the issue of corruption. People in the West have talked about corruption in Africa, especially as it pertains to African leaders. But it is quite important to note the corruption in Africa has a direct bearing with the relationship between the West and Africa. Western companies operating in Africa have been vectors of corruption. So have banks in the West. So there is no way you can talk about corruption in Africa without dragging the West into it. The day the West stops being corrupt that is when corruption in Africa will stop. Without the West cutting the wings of their companies. Without the West cutting the wings of their banks, the proceeds of some of our vital resources in Africa will continue to be diverted to the West. And so African peoples will continue to suffer. And so I believe that Western leaders should try as much as possible to educate their people about the evils of corruption in Africa and then it will have an effect on African leadership. Once corruption stops then people in Africa will have a new beginning. Thank you.
Kemi from Nigeria on migration
I feel the policies of the G8 has really affected the Nigerian people because these days you know we hear of Nigerian immigrants everywhere as illegal immigrants. And it's mostly the policies of the Western countries that has actually pushed people out of Nigeria. Because the high level of unemployment, the poverty and the educational policies too. It has really affected the young people in Nigeria because their parents can not actually pay for their school fees, because part of the IMF conditionalities is that they should 'hands off' tertiary education in Nigeria. And that has really affected the Nigerian people, because they can hardly feed themselves.
Raufu from Nigeria on debt
My name is Abdul Raufu Mustafa. I'm from Nigeria and I live in Cowley in England. The issue that Nigeria really is bothered about in the conduct of the G8 countries is essentially debt. In the 70s Nigeria borrowed something in the region of 17 billion dollars. Not all of this money got to Nigeria because of collusion between corrupt Nigerian officials and corrupt bankers. But since then Nigeria has paid over 30 billion dollars and still owes another 34 billion dollars in back interest and penalties and the lot. And that has become a major problem for the country because a lot of resources are being diverted just to service the debt. And this is happening in the situation where 7 million Nigerian kids are not having the most basic of primary education. The health system in the country is in dire condition, the universities, the roads, virtually all public infrastructure. That is a situation which is partly contributed to by internal problems but also no doubt by the debt burden. This is an unsustainable debt. And absolutely something has to be done about it at the level of the G8 so that ordinary people in Nigeria can get a look in to the issues of life.
Raj from South Africa on trade
One of the things that's gonna happen at the G8 conference is that the G8 countries are going to talk about agriculture. These countries are the ones that have been pushing on the world a vastly unequal system of agricultural trade. A system that demands that farmers in the Global South turn their fields from growing food for themselves and their communities into food for export. The argument being that this is the most efficient use of their land.
Miles from Zimbabwe on Aid
I'm Miles Tendi. I'm Zimbabwean, I'm a student here in Oxford University. Now George Bush's proposed budget for 2005/6 amounts to $2,570 billion. 22 billion is going to foreign aid. Of that 22 billion, 35% is going to Israel alone. Israel has a population of 6 million and its land size is about the same as Swaziland. Swaziland happens to one of the smallest African countries. Now on top of that 48 African countries, with the combined population of 600 million will receive only 1 billion dollars. Amazing! Even more amazing is the fact that most Americans think that the US government spends 24% of its federal budget on foreign aid when in reality it's only 0.1% of the federal budget that goes towards aid. And I think that's the crux of the matter. There is no electoral price to pay for Western leaders when they do not enhance policies that'll push development forward in the under-developed world.
Nobel Peace Prize Winner addresses the African Diaspora
ENTERPRISE AFRICA, African Diaspora & Development Day, 2005
'One of the worst outcomes of injustices is poverty,' says Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner. 'It robs human beings of their dignity.' Professor Maathai spoke at the Africa Diaspora and Development Day in London on 2 July 2005 where thousands of Africans met to discuss their own future, while across the other side of London, a largely white, apolitical road show known as Live8 was busy telling Africans what they really needed. 'When people are poor and when they are reduced to beggars, they feel weak, humiliated, disrespected and undignified,' said Maathai. ' They hide alone in corners and dare not raise their voices. They are therefore, neither heard nor seen. They do not organize but often suffer in isolation and in desperation. Yet all human beings deserve respect and dignity. Indeed it should be unacceptable to push other human beings to such levels of indiginity. Even before any other rights, perhaps it may be time to campaign for all human beings to have the right to a life of dignity: a life devoid of poverty in the midst of plenty because such poverty demonstrates gross inequalities. As long as millions of people live in poverty and indignity, humanity should feel diminished. A time such as this gives all of us, and especially those in leadership, the opportunity to reduce poverty. There is a lot of poverty in Africa. This is largely due to economic injustices, which must be addressed not only by the rich industrialized countries but also by leaders in Africa.' For the full text of her speech, click on the link below.
Wangari Maathai address to African Diaspora
ENTERPRISE AFRICA, African Diaspora & Development Day, 2005
HON. PROF. WANGARI MAATHAI, MP
Goodwill Ambassador for the Congo Basin forest Ecosystems
The 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate
Members, friends, staff & volunteers of AFFORD, Excellencies,Friends from the Civil Society, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me to thank you most sincerely for inviting me to share this day with you. This is a historic time, when the spot light is on Africa. It is appropriate for us to recognize and applaud the efforts of our friends, both within the G8 and in the wider civil society, who are trying to improve the quality of life in Africa.
I also take this opportunity to congratulate the organizers of this meeting. I know that a lot of time has gone into the planning and mobilizing and that the experience will be rewarding.
The African Diaspora & Development Day is a great idea and I congratulate you for organizing this annual event to celebrate Africa by bringing together Africans in the diaspora around a common theme. It is indeed a noble vision to advance the well being of Africa & Africans. This year’s theme of “Enterprise Africa!” reflects the need to mobilize resources of the African diaspora to create & sustain enterprises, jobs & wealth in the region. Congratulations for your enterprising spirit.
I know you continue to celebrate & appreciate the decision by the Norwegian Nobel Committee to award the Peace Prize to the environment and to link it with democratic governance and peace. You may also have read about my comparing these three themes and the situation they create to a traditional African stool. Just like such a stool needs three solid legs to be stable, so does any stable state. And just as the legs, the body and the basin of the stool are made from one log, so leaders and citizens must mould the three pillars simultaneously. One cannot try to build democracy in order to LATER manage resources sustainably and create peace. Managing resources accountably, responsibly and sharing them more equitably is more likely to nurture a culture of peace. This is only possible if there is adequate democratic space for everybody; space where the rights of all, including the weak and vulnerable, and space where the rule of law is respected.
As I travel across the world sharing this message I find that people are concerned about this shift in the concept of peace and security. There can be no peace without sustainable management of resources, justice and fairness. Indeed most of the conflicts and wars are over resources: who will access, exploit and utilize them? Who will be excluded? Those who feel excluded, exploited and humiliated can threaten peace and security.
One of the worst outcomes of injustices is poverty. It robs human beings of their dignity. When people are poor and when they are reduced to beggars, they feel weak, humiliated, disrespected and undignified. They hide alone in corners and dare not raise their voices. They are therefore, neither heard nor seen. They do not organize but often suffer in isolation and in desperation.
Yet all human beings deserve respect and dignity. Indeed it should be unacceptable to push other human beings to such levels of indiginity. Even before any other rights, perhaps it may be time to campaign for all human beings to have the right to a life of dignity: a life devoid of poverty in the midst of plenty because such poverty demonstrates gross inequalities. As long as millions of people live in poverty and indignity, humanity should feel diminished. A time such as this gives all of us, and especially those in leadership, the opportunity to reduce poverty.
There is a lot of poverty in Africa. This is largely due to economic injustices, which must be addressed not only by the rich industrialized countries but also by leaders in Africa. This is partly because, as I have said elsewhere, Africa is not a poor continent. Africa is endowed with, for example, human beings, sunshine, oil, precious stones, forests, water, wildlife, soil, land and agricultural products. So what is the problem?
Well, many African people lack knowledge, skills and tools to add value to their raw materials so that they can take more processed goods into the local and international markets, where they would negotiate better prices and better rules for trade. In such situations, Africans find themselves locked out of productive, rewarding economic activities that would provide them with the regular income they need to sustain themselves. They are either unemployed or underemployed and they are certainly underpaid. They may wish to secure a well-paid job, but if they do not have the tools, nobody will hire them. Neither will they be able to take care of their housing, healthcare, education, nutrition, and other family and personal needs. Secondly, Africans have been poorly governed. This continues to allow the exploitation of resources in Africa without much benefit to the ordinary people.
It is for that reason that I commend the African Diaspora for believing in small and medium-sized enterprises. Indeed a thriving small enterprise culture is key to enabling Africans to exploit their capacities and fulfil their aspirations for jobs and economic security. According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization 90 percent of all businesses in Africa are small & medium sized enterprises. We must support this sector and ensure that it grows and thrives. Many of you in the Diaspora can ensure that this sector grows in countries where you come from.
I understand that Africans in the diaspora are estimated to send back to Africa each year some 200 billion US Dollars. Such money assists both your families and the national economy. We need to encourage each other to sustain interest and commitment. We need initiatives that are simple, attainable and that generate visible success in a short space of time. This creates momentum, trust, excitement and goodwill around solutions that ordinary people themselves own and believe in.
Even then within Africa, despite the fact that a lot remains to be done, I am encouraged by the increased willingness on the part of the African leadership to commit to gradual improvement of governance, especially through comparatively more free and fair elections, creation of NEPAD, sub-regional political and economic coalitions and the African Union.
Recently I was requested by the African Union to lead a process of mobilizing the African Civil Society. My role is to create an organ to advise the African Union on the best way to involve the African people as active participants in the creation of a New Africa. I was also appointed by the eleven (11) Heads of States within the Central African sub-region to be a Goodwill Ambassador for the Congo Basin Forest Ecosystem These are all initiatives that demonstrate a new renaissance that needs encouragement and support from friends, partners and the diaspora.
I want to encourage you to support campaigns to save African forests and biodiversity. The importance of forests and the many services humanity gets from them is well known: ecological balance of the earth; they absorb carbon; prevent loss of soil and subsequent desertification; they offer safeguards against flooding; they are reservoirs for genetic resources; the control rainfall patterns and serve as catchment areas for freshwater and rivers. Forests have been a source of wealth and inspiration throughout centuries.
Other environmental issues confronting us include climate change and air pollution. Nature provides so many “services” that the decline of ecosystems worldwide will have adverse effects on our well-being but we are told that Africa will be especially adversely affected by climate change. Unfortunately, many services from forests are taken for granted even through without such green life, humankind would not survive on this planet. Despite that and the many efforts to save the environment degradation continues, especially in Africa.
Let me draw your attention especially to the Congo forest ecosystem. As we speak, 200 million hectares of forest are under threat of extinction; 400 mammalian species and more than 10,000 plant species not to mention livelihoods of over a million indigenous people who depend on the forest resources of the Congo Basin Forest Ecosystem.
We recommend to G8 that the Convergence Plan for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa be a priority and especially with respect to the “Climate change and Africa”. A financing mechanism should be created by cancelling the debts of these countries and putting the money in an independent Trust Fund.
We thank the G8 countries for cancelling the debts of the 18 HIPIC countries, but urge that the other countries in the region also be considered. This is because, even though they are able to make debt payments, they do so at the expense of education and healthcare, and indeed sacrifice the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals.
We owe gratitude to the British Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair, and his initiative (The Africa Commission) and hope that other G8 countries will support his recommendations, especially in the area of debt, doubling of financial assistance and better terms of trade.
While it is sometimes understandable why governments may wish to give conditional aid, patronizing sovereign states undermines their authority, respect and trust before their people. With greater improvement of governance in Africa, it would be more appropriate to give aid that is not tied so as to allow governments to address priorities identified by them and their citizens.
As for the Diaspora, you are the face of Africa and you have a special responsibility to be good ambassadors of Africa by working hard, respecting the law of the land, and being responsible and accountable member of the society in which you live. Remember, it is especially the Diaspora that could influence the perception of African people and the attitude towards them.
In many industrialized countries like Britain and Japan, there is 3R campaign ( reduce, repair & reuse, recycle), which calls for more sustainable use of the resources. Individuals and groups can engage in initiatives, which support the spirit of the Kyoto protocol and sustainable development.
In Japan, a campaign incorporating the 3R is strengthened by the beautiful concept of mottainai, which urges people not to waste resources but to instead use them with respect and care. Awareness and commitment at a personal level is very important.
These examples are simple and workable ideas that we can practice individually everywhere: recyling plastic, reusing plastic bags, planting trees, printing on both sides of the paper, saving water – all in the spirit of mottainai.
As we continue the struggle on behalf of our people, let us remember that we are not alone. We have friends and we build on bricks laid by our ancestors who laboured and even died so that we, their children, might regain respect and dignity. This is out time, let us give our best.
EDITORS: Our thanks to AFFORD (http://www.afford-uk.org/ for arranging for Pambazuka News to publish this article. As Pambazuka News 214 was sent early to coincide with the start of the G8 meeting, this article was distributed as an addendum to issue 214.
Nothing short of a paradigm shift will radically alter the plight of the poor
Expect sugar-coated statements and hot air from G8 leaders, says Thomas Deve, who discusses various mobilizations to injustices including the World Social Forum and Global Call to Action Against Poverty. The greatest asset for mobilization in Africa, he says, is the testimony poor communities, unemployed youths, women, children and the marginalized can make on how market based dogmas and principles have unleashed untold suffering in Africa.
Once upon a time, most of us used to fancy witty statements from "Red" literature like the Communist Manifesto and highlighted the primacy of social action that was necessary to confront Bourgeois institutions. We all accepted that the executive of a modern state was nothing but a committee for managing the day-to-day affairs of the bourgeoisie, hence the need to study contradictions in society triggered by industrialisation and control over key means of production and people's welfare. The state was correctly portrayed as an arena of struggle, hence the desire to work towards a dictatorship of the proletariat and trigger the withering of the state as a precondition for an egalitarian society. The consensus was on the need for ideological clarity, good arguments and the passion to ignite citizens of the world to belong to movements and organisations seeking to build alternatives to capitalist societies.
With all roads leading to Gleneagles this coming week, a great opportunity is presented which demands that we audit our analytical arsenals and state of mobilisation, and review levels of solidarity which we have shown in struggling against bodies of thought and action giving legitimacy to the G8. Many questions do arise. For example, are there any future scenarios we can project on how the G8 has positioned itself, taking into account that vocal constituencies are telling it that: "Efforts to tackle poverty and sustainable development, as pledged in the UN Millennium Declaration, are grossly inadequate. Governments too often fail to address the needs of their citizens. Aid from rich countries is inadequate in both quality and quantity, and promises of debt cancellation have not materialized. Rich countries have yet to act on their repeated pledges to tackle unfair trade practices."
On our part, will those who have spent their time organising against the G8 take to the streets, issue petitions, position papers and other related actions we have witnessed in the past? If we borrow insights from the struggles of the past and positive passions that used to be triggered by the "Red" experience and questions in my opening remarks, it is clear that the G8 experts and strategists are not sleeping. They recognise that millions of people the world over are not accessing basic necessities in a sustainable manner that will allow the rich to sleep quietly. There is consensus that the G8 is a cabal of the world's richest countries that has overseen the world economy during the debt crisis; introduced aid conditions that forced recipient countries to liberalise, and developed unfair trade rules.
In order for the harmful effects to be redressed, these countries have to be part of the solution, and the time to act is now. Gaps of inequality are increasing and restlessness has increased in both camps of the poor and the rich. Those organising against the G8 have grown in numbers and have visible movements on the ground whose demands are now much more focussed and coordinated globally to such an extent that the rich and powerful have to be seen responding to their demands.
It is this realisation and growing awareness on the dynamics of modern poverty which has led the G8 to move a bit on calls for debt cancellation, more and better aid, and enhance dialogue on global partnerships targeting unfair trade rules. Damning statistics are being churned out everyday on how bad the situation is and all these cannot be ignored when we confront Gleneagles. It has been argued repeatedly that one third of deaths - some 18 million people a year or 50,000 per day - are due to poverty-related causes. This amounts to at least 270 million people since 1990, the majority being women and children, and roughly equal to the population of the United States. No less than 535 million still subsist on levels way below the poverty line - earning less than US$1 a day. Almost 185 million people are unemployed and half of these are young people between 15-24 years of age. For every US$1 in grant aid to developing countries, more than US$13 are taken out in debt repayments. For every three seconds that pass in 2005 without action, one more child will die from poverty. That is at least 30 000 children and at most, 50 000 people who will lose their lives from preventable causes. And finally, 245 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 continue to be forced to work (one in six of the world's children).
Poverty is not a given. 50 000 people dying a day from poverty is not acceptable and these telling statistics have inspired many people to continue fighting until figures of this nature are a relic of history rather than the reality of today. It is the situation of real people behind these statistics that has led many of us to use the white-arm band for example, and express our readiness to rededicate energy towards heightened awareness on the need to challenge systems and values of domination that cause this state of affairs. We still put on red T-shirts and feel that value has been added to critical consciousness building as was the case in the mid 70s when we went to a 200 litre fuel containers and tore out the black rubber lining on the lids meant to keep it air tight, proceeded to use them as wrist bangles for proudly proclaiming "Black power" as enounced in the then dominant Black consciousness philosophies of the time.
Back to the G8, our account would be incomplete if we do not acknowledge the role of the World Social Forum (WSF) in bringing together movements that have clearly put forward anti-capitalist struggles at the heart of how they challenge the G8. WSF processes have given some ideological coherence and clarity to many movements as they are proclaiming that "Our world is not for sale" and "Another world is possible." The above calls and pronouncements motivated one of the strongest voices challenging the hegemony of the G8. It is not a far fry from the truth, that since January 2005, most of these voices have coalesced around the "The Global Call to Action against Poverty"(GCAP), which has been described as a fast-growing coalition of millions of people and organisations united in the belief that 2005 offers an unprecedented opportunity for change.
It has simple demands:
- Increased aid from the G7 countries to 0.7% of GNI.
- More and better aid.
- The removal of trade barriers and unfair trade practices that inhibit the development of the poorer economies.
- There should be more trade justice.
- Debt cancellation for countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America
- Maximisation of efforts to eliminate poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals and more in a way which is sustainable, and implemented in a way that is democratic, transparent and accountable to citizens.
GCAP, whose organisations and movements are active in over 70 countries and boasts at least 150 million supporters, is organised around charities, trade unions and women's groups, to non-governmental and religious movements that span every culture across the world. Not all its constituencies are for radical reform and revolution, but feel good to lend their weight behind a campaign ready to push more vigorously for unconditional debt cancellation for developing countries for example. Not all in GCAP will say "Smash the WTO", but they are there to make sure that the slogan "One struggle with many fronts!" becomes a reality and meaningful, hence one of the action moments targeted is the Hong Kong WTO December ministerial.
Its diversity is testament to the strength of the movement and billed as one of the world's largest anti-poverty coalitions. It is a strong voice that cannot be ignored as has been shown by the latest coverage it is getting from corporate media that has largely concentrated on GCAP symbols and placing less emphasis on the nature of its demands.
For us in Africa, our greatest asset is the testimony poor communities, unemployed youths, women, children and the marginalized can make on how market based dogmas and principles have unleashed untold suffering in our part of the globe. We have incontrovertible evidence that liberalisation has led to loss of meaningful access to basic social services. Privatisation instigated by market-based public sector reform processes has rendered many services unaffordable for the majority of our citizens. Conditionalities attached to some reform processes spearheaded by institutions that function as extensions of the G8 have emasculated the State in developing countries, leaving it with very little flexibility when it comes to policy options that are pro-poor and defending its people against offensive interests spreading fast via corporate driven globalisation.
In this respect, nothing short of a paradigm shift will radically alter the plight of the poor. We have acknowledged that new languages will be adopted to reify what is happening and pacify the struggling masses through participatory processes like Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) and HIPC initiatives, but the essence of solutions underpinning dialogue in the G8 still reinforce market driven fundamentalism despite overwhelming evidence that it is a fundamentally flawed world outlook when it comes to redressing poverty related inequities be-devilling the world. The G8 on its part will produce pronouncements sugar-coated with hot air and radical rhetoric but not good enough to stop the other wave - rooted in brimstone and fire and occasioned by real lived poverty experiences that can only be ended by meaningful social and economic justice.
* Thomas Deve ([email protected]) coordinates the Economic Policy Project at MWENGO (www.mwengo.org), an organisation whose mission is to nurture a community of values by strengthening and mobilising African human resources in support of organisations fighting for social justice.
* Please send comments to [email protected]
The face of tyranny and making poverty history
Africa needs leaders, says Makeda Tsegaya. Africans have known this for years and have long campaigned for more democratic governance. The best service the world could give Africa would be to support their struggles to transform leadership on the continent.
Last weekend saw a large number of gatherings in London and nine other cities around the world for a rock concert aimed at mobilizing support for the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign. Hundreds of thousands of marchers in Edinburgh echoed the political message of this concert, namely debt-relief, fair trade, and better and more aid for Africa and other poor regions of the world. Others expressed their views on the subject via text and e-mail messages. Judging from the sample of messages transmitted via the international media, many seemed to be supporting the cause of the rock concert, while others doubted the efficacy of such campaign on a continent plagued by authoritarianism and corruption. Yet, a few others appeared to give the impression that poverty in Africa is a problem endemic to and created by the continent. As such, the role of developed nations in engendering the problem is hardly, if ever, interrogated. This article intends to bring a few points into the limelight based on the political messages of the campaign with a view to making a positive contribution to the on-going debate regarding the perception and eradication of poverty in Africa.
Indeed, supporters of “Make Poverty History’ have raised the profile of important issues that have significant implications for development in Africa, particularly fair trade and debt-relief. However, a critical factor for poverty eradication in Africa that was missing from the campaign is responsive governance. In fact, the lack of accountable governance and committed leadership in Africa have been the main source of misery and abject poverty on a continent blessed with so much riches. A continent that is still plentiful despite years of massive exploitation from people within and outside the continent. In fact, many Africans are beginning to realize that their vulnerability is a predictable outcome of years of tyranny and not a punishment from God or a biblical curse on the continent. This realization is now leading to a widespread demand for democratically elected leaders. Leaders, who genuinely strive to work in the interest of the people to create better opportunities for employment and economic growth, access to quality education and health care services, and most of all who are accountable to their constituencies and not to domestic cliques or external actors. They are determined to end poverty and a miserable existence sustained by an act of charity year after year.
Nonetheless, as surprising as this may sound to those who cannot imagine Africa beyond making appeals for humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping forces, such desperately needed changes have, indeed, began taking their course on the continent. African civil society organizations are thriving and concerned citizens are promoting freedom, liberty and true independence individually and collectively. Africans are now more convinced than ever before that without a dramatic change in governance and leadership, no development model can bear fruit on their continent.
With this realization, more and more people are exerting utmost pressure on dictators and corrupt leaders within the bounds of legality and peaceful resistance. A recent electoral process in Ethiopia exemplifies a situation in which citizens took advantage of a small window of opportunity to peacefully challenge tyranny, abject poverty, starvation and war. Unfortunately, their efforts to bring peaceful transformation were frustrated by despicable tyranny, which responded to the resistance via mass killings and torture. Yet, the world watched in silence and ignored the plight of Ethiopians for justice. Isn’t it ironic that the world continues to reward dictators and megalomaniacs in Africa on whose watch millions have perished due to starvation, poverty and war? Does the world genuinely believe in ‘making poverty history’ in Africa without the transfer of power from the hands of a few ruthless and self-centered individuals to the people? I hope we do not have to wait for another rock concert in twenty years to find the answers.
The demand for good governance in Africa should not be viewed as a far-fetched intellectual exercise. It is a reasonable demand, as it determines the fate of millions facing unfair and preventable tragedy. It is possible to transform the life of Africans by promoting good governance, which ensures inclusiveness, accountability, and full participation of the people. However, the world should not be deceived by dictators, who often change their tactics to resemble democratic norms, while their underlying motivation is to maintain power at all costs. In fact, the underlying realities in most African countries and the plight of the people are more accurate measures of the extent of democratic reforms than superficial declarations from dictators. Poverty eradication will be an empty declaration as long as dictators and corrupt rulers in Africa are allowed to continue oppressing the people and abusing domestic and foreign resources. It is apparent that the leaders of democratic nations can use political and economic support as leverage to put pressure on dictators to accept the will of the people.
The ultimate objective of sanction is not to hurt the people but to exert pressure on dictators and tyrants. Therefore, sanction can be effective when it is applied to support a struggle that is spearheaded by the people. Regrettably, such a powerful tool is not used when the condition is ripe. For instance, providing any kind of support to the ruling party in Ethiopia now would send the wrong message to Ethiopians who are struggling to end years of oppression and poverty. Ethiopia is a country that continues to inspire rock stars twenty years after its first agonizing images of famine hit the screens of the world at Live Aid in 1985. After twenty years, the agony of Ethiopians has multiplied with over 14 million (20%) of the population declared as ‘drought-affected’ in 2003. Hence, it is clear that the vulnerability of Ethiopians multiplied under oppressive and incompetent leadership. There is no better time than now for the world to recognize that it is not more aid that can change the situation in Ethiopia. Ethiopians have long realized that without democratically elected, committed and able leadership, no volume of aid can save their children dying from starvation, preventable diseases, poverty and war. Their full and remarkable participation in the elections of May 15 was their way of saying enough to starvation and enough to poverty. What they need from the world is enough pressure on the ruling party to respect the rule of law and transfer power to elected leaders.
Evidently, Ethiopia is also affected by the debt burden and unfair trade like any other African country. Still, the proliferation of massive human tragedy in the country cannot be explained without thoroughly examining issues related to debt burden and unfair trade. In other words, one needs to raise questions like how are loans utilized, what kind of development and trade policies are in place and to what extent are they implemented, how are resources from domestic and outside sources managed, and what is the level of the public’s participation? Clearly, these questions force us to examine the nature of governance and leadership in the country. Simply put, increasing aid is not going to prevent Ethiopian or other African children from dying. I am not summarily denigrating the value of aid. It is apparent that appropriate, well-targeted and judiciously administered aid could enhance economic growth. Nevertheless, experience shows that some form of aid in Africa seems to be doing more harm than good. Hence, the role of aid in promoting development in Africa should not be overestimated. The benefits of aid are short-term and the best aid can achieve is to fill gaps and not to be the driving force in development. On the contrary, aid can impede the development of good governance by giving a false impression that needs are met which, in turn, erode accountability by legitimizing dependency on foreign aid.
Conversely, it is indisputable that trade is at the core of economic growth and prosperity; hence, it is appropriate and legitimate that Africans demand fair trade. However, as an important player in international trade, Africa must have the power to make trade a ‘fair game’. In other words, Africa needs to be equipped with the right tools to ensure that trade becomes a ‘fair game’. Fist of all, Africa must have competent and independent leadership that is capable of harnessing its human and capital resources in developing its own macroeconomic policies. This includes making informed decisions on what to trade with whom and in what form. At the same time, Africa needs to have accountable leadership that refrains from engaging in illicit trade with external ‘actors’ for shameful personal gains. Africa must also metamorphose from a raw-material supplier to a genuine trader in order to fully benefit from its trade, thereby, creating employment opportunities and securing better terms of trade. Simultaneously, Africa needs powerful and ingenious entrepreneurs, well-trained and smart negotiators, efficient producers, far-sighted and creative policy makers and so on to take full advantage of international trade. In fact, Africa already has some of this expertise on the continent and its vast Diaspora around the world. This is why visionary and competent leadership is imperative in Africa to harness existing skills and knowledge in order to create wealth and equitable distribution of income among responsible and hard working citizens.
It sum, it is evident that Africa’s most deadly pandemic is lack of committed leadership. Africa needs to have leaders, elected by the people to work for the people. Therefore, the world could do a great service to Africans by supporting their struggle to transform leadership on the continent. Moreover, providing political and economic support to dictators when it is clear that they are not working in the interest of the people is not only morally unacceptable but also an unforgivable crime to humanity.
* Makeda Tsegaye is an Ethiopian woman with a Masters degree in International Peace Studies (with specialization in Economic Development and Peace) currently working for an international development agency in Nairobi, Kenya.
* Please send comments to [email protected]
We are fatigued with charity, we know we can do it ourselves
Q&A with Maria Shaba of Tango
Even those who remember the word "Ujamaa", and know it was the philosophy behind Julius Nyrere's attempt to collectivise agriculture in the 1960s, probably wonder whether it has anything more than academic relevance to today's debates about development. In this interview with BBC Newsnight’s Paul Mason (reproduced here with permission of Paul Mason) Marie Shaba, chairperson of the Tanzanian Association of NGOs, discusses how the G8 can assist Africa’s development.
PAUL MASON: What's the one principle that drives you as an activist?
MARIE SHABA: Justice - I've seen a lot of injustices in my life. I was born in the 1940s - as a young person I've seen the struggle for independence not only for Tanzania but for the whole continent and that's what's been driving me.
PM: What are the biggest problems facing you that the G8 could actually do something about?
MS: One of the most important things they have to do is keep their promises - we are dealing here with a human race, and when you make a promise and you want the support of somebody, then you have to fulfil your promise. Africa has gone through so much and not been able to get its fair deal in trade in governance, everything. The G8 has to recognise and accept that.
PM: Give me a concrete example of the kind of poverty you have to deal with?
MS: These days we have a very strange kind of impoverishment: most of our industries - the parastatals - have been privatised. And you find women who used to be the backbone in agriculture, especially for food security, have all gone into towns now - because with the Structural Adjustment Programmes a lot of subsidies were taken away from the farmers so most of the men left the women in the village - and without subsidies women could not farm even for subsistence. So most of them are moving into towns. And this is a great phenomenon in my country, because then you have to depend on food from others - and you have no respect if you depend on food from others.
So what is happening you find women now: they are employed in the flower industry in Arusha. They employ a lot of women because they are cheaper, they are careful in the way they handle flowers, but they are not protected health-wise, and they deal with a lot of pesticides, they suffer a lot of diseases: they are like human beings saturated with pesticide in their bodies. And when you are sick they just chuck you out, employ another one. And if this woman falls sick and dies, she leaves behind orphans. So in our country we are saying "for every rose that somebody in Europe wears there is the life of an African woman". So this kind of impoverishment is quite severe and it's frightening, and its all because of liberalisation.
PM: What are people doing for themselves? When people in this country (the United Kingdom) faced problems like that, in the 19th century, they got organised to do something about it...
MS: We come from a different background: immediately after independence we had our own brand of socialism - and the main part was to have a human rights culture: that's what Ujamaa meant. And self-reliance. We had a one-party system so our mindset was totally different - there was a lot of trust, faith that the government would take care of people. That they would enter contracts for the interests of the people. But after 1987 when Structural Adjustment came in, we began to see different behaviour - and a lot of people didn't realise what was happening.
PM: So what are people doing now?
MS: We are organising - the NGOs have been in the forefront: education, to make people realise they have the power to change things through elections, through organising in groups, support each other. If people are not organising, we wouldn't be here. It means people are organising to find solutions - especially women in the informal sector. They cushion the impact of some of the economic policies, because in the informal sector they sell goods from small producers, and at the end of the day they survive: if it were not for these small producers - the so-called illiterate women, we'd be telling a different story.
PM: A lot of people here ask: why can't Africans help themselves - why can't they do what South Korea has done and go from farming to industry in one big leap?
MS: That's blaming the victim - we are here not because we are lazy, unintelligent. If I was the leader of Tanzania, and the economy was down, and here is somebody who says: "I can give you money, BUT" .... the choice is: do you refuse and let your people die, or to agree and hope things get better? That's what happened to most of our leaders; they've been hoping things will change - so its blaming the victim.
PM: If the G8 could only do one thing what would it be?
MS: Fair trade!
PM: But that's not even on the agenda of the G8...
MS: We are wondering why. Because with charity - we are all so fatigued as recipients of charity, begging, when we know we can do it ourselves. The capitalist system is so strong and been there so many years - and they keep on changing their strategies. But it’s just what Emma (Thompson) was saying: capitalism is there to maximise profits. And this means we need to rearrange our mindset.
PM: What is the mood in some of the shanty towns and villages you work in? Do people know about the G8 and the international debate that's going on about African poverty?
MS: No. A lot of people blame the government. That's the immediate thing they can see - they don't understand the intricate issues behind it all. For example our president is on the Africa Commission, and Blair is the chair of G8, so they might be aware that our issues are being discussed - but not much.
PM: So there's no big feeling on the streets - that the G8 must do something, and this is the big chance?
MS: What people are saying is they blame it all on the (African) leaders - so its up to people like us to say we shouldn't blame our leaders because we will just fight each other and let the G8 countries off. Civic education is a process: you (Britain) have been there for a long time; we've been independent only since 1961 and there are a lot of things happening that are happening too fast: but slowly the picture is beginning to unfold.
PM: If it all goes well at Gleneagles, and you get everything you want, what kind of a difference could it make? What would we see in 10 years time?
MS: It will bring back self-confidence. Right now, as Africans, I think we have lost self-esteem - we feel like we are the poorest of the poorest, like we can't even think for ourselves; like everything has to be thought out somewhere in Europe - even how to govern ourselves. So there is lack of self-esteem. But should we get the solidarity and confidence of other people, we have all the resources we need. We are blessed with all the resources: human, material, land - everything. So the support we need should go to strengthening the structures for continuity and transparency, so that more people will know what's happening - and what opportunities are there. That's more important than giving us money to settle things.
And another thing, with trade, would be to help us compete: we need a lot of preparation - and we need to start it locally, or maybe regionally before we can even compete abroad - so we need that space. That's what the G8 can do: give us space to develop at our own pace.
* This article first appeared on the blog NewsNi8gt and is reproduced here with permission of Paul Mason. Visit http://paulmason.typepad.com/newsnig8t/ for more information.
* Please send comments to [email protected]
A website has been launched by a group of Nigerians, to deter former military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida from making a come-back. The website, www.againstbabangida.com, has as one of its main features a listing of Nigerians tagged "Public Enemies," for promoting or working for the aspiration of Babangida to rule Nigeria again, come year 2007.
Restore the right to housing in Zimbabwe: Sign a petition
"We, associations of inhabitants, international networks, voluntary groups, NGOs, public agencies, citizens of the world, are profoundly hurt by and denounce the ‘Murambatsvina operation’ (sweep away the garbage operation) launched by the government of Zimbabwe."
Sign on letter: What the G8 should do on energy
"We the undersigned call on the Group of 8 (G8) leaders to recognize and act upon the twin, interlinked crises of debt and global warming. Current G8 energy investments are fundamentally at odds with sound development practice. Ongoing public financing of the fossil fuel industry is increasing debt, poverty, and climate change. Urgent action is now required to substantially reduce emissions, reduce fossil fuel dependence, and protect people around the world, especially the vulnerable, the poor and disappearing nations."
Civil Society Statement on Debt and Climate Change
We the undersigned call on the Group of 8 (G8) leaders to
recognize and act upon the twin, interlinked crises of
debt and global warming. Current G8 energy investments are
fundamentally at odds with sound development practice.
Ongoing public financing of the fossil fuel industry is
increasing debt, poverty, and climate change. Urgent
action is now required to substantially reduce emissions,
reduce fossil fuel dependence, and protect people around
the world, especially the vulnerable, the poor and
Such urgent action requires that G8 nations make rapid,
specific, substantial and sustained cuts in their domestic
emissions of greenhouse gases. It also requires that G8
leaders cut the significant emissions that are resulting
from their taxpayer-financed multilateral and bilateral
Export credit agencies and international financial
institutions are leading financiers of oil, gas and coal
projects around the world. The World Bank Group alone has
financed over $25 billion in oil, gas and coal contracts
(including fossil fuel-fired power plants) since the UN
Climate Convention was signed by a majority of the world?s
countries in 1992. The current and future emissions from
all World Bank fossil fuel projects financed since 1992 is
equivalent to almost two years' worth of global greenhouse
While the World Bank is supposed to serve the world's
poor, it is the poor who are likely to suffer first and
foremost from climate change, as they will not be able to
take preventive measures to protect themselves. In
addition, over 80% of all oil projects financed by the
World Bank are designed to produce petroleum for export to
the wealthy countries of the north. Along with most of the
gas and coal projects financed by the World Bank, they do
little or nothing to meet the growing energy needs of the
poorest. Public financing, intended for poverty
sustainable development, instead ends up being simply
another public subsidy to wealthy governments, consumers
Other multilateral development banks and publicly financed
export credit agencies (ECAs) follow a similar pattern of
investment. U.S. export credit and investment insurance
agencies alone have invested over $32 billion in financing
and insurance for oil and gas fields, pipelines and
coal-fired power plants since 1992 without assessing their
contribution to global warming nor their impact on the
U.S. or global environment.
Estimates suggest these U.S. taxpayer-backed ECA
investments alone are releasing and will release over one
year's worth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Other
ECAs have supported fossil fuel-based energy projects
which produce or will produce as much as 20 times the
amount of greenhouse gases as their own governments have
committed to reduce under the Kyoto Protocol.
Meanwhile, the World Bank and the Global Environmental
Facility, created at the 1992 Earth Summit to act on
climate change, combined have invested over 17 times more
in fossil fuels and fossil fuel-driven power plants as
they have in renewable forms of energy and energy
efficiency projects. Carbon trading engineered by the
World Bank Group in advance of the Clean Development
Mechanism is resulting in few, if any, truly renewable
energy projects. Instead, monoculture tree plantations,
gas flare reduction and methane capture from waste dumps
are gaining the lions' share of financing-while carbon
credits as currently enacted enable dirty industry to
continue with business as usual in the
Gas flaring and venting by petroleum corporations in
Nigeria remains sub-Saharan Africa's largest source of
greenhouse gases, yet, the World Bank is preparing to sell
carbon credits for Chevron/Shell's West-African Gas
pipeline, despite the fact that overall greenhouse gas
to flaring will not be reduced by this project. Such
initiatives are misleading and provide no net progress
toward climate stability and a net loss for local as well
as global communities.
Thus, the public institutions entrusted with averting a
climate catastrophe are dangerously exacerbating the
problem. Such institutional corruption results in paltry
funding for renewable energy, a growing energy deficit
among the poorest in developing countries, and increased
developing country debt.
The World Bank's own Extractive Industries Review, a
three-year study commissioned by the World Bank?s
president with involvement of government, industry and
civil society, came to the conclusion that, if the World
Bank is serious about poverty alleviation and climate
change, it should get out of coal immediately, get out of
oil by 2008, and rapidly scale up its investments in
renewable energy at the rate of 20% a year. Yet senior
World Bank officials openly reject the report's
Thus, we call on the G8 nations to:
1) Halt the Northern financing of Southern coal-fired
2) End aid financing for oil. OECD countries should end
Northern governmental subsidies for new oil projects in
the South. Such projects have not historically provided
energy for the poor, and are proven to be associated with
a rise in poverty, public health problems, local
environmental destruction, conflict, corruption and debt,
and to increase
the risk to the poorest from climate change. Thus, they
cannot be considered as "aid" for the poor;
3) Set up an international sustainable renewable energy
fund, independent of the development banks and export
credit agencies, with funding provided by the G8, that
would set as a target the delivery of small-scale,
community-based, sustainable, equitable and appropriate
energy services and technologies, excluding large dams and
to the more than 2 billion poorest living in developing
countries, low-income areas of developed countries, and
countries with economies in transition within the next 20
4) Work with developing countries, especially small island
states and Arctic regional local authorities, to build
technological and infrastructure capacity to assist them
in developing solutions to mitigate and adapt to the
adverse effects of climate change;
5) Immediately cancel 100% of the remaining multilateral
bilateral debt without requiring that debtor countries
join the HIPC(Heavily Indebted Poor Country) initiative as
a precondition for debt cancellation, nor accept any
additional harmful economic conditions;
6) Concentrate development aid to oil-exporting countries
helping them diversify their economies in order to
minimize debt burdens from excessive oil-export dependence
and maximize income generation for the population;
7) Commit by the next G8 Summit in 2006 to a global
harmonization of energy and development strategies in
light of global warming, debt, poverty, and the finite
quantity of fossil fuels remaining in the ground and the
limited ability of our atmosphere to safely absorb
additional greenhouse gas emissions. These issues should
henceforth be viewed as inextricably woven together.
Please forward this letter widely and return all sign-ons
(organizational sign-ons with names of directors or senior
staff preferred, though individuals are welcome to sign on
as well) to [email protected] as soon as possible. We will
be delivering this with your names at a press conference
at the G8 Summit next week in Scotland.
Sustainable Energy & Economy Network
Stand up for Africa petition
Visit http://www.standupforafrica.org.uk/ to sign a petition to make poverty history in Africa.
White men in dark suits, ageing rockers and the AU summit
Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem is at a loss for words over the current Live 8 and G8 attention for Africa. “It is like being offered a handkerchief by the same person who is beating the hell out of you,” he writes, preferring to focus his attention on the just-concluded African Union summit of heads of state that took place in Shirte, Libya. It was at this summit, he argues, that decisions about he real future of Africa were being made.
How I wish I could write this article from beginning to end without mentioning the G8, Tony Blair, Geldof or any of the other busy bodies running around like headless chickens claiming they want to help Africa. I will try and try very hard.
One of the difficulties with becoming flavour of the moment is that you forget what you want for yourself as others divest you of the power to help yourself. Everybody loves Africa now and is going to desperate lengths to show why they are our new best friends!
It is like South Africa after the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. Suddenly we could not find any supporters for the loathed apartheid system anymore both inside and outside of South Africa. Even the Boer Nationalist Party that institutionalised apartheid became anti apartheid. Everywhere Mandela went powerful politicians in powerful countries in Europe and America who had shielded the apartheid regime from international sanctions and prevented censure of the racist regime in multi lateral forums including the UN Security Council, Commonwealth, EU, etc were all queuing up to have their pictures taken with the Great Madiba. They all reinvented their political CVs to show how all along they had been fighting for his release and an end to apartheid. One of the worst of this latter day friend of South African Liberation was Margaret Thatcher, who as British Prime Minister resisted any criticisms of apartheid South Africa, invited Botha on a state visit to London and described the ANC as a 'typical terrorist organisation like the IRA.'
Africa is in a similar situation now. It is difficult to know how to react to this sudden show of concern for a people that have been so marginalized and humiliated for such a long time. It is like being offered a handkerchief by the same person who is beating the hell out of you.
After last Saturday's multi-city parties the whole world is now programmed to look up to eight white men in dark suits meeting in far away Gleneagles, Scotland, to save Africa. None of them is an African.
Yet a much bigger assembly of another powerful group of people, all of them heads of state from across Africa, were meeting in the Libyan city of Shirte deciding on the future of Africa without a similar focus in the global media.
It is these people through their action and inaction who have the power to change things for the better or worse on this continent. Anybody who really cares about helping Africa needs to know what these group of unfortunately, all men, have been saying to themselves.
The fifth ordinary Summit of the Assembly of the African Union has just ended in Shirte. The leaders amongst other pressing issues had to address themselves to the dances for poverty and pledges for action from outsiders about Africa. They welcomed the initial debt relief package for developing countries out of which 15 African countries will benefit. However they called for universal debt cancellation that benefits all African countries, not just a select few.
This is a logical consensus given previous experience of African countries scandalously competing among themselves about who is more connected in Washington, London or Paris. Individually they sold out but collectively we may regain some dignity and credibility. They have to avoid being played against each other. The separate deal for debt relief for Nigeria is potentially one of those divide and rule tactics. It may limit Nigeria's capacity to talk on behalf of Africa and also neutralise it in bloc negotiations, whether in the WTO or in the IMF/World Bank. My own suspicion is that they have agreed to throw this carrot at Nigeria as an advance compensation for her not to get the much-coveted UN Security Council permanent seat, which will more likely go to South Africa.
Significantly, the AU summit did not dwell so much on aid but rather called for the abolition of unfair trading rules that rig international trade against Africa and asked for a clear timetable for the abolition of these subsidies. One can see that the African leaders are not taken in by various pledges on aid and rather want us to trade our way to prosperity instead of being aided to remain dependent. This contrasts with Prophet Blair's breakthrough in getting a calendar on aid targets. The AU is saying we need some fair-trade not some aid.
These are the messages that the African leaders invited to the G8 as side salads will be taking to Gleneagles. I really wish that these leaders would stop ridiculing themselves by appearing like an NGO lobby group at the Summit of Rich White Men. From next year they should have a face-to-face summit to review any progress on mutually agreed targets. After all that is what the mutual accountability principle in the African Peer Review Mechanism is all about. It is about us judging ourselves and also mutually judging each other with our so-called international partners.
Apart from the response to the G8, the AU summit made numerous decisions on a variety of issues that have direct impact on Africa and Africans in more of a way than anything a group of ageing rockers and an exclusive club of white men will do for Africa.
One of those defining issues is the call by the Brother Leader, Muammar Gadaffi, which President Museveni immediately supported, for an all-African Union government and a dismantling of all barriers to freedom of movement for Africans across Africa. While many dismiss this as hasty and too ambitious I would like to remind them to rewind to the reaction to Gadaffi's call for an acceleration of the integration process through a review of the OAU charter at an Extra ordinary summit in the same city of Shirte in September 1999. Then as now the idea was initially dismissed as far-fetched but within three years we had the African Union. Its institutions are now taking shape and at this summit the Libyan leader was upping the stakes for the AU to rise up to the next phase of the struggle for unity without which we will remain beggars and vulnerable to extra African powers. There is no point in asking the rich countries to open up their markets to us when we close ours against each other. We cannot sustainably globalise without Africanising.
* Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem is General-Secretary of the Pan African Movement, Kampala (Uganda) and Co-Director of Justice Africa. ([email protected] or [email protected])
* Please send comments to [email protected]
African Compass New writing from southern Africa 2005
New writing from southern Africa 2005 is the first book in a three–year series of the US $10 000 HSBC/SA PEN Literary Award. The award is targeted at young writers who are citizens of any country in the SADC (Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe).
Ghanaian author wins Commonwealth prize
Alex Agyei-Agyiri's first novel Unexpected Joy at Dawn has won Commendation in the 2005 Commonwealth Writers' Prize, Best First Book Africa Region. A Ghanaian poet, playwright and short story writer, he has previously won the BBC Arts and Africa poetry award, the Ghana Association of writers' Literary Prize and the Valco Award for Literature.
O Vendedor de Passados
by José Eduardo Agualusa
"That divide between fact and fiction in the lives of ordinary people is what Agualusa has tackled with O Vendedor do Passados. Yet he has done so in a format that could easily be described as magical realism, one based in southern Africa. As part of this merging of history as story, numerous characters play a part in the narrative, from Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist, to South African high court judge Albie Sachs and Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa." - From a review by Richard Bartlett on the website of African Review of Books. Visit http://www.africanreviewofbooks.com/ to read the full review.
Sixth Caine Prize for African Writing goes to Nigerian
In the year of Africa, S.A. Afolabi from Nigeria has won the sixth Caine Prize for African Writing, Africa's leading literary prize, for Monday Morning from Wasafiri, issue 41, spring 2004. The Chair of the judges, Baroness Young of Hornsey, announced the winner of the US$ 15,000 prize at a dinner held this evening (Monday, 4 July) in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. S.A. Afolabi was born in Kaduna, Nigeria and grew up in various countries, including the Congo, Canada, East Germany and Indonesia. He has been writing for over ten years and has had stories published in Wasafiri, London Magazine, Edinburgh Review, Pretext and others.
Bellagio Publishing Network Forum
In the year of Africa, S.A. Afolabi from Nigeria has won the sixth Caine
Prize for African Writing, Africa’s leading literary prize, for Monday
Morning from Wasafiri, issue 41, spring 2004. The Chair of the judges,
Baroness Young of Hornsey, announced the winner of the US$ 15,000 prize
at a dinner held this evening (Monday, 4 July) in the Bodleian Library
“After a very stimulating discussion, which was tough due to the quality
of the shortlisted entries, the judges have decided to award the 2005
Caine Prize for African Writing to Segun Afolabi for his poignant story
Monday Morning,” said Baroness Young.
S.A. Afolabi was born in Kaduna, Nigeria and grew up in various
countries, including the Congo, Canada, East Germany and Indonesia. He
has been writing for over ten years and has had stories published in
Wasafiri, London Magazine, Edinburgh Review, Pretext and others.
A collection of short stories provisionally titled A Life Elsewhere is
due out in spring 2006 and a novel, Goodbye Lucille, will be published
in spring 2007. Both will be published by Jonathan Cape. A graduate from
University College Cardiff Afolabi has previously worked as an assistant
content producer and sub-editor for the BBC.
Also on the shortlist were:
· Doreen Baingana (Uganda), for Tropical Fish, from African American
Review, volume 37, number 4, 2003
· Jamal Mahjoub (Sudan), for The Obituary Tango, from Wasafiri, issue
42, summer 2004
· Muthal Naidoo (South Africa), for Jail Birds, from Botsotso, Botsotso
· Ike Okonta (Nigeria), for Tindi in the Land of the Dead, from
Humanitas, George Bell Institute, Queen’s College, Birmingham, volume 2,
number 1, October 2000
Last year’s Prize was awarded to Brian Chikwava from Zimbabwe for
Seventh Street Alchemy from Writing Still, Weaver Press, Harare 2003.
Brian is now busy writing his first novel, which he hopes to complete
before the end of the year. He has been awarded a Charles Pick
Fellowship in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. Brian
is also an accomplished musician and his CD, Jacaranda Sketches, has
just been released.
Baroness Young, this year’s Chair of the judges, is board member of the
South Bank Centre and Chair of the arts advisory committee of the
British Council. She is a former academic whose publications include
Fear of the Dark: ‘Race’, Gender and Sexuality in the Cinema
(Routledge). The other judges on this year’s panel are Victoria Arana,
Professor of English at Howard University in the US, who specialises in
third world literature; Aminatta Forna, broadcaster, journalist and
author of The Devil that Danced on the Water; Romesh Gunesekera, born in
Sri Lanka and author of Reef, which was short-listed as a finalist for
the Booker Prize in 1994, and Heaven’s Edge (2002); and Dr Nana
Wilson-Tagoe, Senior Lecturer in African Literatures at the School of
Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, who was also
a judge last year.
Notes for Editors:
The Caine Prize, awarded annually for African creative writing, is named
after the late Sir Michael Caine, former Chairman of Booker plc and
Chairman of the Booker Prize management committee for nearly 25 years.
The Prize is awarded for a short story by an African writer, published
in English (whether in Africa or elsewhere), with an indicative length
of 3,000 to 15,000 words. An “African writer” will normally be taken to
mean someone who was born in Africa, or who is a national of an African
country, or whose parents are African, and whose work has reflected that
The four African winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Wole
Soyinka, Naguib Mahfouz, Nadine Gordimer and J M Coetzee, are Patrons of
The Caine Prize. Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne is President of the
Council and Jonathan Taylor is the Chairman.
For further information, photos or to arrange an interview with S.A.
Afolabi, please contact:
Pernille GoodallRaitt Orr & Associates Ltd Tel: 020 7222 5479Mob:
07932 018199Fax: 020 7222 5480E-mail: [email protected] Nick Elam
The Caine Prize for African Writing Tel: 020 7376 0440Fax: 020 7938
3728E-mail: [email protected]: www.caineprize.com
Bellagio Publishing Network
PO Box 1369
Oxford OX4 4ZR
An Open Letter to the G8
Network of Ethiopian Scholars
We welcome the intentions to translate into practical action the vision of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty to make it history. Though the systems the G8 leaders are steering are way more complex and not so easily amenable to any good intention to make them deliver to the poor, we hope that any set of serious effort that you collectively undertake makes a difference.
Africa has suffered for too long. Until today the record of the political economy of international aid has been largely unproductive. Africa was trapped in a double bind: if the G8 and others refuse their assistance, Africa loses; if it accepts their assistance, Africa loses also. We hope now for the first time, the G8 are prepared to provide aid by engaging with the political economy of aid, investment and trade without forcing Africa to lose and blaming Africa for it. It is time to provide the kind of assistance that will make Africa a winner and would not put all the blame to it, if things go wrong.
An Open Letter to the G8
By the Network of Ethiopian Scholars (NES) - Scandinavian Chapter
July 5, 2005
We welcome the intentions to translate into practical action the vision of
the Global Call to Action Against Poverty to make it history. Though the
systems the G8 leaders are steering are way more complex and not so easily
amenable to any good intention to make them deliver to the poor, we hope
that any set of serious effort that you collectively undertake makes a
Africa has suffered for too long. Until today the record of the political
economy of international aid has been largely unproductive. Africa was
trapped in a double bind: if the G8 and others refuse their assistance,
Africa loses; if it accepts their assistance, Africa loses also. We hope now
for the first time, the G8 are prepared to provide aid by engaging with the
political economy of aid, investment and trade without forcing Africa to
lose and blaming Africa for it. It is time to provide the kind of assistance
that will make Africa a winner and would not put all the blame to it, if
things go wrong.
The G8's New Deal
North-South Partnership has been proposed as the new deal or strategy to see
Africa out of poverty. Africa is expected to deliver on good governance and
the construction of transparent and accountable institutions to its citizen;
and the G8 and others from the North are to provide economic assistance,
better terms of trade and debt relief. This deal enjoins the African side to
demonstrate a transparent and accountable government to its citizens.
Failure to demonstrate good governance would mean that the G8 side would
balk from providing the resources to assist. The assumption is that with
democratic governance, the assistance from the G8 would reach to those who
need it most and will not be pocketed by unaccountable officials and their
clientele and loyal networks that undo the effort to create accountable and
open institutions capable of propelling development forward.
Is It Good or Bad Governance Under Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia?
Ethiopia has had no record of effecting a peaceful transition in its
history. For the first time in this country's history, the people of
Ethiopia freely came forward after hearing the debates in the election to
vote for the party of their choice on May 15, 2005. We consider this to
prove a historical landmark in the country's long history. Unfortunately the
pre-election freedom could not be sustained during the election and the
aftermaths of the election. Once again, the country is at the crossroads.
Meles Zenawi's regime had the historical opportunity, and indeed the most
sacred responsibility to make sure democracy and free election succeed. Why
enter the game of democracy voluntarily and try to play foul when the going
goes against Meles Zenawi's expectations? Unfortunately the subsequent
killings, election riggings and emergency rule declarations show that Mr.
Zenawi and his group are not prepared to concede to the democratic will of
the people. They resorted to the usual trick of talking profusely about
democracy whilst preparing to continue to act with dictatorship and
repression. They have been in power for nearly fifteen years and have thus
built up a dense network of clientele and loyal acolytes that will do
anything but deliver good governance that can be up to the task to make
poverty history in Ethiopia.
Meles Zenawi came to power with violence and failed to show that he can
retain power through democracy. We wonder what criteria has been used by the
G8 to invite Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia- a person who just oversaw a rigged
election on May 15,2005, that has been difficult to clear and declare the
outcome after nearly two months. When Meles found out that literally most of
his ministers were voted out, and his party was losing the election, he
rushed to declare a state of emergency and used that to create a context for
the murder of 36 students and the arrest of thousands. Meles continues to
use all sorts of justifications why he thinks it is right to take officially
sanctioned violent action. He remains unrepentant and defiant and could not
see the wrongness of his actions.
Having probed all the arguments, we find conclusively that all his reasons,
in whatever form he expresses them, would not provide justification for
killing unarmed, civilian students or as he likes to describe them
'unemployed youth.' There was no justification to send troops to the
dormitories of university students, rough them up, pull them out of their
beds with guns to their heads, beat them and kill them. There is no reason
to declare a state of emergency and continue to intimidate by warning the
people that Meles is prepared to repeat and take this and similar action.
There was no reason to intimidate and harass opposition members throughout
the country. There is no reason to jail and hide the where about of the
writer Mr.Andargachew Tsige, and the human right activists such as Mr. Nega
Birhanu, Mr. Yahred Hailemariam, and Mr. Taddesse Chernet. There is no
reason for all these violent actions, for the simple reason that neither the
opposition nor the citizens used any other means other than to play within
the rules of the democracy that the regime claimed to honour. How can the
regime kill by claiming an opposition figure in exile has written a book
advocating rose or orange peaceful democratic expression in the event loser
does not concede to winner? How can the regime justify killing by imagining
and self-validating a false scenario in Ethiopia of Rwanda type genocide? It
has absolutely no-good reason to kill, justify, and more over, continue to
threaten similar action by maintaining military emergency rule! What the
regime fears from the opposition is not violence, but the peaceful
mobilisation and commitment to peaceful methods of struggle to expose the
vacuity of regime claims to popular support in the urban and rural areas of
Implementing the New G8 Deal for Ethiopia
We call upon the G8 to endorse the growing demand that the next five years
should be a period for the democratic experiment of peaceful transition and
the incubation of good government in Ethiopia. Both are necessary if the G8
are serious to implement the policy where their assistance delivers results
rather than making Ethiopians losers once more. It is no good to blame
Ethiopians and organise another live concert when famine, hunger and bad
government recur after one episodic mobilisation or another. Ethiopia needs
to get the kind of assistance in order to stop seeking assistance for good.
We call upon you to demand that 'your good guy' Meles accepts a broad based
Government involving opposition parties who demonstrated genuine backing by
the people through free and fair elections, his own party and other
independent personages. This is critical to deliver what has eluded the
Ethiopian imagination to this day: to work collectively for the next five
years to create a workable system that will make it impossible for anyone to
use violence to perpetuate authoritarian rule. Let the coming five years
serve to solve this one and only one problem: creating the necessary and
sufficient possibilities for enduring and sustainable change or confirming
power through the unrigged votes of the Ethiopian citizens.
If Meles is indeed a democrat, as he likes to parade himself to you and the
rest of the world, and if indeed he wishes as your partner to see that the
poor get a deal from any of the projected investments you are hoping to
mobilize, he should be happy to endorse this idea. Let the next five years
be used to develop skills and styles of give and take to make the opposition
and the Meles group cultivate a democratic tradition and culture by using
debate and public participation to solve all issues that appear so
intractable in the country.
We are happy to offer ideas on how such a national unity Government may be
composed and sustained. We call upon the G8 leaders to impress the historic
importance of constructing an alternative to forming a Government either by
the incumbent or aspirant alone, given the election has been mishandled
badly and the people who voted for either side would feel cheated if either
side becomes a winner takes all. The notion of Meles re-inviting unelected
ministers back to cabinet would create a situation that is potentially
explosive. The G8 have the opportunity to put the maximum possible pressure
on Meles to contribute to peaceful and democratic change in Ethiopia by
supporting a Government of national concord, paving the way for the release
of all the arrested, the lifting the state of emergency for good, and the
call for all parties to enter into genuine dialogue. If as the G8, you are
serious about the New Deal, we expect you to have invited Meles Zenawi to
put to him that he has got to get governance right in his country so that
your expected assistance for Ethiopia proves worthy and productive. We call
the G8 to put maximum pressure on Meles Zenawi to respect the voice of the
Ethiopian people by being prepared to form a government of national unity
with the opposition, whether he likes them or not. The Government of
national concord should be entrusted to implement the new deal from the G8
to make sure that the assistance reaches the people that need it most fairly
and with a system and accountable and transparent procedure that Ethiopians
negotiate and put in place with the support of those who like to see them
The substantive achievement of equalising Africa with the rest of the world
has a universal humanising thrust to it. Efforts to stimulate the
improvement of the African condition become equivalent to improving the
human condition. And that is a truly universal achievement for all. Those
who like and choose to engage in improving the lot of the most oppressed
community of the human race should recognise the wider significance of their
intervention to move civilisation forward. In the end it is not just for
Africa, that values of justice, care and freedom matter, but through their
realisation in Africa, they matter to all. It is not your benevolence, but
your enlightened self-interest that demands action to eradicate poverty on
earth. We hope this larger fellowship and vision and not the icy cold
calculation of self-interest drives your engagement with our continent and
our own old country-Ethiopia.
Professor Mammo Muchie, Chair of NES-Scandinavian Chapter
Berhanu G. Balcha, Vice- Chair of NES-Scandinavian Chapter
Tekola Worku, Secretary of NES-Scandinavian Chapter
9220- Aalborg East
Tel. + 45 96 359 813 or +45 96 358 331
Fax + 45 98 153 298
Cell: +45 3112 5507
Email: [email protected] or [email protected] or
Change of Heart about "Live 8"
I am writing this letter to applaud the Live 8 events that have happened this past weekend in Berlin, London, Philly and elsewhere in the Western world. I have to say that after a long period of living and being exposed to real life in Western countries, I have become a Western- or to put it more specifically "White-pessimist" and developed a very big ego of Afro-optimism. This is particularly due to the way I have watched, observed and received news about Africa in these countries. The media, regular people and the education system mainly potrays its connection with Africa driven by a culture of pity. So, I had become convinced that white people have no intrinsic interest in Africa or Africans.
However, after watching "Live 8" events on TV in London, Berlin and Philly, I felt a change of heart. People coming out in numbers and thinking about Africa, performing for Africa, sweating for Africa, driving miles from the comfort of their homes for Africa. Although some of us Africans who love Africa very much are saddened by the way Africa is represented in Western audiences, today a part of me feels grateful and sad as well. I wrote to friends in Madagascar, in Senegal, in Uganda and in Nigeria, wondering how many cities in Africa have held similiar events? How many, really, how many places in Africa will you go and there is a band or fundraising event for the war in Northern Uganda or Darfur or Congo or Cote D'Ivoire? Yet if P Diddy or U2 or Snoop or 50 Cents were to come to perform in Africa for commercial purposes, many of us would save our salaries to watch their shows, and give our month(s) payment back to the rich when we cannot even raise money for our fellow Africans. Why don't African artists do this in their own countries? Or do we need an Africa International TV to show us that we are raising money for the continent?
One may say we have a lot of problems in our own countries but my goodness how many Ugandans even raise money for the people living in displaced camps in Northern Uganda? Besides those with relatives in these camps, usually it takes the likes of Save the Children to set up bases in Northern Uganda, so that our own media can report the humanitarian assistance. Then we complain that Bono or Paul McCartney are stealing the show....uhm! As Bob Geldof said today, "Don't let them tell you this doesn't work". Because twenty years ago, that girl on the TV screen had only two minutes to live. But this year, she finished her exam and degree in Agriculture in Northern Ethiopia. So, I thought to myself, even though these people's mercy is driven by an annoying culture of pity, I am watching Madonna, Snoop, Destiny's Child, Bono, Paul McCartney, sweating for Africa and raising their voice for Africa's poverty to the G8. And this made me rethink a part of my heart and pessimism about White people and the West. And I felt grateful and a little more certain that this money being raised now has a higher chance of making it to Africa unlike that money Western governments claim to allocate to Africa each year or the so-called humanitarian agencies but ends up paying their own staff and machinery.
Open letter on Live 8, G8 and African development
Bob Geldof has done an unusual service of getting the key western countries to focus public attention on Africa at the G8 summit. This poses a difficulty for those who see the harm that this kind of focus does to the continent. It conceals the root cause of many of the problems of the continent and perpetuates a view of a continent that is unable to solve its problems. The problems are easy enough to state: complicity between the West and the corrupt leaders who have consistently pillaged the continent; reinforcement of the dependency culture that aid plus neo-liberal economic reform will redeem the continent from poverty, thus maintaining the pauperisation of Africans; suppressing radical people-centred alternative economic opinions opposed to the World Bank / IMF economic orthodoxy; and the subversion of the social and economic development in the interest of repayment of odious debt.
While we accept that good governance is self-evidently desirable, it is also true that the West has been and is still complicit in the corruption that they now disavow. In instances where Africans have democratically elected promising leaders, Western governments have undermined or conspired in their political elimination and replaced them with puppet regimes. The Democratic Republic of Congo is a classic example of this phenomenon. In spite of being duly elected and the preferred choice of his people, the West conspired to eliminate Patrice Lumumba and replaced him with Mobutu Sese Seko. It is therefore impossible to understand the economic and political circumstances in the Congo today without a knowledge of this history. We pose the question: how can it be that the country with the most natural resources in Africa is still amongst the poorest and least developed? Other examples could be cited to show that Africa’s real interests were stymied by the West’s activities in Africa.
We believe that Africa needs neither conditional aid, charity nor pity. Western governments should be held to account for the exploitation of the continent and to make reparations for the pillage that they have inflicted.
Patricia Daley, Fellow, Jesus College Oxford
Firoze Manji, Editor Pambazuka News
Paul Okojie, Senior Lecturer in Law, Manchester Metropolitan University and a member of the International Governing Council of the Centre for Democracy and Development
Peter da Costa, PhD Candidate, SOAS, London
Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, General_Secretary, Global Pan African Movement
Susan Akono, writer
Abiodun Onadipe, Independent Consultant
Rotimi Sankore, Coordinator of CREDO for Freedom of Expression and Associated Rights
An edited version of this letter first appeared in the Guardian July 4 2005
Say no to debt - but where did all the money go?
Mwombaji (no further details supplied)
Yes I definitely want to say no to debt, but one thing bothers me, where did all the money go? Who benefited from the whopping sum given to African leaders?
Take Tanzania for instance, things are at a complete standstill including the people. Where did the money go? Why has no one done anything to stamp out corruption? Bribery is the only language people know. The poor have to fork out what they don't have, to give the haves in order to have things done no matter how little the service may be, including giving of a bedpan to a loved one in a hospital bed.
How long are these tin gods going to be propped up and to whose benefit? Tanzania is nothing but a rubbish dump. The city of Dar ES Salaam is nothing but an unsightly rubbish heap with pot holes even around the diplomatic offices and homes.
It is time the CCM allowed fair elections and see what happens. It is time the CCM stopped being dictatorial. It is time the CCM stopped lying to the world saying they are democratic. It is time the people were given the opportunity to make up their own minds and if they wanted to try a new leader they should be allowed to choose.
It is time we stamped out corruption in Africa. If after 40+ years the CCM has not done anything but run the country to the ground it is not likely to make any changes now, otherwise, they would have done it long ago. All it means is that they have perfected the art of concealment and will continue to do so unless the eyes of the world focus on them. The masses now say, enough is enough. It is time we were all given a fair opportunity to voice our opinion.
So we call upon the world to support change. We call on the Western powers to oversee the coming elections in Tanzania. We call on the rest of Africa to stand up for once and start bringing change for the benefit of all Africans from all walks of life.
Africa/Global: Are donors really implementing their commitments to promote gender equality?
This report argues that the ten-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) must be linked to the review process of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as it provides a major input into that process. The report specifically makes the link with MDG 8 – advocating a global partnership to eradicate poverty - and highlights the need to bring the well-established connection between poverty eradication and gender equality to the centre of that partnership.
Africa/Global: Women take brunt of human rights abuse
Women and girls faced “horrific” levels of abuse in 2004 worldwide, Amnesty International (AI) has said in its annual human rights review, blaming widespread rape and violence on a mix of “indifference, apathy and impunity”. From honor killings carried out by the victims’ families to sexual violence used as a weapon of war, abuse frequently went unpunished and survivors were often abandoned by their own communities, the London-based rights group said. Amnesty indicated that it had sought in the past year to argue that violence against women in conflict situations was “an extreme manifestation of the discrimination and abuse they face in peacetime”, notably domestic violence and sexual abuse.
DRC: Sexual violence in the Congo
International Alert has published a new report on sexual violence against women and girls entitled "Women's Bodies as a Battleground: Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls During the War in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Kivu (1996-2003)". This report, based on interviews with 492 women and 50 soldiers in Eastern DRC, is the result of research carried out by two Congolese women's organisations, Réseau des Femmes pour un Développement Associatif (RFDA), Réseau des Femmes pour la Défense des Droits et la Paix (RFDP), and the UK-based peacebuilding organisation, International Alert.
Nigeria: Trafficking in women from Nigeria to Europe
The Western European prostitution market has become increasingly globalized during the past 15 years. The processes by which Eastern European, Southeast Asian, Latin American, and Sub-Saharan African women end up as sex workers in Western Europe are highly varied. The largest group of prostitutes from Sub-Saharan Africa comes from Nigeria, and they are usually recruited through a specific type of trafficking network. The term "trafficking in persons" is restricted to instances where people are deceived, threatened, or coerced into situations of exploitation, including prostitution. This contrasts with "human smuggling," in which a migrant purchases services to circumvent immigration restrictions, but is not necessarily a victim of deception or exploitation.
South Africa: How gender is being factored into the South African budget, 2005
This paper examines gender equity within the 2005 South African budget. The authors highlight that women and girls are often most vulnerable to conditions like HIV/AIDS and poverty, but that programmes to address these conditions will fail without a significant earmarking of funds. Ensuring that there is adequate funding for men's and women's programming does not mean having separate male and female budgets, but rather giving critical consideration to the imbalances that exist in society and respond effectively to addressing these. The authors claim that the South African budget in 2005 gives some consideration to tackling gender inequities, but these interventions tend to be gender-blind.
Botswana: Public flogging causes outrage
Two weeks ago Tebogo Malete was publicly flogged at a traditional court in Old Naledi, a village southeast of the Botswana's capital, Gaborone; a photograph of his punishment was published in the weekly newspaper, The Midweek Sun. Malete, 27, a petty thief, had been sentenced to five lashes for housebreaking at the customary court presided over by the village headman. The humiliating newspaper photo showed him with his pants down and a police officer using a lash on his bare buttocks, sparking outrage in human rights circles.
Congo: Lead NGO pulls out of the human rights commission
The main human rights NGO in the Republic of Congo, the Congolese Human Rights Observatory (OCDH), pulled out of the state-sponsored National Commission of Human Rights last Thursday to protest what it says is the commission’s inaction on known abuses and lack of government independence. "The government does not consider the commission to be a constitutional institution with administrative and financial autonomy," Roger Bouka-Owoko, the OCDH executive director, said during a news conference to announce the NGO’s decision.
Egypt: New reports criticises restrictive NGO law
The international NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR) launched two separate reports on Monday, both criticising an Egyptian law that excessively regulates civil society and the activity of NGOs. "Freedom of association is a core political right. One cannot talk about democracy without being able to have an environment that allows people to come together in a free and unrestricted way," Joe Stork, Deputy Director of HRW's Middle East Division, said at a press conference in Cairo.
Liberia: Civil society groups urge AU to act on Charles Taylor
African and international civil society groups have launched a campaign urging the African Union (AU) Assembly to demonstrate its human rights commitment when it meets in Libya by ensuring that Charles Taylor faces justice for the crimes that he committed against African men, women and children. “It is now time for the African Union to join ranks with other key nations and international bodies in calling for Charles Taylor to face trial for these serious crimes,” said Kolawole Olaniyan, Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.
South Africa: Jubilee South Africa to oppose Absa/Barclays Deal in Court
On the 5th of July 2005, in the Johannesburg High Court, Professor Dennis Brutus and Jubilee will make ex-parte applications to the High Court, stating their opposition to the takeover of Absa by Barclays. The anti-apartheid activist and poet Professor Dennis Brutus will approach the Court, advising it that Barclays Bank aiding and abetted the Apartheid Regime and has been misleading in information provided to the JSE and SRP, including the glaring omission that Barclays is the lead defendant in ongoing litigation in the USA.
Press Release: Prof. Dennis Brutus and Jubilee South Africa to oppose the
Absa/Barclays Deal in Court
Jubilee South Africa
30th of June 2005
On the 5th of July 2005, at 10:00h in the Johannesburg High Court, Professor
Dennis Brutus and Jubilee will make ex-parte applications to the High Court,
stating their opposition to the takeover of Absa by Barclays.
The anti-apartheid activist and poet Professor Dennis Brutus will approach
the Court on Tuesday (05/07/05), advising it that Barclays Bank aiding and
abetted the Apartheid Regime and has been misleading in information provided
to the JSE and SRP, including the glaring obmission that Barclays is the
lead defendant in ongoing litigation in the USA. Further, Professor Brutus
will argue that Barclays Bank has no record of respecting the basic
principles of human rights in South Africa, and that it is unlikely that
Barclays Bank will start to respect human rights after purchasing Absa.
For information about Professor Dennis Brutus, please see the biography at
the end of this release.
While Jubilee South Africa will also bring Barclays Bank's Apartheid past,
it will focus on presenting the views of the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission on business and business's culpability. For example, the
application to the High Court reads, in part:
"The TRC also considered that the in principle a private corporation might
be held liable to victims of apartheid as a matter of civil law
independently of the TRC process. This the TRC explained by stating that a
reparations claim against corporations like Anglo American would be based on
the extent to which decades of profits were based on systemic violations of
human rights. In legal terms, the TRC explained, this could be based on the
principle of unjust enrichment. It held that unjust enrichment is a source
of legal obligation.
"In the light hereof [Jubilee South Africa] believe[s] that Barclays Bank
could similarly be held liable under the civil law of this country for
aiding and abetting the South African government for the human rights abuses
it committed against the people of South Africa."
After the Court has heard and decided upon these applications, Jubilee South
Africa and Professor Dennis Brutus will hold a press conference at 14:00h on
the 5th of July 2005, to which all members of the press are welcome. The
conference will held at Jubilee South Africa's office (see address below).
In addition to the greed of Absa and Barclays, questions concerning the G8
meeting and debt relief will also be welcomed and addressed.
Jubilee South Africa
185 Smit Street
12th Floor East Wing
In addition to the Court applications and the press conference, Jubilee
South Africa has planned to hold a demonstration outside of the Johannesburg
High Court on the 5th of July from 10:00h to 11:00h.
For additional information, contact:
Apartheid Debt and Reparations Campaign Coordinator
Tel: +27 11 403-7624/22
Cell: +27 84 250-2434
Biography of DENNIS BRUTUS
Brutus turned 80 last November, but has not paused even momentarily. Early
2005 saw him moving between activist events in Pittsburgh (where he is
professor emeritus), Johannesburg (where he addressed an anti-war rally in
solidarity with Iraqis and Palestinians under occupation)), Boulder, Malta,
Bandung and San Francisco. With Jubilee South Africa, he recently initiated
the launch of a campaign against Barclays Bank, demanding reparations for
vast apartheid profits.
One of the first South African poets to be widely read in Europe and the
U.S., Brutus' work found early critical acclaim. His first book, Letters to
Martha, was published while he was imprisoned for defying a 'banning' order
by the apartheid government following his campaign to isolate white South
Africa's sports teams.
After being shot in the back by Johannesburg police during an escape attempt
and breaking rocks for 18 months at the notorious Robben Island prison
alongside Nelson Mandela, Brutus was exiled, and resumed simultaneous
careers as a poet and anti-apartheid campaigner. He was instrumental in
achieving the apartheid regime's expulsion from the Olympics, won numerous
awards for poetry, and helped organize key African writers' organizations
with Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe.
Upon moving to the U.S., Brutus served in several academic positions,
including at Northwestern University and the University of Pittsburgh,
defeating efforts by the Reagan Administration to deport him. Following the
transition to democracy in South Africa, Brutus remained active with
grassroots social movements in his home country and internationally.
In the late 1990s, he became a pivotal figure in the global justice movement
and a featured speaker each year at the World Social Forum. In the
anti-racism, reparations and economic justice movements, he continues to
serve as a leading strategist, working closely with the Center for Economic
Justice, 50 Years is Enough!, and the Jubilee anti-debt movement. In South
Africa, he is a key figure in the Social Movements Indaba, the coalition of
progressive activists who marched more than 25,000 people against the World
Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002. He also works closely with South
Africa's Palestine Solidarity Committee and the Anti-War Coalition.
Brutus's latest book is Leafdrift (Whirlwind Press, Camden, 2005).
Sudan: ICC Prosecutor Briefs Security Council
The United Nations Security Council should strongly declare its full support for the International Criminal Court's investigation into the serious crimes committed in Darfur, Human Rights Watch said before the first-ever briefing of the Council by an ICC prosecutor. When the Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC on March 31, it invited the court's prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, to report on the progress of his investigation within three months. The International Criminal Court lacks the ability to execute its own requests. Instead, the court must rely on state cooperation to further its investigations. The Security Council should encourage and facilitate this cooperation, which is crucial to the effective pursuit of justice, Human Rights Watch said.
Chad: Refugee operations rush to beat rainy season
With rainy season floods just days away, UNHCR is scrambling to relocate some 10,000 refugees from the troubled Central African Republic (CAR) who recently arrived in several villages in remote southern Chad. The refugees, many of whom fled fighting in the CAR in early June with nothing but the clothes on their backs, are currently scattered among 17 villages near the Chadian town of Gore.
DRC: Once displaced by war, hundreds return to Kisangani
Around 890 people displaced from their homes almost seven years ago in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) arrived in Kisangani, capital of Orientale Province, on Sunday after 43 gruelling days on a boat on the Congo River that came from Equateur Province. "We are now in the process of finding the means to take them to [the villages] they came from as soon as possible," Hubert Molisho Nendolo, Kisangani’s deputy governor, said.
Sudan: One million IDPs planning to return south, says report
One-third of all internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sudan plan to return to the south within six months, posing considerable humanitarian challenges to aid organisations, an interagency survey found. Sudan has experienced the worst population displacement in the world, mainly due to prolonged conflict since 1983. Although it is difficult to determine the exact number of IDPs, the figure is commonly rounded to four million, the survey report noted.
Togo: Thousands internally displaced
Togo’s slide into political chaos following the disputed presidential elections in April 2005 has forced several thousand people to flee their homes, killed scores and wounded many more. While some 34,000 people have fled to neighbouring Benin and Ghana, UN agencies working with international and local NGO partners estimate that 12,000 people have been displaced within Togo's borders, especially in the Plateaux and Central regions.
Africa: Africa’s garden of democracy
"The African paradox can be simply stated. Africa is widely perceived throughout most of the world as the continent of perpetual socio-political upheavals and tragic military confrontations; yet its people’s commitment to democracy, far from undergoing any erosion, is, at grassroots level in particular, more and more vibrant." Click on the URL provided and read the rest of this article by Congolese writer Kabasubabu Katulondi.
Burundi: Ex-Hutu rebels lead Burundi poll
Officials in Burundi are counting votes following Monday's key parliamentary election, with a former Hutu rebel group looking set to win comfortably. Early results put the FDD well ahead of its main Hutu rival, the Frodebu party of President Domitien Ndayizeye. The polling was largely peaceful and the turnout was 65%.
Egypt: Judges allege vote fraud
Judges in Egypt say May's referendum on constitutional reform was marred by widespread fraud. The referendum on whether to allow rival candidates to contest the presidency in September was approved by more than 80% of voters. The judges said turnout in the booths they oversaw was very low but in government-supervised booths it was recorded at 100% in some cases.
Guinea: Opposition leader returns as food tensions mount
Alpha Conde, the main political rival of ailing Guinean President Lansana Conte, returned to Conakry this weekend after two years abroad, and received a rapturous welcome from thousands of people, angry about rising food prices and poor living conditions in the West African nation.
Libya: Annan announces creation of 'Democracy Fund'
Addressing leaders of the African continent meeting in Libya, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced the launch of a new initiative to financially support States undergoing the democratization process. Mr. Annan told the African Union (AU) Summit in Sirte that the new UN Democracy Fund will provide assistance to countries seeking to establish or strengthen their democracy. "A number of Member States have already indicated their intention to contribute," he said, voicing hope that others would follow their example.
South Africa: Support for fired deputy president forces presidential retreat
Unexpected and overwhelming support for sacked former deputy president Jacob Zuma has given President Thabo Mbeki and the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC) some pause for thought. Mbeki's attempt to have the ANC's national general council endorse his "handling" of Zuma - which means approve Zuma's dismissal - backfired, leading to the president having to give concessions he would rather have done without.
Africa: More Aid Sought for African People
A leading campaign group has called for a substantial part of increased aid to Africa to be channelled directly to people, rather than governments. While G8 leaders talk of doubling aid to Africa, "we say that at least half of the doubling should be for more local initiatives," director of the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development, Camilla Toulmin, told IPS.
Ethiopia: Meles tops list of millionaire officials
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and 14 of his top officials have stashed away at least $238 million dollars out of which Meles, the mayor of Addis and a top confident of the premier have a combined deposit of $100 million in overseas banks, a radio reported on Wednesday. The radio said it has the evidence which verifies the loot of the Ethiopian treasury by the top-notch of the regime which is trying to contain public protests through killings, detentions and prolonging a state of emergency.
South Africa: ANC's zero tolerance
The African National Congress will adopt a "zero tolerance" approach to corruption - no matter who it involves. This was the commitment made by ANC chief whip Mbulelo Goniwe when he announced that the five serving ANC members of parliament who pleaded guilty to fraud with parliamentary travel vouchers have resigned from parliament.
Zambia: Graft campaign threatens Zambia's Mwanawasa
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has made his anti-corruption campaign the hallmark of his administration, hoping to persuade voters to give him a second term in next year's elections. Now it may well secure his ousting. The campaign has won Mwanawasa powerful enemies within the circle of former President Frederick Chiluba, the man the anti-graft efforts have largely targeted, while some senior figures in his own administration are unsure of whether they may be next in line for investigation.
Africa/Global: The Origins of the G8
G8 is the term used to refer to the group of eight of the world’s richest and most powerful countries, namely the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and Canada. It’s formation was solidified in 1976 as a response to a global economic crisis represented by a rise in oil prices, inflation and unemployment. The coming together of the G8 was an attempt by leaders of these nations to stabilize the world economy and guarantee the ability of capital to continue to function effectively. Click on the link below for more details on the G8 and links to recent critical articles on the G8 summit.
The Origins of the G8
G8 is the term used to refer to the group of eight of the world’s richest and most powerful countries, namely the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and Canada. It’s formation was solidified in 1976 as a response to a global economic crisis represented by a rise in oil prices, inflation and unemployment. The coming together of the G8 was an attempt by leaders of these nations to stabilize the world economy and guarantee the ability of capital to continue to function effectively.
The G8 has long been a focus for pressure from groupings demanding a fairer global deal for the world’s marginalized, but critics contend that efforts by the G8 to deal with this pressure have been inadequate and characterized by a sequence of broken promises.
Central to criticisms of the G8 is that it has a single-minded focus on free trade as the answer to the world’s development problems. Opponents of the G8 see this as the reason why billions continue to be mired in poverty. While G8 leaders have become good at demonstrating an apparent heart felt empathy for the world’s poor, ample evidence is available to demonstrate that these rich countries operate foremost in their own interest rather than take decisions that would result in a better world. For example, recent reports released ahead of this year’s summit indicate the a large amount of aid intended for Africa is actually spent on consultants, while the UK is still involved in shipping arms to conflict hotspots. (The above three paragraphs were compiled from information available from https://www4.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/06/314377.html; http://www.redpepper.org.uk/ and http://www.pambazuka.org)
Around the web: Critical commentaries on the G8 summit
* What is the G8?
So far, not a single country has kept its word to increase spending on international development to just 0.7 per cent of national income, says this article from www.redpepper.org.uk/ In Gleneagles this year, the G8 elite party will cost a staggering £150 million.
* The Commission for Africa and corporate involvement
Ahead of the G8 summit, Corporate Watch exposes how major multinational companies have had an influence on shaping the response of G8 leaders to the world poverty crisis. “Corporate integration into the shaping of international policy has become obvious, seamless, normal,” says the article.
* Selling Africa short
British finance minister Gordon Brown said in February that the G8 meeting (G7 plus Russia) in Scotland on 6-8 July will be known as the "100% debt relief summit". Alex Wilks of the European Network on Debt and Development explains why the rhetoric is disturbing.
* The G8 Summit: A Fraud And A Circus
John Pilger argues that Tony Blair’s "vision for Africa" is as patronising and exploitative as a stage full of white pop stars, and that in reality Blair could not give “two flying faeces for the people of Africa”.
* The economics of failure: The real cost of ‘free’ trade for poor countries
A Christian Aid briefing document argues that trade liberalization has cost sub-Saharan Africa US$272 billion over the past 20 years. "Had they not been forced to liberalise as the price of aid, loans and debt relief, sub- Saharan African countries would have had enough extra income to wipe out their debts and have sufficient left over to pay for every child to be vaccinated and go to school."
Neither the G8, nor Live 8
The Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt issued a statement slamming the Live 8 concerts for missing the fundamental point that any initiative aiming to fight poverty without involving the poor is doomed to failure.
‘Africa needs justice not charity’
Green Left Weekly states that for Africa to escape the nightmare in which it has been plunged by centuries of slavery, colonialism and imperialist exploitation a new, just and equal system of international economic relations will be required.
Africa’s new best friends
The history of corporate involvement in Africa is one of forced labour, evictions, murder, wars, the under-costing of resources, tax evasion and collusion with dictators, writes George Monbiot, who asks how corporations can be put in charge of solving poverty.
Africa: African leaders seek end to debt
Delegates at the African Union summit in Libya are preparing a final declaration expected to appeal for the continent's debts to be wiped out. Members are also likely to call for fairer terms of trade with the West, while stressing their desire for better governance and transparency. The meeting ends a day before the G8 summit of the world's richest nations.
Africa: Debating the aid business
"Behind the politicians and pop stars on display at the Gleneagles summit of the Group of Eight (G8) on 6-8 July, look out for another contingent of professionals: non-government organisations (NGOs). The aid agencies will be there in strength, promoting their solutions for Africa’s ills, rallying their troops and rattling collection-boxes." But this article on www.opendemocracy.net argues that Western NGOs’ desire to help Africans has led them into unhealthy relationships with host countries, donor governments, and media.
Africa: Subordinating Development to Free Trade
The impact of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on the world's poor has been overwhelmingly negative, states this paper. "Despite its anti-development agenda, the WTO as an institution continues to garner a certain (though grudging) amount of buy-in from the developing country governments. This seems to stem from the belief that some rules, no matter how skewed, are better than the law of the jungle.”
Angola: Diamond areas short-changed by development, says report
Angola is likely to produce diamonds worth nearly US $900 million this year, but little of that money will be spent on development in the diamond producing areas, according to a new report. The report by Partnership Africa Canada noted that "three years of peace is enough time for an oil-rich, diamond-rich government to have made wider social investments in the diamond areas and to have produced development policies that are more supportive of Angola's artisanal miners".
Nigeria: Nigeria to get $18bn debt relief
The Paris Club of creditor countries has agreed the outline of a debt relief package for Nigeria. About $18bn (£10bn) of debt will be written off and Nigeria plans to buy back a chunk of outstanding loans. The country owes the rest of the world $35bn, and the new talks are linked to an agreement between Nigeria and the IMF on debt repayments.
Africa/Global: 3 by 5 becomes 1 by 5
The 29 June announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) that the much-heralded '3by5' initiative is "unlikely" to be achieved by the end of 2005, places even greater urgency on the need to scale up access to other care options that keep people with HIV alive while they wait for antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, says a press release from Aids Care Watch. The two UN agencies, who share responsibility for tackling the global pandemic, highlight progress during the past 18 months towards greater ARV access, and report that one million people with HIV/AIDS (PWHA) in poorer nations are now taking life-saving ARV drugs. They had hoped 3 million people would have access to the medicines by the end of 2005, but that now looks out of reach.
Africa: G8 should focus on HIV, women's empowerment
When the leaders of the world's largest industrial nations meet in Scotland, they will debate how to address the HIV/Aids crisis and whether to significantly increase assistance to Africa. But for the summit to have a real impact on the Aids pandemic, the G8 will have to do more than increase funding; they will have to address the economic and social realities that make women and girls a special, high-risk group. Evidence from Africa shows the importance and cost-effectiveness of this strategy.
Africa: Health Resources Shortfall
A recent edition of the Africa Focus Bulletin examines the problem of health resources for Africa. Despite their commitment early this month to write off debts to multilateral institutions by 18 developing countries (see http://www.africafocus.org/docs05/debt0506.php), says the Bulletin, rich countries have barely made a start in meeting the demands to address Africa's needs. "While debate tends to focus under the standard themes of debt, aid, and trade, activists in the health field are taking the lead to stress that the framework needs to be changed to a common obligation to invest in universal rights rather than a narrow conception of charitable "aid" from donors to recipients."
Africa: Health Resources Shortfall
Jun 24, 2005 (050624)
(Reposted from sources cited below)
"When the G8 industrialized nations gather in Scotland next month,
they should commit to subsidizing the salaries of African health
workers to keep them from leaving their home countries in search of
higher pay and better conditions in wealthier countries. ... All
the well-intentioned efforts [to address AIDS and other health
needs] are limited by the lack of personnel on the ground for both
prevention and treatment programs." - Boston Globe, June 24, 2004
Despite their commitment early this month to write off debts to
multilateral institutions by 18 developing countries (see
http://www.africafocus.org/docs05/debt0506.php), rich countries
have barely made a start in meeting the demands to address Africa's
needs. While debate tends to focus under the standard themes of
debt, aid, and trade, activists in the health field are taking the
lead to stress that the framework needs to be changed to a common
obligation to invest in universal rights rather than a narrow
conception of charitable "aid" from donors to recipients. It is in
this context that both NGOs and multilateral organizations are
seeking common estimates for defining the resources needed.
This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from a press release
from Physicians from Human Rights and a statement by health workers
calling on the G8 to commit the funds necessary to double the
number of health workers in Africa. It also contains the latest
estimate from UNAIDS of the need and shortfall in funding for AIDS.
This places the total unfunded gap for 2006-2008 as at least $18
billion, of the $55 billion estimated at needed for that three-year
For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on health issues, including
additional documents and links, visit
++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++
Africa Cannot Stop Poverty Without More Health Workers
PHR Releases New Figures: G8 Must Commit $2B in 2006 to Double
Doctors, Nurses and Other Health Workers in Africa
Physicians for Human Rights
June 21, 2005
[excerpt from press release]
Kate Krauss [email protected] Tel 617 301-4240 Fax 617-301-4250
Barbara Ayotte 617-301 4210 617-549-0152 cell [email protected]
Available for comment:
Hetherwick Ntaba, OBE Minister of Health, Malawi
Eric A. Friedman, J.D. HIV/AIDS Policy Analyst, Physicians for
Citing a devastating shortage of health care workers in
AIDS-burdened countries, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today
released new cost estimates that would double the number of health
workers in sub-Saharan Africa in order to confront the AIDS
pandemic and reduce maternal and child mortality over the next five
years. PHR is calling for a global investment of US $2 billion in
2006, rising to $7.7 billion in 2010 by all donors, and has
calculated the U.S. share as being one-third of the sum needed, or
$650 million for 2006, rising to $2.5 billion in 2010. ...
Commented Hetherwick Ntaba, OBE, the Health Minister of the African
nation of Malawi and a surgeon: "Some countries' health delivery
systems are in danger of collapsing because of this human resource
crisis. The AIDS pandemic itself impacts negatively on our ability
to deal with AIDS because of the toll it takes on our work force.
In the middle of all this, the migration of health workers from
poor to the rich countries is very unfortunate. It is like the
biblical saying, 'For those who have more, more is being given; for
those with less, even that is being taken away.' We ask the G8 to
really look at this issue very seriously and offer their support."
Right now in Africa, a mere 1.3% of the world's health workers
struggle to care for people suffering 25% of the global disease
burden. In Malawi, only 10% of the physician slots are filled,
while 10 people die every hour of AIDS. Across Africa AIDS has
killed thousands of health care workers, and large numbers of
doctors and nurses are migrating to the West, driven out by
impoverished health care systems and lured by elaborate recruiting
packages by hospitals in G8 countries. For example, while 1200
physicians were trained in Zimbabwe during the 1990s, by 2001 only
360 remained. More than 3,000 nurses from African nations migrated
to the United Kingdom in 2002-2003.
The March 11, 2005 report of the UK Commission for Africa,
commissioned by Prime Minister Tony Blair, called for a tripling of
the healthcare workforce in Africa:
Training and retaining doctors, nurses and other health service
personnel has been neglected. ...Africa's health workforce should
be tripled through the training of an additional one million
workers over a decade. Salaries should be increased to ensure staff
are not wooed from their jobs. ,,,
Modeling on a continent-wide scale suggests that $7.7 billion
annually by 2010 could support a doubling of the health workforce.
A discussion of the methodology used to calculate these figures is
[available on the PHR website]. ...
The G-8 Must Commit to Addressing the Global Health Worker Crisis
Statement for Group of 8 Meeting in July 2005
Physicians for Human Rights
We are nurses and doctors, pharmacists and laboratory technicians,
medical assistants and community health workers. We are
non-governmental organizations. We are [members of] government[s].
We are people with HIV/AIDS. Some of us sit in government
ministries, some of us work in rural health facilities, and some of
us work wherever it is we find people in need. We share in common
a deep concern for the health and well-being of the members of our
communities and citizens of our own and other countries. Yet
despite our best efforts, health systems in many developing
countries are in crisis, and millions of people whose lives we
could save and whose health we could preserve are dying and
becoming seriously ill.
Health workers are at the core of these health systems. Health
systems collapse where there are too few health workers, or health
workers without proper training, supervision, and management and
support structures, or health workers who are separated from their
community structures and needs, or health workers who are
themselves ill and dying and working in unsafe conditions. Yet this
is the situation many of our countries face. Annual health budgets
that are often $10 or less per capita, the exodus of health
professionals, failure to prioritize human resources, and the
HIV/AIDS pandemic, both through the disease burden it creates and
its impact on health workers themselves, have combined to create a
crisis. Until we surmount this crisis in human resources for health
and health systems, preventable death and suffering on a massive
scale will continue.
Overcoming this crisis will require the joint efforts of your
countries and ours. We will take the lead, but require cooperation
and support in what must be a global response to a problem of
global proportions. Together, we must develop and implement
sustainable and greatly expanded responses that address underlying
causes to the health worker crisis, that improve health systems,
and that dramatically improve access to quality health services for
people in underserved areas.
Everyone has the right to the highest attainable standard of
health. Fulfilling this right requires addressing the crisis in
human resources for health and in health systems. The efforts of
our countries alone will not be enough to resolve this crisis and
secure for every person the dignity she deserves. We therefore urge
your governments to meet your obligations under the UN Charter and
other human rights law to join us in taking the actions required to
resolve this crisis.
To enable our countries to have the health workforces we require to
meet our people's health needs and achieve the Millennium
Development Goals, we urge the members of the G8 to make the
1. Strengthening national health systems
1.1 We urge you to support African and other developing countries
that are experiencing crises in human resources for health by
providing the necessary financial and technical support to enable
our countries to develop and fully implement national strategies on
human resources for health as a central part of any overall plan to
improve service delivery and strengthen national health systems so
as to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
1.2 We urge you to ensure that through your efforts and those of
others, the resources required to fully fund these strategies are
1.3 We urge you to coordinate your investments and those of other
donors and organizations with those of regional communities and
developing country governments, and to use local technical
resources where possible.
1.4 Strategy development should be led by national authorities with
broad stakeholder participation that engages civil society and
responds to local needs.
1.5 Assistance in the development of strategies should not delay
the provision of urgently needed financial assistance and other
2. Supporting and enlarging health worker capacity
2.1 We urge you to support, with financial and technical
assistance, national efforts to create conditions that facilitate
health worker retention and deployment to underserved areas,
including adequate compensation; improved health worker management,
planning, and information systems; incentives; continuous learning
opportunities; and; safe working environments for health workers
through universal precautions and other forms of infection
prevention and control, universal access to post-exposure
prophylaxis, and workplace HIV treatment and prevention programs.
2.2 We urge you to support models of education and care that
respond to national circumstances and priorities, providing quality
health care to the maximum number of people and expanding health
services in underserved areas. The models of care will often
include the development of high quality mid-level and community
health worker cadres, effective competency-based training
strategies, and policies, training, supervision, and adequate
compensation to enable nurses to engage in advanced nursing
practices. We urge you to further support the development of career
pathways for mid-level and community health worker cadres,
permitting competence- and skills-based movement up the hierarchy
of the health system.
2.3 Community members, including people living with HIV/AIDS, have
a vital role in supplementing the care provided by health
professionals. We urge you to support local, regional, and national
efforts to empower community health workers and caregivers,
including by enabling them to have the compensation, training,
accreditation, supervision, and support structure required to
maximize their effectiveness. We urge you to support local efforts
to increase community awareness and capacity to participate in a
comprehensive scale-up of prevention, care, and treatment
programming through activities such as treatment preparedness,
treatment literacy, and treatment adherence support.
2.4 We urge you to support expanded capacity of health professional
training institutions including through incentives and other
support for faculty, expanded physical space, and creation of new
training institutions as needed, and to support these institutions
in reviewing curricula to assure that the skills are relevant to
required public health needs and competencies.
2.5 We consider it a tragic irony that many of the same countries
facing enormous human resources deficits have in our midst large
numbers of unemployed health care workers.
We urge you to take all necessary steps, working with our
governments and other parties, including international financial
institutions, to enable their rapid re-engagement.
3. Overcoming macroeconomic challenges
3.1 We urge you to seek agreement with the International Monetary
Fund and other international financial institutions, finance,
health, and other ministers, and central banks to increase fiscal
space for expanded funding from external and domestic sources,
including debt cancellation, for health and other forms of human
development. Civil society must have a voice in this process.
Macroeconomic challenges should not and need not impede the flow of
the required resources.
3.2 We urge you to ensure that new and existing developing country
agreements with the IMF and other international financial
institutions do not require or lead to freezes in health worker
recruitment, prevent payment of wage levels required to retain
health workers, or prevent the hiring of unemployed health workers.
Programs critical to public health should be exempt from budget and
wage ceilings contained in such agreements.
3.3 Long-term, sustainable economic growth requires investments to
reduce poverty and hunger, improve health and expand education at
all levels, empower women, and ensure environmental sustainability,
including through improving living conditions in rural and slum
areas and universal access to clean water and sanitation.
3.4 We urge you to commit to providing your assistance in a
long-term and predictable manner, including for both bilateral and
multilateral mechanisms, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,
Tuberculosis and Malaria.
4. Addressing health worker needs in high-income countries
4.1 We urge you to meet your country's own health care needs
without reducing the capacity of developing countries to meet our
4.2 We urge you to meet your obligations under World Health
Assembly Resolution 57/19, "International migration of health
personnel: a challenge for health systems in developing countries."
4.3 We urge you to evaluate the recruitment practices of public and
private health providers in your country, and implement strategies
that will protect the health human resource base of our countries.
The strategies may include ending active recruitment from certain
countries and working with developing country governments and
regional and international organizations to develop satisfactory
policies on recruitment, such as through managed migration with
mutual benefits to both source and destination countries.
4.4 We urge you to take the necessary measures to increase your
country's supply of domestically-trained health care workers.
5. Supporting international organizations
5.1 The technical capacity and normative role of the World Health
Organization gives it a special role in addressing the human
resources for health crisis. We urge you to provide WHO the
additional funding it requires to support expanded and accelerated
large-scale technical assistance in this area; to build its own
capacity at headquarters, regional, and country levels, including
through interdepartmental collaboration and nationally led teams,
and; to enhance national capacities to develop and implement
strategies to meet Millennium Development Goals, including
effective development and management of the health workforce. We
further urge you to ensure that WHO has the funds to develop and
sustain a human resources for health observatory in Africa. All
funding to expand WHO capacity should be in addition to the funding
WHO requires to support anti-retroviral therapy scale-up.
5.2 The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
supports health system strengthening, including human resources. We
urge you to ensure that the Global Fund is fully funded, including
so that it can renew all deserving proposals from previous rounds,
fully fund Round 5, and launch Round 6 in a timely manner. We
further urge you to make available technical support to help
applicants develop ambitious proposals in the area of AIDS,
including treatment, tuberculosis, malaria, and health system
5.3 We urge you to support regional health and development
organizations in their effort to address the human resources for
health crisis through regional and sub-regional interventions.
6. Ensuring soundness of donor programs
6.1 We urge you to ensure that your own funding mechanisms and
programs strengthen, and do not weaken through resource diversion
or other means, public health systems and their human resource
capacities. Bilateral programs should help build local capacity and
utilize and catalyze local capacity wherever possible.
US$ 22 Billion Needed in 2008 to Reverse Spread of AIDS
New report shows resource needs far higher than funding available
Geneva, 22 June 2005 - US$22 billion will be needed in 2008 to
reverse spread of AIDS in the developing world, according to latest
estimates. These figures feature in a new report on estimated
funding needs produced by the UNAIDS Secretariat, to be released to
the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board at the end of June.
Building on previous estimates, these figures have been developed
using the latest available information and with the invaluable
input from a newly established Resource Needs Steering Committee
and Technical Working Group which are made up of international
economists and AIDS experts from donor and developing countries,
civil society, United Nations agencies and other international
"We have come a long way in mobilizing extra funds for AIDS, moving
from millions to billions, but we still fall short of the US$22
billion needed in 2008," said Dr Peter Piot, UNAIDS Executive
Director. "AIDS poses an exceptional threat to humanity and the
response needs to be equally exceptional, recognizing the urgency
as well as the need for long term planning and financing."
The revised estimates indicate funding needs of approximately US$15
billion in 2006, US$ 18 billion in 2007 and US$ 22 billion in 2008
for prevention, treatment and care, support for orphans and
vulnerable children, as well as programme costs (such as management
of AIDS programmes and building of new hospitals and clinics) and
human resource costs (includes training and recruitment of new
doctors and nurses).
This is the first time that specific attention is given to resource
needs for longer term investments to improve country capacity in
the health and social sectors through training of existing staff,
recruiting and paying new staff and significant investments for
building the necessary infrastructure. These financial requirements
for the human resources and programme costs are preliminary, and
will be further refined and improved.
Meeting the 2006-2008 resource needs would result in the following
* Prevention - A comprehensive prevention response by 2010, as is
required to turn around the AIDS epidemic, based on the current
coverage of services and the most recent evidence on actual rates
of scaling up interventions.
* Treatment and care - 75% of people in need globally
(approximately 6.6 million people) will have access to
antiretroviral treatment by 2008, based on current coverage rates
and rates of growth as seen in 2004.
* Orphans and vulnerable children - Increase of support from low
levels of coverage to full coverage of all orphans in Sub-Saharan
Africa, given that AIDS is responsible for more than 2/3 of
children who have lost both parents, as well as AIDS orphans in
other low and middle-income countries.
* Human resources - Covering the costs of recruiting and training
additional doctors, nurses and community health workers in
low-income countries, and two middle-income countries (South Africa
and Botswana) and incentives to retain and attract people to the
health sector. Future analyses will calculate costs for other
health workers, including nurse practitioners, clinical officers
and laboratory technicians.
* Programme costs - The construction of over 1000 new health
centres (to be available by 2010), based on the investments made
during 2006-2008. An additional 19, 000 health centres and 800
hospitals would be renovated over the next three years to handle
the scaling-up of HIV treatment and care.
According to the latest UNAIDS projections, a total of US$8.3
billion is estimated to be available from all sources in 2005,
rising to US$ 8.9 billion and US$10 billion in 2006 and 2007
As the response to AIDS is scaled up, funding estimates must be
constantly revised and updated. UNAIDS will work with international
donors and affected countries to refine the costing estimates,
focusing particularly on strengthening health infrastructures.
AIDS Resource needs (US$ billion) 2006 2007 2008
Prevention 8,4 10,0 11,4
Treatment and care 3,0 4,0 5,3
OVC 1,6 2,1 2,7
Programme costs 1,5 1,4 1,8
Human resources 0,4 0,6 0,9
Total 14,9 18,1 22,1
NOTE TO EDITORS
 UNAIDS has been producing resource needs estimates since 2001.
Since that time there has been increased access to relevant data,
a continuous improvement in the methodologies and new thinking
about what comprises a comprehensive package of interventions to
turn back the epidemic. The latest estimates constitute the best
available assessment of global needs for AIDS ...
 It appears that there is a funding gap between resources
available and those needed of at least US $18 billion from 2005 to
2007. However, this is likely to be a significant underestimate.
For more information, please contact Dominique De Santis, UNAIDS,
tel. +41 22 791 4509, email. [email protected] or Beth
Magne-Watts, UNAIDS, tel. +41 22 791 5074, [email protected]
AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication
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Africa: MSF urges UN and G8 AIDS drug action
The international medical NGO, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), is urging G8 nations and the UN to push for speedy delivery of the cheapest and latest anti-AIDS drugs to developing countries. MSF stressed that this was vital to head off a looming supply and cost crisis, because "access to newer drugs is increasingly critical, as the growing number of people with HIV/AIDS currently on treatment will inevitably develop resistance to first-line treatments".
Botswana: Rising malnutrition accompanies increasing joblessness
Botswana's health authorities are battling climbing malnutrition rates among young children, despite sustained economic growth in recent years. A recent report by the National Early Warning Unit in the Ministry of Agriculture showed a dramatic decline since April this year in the nutritional status of children under five years in the northeastern districts of Kgalagadi North, and Mabutsane and Gantsi in the west.
Guinea-Bissau: Over 1,000 cholera cases recorded as epidemic spreads beyond capital
A cholera epidemic that broke out in the capital Bissau last month is spreading into the interior of the country, with more than 400 new cases reported nationwide over the past week, health officials said Friday. Since the beginning of the epidemic on 11 June, a total 1,027 cases have been registered, including 12 deaths, said Simao Mendes, director of Bissau’s General Hospital.
South Africa: HIV drugs and food not keeping up with demand
An estimated 200 000 South Africans living with HIV and AIDS are in urgent need of anti-AIDS drugs, but supply is not keeping up with demand. And, despite good nutrition being an essential pre-requisite for starting anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment, only a fraction of HIV and AIDS patients are receiving the supplements and food parcels. This is the finding of a monitoring report compiled by the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Aids Law Project, 18 months after the government approved the national HIV and AIDS treatment plan.
Zimbabwe: Doctors demand better pay as inflation bites
Doctors at two of Zimbabwe's largest referral hospitals have embarked on an indefinite strike, demanding a pay rise of more than 100 percent and a special allocation to cover escalating fuel costs caused by the ongoing petrol shortage. Junior and mid-level doctors at Harare's Parirenyatwa and Central hospitals vowed on Wednesday not to resume work until the government had met their demands.
Africa/Global: Does child labour always undermine education?
Children are often forced to work due to chronic poverty. Globally, work is the main occupation of almost 20 percent of all children aged under 15. This is considered a major obstacle to achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of universal primary education by 2015. Research from the University of Oxford in the UK suggests that child labour is often essential to household survival. Children who do household work release adults from domestic responsibilities to earn a wage; those employed outside the home contribute to family income.
Africa: Higher education as the bedrock of development
While there is no single solution to Africa's need to increase its capacity in science and technology, higher education is a central concern, reports the latest edition of the SciDev.net newsletter. "Though the number of universities has proliferated, teaching quality is often poor (with low salaries and 'brain drain' being contributing factors), and public spending on universities is often small. Equipment and support resources are also lacking. With a Millennium Development Goal focusing on universal primary education, in a few years there will be a crucial need for more and better universities to cater for a more educated population."
Africa: UNICEF Urges G-8 to Focus on Results for Children
The decisions which the G8 leaders take this week have the potential to reduce extreme poverty around the world and to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of children, UNICEF said. "By putting poverty and development at the center of their agenda, the G8 leaders have an unprecedented opportunity to help to realize the Millennium Development Goals. These vital goals focus on the needs of children to survive, to be educated and to be protected from the impact of HIV/AIDS. There can be no more important task," said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman.
Kenya: Kenya Needs 24 More Universities
Kenya requires 24 more public universities to meet United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation international standards. Prof Wanjala Kere, Unesco's lead education consultant in technical, vocational education and training, said the current number does not meet required international standards. "According to Unesco standards, there is need for one public university for every one million people and we only have six public universities for a population of approximately 30 million people," said Kere.
Africa/Global: "Greenwashing" does not make the world cleaner
The greenwashing that corporations are now doing as their bit to clean up the environment cannot hide the damage they are causing, Meena Raman, chair of Friends of the Earth International said Saturday. In fact, any attempt to contain climate change must tackle the big corporations first, she said. Host Britain has made climate change one of two priorities, along with the development of Africa, at the summit of heads of government of the eight leading industrialised nations (the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Russia) to be held in Gleneagles, Scotland, July 6-8.
Africa: Climate change 'threatens to evict African plants'
Climate change could drastically alter the distribution of thousands of plant species across Africa, say scientists. The researchers, led by Jon Lovett of the University of York in the United Kingdom, looked at 5,197 species of African plants — about 10-15 per cent of the continent's plant species. Using computer models that predict future climate, the researchers concluded that by 2085, the habitats in which nearly all of these plants can live would either shrink or shift, often to higher altitudes, as a result of anticipated changes in Africa's climate.
Africa: Up in Smoke?
Africa - Up in Smoke?, the second report from the coalition of the UK's top environment and development groups, the Working Group on Climate Change and Development says that efforts to alleviate poverty in Africa will ultimately fail unless urgent action is taken to halt dangerous climate change. The report says that G8 nations have failed to 'join-the-dots' between climate change and Africa. Unless addressed, this could condemn generations in the world’s poorest nations.
East Africa: UN Co-Organizes Campaign to Clean Up Pollution in Lake Victoria
The United Nations housing agency is co-sponsoring a major awareness campaign to clean up Lake Victoria as rapidly growing urbanization along its shores threaten the world's second largest body of fresh water with increasing pollution and environmental degradation from waste and industrial effluents. "The main objective of the project is to innovatively change attitudes and behaviour with regard to environmentally unsound activities that continue to harm Lake Victoria," UN-HABITAT said in a statement.
Kenya: Thousands left homeless in forest evictions
Ezekiel Lang'at vividly remembers the day in early June that a group of security guards and policemen stormed his home near Mau Forest in Narok District, southwestern Kenya. "This is not your farm - you have to leave," they ordered him before torching his houses. Lang'at is one of thousands of Kenyan families who have been left homeless following a government decision to evict them, without compensation, from farms allegedly carved out of the forest.
Angola: Journalist jailed
Journalist Celso Amaral, the former director for the government-controlled national radio in the northern province of Huila, was arrested on a charge of mismanagement and has been languishing in jail for the last month. The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Angola learnt of Amaral's arrest when it undertook an information trip of some of Angola's regions at the end of June.
IFEX Autolist (other news of interest)
From: Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), [email protected]
July 01, 2005
Journalist Celso Amaral, the former director for the government-controlled
national radio in the northern province of Huila, was arrested on a charge
of mismanagement and has been languishing in jail for the last month.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Angola learnt of Amaral's
arrest when it undertook an information trip of some of Angola's regions at
the end of June. MISA Angola was informed that Amaral, a veteran local
journalist, has been held at the provincial prison of Comarca since the end
of May after being arrested by group of people who identified themselves as
criminal police. The group stormed into the radio station in Huila's capital
city, Lubango, and presented a document indicating that there were charges
against Amaral relating to mismanagement of the station advertising
To date it is not clear who levelled the charges against Amaral as local
police, whilst confirming the detention, refuse to comment on the issue. The
journalist's attorney could not be reached for comment and MISA Angola
continues to investigate the circumstances leading to Amaral's arrest.
Further investigation indicates that the police invoked its powers to
perform preventive arrests which allow it, under Angolan law, to detain a
suspect for up to three months whilst it investigates an alleged crime.
Fifty two-year-old Amaral has been working for the provincial radio for over
two decades and is known as having the "most beautiful and powerful" voice
all over the province.
DRC: CPJ Condemns Harassment of Journalists Covering Opposition Protests
Security forces have harassed and detained several journalists covering opposition protests in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, according to local sources. A presidential spokesperson told the Committee to Protect Journalists that any journalists detained while doing their work would be released.
Ethiopia: Four journalists arrested
The Ethiopian Government arrested four journalists on 28 June. The arrested journalists were Befekadu Moreda, Editor in-Chief of Tomar news paper; Zelalem Gebre, Menilik news paper; Dawit Fassil, Asqual news paper; and Tamrat Serbesa, Satenaw news paper.
IFEX Autolist (other news of interest)
From: Ethiopian Free Press Journalists' Association (EFJA),
Subject : Four Ethiopian Journalists arrested
Date: Tuesday, 28 June, 2005
Four Editor in-Chiefs arrested.
The Ethiopian Government Addis Ababa police arrested:
1. Befekadu Moreda, Editor in-Chief of Tomar news paper
2. Zelalem Gebre, Menilik news paper
3. Dawit Fassil, Asqual news paper
4. Tamrat Serbesa, Satenaw news paper
today, 28 June 2005 at 11:00 local time.
The Ethiopian Free press Journalists' Association (EFJA) has been quite
worried about these recent unwelcome development and WILL ISSUE URGENT
STATEMENT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
We call on all the Ethiopian people, International press institutions of
which EFJA is member and International friends of the free press to closely
follow the great danger hovering over the free press and the measures that
could be taken to challenge its very existence.
The Ethiopian Free press Journalists' Association (EFJA) calls on all its
members should with out being disturbed by un democratic measures and
threats continue to fulfill their obligation of informing and enlightening
the public in accordance with the law and being governed by their
professional Code of Ethics.
The Ethiopian Free Press Journalists' Association (EFJA) Addis Ababa,
28 June 2005
Tel/fax: + 251 1 22 21 07/
Mobile: + 251 9 22 29 39
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]
The Ethiopian Free Press Journalists' Association (EFJA) would keep you all
informed on the latest developments on this and other matter.
Sierra Leone: Open letter to president on libel laws
"We are writing on behalf of the International Press Institute (IPI) and the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), to call for the repeal of Sierra Leone's seditious libel law under which Paul Kamara, editor of For Di People, is currently imprisoned. In October 2004, Mr Kamara, editor and publisher of the independent daily For Di People, was convicted on two counts of seditious libel for articles that appeared in his newspaper focusing on a 1967 Commission of Inquiry, which reportedly implicated you in the embezzlement of public funds."
The following is a 1 July 2005 joint IPI and WAN letter to President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah:
His Excellency Ahmad Tejan Kabbah
Office of the President
15 Siaka Steven Street
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Fax: +232 22 225 615
1 July 2005
We are writing on behalf of the International Press Institute (IPI) and the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), to call for the repeal of Sierra Leone's seditious libel law under which Paul Kamara, editor of For Di People, is currently imprisoned.
In October 2004, Mr Kamara, editor and publisher of the independent daily For Di People, was convicted on two counts of seditious libel for articles that appeared in his newspaper focusing on a 1967 Commission of Inquiry, which reportedly implicated you in the embezzlement of public funds. He was sentenced to two concurrent prison terms, of two years each, and has spent much of his sentence in solitary confinement.
Since Mr Kamara's conviction, his lawyer, Joseph Cole, has encountered repeated obstacles in trying to file an appeal and securing bail for his client. Despite filing the relevant documents with the Appeals Court on 22 October 2004, Mr Cole is still awaiting a response and no date has been set for a hearing.
We are seriously concerned at what appears to be a concerted effort by the state to deny Mr Kamara due process of law.
We respectfully remind you that prosecution for seditious libel under the 1965 Public Order Act is in clear breach of section 25(1) of the 1991 Sierra Leone Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression. It is only through the inclusion of a second provision unnecessarily limiting this freedom that prosecution for seditious libel is possible.
In addition, the Truth & Reconciliation Commission has described the Public Order Act as unconstitutional and calls for its repeal or amendment. Its seditious libel provisions are also inconsistent with your government's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We respectfully call on you to do everything possible to ensure that Mr Kamara is immediately released from jail and that all criminal charges against him are dropped.
We urge you to take all necessary steps to ensure that the seditious libel provisions are repealed and that in future your country fully observes international standards of freedom of expression.
We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
World Association of Newspapers
Johann P. Fritz
International Press Institute
Mr Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations
Mr Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General, UNESCO
Send appeals to the president:
- calling on him to do everything possible to ensure that Kamara is immediately released from jail and that all criminal charges against him are dropped
- urging him to take all necessary steps to ensure that the seditious libel provisions are repealed and that in future Sierra Leone fully observes international standards of freedom of expression
His Excellency Ahmad Tejan Kabbah
Office of the President
15 Siaka Steven Street
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Fax: +232 22 225 615
Please copy appeals to the source if possible.
For further information, contact Larry Kilman at WAN, 7, rue Geoffroy St. Hilaire, 75005 Paris, France, tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00, fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48, e-mail: [email protected], Internet: http://www.wan-press.org; or contact IPI at Spiegelgasse 2/29, A-1010 Vienna, Austria, tel: +43 1 512 90 11, fax: +43 1 512 90 14, e-mail: Michael Kudlak at [email protected], Diana Orlova at [email protected], or David Dadge at [email protected], Internet site: http://www.freemedia.at
Zambia: Media freedom under threat says watchdog
Zambian police are investigating charges of sedition and criminal libel against two journalists, raising concern that freedom of expression is under threat. Sipo Kapumba, a spokesman for the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia, told IRIN the police had summoned Fred M'membe, editor of the privately-owned The Post newspaper, on 29 June after a series of editorials critical of President Levy Mwanawasa's government.
Zimbabwe: Mugabe Signs Draconian Law
Zimbabwean journalists now risk spending 20 years in jail following the signing into law by President Robert Mugabe of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Bill which introduces stiffer penalties against the publication of falsehoods. The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Bill Chapter 9:23 which was passed by Parliament at the end of last year, was gazetted on 2 June 2005 after the President assented to it.
UK tribute to Walter Rodney
The Karibbean Independent Trust for Ecology (KITE), has arranged a 25th anniversary event to commemorate the life of Dr. Walter Rodney, Caribbean historian and politician, who was murdered in 1980. During his short life Dr. Walter Rodney wrote many works of history, the best known being "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa". Eusi Kwayana said at the time of his death: "Our best was killed by our worst".
UK tribute to Walter Rodney
The Karibbean Independent Trust for Ecology (KITE), has arranged a 25th anniversary event to commemorate the life of Dr. Walter Rodney, Caribbean historian and politician, who was murdered in 1980.
During his short life Dr. Walter Rodney wrote many works of history, the best known being "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa". Eusi Kwayana said at the time of his death: "Our best was killed by our worst".
The theme of the event is : "Enabling young people to stand on the shoulders of a giant" - as well as discussions on Dr. Walter Rodney's many contributions, there will be analysis of the contemporary plight of Afro-Caribbean children in British Schools. Speakers include Luke Daniels, Dr. William Henry, and Dr. Tracey Reynolds. The event will be chaired by the veteran Guyanese political activist- Anne Braithwaite.
This free commemorative event will be held at: The Pod, "Peckham Library", Peckham Sq, Peckham High Street, London, SE15, on Saturday 9th July 2005, from 1.30 pm to 4pm. Free refreshments will be provided. The nearest BR Stations are "Peckham Rye", and "Queen's Rd Peckham". The nearest tube stations are "Elephant and Castle" and the "Oval". Some of the many Bus Routes: 36; 436; 171; 12; 37; 78; 381; 63.
DRC: Civilians Killed as Army Factions Clash
The Congolese army must prevent further violence among its rival factions that has caused unnecessary civilian casualties, Human Rights Watch said after security forces in the eastern city of Goma fired mortars against soldiers based in a crowded neighborhood, killing two children and injuring 10 other civilians. The violence among army factions comes at a time when security forces across the country have been on high alert for weeks. Opposition parties had called for mass protests to force the Congolese transitional government to step down on June 30, the deadline originally set by the 2003 Sun City Accord.
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
For Immediate Release:
D.R. Congo: Civilians Killed as Army Factions Clash
Unnecessary Force Also Used Against Those Protesting Election Delays
(New York, July 1, 2005) — The Congolese army must prevent further violence among its rival factions that has caused unnecessary civilian casualties, Human Rights Watch said today. Yesterday, security forces in the eastern city of Goma fired mortars against soldiers based in a crowded neighborhood, killing two children and injuring 10 other civilians.
The violence among army factions comes at a time when security forces across the country have been on high alert for weeks. Opposition parties had called for mass protests to force the Congolese transitional government to step down on June 30, the deadline originally set by the 2003 Sun City Accord.
In towns around the country, security forces have responded to demonstrations with unnecessary force, killing at least four protestors. Opposition parties claim that 24 demonstrators have been killed.
Yesterday in Goma, military police used indiscriminate and disproportionate force in an attempt to disarm the bodyguards [tr:l’escorte] of the regional military chief of staff [tr: chef d’état-major de la région militaire]. Military police fired mortars towards the home of the chief of staff, located in a crowded neighborhood. Two small children in a neighboring house were killed, and 10 other civilians were injured, including five children, two of whom are in critical condition. Several homes were damaged during an hour long firefight in which both parties repeatedly fired assault rifles.
“Soldiers fired mortars into a crowded residential neighborhood,” said Alison Des Forges, senior Africa advisor at Human Rights Watch. “The Congolese government must investigate and prosecute this indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force.”
In Goma, the local branch of the main opposition party canceled a march planned for yesterday, citing fears that their peaceful protest would be hijacked by forces opposed to peace. But special security measures remained in place in the city, adding to existing tension between different factions of the army.
The failure to integrate dozens of former armed groups into a truly unified national army poses a major threat to Congo’s transition process. In Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, the military police and the chief of staff’s escort are drawn from factions that were opposed to each other during Congo’s war. In December, at least 100 civilians were killed and scores of women and girls were raped in North Kivu during combat between the same factions.
For months, opposition parties called for demonstrations on June 30, tapping into popular dissatisfaction with the slow pace of planning for elections and other critical tasks on the transitional government’s agenda.
Elsewhere in the country, opposition plans to protest moved forward, but were quickly quashed by security forces. In the Congolese capital Kinshasa, security forces killed at least two protestors yesterday; the main opposition party claimed that 10 were killed. . Police had erected barricades around the city to prevent the movement of demonstrators. An international observer witnessed police chasing and shooting at a small group of unarmed demonstrators whom they had already dispersed with tear gas. About 450 protestors were arrested. In Tshikapa, in Eastern Kasai province, opposition parties claimed up to six protestors had been killed yesterday.
On June 25, mixed police and army patrols killed four protestors in Mbuji-Mayi, the capital of Western Kasai province and stronghold of the main opposition party. Security forces used disproportionate force against unarmed protestors, according to United Nations observers. On Wednesday night, at least two more people were killed in Mbuji-Mayi and nine people injured.
“The events around June 30 highlight the ongoing potential for violence and human rights abuses in Congo’s pre-election period,” said Des Forges. “The Congolese government and security forces bear the ultimate responsibility for preventing violence. The security forces must not use disproportionate force when responding to protests by unarmed civilians.”
The U.N. Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials require that law enforcement officials, in carrying out their duty, shall as far as possible refrain from the use of force. Whenever force is unavoidable, law enforcement officials must use restraint and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offense. Firearms should not be used against persons except in select circumstances to preserve life. The legitimate objective should be achieved with minimal damage and injury, and with respect for the preservation of human life.
In some towns, demonstrations and anniversary marches occurred without violent incident. The June 30 anniversary marks two years of the Congolese transition process as well as 45 years of Congolese independence from colonial rule.
For further information, please contact:
In Kigali, Alison Des Forges (English, French): +250-501-181 (until July 2, 9:00AM GMT+2); +257 936 972 (after July 2, 12:00PM GMT+2)
In London, Steve Crawshaw (English, German, Russian): +44-77-4702-1458
In Washington D.C., Georgette Gagnon (English): +1-416-893-2709
DRC: Elections delayed as demand for tin fuels continued conflict
Continued fighting in the mining areas of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) threatens the country's fragile peace and adds daily to the 3.3 million death toll in the world's most devastating conflict since World War 2, says Global Witness. It has also contributed towards the delay in the Congolese elections, which were originally scheduled for June 30. The international demand for tin has led to a US$50 million trade in the metal in eastern DRC with military factions vying to control the lucrative mining areas there, according to a report released by Global Witness.
DRC elections delayed as demand for tin fuels continued conflict in the east of the country
Continued fighting in the mining areas of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) threatens the country’s fragile peace and adds daily to the 3.3 million death toll in the world’s most devastating conflict since World War 2. It has also contributed towards the delay in the Congolese elections, which were originally scheduled for June 30. The international demand for tin has led to a US$50 million trade in the metal in eastern DRC with military factions vying to control the lucrative mining areas there, according to a report released today by Global Witness.(2)
“Under-Mining Peace: Tin - the Explosive Trade in Cassiterite in Eastern DRC”, based on Global Witness investigations in the war-torn area, exposes the dynamics of the trade in cassiterite (tin ore)(3) in an area where killings and human rights atrocities, including mass rape, are a daily reality for the Congolese population. The main officially-recorded buyers of this ore are based in Southern Africa and Europe, including the UK.(4) “Currently there are no international mechanisms that prevent companies obtaining natural resources from conflict zones. This means that the international community is allowing some of the worst human rights abusers on the planet unfettered access to world markets – who knows if the tin cans on our supermarket shelves have contributed to the tragedy in the DRC? This has been the DRC’s problem for the last century, and it needs to change.” Says Emily Bild of Global Witness.
“Under-Mining Peace” documents how despite the supposed reunification of the country in 2003, the east remains under the control of various armed factions - including the national army - that control the mines, and levy illegal taxes on exports and on the hundreds of thousands of artisanal miners who work in the mines in appalling conditions. Much of the cassiterite is smuggled through Rwanda, which claims the production as its own, but exports five times as much of the ore as it produces (a total of 1,800 tonnes excess in 2004).(5) “Large-scale smuggling and divisions between local and central government departments mean that no taxes from this multi-million dollar trade in cassiterite reach the Central Bank in Kinshasa, whilst countries high on the G8 list for debt relief, such as Rwanda, are achieving economic stability at the expense of their neighbours. With the majority of the DRC’s budget currently being funded by the international community, the government urgently needs to start capturing revenues from the country’s vast natural resource wealth,” Says Bild of Global Witness.
The report calls on the international community to address the trade in conflict resources, and to work with the DRC government to end the militarised control of resources in the mining areas of eastern DRC. In particular, the UN Security Council should include the monitoring of illegal natural resource exploitation in MONUC’s(6) mandate, in order to prevent the funding of armed factions. Aid to the DRC’s neighbouring countries should be made conditional on them actively preventing the importation of illegally-exported commodities from the DRC.
Contact: Emily Bild or Olivier Kambala on +44 207 561 6381
Notes for the editor:
(1) Democratic Republic of Congo
(2) Global Witness is an investigative non-governmental organisation that focuses on the links between natural resource exploitation and conflict, and was co-nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.
(3) Cassiterite, once processed, becomes tin.
(4) According to official Congolese export documents, obtained February 2005
(5) Rwandan production and export statistics, obtained from Rwandan government departments, February 2005.
(6) United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo
For full report see: http://www.globalwitness.org/reports/index.php?section=drc
Nigeria/Sudan: Obasanjo meets with Darfur rebels to try to unblock peace talks
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has met the leaders of the two main rebel movements in Sudan's Darfur region in an attempt to resurrect peace talks that have become bogged down by splits within the rebel ranks. Obasanjo is the current chairman of the African Union (AU) and the Nigerian government is hosting peace talks in Abuja between the rebels and the Sudanese government on behalf of the continental body.
Northern Uganda: Building a Comprehensive Peace Strategy
Peace may yet be possible in Northern Uganda in 2005, says the International Crisis Group. "Many elements seem to be in place, but they need to be pursued by President Museveni's government in a more comprehensive framework, given stronger international support and - most urgently - be committed to by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in the context of a specific process with a clearly definable endgame."
Zimbabwe: Order out of Chaos, or Chaos out of Order?
A report by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
“Operation Murambatsvina” and “Operation Restore Order” are the code names used by the police for a massive operation that began in Zimbabwe towards the end of May. This nationwide campaign, which has been conducted in the cities and towns, in peri-urban areas, and on farms settled after land invasions, has led to the destruction of many thousands of houses and means of shelter, trading stalls and markets. Whatever the reasons behind this, none of which can be morally justified, this campaign has created a huge humanitarian disaster causing enormous hardship and suffering. Within the space of a few weeks, Operation Murambatsvina has produced a massive internal refugee population who are homeless and without the means to earn a living.
ITU hones in on digital divide
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has launched a new development drive designed to bring access to information and communication technologies to the estimated one billion people worldwide who are still without access to a telephone. Called 'Connect the World', the initiative is designed to encourage new projects and partnerships to bridge the digital divide.
Kenya: On the Way to Getting Wired
There's no disputing that computer ownership in Kenya is on the increase. Even so, the path to ensuring that the majority of Kenyans are able to benefit from information and communication technology (ICT) is littered with obstacles - something that came to the fore during a conference held this week in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
Mobile Phones for Mother and Child Care
This article evaluates the strategy of using mobile phones as a tool for promoting maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) in developing countries, using Egypt as a case study. Information presented in this article is based on a qualitative study conducted by the author in Minia Governorate, Egypt in 2002-2003, and uses a framework developed for the UK Partnership for Global Health and the Nuffield Trust in 2002 entitled "Integrating Information and Communication Technology to Improve Global Health: A Conceptual Framework".
Nigerian blogger tackles taboos
A Nigerian-born blogger living in Spain is giving a voice to African women and highlighting gay and lesbian issues on the continent. Online diaries, or weblogs, come in all shapes and sizes. Some are intensely personal; others are very political. Sokari Ekine's blog is both, and that is just the way she likes it.
Association of African Women Scholars email list
The discussion group is open to members and non-members. The AFWOSCHO list focuses on debates and exchange of ideas about gender issues in Africa and encourages the dissemination of and response to other related and relevant information (research queries, conferences and workshops, grants, fellowships, courses, programs, scholarships, collaborative work). Request to join can be made on the internet through [email protected] by sending the following message: SUBSCRIBE AFWOSCHO [your name]
The Equinet newsletter
The Equinet Newsletter is the newsletter of the Network for Equity in Health in Southern Africa. The Newsletter is delivered by e-mail once a month. Visit http://www.equinetafrica.org/newsletter to read the newsletter and for subscriptions.
Call for Proposals
Conflict and Governance Facility
CAGE has entered its second phase with regard to the Calls for Proposals to fund policy research and dialogue within the conflict and governance arena. Please visit our website at www.cage.org.za to access all the funding information. The application pack (Guide and Form) can be downloaded and completed forms must be submitted on or before 30 August 2005, 15h00, only to the CAGE offices.
Call for Proposals
Conflict and Governance Facility: "South Africa: 2015 - Today, Tomorrow and
towards the Millennium Development Goals": Informing the policy agenda in
Conflict and Governance for South Africa and the Southern African
Development Community, through the establishment of early warning systems to
mitigate against conflict and to promote good governance.
CAGE has entered its second phase with regard to the Calls for Proposals to
fund policy research and dialogue within the conflict and governance arena.
The process is as follows:
* Endorsement by the EU Delegation
* Publishing of the Call in selected national media and on our
web-site, other relevant web-sites
* 60 days to submit a proposal
* Approximately 60 days to evaluate the proposals
* Contract successful Grant partners
* Research projects to commence January 2006....
Please visit our website at www.cage.org.za to access all the funding
information. The application pack (Guide and Form) can be downloaded and
completed forms must be submitted on or before 30 August 2005, 15h00, only
to the CAGE offices.
CCS research grants deadline
The Centre for Civil Society is based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. We aim to advance socio-economic and environmental justice by developing critical knowledge about, for and in dialogue with civil society, through teaching, research and publishing. As part of our mandate, the Centre grants research funds of up to R50000 to a number of researchers annually to encourage new and innovative research on civil society, through teaching, research and publishing.
CCS research grants deadline
The Centre for Civil Society is based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. We aim to advance socio-economic and environmental justice by developing critical knowledge about, for and in dialogue with civil society, through teaching, research and publishing.
As part of our mandate, the Centre grants research funds of up to R50000 to a number of researchers annually to encourage new and innovative research on civil society, through teaching, research and publishing.
As part of our mandate, the Centre grants research funds of up to R50000 to a number of researchers annually to encourage new and innovative research on civil society. We would like to invite researchers to submit proposals dealing with the following one or more broad thematic areas:
- The history of civil society in South Africa and Southern Africa
- Contemporary challenges and choices facing civil society
- The shifting relationship(s) between civil society and the state at
various tiers of government
- Civil society processes of advocacy and mobilisation around basic
health and social infrastructure and natural resources
- Civil society responses to the crisis around municipal infrastructure
- Race, class and gender in civil society organisations, social
movements, networks and other emerging social formations
- Organisational dynamics in civil society organisations, social
movements, networks and other emerging social formations
- The role of faith-based organisations in addressing socio-economic
injustice and other societal issues
- Civil society in Africa
- Regional and international civil society networking
In addition to the above themes, the Centre will also consider other innovative
proposals in the broad field of civil society.
Proposals templates and guidelines can be obtained from www.ukzn.ac.za/ccs (click
on CCS Grants). Only proposals using the template will be considered. Proposals are
to reach us no later than 11 July 2005. Proposals and queries can be emailed to
Fellowships at the National Endowment for Democracy
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) invites applications to its Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program. Established in 2001 to enable activists, scholars, and journalists from around the world to deepen their understanding of democracy and enhance their ability to promote democratic change, the fellowship program is based at NED's International Forum for Democratic Studies, in Washington, D.C.
FELLOWSHIPS AT THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) invites applications to its Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program. Established in 2001 to enable activists, scholars, and journalists from around the world to deepen their understanding of democracy and enhance their ability to promote democratic change, the fellowship program is based at NED’s International Forum for Democratic Studies, in Washington, D.C.
Program: The program offers two tracks: a practitioner track (typically three to five months) to improve strategies and techniques for building democracy abroad and to exchange ideas and experiences with counterparts in the United States; and a scholarly track (typically five to ten months) to conduct original research for publication. Projects may focus on the political, social, economic, legal, and cultural aspects of democratic development and may include a range of methodologies and approaches.
Eligibility: The Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program is intended primarily to support practitioners and scholars from new and aspiring democracies. Distinguished scholars from the United States and other established democracies are also eligible to apply. The program especially welcomes applications from candidates throughout Africa. Practitioners are expected to have substantial experience working to promote democracy. Scholars are expected to have a doctorate, or academic equivalent, at the time of application. The program is not designed to support students working toward a degree. A working knowledge of English is an important prerequisite for participation in the program.
Support: The fellowship year begins October 1 and runs through July 31, with major entry dates in October and March. All fellows receive a monthly stipend, health insurance, travel assistance, and research support through the Forum’s Democracy Resource Center and Reagan-Fascell Research Consultancy Program.
Application: For further details and instructions on how to apply, please download the “Information and Application Forms” booklet available online at www.ned.org/forum/R-FApplication.pdf or visit www.ned.org and follow the link to Fellowship Programs. Please note that all application materials must be type-written and in English.
Deadline: Applications for fellowships in 2006–2007 must be emailed or postmarked no later than November 1, 2005. Notification of the competition outcome is in April 2006.
For questions, please contact:
Program Assistant, Fellowship Programs
National Endowment for Democracy
1101 15th Street, N.W., Suite 800
Washington, DC 20005
Tel.: (202) 293-0300
Fax: (202) 293-0258
E-mail: [email protected]
Southern African Litigation Centre
The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) in partnership with the International Bar Association (IBA) announced the launch on June 20, 2005 of the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC). The Centre will be located in Johannesburg and will assist lawyers in various Southern African states in litigating specific human rights, public interest and constitutional cases within their respective domestic jurisdictions. The Centre will be staffed by resource people who are able to provide expert support to lawyers litigating on these issues in the region. They will do so by providing training, mentoring and facilities, thus promoting the effective implementation of human rights in the region.
Southern African Litigation Centre
The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) in partnership
with the International Bar Association (IBA) announce the launch on June
20, 2005 of the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC). The Centre
will be located in Johannesburg and will assist lawyers in various
Southern African states in litigating specific human rights, public
interest and constitutional cases within their respective domestic
jurisdictions. The Centre will be staffed by resource people who are
able to provide expert support to lawyers litigating on these issues in
the region. They will do so by providing training, mentoring and
facilities, thus promoting the effective implementation of human rights
in the region.
In particular, the Centre will:
* Provide on-going support and assistance to lawyers in the region who
are in the process of litigating human rights, constitutional and public
* Support, assist in, and identify, prospective cases allowing for
timely preparation and resolution of cases;
* Provide regular training to the legal profession within the respective
jurisdictions on constitutional, human rights and democracy issues;
* Engage all members of the legal profession, including the judiciary,
on issues of constitutionalism, human rights and democracy and provide
assistance where required;
* Promote awareness of human rights litigation frontiers and
capacity-building possibilities and stimulate advocacy for law reform,
human rights and constitutionalism.
Further, the Centre will aim to:
* Enable the skills and resources within the respective jurisdictions
allowing lawyers to initiate human rights, public interest and
constitutional cases that they would not have otherwise undertaken;
* Develop regional lawyers' interest in involvement in human rights,
public interest and constitutional litigation;
* Establish a repository of up-to-date information on contemporary human
rights, public interest and constitutional issues in the region
generally and litigation thereon specifically;
* Provide a forum through which lawyers in the region can exchange
information and enter into communities and networks of mutual interest
* Facilitate the development of regional networks of lawyers'
organizations and other initiatives aimed at strengthening rule of law,
constitutionalism and human rights.
* The provision of training and support for lawyers at the forefront of
human rights cases will be a unique development for the region.
Contact: Nicole Fritz, Executive Director
Southern African Human Rights Litigation Centre
Tel +27 11 403 3414
Mobile +27 82 452 3909
Email: [email protected]
Development Planning and Management training
Olive (Organisation Development and Training) is running two - five day sessions on Development Planning and Management on the 15th to 19th August and 14th to 18th November respectively, and altogether covering 5 modules.
Development Planning and Management training
Olive (Organisation Development and Training) is running two - five day sessions on Development Planning and Management at the Blue Waters Hotel on the 15th to 19th August and 14th to 18th November respectively, and altogether covering 5 modules.
Emphasis will be placed on:
Why do planners and managers need this programme,
Designing and Planning Development Interventions,
Planning the Implementation of operation,
Monitoring Evaluation and Adjustment,
Working in Teams,
Target Group, and,
Places are limited so we would appreciate you letting us know soonest, whether you would be interested in attending one or both of these courses.
Fax: (031) 2052114/2055957
Tel No.: (031) 2061534
email: [email protected]
Olive (Organisation Development and Training)
21 Sycamore Road
Glenwood DURBAN 4001
Managing Agricultural Research for Development within Innovation Systems Perspective
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, October 3-20, 2005
In response to changing continuing education needs of agricultural institutions and their personnel in Eastern Africa, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Alemaya University (Ethiopia) are setting up a Center for Agricultural Research Management and Policy Learning for Eastern Africa (CARMPoLEA). This regional center will serve as a home of capacity building initiative to improve the management, organization and leadership of agricultural research and policy making and ultimately support the Agricultural Innovation System (AIS). To launch the center, we are organizing a series of workshops which are aimed at responding to regional knowledge and skill needs in the areas of agricultural research management and policy.
In response to changing continuing education needs of agricultural institutions and their personnel in Eastern Africa, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Alemaya University (Ethiopia) are setting up a Center for Agricultural Research Management and Policy Learning for Eastern Africa (CARMPoLEA). This regional center will serve as a home of capacity building initiative to improve the management, organization and leadership of agricultural research and policy making and ultimately support the Agricultural Innovation System (AIS). To launch the center, we are organizing a series of workshops which are aimed at responding to regional knowledge and skill needs in the areas of agricultural research management and policy.
In line with this, IFPRI and Alemaya University are pleased to announce the following upcoming global workshops in the series.
1. Managing Agricultural Research for Development within Innovation Systems Perspective
Venue: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, October 3-20, 2005 (Deadline for submitting the application form: August 25, 2005)
To provide opportunities for researchers, extension workers, university faculty members, non-governmental organizations’ staff, and other actors in agricultural research and development (R&D) to improve their capacities and abilities in the following priority areas.
· Leading for innovation
· Strategic planning for learning organizations
· Results-oriented program formulation
· Monitoring, evaluation, and impact assessment of R&D investments in agriculture
Workshop Fee: US$3,000.00
2. Strengthening Creativity in the Workplace
Venue: Alemaya University, Ethiopia, December 5-10, 2005 (Deadline for submitting the application form: October 23, 2005)
To identify and strengthen participants’ qualities and attributes aimed at improving their work performance through developing their creativity.
· Promoting innovation (2 days)
· Writing convincing proposals (4 days)
Workshop Fee: US$ 2,000.00
3. Law and Policy of Relevance to the Management of Plant Genetic Resources
Taught in partnership with the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI)
Venue: Alemaya University, Ethiopia, January 23-28, 2006 (Deadline for submitting the application form: December 7, 2005)
To promote reliable and scientific management of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, primarily for those who have management or policymaking responsibilities in plant genetic resources.
· International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
· Convention on Biological Diversity
· Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/IPGRI Gene Bank Standards
· Intellectual property rights
· Phytosanitary and biosafety measures
Workshop Fee: US$2,000
Participants are awarded a Certificate of Attendance for each workshop.
Who Can Participate?
The workshops are intended for active R&D practitioners and other actors in agricultural R&D. The organizers strive for diversity in gender, discipline, and nationality among workshop participants. Women are particularly encouraged to apply.
To ensure that participants benefit fully from the workshops, course size will be limited to 24 students.
Candidates should be fluent in English and engaged in agricultural research initiatives for development. This refers to professionals who are members and/or organizers of collaborative and inter-disciplinary R&D programs.
Fees cover accommodation, all meals, learning materials, and local transportation. Participants will receive a small cash allowance to help cover incidental expenses. Travel costs from and to a participant’s country of origin and health insurance are not included.
Please note that IFPRI does not provide funding for participants to cover workshop fees. However, many international organizations, including United Nations agencies, the European Union, the World Bank, regional development banks, embassies, and private foundations, do provide scholarships. Please inquire at the offices of these organizations in your country or region, or consult their websites.
Workshop fees must be paid four weeks before the workshop in US dollars and transferred to: ILRI-Ethiopia, account no. 36783545 at Citibank, N.A., Swiftcode CITIUS33; 111 Wall Street, New York, N.Y. 10043.
An invoice will be sent to each short listed participant. Please quote the invoice number when transferring the workshop fee to the above address.
How to Apply
To apply for the above workshops, applicants can download the application form fromhttp://www.ifpri.org/training/WSAppForm.pdf or should send a request to [email protected] and return the filled form by email to [email protected] or by fax to: +251-1-46 29 27 before the deadline.
For up-to-date information about the workshops please visit: http://www.ifpri.org/training/train_workshop.htm
Dr. Zenete Peixoto Franca, Senior Research Fellow
Dr. Adiel Nkonge Mbabu, Program Leader
Ms. Abenet Legesse
Training Assistant & Workshop Coordinator
P. O. Box 5689
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Mr. Shimelis Wolde Hawariat, Lecturer
P. O. Box 138
Dire Dawa, Ethiopia
[email protected]; [email protected]
Should you require further information or clarification about the workshop, please contact Ms. Abenet Legesse, the workshop Coordinator, by email: [email protected] or by fax: +251-1-46 29 27.
African voices via SMS
As part for the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) Fahamu, the producers of Pambazuka News, set up an SMS number so that people around Africa and the world could send messages calling for debt cancellation and an end to poverty. So far we have received over 1000 messages – all calling for an end to debt and poverty. Below is a selection of some of these messages. You can send your message to +27 82 904 3425.
1. No to debt, yes to africa development. Mozambique
2. No to debt. Deeply unjust and maintains serious under development and inequality. Emma Harvey. South Africa
3. No to debt. The G8 countries must extend the cancellation of debt to all countries in the South to give them a chance to revamp their economies and improve the standard of living of their communities. The next important task will be to open up trade opportunities in terms of fair trade so that these countries can develop their capabilities and capacity. Aluta continua! South Africa
4. Every 3 seconds an African child dies due to poverty - cancel the debts. Ghana
5. SAY NO 2 POVERTY,10 YRS GHANA.
6. Poverty is bad. Ghana
7. No to Debt it binds a nation to poverty. Mugerwa Olga Nakato
8. No to debt, Another world is possible. Adelson Rafael,
9. No to debt - I wish to remind the G8 leaders that delay is not denial and the focus is on them to act now. Ronald Ondari,
10. Please help the children of Africa. Farida Choisy of the Seychelles. Thank you.
11. It has to stop. No to poverty. No to war!
12. TO ALL LEADERS MAKE THIS WORLD A BETTER ONE SO WE CAN ALL LIVE IN PEACE AND HARMONY.
13. I JANE NABUNNYA IN SEETA MUKONO DISTRICT UGANDA SAY NO TO POVERTY
14. Peace&unity will stop poverty (maga)
15. The G8 must cancel our debt. But we Africans are our own enemy. We must say NO to corrupt, self serving leaders and vote them out of power. God has provided for Africa in abundance but some of our 'leaders' connive with the West in robbing Africa. Enough is enough! We shall overcome. Namibia
16. No to debt! We r not responsible for being down, but we r responsible for getting up! South Africa
17. I really hope leaders get it to their heads that they are the way forward for AFRICANS. Ayodele olufawo from Nigeria.
18. Africa is in debt BECAUSE since slavery, colonization, apartheid & now globalization we've been ENRICHING the G8 countries. AFRICA OWES NOTHING. Magauta, Joburg, South Africa.
19. LET THE (G8) CHANGE THE HISTORY OF THE POOR NATIONS BY WRITING OFF THEIR DEB TS;THANK YOU.
* CAN'T PAY WON'T PAY
Join the call for debt cancellation! Text your comments with your name and surname to
+27 82 904 3425
Your message will be used to demonstrate overwhelming support for debt cancellation.
Kampala Speaks Out
Today (July 01), the length and breadth of Kampala, Capital of Uganda is soaked with messages of solidarity and the Global Call to Action against Poverty on this second international White Arm-Band Day. As early as 4 a.m. banners were erected in strategic positions of the city calling upon Ugandans to speak out with one voice and send a clear and powerful message to Prime Minister Tony Blair, President George Bush, the rest of the G8 leaders as well as our President Museveni.
UGANDA MDG/GCAP COALITION GLOBAL CALL TO ACTION
KAMAPALA SPEAKS OUT
By Deo Nyanzi and Warren Nyamugasira, Kampala July 1, 2005
Today, the length and breadth of Kampala, Capital of Uganda is soaked with messages of solidarity and the Global Call to Action against Poverty on this second international White Arm-Band Day. As early as 4 a.m. banners were erected in strategic positions of the city calling upon Ugandans to speak out with one voice and send a clear and powerful message to PRIME Minister Tony Blair, President George Bush, the rest of the G8 leaders as well as our President Museveni. As the day broke, in the morning rush hour, youth adorned in white t-shirts with the GCAP logo and the white arm bands were already stationed at all the nine roundabouts leading into the city; holding 6 by 3ft posters, calling on the G8 leaders to increase aid, cancel debt and open trade. It is just as well that the youth have taken the lead in this campaign because they have a very big stake and a message they want to send to Tony Blair and George Bush and to President Museveni. "I need a job", said one youth at Mukwano Rd. who was walking the street looking for a job. "We need jobs for our children", said market vendors in Ggaba at the southern end of Kampala. MDGs promised jobs, decent and productive work for youth. To be specific MDG 8 target 16 says that developed countries "in cooperation with developing countries will develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth". Five years after the millennium declaration, the youth are asking, "where are the promised jobs?" In Uganda we have many University graduates whose employment is vending newspapers on the streets. Many more would love to do the same but don't have the opportunity. As we drove around the city this morning checking how well the campaign was going, we met and talked to one of the youth vending pancakes on a small wheeled cart. He too asked us to send the message about jobs for youth. In a country where about 30% of the population is youth, Goal 8 target 16 is something the G8 leaders should do something about seriously.
A Coalition of Civil Society Organisations flagged off the Call for Action Truck that visited all parts of Kampala and its suburbs today spreading the message about MDGs and the GCAP. Elizabeth Elior of African Women Economic Policy Network (AWEPON), the MDGs lead agency for Eastern Africa, called upon the G8 to honour their commitments on aid, trade and debt in order to given women a shot at economic empowerment. She said violence is meted out on women because they are not economically empowered. Women are subjected to HIV/AIDS infections by men because they can't say no due largely to being economically disempowered. The Council for the Economic Empowerment of Women in Africa (CEEWA) called on the leaders of the 8 most industrialized nations to listen to the cries of women when they make their deliberations at Gleneagles in Scotland. Ms Olga Nakato of CEEWA implored the G8 to guard against making commitments without follow through action. Mr. Kimbowa of Uganda Coalition on Sustainable Development, which hosts Sustainability Watch, called for environmental and social concerns to be integrated into global trade and for good Governance to ensure that resources are used wisely, sustainably and in an accountable manner. A Danish representative for Ms Uganda expressed her solidarity with Ugandans in this call for action against poverty. She said, "if our leaders cannot do it, we the people must". Benson Ekwee, Campaign Support Officer NGO Forum highlighted some of the issues and voices of the people at the grassroots. People in camps live on 50kg of maize grain per family per month and the supply is often irregular. Orphans are the last to eat, the last to go to school and the first to drop out. Many girls are dropping out of Universal Primary Education because they are needed at home to play the role of parents where there none or because of early pregnancies. Now is the time to act to end these injustices. In the suburbs of Kampala, fishmongers are concerned about bilharzia; women want drugs put in the empty government health clinics. Parents want jobs for their sons and daughters. Those in trade want better terms of trade. To President Museveni, they say, "Mind the taxes you levy and on which items you levy them. Every tax government levies the burden eventually becomes borne by the poor consumer", said Kabasi of Bwaise suburb. Museveni should ensure that aid and domestic revenue are used in a way that helps more people at the grassroots. J
Just as we were about to flag off the Call to Action Truck, two boys walked into the NGO Forum compound where the function was taking place. One, Olanya, about four and half years old looked sad, neglected and dejected. As it turned out, his Acholi name, roughly translated, means 'they have wasted me' or 'I am just there'. We tried to ask what message little Olanya would like to send out to G8 leaders, but he would not speak; as if to say 'even if I speak, nothing will happen to change my condition' Here then is the test of success of the G8 meeting: the extent to which the concerns of silent Olanya and those he represents are addressed with concrete actions. END
Lobby of G8 embassies in Maputo
Wednesday 6th of July 2005
Friday 8th of July 2005
Eight of the most predominant organisations will go to G8 embassies to present their demands to the G8 ambassadors.
Contact Silvestre Baessa on +258 824921000. [email protected]
Mass rally in Tanzania
Rallying under the themes “no more broken promise” and “ Acha mizengwe timiza malengo ya Millennia”, TANGO and Action-Aid will on 5th July be holding a procession which will culminate into a mass rally at Karimjee Hall grounds. The procession and rally will be part of the Global Call to action Against Poverty, which aims at creating awareness on the content of the Millennium Declaration and the subsequent Development Goals.
Rallying under the themes “no more broken promise” and “ Acha mizengwe timiza malengo ya Millennia”, TANGO and Action-Aid will on 5th July be holding a match procession, which will culminate into a mass rally at Karimjee Hall grounds.
The procession and rally will be part of the Global Call to action Against Poverty, which aims at creating awareness on the content of the Millennium Declaration and the subsequent Development Goals.
The meeting will be a peaceful procession that will show Tanzanian’s solidarity with the 1/6 of the world’s humanity who can barely sustain their lives.
We are hereby asking all civil society members dealing with poverty issues of any sort to attend the meeting.
We will be very grateful if you can bring along the poor sections of your constituents, so that they can in their own words voice out their concerns and demands regarding the poverty state in which they are.
White bands wrapped around buildings across the world
In the run-up to and during the July G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, buildings around the world are wrapped in white bands, the symbol of the Global Call to Action against Poverty campaign (www.whiteband.org). In Freetown, Sierra Leone, the famous cotton tree, planted by freed slaves when the nation was founded, is draped in a white band, as is the slavery archway in Senegal.
Whiteband action in Kenya
Today (July 01) the Kenyan GCAP Coalition sent out powerful delegations of activists to petition some of the G8 Embassies with the message for debt cancellation, more and better quality aid and immediate removal of harmful conditionalities that come with any new loans. The Embassies visited were Japan, Germany, USA and Italy.
Whiteband Action in Kenya
Today (July 01) the Kenyan GCAP Coalition sent out powerful delegations of activists to petition some of the G8 Embassies with the message for debt cancellation, more and better quality aid and immediate removal of harmful conditionalities that come with any new loans. The Embassies visited were Japan, Germany, USA and Italy.
This followed an international press conference in which the Kenyan statement was read and several media interviews offered on the GCAP demands. After these visits, the Chairman of the Kenya Poverty Eradication Commission, Dr. J. B. Oluoch flagged off the draping of Kenya’s landmark building Kenyatta International Conference Centre with a whiteband with a huge crowd cheering form the ground. For the next one week the white band will hang on the 24th flour of the 32 storey building reminding the both national leaders and the G8 nations that enough is enough. The TIME TO ACT IS NOW to eradicate poverty.
Tomorrow we will march from various corners of the city to converge at Uhuru park from 9.00 O’clock in the morning to Uhuru Park Kenya’s historic independence celebration grounds, from where leader of Kenya’s over 23 faiths including Muslims, evangelicals, Catholics, Hindus, traditional religions, Baháis among many others will join up with the antipoverty campaigners, political leaders and the ordinary citizens to reiterate the call for action. African Snap adverts will be displayed signifying the support of various celebrities for the GCAP call in Africa. Thereafter, a giant petition will be signed which Kenyan campaigners will deliver to the G8 rally in Edinburgh. The closing event will be the building of a human Chain to signify the global solidarity around our key demands.
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