Pambazuka News 175: The International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Africa: A 'disastrous' record
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SELECTED HEADLINES FOR PAMBAZUKA NEWS 175
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS ISSUE
* Editorial: The International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Africa: A 'disastrous' record
* Comment and Analysis: A happy birthday?: The Chad/Cameroon oil pipeline one year on
* Letters: Debate on FGM continues
* Conflicts and Emergencies: What's going on in Northern Uganda?
* Human Rights: Diego Garcia: Fighting for the right to return
* Refugees and Forced Migration: 'Killers' guarding Sudan refugees
* Women and Gender: Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa: Ratification process update: STOP PRESS: Senegal becomes fifth country to ratify the Protocol!
* Corruption: Nigerian Govt blacklists U.S. oil firm, Halliburton
* HIV/AIDS: Saving lives through combination treatment
* Environment: Nigeria: Either legal or illegal, commercial logging in Cross River State forest must be banned
* News from the Diaspora: Can Black studies Programs survive?
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The International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Africa: A 'disastrous' record
Demba Moussa Dembele
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Through their propaganda machines, both institutions will attempt to highlight their "assistance" to Africa. But in reality, since the 1970s, these institutions have gradually become the chief architects of policies, known as "the Washington Consensus," which are responsible for the worst inequalities and the explosion of poverty in the world, especially in Africa.
Yet, when they began to intervene on that continent in the late 1970s and early 1980s, their stated goal was to "accelerate development", according to a World Bank document, familiarly known as the "Berg Report", published in 1981. But as the following editorial will show, the actual record is just disastrous.
The main pretext for their intervention was to "help solve" the debt crisis that hit African countries in the late 1970s, following the combination of internal and external shocks, notably sharp fluctuations in commodity prices and skyrocketing interest rates. The remedy they proposed, known as stabilization and structural adjustment programs (SAPs), achieved the opposite, and contributed to worsening the external debt and exacerbating the overall economic and social crisis.
In 1980, at the onset of their intervention, the ratios of debt to gross domestic product (GDP) and exports of goods and services were respectively 23.4% and 65.2%. Ten years later, in 1990, they had deteriorated to respectively 63.0% and 210.0%! In 2000, the debt to GDP ratio stood at 71.0% while the ratio of debt to exports of goods and services had "improved" somewhat, at 80.2%, according to the World Bank's Global Development Finance.
The deterioration in debt ratios is reflected in the inability of many African countries to service their external debt. As a result, accumulated arrears on principal and interests have become a growing share of outstanding debt. In 1999, those arrears accounted for 30% of the continent's debt, compared with 15% in the 1990s and 5.0% for all developing countries. To compound the crisis, African countries are getting very little, in terms of new loans, except to pay back old debts. As a result, since 1988, the part of accumulated arrears in "new" debt is estimated at more than 65%.
Between 1980 and 2000, Sub-Saharan African countries had paid more than $240 billion as debt service, that is, about four times the amount of their debt in 1980. Yet, despite this financial hemorrhage, SSA still owes almost four times what its owed more than twenty years ago! One of the most striking illustrations of this apparent paradox is the case of the Nigerian debt. In 1978, the country had borrowed $5 billion. By 2000, it had reimbursed $16 billion, but still owed $31 billion, according to President Obasanjo.
The Nigerian case is a good example of the structural nature of Africa's debt crisis and of the power imbalance that characterizes world economic and financial relationships. It is this general context that allowed the IMF and World Bank to increase their influence in African countries. One good illustration of this has been the rapid rise in the share of the World Bank and its affiliate, the International Development Association (IDA), in SSA's debt. The combined share of both, which was barely 5.1% of SSA's total debt in 1980, had jumped to 25.0% in 1990 and to more than 37% in 2000, according to the World Bank. In other words, the World Bank group has become the principal "creditor" of many Sub-Saharan countries, which explains the enormous sway it holds over these countries' policies.
One way they exercise this influence is through the imposition of stiff conditionalities on African countries in exchange for loans and credits. Financial liberalization, aimed at attracting more foreign investments to compensate for shortfalls in export revenues, instead fostered more instability, due to the volatility of exchange rates resulting from speculative short-term capital flows. This, combined with higher interest rates, "crowded" out both public and private investments. For instance, investments as a percentage of gross domestic production (GDP) fell from an annual average of 23% between 1975 and 1979 to an average of 18% between 1980 and 1984 and 16% between 1985 and 1989. They recovered somewhat in the 1990s, but averaged only 18.2% between 1990 and 1997, according to UNCTAD. These statistics are consistent with those given by the World Bank, which show that the annual investment ratio averaged 18.6% and 17.2% in 1981-1990 and 1991-2000, respectively.
These low investment ratios resulted in a contraction of output. Real GDP growth, which averaged 3.5 % in the 1970s, fell to 1.7%, between 1981 and 1990, according to the World Bank. However, this masks the sharp declines recorded in the 1980s, dubbed "the lost decade" for Africa. This is better illustrated by the negative growth rates of both GDP and consumption per capita. They fell respectively by 1.2% and 0.9% a year between 1981 and 1990. It is estimated that in 1981-1989, the cumulative loss of per capita income for the continent as a whole was equivalent to more than 21% of real GDP.
In a report released in September 2001, UNCTAD indicated that the average income per capita in SSA was 10% lower in 2000 than its 1980 level. In monetary terms, average income per capita fell from $522 in 1981 to $323 in 1997, a loss of nearly $200. The same report said that rural areas experienced an even greater decline in income. These statistics were confirmed by the World Bank, which says that income per capita in Sub Saharan Africa contracted by a cumulative 13% between 1981 and 2001.
The 2004 edition of the World Development Indicators says that SSA is the only region in the world where poverty has continued to rise since the early 1980s, that is at the onset of IFIs' intervention. According to that document, in 1981, an estimated 160 million people lived on less than $1 a day. In 2001, the number had risen to 314 million, almost double its 1981 level. This means that approximately 50% of Africa's population lives in poverty. When the threshold is $2 a day, the numbers rise from 288 million to 518 million, during the same period.
The costs of trade liberalization
According to the IMF and World Bank, one of the sources of Africa's crisis is its inward-looking trade system, characterized by the protection of domestic markets, subsidies, overvalued exchange rates and other "market distortions" that made African exports less "competitive" in world markets. In place of this system, they propose an open and liberal trading system in which tariff and non tariff barriers are kept to a minimum or even eliminated. Such a system, combined with an export-led growth strategy, would put Africa on a solid path to economic recovery, according to both institutions.
The costs associated with trade liberalization have largely offset any potential "benefits" African countries were supposed to derive from that liberalization. First of all, trade liberalization has translated into substantial fiscal losses, since many countries depend on import taxation as their main source of fiscal revenues. Therefore, the elimination of, or reduction in, import tariffs has led to lower government revenues.
But one of the most negative impacts of trade liberalization has been the collapse of many domestic industries, unable to sustain competition from powerful and subsidized competitors from industrialized countries. In fact, Africa's industrial sector has been among the biggest victims of structural adjustment.
From Senegal to Zambia, from Mali to Tanzania, from Cote d'Ivoire to Uganda, entire sectors of the domestic industry have been wiped out, with devastating consequences. Not only has the industrial sector contribution to domestic product continued to fall, but also the industrial workforce has continued to shrink dramatically. In Senegal, more than one third of industrial workers lost their jobs in the 1980s. The trend was accentuated in the 1990s, following sweeping trade liberalization policies and privatization imposed by the IMF and the World Bank, especially after the 50% devaluation of the CFA Franc, in 1994. In Ghana, the industrial workforce declined from 78,700 in 1987 to 28,000 in 1993. In Zambia, in the textile sector alone, more than 75% of workers lost their jobs in less than a decade, as a result of the complete dismantling of that sector by the Chiluba presidency. In other countries, such as Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo, Zambia, Tanzania, etc. similar trends can be observed.
In several annual and special reports, the International Labor Organization (ILO) has documented the devastating impact of SAPs on employment and wages. The African Union seems to have come to grips with that devastation. It organized a special Summit on Employment and Poverty, in the capital of Burkina Faso, September 9 and 10, 2004. It was revealed during that Summit that only 25% of the African workforce is employed in the formal sector. The rest, 75%, is either in the subsistence agriculture or in the informal sector. In light of this reality, the Summit issued a Plan of Action aimed at exploring strategies to foster job creation. But such a Plan will only be credible if African countries are ready to move away from IMF and World Bank recipes, which were harshly criticized during the Summit.
UNCTAD has reported that more than 70% of Africa's exports are still composed of primary products, more than 62% of which are non processed products. This helps justify the need for more liberalization and deregulation to make African exports more "competitive". The second objective is to help justify the need for more liberalization and deregulation to make African economies more "competitive" and "attractive" to foreign direct investments. This also explains the push for more privatization.
In the name of "comparative advantage", the export-led growth strategy forces African countries to compete fiercely for market shares, leading them to flood the same markets with more of their commodities. As a result, trade liberalization has accentuated the volatility of African commodities, whose prices experienced twice the volatility of East Asian commodity prices and nearly four times the volatility that industrial countries experienced in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. This has contributed to worsening Africa's terms of trade.
According to UNCTAD, if Africa's terms of trade had remained at their 1980 level:
- Africa's share in world trade would have been twice its current level
- the investment ratio would have been raised by 6.0% per annum in non-oil exporting countries
- it would have added to annual growth 1.4% per annum
- it would have raised GDP per capita by at least 50% to $478 in 1997 compared with the actual figure of $323 during that year.
The costs of financial liberalization
One of the main objectives of financial liberalization is to make African countries "attractive" to foreign direct investments. But as the experience of development shows, foreign direct investments follow development, not the other way around. In addition, despite all "the right financial policies", foreign investments continue to elude Africa, with less than 2% of flows to developing countries, despite having among the highest rates of return on investments in the world. And these flows are concentrated in a few oil-producing and mineral-rich countries, according to UNCTAD and the World Bank.
In reality, financial liberalization has yielded little gains. For most African countries, it has been associated with huge costs. First, it entails higher levels of foreign exchange reserves to protect domestic currencies against attacks resulting from speculative short-term capital outflows. Second, financial liberalization has increased the likelihood of capital flight, in part as a result of a greater volatility of domestic currencies. The high costs of trade and financial liberalization further weakened African economies and opened the way to the privatization of the continent.
The privatization of Africa
Privatization, like financial liberalization, is seen by the IMF and World Bank as an instrument to promote private sector development, which has been elevated to the status of "engine of growth". The privatization of State-owned enterprises (SOEs), including water and power utilities, has been one of the core conditionalities imposed by the two institutions, even in the context of "poverty reduction".
Most of the foreign direct investments registered by African countries in the 1990s came as a response to privatization of SOEs. No sector was spared, even those considered as "strategic" in the 1980s, such as telecommunications, energy, water and the extractive industries. In 1994, the World Bank published a report assessing the process of privatization in SSA. After complaining about the slow pace of privatization throughout the region, it issued a warning to African governments to accelerate the dismantling of their public sector, accused of being "at the heart of Africa's economic crisis". The process of privatization peaked in the late 1990s and ever since has leveled off, despite more deregulation, liberalization and all kinds of incentives offered to would be investors.
To date, it is estimated that more than 40,000 SOEs have been sold off in Africa. However, the "gains" from privatization, projected by the World Bank and the IMF, have been elusive. In fact, many privatization schemes have failed and contributed to worsening economic and social conditions. Almost everywhere, privatization has been associated with massive job losses and higher prices of goods and services that put them out of reach of most citizens.
Building a neoliberal State
The concept of "good governance" was promoted by the IMF and World Bank to explain the failure of SAPs. It tends to convey the idea that SAPs have failed, in large part, because African States are "corrupt", "wasteful" and "rent-seeking" and because of the "poor implementation" of policies. In other words, SAPs were basically "sound", it is the combination of "rampant corruption" and lack of qualified personnel that led to the failure of these policies. Thus, "good governance" means nothing else than the need to build a neoliberal State, subservient to the IFIs, able to effectively implement, "sound policies" and to protect the interests of foreign investors.
Indeed, one of the main goals of the IMF and World Bank has been to discredit State-led development strategies in favor of market-led strategies. This is why one of the main targets of these institutions has been the role of the African State in economic and social development. To discredit that role, a two-track strategy was adopted. The first track was to attack the credibility of the African State as an agent of development. To achieve that goal, an abundant literature has been published by the two institutions, highlighting the "corrupt", "predatory", "wasteful" and "rent-seeking" nature of the African State. To justify these epithets, the IFIs pointed to the "mismanagement" of the public sector, accused of being an obstacle to economic growth and development. These attacks helped make the case for the sweeping restructure of the public sector, which, in many cases, led to its dismantling in favor of the private sector.
The second track in weakening the role of the State in development was to deprive it of financial resources. Trade and financial liberalization achieved in part that goal. As already indicated, trade liberalization not only led to a greater loss of fiscal revenues, following lower tariff barriers, but it also led to huge trade losses. This was compounded by financial liberalization which entailed further fiscal losses resulting from tax holidays and low income tax rates. To make up for these losses, the African State had to resort to more and more multilateral and bilateral loans and credits, which further alienated its sovereignty.
As a result, many African States have been stripped of all but a handful of their economic and social functions. Cuts in spending mostly fell on social sectors. State retrenchment primarily aimed at eliminating subsidies for the poor, removing social protection, and abandoning its role in fighting for social justice through income redistribution and other social transfers to the most disadvantaged segments of society. This explains, among other things, the degradation of many basic social services and the explosion of poverty in Africa, since 1981, as the World Bank itself has acknowledged.
While dismantling or weakening the economic and social roles of the State, the IMF and World Bank have sought to build or strengthen the functions most useful to the implementation of neoliberal policies and the promotion of private sector development. This explains the insistence on "capacity building" or on "institution building", heard over the last few years. However, the institutions that the IMF and World Bank talk about are not for development, but for markets. In other words, they propose building institutions supportive of neoliberal policies and in the service of the private sector, especially foreign investors.
Thus, the "institution building" agenda promoted by the IMF and the World Bank has nothing to do with promoting democracy and protecting human rights. In fact, the neoliberal conception of governance undermines both since it deprives representative institutions of their role in formulating public policies following open and democratic debates. They are reduced to implementing what the IMF and World Bank and their G 8 masters decide for African countries and their people.
From structural adjustment to poverty "reduction"
After producing poverty and deprivation on a massive scale in Africa and elsewhere, the IFIs' focus on "poverty reduction" since 1999 could not be more suspect. But to make this shift a bit more credible, the IMF's Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) was renamed "Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility" (PRGF) and the World Bank has set up a "Poverty Reduction Support Credit" (PRSC).
There is no doubt that the shift in the rhetoric of the IFIs amounts to an admission of failure of past policies, which put too much emphasis on correcting macroeconomic imbalances and "market distortions" at the expense of economic growth and social progress. The disastrous record of SAPs and the continued deterioration in the economic and social situation of countries subjected to IMF and World Bank programs put into question the credibility and even the legitimacy of these institutions. Their crisis of legitimacy was exacerbated by stepped up attacks by the Global Justice Movement and growing criticism from mainstream economists, especially from Joseph E. Stiglitz, former World Bank Chief Economist.
The nature of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs)
The PRSPs are supposed to provide more freedom to developing countries in formulating their policies. This is what the Bank and the Fund call "national ownership." Representatives from the government, the private sector, civil society organizations - and even the poor - are supposed to "participate" in drafting the PRSP of each country to decide on how to use the proceeds released by "debt relief" to achieve "poverty reduction".
In reality, the macroeconomic framework that underpins the PRSPs is the same as that which underpinned the now discredited SAPs. That framework is non negotiable and includes fiscal austerity, trade and financial liberalization, privatization, deregulation and State retrenchment, etc. In essence, despite the disastrous outcome of their past policies, the IMF and the World Bank still believe that those policies are in the "interests of the poor". In particular, they think that trade liberalization and openness are the best - if not the only - road to growth, which they see as a "prerequisite" for poverty reduction. Hence the export-led growth strategy advocated by the two institutions, but which has been a big failure in African and other developing countries.
A survey of 27 African PRSPs by UNCTAD in 2002 has demonstrated that all of them, without exception, contain the policies outlined above. Policies which are at odds with both the wishes and the interests of the poor, observes the document. It is this straight jacket that ties up developing countries' hands and prevents them from achieving any substantial gain in poverty "reduction". Most of the time, countries have failed to implement these conditions, leading to the suspension of their programs.
In fact, the IFIs' conception of poverty views it as an isolated aspect of overall economic and social development that should be dealt with by short-term measures. Hence, the emphasis in the PRSPs on more spending for primary education and health, among others. Thus, PRSPs contain some short-term measures aimed at mitigating the negative impact of macroeconomic policies and structural reforms on the most vulnerable groups, notably the poor. However, the tools the World Bank and the IMF have proposed to achieve this goal are the same as those already tested in the past and that have aggravated poverty and deprivation in much of Africa.
In reality, PRSPs are SAPs with more conditionalities and less resources. As already indicated, a new "generation" of conditionalities have been added to old conditionalities, with the concept of "good governance", analyzed above. UNCTAD (2002) has revealed that between 1999 and 2000, 13 African countries had signed programs containing an average of 114 conditionalities, 75% of which are governance-related conditionalities. One can imagine the enormous human and financial resources needed to deal with such a number of conditionalities. For this reason, the degree of compliance with IMF and World Bank-sponsored programs has significantly declined since the mid-1990s. For instance, the rate of compliance was estimated at about 28% of the 41 agreements signed between 1993 and 1997, according to UNCTAD.
With the PRSPs, the IMF and the World Bank pursue three objectives. First, mislead world public opinion, especially in Northern countries, in making believe that they are really serious about "reducing poverty". And the World Bank alone counts on a huge and sophisticated propaganda machine to achieve this. With the more than 300 staff of its External Relations Department - Propaganda Department, one should say - the Bank has all the means it needs to "explain" effectively its policies. It has achieved some success, since some big Northern NGOs, once very critical of SAPs, see the PRSPs as a "positive shift" in the IFIs' policies.
The second objective of the PRSPs is to enlist a broad support within each country to help rehabilitate discredited and failed policies. This is what "national ownership" and "participation" of civil society organizations are supposed to achieve. While insisting on the "participation" of civil society organizations, their most vocal critics, the IMF and World Bank tend to sideline representative institutions, like National Assemblies. This is another illustration of these institutions' contempt for the democratic process in Africa. Finally, with PRSPs, the IMF and the World Bank seek to shift the blame to African countries and citizens for the inevitable failure of these "new" policies.
The IMF and World Bank have utterly failed in "reducing poverty" and "promoting development". In fact, they are instruments of domination and control in the hands of powerful states whose long-standing objective is to perpetuate the plunder of the resources of the Global South, especially Africa. In other words, the fundamental role of the Bank and Fund in Africa and in the rest of the developing world is to promote and protect the interests of global capitalism.
This is why they have never been interesting in "reducing" poverty, much less in fostering "development". As institutions, their ultimate objective is to make themselves "indispensable" in order to strengthen and expand their power and influence. They will never relinquish easily that power and influence. This explains why they have perfected the art of duplicity, deception and manipulation. In the face of accumulated failures and erosion of their credibility and legitimacy, they have often changed their rhetoric, but never their fundamental goals and policies.
This is why they cannot be trusted to bring about "development" in Africa. If the experience of the last quarter of a century has taught Africa one fundamental lesson it is that the road to genuine recovery and development begins with a total break with the failed and discredited policies imposed by the IMF and the World Bank.
In fairness to both institutions, we must recognize, however, the complicity of African leaders in the disastrous outcome of neoliberal policies. Many governments and senior civil servants have bought into the agenda promoted by the IMF and World Bank. Therefore, they bear a great responsibility in the current state of the continent. Thus, to put an end to the influence of these institutions, African social movements and progressive forces must explore strategies aimed at promoting a new kind of leadership able and willing to challenge these institutions in favor of genuine alternative development policies.
* Demba Moussa Dembele is Director of the Forum for African Alternatives in Dakar, Senegal
* Please send comments to email@example.com
A happy birthday?: The Chad/Cameroon oil pipeline one year on
Akong Charles Ndika
On Friday, October 10 2003, before African head of states and foreign dignitaries in Kome, Chad, President Idriss Deby symbolically turned the tap that opened the flow of 225 000 barrels of oil. The $3.7 billion crown jewel project of the World Bank (WB) is the biggest foreign investment in sub-Sahara Africa. For the next 25 years, approximately 900 million barrels of oil will be pumped from 300 oil wells drilled in Doba, south of Chad, along a 1070km pipeline to Cameroon on the Atlantic coast.
WB financing, which totalled just 4 percent of the cost, was crucial to the project. The oil consortium comprising of Exxon, Petronas, and Chevron considered the participation of WB as a necessary political risk insurance, which enabled them to raise more money on international capital markets. Meanwhile, the WB embraced the project as an unparalleled opportunity for land-locked Chad to lift its 6.5 million population out of acute poverty, and for ocean-bordered Cameroon to generate much needed revenues.
Some months after Chad, the world's fifth poorest country, entered the pantheon of Africa's petro-states, it is worth taking stock of the overall project impacts now that the exploitation phase has started. Has the project broken free from the traditional gap between expectations and dismal realities of oil exploitation? Better still, has the oil been a Weapon of Mass Poverty (WMP) or a Weapon of Mass Development (WMD) to Chad and Cameroon?
The background to any petroleum project is key in determining the development outcomes. In fact, the underlying development problems associated with the extraction of black gold are not inherent in the resource itself. However, there is little disagreement on the ability of oil to ratchet up pre-existing conflict in a society; oil can become the very rationale for starting war. In this light, the socio-political environment in which WB approved the project was a potent recipe for poor development outcomes.
There is an endemic mix of corruption and civil strife in Chad and Cameroon. For instance, Chad, since independence, has been marred by a vicious cycle of conflicts and war. Besides the absence of basic ingredients for the growth of civil society, elections are shamelessly rigged, fraud is rife, and the regimes have shown a predilection to violently repress dissenting voices.
For example, villagers were coerced to give their accord to the project in consultations prior to its approval. Tales in Kome, where villagers were consulted in the presence of government forces and rebels, are all too glaring. The village chief was imprisoned for his unfavourable attitude, and the oil company representative arrived accompanied with military police. Given this background, most people were too intimidated to speak out against the project.
Given that Cameroon has consecutively crowned Transparency International's rating of the most corrupt countries in the world, it was no surprise that a bellicose climate of non- information disclosure concerning the project was the norm.
International civil society organisations in 1997 argued for the project's postponement to ensure the two countries upgrade their governance capacities. Contrarily, WB in June 2000 discounted this burgeoning corruption and civil strife in Cameroon and Chad respectively to approve the project. Shortly after, civil society partners were proved right when the Chadian government, on receiving $25 million from the project consortium as a signature bonus, admitted to have used the money in procuring arms to quell a rebel insurgence in the north of the country.
More recently, soon after the project's official inauguration last October, the government closed down the country's only independent radio station, FM Liberté, which had close ties to the country's human rights organisations. Then residents of the capital city, Ndjamena, witnessed the first public executions in more than a decade after court trails which human rights groups described as a mockery of justice. Hence, a warning signal to critical voices in the country to stay quiet.
It is worth noting that the WB's own Operations and Evaluation Department (OED) review commissioned in 2001 finds the Bank wanting on issues of governance. The review points out that while the WB is aware of the underlying causes for the underperformance of resource-rich countries, it has yet to formulate and implement viable approaches to address them. The recently released report of the WB sponsored Extractive Industry Review, primed the role of governance in shaping development outcomes of oil projects. Unequivocally, it recommended the WB to stop support for petroleum projects in areas of conflict or at high risk of conflict.
Broken livelihoods and promises
Approximately 880 km of the pipeline traverses Cameroon's fragile ecological zones. These include one of Africa's unique coastal rainforests, home to several indigenous peoples. Before the commencement of the construction phase, thousands of affected peoples living in villages and communities along the route of the pipeline were identified for eventual compensations. One hundred and fifty families were singled out for resettlement. Many village lands were expropriated, crops and plants destroyed and water sources polluted. The compensation plan, that included individual and communal compensations, was very limited in scope and inadequate to restore or improve on broken livelihoods.
Despite compensation being paid to replace agricultural land, most of the funds did not go into agricultural production or reinvestment to make provision for the future. The affected communities have been left alone with little or no skills to face the long-term impacts: funds had no impact in terms of generating new livelihoods for villagers; prices have increased due to shortage of labour and agricultural goods on the market; rural-urban exodus has increased and conflicts between locals and migrants attracted by the new found wealth have also increased.
The communal compensation plan, which had as its objective to compensate communities with social development projects, was very limited. Communities, who were supposed to identify projects themselves through consultations, were instead constrained to choose from a restrictive list of options proposed by the consortium.
The project thus raises a crucial issue: that of balancing profits with ecological and social principles in petroleum exploitation. Driven by the ethos of cost minimisation, the consortium was motivated to fast-track its operations, while time-intensive social and environmental components such as capacity building lag on. To what extent therefore can multinational corporations be constrained to synchronise the evolution of their exploitation operations with that of social and environmental safeguards?
Turning oil revenue into long-term benefits for the masses is the most contentious issue in resource-rich countries, particularly in Africa. Ultimately, this depends on the quality of public policy. The WB prides the revenue oversight mechanism in the Chad-Cameroon pipeline as an innovation to the extractive industry.
Under pressure from WB, the Chadian government decreed a petroleum management law in 1998. The law provides for the following division of the $2 billion royalties and dividends that would accrue from the project in the next 25 years: 10 percent set aside in a future generation-fund to prepare Chad for a post-oil future; the remaining 90 percent would pass through an offshore petroleum revenue account; 80 percent of which would go to five priority sectors (health, rural development, education, infrastructure, and environmental and water resources); 5 percent would go to the Doba oil producing region; and the remaining would be used by the Chadian government to tackle pressing operational needs.
To mainstream transparency, accountability, and participation, an oversight committee, comprising representatives from civil society, government, administration, and the judiciary was created to monitors the flows and approve spending from the offshore account.
Undoubtedly, this initiative is laudable. However, there are some flaws, which incapacitate it. For instance, three months after Chad started to taste the oil revenues, the committee lacked basic office facilities. In addition, the 5 percent allocated to the Doba region is inadequate. Worst of all, the allocations contained in the law can be changed by the government unilaterally after five years.
In addition, the law covers only direct revenues generated from royalties while indirect revenues such as taxes and customs duties are precluded. These could account for up to 45 percent of the total oil revenues expected over the lifetime of the project.
Several conclusions about petroleum development in Africa become apparent from the Chad-Cameroon pipeline project.
Firstly, oil corporations cannot be transformed into development agencies even with the best of intentions and monitoring mechanisms. Secondly, global wielders of development outcomes like the WB cannot exercise sufficient clout on the penchant for profits of oil multinationals. Thirdly, WB is incapable of respecting even its own weakening safeguard policies, which are premised on controlling damage rather than avoiding harm.
Fourthly, the embryonic neoliberal governance structures in Africa are incapable of constraining Foreign Direct Investments, which are principally attracted by ground mineral resources, to respect ecological and social principles. The flawed contention of the WB is "one cannot eat omelettes without breaking some eggs'' but the eggs are more often the poor who end up with no livelihood opportunity and become even poorer.
Finally, Public Private Partnerships (PPP), the buzz paradigm of sustainable development, are fundamentally incapable of readdressing the unequal power relations between fattening multinationals, weakening states and the World Bank.
As it turns sixty, it is time therefore to pressure the Bank to retire from financing development and environmental disasters like the pipeline. In sum, just like the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, the Chad-Cameroon pipeline is an illusive Weapon of Mass Development. It is time to send some United Nations development experts to Chad and Cameroon to uncover Weapons of Mass Poverty.
* Akong Charles Ndika is an energy policy analyst with Global Village Cameroon
Zambia: Launch of cotton trade campaign in Zambia
Organisation Development and Community Management Trust (ODCMT), a grassroots non-governmental organisation has launched a local campaign on cotton trade in Zambia.
The campaign aims at petitioning the Zambian leadership and corporate companies to increase the price of cotton paid to small-scale producers.
It urges for the protection of the health of producers in the use of toxic pesticides and further calls for promotion of socially ethical and environmentally sound practices in investment ventures for sustainable development.
The ODCMT is building on its experience in its participation in a global trade campaign running up to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meeting held in Cancun, Mexico.
Its campaign in Zambia resulted in the a massive mobilisation of over 750 000 people, in six months, who joined 4 million others around the globe to petition the world’s most powerful leaders to make trade work for the poor at the last WTO summit.
The Cotton Trade Campaign in Zambia will involve the mobilisation of one million people leading up to the Global Week of Action on trade falling next year between 10-16 April 2005. This global initiative is being spearheaded by the Trade Justice Movement worldwide to eliminate poverty.
The ODCMT’s Campaign and Advocacy programme is being supported by Hivos’ Southern Africa regional office based in Harare. Hivos is an international non-governmental organisation whose headquarters is based in the Netherlands.
Debating FGM (1)
Let me take this opportunity to add my voice to those opposed to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). I have read with great care the debate and/or exchange between Doreen Lwanga and Faiza Jama Mohammed regarding FGM, and my observations are presented below.
Ms. Lwanga quoted the language of Article 5 relating to the vis: 'Elimination of Harmful Practices', defined in Article 1(g) as ".. all behaviour, attitudes and/or practices which negatively affect the fundamental rights of women and girls, such as their right to life, health, dignity, education and physical integrity." She maintained, "What is not clear [to her] is what forms of Female Genital Mutilation (or cutting) fall under this category as 'harmful'?". For cry not loud, couldn't Ms. Lwanga realize that the operative words are "harmful practices" and "Female Genital Mutilation"? Clearly and in the context of the contentious article:
a) HARMFUL: This means damaging, injurious, destructive, detrimental, hurtful, unsafe etc. To that extent, the Article would not bar practices that don't fit in any of the above. However, for the practice to be protected it ought to be so demonstrably antithetical "harmful" and ought to be backed by empirical evidence as opposed to emotional submissions and/or attachment thereto.
b) MUTILATION: this refers to disfigurement, defacement, damage, marring, injury, maiming etc. I was disturbed by Ms. Lwanga's using mutilation and transformation interchangeably when she stated, "In different African cultures, there are different forms of female genital transformation, some of which have never been harmful to the girl child or woman".
Whereas "transformation" may not be harmful, mutilation is definitely harmful. The equivalent of transformation is merely "makeover", "alteration", "renovation" none of which connote "disfigurement", "injury" etc.
When she states: "I do not want to sound pretentious that there are no incidences where the FGM practices have produced harmful results, however, that does not make the norm harmful by itself. Malpractice could occur because of using an unsterilised instrument, conduct in uncertain locations for fear of subjective law enforcers and/or just like any other accident happens. The results may become harmful such as bleeding profusely, genital injury or death, although that does not make the norm harmful. Thus, there is a need to emphasise that there is a difference between a 'norm' and a 'practice'."
Well, whereas we have an admission as to the harmful nature of female genital mutilation, with all due respect to her sincere contribution, our friend did not offer any safe alternative. Had she advocated for legalized monitored "transformation", which I don't doubt would provide a solution, such would have offered us food for thought, but she did not.
Art. 17 of the Protocol promotes "'Positive Cultural Context". This, she says, she does not understand and wonders how it relates to the cultural rights of women as human beings. She, understandably, is opposed to any society moving to codify people's cultural practices and label them "harmful", and vehemently asserts that it is wrong to assume that you can take a "broad brush" of one group (anti-FGM/C or pro-monogamous) and sweep away the aspirations and traditions. What she missed though is that when the language of the article provides for "'Positive Cultural Context" it implies that the contemplated laws must put into consideration its contextual environment. I submit that if this approach is adopted it would not amount to "a broad brush" per se.
Assuming that the impact of such Protocol would "criminalize women's cultural lives", which is not true, but so argued by Lwanga, the effect, if the law is contextually tailored, would in essence be reflective of peoples aspirations to transform society for the better. There are societies where children (little boys and girls who have not had their monthly periods yet) are sacrificed to the "gods." To those who believe in cleansing society of its curses by offering these innocent children it is "good practice" and a "virtue".
However, all common law jurisdictions classify this as murder. Can these people present any compelling argument in their defence? I think not! To that extent mutilation cannot be defended as a virtue whatsoever, and does not add value to the value or integrity of a woman. I shall not discuss the right of a woman to choose because Faiza Jama Mohammed already responded to that.
However, my question is what is the validity of a little girl's "consent" amid cultural pressure to be "a woman"? Lwanga cited examples where mothers may be forced to sneak out of cities and take their daughters for genital mutilation! These are the desires of the mothers and not of the daughters. Often times, mothers desire that their daughters walk the "cultural journeys" which they themselves walked because they are still slaves of their past! What is disturbing is Lwanga's statement that such protocol would "deny them a chance of becoming women". Gender is not defined by mutilation but by natural endowment.
Africa's dilemma is not its uneducated and/or illiterate population but rather her highly revered elite who, notwithstanding their western exposure, continuously labour to strike a balance between "intellectualism" and/or "enlightenment" vis-à-vis cultural preservation. Whereas we may be tempted to resist "undue western influence" we should keep in mind that we have a duty to re-evaluate our cultures and rid them of vices, especially those that tend to suggest that you are not a full human being unless and until your genitals are mutilated.
Lastly, my apologies go to my sister Lwanga if my tone was harsh, because such must have been unintentional. Nonetheless, I can assure you that I was refuting the ideas in the article and not rejecting the wonderful individual who has actually ignited a healthy debate.
Debating FGM (2)
In balancing the space for women rights and the space for respecting cultural practices Doreen Lwanga may not be entirely wrong in arguing for 'legislation aimed at protecting women's rights should also include the right to practice a certain culture, even if that might include FGM'. It is an accommodation of the right for cultural space. Is that so wrong? As cultures change and evolve, hopefully FGM will be left behind in time. My only concern in legislating against FGM is the criminalisation of our elders who wholly believe that it is an 'unharmful' cultural practice.
If two leading feminist activists who have the time and the brain power cannot arrive at a consensus on how we balance 'rights and culture' what hope is there for us lay women who want to believe and do the right thing, but at the same time do not want to disrespect our cultural practices.
My Grandmother without, the benefit of western education, rejected this piece of culture, so my mother was not done. My mother in turn rejected this piece of culture and I thankfully was spared. I have not had a daughter, but I do have a son, and he had to be circumcised in line with the cultural wish of the family. Was I wrong? Should I be criminalised (if for arguments sake male circumcision is outlawed)?
Debating FGM (3)
The ongoing debate on what has been called female genital mutilation is not only entertaining but also worrisome, especially reading the comments by Lwanga and Mohammed, two women activists who purport to be talking for women, but from two almost extreme sides.
Let me give a general comment on what the two have said from an outsiders perspective. Firstly, the discussion is about to get out of hand and if these two ladies were talking on a one to one (face to face) basis, we may need to call the fire brigade, so bring the fire down. This is because the import of emotions expressed by the two particularly Mohammed, are not only unhealthy for women's empowerment, but also questionable. Forgive me for saying that the two are trying to defend their positions in the name of women. For Lwanga, it should be understood that her arguments are scholarly, from an academician, but nonetheless impractical as the analogies she uses are grossly wanting. But as a scholar she is entitled to that for scholarship is about argument that leads to more and more debate that may lead to generation of knowledge over time.
For Mohammed she is an NGO executive, indeed a lobby group that would like to problematise every thing about women to get the much needed funding to continue eating. For me, eradication of FGM is not a basic need for women for it adds no extra food on their table, but education is. Why cant these organisations focus on the education of girls and put more funds there without concentrating on issues that won't add food on women's tables.
Debating FGM (4)
Female Genital Mutilation is a human rights violation that cannot be justified in the name of culture. I beg to differ that celebrating African womanhood entails continuing to perpetuate practices that are used to subjugate women. Celebrating African womanhood means that we should embrace wholeheartedly African cultural norms that uplift women and they are many, but at the same time, we cannot defend human rights violations using the tool of culture.
FGM violates a woman's womanhood, the very essence, the very vital part of her that makes her a woman. If we African women continue to think in these terms, whom do we expect to defend and advocate for our rights? It is tragic to hear such sentiments supporting FGM echoed by one who is obviously learned. Culture is a constantly evolving and changing thing and is actually determined by the people who practice it. For instance, wife inheritance was the norm in many societies but with the HIV/AIDS pandemic, societal norms have had to take cognisance of this and the practice is slowly dying away. Therefore to advocate for a practice like FGM in any of its forms given the attendant medical complications is quite unrealistic.
There are many alternative ways of passing education about being a woman to our children without resorting to mutilating them. Which form if any of FGM serves a purpose except to subjugate a woman's sexuality? The practices and norms that shape the rubric of a people's interaction are their culture. Culture evolves as society evolves. We have come too far in striving for the rights of African women to allow sentiments such as those advocating for FGM to drag us back.
Mining: Social and Environmental Impacts
World Rainforest Movement
It seems as if our lives our based on a series of deeply-ingrained myths that together function in a way that sets us on a path to serve power and in turn replicate the system that produces us. Often myths like old wives tales or those contained in children's stories are harmless, but the problem with the myths of capitalist society as we know it is that they hide the price that other people pay so that only a few can live a life that sets out to completely obliterate the future.
Mining is one such myth. In the capital cities of the world, the end products of mining are displayed in all the glitz and glamour appropriate for those who can afford to indulge the luxury of adorning their bodies with gold and diamonds. This is to say nothing of fashionable mobile phones which could not be made without the mining of coltan or the tank-like four by fours that housewives use to scoot to the shops, which could not function without the mining of oil. The list is endless, but the point is that in schools, universities and society at large mining is presented as a bastion of the economy and is symbolic of wealth and development.
Rarely does the human cost of mining surface into mainstream discourse and even where it does it is explained away as a necessary evil or, as in the case of reparations claims for past abuses, historic indiscretions which have since been rectified by a caring and humane industry. This makes possible, for example, reparations claims being incorporated into mainstream discourse without causing too much of a stir. Somehow the fact that survivors of asbestos mining who have collectively hacked their lungs out in violent coughing or even just slowly suffocated to death in the interests of shareholder profit does not result in a realisation of the horrible price that mining exacts.
Even if some development benefits are conceded to the mining industry, human society has paid a bloody price in the name of the mining industry and it continues to do so. The only consolation is that the difference between mining 50 years ago and mining today is that the myth is no longer as strong as it used to be because it has become obvious that the resources that mining relies on are finite and that therefore the entire endeavour is inherently unsustainable. And with that realisation comes a broader understanding that society, as social commentator George Monbiot has explained it, has all along been "borrowing from the future to pay for the present".
Mining: Social and Environmental Impacts, published by the World Rainforest Movement, sets out to highlight the "depredatory activities" associated with mining and to show that these activities are unsustainable not only because they exploit non-renewable resources but also because they leave behind them destruction of the environment and society, which is often irreversible.
Ricardo Carrere, World Rainforest Movement international coordinator, writes in his introduction that the hope is for the book to serve as a tool to support local struggles against mining, to generate awareness on the issue and to strengthen campaigns against mining ending in the destruction and degradation of wider forest areas and of local livelihoods and cultures.
The book covers Africa, Asia, Central America and Oceania and its value is that it brings together the impact of mining across a wide range of countries, thus making it possible to see the systematic way in which rights have been violated and the environment destroyed. The section on Africa, which covers the Central African Republic, DRC, Core d'Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, is particularly useful.
All too often coverage of the impacts of mining and the complicity of industry players and international financial institutions in human and environmental degradation tends to focus on mega-projects, like the Chad/Cameroon oil pipeline or the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. When problems are identified it is easy for them to be explained away as exceptions or again, necessary indulgences in the interests of a greater concept of "human development". The value of this book is that it shows just how widespread mining abuses actually are and in so doing makes a small contribution towards breaking down the myth that mining is a global good, perpetrated for the benefit of all.
* For copies contact firstname.lastname@example.org
* Reviewed by Patrick Burnett, Fahamu
* Africa: Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa: Ratification process update
During an International Conference on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) hosted by the Kenyan Government in Nairobi during 16-18 September 2004, several statements were made by government representatives in support of the ratification of the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa.
The Kenyan President stated that his country will ratify the Protocol and reliable sources have indicated that the proposal for ratification is currently with the Cabinet.
The Tanzanian Deputy Minister for Community Development, Women's Affairs and Children, Hon. Shamim P. Khan, stated that her country has started the process of ratification and that the Protocol will soon be tabled for consideration by the Parliament.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Rebecca Kadaga and her delegation which included the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Affairs, Hon. Bakoko Bakoru Zoe, and a couple of Parliamentarians (Hon. Gertrude Kulany and Hon. Dora Byamukama) committed to convening a meeting for discussion with their colleagues with a view to starting the ratification process.
The Minister for Social Action and National Solidarity from Burkina Faso, Mme Lamizana Mariam, also confirmed that her country has started the ratification process.
The Minister for Labour and Human Welfare from Eritrea, Mrs. Askalu Menkerios, also committed to work on her country's signing and ratification of the Protocol as soon as she returned home.
STOP PRESS STOP PRESS: Le Sénégal a ratifié le Protocole à la CADHP relatif aux Droits de la Femme ! As we go to press, we learn that Senegal has ratified the protocol, making it the fifth country to ratify!
Africa/Global: Gender and development, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 6 - 14 October 2004
The Seventh African Regional Conference on Women (Beijing+10) will be held in parallel with the Fourth African Development Forum (ADF IV) on Governance, 6-15 October 2004 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Beijing+10 fits within the global evaluation framework for assessing progress achieved after 10 years of implementing the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action on Women (BPFA). These two conferences mark an important step towards achieving gender equality and equity in Africa through national and regional action.
Africa: Better lives for women and the MDG's
Increasing girls' access to education and improving women health are two important targets set by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). But the simple inclusion of gender in the MDGs should not lead to the assumption that gender issues are now central to development policy and that inequalities will be adequately addressed. Changes in institutional practices, greater monetary investments and creating more opportunities for women - are all needed to make these goals a reality.
Africa: Preparations for the fourth anniversary of UN resolution 1325: 6 weeks to go
On the fourth anniversary of the adoption of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda Resolution 1325, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom have dedicated each week of October to a women, peace and security theme during which UN, governmental and NGO events will be held to coincide with that particular theme. Please refer to the online calendar, which will be available shortly on Peace Women's 4th Anniversary index at: http://www.peacewomen.org/un/4thAnniversary/4thAnniversaryindex.html
Burkina Faso: Burkina Faso jails woman for circumcising girls
A court in Burkina Faso has sentenced a woman to the maximum term of three years in jail for carrying out genital mutilation on 16 girls aged between 2 and 10, court officials said on September 22nd. Campaigners trying to end female circumcision, which is widespread in many African countries, welcomed the sentence and said they hoped it would act as a deterrent to others.
Kenya/Global: Conference in Kenya pushes for global ban on female mutilation
An international conference to press for the eradication of female genital mutilation in Africa and around the world took place in Kenya from 16-18 September. A testimony from a thirteen-year-old Kenyan girl was especially shocking as she described what it is like to be forcibly circumcised at the age of 11 to ambassadors, activists, health workers, policy-makers and other guests.
Kenya: FGM victims call for justice
Equality Now press statement
While the Kenyan government was hosting an international conference on female genital mutilation (FGM) in Nairobi between 16-18 September, two Kenyan sisters mutilated two weeks before were calling for justice in their case. Santeyian and Dorcas Keiwua, 16 and 14 years old, respectively, were cut on August 28, 2004 in their home in Orkiriaine at Lolonga Division of Narok District.
For immediate release New York: Lakshmi Anantnarayan: 212-586-0906
September 17, 2004 Nairobi: Faiza Mohamed: (254) 20- 2719-913
TWO MAASAI GIRLS IN KENYA FORCED TO UNDERGO GENITAL MUTILATION
EQUALITY NOW URGES KENYAN AUTHORITIES TO HOLD PERPETRATORS ACCOUNTABLE
September 17, 2004 – While the Kenyan government is hosting an international conference on female genital mutilation (FGM) in Nairobi this week, two Kenyan sisters mutilated two weeks ago are calling for justice in their case. Santeyian and Dorcas Keiwua, 16 and 14 years old, respectively, were cut on August 28, 2004 in their home in Orkiriaine at Lolonga Division of Narok District.
When relatives first threatened her with genital mutilation in 2001, Santeyian Keiwua escaped from her home and reported the matter to the District Officer. She was sent to boarding school. Afraid to return home during summer vacations for fear of being cut, she spent the summers of 2001 and 2002 at the Tasaru Girls Rescue Centre. The Centre sent Santeyian home in April 2003, after reconciling with her mother, who undertook not to subject her or her sister, Dorcas, to genital mutilation. Santeyian continued to attend boarding school and visited home during holidays. On the morning of August 28, 2004, while their mother was away, Santeyian and Dorcas were awakened by their brother, who told them they were going to be circumcised. Although they tried to resist, Santeyian and Dorcas were threatened and beaten. Santeyian was tied down and cut by a circumciser with the assistance of their brother and six neighbors.
Immediately upon her return, Santeyian’s and Dorcas’ mother rushed her daughters to a hospital and reported the case to the District Officer. Two of the women who helped hold the girls down during the cutting were arrested the same day and later released on bail. The others, including the girls’ brother, ran away and have not yet been caught. Santeyian and Dorcas remained in hospital for nine days. They are now staying at the Tasaru Girls Rescue Centre because they fear they will be forced into marriage if they return home.
Agnes Pareyio, founder and director of the Tasaru Centre, called on the Kenyan authorities to take action. “I urge Kenyan authorities to be proactive and arrest all of the people who circumcised the Keiwua sisters,” she said. “The government should use this case to demonstrate that such blatant violations of Kenya’s anti-FGM law will not be tolerated.” Equality Now Africa Regional Director Faiza Jama Mohamed joined this call for justice, noting the need for systematic enforcement of the law. “The anti-FGM law on the books is clearly not enough to deter the continuing genital mutilation of girls. If this practice is to end,” she said, “it is absolutely essential for Kenyan authorities to enforce the law strictly by bringing all perpetrators to justice in all reported FGM cases.” Equality Now has written to Kenyan authorities, including the District Commissioner, urging them to follow-up on the case and arrest all the perpetrators.
Although Kenya passed a law prohibiting FGM in 2001, Kenyan authorities have been slow to respond to the resistance to end FGM, despite grassroots efforts around the country to stop the practice. In August 2004, the Tasaru Girls Rescue Centre organized an alternative rite of passage in Melelo, a 10-15 minute drive from the home of the Keiwua sisters. And despite much activism in the West Pokot district, in August alone, more than 100 schoolgirls were subjected to FGM there. In June 2004, Equality Now convened the first international meeting of ex-circumcisers in Nairobi, highlighting pan-African grassroots efforts to end FGM. The Tasaru Girls Rescue Centre is a grantee of Equality Now’s Fund for Grassroots Activism to End FGM.
Equality Now is an international human rights organization that works to protect and promote the civil, political, economic and social rights of girls and women. Equality Now’s Women’s Action Network is comprised of more than 32,000 organizations and individuals in more than 160 countries. For more information, please visit www.equalitynow.org
Zimbabwe: Women march against the NGO bill
About 50 members of the rights group, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), have embarked on a 440 km march to Harare, to protest a proposed bill that will require all NGOs to register with a government-appointed regulatory council and disclose details of their programmes and funding. The proposed legislation also seeks to ban foreign NGOs concerned principally with "issues of governance", and deny registration to NGOs receiving foreign funding for "promotion and protection of human rights and political governance issues".
**Diego Garcia: Fighting for the right to return
Louis Olivier Bancoult
They call the US military base at Diego Garcia the "footprint of freedom." The base is strategically located in the Indian Ocean, where its naval fleet and B-52, B-2, and B-1 bombers have recently been used to attack Iraq and Afghanistan. The US Government and the UK Government that controls Diego Garcia and the rest of the surrounding Chagos Archipelago have called the base crucial to the war on terrorism and to fighting for the human rights of Iraqis.
But for almost 40 years these nations who are supposed to be the champions of human rights have been violating human rights in their own backyard-and they have been doing it against the UK's own people. Between 1965 and 1973, the U.K. and U.S. governments forcibly removed the people of Diego Garcia and the rest of the Chagos Archipelago from our native lands, dumping us in poverty with no resettlement planning almost 2,000 km away in Mauritius and Seychelles.
We are called Chagossians and for more than five generations we had been living in Diego Garcia and the rest of Chagos, working and enjoying lives of peace and happiness. We are the citizens of what the UK calls the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), but unlike other peoples, we have no right to live in our homelands.
Our nightmare began when the UK Government decided to lease our motherland to the US to build a base on Diego Garcia. The US paid the U.K. $14 million to create the BIOT in Chagos (in violation of two UN resolutions) and to remove us from our homelands. With dirty tricks, deportations, and the extermination of all our pet dogs in front of our eyes, we were exiled to foreign lands.
In Mauritius and Seychelles we have found lives of poverty and misery. We live in the poorest regions and face many difficulties including unemployment, poor health and education, dangerous housing conditions, drug and alcohol abuse, and prostitution. Meanwhile the US has spent billions of dollars to build the base on Diego. They even employ Mauritians, Filipinos, Sri Lankans, and others on the base, but never any Chagossians. While foreigners live and work and enjoy our beautiful islands, we are trapped in exile, prevented even from visiting our islands to pay respects to our ancestors' graves. (Now we learn with sadness that the US Government may be secretly and illegally detaining prisoners on our island as well.)
The UK Government collects millions of pounds sterling each year in fishing rights for the bountiful waters that we once fished. With its other overseas territories, like the Falklands, St. Helena, and the Isle of Man, the UK provides abundant financial and educational opportunities and other social benefits. We as the descendants of slaves from Africa are forgotten and ignored, left to live with no assistance as Britain's forgotten people.
For decades we have struggled to regain our rights through demonstrations, hunger strikes, arrests, and jailings. In 1998, we initiated legal proceedings against the UK Government to challenge the legislation that denied us access to Chagos. On 3 November 2000, the High Court in London delivered a landmark ruling in our favour, giving us the right to return to our islands. On the strength of this ruling, in 2001, we lodged claims against the UK and US governments for compensation as a result of their wrongdoings and to rebuild our society in Chagos to allow our return.
In 2003, the British High Court said that we have been "treated shamefully by successive UK governments," but ruled against us. In June 2004, the British Government made matters worse by shockingly announcing the Queen's enactment of two royal orders in council overturning our 2000 victory and our right to return to Chagos. With the help of lawyers and supporters in Europe, Mauritius, and the United States, we are now contesting the orders in UK court and launching new suits against the UK in European courts.
All that we ask for is to be treated as human beings, to be given our fundamental human right to live in our native lands, to put an end to our discrimination. Unfortunately the great protectors of human rights have not yet been able to see that to be uprooted from one's homeland and one's way of life and to be left in impoverished exile is a denial of a people's fundamental rights.
Maybe the UK and US governments will pay more attention to the definition of "Crimes against Humanity," found in Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: "'Crime against humanity' means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread of systematic attack directed against any civilian population a) Murder, b) Extermination, c) Enslavement, d) Deportation or forcible transfer of population."
We hope that international courts in Europe will soon consider this question, to judge once and for all if the treatment the Chagossians have received has been lawful, and whether we deserve the right to return to our native lands and reparations for the wrongs we have suffered.
* Louis Olivier Bancoult is Chairman of the Chagos Refugees Group
* Please send comments to email@example.com
Global: Ringing Peace Bell, Annan calls on world to bridge ethnic and religious divide
Secretary-General Kofi Annan rang the Peace Bell at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 21 September 2004, marking the annual International Day of Peace with a call to the world to do a better job to strengthen collective security, tackle grave humanitarian emergencies, promote true global development and foster greater tolerance. Mr. Annan declared, "Today, let the sound of this bell inspire us in our work towards those goals. Let the call of the bell ring loud, clear and true around the world."
Global: The ICC and the role of ngos in prosecuting of war criminals
Human Rights Watch has recently come out with a new publication, "The International Criminal Court: How Nongovernmental Organizations Can Contribute To The Prosecution Of War Criminals" (September 2004), written by Juliane Kippenberg, NGO Liaison in the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, and Pascale Kambale, Counsel in Human Rights Watch's International Justice Program. In addition to answering frequently asked questions about the ICC, this guide also offers specifics on how NGOs can contribute to the ICC's work of prosecuting war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide at the international level, including sections on "The Interaction between NGOs and the Court" and "NGO Assistance to Victims and Witnesses".
Nigeria: Sharia used in Nigeria politics
When Sharia criminal law was first introduced in Nigeria, it was very popular with many Muslims hoping it would deliver an improved justice system. However, an 111-page report by Human Rights Watch outlines how the law has contributed to many human rights abuses and how it has been used by many northern Nigerian governors to gain political advantage. To read the full report, go to: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2004/nigeria0904/
Rwanda: Rwanda suspects boycott trials
Dozens of suspected masterminds of Rwanda's 1994 genocide are boycotting their trials at a U.N. tribunal to protest plans to move future proceedings to Kigali, defense lawyers said on September 21st. Forty-three of the 67 detainees at the court in the Tanzanian town of Arusha began the protest on September 20th, fearing they could face the death penalty if cases are transferred to Rwanda's legal system. Observers say the U.N. is unwilling to use force to comply the defendants to attend their trials.
Sudan: UN rights officials in Darfur assess how to protect civilians from abuse
High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour and the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Juan Méndez, have arrived in the strife-torn Darfur region of Sudan to examine how to shield helpless civilians from further militia attacks. They have visited camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and talked to African Union (AU) monitors in North Darfur, to get their feedback for future recommendations.
Burundi: Congolese refugees in Burundi demand to go home
Hundreds of Congolese refugees in Burundi refused to move to a U.N. camp deeper inside the country and said they wanted to return home after surviving a massacre last month. The U.N High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) planned to move the first group of refugees from temporary transit centres on the border with Congo to a safer site inside Burundi following an ethnic massacre.
Kenya/Burundi: Massacre survivors fear returning to Burundi
The killing remains vivid in their minds. And the deep scars on their bodies will for a long time remind them of the slaughter of their compatriots at a refugee camp in the tiny central African nation of Burundi. These are the survivors of the Aug. 13 massacre at Gatumba refugee camp, about 20 kilometres from Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi.
Libya/Somalia: Perils of Somali migrants in Libya
Libya has started expelling hundreds of Somalis that had tried and failed to reach Europe. Those on board the first flight have been talking about their ordeals in Libyan prisons and the dangers they faced as they tried to make it to a better life overseas. Mogadishu human rights groups estimate that nearly 2,000 Somalis have either drowned in the Red and Mediterranean seas or disappeared into the long desert between Sudan and Libya over the past six years.
Libya: UN criticizes Libya for deportation of potential Eritrean refugees
The U.N. refugee agency Tuesday criticized Libya for its deportation of Eritreans last month, calling it a "severe violation" of African and international rules of protection. "UNHCR is concerned over the ongoing forcible return of potential refugees from Libya," said Ron Redmond, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "It also raises concerns over the intentions of the Libyan government to ensure minimum standards of treatment for persons who might be in need of international protection."
Somalia: Hundreds flee violence near Kismayo
Some 500 people fleeing factional fighting near the southern Somali port city of Kismayo crossed the border into Kenya at the end of last week and are now living with local communities on the Kenyan side of the frontier, a spokesman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said. Most of the Somalis came from the village of Dhobley, not far from the border, and entered Kenya through the border town of Liboi.
Sudan: 'Killers' guarding Sudan refugees
Arab militiamen responsible for atrocities in Sudan's Darfur region are now guarding camps for the displaced, a UN official has been told by refugees. According to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, refugees in different camps in North Darfur have told her that the militiamen have been recycled into Sudan's police force.
Sudan: Fighting in Darfur blocks access to refugees
Fighting between the Sudanese army and rebels in Darfur does not allow aid agencies to access the region in order to assess the needs of the displaced people, the United Nations says. A UN report stated that "Due to clashes ... an interagency team was not able to commence assessment of villages in Tawilla rural areas." It added that clashes were in North Darfur, about 70 km (45 miles) west of the capital El-Fasher. The UN estimates that 1.5 million people have been displaced as a result of the fighting in Darfur, which it calls the "world’s worst humanitarian crisis."
Africa: Civil society implication in electoral processes
Since the early 90s, when democracy began spreading around the continent, electoral processes have been the most critical moments in African countries' political life. Although some African States or political parties have been able to manage these in a satisfying way, what we observe today in a number of democracies should make us more careful, and have us consider the means to develop a more democratic culture of electoral processes and political change on the continent.
Kenya: LDP walk-out could lead to elections
Calls on the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to quit the ruling coalition could lead to an early General Election, as the LDP has 68 MPs out of the 132 Narc MPs - leaving other parties in the coalition with 64. The LDP has already announced a new slogan, Rainbow Fagilia (Rainbow sweep), and a thumbs-up salute as its symbol - contrasting with Narc's two-finger V salute - and has established its Rainbow House headquarters in Nairobi's Lavington area, in readiness for the 2007 General Election.
Mugabe slams 'political God Bush'
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has accused US leader George W Bush of behaving as though he is God, with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair his prophet. He said the US and the UK were "raining bombs and hell-fire on innocent Iraqis, purportedly in the name of democracy."
Swaziland: Swazis discuss new Constitution
Thousands of people gathered in the small kingdom of Swaziland on September 21st for the first public talks on the country's long-awaited new Constitution. Swaziland was expected to adopt the Constitution before the end of the month, but pro-democracy groups have said the document - which has been in the making since 1996 - did not curb the powers of King Mswati III, but rather strengthened his hold on the poor southern African nation.
Zimbabwe: WiPSU statement on the delimitation commission
Women in Politics Support Unit (WiPSU) is disappointed by the Delimitation Commission set by President Mugabe which is being entrusted with the responsibility of defining constituency boundaries in preparation of the upcoming elections in 2005. The work of the commission is extremely important as it will define which geographic boundaries determine constituencies, which has an effect on electoral reforms in Zimbabwe and the underrepresentation of women in politics.
Of the current 16 women MPs 13 are elected constituency representatives, 4 urban and 9 rural. We have seen that the rural constituencies have a wide geographic coverage making it a challenge for the MP to make regular visits to different parts of her constituency. The urban constituencies on the other hand have large numbers of constituents who need to be serviced by the MP. The pathetically low numbers of constituencies with women representatives should not and can not be allowed to go any lower certainly not through the work of the delimitation commission. Losing out on the current constituencies would adversely affect women's representation as the current women MPs have been currently carrying out work in their constituencies and through their efforts are deemed favourably candidates.
We are concerned that Government has not seriously considered the concerns that have been continuously raised about our electoral systems of which Government has conceded need to be ratified hence talks of electoral reforms. While the Constitution of Zimbabwe gives President Mugabe the go ahead in appointing this commission, we believe the issue of the delimitation commission should have waited until the bill on electoral reforms soon to be introduced in Parliament was discussed. Civil Society through the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has been advocating for the setting up of an Independent Electoral Commission, which would oversee all functions and processes of elections including the delimitation of constituencies. The setting up of the commission by Government implies that the proposed and much talked about electoral reforms are not as sincere as the public has been led to believe by the Ruling Party and Government.
We are disturbed by President Mugabe's commission that is extremely gender blind. Currently elections are a highly sensitive issue to all Zimbabweans and all Zimbabweans want to ensure that their interests are represented in ALL electoral processes. This commission has not even one woman. President Mugabe cannot say he failed to find 2 capable women to serve on the
4-member committee. Zimbabwe needs to Africanise and in Africa through the AU we have agreed that all decision-making bodies and public bodies will have a 50% gender balance. We expect the President to ratify this anomaly immediately by appointing at least 2 more commissioners who are women.
We want free and fair elections. There needs to be absolute transparency and accountability in all processes that have to do with elections especially the 2005 ones. They are shrouded with much controversy and expectation from different sectors of the country and regional/international communities. As women of Zimbabwe, fair elections are ones that ensure we are a part of the organs processing and making decisions on elections, fair elections are ones that enable women to vote free from intimidation, violence, vote buying conditions and free elections are ones that enable us to participate as candidates with no limitations, no hindrances and no inhibitions.
Director Women in Politics Support Unit
103 Selous Avenue Harare, ZIMBABWE tel# 263-4-251426-8 fax# 263-4-725241 mobile# 263-91-300-190 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe party warns of mass action on poll reform
Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it may launch mass protests to press President Robert Mugabe to enact voting reforms ensuring free and fair parliamentary elections next year. Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, is accused by critics of a harsh political crackdown as Zimbabwe spins into economic crisis, partly due to the government's seizure of white-owned farms to give to landless blacks.
Côte d'Ivoire/France: Soldiers accused of stealing
A dozen French soldiers on mission in Ivory Coast have been placed under investigation for allegedly stealing tens of thousands worth of euros in funds from a bank they were guarding in the west African country. The soldiers, part of France's 4, 000-strong Licorne force in the divided former colony, went before the Armed Forces Tribunal in Paris and were placed under investigation - a step short of being charged - for robbery and receiving stolen goods, the officials said.
Kenya: Law Society Kenya move to cut links with government
There is more to the resignation of Law Society Chairman Ahmednasir Abdullahi from the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) Advisory Board than meets the eye. Ostensibly, Mr Abdullahi resigned from the board because he was unimpressed by "President Kibaki's blatant and casual breaking of the law" in his refusal to confirm Dr Julius Rotich as a director of the commission. However, it seems that the greater significance of his resignation is that it signals a break in the cosy ties that the LSK and civil society as a whole have been seen to enjoy with the Narc government.
Nigeria/Global: Govt blacklists US oil firm, Halliburton
The Nigerian Federal Government has blacklisted an oil service company linked to the current United States Vice President Dick Cheney, Halliburton Energy Services Nigeria Limited (HENSL), based on negligent conduct. The company is currently facing a probe over alleged fraudulent deals in Nigeria and Iraq. It has also been indicted over the loss of two ionizing radioactive materials from Nigeria in 2002 and lack of co-operation with the Federal Government in ensuring the return of the materials to the country.
South Africa: The Democratic Alliance hits out at 'legal bribery' of floor-crossing
The Democratic Alliance (DA) accused the African National Congress of trying to lure a number of DA councillors with offers of financial inducements, positions, additional perks and privileges, during the 15-day floor-crossing period. So far, about 10 instances of bribery from around the country have been reported. However, ongoing reports suggest the scale of enticements might be much larger.
Zimbabwe: IMF blames govt policies for economic failure
According to a report conducted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), "inappropriate" policies, corruption and the government's human rights record have contributed to Zimbabwe's continued economic decline. However, Anti-corruption and Anti-monopolies Programme Minister Didymus Mutasa told IRIN that, as far as he was concerned, the government had made substantial strides in addressing the issue of corruption.
Zimbabwe: Mugabe and his cronies living large at the expense of the masses, says Sokwanele
For ordinary Zimbabweans in the high-density suburb of Mbare, life is unbearable because of the dilapidated state of the housing units where residential flats are no longer suitable for human habitation. However, at the other end of the spectrum, are the likes of Robert Mugabe and Phillip Chiyangwa, whose wealth has been accumulated at the expense of the suffering masses. It is estimated that one half of the cost of the Mugabe mansion would be sufficient to refurbish all the dilapidated flats in Mbare.
Africa/Global: Missing the MDG targets
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) look unlikely to be fulfilled. Current rates of progress in improving incomes, health and education across the world are too slow. Under-investment in basic social services by national governments and inadequate support from the international agencies has hampered advancements. Research from the United Nations Development Programme argues that the MDGs are all feasible and affordable but governments and international bodies need to spend more money if they are to be achieved.
South Africa: Thlolego Development Programme (TDP)
The programme hosts eco-design workshops that train local people and international students together in a knowledge-sharing process. The programme organisers believe that the key to rural poverty alleviation lies in the provision of acceptable housing, access to water and sanitation, creation of local economies, and the development of sustainable livelihoods, preferably based on indigenous knowledge systems and eco-efficient practices.
Swaziland: A White Elephant for Those Jumbo Jets?
King Mswati the Third has announced that construction on the proposed Millennium Airport was to go ahead in his country, against recommendations by the International Monetary Fund that everything should be done to cut non-essential spending in the impoverished nation. Swazi officials insist there is a need for a new international airport capable of accommodating aircraft that are large – and likely to get even bigger over time. However, no business plan has ever been publicly presented to show how the investment would earn a return.
Tanzania: France writes off Tanzania's $139m debt
According to outgoing French Ambassador to Tanzania, Jean Francois Lionnet, France has cancelled Tanzania's debt of Euro 116 million ($139m) as part of debt relief to the country. In an exclusive interview as his four-year tour of duty comes to an end, Ambassador Lionnet said the main part of the debt, Euro 89 million would simply be written off and the balance converted into additional development programmes, specifically targeting primary education.
Zambia: World bank launches east project
The World Bank has launched a four-year Country Assistance Strategy Assistance (CAS) in Eastern Province. Through the programme, the bank identifies development programmes it plans to assist with, and relays information to its shareholders for their diagnosis, financial and technical assistance. Within the new CAS programme, the Government is expected to discard the stop-gap economic policy reform process which resulted in structural and implementation hurdles experienced in the past.
Africa: New Strategy for Tracking the Epidemic
In June 2004 the World Health Organisation and UNAIDS released a policy statement that cautiously endorsed a new approach to HIV testing in hopes of increasing the number of people worldwide who know their status. While the two organisations emphasise that all testing still needs consent, should be confidential and offered with appropriate counseling, they now say a variety of approaches to testing should be embraced, in addition to voluntary counseling and testing.
Africa: RAFT project for Francophone Africa
The Riseau en Afrique Francophone pour la Tilimidecine (Telemedicine Network in French-speaking Africa or RAFT) project is a telemedicine network aimed at creating a multinational South-South network for telemedicine linking healthcare institutions in Francophone African countries. The project provides assistance to culturally adapt online medical content while training medical librarians to improve the quality and accessibility of medical information over the internet.
Africa: Saving lives through combination treatment
Expanding access to tuberculosis treatment, combined with introducing HIV testing and anti-retroviral (ARV) delivery into TB programmes, could save the lives of as many as 500 000 Africans living with HIV every year and is one of the most cost-effective ways to ensure the survival of HIV-positive people, according to international health experts meeting this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Africa: States, AIDS Experts Test Boundaries of HIV Testing
As treatments become more available, particularly in developing countries, the line between a patient's health status and right to privacy is beginning to shift. More than 2 million Africans died of AIDS last year and 3 million others were newly infected with the virus that causes the disease, yet it is estimated that in most African countries fewer than 10% of the population know their status. Testing for the human immuno-deficiency virus is one of the thorniest aspects of a health debate fraught with human rights implications.
Botswana: Main referral hospital facing crisis
A major hospital in Botswana is struggling to cope with the mounting pressure of staff and resource shortages, the HIV/AIDS crisis and a high rate of road accidents. The Princess Marina hospital was initially meant to be a referral facility for districts south of the capital, Gaborone, but has evolved into a national referral centre due to the lack of specialised units in the rest of the country.
CAR: Boost for anti-malaria efforts in remote province
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and the Central African Republic (CAR) have embarked on a two-year project to provide low cost malaria treatment in the remote eastern province of Haut Mbomou, boosting countrywide efforts to fight the killer disease. "Now we have [the] necessary means to fight malaria in Haut Mbomou," Dr Daniel-Florent Dignito, the head of medical services in the province, told IRIN on September 21st. "The new low cost treatment of malaria in Haut Mbomou is aimed at assisting the deprived population."
Ethiopia: Donors launch $123 mln health support for Ethiopia
The U.N. Children's Fund and the World Food Programme on Tuesday launched a $123 million programme to reduce the mortality rate of children in Ethiopia, one of the world's poorest countries. "The Canadian-funded three-year programme will increase access to health care and supplementary food to benefit six million children in seven regions of Ethiopia during the three year period," a statement issued by UNICEF and WFP said.
Nigeria: Most Nigerians don't believe in AIDS
Chairman of the National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA), Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, has revealed that while 90 percent of Nigerians know about AIDS, only about 20 per cent of the country's 140 million population believe in its reality. Osotimehin noted the importance of the endemic in different sectors, saying it was not merely a health issue but a development phenomenon. The HIV/AIDS prevalence in Nigeria is at five per cent.
Nigeria: National response review
The Federal Government of Nigeria through the National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA) and partners is planning to jointly review the National Response to HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and also develop a new 5-year Strategic Framework to guide the National Response. This will require the cooperation of all organizations and institutions that have done any intervention in HIV/AIDS in Nigeria to send all available documents to the Directorate for Policy, Strategy & Communication, in NACA.
The Federal Government of Nigeria through the National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA) and partners is planning to jointly review the National Response to HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and also develop a new 5year Strategic Framework to guide the National Response.
The key outputs from the process are
1. A National Situation Analysis Report for the Country
2. A new five years Strategic Framework for Nigeria
3. Strengthened coordination mechanisms at all levels The desire is to produce a new National Strategic Framework that will be a tool responsive to national, regional and international changes and provide the required vision to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. To achieve this in the limited time, we all have jointly set will require enormous technical and financial support from all. The National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA) and its partners recognize that there are several institutions and organizations within the National Response that have or are executing world class interventions and making a lot of difference. In order to effectively review, report, capture and reflect on best practices and lessons learnt from all interventions executed within the National Response in the last four years, I wish to request all existing documentations.
Specifically, I wish to request for documents that capture the variety, spread and depth of interventions undertaken by various stakeholders. These documents could be in the any format such as reports, studies & researches etc. This collation will form an invaluable component of the review process and ensure that the outcome of the process is a true reflection of the National response that guarantees that the new Strategic framework is evidence-based. In light of the above, and the constraint of time I wish to invite all organizations and institutions that have done any intervention in HIV/AIDS in Nigeria to send all available documents to the Directorate for Policy, Strategy & Communication, in NACA or electronically to:
firstname.lastname@example.org on or before Monday 11th of October 2004. We will appreciate documents that are limited to interventions undertaken within the last four years (2001-2004). The list of desired document could include but is limited to the following:
1. Periodic Project Reports
2. Studies on any aspect of HIV/AIDS
3. Researches in/around the issues of HIV/AIDS
4. Analysis/Comparative studies etc executed within the last four years.
All such documents will be acknowledged and credits for lessons learnt and best practices captured will be accorded to the rightful organizations.
Alex Ogundipe Director, Policy Strategy & Communication National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA)
Africa/Global: US Approves N28bn for Education in Africa
The United States government has approved the sum of N28 billion ($200) million dollars to encourage educational development in Africa even after the US-sponsored Educational for Development and Democracy Initiative (EDDI) handed over five community resource centers in Nigeria.
Africa: Using ICTs for teacher education in the global South
48 teachers in 24 primary schools in and around Cairo, Egypt and the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa followed professional development programmes to integrate a range of ICT-enhanced activities into their teaching of literacy, numeracy and science, supported through workshops and school visits, a range of multimedia resources, as well as through a web environment.
Ethiopia: Interactive radio instruction for Somalis (IRIS) project
To overcome obstacles associated with educating Ethiopia's pastoralist children, the Education Development Center is building the capacity of Somali educators and technicians to produce and broadcast interactive radio instruction programmes that deliver official curriculum in reading, basic math, and life skills. Students participate through question-and-answer sessions, drama, and songs.
Niger: Niger school crisis, some children begging for education
It's back to school in most of West Africa, but in one of the region's poorest and most Islamic countries, Niger, the secular public school system is in a state of paralysis, so more and more children are going to Islamic schools instead. Many impoverished children are forced to go begging to pay for their education.
Nigeria: Nigeria, World Bank meet on education development
During a meeting with World Bank officials, Nigerian Education Minister Fabian Osuji outlined his expectations of the World Bank to be more proactive in its support to education. He explained that education was a vital tool for national development, especially in areas of poverty eradication, improvement in health, economic empowerment and job creation. Nigeria's universal basic education (UBE) program is an ambitious one, as it is compulsory and free.
France/Morocco: Moroccans in France call for 'immediate action' to stop racist acts against Maghrebans in Corsica
The National Council of Moroccans in France (CNMF) has urged French authorities to "act immediately" to put an end to racist acts targeting the Maghreban community in Corsica, notably Moroccans. This call was made after a man of Moroccan origin was shot dead September 17th by two individuals, and the car belonging to a Moroccan national was blown up in Bastia. The two incidents occurred following a series of attacks against the interests of the Moroccan and Maghreban community in the French Island.
South Africa: State funeral for white voice of anti-apartheid
South Africa on Saturday bid farewell to Beyers Naude, a rare white voice against the apartheid system of racial segregation. In a state funeral broadcast live on television and radio, speakers black and white praised Naude, an Afrikaner man of the cloth cut from a different material of many fellow churchmen who saw racial hierarchy in South Africa as ordained by God.
**Nigeria: Either legal or illegal, commercial logging in Cross River State forest must be banned
Even though Nigeria's forests are only some ten percent of the size they were just two decades ago, they still provide an incredibly rich and diverse habitat. From the tropical highlands to the lowland rainforest, from the plateau grasslands to the savanna, from the swamps to the mangrove forests.
The forests of Cross River State in southeastern Nigeria are the last remaining rainforests in Nigeria and are home to 2,400 native forest communities comprising 1.5 million people, the highest primate diversity on the planet --including the world's most endangered gorillas--, and an estimated 20 percent of the world's butterfly species. For global logging companies, Nigerian forests appear to be an easy target. Environmental regulations in the country are rarely enforced, and many officials in the recently ousted Abacha dictatorship were notoriously corrupt --more interested in personal gain than in the protection of Nigeria's natural resources.
Hong Kong-based Western Metal Products Company (WEMPCO) is one of the most destructive companies operating in the region (see also http://www.wrm.org.uy/countries/Nigeria/Odey.html) Although they own the rights to log in some areas of Cross River State, WEMPCO flaunts regulations and logs illegally in the forest buffer zone surrounding the Cross River National Park, not only threatening to decimate the forest's magnificent hardwoods, but also endangering the livelihoods of Cross River State's forest communities.
Logging has significantly reduced animal habitat, shrinking the animal populations that serve as a traditional source of protein in Cross River State. The bushmeat that was once plentiful is now scarce. The plundering of trees which provide shelter has left whole areas without windbreakers or sufficient trees to check the devastating rainstorms. Thus, the roofs of houses are often blown off by the slightest rainstorm.
Since 1996, environmental and human rights groups across the world have been campaigning against the destructive logging activities of WEMPCO which has operated in Cross River State since 1992, illegally harvesting and exporting the state's forest resources, inciting and inflicting violence and threatening those who have spoken out against their activities.
Prior to doing business in Cross River State, WEMPCO was kicked out of Nigerian Ogun State, for the same flagrancies of forest management policies and laws.
Indeed, the threats to the rainforest continue. The Nigerian government commissioned in 2003 the operation of WEMPCO's wood processing factory and approved a new 540 square mile logging concession located on the river upstream from many forest communities and the national park. The logging concessions will devastate the remaining forest in the buffer zones surrounding the national park. The mill's voracious appetite has the capacity to process twice the amount of wood legally designated by the concessions, sending the company looking for more hardwood in nearby Cameroon. By-products of WEMPCO's hardwood processing mill threaten to pollute the water sources of two million tribal people and threaten the habitat of the endangered gorilla and many other rare primate species.
Now, the NGO Coalition for the Environment and its members, including 2003 Goldman Prize Winner Mr. Odigha Odigha, Mr. Odey Oyama of Rainforest Resource Development Centre and Mr. Oronto Douglas of Environmental Rights Action, which has been actively opposing WEMPCO's logging activities, has something to celebrate. The Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke, has recently approved the closure of the WEMPCO wood-processing factory and the immediate cessation of the company's forest-related activities due to what it described as unwholesome activities contrary to the earlier agreement reached with the company.
However, the great menace of an unsustainable global log trade pervades the whole logging activity, either legal or illegal. That is why West Africa Rainforest Network continues pushing for a ban on all commercial logging for the next 12 months.
* SOURCE: World Rainforest Movement B U L L E T I N 86 September 2004, E-Mail: email@example.com, Web page: http://www.wrm.org.uy Article based on information from: "West Africa Rainforest Network", http://www.earthisland.org/warn/ ; "Odigha Odigha", http://www.goldmanprize.org/recipients/recipientProfile.cfm?recipientID=124
Chad: A Frenchman who can see water beneath the Sahara
Out here in the sandy moonscape of eastern Chad, you don't expect to see a diminutive Frenchman marching around, muttering, and staring at his global-positioning device. But Alain Gachet has come here to outdo generations of witch doctors, water diviners, and PhDs. He aims to pinpoint, with scientific certainty, the right places to dig the costly wells that pull precious water from beneath the sand. About 200,000 refugees have fled to Chad from Sudan's violent Darfur region. They each need four gallons of water a day.
DRC: The battle for DRC's wildlife
In addition to DRC's shaky peace, her five World Heritage site national parks and their wildlife and unique ecosystems remain endangered. Although donors at a Unesco conference in Paris have just pledged $40m to protect DR Congo's natural heritage, conservationists on the ground have become victims of attacks by hundreds of roaming armed men who operate in the park's vast territory.
Namibia: Anthrax spreads to Caprivi
At least 11 wild animals, all elephant and buffalo, have died of anthrax in the eastern Caprivi region of Namibia. Sacky Namugongo, deputy director of parks and wildlife management in the environment and tourism ministry, said seven dead elephants and four dead buffaloes were tested on Saturday and Sunday and found to have had anthrax symptoms. The carcasses were found in the areas between Masikili and Kasika in the Caprivi strip and residents have been urged not to eat the meat.
Namibia: UN Praises Namibia
The United Nations has praised Namibia's efforts to fight desertification in the country by involving communities in the proper use of natural resources. Executive secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, Hama Arba Diallo, says Namibia has made great strides in the fight against desertification and its experiences could help other Southern African countries.
South Africa: In Southern Africa, too many elephants
The overpopulation of elephants in parks throughout southern Africa has reached a crisis stage, most conservationists agree, and South Africa soon will consider whether to cull its herds. It would be the first culling on the continent in a decade. Proponents say it is necessary because the elephants are fast destroying valuable woodlands in many parks, including some 2,000-year-old thick-trunked baobabs.
Kenya: A glimmer of hope for the Ogiek
About 20,000 Ogiek live in the Mau Forest in Kenya's Rift Valley province, and also in Mount Elgon Forest in the western part of the country. Authorities sought to remove the Ogiek from their ancestral lands, on the grounds that the community was responsible for environmental degradation. Many viewed this as an attempt to provide land to members of the neighbouring Nandi community in a bid to gain support for government.
South Africa: Zanzibar's descendants to get land in Durban
A R9-million housing development will soon be unveiled to cater for an estimated 5, 000 descendants of former Zanzibar slaves in KwaZulu-Natal. The Zanzibaris, one of the smallest minority groups in the province, were forcefully removed from King's Rest in Bluff, south of Durban and taken to Chatsworth in 1961 as part of the apartheid government's land policies.
Southern Africa: SA, Zimbabwe warned to hasten land reform
In its latest report, the International Crisis Group has warned that if SA and Zimbabwe do not take concrete steps to tackle land reform issues, racial tensions and poverty could rise in the region. The report said that while events in Zimbabwe were unlikely to be replicated in SA soon, it was clear that countries in the region were burdened with chronic land problems that were frustrating attempts to promote economic development and eradicate poverty.
DRC: Fragile Freedom
After Rwandan-backed rebels led an insurrection in the eastern city of Bukavu, the government in the DRC issued three directives restricting news coverage, authorities imprisoned four journalists, and attackers allegedly led by an army officer severely beat another journalists. These new attacks on the DRC press are explored in "Fragile Freedom," a special report by Julia Crawford, the Committee to Protect Journalists' (CPJ) Africa program coordinator. The report, is based on a two-week mission to the central African nation, more than 20 interviews, and a visit with the imprisoned journalists.
Eritrea: Eritrea is Africa's biggest prison for the press
Eritrea has been in an extended news blackout since September 2001 when the government closed the privately-owned newspapers and imprisoned the leading journalists. On the eve of the third anniversary since the round-up of journalists and the elimination of the independent press in Eritrea, Reporters Without Borders renewed its call to the authorities to free the detained journalists and let the privately-owned media resume working so that Africa's youngest nation may cease to also be the continent's biggest prison for the press.
Rwanda: RSF calls for release of journalist Dominique Makeli, held for 10 years
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has urged the authorities to free Radio Rwanda journalist Dominique Makeli, who has been held for 10 years in various Rwandan jails without ever appearing in court. Arrested on 18 September 1994, Makeli is currently being held in Kigali central prison. "On the 10th anniversary of Makeli's arrest, we believe his release would send a strong signal of good faith if the Rwandan government wants to be able continue proclaiming its support for press freedom," the organisation added.
Zambia: Community radio reporter detained
On September 1 2004, Mazuba Mwiinga, a reporter working for the Catholic-owned community radio station Radio Chikuni, was detained by local police in what appears to be a case of settling personal scores. Mwiinga told the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia Chapter that he was detained from approximately 15h30 hours on September 1, 2004, till 08h30 the following day on a fabricated charge of "telling falsehoods against the police". Such a charge does not exist in the Penal Code.
Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe court drops paper case
A year after the privately-owned Daily News newspaper was shut down by police, suspecting that they were publishing the paper illegally, a Zimbabwean court has dropped the charges against four of the newspaper directors. The publication will stay off the news-stands pending a decision by the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the media legislation which compels all journalists and newspapers to be accredited by a government-appointed media commission.
Africa/Global: WHO's revised drinking water guidelines
The World Health Organization (WHO) has updated their Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality (GDWQ) which will help pre-empt drinking water contamination. These guidelines will help regulators and water service providers the world over maintain and improve the quality of their drinking water, which could reduce the outbreak of water-borne diseases.
Liberia: Concern Mounts Over LNTG's Failure To provide Services
The first meeting of the power sharing transitional government convened on September 20, 2004 with participants expressing serious concerns about the limited capacity of the government to deliver basic services to Liberians. While Liberia has made remarkable progress towards peace, there is still a lack of adequate funding for the reintegration and rehabilitation of ex-combatants, as well as for the return of refugees and the resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Mozambique: Leader from Mozambique speaks at World Leaders Forum
As the opening speaker of the World Leaders Forum, President Joaquim Alberto Chissano of the Republic of Mozambique discussed his government's efforts to end poverty and called on the international community to help end injustice. In his second address at Columbia University, Chissano, who is also chairman of the African Union, discussed the great strides his country has made toward eradicating poverty by "creating conditions for poverty reduction."
South Africa: Are preschoolers getting their due?
A decade after the advent of democracy in South Africa, and the citizens continue to spend up to 17 dollars a day on prisoners, every day of the year, while babies and toddlers who attend formally-registered preschools get a direct subsidy from the Department of Social Development which averages out at just under 70 cents for every one of the country’s 195 school days.
South Africa: Nzimande, Vavi rail against inequities at Sactwu congress
Blade Nzimande, the secretary-general of the SA Communist Party (SACP), told the ninth congress of the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (Sactwu) that the black economic empowerment (BEE) was not empowering workers, but enriching the few. In the midst of increasing working-class struggles over casualisation of the workforce, outsourcing and the continuing jobless bloodbath, he encouraged an audit of BEE in order to ensure that it was in fact creating more jobs, the fundamental criterion of black empowerment.
Zimbabwe: Zim mayor 'lied' about food
Zimbabwe's information minister has accused the mayor of Bulawayo of lying about food shortages in the second largest city, where independent media have recently reported that scores of people have been dying of hunger. President Robert Mugabe has shut out food aid saying it should be given to more deserving countries.
Africa/Global: 12 year battle with the UN
To learn more about the seldom-publicized legal battle for massive reparations for all Afro-Descendants in the Western Hemisphere, visit the All for Reparations and Emancipation website.
Africa/Global: Rita Marley pays a visit to the chairperson of the AU commission
Rita Marley, the widow of the famous Jamaican Singer, Bob Marley, paid a visit to the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, H.E. Alpha Oumar Konaré to inform him of the "Africa Unite" Initiative launched by the Bob Marley Foundation, with the support of the Ethiopian Government and Friends of Bob Marley, to commemorate the 60th birthday of Bob Marley.
Rita Marley, the widow of the famous Jamaican Singer, Bob Marley, today paid a visit to the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, H.E. Alpha Oumar Konaré.
Mrs Marley came to inform the Chairperson of the "Africa Unite" Initiative launched by the Bob Marley Foundation, with the support of the Ethiopian Government and Friends of Bob Marley, to commemorate the 60th birthday of Bob Marley.
The "Africa Unite" Initiative will take place in Addis Ababa, in February 2005. The one-month commemoration will include many events such as musical concerts by famous black musicians, art exhibitions and symposia on Panafricanism and the relations between Africa and the Diaspora.
While accepting Mrs Marley’s request that the African Union be a partner in the commemoration, the Chairperson made the following statement: "Madam, your presence here is not a matter of chance. It is rather due to the work of your husband who has built a bridge between Africa and the Diaspora. His message based on the Unity of Africa and his struggle to promote values such as freedom and justice is today duly reflected in the African Union. We can give to Bob Marley only part of what he has given us".
The level of participation of the Commission of the African Union to the commemoration will be determined after consultations with the organizers of "Africa Unite".
Africa/Global: The dilemma of raising children abroad
For many African parents, raising their children abroad (particularly the U.S), is a very daunting and challenging task. The reasons are many, including the culture of the society, which gives enormous powers to the child. Torn between two cultures, African parents are therefore in a dilemma as to where to raise their children. And many believe that there is no substitute for education anchored on traditional African values.
Can Black Studies programs survive?
In the 1970s, the University of Minnesota's History of African Peoples course had the largest enrollment of any other course like it in the country. "That program today is on life support," said John Wright, assistant professor in the department of African American Studies. "It appears that fewer Black students are encouraged to consider it [African American Studies] as a career option, despite the reality that there are solid professional careers in higher education," he said.
Côte d’Ivoire: Another year of stalemate in the peace process
Two years after the outbreak of civil war, Cote d'Ivoire remains partitioned and unstable. Although there has been no relapse into full-scale fighting, none of the underlying causes of the conflict have been resolved. Diplomats and political analysts worry that the fragile tribal and political divisions could be easily threatened in a presidential election environment. Time after time peace accord deadlines are extended and broken, making the country's prospects for peace very limited.
Somalia: Somalis lament fresh violence on Peace Day
Fresh fighting in Somalia, the only country without a central government, cast a shadow over an anti-war rally by Somali politicians on the 21st of September for International Peace Day. Hundreds of Somalis have fled to Kenya this month to escape violence in the volatile south of the country stirred by warring militias battling for control of the port of Kismayo. "It is a pity to see there are some people who don't believe that the state of fighting is over," Joseph Nyaga, Kenya's assistant minister of East African and Regional Cooperation, told the rally.
Sudan: This wolf is real
In the tale of the boy who cried wolf, it was the boy himself who suffered the consequences of his actions. This time, it’s two million people in Darfur, writes Salih Booker, executive director of Africa Action. Writing in Foreign Policy in Focus, Booker says the role that the United States played in crying wolf about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has a direct impact on the current humanitarian crisis in Sudan. "It will be the cruellest irony and the greatest tragedy if the people of Darfur cannot count on the international community to save them from genocide because the country that's the most outspoken against Khartoum is a country that lost its credibility because it cried wolf."
* The "G" Word: Genocide
Sudan: U.N. Darfur resolution a historic failure
The U.N. Security Council's new resolution on Sudan fails to provide protection for endangered civilians in the country's western Darfur region, Human Rights Watch said this week. Human Rights Watch criticized the resolution for failing to impose sanctions on the Sudanese government and for insufficiently expanding the international presence in Darfur to ensure the population's security.
(New York, September 18, 2004) The U.N. Security Council's new resolution on Sudan fails to provide protection for endangered civilians in the country's western Darfur region, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch criticized the resolution for failing to impose sanctions on the Sudanese government and for insufficiently expanding the international presence in Darfur to ensure the population's security. "The Security Council will be judged harshly by history," said Peter Takirambudde, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Africa Division. "The resolution on Darfur is a pitiful response to ongoing murder, rape and ethnic cleansing." Despite overwhelming evidence of the Sudanese government's direct and indirect participation in the killings and the violent displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians, and its repeated failure to disarm the Janjaweed militia, the Security Council's response fell far short of what is needed to end the atrocities in Darfur.
Human Rights Watch said that the Security Council should have imposed an oil embargo on the Sudanese government rather than just threaten to take action 'to affect Sudan's petroleum sector and the Government of Sudan or individual members of the Government of Sudan' in the event of further non-compliance with Security Council demands. By failing to impose an oil embargo on Sudan, the Security Council has ensured that the Sudanese government will have the resources necessary to continue its scorched-earth campaign in Darfur, Human Rights Watch said.
The Security Council also should have imposed an expanded arms embargo on the Sudanese government. By not expanding the arms embargo to include the government of Sudan, the Security Council has permitted the continued flow of arms to forces committing widespread atrocities.
The resolution approved the deployment of an expanded African Union monitoring force, but it remains an insufficient international presence to ensure the protection of civilians. The resolution also approved the establishment of an international commission of inquiry to establish accountability for human rights violations that have taken place. "Although the expanded monitoring force and the international commission of inquiry represent a step forward, the Security Council's response is more notable for what it did not do," Takirambudde said. "Most critically, the Security Council failed to name the Sudanese government as clearly responsible for continuing atrocities in Darfur."
Human Rights Watch was particularly critical of those governmentsAlgeria, China, Pakistan and Russiathat refused to support this lukewarm resolution. "It is inconceivable that while Darfur continues to burn, these four states can afford the luxury of abstaining even on this toothless resolution," said Takirambudde. For further information, please contact:
In Washington DC, Jemera Rone: +1-202-368-5414; In Toronto, Georgette Gagnon: +1-416-893-2709
Uganda: Kony declares ceasefire
The Lord's Resistance Army has declared an immediate and unconditional cease-fire with the UPDF. According to the LRA's Political Commissar and spokesman, Brigadier Sam Kolo, the LRA decision is in respect to Uganda's "political changes" towards a multiparty democracy. The UPDF however, is still in doubt as to whether a ceasefire is both believable and appropriate.
Uganda: What's going on in Northern Uganda?
Few horror stories rival the humanitarian crisis in northern Uganda, where a cult-like rebel group has been terrorising local people for a generation. It's a tale of astonishing suffering and massive displacement – and all taking place in a country hailed as one of Africa's development success stories. Yet northern Uganda's nightmare has been largely ignored by the international community, even as the humanitarian crisis in neighbouring Sudan generates hand-wringing worldwide and a steady flow of headlines.
Africa: eLocust, an improved desert locust monitoring and early warning system
This year's locust invasion is threatening to devastate crops throughout the Sahel and spark a food crisis in West Africa's worst locust plague in 15 years. Keith Cressman explains how the FAO's eLocust sytem – a palmtop computer, GPS device and HF radio equipment that run on a car battery - is helping to minimize the consequences for the region's farmers.
Kenya: Selling Kenyan e-government vision
On the weekend of September 2, 2004, a group of Kenyans in Toronto had the chance to meet with the e-government Kenyan delegation that was visiting Canada. Lead by the Hon Raphael Tuju, Minister for Information and Communications, the team was in Canada to explore ways and learn from experiences that would make it possible to implement the e-government strategy, which intends to enhance government efficiency, accountability and transparency.
On the weekend of September 2, 2004, a group of Kenyans in Toronto had the chance to meet with the e-government Kenyan delegation that was visiting Canada. Lead by the Hon Raphael Tuju, Minister for Information and Communications, the team was in Canada to explore ways and learn from experiences that would make it possible to implement the e-government strategy. The e-government strategy is intended to help ensure that the government meets its mandate. Using information & communication technologies (ICTs), the strategy intends to enhance government efficiency, accountability and transparency.
It is three-pronged: help government talk to itself, enhance government's interaction with mwananchi, and improve government services to the business community. Government Talking to Itself:- when implemented e-government would develop inter-ministerial communications through information sharing and collaboration. Today, one ministry could be having crucial information that others are in need of but not aware that it exists. In some cases, one ministry might even go out to collect exactly the same information that may be held by another ministry. Aside from increasing efficiency, e-government will also save costs of duplication. Government interaction with mwananchi:- It is hoped that e-government can boost the delivery of services to mwananchi. Consider the case of motor licensing. If this information were online, motorists wanting to renew licenses would be served much faster. Government hopes to open up service kiosks across the country for such government services. Long-term goal include application in policing, voting, traffic management and more. Government interaction with the business community:- Thirdly e-government will ensure that needed information is available where it is required for the people who need it. Reports suggest that overwhelming bureaucracies are a major impediment to business on the African continent. In Kenya, for instance, the business registration process is windy and consumes so much time that some investors choose to go elsewhere. The same can be said of the judicial system where files get misplaced and delay the execution of justice. Making information available in a timely manner will serve to reduce the bureaucratic nightmares many face in dealing with government.
Progress made so far include:
- Obtaining Cabinet's approval of the strategy;
- Creation of a cabinet committee to oversee the implementation;
- Establishment of permanent secretary-level committees to deal with institutional implementation;
- Embarking on a search for an IT Secretary (a PS-level appointment) to champion the implementation of the strategy.
The e-government strategy is an initiative that has been in the works for a while. So far, it captures the right thought processes; it is an idea whose time has come. Executed properly, the strategy has key elements of success such as proper political support at the right level in the power establishment. If it were to be implemented properly, it will bring substantial benefits to mwananchi, the business community and boost the image of government.
There will be challenges to meet the strategy's vision based on analysis of the current situation. For example, the team's audit indicated that there exist about 4000 computers in government, meaning there were 60 users to a computer! Moreover, considering that there is no periodic reviews to determine what is useful or not, there is likelihood of substantial obsolescence in IT equipment.
The issue of ICT is yet another area to address. It is reported that the team's audit found that ICT skills are generally lacking. Where they exists, these skills are not sharpened enough to cope with the anticipated task of realizing the strategy. Clearly, there exists no critical mass of qualified ICT personnel to sustain the meaningful ICT implementation in government. The team reports that their assessment found that less than 10% of the 200,000 (or more) government employees were e-literate. A massive skills training initiative will have to be undertaken to help meet the government's ICT objectives. Training objectives will focus on capacity building targeted at the design, implementation and operation of a reliable and secure ICT infrastructure.
Realizing the strategy's objectives will face further challenges such as the culture of the government workforce that has been brought up in an era when computers were a mystery to many. In order to realize the strategy's objectives, a massive cultural shift (almost of tectonic proportions) will need to happen. Others that need attention include the underlying infrastructure to support the strategy. Key among these is energy supply. Without reliable power, efficiency will be hard to achieve and the implementation will end up causing frustration and potentially work against the objective of efficiency. Joint efforts between the ministries of energy, and Information and Communications need to ensure that this matter is addressed.
The team did not mention the issue of funding. According to reports (see <http://www.e-lo-go.de/html/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=5827>) costs will be in the range of Kshs 3bn and ready for completion in 2010. Kshs 3bn is equivalent to 10% of the country's annual budget. The government has realized the value that ICTs can bring to delivering its services more efficiently, transparently and with accountability. It is a good first step and so far those charged with the task have done the right things to date. The hard part has yet to come and for a number of reasons.
The Kenya government's track record in project implementation is perhaps one of the worst in the community of nations. Past studies have pointed to the many white elephants that government projects become. That is history, though, taken from the record of the Kanu regime. Narc has promised to do things differently and hence the reason for engaging high-level and qualified expertise to run the current project. The systematic approach should help and implementation should be phased to ensure that implementers do not "bite more than the system can digest".
Further, implementers must consider concerns expressed by critics (see http://africa.rights.apc.org/newsletter.shtml?x=19018#2 who suggest that the plan is overly ambitious and not in line with national priorities. Matunda Nyanchama, an Information Security professional, is a past President of the Kenyan Community Abroad (KCA).
Copyright © Matunda Nyanchama, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Libya: Competition emerges in the Libyan mobile market as govt competes against itself
As Libya gradually loses its pariah status and slowly but surely returns to the bosom of the family of acceptable nations, changes are also afoot within the state-run Libyan economy. Money is being spent on the country's tired and overstretched telecoms infrastructure and Libya now has a new mobile phone network that has introduced a sort of competition into what was a massively overpriced and moribund sector. However, both the new 'Libyana', and the original 'Al Madar', are owned by the Libyan government.
Zambia: Zambia set to pass cybercrime law
An Internet crime bill in Zambia, which includes provisions that could see convicted hackers facing sentences of up to 25 years in jail, has caused some controversy in the country's IT community but is expected to become law soon.
Relief Web Job Vacancies
In addition to humanitarian updates, the Relief Web Site publishes updated job vacancies. To subscribe email firstname.lastname@example.org or submit request at http://www.reliefweb.int/vacancies/ Applications for positions should be sent directly to the organisation in question.
Africa: Small Grant Awards to Uganda
Deadline: 25 September 2004
Hope for African Children Initiative (HACI) and CORE Initiative this month released a Request for Application to nongovernmental, community, and faith-based organisations in Uganda that implement projects on the education of orphans and vulnerable children, and on improving household incomes. Twenty-four grants of up to $6,250 each will be awarded in three Districts of Uganda: Gulu, Lira and Katakwi.
Africa:Call for Applications: International Philanthropy Fellows
Deadline: 25 February 2005
The Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies, Center for Civil Society Studies is pleased to announce a call for applications for the International Fellows in Philanthropy Program for the 2004-2005 academic year. This programme based in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, affords an opportunity for advanced study, research, and training for up to eight participants each year who are involved in studying or managing private non-profit, or philanthropic organisations outside of the United States, or working as NGO liaisons in the public or commercial sectors.
Africa:Reebok Human Rights Award: Call for Nominees
Deadline: 31 December 2004
The Reebok Human Rights Award recognizes young activists who have made significant contributions to human rights causes through nonviolent means. To this end Reebok welcomes nominees for the "Reebok Human Rights Award."
South Africa: British Chevening Scholarships: Call for applications 2005/2006
Deadline: 15 October 2004
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office invites applications for post-graduate study in the United Kingdom (UK) under the British Chevening Scholarship scheme. The candidates will be committed to returning to South Africa on completion of their studies to contribute towards its socio-economic development.
Sub-Saharan Africa:Global Development Awards: Competition date extended
New Deadline: 12 October 2004
Submissions are now being extended for the Trade policies and Sub-Saharan Africa category of the 2004 Awards Competition: Japanese Award for Outstanding Research on Development, and the Medals for Research on Development. The five topics for the research medals competition relate to the theme, "Developed and developing worlds: mutual impact."
Africa/Global: 10th international women and health meeting
The International Women and Health Meeting (IWHM) has its roots in the
global women's movement and seeks to highlight politics, policies and issues that have adverse effect on women's health and simultaneously bring out the linkages and interconnections of these seemingly disparate phenomena. The deadline for submissions of write-ups/descriptions for paper presentation, cultural events, organization of workshops, symposia, etc, relating to the theme and objectives of the meeting is January 31, 2005.
Africa/Global: NEPAD youth expert panel
The objective of the NEPAD Youth Expert Panel is to support youth mainstreaming in the implementation of the NEPAD goals through the three tiers of the NEPAD implementation framework. The Panel will consist of one representative from each country selected through a process that is gender sensitive and with intellectual diversity as well as knowledge of the African development environment.
The NEPAD Youth Expert Panel is a project of the African Youth Leadership
Program, of the Centre for Development Action International.
The NEPAD program was created by African Heads of State and aimed at
fighting poverty, consolidating democracy and good governance, fostering
trade, investment, economic, growth and sustainability.
The objective of the Youth Panel is to first, support youth mainstreaming
in the implementation of the NEPAD goals through the three tiers of
the NEPAD implementation framework.
The panelists shall operate from national constituencies, and global
alliances to provide the services required by the broad implementation
institutions and mechanisms of the NEPAD Programme.
The Panel will consist of one representative from each country selected
through a process that is gender sensitive and with intellectual diversity
as well as knowledge of the African development environment.
Interested persons with the following background can request for an
- Articulate and if you are bilingual will be an added advantage
- Should not be more than 30 years of age
- References to an intellectual capacity or active developmental
All enquiry and request for application forms should be received latest
by 27th of September 2004 and attaching a Personal Profile.
The Project was conceptualized through an IIE grant of the Ford Foundation
Office for West Africa.
Application request should be addressed to the attention of:
Centre for Development Action International
12 Agboyin Avenue, Off Adelabu Street
Surulere, Lagos State, Nigeria
Africa/Global: The regional programme on human rights of women
Organised by The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Lund University, The Regional Programme on Human Rights of Women for participants from the Middle East and North Africa (the MENA-region) will be held in Lund, Sweden from 15 November - 10 December 2004. This four-week course aims to give participants an overview of international human rights law as it relates to women. Particular attention is paid to the recent emphasis on democratisation as the method of enhancing two of the pillars of human rights, namely accountability and empowerment.
Kenya/Global: An inter-faith perspective on globalisation for the common good
The 4th Annual International Conference on An Inter-faith Perspective on Globalisation will be held in Nairobi, Kericho and Mombasa, Kenya, from 18-28 April, 2005. Papers, panels, and roundtable submissions are invited from observers, commentators, academics and NGOs to address issues related to globalisation within identified themes of the conference by 15 November 2004. Please also note that the Conference is not only on Africa, but it is fully inclusive of other regions.
Senegal: Traditional healing and HIV/AIDS Conference postponed
The 4th International Conference & Exhibition on Traditional Medicine "Traditional Healing & HIV/AIDS" originally scheduled for October 4-6, 2004 in Dakar, Senegal, has now been postponed to April 11-13, 2005.
South Africa:Conference Invitation: Improving the impact of poverty eradication programmes in SA
Date: 28-29 September 2004
The National Labour and Economic Development Institute (NALEDI) extends an invitation to your organisation to attend a conference from 28 - 29 September 2004 on "Improving the Impact of Poverty Eradication Programmes in South Africa." Civil society organisations and trade unions have been allocated two delegates per organisation, while all other structures have been allocated one delegate
Chad: Qualified personnel to work with refugees in West Darfur
This organisation is recruiting people with experience in Community
Services, Education and Protection (specifically issues around sexual and Gender Based Violence). Candidates should have experience in relief & development, preferably working with UNHCR in a refugee camp context, and must be fluent French and/or Arabic.
International program officer (Africa specialist)
United States Institute for Peace
The incumbent will conceive, design and implement study projects relating to the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict in Africa. The work will entail research and writing for publication, organising workshops and conferences, and representing the Institute at pertinent meetings.
Kenya: Project manager
The African agricultural technology foundation (AATF)
The incumbent will be responsible for the day-to-day implementation of
AATF's project portfolio. Other responsibilities will include the monitoring and technical supervision of individual technology transfer projects and the preparation of progress reports.
Nigeria: Country Director
National democratic institute for international affairs
NDI is seeking to hire a Country Director to oversee the implementation of its legislative strengthening program in Nigeria. The Director will be based in Abuja and will serve as principal liaison with the donor community, representatives from the executive and legislative branch of the Nigerian government, local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the US Embassy.
Rwanda: HIV/AIDS Program Manager
Academy for Educational Development
The HIV/AIDS Program Manager will coordinate, manage and oversee the Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance's (FANTA) HIV/AIDS activities in Rwanda. The HIV/AIDS Program Manager will work with USAID/Kigali, the GOR, and their partners to design and implement technical support activities to strengthen nutritional care and support for HIV-infected individuals, management of nutritional implications of ART and links between HIV/AIDS services and food assistance programs.
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