Pambazuka News 307: Ethiopia: Democracy still in jail

A vital bridge linking Sierra Leone with Liberia - both recovering from civil wars - has officially re-opened. Relations between the countries have been strained as Liberia's ex-President Charles Taylor was accused of fuelling Sierra Leone's brutal conflict. It is hoped the Mano River bridge will increase trade and unite families living on the two sides of the border.

Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been named winner of the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. She beat five other contenders for the £30,000 women-only award, including Kiran Desai, shortlisted for her Booker Prize winner The Inheritance of Loss. Adichie's novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, is her second work and set during the Biafran War of the 1960s.

Malawian farmers have had a good year, enjoying their best maize harvest in 12 years or more. So why, in a year of "historic plenty", is Malawi yet again on the receiving end of food aid, asks Alex Renton in Britain's Observer newspaper. Malawi suffered food crises in 2002, 2003 and 2005. Last year it produced a 250,000-tonne surplus of maize, yet still received over 40,000 tonnes of food aid from the United States.

A London high court has frozen the assets of Zambia's former president Frederick Chiluba after he was convicted last month of stealing $46-million in state funds, according to court documents obtained by AFP on Tuesday. The Zambian government obtained an injunction to freeze Chiluba's assets in London in order to prevent the ailing Chiluba and 18 of his cohorts from disposing of their properties, according to the court order.

Various civil society groups in Nigeria have raised the need to look critically at available infrastructure in the African continent before a consensus is reached on the formation of an African Union Government or a United States of Africa.
This was raised at a recent one-day round table organized by ActionAid, Nigeria in Abuja.