Since the start of the Covid-19 health crisis, the global economy has been grounded in one quarter with a likely annual growth forecast of -3% in 2020, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In Europe, taboos are falling. On March 20, 2020, the European Commission announced an unprecedented suspension of budgetary discipline rules. Ongoing negotiations between heads of state and government over a new stimulus package to prevent economic disaster is estimated to be around €$1 trillion. The European Central Bank (ECB), for its part, in its will to do “everything necessary within the framework of its mandate to help the eurozone to overcome this crisis”, announced €$1 billion in massive assets buyouts in the financial markets throughout 2020.
The United States has responded to the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus with the largest economic relief programme in its history, at $3 trillion. At the same time, the US Federal Reserve (The Fed) has indicated its willingness to buy an essentially unlimited amount of public debt – a very aggressive programme of financial instruments buybacks by the end of 2020 of nearly $3 billion.
With regards to economic solutions adapted to Africa, I think there are essentially two challenges which need to be separated: first, that of mobilizing new resources to finance the response to the virus crisis; then the cancellation of Africa’s debt as part of a strategic partnership without undermining the attractiveness of the continent.
Consequently, I suggest that the IMF, in addition to the first aid package already distributed to some African states, should issue Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), to the tune of €114 billion, which corresponds to the needs of the African continent according to indications provided by the Managing Director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, to enable Africa – whose central banks do not have the same capacity to respond as those of China, the United States or the euro zone – address the negative impact of this health crisis as quickly as possible.
We will either triumph, or perish, together. Therefore, Africa cannot and should not be left on the margins of the various measures supported by central banks in Europe, the Americas or Asia. This IMF assistance, through the issuance of SDRs will be convertible with central banks such as the Fed, the ECB, the Central Bank of Japan and the Central Bank of China, determined to support African states to tackle this COVID-19 crisis. This support will allow the strengthening of the external assets of African central banks whose capacity in relation to their long-term commitment does not cover more than 4 to 5 months of imports.
The overall needs of the African continent can be assessed on the basis of regional economic communities and the use of resources must be done in strict compliance with the good governance prescribed by the African Peer Review Mechanism (MAEP).
These investment requirements relate to the modernisation of hospital infrastructure, precautionary measures, treatment, education and skills’ training of hospital staff, not to mention social protection for citizens, economic recovery, price stability and the reduction of unemployment.
With regards to the cancellation of Africa’s debt, the speed required to manage the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus cannot be hampered by issues that have always aroused the hesitation of the creditor states. While recognizing the correctness of this request and referring to the reluctance of the G20 to stick to the one-year moratoriums on the payment of debt service, I welcome the initiative of the African Union to set up a committee which, in addition to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, would give impetus to Africa’s request for debt cancellation.
In the 1990s, Africa already benefited from the HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) initiative with the cancellation of bilateral and multilateral debt. This initiative cast doubt on the solvency of the continent. This second request for cancellation would probably merit negotiations at three levels: at the level of multilateral institutions, at the level of States and at the level of the private sector.
If this request were to be taken into account, would it not raise some questions at the level of multilateral banks? A cancellation of their receivables will have an impact on their creditworthiness. At the state level, negotiations are possible but it is the same creditors who feed multilateral institutions. The question is whether a country like China, a member of the G20, is prepared to cancel its debt on the continent, which is 40% of Africa’s debt – and about $360 billion. Finally, in the private sector, there is the question of who will reimburse them?
These are obstacles that will take a long time while the treatment of this virus requires speedy action to be taken to contain the human and economic devastation. We will certainly end up with treatment on a case-by-case basis.
In conclusion, I suggest an emergency issuance of Special Drawing Rights for Africa by the IMF, which already involves the main contributors to IMF resources. Only genuinely united and globally coordinated management of this health crisis can save humanity. We are no longer at the stage of making promises. We must stop the mass deaths we witness on a daily basis and revive economic activities.
*Courtesy of Daily Trust.Dr Yayi is former President of the Republic of Benin, former Chairman in Office of West African Economic and Monetary Union, and former President of the African Union-AU
Presidents Kagame (Center) holding hands with President Nyusi of Mozambique (left) and Ossufo Momade of Renamo
President of Rwanda Paul Kagame said that dialogue and inclusion cannot be imposed from outside because that way cannot bear good results.
He was speaking this Tuesday during a Peace and Reconciliation accord signing ceremony between government of Mozambique and a rebel group Renamo.
The agreement came to end decades of hostility and war between two parties that saw more than million victims.
President Kagame who was among other dignitaries attended the event in Maputo, said this successful agreement shows potentials that lie among Africans themselves.
“This achievement matters to all of us in Africa. It shows that we can find solutions to our problems, no matter how protracted and difficult. Dialogue and inclusion cannot be imposed from outside. And once consensus is reached, it can only be sustained from Within”, he said
It is not the first time that Mozambique had an agreement with Renamo. The agreement was signed in 1992 and led to multi party elections of 1994 in which Renamo participated.
Agreement failed in 2013 when Renamo was accusing government forces to attack its base in central region.
Kagame said though the first agreement didn’t work, there is no loss into trying again.
“For the people of Mozambique, today brings the promise of an end to decades of conflict and uncertainty, and the renewal of national unity and cohesion. Even if previous efforts have not succeeded, it is never a waste to give a shot to peace one more time”, he added
More than five thousands Renamo rebels will be integrated into national Army, Police others will be reintegrated in society.
Talks between two parties come ahead of general elections in October in which Renamo will participate as a political party.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has boldly stated that the ‘Ghana beyond Aid’ mantra is not just a slogan but meant to propel us into the frame of mind that would quicken our pace of development.
The Ghanaian President delivering a speech during the 61st Independence Day Celebrations at the Black Star Square, stated that Ghana is not a poor country but a country blessed with immense natural resources adding that Ghanaians must be selfless and take advantage of the country’s natural resources to help transform the economy.
According to him, a ‘Ghana beyond Aid’ will not be achieved by merely talking but with the right attitudes and commitment from citizens, doing the right things and the willingness from all to see the country prosper and develop.
“My fellow Ghanaians, ours is a country that is well endowed with many natural resources such as gold, bauxite, diamonds, oil, timber, cocoa, water, fertile land etc. The truth, however, is that the state of our nation does not bear out that we have these natural endowments. Poverty continues to be our lot. We have huge infrastructural deficits.
“Mismanagement, corruption and high fiscal deficits have become the hallmarks of our economy, which we finance through borrowing and foreign aid. It is time to pursue a path to prosperity and self-respect for our nation. A Ghana Beyond Aid is a prosperous and self-confident Ghana that is in charge of its economic destiny. It is not a pie in the sky notion, other countries, including some of our peers at independence have done exactly that. It is doable and we must believe that what others, with less resources, have done, we can do.
“We are not going to achieve the transformation in our economy which is necessary for a Ghana Beyond Aid by just talking about it. We have to DO something about it! As a start, we have to do things differently. Business as usual will not do it. It cannot happen by waving a magic wand. And it cannot be achieved overnight. Indeed, the most rapid cases of economic and social transformation in history, those in South East Asia, generally spanned a period of about 30 years; about a generation. We cannot wait that long; we have wasted enough time already. We have to hurry but we must be realistic.
“To get to a Ghana Beyond Aid, we will have to effectively harness our own resources and creatively and efficiently deploy them for rapid economic and social transformation. This will require hard work, enterprise, creativity, and a consistent fight against corruption in public life. It will also require that we break from a mentality of dependency and adopt a confident can-do spirit, fuelled by love for our dear country, Ghana. We cannot subordinate the common good to build a prosperous nation to the selfish interest of a few.
“Ghana Beyond Aid is meant to be more than a slogan. It is meant to propel us into the frame of mind that would quicken our pace of development. It is meant to change our mindset from one of dependency to one of achieving our destiny. It is meant to put us in charge of our own affairs and make us truly independent.”
Photo: Emmelie Callewaert/Wikipedia Nuclear reactors in operation releasing hot steam as a side product (file photo).
Nuclear energy will bring profits and dividends to South Africa for thousands of years to come, said President Jacob Zuma in Parliament on Thursday.
He was responding to questions from MPs on government’s plans to continue pursuing a nuclear build programme despite a Western Cape High Court ruling that the process followed by government had been unlawful and unconstitutional.
Zuma repeated previous statements that government intends on procuring nuclear energy at a pace and scale that the country can afford as part of an energy mix.
He also came out in favour of nuclear energy as an income generator for South Africa. “It will bring a lot of money to the country. In any business there is capital that builds the business and then the business comes to a point where it breaks even,” Zuma said.
He said those who protest against nuclear energy must bear in mind what can be achieved with the nuclear energy generation. “If we have to follow the logic of the protestor, we won’t start any business in South Africa,” Zuma said.
“That is why we support it and are working on it. Those who protest say we want to create bombs with it (nuclear). But it will be used for peace purposes,” Zuma said.
Zuma also categorically denied that he or any family member has benefited from any nuclear-related transaction.
“I don’t know of any transaction. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I’ll say it now and I’ll say it in future.”
The President was responding to a comment from DA leader Mmusi Maimane telling Zuma that the truth about nuclear will surface one day.
“Corrupt matters emerge much later,” Maimaine said, citing the Nkandla matter as an example when Zuma was found to have unduly benefited from upgrades to his homestead.
“In the same way as Nkandla the truth about the nuclear deal will also emerge. It will come out.”
He asked Zuma to tell South Africa if he or any member of his family has received any payment related to nuclear procurement from any person, organisation or government agency, “including Russia”, related to nuclear procurement.
Zuma was resolute that he had never been found guilty of any wrongdoing regarding Nkandla.
“Nothing ever found that I was involved (with Nkandla). It was my house that was built. That’s all. You plant things that are not true,” he told Maimane.
President Museveni has sucked himself into the ongoing verbal rattling between liberals and conservatives over new US President Donald Trump’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, by penning a missive proposing a middle ground in the divisive international politics.
In the statement likely an attempt to endear himself to President Trump, whose policy outlook towards Africa has remained an enigma even after assuming office last month, President Museveni argues that against the backdrop of the widespread gap between the West versus East this is where Mr Trump comes in.
“He [Trump] says: ‘Why do we not examine the possibility of working with Russia against common threats, such as terrorism? The liberals then shout that Mr Trump must be having a secret agenda with Mr Putin,” President Museveni’s missive reads in part. “This is why we could think of looking into the possibility of talking about the Trump Therapy for strategic myopia and recklessness in the West.”
“Why can’t these countries of the West have a just and balanced attitude to the countries of the East that are growing in capability and getting millions of Peoples out of poverty?” he asks.
Almost one month into office, President Trump has been rebuked by the mostly liberal media in the US for his perceived [earlier] connections to Moscow, and this has been interpreted as likely to affect his administration’s bond with Moscow.
At all press conferences he has addressed, Mr Trump has accused the media of being biased towards his infant administration and publishing materials of his alleged involvement with Moscow being premised on fake intelligence fanned by certain individuals in Washington. President Trump’s first pick for national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned this week on Tuesday out of pressure after several exposés in the media that he lied about his earlier engagements with the Russian ambassador to the US.
President Museveni in the missive, extensively delved into West versus East divide, illustrating how Africa comes into the picture…
See missive below:
I have been either closely following or actively involved in World and African political events for the last 56 years. In those 56 years, I have noticed many happenings, behaviours, etc. One of the groups that I have observed with interest are the Western “Liberals”, “Leftists”, etc. In particular, I have noticed the confusion, ingratitude and, therefore, danger of these groups. Liberals are supposed to be people who are not conservative and hardliners in economic, political and social issues. Leftists are supposed to be progressive as far as the same issues are concerned. In order to keep this piece brief, I will not go into the history and details of Western Liberalism and Leftism. That should be for another day.
Suffice it to say that the freedom fighters from Africa, who have been fighting colonialism, neo-colonialism, slave trade and marginalization for the last 500 years, would have counted the Westerns Liberals and Leftists among our automatic allies because these should be people that should be fighting for freedom and justice for all peoples, including the formerly Colonized Peoples.
Instead, we notice confusion, ingratitude and, therefore, danger from these liberals and leftists. Let us start with the confusion. During the US campaign, I noticed President Trump using the words: “convergence rather than divergence”, while handling international affairs. That is exactly what the Western Liberals and Leftists should have been looking for. Instead, we would spend endless hours arguing with the Western Liberals on matters on which we cannot have convergence bearing in mind that our societies were still pre-capitalist and traditional while theirs have been industrial for centuries now. These are issues to do with family, forms of democracy, homo-sexuals, central planning versus economic liberalization, etc., etc. One had to control irritation to politely get through these meetings.
Yet matters of convergence were there and uncontested: fighting extremism and terrorism (narrow-mindedness and indiscriminate use of violence); modern education in natural sciences and social sciences; the emancipation of women; trade; democracy; etc. This is what, in brief, I regard as the confusion of the Western Liberals and Leftists. I do not want to say much on this because I want to get to the next two points and space is limited. Nevertheless, by the Western Liberals trying to impose all their views and values on everybody in the World, they generate not convergence but divergence and even conflict.
Owing to the confusion of these actors, it leads them to two other mistakes: ingratitude and, therefore, a danger to peace in the World. As colonized Peoples, the Africans were greatly assisted by two earth-shaking events in the last century: the October Communist Revolution of 1917 in the Soviet Union (Russia) and the Victory of the Communists in China in 1949. You should remember that by 1900, the whole of Africa had been colonized except for Ethiopia which Musolini would soon add on the list (in 1935). Colonized by whom? By the Western Countries (Britain, France, Portugal, Germany and Spain). The Communists, on the other hand, in both Russia and China, were totally opposed to Western Imperialism and were for de-colonization. They opposed Imperialism by word and action (support for the Liberation Movements)
The greed and flawed logic of the Western Imperialists soon led to two World Wars (the 1st and the second ─ 1914-18 and 1939 – 45). How? In 1453, the Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople (Istanbul) and, therefore, blocked the overland trade route opened by Marco-Polo in the years 1272 – 1275. The trade was mainly in silk and spices – very much in demand in Europe at that time. Now, the Ottoman Turks cut off this route.
The Europeans had, therefore, to look for sea routes either around the massive African Continent or through the unknown Western Oceans ─ the Atlantic and the Pacific. Frantic efforts by Western rulers to go by sea around Africa and over the Western Oceans, were soon rewarded. In 1492, Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba, discovering for the Europeans a new continent occupied by the American Indians. This new continent was North and South America. In 1498, Vasco Da Gama went around the Cape of Good Hope and spent the Christmas day at Natal. These two events should have been very beneficial to humanity if it was not for two weaknesses: the greed of the Europeans and the bankruptcy of the African Chiefs as well as the under-development of the indigenous Peoples of the Americans. The bankrupt African Chiefs would not organize us to resist slave trade and colonialism. In fact, many of them actually assisted both. Especially for Africa, both slave trade and colonialism would not have been possible, if it was not for the collaboration and bankruptcy of the African Chiefs. Owing to the social under-development of the Indigenous Americans (the American Indians), they were exterminated by “the Christians” from Europe, using war and disease.
It is an amazing miracle of God when I go to the UN and see the very American – Indian face of Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia. So, some American – Indians survived in sufficient numbers to generate a President from among themselves!! How great God is even in the face of evil!! I have never had a chance to talk to him. What language do these Indians speak? Do they still speak their indigenous languages? Therefore, in the four centuries between Columbus landing in Cuba and 1900, three most terrible things had happened to the non-European children of God: the indigenous People of the Americas had been exterminated and their land had been taken over by “the Christian” Europeans; millions of Africans had been up-rooted, taken into slavery in the Americas or perished in the process; and the whole of Africa (except for Ethiopia) and much of Asia had been colonized by European Countries (Britain, France, Spain, Holland, Portugal, etc.). The Europeans had polluted the efforts of the explorers that were looking for the sea routes to the East. Unlike Marco Polo who opened a trade route to the East for the flow of silk and spices, the Europeans now unleashed conquest, slave trade and even extermination on the People of the three continents: Africa, Asia and the Americas.
Nevertheless, the Colonized Peoples, initially betrayed by their bankrupt chiefs, were beginning to organize themselves. The ANC of South Africa was, indeed, founded in 1912. I attended their Centenary celebrations in Bloemfontein in 2012. In the USA, by around 1905, people like Du Bois, later on joined by George Padmore, started agitating for Pan-Africanist ideas. It is this re-invigorated resistance by the African and other colonized peoples that formed the first pillar of our ability to regain our freedom. Indeed, Mahtma Ghandi was also in South Africa as a young lawyer when this awakening was taking place.
It is at this stage that the 2nd pillar of our freedom took shape: the sparking of the inter-imperialist war of 1914-1918. What were these imperialists fighting for? They were fighting over us ─ we the Colonized Peoples ─ the property of the imperialists. The Germanic tribes inhabiting the forests of Northern Europe, had defied the Roman Empire and contributed to its decline and collapse in 450 AD. By 1870, these tribes were still governed under 39 Kingdoms, Principalities etc. On account of the growing Junker pressure in one of the Kingdoms, Prussia, a war took place between Prussia and France in 1870. France was defeated by Bismarck and the German Kingdoms were united. A United Germany now cried foul on account of being “cheated” by the other European countries in the enterprise of having “Colonial possessions” – i.e. us. Germany demanded a “fairer” redivision of the World Colonies. That is how Bismark organized the Congress of Berlin in 1884 – 85 to solve this “problem” ─ the problem of being “cheated” as far as we the “possessions” were concerned. That is how Germany now joined the League of the Imperialists by being awarded: Tanganyika, Rwanda, Burundi, Cameroon, Namibia, Togo, etc. It seems, however, that Germany was not happy with the redivision. That is how, eventually, the 1st World War broke out in 1914. The results of the 1st World War did not please Germany and Germany, now under Hitler, started the 2nd World War. The good thing was that the Imperialist Countries had been so weakened by their criminal wars, that the anti-colonial movement grew in strength. The Imperialists tried to re-establish control, but they were defeated in Indonesia, Indo-China, Kenya etc. This, therefore, was the second pillar that enabled our emancipation.
The third pillar was the emergence of Communists in the Soviet Union in 1917 and in China in 1949. These groups were anti-capitalist but also anti-colonialist. To the advantage of the Colonized Peoples, a big anti-imperialist camp had emerged by 1950. They opposed imperialism morally and also gave material support to the liberation Movements. Genuine freedom fighters in Africa can, therefore, never forget this history changing solidarity. When “Christian” countries from the West were enslaving us, these atheist communists supported our freedom and they never interfere in our affairs even today. These communists, especially the Soviet Union, did not only support our freedom, they also defended, at a great cost to themselves, the freedom of the imperialist countries themselves. Although the imperialist countries had intervened in the Soviet Union so as to defeat the new communist power, which efforts had failed between 1918 and 1920, by 1938, the pragmatic Stalin was calling on the West to form an Alliance with him to oppose German aggression. The Western leaders, on account of their narrow interests and myopia, refused. Soon Hitler attacked Poland and overrun it; he had gobbled up Czechoslovakia in March 1939. He overran the whole of Western Europe except for Britain and Sweden. Spain, Portugal and Italy were Hitler’s allies. Fortunately for the West and for us all, Hitler made the mistake of attacking the Soviet Union on the 22nd of June, 1941. It is the Soviet Union that defeated Hitler after alot of sacrifices with over 60 million people dead etc. Hitler, had to deploy 195 Army divisions against the Soviet Union compared to only 75 divisions in the West against the Western allies ─ the USA, Britain, France’s De-Gaulle, Canada, Australia, New-Zealand, South Africa, not forgetting the hundreds of thousands of African soldiers fighting for the Colonial Masters. The Western countries only opened the second front with the landings in Sicily in July 1943. This was after the defeat of the Germans by the Russians at Moscow (1941 – December), Stalingrad (1942-43) and Kursk (July, 1943).
It is this Soviet Union, that did not only support the freedom of us, the Colonized Peoples of the World, but saved the whole of humanity by defeating Hitler, that is ever the target of the ungrateful, confused and, therefore, dangerous groups in the West. These groups were against the Soviet Union after the October Revolution in 1917, throughout the inter-war period (1918 – 1939), during the Cold War and even after the Cold War. It is unfair, it is wrong and it is dangerous for World Peace. True, the Soviets made their own mistakes. Why did they occupy Western Europe after the defeat of Hitler? Would the mighty Red Army not have earned more admiration from the Peoples of the World if they had withdrawn from Eastern Europe in 1946 and left those People’s to shape their own destinies? They would not have, then, involved themselves in Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968 and there would have been no Berlin Wall. Why did Brezhnev invade Afghanistan in 1979? I was part of the massive anti-Soviet demonstration in Dar-es-salaam in 1968 following their invasion of Czechoslovakia. However, to me, who is not biased, those mistakes neither compare with the mistakes of the West, past and present, nor do they deem the great historic contributions of both the USSR and China to the cause of humanity in general and the African Peoples in particular.
The Soviet Union broke up to the wild acclamation of the groups in the West. They welcomed the break up but did not bother about the how. You, therefore, had residual and consequent issues to the break-up. If the old internal borders of the USSR were now to become the new international borders of Sovereign Countries that were successors to the old Russian Czarist Empire and the USSR, was it not necessary to discuss that phenomenon frankly and fairly? How about the mixed populations ─ Russian and Non-Russian? How were they to live thereafter? No, all that was none of the business of the Western governing circles. What was crucial was that the “enemy” was down. Moreover, all the positive contributions Russia made to global peace or can make now are of no consequence to these Western circles. Russia must submit to the dictates of the West. This is where the danger of these groups comes in. Russia is a very powerful country even after the break-up of the USSR. It is (17,021,900 km²) seventeen million square kilometers in land area ─ that is like almost combining the USA and China. The Communists developed Russian technology and it can develop more. To think that you can trample on Russia like they have been trampling on other unfortunate Peoples, is to be very reckless and dangerous to World peace. Yet there are so many issues on which all of us (Africa, the West, Russia, China, India, Brazil, etc.) agree: universal education; improved health; industrialization; freedom of Peoples; the emancipation of women; anti-terrorism; etc. Why not take advantage of these convergences? We who were colonized and brutalized by the Western Countries forgot and forgave those mistakes. Why can’t these countries of the West have a just and balanced attitude to the countries of the East that are growing in capability and getting millions of Peoples out of poverty?
This is where Mr. Trump comes in. He says: “Why do we not examine the possibility of working with Russia against common threats, such as terrorism?” The liberals then shout that Mr. Trump must be having a secret agenda with Mr. Putin etc. This is why we could think of looking into the possibility of talking about the Trump Therapy for strategic myopia and recklessness in the West.
King Mohammed VI of Morocco reviews a guard of honour at the National palace during his state visit to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Morocco rejoined the club of African states on Tuesday, 33 years after quitting over recognition of Western Sahara, bringing one of Africa’s largest economies into the fold and raising hopes of a softening of one of its thorniest territorial disputes.
Capping a year-long charm offensive that mirrored a broader investment push into Africa, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI was cheered as he took his seat for the first time in the Addis Ababa headquarters of the 55-nation African Union (AU), one of the few international fora to recognise rival Western Sahara.
Rabat left the AU’s predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, in 1984 in anger at its acceptance of the phosphate-rich territory on Africa’s north Atlantic coast as a full-blown member.
However, African support for Western Sahara – which the United Nations defines as a non-self-governing territory – has ebbed as the importance of Morocco’s $110 billion economy, Africa’s fifth largest, as a trade and investment partner has grown.
At an AU summit this week, Morocco was re-admitted to the fold, with 39 countries expressing support and only 10, believed to be led by Algeria and South Africa, expressing reservations.
“Africa is my home and I am coming back home,” King Mohammed said, to applause from other heads of state. “I have missed you all.”
For Morocco, a relatively liberalised economy and firm Western ally, readmission to the AU should smooth its entry into fast-growing African economies to the south and help reduce its reliance on stagnant European markets to the north.
In the last few years, Moroccan firms have made significant investments across Africa in everything from financial services to housing projects to fertilizer plants. King Mohammed made clear this was just the beginning.
“Africa is indispensable to Morocco and Morocco is indispensable to Africa,” he said.
During his 20-minute speech, King Mohammed gave a nod to the tensions over Western Sahara, which has been contested since Spanish colonial powers left in 1975, but made clear he was not interested in making them worse.
“We don’t want to divide the continent,” he said.
Morocco claimed the territory after Spain’s exit and fought a 16-year war with the Polisario independence movement, that established the self-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic with support initially from Algeria and then from across Africa.
Since a 1991 ceasefire, Western Sahara has been split by a earthen berm, with U.N. peacekeepers monitoring the Moroccan forces in what Rabat calls its southern provinces and guerrillas in the Polisario-controlled area bordering Algeria.
U.N.-backed attempts to hold a referendum on self-determination have been deadlocked since 1991 and Rabat has presented its own autonomy plan.
Sahrawi foreign minister Salem Ould Salek described the AU’s admission of Morocco as a ‘major step’ towards full international recognition since it would now be in the same room, on equal terms, with its rival.
“It’s a positive step for the people of Western Sahara,” he told Reuters. “After 33 years, Morocco has realised that it has to sit with the Sahrawi Republic. We hope that Morocco will have the goodwill to resolve this conflict and withdraw its troops.”
The return to the AU comes at a sensitive time.
Last year, Morocco expelled some U.N. staff from Western Sahara after then-U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon visited Sahrawi refugee camps in southern Algeria.
In August, U.N. peacekeepers intervened when Moroccan forces crossed into a U.N.-mandated buffer zone and Polisario forces dispatched troops in kind to the remote area near Mauritania.
President Faustin-Archange Touadéra, elected to the Central African Republic in February, has the daunting task of restoring stability to his war-ravaged country. (VOA/ M. Besheer and C.Forcucci)
President Faustin-Archange Touadéra of the Central African Republic, who took office less than a month ago, has said his first tasks will include disarming ex-combatants and rebuilding the military.
“Security, peace and national reconciliation will enable all Central Africans to freely go about their business,” he said in an exclusive interview with VOA’s French to Africa Thursday.
He also said the international arms embargo on the C.A.R. imposed in 2013 must be lifted.
“As of today, our defense forces are not operational. … To rebuild our army, we need that embargo … lifted or at least [changed] in a way to allow our elements to operate.” He added that he felt confident, after his meeting with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, that this issue would be addressed in the next Security Council meeting.
Touadéra was elected president of the C.A.R. in February in a poll that was widely seen as a step forward for the country. The C.A.R. has been mired in violent turmoil since Seleka rebels ousted then-president François Bozize in 2013.
There has been no meaningful disarmament of armed groups, something the president said will require the financial backing of the international community.
VOA’s Jacques Aristide interviewed Touadéra in New York after the newly-elected president met with with Ban.
Touadéra said the two men discussed the accusations of child sexual abuses by French and U.N. peacekeepers in the C.A.R. He added his government is not involved in the ongoing investigation.
“What we want is justice be done … Our desire — that’s what I told the secretary-general — is that if there are cases where there is evidence, we should at least be informed and involved in probing for the truth. We will also talk to contributing countries to expedite the process so that justice is done for these victims,” he said.
Hailemariam Desalegn, prime minister of Ethiopia, in his welcome address at the Tana High-Level Forum on Security, on April 16, Bahir Dar, advocates using African solutions to resolve conflict situations in the continent
IT is my pleasure and privilege to warmly welcome you all to the beautiful city of Bahirdar and to this unique gathering, which brings together African Heads of State and Governments, high-level government officials, prominent personalities and critical stakeholders on a most timely topic of common interest: “Africa in the Global Security Agenda”. Allow me, Excellencies, to recognize the magnificent work the Secretariat has carried out in successfully organizing yet another forum on security in Africa. I am very grateful to the people and government of the Amhara Regional State for the generous hospitality that they accord to the participants of this dialogue every year. I would also like to thank all the participants, who have come from far and near, to grace us with their presence.
Five years ago when the idea of Tana Forum was conceived, the purpose was to provide a unique , neutral and informal setting for serious discussions among African leaders, opinion makers, change agents, academics, practitioners and partners on African security challenges with a view to forge African solutions to African problems. We are now on our fifth annual event. The growing attendance and diversity of participants demonstrates the growing recognition of the Tana Forum.
Thanks to your unwavering support and immense contributions, Tana Forum has become an invaluable platform for the exchange of views, best experiences and innovative approaches to the fast changing security challenges facing our continent and the global community.
No single challenge in Africa can be considered an only African one. In its impacts or underlying causes or implementation of proposed solutions, every challenge in Africa, in one way or another, involves, implicates or requires non-African actors.
The truth is that we are living in an increasingly interconnected and complex world, where apparently isolated and small problems will have global and non-linear consequences; where effective solutions require active collaboration of nations and stakeholders.
What ‘African solutions’ means is two things principally. First, information about problems, causes and solutions ought to be primarily collected and analyzed by those who understand the African context. Collection and analysis of information is not necessarily an objective exercise. It is influenced by the particular frame of reference and embodied values of whoever is undertaking this exercise. In addition, intimate and deeper local knowledge is required for effective design of solutions.
Second, the quality of delivering institutions is as important as the quality of the diagnosis and prognosis. ‘African institutions’ have to be the principal ones that should be entrusted with the responsibility to deliver.
The colonial powers characterized informal governing institutions in Africa as backward and barbaric. They undertook massive efforts to install formal institutions of governance, informed by their own experience and knowledge. Formal institutions were superimposed on informal institutions, without acknowledging the latter. It later became painfully clear that these exercises were not only ineffective but also counterproductive.
The good thing is that we have started the complementary design and use of formal and informal institutions in many areas. When it comes to peace and security, the experience is limited at best.
The notion of ‘African solutions’ is not limited to continental and regional processes and institutions. It also includes national institutions. If we cannot first develop and implement Ethiopian, Nigerian, Egyptian, Kenyan, Rwandese solutions and institutions, how come we expect to develop and deploy African solutions and institutions?
Permit me to briefly illustrate the enormous sacrifices Africa and her peoples’ continue to make in the face of several odds stacked against it; and why the rest of the world should support and partner with us; not deride, mock and leave us to our fate. Many of you might not know this but the truth is that Ethiopia, despite the developmental challenges we face (as almost all African countries do too) is one of the highest contributors to continental- and, by extension- global peace and security. We have not only put our citizens at the forefront of political and diplomatic missions in the Horn, and across Africa, but also contribute the highest number of personnel to United Nations and African Union peacekeeping operations in Africa. As I speak, for instance, our men and women in uniform are solely policing Abyei region, the contested borders between Sudan and South Sudan. I would also like to put on record that Ethiopia currently contributes the largest in terms of female contingents either wearing the UN Blue Helmet or serving under the auspices of the African Union; including several of them in senior command positions.
But, then, also all of these have become great costs; not just in terms of painful loss of lives, but also at a time when Ethiopia; as most other African countries, are grappling with enormous economic, social, political challenges at home. You will agree that even as we take the bold steps to serve as “first responders” wherever we are faced with grave threats to peace and security on the continent, we simply cannot do it all alone. As far as I can see, therefore, Africa needs the rest of the world just as the rest of the world needs Africa. For as long as there is disconnect, even for a short period, in the realisation that we are in this together, the world will not know peace; not the quality of peace that the current and future generations deserve.
We have seen improvements in developing and operationalizing the African architecture for peace and security, including the engagement of elders and women. These institutions must deliver in the areas of early detection of problems and correct analysis, deliberation and generation of solutions.
If we are not quick, effective and credible in these regard, forces outside Africa will be tempted to fill gaps. When they do so, they will be likely guided by their own detached frames of reference and models. The resultant solution will, therefore, be alien and non-effective and sometimes counterproductive. Such forces are motivated to do so not only by the possible and real spillover effects on them of security problems in Africa but also by the opportunity to entrench their interests and positions within Africa.
It is, therefore, fitting that the fifth Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa is devoted to the interrogation and generation of strategies for strengthening the role of Africa in the global security agenda.
I look forward to participating in the dialogue. Have a fruitful and enjoyable time on the shores of Lake Tana.
*Culled from Real Magazine.Hailemariam Desalegn, prime minister of Ethiopia, delivered this welcome address at the just-ended two-day Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, on Saturday, April 16, 2016
Africa must ensure that its positions on international security concerns – and not just African issues – are carefully coordinated and well presented as it seeks to have a permanent position in the international security architecture.
| By Kofi Annan*
At the outset of these remarks, allow me to thank our Chairman for inviting me to the Tana Forum. This is the first time I am attending this prestigious event, which brings together many distinguished participants who share a deep, mutual interest in the security and well-being of Africa.
Our topic this afternoon is Africa and the Global Security Architecture.
During the Cold War years that would have not been a subject for much discussion. In those days, we looked for big-power champions who could provide diplomatic and security cover.
The contemporary world is far more complex.
And, as the awful atrocities that have been perpetrated in West, East and North Africa have shown, the continent is not immune to the security threats that many countries around the world now face.
But I want to start with some good news. Africa is actually doing better than many people may realize in terms of the security of its citizenry.
Today, and despite a few egregious exceptions, armed conflict is actually a smaller risk to most Africans than traffic accidents.
This improvement of the security situation helped set the stage for rapid economic growth of 5-6% per year for the last fifteen years.
As a result of this sustained period of growth, extreme poverty has fallen by 40% since 1990.
And Africa’s growth can no longer be explained just by global demand for its commodities.
Two thirds of Africa’s growth over the last decade has come from increased domestic demand for goods and services in thriving sectors such as telecoms, financial services, manufacturing and construction.
As a result, today, inflows of private investment dwarf international aid.
They have been encouraged by the efforts of governments across Africa to improve their macro-economic environments.
Although there is still some way to go, we have seen encouraging steps towards gender parity, and the continent is moving towards universal primary education.
The spread of HIV/AIDS is in decline, and the number of deaths from tuberculosis and malaria is falling.
Democracy is extending its roots as Burkina Faso, Guinea and Nigeria have recently demonstrated.
Other countries like Cote d’Ivoire, have emerged from the abyss of conflict and are making strides towards a better and more democratic future.
In other words, our continent is generally heading in the right direction.
This encouraging analysis will come, I know, as very cold comfort for those millions of people who are still living every day in the shadow of violent conflict and abject poverty.
Progress remains uneven, and the dangers today are both internal and external.
Rebel groups have flourished in the impoverished parts of weak states that feel hard-done by their governments, where the population is often abused by the security forces, or where they do not trust the courts to deliver justice.
External forces are taking advantage of these shortcomings. We cannot ignore that from Mauritania in the west to Somalia in the east, the flag of Jihad is being raised.
More than a dozen sub-Saharan countries are concerned, and tens of thousands have already died as a result.
Boko Haram actually killed more people last year than the Islamic State. Attacks in many places are a daily or weekly occurrence.
And local extremist groups are now linking up to each other across borders, and even to global franchises like Al Qaeda or Islamic State.
Precisely because of these affiliations, these conflicts are generally seen through a unique prism: the global war on Islamist terrorism.
This neglects what they have in common with other insurgencies on the continent, which have nothing to do with Islam.
It is no secret that unemployed young men are especially vulnerable to the temptations of violence and easily instrumentalised for that purpose.
This is not a specifically Muslim problem: a World Bank survey in 2011 showed that about 40% of those who join rebel movements say they are motivated by a lack of jobs.
In Africa, as elsewhere, the answer does not lie in a purely military response that fails to deal with the root causes of disaffection and violence.
As I constantly repeat, you cannot have peace and security without inclusive development, the rule of law and the respect for human rights. These are the three pillars of all successful societies.
It is largely because these three pillars are quite fragile in parts of Africa that we are still seeing instability and violence.
The truth is that the economic growth in Africa over the last fifteen years, though impressive, has been neither sufficient nor inclusive.
In fact, Africa has become the world’s second most unequal continent, according to the African Development Bank.
Too much of that growth has enriched a narrow elite and not enough was spent on infrastructure, health or education, which would have fostered development.
It is no coincidence that Boko Haram originated in one of the world’s poorest and most deprived areas of the continent.
Not only does wealth not trickle down, but it is barely taxed, depriving the state of resources to provide public services.
It is not just that Africa is unequal: it is also unfair. An African Union report has estimated that up to one quarter of the continent’s GDP is syphoned off every year through corruption.
The trafficking of drugs creates an especially difficult challenge. Drug money is insidious and invasive. It corrodes political institutions.
We must focus on the money trail. We have been locking up the minor offenders while the big fish swim free.
The fight against violent rebel movements is necessary, and will require enhanced inter-African as well as international cooperation.
But this is not enough because the challenge of security in Africa is often a political challenge revolving around the acquisition and use of power.
As a result, elections are a source of tension and repression rather than an opportunity for the free expression of political will.
Leaders who hang on to power indefinitely by gaming elections and suppressing criticism and opposition are sowing the seeds of violence and instability.
African leaders, like leaders everywhere, must remember that they are at the service of their citizens, and not the other way around.
They have a mandate given to them, in trust, by their people, who can also take it away from them if they are found wanting and to have outstayed their welcome.
So looking forward, I see five critical challenges for Africa as it fashions its role in the global security order.
First, at the global level, Africa must have a strong and consistent voice at the pinnacle of the international security architecture – in the Security Council.
Ideally, this means African permanent seats. But until that can be accomplished, Africa must ensure that its positions on international security concerns – and not just African issues – are carefully coordinated and well presented.
Second, at the regional level, we should recognize and applaud the work of the AU and the sub-regional organisations, which have acquired considerable and commendable experience in mounting peace operations.
This effort must continue. But African states will have to give the AU the means to do so and, in future, rely less on outside funding.
Third, looking to the national level, the most urgent challenge is to create enough jobs for the continent’s youth.
According to the World Bank, eleven million young people are expected to enter Africa’s labour market every year for the next decade.
If these young people cannot find jobs, and do not believe in the future, they may be tempted by rebel movements of all kinds, as well as crime and migration.
Wherever I am in Africa, I am always struck not just by the number of young people, but also by their energy, their creativity and their talent.
We should invest in them, harness their talent and ensure that the next generation of leaders will do better than we have done.
Another major challenge lies in building confidence in the integrity of the electoral process.
Elections should be the vehicle for popular choice in which the winner does not take all and the losers do not lose all.
Those who win must recognize that they do not have a licence to rule without restraint or remain in office in perpetuity.
Let us not confuse legality with legitimacy. Elections that meet legal form but fail the test of integrity are only pyrrhic victories that usually store up trouble for the future.
Finally, I want to mention the quality of national security forces. Madiba once said that “freedom would be meaningless without security in the home and in the streets”.
That security in the home and in the streets depends in good measure on our security forces.
We must invest in them but also make them fully accountable as part of our democratic societies. They must be trained to protect the individual and his or her family and property, to earn their trust and work with the people.
We have come a long way from the Cold War days.
Africa is now part and parcel of the global security architecture.
We can and must step up to that role by investing in our people and by protecting rights and not just regimes.
If we do that, I am convinced that our future will be more peaceful and secure than our recent past and Africa will exert a powerful and constructive influence within the global security architecture.
*Real News. Kofi Annan, President of the Kofi Annan Foundation, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Prize Laureate, presented this Keynote Address at the Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa which Held from April 16 – 17, 2016, in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari listens to a question from the press in Paris on September 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Bertrand Guay)[/caption]
Abuja (AFP) – Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, who seized power in a military takeover more than 30 years ago before winning democratic elections this year, on Friday condemned the coup in Burkina Faso.
The former military ruler and his government in Abuja said they “unreservedly condemn” the takeover, which saw Burkina Faso’s interim president and prime minister detained with members of the administration.
The takeover by elements of the Burkinabe Presidential Guard was a “brazen contravention of the constitution and transitional charter”, according to a statement from Buhari’s office.
Abuja welcomed the release of interim president Michel Kafando.
Elections had been due to take place next month, more than a year after former president Blaise Compaore was ousted in a popular uprising.
Nigeria said it supported efforts by regional bloc ECOWAS and the African Union to resolve the crisis and promised its “fullest possible support” to mediators presidents Macky Sall of Senegal and Thomas Boni Yayi of Benin.
Buhari, 72, is a former army general who came to power in a military coup in December 1983, overthrowing a civilian government widely seen as riddled with corruption.
He stayed in power for 20 months before being ousted himself in a bloodless barracks coup.
He defeated sitting president Goodluck Jonathan in elections in March, scoring the first win by an opposition politician since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999.
He has acknowledged his past as a coup leader but rejected descriptions of himself as a dictator and vowed to operate “under democratic rules”, calling himself a “converted democrat”.
He has also said he would no longer be referred to as “General Buhari”.
President Buhari and Vice President Osibanjo, time to keep up to campaign promises[/caption]
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice Yemi Osibanjo have finally declared their assets public. The public declaration comes with growing calls for Buhari who recently marked his first one hundred days in Office.
A statement from Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President for Media and Publicity details assets owned by President Buhari and Vice Yemi Osibanjo prior to assuming office last May. The President has been living the kind of austere and Spartan lifestyle that may not expect from a former Head of State the statement read.
Buhari according to the statement had less than N 30 million, ($150, 753, 00) and only one bank account with Union Bank. The President had no foreign accounts, factories, enterprises or oil wells listed to his name but had shares in about three banks.
President Buhari who is not minced words in his desire to tackle corruption is still to form a government.
Below is the Statement from Shehu Garba
“Documents submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), show that the retired General has indeed been living an austere and Spartan lifestyle, contrary to what many might expect of a former Head of State of Nigeria and one who has held a number of top government positions, such as governor, Minister of petroleum and the head of the Petroleum Development Trust Fund (PTDF).
“The documents submitted to the CCB, which officials say are still being vetted and will soon be made public, show that prior to being sworn in on May 29, President Buhari had less than N30 million to his name. He also had only one bank account, with the Union Bank. President Buhari had no foreign account, no factory and no enterprises.
“He also had no registered company and no oil wells.
“The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) who had been a successful lawyer before his foray into politics declared a bank balance of about N94 million and 900,000 United States Dollars in his bank accounts.
“President Buhari declared however that he had shares in Berger Paints, Union Bank and Skye Bank.
“This is entirely unlike what one might expect from a former head of state of a country like Nigeria.
“The documents also revealed that President Buhari had a total of five homes, and two mud houses in Daura. He had two homes in Kaduna, one each in Kano, Daura and in Abuja. One of the mud houses in Daura was inherited from his late older sister, another from his late father. He borrowed money from the old Barclays Bank to build two of his homes.
“President Buhari also has two undeveloped plots of land, one in Kano and the other in Port Harcourt. He is still trying to trace the location of the Port Harcourt land.
“In addition to the homes in Daura, he has farms, an orchard and a ranch. The total number of his holdings in the farm include 270 heads of cattle, 25 sheep, five horses, a variety of birds and a number of economic trees.
“The documents also showed that the retired General uses a number of cars, two of which he bought from his savings and the others supplied to him by the federal government in his capacity as former Head of State. The rest were donated to him by well-wishers after his jeep was damaged in a Boko Haram bomb attack on his convoy in July 2014.
“As revealed by the same forms, highlights of the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo’s asset declaration include his 4-bedroom residence at Victoria Garden City, Lagos and a 3-bedroom flat at 2 Mosley Road, Ikoyi. The Vice President also has a 2-bedroom flat at the popular Redemption Camp along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and a 2-bedroom mortgaged property in Bedford, England. Aside from these, the Vice President has no other landed properties on the form.
“Apart from his law firm, known as SimmonsCooper, the Vice-President also declared shareholding in six private companies based in Lagos, including Octogenerium Ltd., Windsor Grant Ltd., Tarapolsa, Vistorion Ltd., Aviva Ltd. and MTN Nigeria.
“According to details shown on the form, the Vice-President has about ninety four million naira, nine hundred thousand US dollars and nineteen thousand pounds in Nigerian Banks with the foreign currencies kept in local domiciliary accounts. His personal vehicles are one Infinity 4-Wheel Drive SUV, one Mercedes Benz and a Prado Jeep.
“As soon as the CCB is through with the process, the documents will be released to the Nigerian public and people can see for themselves.”
Signed :Garba Shehu Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity)