Africa News blog
African business, politics and lifestyle
By Aaron Maasho
It is not hard to notice Haile Gebrselassie’s huge popularity in Ethiopia. It emanates from pride over his illustrious career that saw him break 27 world records, as much as from who he is when not running.
With his ever-present smile and sarcastic quips, “The Emperor” — as he is affectionately known — has never shied away from charity work, as well as providing hundreds of jobs to impoverished locals in his numerous business ventures.
Having spent the vast part of his 20-year career on the track, Gebrselassie switched to the marathon and has never displayed signs of weakening, despite his 37 years.
Until this month, that is, when the wealthy athlete unexpectedly announced his retirement after a knee injury forced him to pull out of the New York marathon.
Forget the days when the image of Africa in the developed world was one of rolling vistas of unspoilt safari parks, natural disasters and war.
In the last 10 years, western firms and investors have been showing much greater interest, ploughing increasing investment flows into the continent of 1 billion people.
Some eye-catching numbers from Standard Bank out today on the influence of BRICs countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- on Africa.
First off, the bank says the global recession and its recovery have been nourishing these so-called South-South ties. But it is all now ready to take off. The bank estimates:
Back in1978, Sudanese statesman Abel Alier decided he had had enough of negotiating with troublesome locals over a controversial development project. Exasperated at the endless obstacles, he vowed to force it through without an agreement.
“If we have to drive our people to paradise with sticks we will do so for their own good and the good of those who come after us,” he infamously said.
from Global Investing:
How can governments reduce corruption in Africa, one of the biggest deterrents to investment in the resource-rich continent? One way is to copy recent legislation in the United States, according to speakers and delegates at a recent forum in London organised by the Foreign Policy Centre thinktank, and force listed companies to report any payments they make to foreign governments for the extraction of oil, gas and minerals.
The Cardin-Lugar amendment, introduced by the U.S. in July, is designed to help alleviate the curse of oil corruption.
The ‘s’ in BRICs is lower case, pluralising the grouping of the world’s large and dynamic emerging economies. But South Africa’s aspirations to make it BRICS with a capital ‘S’ became clearer when Russia revealed Pretoria had “applied” to join.
Just what an application to join the BRICs means is still a bit unclear. Although Brazil, Russia, India and China have met for two summits and are due to hold a third in China next year to discuss common interests, the acronym was coined in 2001 by Jim O’Neill, now chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset management and at the time the bank’s chief economist.
One of the first things you see when you arrive at the airport in Conakry is a poster of General Sekouba Konate, wearing fatigues, sunglasses and a red beret.
Drive into the city, and interspersed among the campaign billboards that cover the sides of major roadways, you’ll see more Konate posters – including one bearing the words “Sentinel de la Paix”, bringer of peace.
To celebrate the transition to “democracy” after 48 years of unbroken army rule, Myanmar’s generals have tweaked the country’s official title and introduced a new flag. Nothing unusual about that – changing name and appearance to make a break with the past has been a part of human and diplomatic society for centuries. What is not clear is why the former Burma’s secretive generals chose to make their new flag look quite so African.
Out has gone the red and blue de rigeur in southeast Asia, in favour of a white star on yellow, green and red stripes that to the untrained eye looks like it comes from a Bob Marley album cover or small West African republic.
It remains to be seen if either candidate in Guinea’s presidential election knows how to run a country.
But after Sunday’s run-off election, during which the candidates wanted to say a few words to journalists after casting their ballots, it is clear that neither knows how to run a press conference.
The track starts with a soulful “well, well” as a hip-hop beat rises in intensity. “Do you want another rap?” the same deep voice then says in perfect time. “You want another rap?”
But this is no ordinary rapper. This is, believe it or not, 66-year-old Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, previously better known for rebellion than for rhyming.