Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Africa’s century?

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World Bank President Robert Zoellick ended a visit to Africa this week with the pronouncement that this century belonged to the continent’s development despite damage to economies from the global financial crisis.

Those who remember what were flagged by some at the time as “Africa’s decades” in the 1980s and 1990s may have cause for scepticism given that in many countries they turned out disastrous despite early hopes.

But Africa’s economies had been growing at an unprecedented pace before the global financial crisis struck.

Zoellick acknowledged the immediate challenge required more resources to bolster regional integration as well as investments in energy, infrastructure and agriculture.

Bringing aid and being a target

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Posted by George Fominyen, AlertNet‘s humanitarian affairs correspondent for West and Central Africa, based in Dakar. He is also West Africa coordinator for Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Emergency Information Service.

The abduction of two Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) workers in Chad this month after a robbery at their compound near Sudan’s Darfur region has again brought to the fore the question of attacks on aid workers.

Has Clinton visit helped offset China’s clout in Africa?

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U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 10 day trip to Africa ends this week with many commentators viewing it at least partly as being aimed at offsetting China’s growing economic clout on the African continent.
In public, Clinton has delivered Washington’s traditional messages on the importance of fair elections and of fighting corruption and human rights abuses.

But the fact that top oil producers Angola and Nigeria are both on the tour has made clear the importance of the visit from the perspective of ensuring access to resources – an area of huge importance to China too.

Can U.S. trade help Africa?

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Sudath Perera has every reason to be content. He started up his textiles factory outside the Kenyan capital Nairobi nine years ago; today, he employs 1500 workers and turns over between 18 and 20 million U.S. dollars a year.

“We are contributing to the local economy by creating employment,” he says. “And indirectly there are a lot of local suppliers also relying on us.”

China shunts U.S. into second place in Scramble for Africa

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A presidential visit followed by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s African tour cannot conceal a stark reality: China has overtaken the United States as Africa’s top trading partner.

That is one of the main problems facing Clinton on a seven-nation jaunt meant variously to spread Washington’s good governance message and shore up relationships with its key oil suppliers on the continent.         

A crackdown on Albino murders?

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In a small courtroom in eastern Burundi, state prosecutor Nicodeme Gahimbare waves a bone at the judges and the eight men lined up in front of them, as he states his case.

It’s a human bone.

The eight men are on trial for murdering albinos and trying to sell their body parts across the border in Tanzania, where some people believe that using albino body parts in witchcraft can bring wealth and good fortune. Some of the body parts found are now on display for all to see.

from Global Investing:

Can domestic demand boost African markets? Duet’s Salami talks to Reuters Television

Direct and indirect foreign investors fled from Africa as the credit crisis sparked a flight to safety, or at least familiarity, but Ayo Salami, manager of the Duet Victoire Africa Index fund believes domestic demand can step in to underpin growth.

from MacroScope:

Africa alone

The good news for Africa when the global financial meltdown began was that its financial markets were generally so far behind the rest of the world that groups such as the World Economic Forum reckoned that there was little or no danger. A new paper, posted on the economic research website VoxEU, suggests that that might be a bit too optimistic.

Tilburg University economist and former World Bank official Thorsten Beck -- along with the World Bank's Michael Fuchs and Marilou Uy --  write that despite shallow financial markets, sub-Saharan Africa is unlikely to escape the repercussions of the financial crisis.

‘New moment of promise’ for Africa?

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As expected, U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech to Africa in Accra had plenty to say on the importance of good governance – but there was also a very strong message that his “new moment of promise” is one that Africans have to seize for themselves.

“You have the power to hold your leaders accountable, and to build institutions that serve the people. You can serve in your communities, and harness your energy and education to create new wealth and build new connections to the world. You can conquer disease, end conflicts, and make change from the bottom up. You can do that. Yes you can. Because in this moment, history is on the move,” Obama said.

Is Obama Africa’s saviour?

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Africa is rich in natural resources like oil, gold, diamonds, platinum and yet millions of African people live in abject poverty. The global economic and climate crisis have made life even harder.

At the recent G8 meeting in Italy, African leaders and members of civil society voiced concerns over the promises made in previous G8 meetings of aid and assistance that have yet to materialise.

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