Africa News blog
African business, politics and lifestyle
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
The countdown has begun for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, an event, now only a year away, that could change perceptions about the whole continent and show the globe a festival of sport that reverses obstinate stereotypes of a region in constant crisis and violence.
Africans are deeply frustrated by the tendency of foreigners, including investors, to see Africa almost as one country instead of more than 50 extremely diverse nations. Meltdown in Zimbabwe can impact on investors' perceptions of countries thousands of miles away on the other side of the continent. By the same token, a successful World Cup will not only change the way people see Africa but also encourage future mega events and the huge investment that they can bring.
So, much more is riding on 2010 than a mere sporting spectacle, albeit the most watched sports event in the world and the biggest ever held in Africa. A successful tournament, with the special atmosphere that happy, dancing and singing local supporters can bring, should land a tourist and investment bonanza for South Africa in particular, but also help the surrounding region and countries further afield.
If the tournament falls short, the reverse will be true.
Even as late as the end of last year, the negative voices were still loudly casting doubt on South Africa's ability to organise such a huge event, suggesting everything from stadiums to transport routes would not be ready. White South Africans, many still sceptical about black rule 15 years after the end of apartheid and keener on rugby and cricket than football, were among the cynics.
A government initiative called ‘Vision 2020′ is intended to transform Rwanda into a middle income country, with a healthy annual growth rate of seven percent.
It’s been almost three years since the son of the 5th Lord Delamere, Thomas Cholmondeley, first hopped down from a police truck and entered into Kenya’s High Court to face murder charges over the death of a local poacher on his estate.
Cholmondeley sat as impassively this week as he did that first day in court as the judge convicted him of a lesser charge of manslaughter.
Morocco serves as the backdrop for such Hollywood blockbusters as Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and Body of Lies. The country’s breathtaking landscapes and gritty urban neighbourhoods are the perfect setting for Hollywood’s imagination.
Unbeknown to most filmgoers, however, is that Morocco is embroiled in one of Africa’s oldest conflicts – the dispute over Western Sahara. This month the UN Security Council is expected to take up the dispute once more, providing US President Barack Obama with an opportunity to assert genuine leadership in resolving this conflict. But there’s no sign that the new administration is paying adequate attention.
Nine out ten of malaria deaths occur in Africa – that’s nearly 1 million fatalities a year. The World Health Organisation estimates the financial loss to Africa because of malaria at 12 billion dollars a year.******And yet it’s an illness that’s preventable: the cheapest and easiest method is to stay under a mosquito net during the night.******In South Sudan, a mosquito net costs around $2, still too expensive for many here, where income per capita is just 25 cents per day. So the government and private charities have launched a campaign to distribute 75 million dollars’ worth of nets to 6 million people in the south before the rains start in July. With only 14 km of paved roads in the entire region, it won’t be easy.****** (more…)
The pivotal marketing position when South Africa were still bidding for the 2010 World Cup was the assertion it would be a tournament for all of the continent. ‘Africa’s bid’ was the pay-off line used throughout the successful campaign.
Using famous footballing personalities from around the continent, South Africa garnered widespread support with its all-inclusive approach against their Arab rivals in the race to win the right to host the event.
It was South Africa’s most exciting election campaign for a long time, enlivened by the split in the African National Congress and the personality of Jacob Zuma, the man who is now pretty much assured of becoming president despite the best efforts of plenty of people within his party as well as the opposition.
So far, the results don’t look too different from the pre-poll forecasts. An ANC victory was never in doubt and the battle was as much as anything about whether the party could keep its two-thirds majority in parliament, which lets it change the constitution and further entrench its power. That was still in doubt after early figures.
The Zuma administration’s foreign policy will be determined to a great extent by the struggle to satisfy national needs and demands. These can best be understood if we take into account not only the country’s increasing level of corruption and violent crime, but also high level of expectations from the urban and rural unemployed, the poor and the working class expecting the qualitative improvement in their material conditions.
The Zuma administration will commit itself in practice to the value of continuity in South Africa’s foreign policy. Central to this tradition will be popular foreign policy objectives pursued by South Africa since the end of apartheid.
They include support for peaceful resolution of conflict on the African continent and beyond, support for the regional and continental organisations and integration as well as multilateralism. It will continue with the country’s practical and theoretical call for continental socio-political and economic renaissance or transformation.
South Africa under the leadership of Thabo Mbeki used the African Renaissance to contribute towards the resolution of conflicts in African countries conducive for the operations of its capital and the realisation of the objectives of its socio-economic policy objectives.
It regarded its active participation in conflict resolution as key to peace, security and stability in Africa. It viewed continental socio-economic transformation or renaissance as the process to be achieved through peace and stability creation and consolidation, actions against corruption and implementation of socio-economic policies conducive for the operations of foreign investment.
The Mbeki administration was reluctant to lead Africa in international relations. It called for a further integration of Africa into the global capitalist system and African solidarity and unity to fight what Mbeki refers to as global apartheid and to contribute towards an equitable world.
These two central aspects of South Africa’s foreign policy, focusing firstly on Africa and secondly on developed countries, raised high level of expectations within Africa and the rest of the world and placed its policy on grounds vulnerable to criticism from individuals with different positions and interests in its efforts to serve as a leader of Africa in its transformation and its relations with the rest of the world particularly developed countries.
These problems are a dilemma it faced in its attempts to serve as the representative of Africa to the developed countries and the representative of developed countries in Africa. This policy helped to explain why South Africa under Mbeki was unable to substantiate its declared theoretical position on African Renaissance in practice. It impelled it not to antagonise developed countries in its African Renaissance project and to seek support from weak African countries.
Under Mbeki, South Africa put itself on the level that Africa expected more than it could deliver in resolving Africa’s problems.
It pretended that it could meet requirements of this expectation. It did not substantiate Mbeki’s progressive position that its role in the resolution of the African conflicts should be guided by the struggle to achieve African transformation in the interests of the masses of the people. South Africa remained central to the consolidation of dominance of Africa by developed countries.
The Zuma administration will be a substantial and welcome addition to the struggle against Africa’s problems.
It will use the country as the regional and continental power to criticise African leaders who are enemies of their people and strive for free, independent exercise of foreign policy.
There will be a shift in the direction towards South Africa realising its potential as a centre of independent development on the African continent.
It will be under enormous internal progressive pressure to ensure that the country constitutes a strategic continental threat to the internal and external interests inimical to the interests of the continent and its people.
Nelson Mandela, a global symbol of reconciliation after the end of apartheid in 1994, appeared at the ruling ANC’s last election rally before Wednesday’s vote, delivering a last minute campaign boost for party leader Jacob Zuma.
Wearing a Zuma t-shirt, he sat beside the ANC leader, who has been fighting corruption allegations for eight years. The case was just dropped on a technicality and some South Africans still question his innocence.