Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Washington and Sudan’s elections: When interests collide

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SUDAN-ELECTIONS/The talk of the town for Sudanese is the position of Washington’s envoy Scott Gration after he met the National Elections Commission, the body accused of irregularities and bias towards the ruling National Congress Party.  
 
“They have given me a lot of information that gives me confidence that the elections will start on time and that they will be as free and fair as possible,” Gration told reporters.

“This has been a difficult challenge but I believe they (the NEC) have stepped up and met the challenge,” he added.

Gration refused to answer a question on his opinion of the accusations of fraud and bias against the NEC, presiding over the polls to begin next week.

These include the NEC imposing restrictions on political party meetings, pre-recording and censoring political party broadcasts, intervening in the U.N. tender process to allow the government printing press to print the presidential and gubernatorial ballots and a later revelation they allowed the same press to print the voter registration books and slips.

Should Africa scuttle Copenhagen deal?

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melesAfrica has known for a long time that it’s not going to get everything it wants from the Copenhagen climate talks. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who is representing the continent in Denmark, has been managing expectations by saying so for more than six months now.

But that realism is tempered by increasingly tough words from a man who has already said European emissions may have caused his country’s infamous 1984 famine.

Is the new U.S. policy on Sudan the dawn of a new era of engagement with Khartoum?

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On Monday U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration announced its new Sudan policy after months of speculation and lobbying from those opposed to any positive overtures to Khartoum and those who said further isolating Sudan would derail years of peace efforts.

U.S.-Sudanese relations have seen many ups and down in recent years. U.S. sanctions were imposed in 1997 and the United States bombed a Sudanese pharmaceuticals factory in 1998. There was praise for a 2005 north-south peace deal ending more than two decades of civil war, but it was overshadowed by outrage over atrocities in the 2003 Darfur uprising where Washington accused Khartoum of genocide.

from Global News Journal:

Does Obama deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?

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U.S. President Barack Obama has won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. The Norwegian Nobel Committee said Obama had been awarded the prize for his calls to reduce the world's stockpiles of nuclear weapons and work towards restarting the stalled Middle East peace process.

The committee praised Obama for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

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.         

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.

from The Great Debate UK:

Squandered oil wealth, an African tragedy

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arvind ganesan-Arvind Ganesan is the Director of the Business and Human Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Equatorial Guinea is a tiny country of about half a million people on the west coast of Africa, but is the fourth-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa.

Is Obama Snubbing Kenya on Africa trip?

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President Barack Obama’s choice of Ghana for his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa since taking office has stirred debate in his father’s homeland Kenya.

Some Kenyans believe Obama ought to have come “home” first. Others, especially among critics of President Mwai Kibaki’s government, say he has deliberately shunned the country to show U.S. disapproval of rampant corruption and nepotism in political circles here.

Why was Edwin Dyer killed?

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Edwin Dyer was among a group of Western tourists kidnapped on the Niger-Mali border after attending a festival of Tuareg culture in late January.

Four months later the Briton was killed by al Qaeda’s North African wing, which had been demanding the release of Abu Qatada, a Jordanian Islamist being held in Britain.

Western Sahara poser for UN

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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.

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