Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

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

Photo

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.         

 

U.S. officials are keen to trumpet a 28 percent jump in 2008 in trade with sub-Saharan Africa to $104 billion, even if the increase is attributable mainly to the high price of oil, which accounts for more than 80 percent of U.S. imports from Africa.

However, there is another statistic that says more about the direction of development on the poorest continent: this decade’s tenfold increase in trade with China to $107 billion last year, narrowly eclipsing the United States.

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.

Is Obama Snubbing Kenya on Africa trip?

Photo

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.

War child sings songs of peace

Photo

“When you see a Sudanese walking on the street there is a story,” child soldier turned hip-hop star Emmanuel Jal says.

That’s certainly true for Jal. He was sent to fight for Sudan People’s Liberation Army when he was just six years old.

“Would you please pass this bottle of water to Tom?”

Photo

“Would you please pass this bottle of water to Tom?” Lady Delamere asked me while we were waiting in court to hear the sentencing of her son, Tom Cholmondeley, who had been convicted of manslaughter for shooting a black poacher in Kenya.

After three years in prison, one of Kenya’s best-known white aristocrats was told he would have to serve a further eight months in jail in a case that has highlighted land, race, wealth and tribal tensions in the country.

Was white Kenyan aristocrat’s conviction fair?

Photo

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.

S.Africa Election: Lessons for Africa

Photo

Manoah Esipisu is deputy spokesperson at the Commonwealth Secretariat. He is co-author of “Eyes of Democracy: Media in Elections”. He writes in his personal capacity.

Next week South Africa will hold its fourth elections since the extinction of apartheid and the rise to power of freedom icon Nelson Mandela. The election will come four months after the cliff-hanger 2008 election in Ghana, and ahead of potentially critical elections in Angola, Malawi and Mozambique.

Talk is not cheap for Kenya activists

Photo

In Kenya, it may be dangerous to speak your mind.

In a country that once prided itself on its freedom of speech and lively public debate,
political activists now say their lives are being threatened, and a U.N. special investigator has said that Kenyan police systematically intimidate human rights defenders.

“Dozens of prominent and respected human rights defenders have been targeted in a blatant campaign designed to silence individual monitors and instill fear in civil society organizations at large”, said U.N. Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial killings Phillip Alston, in a report he released on April 7.

G20. How did Africa do?

Photo

Before the G20 meeting, there was a lot of talk inside and outside Africa about making sure the continent did not get left out while the world’s richest and most powerful set out plans to save their own economies.******So how did Africa fare?******On the face of things, perhaps not too badly.******“Our global plan for recovery must have at its heart the needs and jobs of hard-working families, not just in developed countries but in emerging markets and the poorest countries of the world too,” the communique says in paragraph 3.******In concrete terms:******• Resources available to the IMF will be trebled to $750 billion.***•  There will be support for a new allocation of Special Drawing Rights of $250 billion – something that could help poor countries***• There will be support for $100 billion more lending by Multilateral Development Banks (those include the World Bank Group and the African Development Bank)***• There will be $250 billion support for trade finance.***• Use will be made of resources from IMF gold sales “for concessional finance for the poorest countries”.***• Global financial institutions will be strengthened and reformed, ensuring that emerging and developing economies, including the poorest, must have greater voice and representation.”******The point on the gold sales was something for which Africa, represented at the summit by Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, had made a particular push.******But not all appeared so impressed. In East Africa based Business Daily, Allan Odhiambo’s piece was headlined “Africa thrown to back burner at G20 meeting.”******According to Nigeria’s ThisDay newspaper, President Umaru Yar’Adua’s main lament was the fact that Africa’s most populous country was not there (South Africa, with the continent’s biggest economy, was represented).******South Africa’s President Kgalema Motlanthe was quoted as saying he was “quite pleased” with the results of the summit.******How well do you think the G20 did for Africa? Will Africa really have a bigger say over the global financial system in future? Will that help?

Going organic in Kenya’s biggest slum

Photo

A group from east Africa’s biggest slum has proved that you don’t need a big farm in the countryside to produce food crops for sale.

They’re planting organic vegetables on a small allotment in the middle of Nairobi’s Kibera slum that his been cleared out of an old rubbish tip.

  •