Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Hu reassures Africa?

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If anyone in Africa was worried that the global financial crisis might dim China’s interest in the continent, President Hu Jintao will be visiting this week to give some reassurances – as well as possibly to temper any unrealistic hopes for the amount of assistance to be expected.

As Chris Buckley reported from Beijing, this visit is also about China showing the wider world that it is a responsible power.

The fact that none of the countries Hu will visit is among Africa’s economic or resource heavyweights – Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Mauritius – is seen as a sign that China wants to send a message that its engagement with Africa is about much more than resources.

Trade between China and Africa rose to $107 billion last year and more deals are expected on this visit. Nearly all of Africa’s exports to China still come from a handful of countries rich in oil or minerals, though, and now the global downturn has put those in more doubt.

Should we really care about the Chagossians?

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chagossians_prayer.jpgchagossians_prayer.jpgShould we really care that Britain’s House of Lords upheld a British government appeal on Wednesday, blocking the return of hundreds of Chagossians to their Indian Ocean homes?The decision by the House of Lords ends a years-long battle to secure the Chagos Islanders the right to return to their archipelago, from where they were forcibly removed in the 1960s and ’70s to make way for an American airbase on Diego Garcia.

By a ruling of 3-2, the lords backed a British government appeal that argued that allowing the islanders to return could have a detrimental effect on defence and international security. It’s a tough decision and an agonizing result for the Chagos islanders. They continue to suffer appalling injustice because of the British government, who booted them out of the Chagos islands – also known as the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) – to make way for a US military base.

Can Africa beat corruption?

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cpi_2008_cmyk-africa.jpgTransparency International’s annual corruption report card is out and there is little surprise that many African countries are well towards the bottom of the Corruption Perceptions Index.

Somalia is at 180 out of 180. Six of the 10 worst offenders are African states. The best placed African country, Botswana, is at 36 (up from 38 last year).

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