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Opinion & Analysis (1046)

When the Pan African Parliament (PAP) began its fourth sitting late last month, it seemed that the pomp and ceremony accompanying the unveiling of the assembly’s new chambers would not be matched by any increase in the initiative displayed by its members.
The International Criminal Court, ICC, made legal history last October when it issued arrest warrants for key rebel leaders in northern Uganda. But reeling in the suspects is likely to prove extremely difficult, and will only be possible if neighbouring states are forced to cooperate with the detention order.
Khartoum wants to restrict any future role for the United Nations role in Darfur.The Sudanese capital Khartoum is fraught with diplomatic tension as political manoeuvring continues over how to bring peace to the war-torn western province of Darfur.
Sweden offers a prison cell as debate continues over where former Liberian leader Charles Taylor should stand trial. A decision by the Swedish parliament to allow former Liberian president Charles Taylor to be imprisoned in Sweden if he is convicted of war crimes has removed a major blockage to a trial in The Hague.
The Central African Republic’s former president may face prosecution at the International Criminal Court. After years of being overshadowed by its neighbours, the Central African Republic, ravaged by decades of civil strife, and among the world’s poorest nations, looks set to win much-needed attention as the focus of a high-profile prosecution at the International Criminal Court, ICC.
Widespread dissemination of misperceptions may impede peace negotiations.The summary expulsion of Jan Pronk, the United Nations’ envoy to Sudan, from that country this month, following remarks he made on the Darfur conflict, reflects the Khartoum government's unilateral and uncompromising stance towards any of its detractors.
There are widespread fears that the eventual loser in the presidential race will revert to violence.At the end of the last millennium, the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, truly seemed to be, in Joseph Conrad's words, Africa’s “Heart of Darkness”.
eAfrica, Volume 2, February 2004 TANGANDA, the largest tea producer in Zimbabwe and one of the country’s most important exporters, had a pretty good crop last year. Despite low rains, it put Z$ 18 billion in profits on the books.
eAfrica Volume 2, June 2004
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe shows little sign of buckling to external and internal pressure to end his 24-year reign. Despite the widening of sanctions by the US, European Union and Australia, and unprecedented criticism of his government last month by US President George W. Bush, Mr Mugabe has dismissed hopes of compromise with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
WE THE people are allowing South African parliamentary democracy to fail us. To illustrate the point, how many readers of Business Day have participated in Parliament, attended a parliamentary portfolio committee meeting, or even met the MP who is assigned to their constituency?
Recent demonstrations by the pro-democracy interest group, the National Constitutional Assembly in Zimbabwe, highlight the plight of interest groups and NGOs should government enact the draft Non-Governmental Organisations Bill. The demonstrations are also a sign that civil society groups are not submissively accepting legislation that might lead to their closure but are opposing it with vigour.
'What Mugabe can't control he makes irrelevant,' observed a leading Harare economist recently. Perhaps this explains the claim that its parliament is Zimbabwe's most democratic institution.
British-based human rights interest group Amnesty International has accused Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu (PF) party of exploiting the current food insecurity to its advantage. In its report, Zimbabwe: Power and Hunger Violations of the right to food, Amnesty International is arguing that a large part of the Zimbabwean population has gone hungry due to 'discrimination and corruption'.
Peer Review and Nepad: Zimbabwe - The Litmus Test for African Credibility by Denis Venter, political and economic risk analyst, Africa Consultancy & Research Unit
Kaapstad - Waarnemergroepe wat die Zimbabwiese verkiesing wil bywoon, sal 'binne die volgende paar dae' hul uitnodigings ontvang, het 'n senior Zimbabwiese diplomaat gister gesê.
Herewith the most recent listing of news and media items relating to Zimbabwe's Parliamentary Elections 2005. February 2005 Zanu-PF dink aan regverdige verslaggroepe vir verkiesing: Zim nooi 'regte' waarnemers deur Mandy Rossouw, soos gepubliseer in Beeld , 11 February 2005Time for tough love from Zimbabwe's neighbours - A second look by Greg Mills, as featured in the Mail and Guardian, 11 February 2005Outlook bleak for Zimbabwe elections, as featured in the SAPA report carried by iafrica.com, 2 February 2005Electoral commission not independent, as featured in the SAPA report carried by iafrica.com, 2 February 2005 Peer Review and Nepad: Zimbabwe -…
Arraignment of Congolese militia leader welcomed by many campaigners as milestone in protection of children’s rights. The conscription of children under the age of 15 in war is internationally-recognised as a war crime, yet child-soldiers have been used in almost all of the wars fought in Africa over the past three decades. Children from Liberia to Zimbabwe have been brutalised and turned into killing machines in conflicts whose motivations and origins they scarcely understand, and the warlords who press-gang them have generally done so with impunity.
Sudan’s optimistically-named government of national unity was formed after the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement in January last year.
The Kebble-Maduna saga, the arms deal, the mining charter and mining royalty bill have thrown into sharp relief the complex and often fraught relationship between business and government. It also brings into question the critical rules of engagement.
Monday, 21 April 2008

A Luta Continua

Mozambique is South Africa’s second-biggest trading partner in Africa, but investors are waryEvery continent needs an America… this is how one South African investor responded when questioned about the importance of South African investment in a country like Mozambique. This comment immediately conjures up the image of the bully on the block, but the intention is subtler. It is widely accepted that the economic growth of Western Europe after the Second World War and the Asian economic miracle are a direct result of US investment and aid in those regions, and the opening of its market to their exports.
The recent announcement by the Minister of Public Enterprises, Jeff Radebe, that the South African government is investigating the option of legislation to regulate the behaviour of South African firms on the continent has resonated throughout the business community. South Africa has emerged as a significant investor over the last ten years in Africa.
As the city of Maputo prepares itself to host the World Economic Forum African summit this week under the theme Engaging Business in Development it is apt to reflect on the economic track record of Africa.
Tony Blair's Africa Commission is due to make its report public on how to assist African development early next year. What should this report contain? The problem for Blair and his fellow travellers is not that they lack the best intentions. The commission's establishment is an indication of the priority the UK prime minister has attached to Africa, which, he has said, is a "scar on the conscience of the world".
Why are most Africans in Sub-Saharan Africa poor and why are they getting poorer while most people in the rest of the world are becoming better off? The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund who have become Sub-Saharan Africa’s fairy godmother and godfather respectively, every year churn out statistics that tell the same tale – Africans are poor and in many instances have fallen so far down it is difficult to imagine them getting poorer. With poverty and growing impoverishment go conflicts over scarce and shrinking resources. Hence Sub-Saharan Africa’s apparently never ending cycle of violent conflicts.
A recent survey by the South African Institute of International Affairs on the experience of South African companies and subsidiaries operating in Egypt found that most regard it as a promising market.
Ghana's New National Patriotic Party government is facing a keenly awaited political contest in December when Ghanaians go to the polls to elect a new president and parliament. But Ghana's robust economic growth over the past four years under President John Kufuor's leadership is the government's trump card.
EGYPT faces the first contested presidential elections in its history next Wednesday. President Hosni Mubarak’s ruling party, the National Democratic Party (NDP), is poised to win. Mubarak’s liberalisation of the economy, the introduction of fiscal, monetary and institutional reforms, and the country’s relative political stability are his trump cards. For international and local investors this means a continuation of investment-friendly policies.
MINING in Africa appears to be the lifeline for the viability and sustainability of SA’s mining giants, which are facing rising costs related to deep-level mining and ageing mines. A recent survey by the South African Institute of International Affairs, conducted among South African mining firms on their African operations, has found that most respondents see the continent as a promising market.
Although Africa boasts some lucrative emerging markets and oil and gas fields that, once fully operational, could be geo-strategically important for the North (given the volatility of the Middle East), the continent is off the radar screen of most foreign investors. In fact, its natural and mineral resources have been more bane than boon. It is up to African governments to lead they way in ensuring that Africa is put on the international business map.