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Opinion & Analysis (1033)

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.
Ghana has emerged as the hub for SA companies seeking to do business in West Africa. This is at the expense of the larger Nigeria, which is still seen as a risky investment destination, and Côte d'Ivoire, which descended into civil war two years ago.
THE World Economic Forum meeting in Cape Town will discuss the role that the private sector, and specifically SA, can play in supporting the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad).
With its capital and principal port of Dakar located on the westernmost point of Africa, Senegal is poised to become the gateway to Francophone west Africa. The semi-arid former French colony is regarded as the economic success in the region with its strong commitment to the rule of law and democratic institutions.
A prevailing dilemma for leaders from the Group of Eight (G8) and Africa centres on the future prospects of the much-hailed New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).
The ambitious eastward expansion of the European Union (EU), emphasised by the European Commission's recommendation to begin accession negotiations with Turkey, has not assuaged fears in SA and on the continent of a potential declining European focus on Africa.
22 April 2005, Business Day DEVELOPING Asia is moving up SA’s strategic agenda. In recent months China and India have dominated the headlines as we move to start free-trade negotiations with them. Those processes, particularly that with China, are proving contentious. Partly in consequence, little attention has been paid to southeast Asia.
China has captured the world's attention. There are two reasons for this: 1.3 billion people and a rate of economic growth doubling the economy every five years since 1980.
READERS of these pages should be aware of the regular statistical consommé on China and the effect of its economic growth. For example, if the People’s Republic had to reach US car ownership levels, it would consume more oil than is currently produced daily and the 600-million cars on China’s roads would be more than all the cars in the world today; and if the Chinese annually ate as much fish per capita as the Japanese, they would consume the entire world fish harvest.
THE test of a democracy is not whether its leaders never fall foul of the law, or bring high office to disrepute. It is whether — if, or when, they do — leadership understands the responsibility of applying the principle of zero tolerance of corruption unequivocally. By that count, SA has earned kudos in recent weeks: progress on Travelgate, and most notably the bold move of releasing Jacob Zuma from his responsibilities as deputy president.
Africa needs China. As in other parts of the developing world, China’s insatiable appetite for natural resources is creating unprecedented demand for commodities, pushing prices to new highs and fuelling economic growth across the continent.
As an election observer in the general elections in Mozambique at the beginning of this month, I criss-crossed the north-western province of Tete in order to cover as many polling stations as possible. Passing baobab trees on our way to polling stations in tiny villages, my observer team from the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) came across many others on the same mission: numerous local observers, a team of parliamentarians from the southern African region, and international observer groups from the European Union (EU), the Commonwealth and the Carter Centre.
When floor crossing was first introduced its expediency was camouflaged in the diaphanous cloak of “conscience”. If it was diaphanous then, it has no semblance of apparel now. And the emperor has been exposed.
In late February a diplomatic flurry in the regional trading firmament erupted.  Our Foreign Minister stated in Parliament that the EU, out of fear over the Chinese trade "threat", is using Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the EU to lock in old colonial trading relationships. Subsequently Peter Mandelson, EU Trade Commissioner, descended on Pretoria and Gaborone. What is going on?