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Kofi Annan: Africa plundered by secret mining deals
Under-pricing deprives Africa of much-needed money, the report says
"Africa loses twice as much money through Tax avoidance, secret mining deals and financial transfers as it gets from donors" - Mr Kofi Annan, Chairman of The African Progress Rerort
Firms that shift profits to lower tax jurisdictions cost Africa $38bn (£25bn) a year, says a report produced by a panel he heads.
"Africa loses twice as much money through these loopholes as it gets from donors," Mr Annan told the BBC.
It was like taking food off the tables of the poor, he said.
The Africa Progress Report is released every May - produced by a panel of 10 prominent figures, including former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Graca Machel, the wife of South African ex-President Nelson Mandela.
African countries needed to improve governance and the world's richest nations should help introduce global rules on transparency and taxation, Mr Annan said.
The report gave the Democratic Republic of Congo as an example, where between 2010 and 2012 five under-priced mining concessions were sold in "highly opaque and secretive deals".
This cost the country, which the charity Save the Children said earlier this week was the world's worst place to be a mother, $1.3bn in revenues.
This figure was equivalent to double DR Congo's health and education budgets combined, the report said.
DR Congo's mining minister disputed the findings, saying the country had "lost nothing".
"These assets were ceded in total transparency," Martin Kabwelulu told Reuters news agency.
Kofi Annan: "Transparency is a powerful tool"
The report added that many mineral-rich countries needed "urgently to review the design of their tax regimes", which were designed to attract foreign investment when commodity prices were low.
It quotes a review in Zambia which found that between 2005 and 2009, 500,000 copper mine workers were paying a higher rate of tax than major multinational mining firms.
Africa loses more through what it calls "illicit outflows" than it gets in aid and foreign direct investment, it explains.
"We are not getting the revenues we deserve often because of either corrupt practices, transfer pricing, tax evasion and all sorts of activities that deprive us of our due," Mr Annan told the BBC's Newsday programme.
"Transparency is a powerful tool," he said, adding that the report was urging African leaders to put "accountability centre stage".
Mr Annan said African governments needed to insist that local companies became involved in mining deals and manage them in "such a way that it also creates employment".
"This Africa cannot do alone. The tax evasion, avoidance, secret bank accounts are problems for the world… so we all need to work together particularly the G8, as they meet next month, to work to ensure we have a multilateral solution to this crisis," he said.
For richer nations "if a company avoids tax or transfers the money to offshore account what they lose is revenues", Mr Annan said.
"Here on our continent, it affects the life of women and children - in effect in some situations it is like taking food off the table for the poor."
With the dust beginning to settle on the death of Meles Zenawi—ruler of Ethiopia since 1991—Western leaders have been quick to lavish praise on his legacy. A darling of the national security and international development industries, Zenawi was applauded for cooperating with the U.S. government on counter-terrorism and for spurring economic growth in Ethiopia—an impoverished, land-locked African nation of 85 million people. In truth, democratic leaders who praise Zenawi do a huge injustice to the struggle for human rights and individual dignity in Ethiopia.
Meles Zenawi at the World Economic Forum summit in Addis Ababa in May 2012 (Photo: WEF)
For years, the diminutive Zenawi had been a fixture on the Davos circuit, charming Western leaders with statistics of human development and business expansion. Under his control, Ethiopia’s average annual GDP growth rate more than doubled to a gaudy 8.8 percent over the past decade, and trade and investment with the West boomed. He worked with the U.S. to capture terrorists—even invading Somalia to help oust an Islamist government—in return netting roughly a billion dollars a year in American aid. Ethiopia had been to hell and back in the 1970s and 1980s with famine, war, and genocide. For someone who came to power as a freedom fighter and liberator, who gave one of the poorest countries on earth China-esque economic growth, and who became a key ally of the U.S., what was not to like?
First off, many of the rosy development statistics given out by the Ethiopian government are simply fraudulent; independent sources still rank Ethiopia at the very bottom of poverty indexes. Second, what genuine economic and public health transformations Zenawi did bring to Ethiopia were achieved with a top-down model that mirrored the statist command he implemented over all other aspects of Ethiopian life.
Zenawi built a totalitarian state, guided by Marxist-Leninism, complete with a cult of personality and zero tolerance for dissent. Like Saddam Hussein or Bashar al-Assad, he filled the country’s top political and economic positions with men from his own Tigaray ethnicity. When elections did occur, he won them with Saddam-like numbers, most recently, 99 percent of the vote. Civil society organizations were harassed into submission or banned. His government only allowed one television station, one radio station, one internet-service provider, one telecom, one national daily, and one English daily—all churning out government propaganda. Zenawi used this information hegemony to heavily censor news available to Ethiopians, taking special delight in preventing them from hearing news from exile groups outside the country.
Zenawi’s critics were jailed, killed or chased out of the country: in fact, more journalists were exiled from Ethiopia in the last decade than any other country on earth. Let’s restate that: Zenawi kicked out more journalists than any other tyrant on the planet, thereby monopolizing control over information. His favorite tactic was labeling dissidents as terrorists. Journalists risked up to 20 years in prison if they even reported about opposition groups classified by the government as terrorists. The most emblematic case is that of Eskinder Nega, a PEN-award-winning author sentenced to 18 years in prison this July for questioning the government’s new anti-terrorism laws.
Many in the West like to credit Zenawi with “keeping Ethiopia together” despite ethnic differences, war, famine and regional instability. Dissidents, however, maintain that Zenawi was always at war with his own people. When towns and villages rose up against Zenawi’s military regime, they were put down brutally. There was, and still is, a climate of fear. With 85 million Ethiopians suffering under his thrall, Meles Zenawi constructed one of history’s most depraved states in terms of numerical human suffering.
This kind of mentality is a dangerous one. There is no such thing as a benign dictator. Only those with a fascist mindset—who want to cut corners, who complain how messy and inefficient democracy can be, and who overlook two thousand years of political history—can believe in this chimera. From Cuba to Kazakhstan, the story is the same.
For instance, Pinochet took Chile from being a run-of-the-mill right-wing statist dictatorship to an economic success story with the same liberalization principles that the Chinese tyranny has employed to transform itself into a world power. Is the Pinochet-Beijing model of a police state with economic freedom, attempted by Zenawi for Ethiopia, an acceptable one in this day and age? The New York Review of Books reminds us that this sort of ideology brought Ethiopia “appalling cruelty in the name of social progress.” Anyone stating that they “like” the economic results from the Pinochet-Beijing model must accept thousands of tortured and disappeared in Chile and tens of millions dead in China (and 8 million political prisoners languishing in the Laogai as of today). Perhaps those admiring a strongman can accept such a condition with a John Rawls-type veil of ignorance without knowing what it is like to live under a dictatorship. It is easy to tolerate torture and disappearances if it isn’t happening to your daughter, your brother, your mother, or you.
Those in the West heaping praise on Zenawi—all living in societies that suffered so much to achieve individual liberty—are engaging in dramatic hypocrisy by praising this thug. Would Bill Gates live in a country that denies people basic political freedoms? Whose government arrests and kills its critics en masse? Would he trade places with an Ethiopian university student who believes in free expression and whose stance will lead to certain prison and possible execution?
Any arguments that Zenawi was mellowing (after 21 years in power!) are false. The past few years saw new sweeping “anti-terrorism” laws and stronger Internet censorship. In 2005, Ethiopia even saw its own Tiananmen Square. That year, Zenawi decided to hold freer elections, but the opposition won a record number of parliamentary seats, including all those in the capital, Addis Ababa. Throngs took to the streets to celebrate. In response, Zenawi lashed out brutally, arresting the opposition’s entire leadership and sentencing them to life in prison for treason; shuttering five newspapers and imprisoning their editors; murdering 193 protestors, injuring 800, and arbitrarily jailing 40,000 other men, women, and teenagers in a show of raw tyranny. According to The Telegraph’s David Blair, who was reporting from the scene, “a crackdown on this scale has not been seen in Africa for 20 years and the repression exceeds anything by President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe for the past decade at least. Apartheid-era South Africa’s onslaught against the black townships in the 1980s provides the only recent comparison.”
It is startling that so many consider Zenawi an “intellectual” leader, when he needed such bloody policy to enforce his rule. When Western leaders consider this dictator—who rapaciously treated Africa’s second-largest nation as his personal property—worthy of not just condolences, but pure adulation, something is very wrong with their value systems.
One politician, the Norwegian foreign minister, made a slight nod toward individual rights in his obligatory comments about Zenawi’s passing: “Norway and Ethiopia have an open and frank dialogue on political and social issues, including areas, such as human rights, where we have diverging views.”
@ThorHalvorssen is the founder and president of the New York–based Human Rights Foundation. Alex Gladstein is HRF’s Director of Institutional Affairs.
The Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi has died after 21 years on power.
Mr. Meles Zenawi, died at the age of 57
One of Africa's most powerful and divisive leaders, Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, has died of an undisclosed illness, raising fears of a regional power vacuum.
Human rights groups have long denounced Meles's government for its use of arbitrary detention, torture and surveillance of opposition members. Under a 2009 anti-terror law more than 100 opposition figures have been arrested; the government insists it is tackling rebel groups that have links with al-Qaida and Eritrea. More than 10 journalists have also been charged under the law, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Claire Beston, Amnesty International's Horn of Africa researcher, said: "The 21 years of Meles Zenawi's rule were characterised by ever-increasing repression and widespread human rights violations." His government stamped out dissenting voices, dismantled the independent media, obstructed human rights organisations and strangled political opposition."
She added: "Ethiopia's jails are packed to the seams with suspected political opponents - from urban intellectuals to rural farmers. Torture and ill-treatment are commonplace. State resources, assistance and opportunities have been broadly used to control the population. Tens of thousands of Ethiopians were forced to flee the country during his rule."
David Cameron was among the world leaders who paid tribute to Meles, a towering political figure who shaped modern Ethiopia in his own image. The country is now one of Africa's fastest-growing economies and among the United States' closest allies on the continent. But human rights groups condemned Meles as an authoritarian strongman whose 21-year rule was marred by rigged elections and the persecution, imprisonment and torture of critics.
Meles, 57, died in a hospital in Brussels on Monday after contracting an infection, authorities said. The prime minister had not been seen in public for about two months, and speculation about his health increased after he failed to attend a meeting of African Union heads of state in the capital, Addis Ababa, last month. Read the full news
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is the first woman to lead the continent - and the first from southern Africa - since the AU's predecessor was founded in 1963. Photograph: Michael/ Michael/Xinhua Press/Corbis
A South African politician has become the first female leader of the African Union (AU), ending months of bitter deadlock at the continental body. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa's home affairs minister, was elected chair of the African Union Commission on Sunday at a summit of heads of state and government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Cheering broke out at the AU's headquarters as supporters of Dlamini-Zuma, 63, celebrated her victory over the incumbent Jean Ping of Gabon. Read more
In Senegal, presidents concede defeat
DAKAR, Senegal — President Abdoulaye Wade conceded defeat to his former protege Sall late Sunday, congratulating him several hours after polls closed when preliminary results showed the opposition candidate had trounced the 85-year-old incumbent.
The moment that crystallized this nation's reputation as one of Africa's established democracies came the morning after the presidential election 12 years ago. In the neoclassical presidential palace, Senegal's leader stayed awake all night, counting and re-counting the results that showed in no uncertain terms that he had lost.
President Abdou Diouf could have rigged the election from the start, as his neighbor to the north in Mauritania had the habit of doing. He could have stacked the court in charge of validating the election with supporters, the strategy his neighbor to the south in Ivory Coast would one day put to good use.
Or he could have deployed the army to keep his grasp on power like in nearby Guinea, Gambia and Guinea-Bissau all of which share a border with Senegal, a nation of 12.4 million on Africa's western edge.
Instead the 64-year-old president emerged from his office, told his aides to draft a statement conceding defeat and picked up the phone to congratulate the man who had beaten him, Abdoulaye Wade. Read more
Mali coup overthrows one of the few established democracies in Northwest Africa
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Civilians walk past burning tires lit in support of mutinying soldiers, in Bamako, Mali, Wednesday. Gunshots could still be heard in the Malian capital late Wednesday, hours after angry troops started a mutiny at a military base near the presidential palace. Associated Press
BAMAKO, Mali — Soldiers looted the presidential palace Thursday hours after saying they were taking control of one of the few established democracies in this corner of Africa. There were conflicting reports on President Amadou Toumani Toure’s whereabouts.
Gunfire rang throughout the capital and soldiers carted televisions and other goods out of the palace following a coup announcement on state television. Toure had been due to leave office after elections on April 29, but now it appears the vote will not be held. Read more
Mo Ibrahim Foundation awarded £3.2 million African Good Governance prize for first time in three years
Pedro Veronia Pires, the former president of the Cape Verde Islands, was awarded the 2011 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership for his "humility and personal integrity" in leading his nation into democracy.
Along with the lump sum, to be paid over 10 years, he will receive $200,000 (£127,000) annually for life. He can also apply for another $200,000 per year for 10 years towards his charitable activities and espoused good causes.
The decision to award Mr Pires avoids the potential embarrassment of going a third year without recognising a winner. Read More
The Muammar Gaddafi story
By Martin Asser, BBC News
How can you adequately describe someone like Col Muammar Gaddafi? During a period that spanned six decades, the Libyan leader paraded on the world stage with a style so unique and unpredictable that the words "maverick" or "eccentric" scarcely did him justice.
His rule saw him go from revolutionary hero to international pariah, to valued strategic partner and back to pariah again.
Gaddafi developed his own political philosophy, writing a book so influential - in the eyes of its author, at least - that it eclipsed anything dreamt up by Plato, Locke or Marx.
He made countless show-stopping appearances at Arab and international gatherings, standing out not just with his outlandish clothing, but also his blunt speeches and unconventional behaviour. Read the full article here
Libya declares country's official 'liberation'
Libyan revolutionary fighters returning from Sirte are welcomed at Al Guwarsha gate in Benghazi, Libya.
REUTERS - Libya’s new rulers declared the country freed from Muammar Gaddafi’s 42 years of one-man rule on Sunday, saying the "Pharaoh of the times" was now in history’s garbage bin and a democratic future beckoned. Tens of thousands who until this year’s revolt had known only Gaddafi’s all-powerful police state packed a square in the second city Benghazi to hear the interim National Transitional Council (NTC) announce Libya had liberated itself fully.
NTC chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil kneeled in prayer after taking the podium and promised to uphold Islamic law. "All the martyrs, the civilians and the army had waited for this moment. But now they are in the best of places ... eternal heaven," he said, shaking hands with supporters.
Some fear Jalil, a mild-mannered former justice minister, will find it difficult to impose his will on his fractious revolutionary alliance, pointing to the insistence of the city of Misrata on displaying the body of the former strongman three days after his death, in apparent breach of Islamic practice.
And there is international disquiet about increasingly graphic and disturbing images on the Internet of abuse of a body that appears to be Gaddafi’s following his capture and the fall of his hometown of Sirte on Thursday. But the immediate reaction to Sunday’s announcement was jubilation. "We are the Libyans. We have shown you who we are Gaddafi, you Pharaoh of the times. You have fallen into the garbage bin of history," said lawyer Abdel Rahman el-Qeesy, who announced the creation of a new government portfolio to deal with victims of the conflict.
"We declare to the whole world that we have liberated our beloved country, with its cities, villages, hilltops, mountains, deserts and skies," said an official who opened the ceremony in Benghazi, the place where the uprising erupted in February and which has been the headquarters for the NTC.
After Years of Struggle, South Sudan Becomes a New Nation
JUBA, South Sudan — The celebrations erupted at midnight. Thousands of revelers poured into Juba’s steamy streets in the predawn hours on Saturday, hoisting enormous flags, singing, dancing and leaping on the back of cars.
“Freedom!” they screamed.
The New Flag of South Sudan
A new nation was being born in what used to be a forlorn, war-racked patch of Africa, and to many it seemed nothing short of miraculous. After more than five decades of an underdog, guerrilla struggle and two million lives lost, the Republic of South Sudan, Africa’s 54th state, was about to declare its independence in front of a who’s who of Africa, including the president of the country letting it go: Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan, a war-crimes suspect.
Many of those who turned out to celebrate, overcome with emotion, spoke of their fathers, mothers, sons and daughters killed in the long struggle to break free from the Arab-dominated north.
“My whole body feels happy,” said George Garang, an English teacher who lost his father, grandfather and 11 brothers in the war.
By sunrise, the crowds were surging through the streets of Juba, the capital, to the government quarter, where the declaration of independence would be read aloud. Thousands of soldiers lined the freshly painted curbs, tiger patches on their arms, assault rifles in their hands. This new nation is being built on a guerrilla army — the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, whose field commanders are now South Sudan’s political leaders — and the amount of firepower here is unnerving.
President of South Sudan, Mr. Salva Kiir
By 9 a.m., the sun was dangerous. The faces, necks and arms of the people packed thousands deep around a parade stand built for the occasion were glazed with sweat. A woman abruptly slumped to the dirt and was whisked away.
“She fainted because she’s happy,” said a man in the crowd. “There will be many others today.” Read More
Clinton Presses Africans to Abandon Authoritarian Rulers
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton bluntly warned African leaders on Monday that authoritarian governments ruled by aging despots were “no longer acceptable,” saying that those who refused democratic reforms would find themselves “on the wrong side of history.”
She also urged the African Union to end its lingering relations with Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. American officials have been deeply frustrated by the organization’s efforts to mediate on behalf of Colonel Qaddafi, who for decades lavished support on African leaders — many of them autocratic — and led the group two years ago.
The Obama administration is leading a global effort to deploy “shadow” Internet and mobile phone systems that dissidents can use to undermine repressive governments that seek to silence them by censoring or shutting down telecommunications networks. Read the full news
Hillary Clinton Warns Africa Of 'New Colonialism'
LUSAKA, Zambia -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday warned Africa of a creeping "new colonialism" from foreign investors and governments interested only in extracting the continent's natural resources to enrich themselves and not the African people. Clinton said that African leaders must ensure that foreign projects are sustainable and benefit all their citizens, not only elites. A day earlier, she cautioned that China's massive investments and business interests in Africa need to be closely watched so that the African people are not taken advantage of.
AFP - Ivory Coast leader Alassane Ouattara's forces, backed by French and UN troops, captured his besieged rival Laurent Gbagbo in Abidjan on Monday at the climax of a deadly months-long crisis. Ivory Coast's outgoing leader Laurent Gbagbo was detained at rival Alassane Ouattara's Golf Hotel headquarters on Monday, after French, UN and pro-Ouattara forces were reportedly deployed outside Gbagbo's Abidjan residence.
Gbagbo, who has held power since 2000 and stubbornly refused to admit defeat in November's presidential election, was detained and taken to his rival's temporary headquarters, with his wife Simone and son Michel.
"The nightmare is over," Ouattara's prime minister, former rebel leader Guillaume Soro, said on the Ouattara camp's television channel. Ouattara spokeswoman Anne Ouloto told AFP the former first couple had been brought to the Golf Hotel, where Ouattara's camp was for months besieged by Gbagbo's forces, at around 1.00 pm (1300 GMT), shortly after the arrest.
"He's here with his wife and his son Michel. I can see them now," she said, speaking by telephone from the former lagoon-side resort now turned into an armed camp protected by former rebel troops and UN peacekeepers. The situation in other districts of Abidjan, some still controlled by Gbagbo loyalists, including the downtown business district of Plateau and nearby Cocody, was not immediately clear after Gbagbo's arrest. Read more
Egypt's Arduous Road to Freedom
More than 300 people were killed in a treacherous, 18-day journey toward ending Hosni Mubarak's 30-year autocratic rule.
Against a sky that had grown dark and cloudy, occasionally sprinkling the protesters with rain, two military helicopters circled. Barbed wire army barricades backed by tanks with their barrels facing the protesters kept the crowd hundreds of meters from the entrance to the presidential compound. Instead, people waited outside the gate of the posh Heliopolis Sporting Club.
A friend held a radio to his ear, antenna fully extended. Protesters set up a small, curbside medical clinic - an even more ramshackle version of the field hospitals arranged in Tahrir Square. Others sat on the edge of the Heliopolis tram line, rendered functionless by the army barricade stretched across it.
Occasional cheers went up. First, the tanks symbolically turned their barrels away from the crowd. Then, an officer stood to grab and hang an Egyptian flag from a lamppost.
Suddenly, a louder cheer spread through the crowd. The presidential statement was coming across the radio. Mubarak was resigning. The noise grew. Flags began to wave. Disbelief turned into reality. The crowd separated into cheering camps; men on the shoulders of their friends were swamped by seas of blue mobile phones, recording the moment for posterity. Read more
Maintaining good relations with autocrats is an unfortunate but often necessary component of the delicate balancing act that is U.S. foreign policy. But as Washington learned once again this week, supporting a strongman for the sake of stability can present risks of its own.
The 2010 election, in which Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's party won a remarkable 99.6 percent of the vote, was the culmination of what Human Rights Watch called "the government's five-year strategy of systematically closing down space for political dissent and independent criticism." This included attacks and arrests of prominent opposition figures, the shutting down of newspapers and assaults on journalists critical of the government, and doling out international food aid as an incentive to get poor Ethiopians to join the ruling party. Read more
Egyptian Dictator in a termoil
Talks between the Egyptian government and opposition groups on tackling the country's political crisis have failed to end protests in central Cairo. Crowds of protesters, who have occupied the city's Tahrir Square for two weeks, say they will leave only when President Hosni Mubarak stands down.
The government offered a series of concessions at Sunday's talks, but the opposition said they were not enough. US President Obama has said Egypt will not "go back to what it was". Opposition groups met members of the government on Sunday to discuss how to resolve the stand-off which has paralysed the country and left some 300 people dead. Vice-President Omar Suleiman hosted the talks. Six groups were represented, including a coalition of youth organisations, a group of "wise men" and the banned Muslim Brotherhood, in its first ever meeting with the government.
For the moment the talks don't seem to be going anywhere. There is a stalemate and there are two kinds of pillars to this: one of President Mubarak not going anywhere, and the other of the protesters not going anywhere. Read more
Finally running for life: The fate of one of Africans dictatorial leader in the hand of the Tunisian people
President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali leaves country following violent clashes in the capital, Tunis.
14 Jan 2011
Tunisia's long-standing president has left the country amid violent protests and the prime minister has taken over control of the government from him.
The Tunisian prime minister, in a televised address, said on Friday that he has assumed control of the government as the president is "temporarily unable to exercise his duties".
Friday's developments come following violent clashes in the capital, Tunis, over unemployment and rising food prices.
State media earlier reported that Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the president, had imposed a state of emergency in the country and promised fresh legislative elections within six months in an attempt to quell the wave of dissent sweeping across the country.
There were also reports that the airport in Tunis had been surrounded by troops and the country's airspace has been closed. It was also said that gatherings of more than three people had been banned. Tunisian state television said on Friday it is expecting the announcement of an "historic decision" which will satisfy the desires of the north African country's people.
Ben Ali had been in power for the last 27 years. On Thursday, he vowed not to seek re-election and reduced food prices in a bid to placate protesters.
But the pledges seemed to have little effect as fresh streets erupted on Friday.
Kingsley Kobo, AfricaNews reporter in Abidjan, Ivory Coast
After ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States], the African Union [AU] on Thursday suspended the Ivory Coast from all its activities until democratic order is restored in the West African country, according to a statement released by the regional bloc's Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra and published by AFP.
The defeated and self appointed Ex President, Laurent GbagboNewly elected Ivorian President Alassane Ouattar
Tanzania election: Jakaya Kikwete re-elected president
Mr Kikwete will serve a second and final term (BBC News)
Tanzania's incumbent President Jakaya Kikwete has been returned to office following last weekend's elections, officials say.
The election commission said Mr Kikwete won just over 61% of the votes, beating candidates from opposition parties. The commission dismissed claims of irregularities in the count.
Mr Kikwete has been credited with boosting the nation's economy, but his opponents say he has failed to tackle widespread poverty.
Tanzania boasts east Africa's second-biggest economy, although more than 50% of Tanzanians still live below the poverty line, according to the IMF.
The main opposition leader, Willibrod Slaa, had called for a vote recount, but the commission said there were not enough irregularities to change the final result.
The president, who is 60, will serve a second and final term.
John Kufuor to Establish a Leadership Foundation
Story by Isaac Essel, Myjoyonline.com, Ghana
Former President Kufuor has disclosed his intention to establish a learning centre in Accra. Speaking at the launch of The Thabo Mbeki Foundation at the Convention Hall in Johannesburg on Monday, Mr. Kufuor hinted that the centre would be christened John A. Kufuor Foundation for Leadership, Governance and Development. Read more
How Did al-Shabab Emerge from the Chaos of Somalia?
The concerns and agenda of Somalia's al-Shabab militia are very much rooted in local politics. However, its rise to prominence is tied to decisions taken by the U.S. and its regional allies in pursuit of the Bush Administration's "Global War on Terror." Following the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. deemed the 10-year power vacuum in Somalia a potential refuge for al-Qaeda, one that prompted Washington, together with African allies, to arm and fund various Somali warlords. In 2004, some warlords were drawn together into the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). However, successive attempts to establish a government were based on clan alliance, and were inherently unstable because of the zero-sum character of the clans' competition for resources. Full Article
Why Democracy Isn’t Working
Africa’s own institutions have been unable to halt the trend, which has gained speed since a period of openness following the end of the Cold War. “The democratization process on the continent is not faring very well,” says Jean Ping, the Gabonese chairman of the African Union Commission, which has overseen a host of Pan-African agreements on democracy and human rights that many member states have either ignored or failed to ratify. “The measures that we take here are taken in a bid to make sure that we move forward. The crises, they are repeating themselves.” In country after country, the recipe for the new age of authoritarianism is the same: demonization and criminal prosecution of opposition leaders, dire warnings of ethnic conflict and chaos should the ruling party be toppled, stacking of electoral commissions, and the mammoth mobilization of security forces and government resources on behalf of the party in power. Full Article
The Worst of the Worst: Bad Dude Dictators and General Coconut Heads.
A continent away from Kyrgyzstan, Africans like myself cheered this spring as a coalition of opposition groups ousted the country's dictator, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. "One coconut down, 39 more to harvest!" we shouted. There are at least 40 dictators around the world today, and approximately 1.9 billion people live under the grip of the 23 autocrats on this list alone. There are plenty of coconuts to go around.Full Article
The Human-Rights Abuser on the G20 Guest List
Ahmed Hussen, National Post Jun. 8, 2010
Later this month, leaders from Ethiopia and Malawi will be in Toronto as invited guests of the G20. While it is to be expected that the Malawian President would be invited in his capacity as the Chair of the African Union, it is more surprising to see an invitation extended to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia.
Mr. Zenawi has been a disappointment to the international community. Since coming to power, he has not lived up to his promises to democratize Ethiopia and end the abuses of the country's minorities. In fact, the opposite has occurred: Mr. Zenawi heads a government that has been accused by the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch of systematically attempting to destroy ethnic minorities in the Ogaden region and southern Ethiopia. Full Article
No Winner for $5 Million African Leadership Prize
Sun Jun 13, 2010
LONDON – For the second year in a row, organizers of a $5 million annual prize for good governance in Africa say they have decided not to give out the award. The winner of the Ibrahim Prize for African leadership was to be announced Monday. But the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, based in London, said Sunday the seven-member prize committee, led by former United Nations chief Kofi Annan, had not selected a winner.Full Article
The European Union Signs Deal to Boost AU Fight against Corruption, Human Rights
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - The European Union Commission has signed a landmark agreement with the African Union (AU), promising a joint partnership in the fight against corruption, human rights violations and pledging enhanced aid to deal with the internal refugees in African countries.Full Article