bulletin of the AFRICA PROGRESS PANELVolume 4, Issue 6 — 25 March 2011
Africa Progress Panel
9-11 rue de Varembé
1202 Geneva, Switzerland
Tel +41 (0)22 919 7520
The APP Bulletin is produced by the APP Secretariat and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Chair and/or members of the Panel.
Off the radar...
Media headlines have lately almost exclusively focused on two stories. The first story is Libya and Qadaffi’s heavy handed response to demonstrations against his rule; together with the UN Security Council resolution 1973, authorizing a ‘no-fly zone’ over Libya aimed at protecting civilians under attack. The second, Japan’s devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear threat which brought the world to halt as it witnessed one of the wealthiest countries look as vulnerable as some of the poorest. Few would argue that these horrible situations, one man-made (and hence avoidable), the other a natural disaster are not worthy of media attention. But these are not the only two stories deserving our attention.
A funding shortfall has brought the UN to call the deteriorating situation in Cote d’Ivoire the forgotten humanitarian crisis. Although Alassane Ouattara has been internationally recognized as the legitimate winner in last November’s presidential elections, Laurent Gbagbo is refusing to relinquish power. There have been a plethora of mediation efforts and although imposed sanctions are starting to bite, the situation remains unresolved. With over half a million people displaced so far, and the violence increasing, the ICC has said they would investigate crimes. The consequences of a worsening situation may be drastic, and few are paying attention.
Other equally important issues, although not necessarily in the same league, have fallen off the media’s radar. The African Union Summit, the G8 Summit in Musoka and the MDG Summit which brought maternal and child health back into the spotlight now seem like distant efforts in the dark. There is probably no greater media fall from grace than climate change -post Copenhagen, although the impacts of climate change are unquestionable. And if we look into the issue of food prices and food security – the root of these problems point to so many other complex problems that it seems like this topic is too much to digest.
We can be grateful for real-time, comprehensive and timely media coverage that helps provide perspectives and facts to help us, and more importantly, our leaders, be better informed and prepared to make decisions. On the other hand, how can we trust that we are in fact getting all the information we need? We know we cannot afford to turn a blind eye on the other crises, and that it is ultimately our responsibility to press for quality coverage.
- Benin has become the latest West African nation to face a disputed election after the main challenger, Adrien Houngbedji refused to accept the official result and declared himself president. To avoid a repeat of the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, ECOWAS expresses concern and calls on the candidates to graciously abide by the results of the election and direct all complaints through established channels.
- As the political crisis Côte d’Ivoire further deteriorates, its spillover effects are increasingly stressing the country’s neighbors. West African leaders have agreed to ask the UN for a mandate for military intervention to end the post-election crisis in the country.
- Former PM Oumarou accepts defeat in presidential polls held in Niger on March 12. The election was won by veteran opposition leader Mahamadou Issoufou with 58% of the vote. The presidential election has successfully transfered Niger to civilian rule, a year after the military toppled President Mamadou Tandj. This smooth democratic transition provides a stark contrast to Côte d’Ivoire.
- While many hope that the 2011 election will change the course of Nigeria’s history and usher in a new era of democratic and political maturity; The Niger Delta’s militant group (MEND),claiming to be fighting for a fair share of Nigeria's oil wealth for the people of the region has threatened simultaneous bomb blasts and attacks on oil facilities ahead of April general elections.
- Leaders of several African countries including Uganda, South Africa and Zimbabwe have criticized the foreign intervention in Libya, accusing the West of double standards while they themselves are accused of practicing double standards. This criticism is said to be merely driven by fears as Africans are now standing up and demanding sound leadership.
- AfDB’s President calls for deeper regional integration as a tool for growth and employment creation in Southern Africa
- AfDB approves $1 million in humanitarian aid to the ICRC and Tunisian Red Crescent for displaced people at the Tunisia-Libya border
- In an open letter to the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, the International Crisis Group calls for more robust efforts to stop the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire from aggravating into outright civil war
- ECOWAS is set to review the sanctions imposed on Guinea and Niger after they contravened the organization’s protocol on democracy and good governance
THE GLOBAL FUND
- The Global Fund and WHO call on world leaders to increase their commitment and contributions to tackle multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB)
- The Global Fund approves a $483 million grant to fund Kenya's fight against TB for the period 2011 to 2015
- IMF says sub-Saharan African nations should remove tax breaks for investors and focus on improving their investment climate
- IMF is taking a new look at how it assesses risks and prospects for economies around the world in the wake of the global economic crisis
- The UNFCCC produces broadcast-ready radio stories about Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) for Africa with the aim of making CDM understandable and accessible to a broad audience
- IFAD issues a $90 million loan to Tanzania to strengthen the country’s access to rural financial services and markets and promote private sector development
- UNDP and UNITAR launch a joint initiative to train over 1,100 African negotiators and decision makers with the aim to strengthen African participation in multilateral negotiations
- UN Security Council postpones session on Kenya’s bid to delay ICC trials
In the blogs...
- World Bank’s Africa can end poverty Blog: Africa on the brink of a takeoff, 15 March 2011, Shanta Devarajan uses a video to provide an optimistic assessment of Africa’s development prospects and argues that it is on the right track.
- ODI Blog: Transition in Egypt! The challenges of going beyond a democratic facade, 17 March 2011
Alina Rocha Menocal explores the challenges facing Egypt as it looks to make the transition to democracy.
- Poverty Matters Blog: What will aid look like in 2031? 23 March 2011
Madeleine Bunting questions whether aid will go on forever or will the web and the growth of China, Brazil and India change aid forever? She provides a hypothetical vision of aid in 20 years time.
Africa must continue to move away from the “winner takes all” approach to elections and power
- Kofi Annan, Chair of the APP and Chair of the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy, and Security
- Pambazuka News: The moral hazard of US policy in Africa, 16 March Professor Alemayehu Mariam, discusses the US administration’s policy towards Africa and expresses disappointment at Obama's unwillingness to criticize dictatorial African leaders as he did before.
- Mail and Guardian (South Africa): Democracies must be bold, 18 March British High Commissioner in South Africa, Nicola Brewer calls on the international community to act clearly and decisively to support the uprising in Libya.
- Courrier International (France): Pour une Afrique qui gagne, 23 March The author emphasizes Africa’s bright future and huge consumer potential after the Times CEO Summit Africa in London. Good governance, natural resources, infrastructure were part of the discussions, and current economic growth models were reviewed (Article in French).
- Financial Times (UK): The threat to Africa’s fledgling democracy, 23 March APP Chair Kofi Annan comments on the worsening crisis in Côte d’Ivoire stating that its example must spur global efforts to uphold the integrity of elections wherever they are held.
- Business Day (South Africa): AU should fix the problems in its own backyard, 24 March Alfredo Hengari comments on the possible role of the AU in Libya and lessons to draw from it. He writes that the regional grouping needs to review its ambitions and focus on providing leadership on crises in its sub-Saharan instead of seeking a broader role in North Africa.
- The US and Brazil have agreed to expand their joint technical cooperation in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America
- China announces it will lend Zimbabwe $585 million under an agreement to boost the African country’s health and agriculture sectors
- Experts say that a new variety of China-bred hybrid millet, if popularized on the continent could provide a credible solution to food shortages
- The EU releases an additional €25 million for emergency humanitarian aid for 380,000 displaced people in Côte d'Ivoire
- European Commissioners Andris Piebalgs and Michel Barnier advocate green growth and economic integration in Africa
- The German Government increases humanitarian aid by €500,000 for Ivorian refugees
- Germany will call for an end to the sanctions against Zimbabwe once the country has a roadmap in place for free and fair elections
- A Russian state owned nuclear energy firm suspends a Uranium mining plan in Tanzania, following the Japanese nuclear crisis
- As part of Britain’s bilateral aid review, DFID has decided to slash its aid to Lesotho, saying the reduction will have minimal impact on overall aid flows to the African nation
- The UK Government has given £10 million in support of Comic Relief's work in improving health and education across Africa
- UK says it will help protect a quarter of Mozambique’s vulnerable population from malaria by supporting the distribution of 2.2million life-saving bed nets
- Britain pledges aid rise of over 10% to support poverty reduction strategies in Mozambique
- UK to launch a £1,5 million Prosperity Fund in South Africa to support projects that are linked to low-carbon growth and trade
- The US plans to invest $20 million to support the democratic transition in Tunisia
- U.S. Secretary of State announces a $2 billion aid package for Egypt to bolster its economy while the nation considers new government structures following the removal of Hosni Mubarak
- USAID donates $12 million to boost humanitarian assistance to civilians affected by the growing violence in Côte d'Ivoire and Ivorian refugees in Liberia
|28 March||Annual Meeting on the Ministers of Finance & Economy of the AU and UNECA: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia|
|28 March – 1 April||Power Generation World Africa 2011: Johannesburg, South Africa|
|29-30 March||OECD Global Forum on Environment & Climate Change Expert Group Seminar with Developing Countries: Paris, France|
|29 March -1 April||The Corporate Council on Africa’s 2011 International Partnerships Conference: Doing Business with Africa: Tenerife, Canary Islands|
|30 March -1 April||Regional Seminar for Parliaments of West and Central Africa on Combating Violence against Women: Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso|
|31 March||Africa Energy Awards: Johannesburg, South Africa|
|2 April||Kellogg School of Business Management’s Africa Business Conference: Illinois, U.S.A|
|7 April||World Health Day|
|8 April||Djibouti Presidential Elections|
|9 April||Nigeria Presidential Elections|