More on the Africa and China debate
- William Gumede on the Washington Post strikes another point against China in Africa, outlining why its antics are condemning the continent to a further period of underdevelopment…
- … but receives a good response from Andrew Mwenda, who argues that the debate is misplaced, and calls for more trade to help the continent rise out of poverty. He makes an interesting point on the alleged ‘lack of conditionality’ debate: ‘arguments that Chinese aid is good or bad because it does not have conditionality is misplaced. Conditionality has consistently failed to work. A lot of studies on Africa have demonstrated this. What China is doing in Africa is not changing direction, but offering more of the same’. [both via Africa Unchained]
- And Paolo de Renzio from ODI jumps into the debate, asking a simple, yet powerful question: ‘Amidst all the noise, however, the most deafening roar is that of China’s silence. Its silence on the vision it has for a different world order. Should the international community engage with China in dialogue at this higher level, rather than focus narrowly on good governance in Africa?’
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- Much to the horror of debt-relief campaigners, the Guardian and the BBC report on a British High Court ruling, which allows British Virgin Islands-based Donegal International to sue Zambia for a $42m repayment for a debt that the African nation owed and which the company purchased at less than $4m (£2m). Oxfam urges campaigners to send an angry message to the company’s CEO.
- Edward Lucas lashes out not once, but twice from the Economist’s pages at Poland’s ‘pig-headed’ government led by the Kaczynski twins, depicted as ‘vengeful, paranoid, addicted to crises, divided and mostly incompetent‘. An unusually politically-savvy position for an Economist correspondent to take, given Poland has taken in a record $14.7 billion in foreign investment last year, and the economy is growing at almost 6% a year.
- Eurozone reviews Germany’s 2.9% GDP growth in 2006, which has allowed the German economy to outgrow the US one in per-capita terms.
- Clive Matthews/Nosemonkey reports on racial representation in the European Parliament (from a Guardian article stating that of 785 MEPs – representing 492 million people from 27 countries – just 9 are not white) and does an excellent round-up of the major European blogs, from debates on the future of the constitution to the French presidential elections.
- Mariann Fischer-Boel starts warming up to her new blog-toy, reporting from her recent US trip where she discussed farm subsidies and the future of the WTO Doha negotiations: ‘My discussions in Washington showed that the Farm Bill will be written very much with domestic concerns in mind. DOHA does not seem to be high on the agenda in farm bill discussions. This is a very different approach to ours, where we reform first and then look to lock these reforms into a WTO agreement‘. Is my euro-speak rusty, or is the pot calling the kettle black?
- And finally, for those of you who are wondering what happened to the oneseat campaign (which collected over 1m signatures to try and stop 200 million euros being spent every year to move the European Parliament between Brussels/Belgium and Strasbourg/France), read Nanne’s entry on trading seats and proposals to try and woo France’s bruised ego on the subject!
Posted in Africa, China, Economics, Environment, EU/Europe, Globalization, Innovation & Creativity, International Development, Middle East, Politics, Russia, South Asia, The United States, War & Peace
- Jon finally starts his own blog, so he’ll stop writing lengthy obscure comments on my blog, and will have fun playing with his own toy. Check it out. It’s already a classic.
- Al Gore moved a step closer to sainthood when he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, in a move which has prompted Arianna Huffington to wonder if anyone has ever won an Oscar and a Nobel Prize in the same year? It certainly makes me wonder if he won’t become a candidate to another – altogether more important – race…
- Arms to Africa? Alan Hudson at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) steps into the debate on the BAE Systems sale of expensive air traffic control systems to Tanzania, opening it up to broader questions of policy coherence towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals;
- The Gates Foundation displays its double standards and lack of coherence for investing into oil companies that are operating in Nigeria and are causing those very health problems they are trying to solve;
- The Guardian reports on how Kenya fell in love with its stock market. From trendy businessmen, to farmers from the provinces, everyone seems to be profiting from this bull market, but how long will it last before it bursts? [via Africa Unchained]
- Giuliano Amato (former Italian PM, now Minister of Interior and chair of the Action Committee for European Democracy) writes an insightful piece on the FT about the future of the Constitution (or how we might quietly be allowed to bury it, while pushing forward by other means those bits that matter, like an EU Foreign Minister!) [via Nanne]
- J. Ignacio Torreblanca takes the lead from the recent revelations by El Pais, in which US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is said to have admitted to Europe’s Foreign Ministers that the US did violate their sovereignty to kidnap and remove from their territories suspected terrorists, to assess the (positive) state of Europe’s nascent public sphere.
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- See this webcast from the World Economic Forum’s panel discussion on The Impact of Web 2.0 and Emerging Social Network Models, starring Caterina Fake (Flickr), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Chad Hurley (YouTube), Mark G. Parker(Nike) and Viviane Reding (EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media) – the most intersting bit arrives 35′ in, with a discussion on democracy and Web 2.0.
- Read these three pieces of a global picture that is emerging of governments and corporations moving away from Microsoft and towards open source. 1) France: the French automaker Peugot Citroen has announced that over the next several years they will be integrating up to 20,000 Novell SUSE desktops as well as 2,500 SUSE servers into their facilities. (Let’s hope that, in Novell, Peugeot Citroen hasn’t bought a lemon.) 2) Sweden: the Swedish Armed Forces has made a decision to migrate its Windows NT servers to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. 3) Russia. VE3OGG writes: “It would seem that after the recent Russian piracy debacle that could see a school headmaster jailed in a Siberian work camp for purchasing pirated copies of Windows for his school, the Ministry of Education in Russia has decided that the school boards will no longer be purchasing any commercial software.” [via Jon]
- Much to its participants’ relief, and to the world’s indifference, the World Social Forum came to an end in Nairobi. While some of us were there to tell (and espeically to experience the scorching African sun) …
- … others – namely Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, Firoze Manji and Patrick Bond from Pambazuka News – were beginning to raise questions about how un-representational and undemocratic this event has become.
- But when even the World Bank’s President, Paul Wolfowitz, has no money to buy new socks, what hope is there for those billions still living in poverty?
- Sudan was refused for the second year in a row the position of chair of the African Union, following a meeting of African leaders in Addis Abeba, on the grounds of its refusal to allow a peacekeeping mission in Darfur [via Patrick].
- China’s President Hu Jintao begun an eight-nation tour of Africa, which has already brought him to Cameroon – where he approved $100m worth of grants and loans – and Liberia – where a possible package of investment in a special economic zone is expected to create some 50,000 jobs in the next 10 years.
- Human Rights Watch takes on Nigeria’s oil corruption, accusing local governments of squandering rising revenues that could provide basic health and education services for the poor.
- The FT reports that Aureos Capital, one of the most experienced private equity groups in Africa, is aiming to raise $400m for a ground-breaking bet on the potential of smaller companies to build businesses spanning the continent [via Timbuktu Chronicles]
- David Calleo aligns himself with the social concerns of many Euro-sceptics, and criticizes free trade as the last religion of the West. He’s clearly not heard about Richard Dawkins‘ concern that we are progressively becoming delusional…
- Marie-Jose Garot makes a compelling case on Blog Europa for building a European political community as a prerequisite for any constitutional citizenship, although her suggestion of doing this by establishing a European military service doesn’t seem to me the most appropriate was of promoting the EU’s founding principles of peace and mutual tolerance. Nor am I sure I want to model Europeans’ sense of citizenship on the US’ idea of patriotism…!
- DJ Nozem contemplates a proposal by French MEP Alain Massoure that would reform the CAP in exchange for the UK giving up it €7.5 billion-a-year rebate…
- … and Clive Matthews reports on Timothy Garton Ash’s latest (and super-heroic) plan to construct Europe’s identity by letting its citizens tell its story. Could be interesting, but could also be incredibly messy, judging by the first vitriolic exchanges.
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- A ‘vague’ (sic!) scent of elitism pervades Miguel Mesquita da Cunha’s commentary of the risks of increasing democracy in the European Union, perhaps forgetting that it is quite hard to get people’s support for a common endeavour without explaining to them what they’re buying into. Or perhaps he thinks the EU doesn’t need the Europeans’ support?
- And finally, everyone has been wondering why the Danes are the happiest people in Europe. Apparently, the secret is not having too many expectations in life…!
PS: on the 23rd, a great Polish writer and journalist, Ryszard Kapuscinski, died aged 74. This entry is dedicated to him and to his restless search for the soul of Africa.
Proudly presenting a new (but not innovative, alas) weekly format to try and share with you some of the interesting things I am spotting on the net and across the blogsphere, but which I cannot comment on widely for lack of time and/or want. I am not sure this will be the way forward – too many people are seemingly using this diffused system, leading to a sort of informational climax, without the corresponding pleasure – but let’s see how it goes…
- Fedia Kriukov takes issue with the Economist calling Stalin ‘a mass murderer’… bless!
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