bulletin of the AFRICA PROGRESS PANELVolume 4, Issue 7 — 8 April 2011
Africa Progress Panel
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A country holed up?
Since 2000 dramatic scenes have become regular occurrences in Cote d’Ivoire. Previously considered the jewel of West Africa, the country has had 7 years of a government of national unity (since 2003), 7 years of a peacekeeping presence in the country, 7 postponed elections (between 2000-2010) and there have been 4 months of intense political stand-off. Over the last week, the crisis has finally reached a tipping point.
As the results of last year’s elections were being announced by the Ivoirian National Election Commission, the person reading the results literally had their papers snatched from their hands, torn on national television and the already highly-pressured situation spiralled out of control. The Ivorian National Election Commission, the United Nations (entrusted to certify the elections), the African Union and ECOWAS all declared Alassane Ouattara the elected President of Cote d’Ivoire. The incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo, simply refused to recognize the results or hand over power. What followed has been extremely alarming, totally avoidable and full of lessons for both Africans and the rest of the international community.
Economic, diplomatic and military means were deployed to bring an end to the stalemate. Travel and financial sanctions were imposed on Gbagbo and select supporters, and, at the request of Ouattara, on Ivorian cacao. The Central Bank of West Africa States closed its offices in the country, cutting off Gbagbo’s ability to pay the military and civil servants.
Diplomatically, apart from the universally recognized election results and the numerous calls for Gbagbo to step down, the UN, AU and ECOWAS each sent mediation missions in an attempt to resolve the standoff. Ouattara rejected any calls for the establishment of a unity government, while Gbagbo vehemently rejected that he lost the elections (based on the Constitutional Court’s declaration). Although these efforts have not resolved the standoff, there are important lessons to be learned, including the need to act decisively, with consistency and with one voice.
The deteriorating security situation, the displacement of over 1 million people, the killing of innocent civilians and flagrant human rights abuses further escalated the crisis leading the UN Security Council to unanimously adopt resolution 1975 (30 March) under Chapter VII which calls for the protection of civilians and peacekeepers by any means necessary. In the last week, UN and French helicopters have targeted and disabled Gbagbo’s heavy weapons and arms caches, giving Ouattara supporters the upper hand.
With Gbagbo holed up in a bunker beneath his residence, hopefully the end of the stalemate is in sight. In any case, Ouattara has a daunting task ahead of him. In addition to bringing the country back to normality, kick-starting the economy, there is much healing and reconciliation that needs to happen. The country is more divided than it ever has been and religious as well as ethnic differences have been incited. It is clear that those responsible for abuses need to be brought to justice, but it will be a delicate balancing act.
- Forces backing Côte d’Ivoire’s internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara are fighting for control of the presidential residence where the country's incumbent leader is refusing to surrender, despite being trapped in a bunker. Analysts say the nation’s bitter divide runs much deeper than the personal feud between Gbagbo and President-elect Alassane Ouattara, and that it would be a mistake to assume the end of Gbagbo's rule means the end of violence in Côte d’Ivoire. The stalemate and the international response expose a deep divide among Africans about the role of the international community on their continent. Recent U.N actions show a policy shift and a willingness to take bold action to save lives.
- Nigeria’s Independent National Elections Commission (INEC) has delayed polling by a full week after it was forced to suspend a weekend vote for the country’s National Assembly. The postponement has led to confusion, new accusations of fraud and continues to draw criticism and stoke fears of potential disaster.
- Despite several unsuccessful attempts by Kenyan lawmakers to push through legislation to establish a domestic special tribunal to try suspects accused of perpetrating post-election violence in 2008, the ICC will hold a hearing on Sept. 1 to decide whether to proceed with the charges of crimes against humanity. Should the six suspects be indicted, it is feared by some that their trials could destabilize Kenya's fragile coalition government.
- After a wave of largely nonviolent protests in February, Morocco is quietly undergoing what its prime minister calls ‘a peaceful revolution.’ Citizens will vote on proposed constitutional changes in a national referendum with the aim to lessen the monarchy's power.
- Diplomatic efforts have intensified in the past week to end the crisis in Libya as rebels and forces loyal to Gaddafi have reached a stalemate in the east of the country. But the Libyan opposition is still refusing any kind of settlement, saying they will accept a UN-demanded ceasefire only if Gaddafi pulls his forces out of all Libyan cities. Analysts claim the Libyan crisis has exposed the indecisiveness and inadequacies of the African Union.
- Political disputes have re-surfaced in South Sudan. The latest report from the International Crisis Group cautions that unless there is an opening of political space and a participatory transition, there are risks of recreating the authoritarian and ultimately unstable state.
- The government of Sudan accuses Israel of carrying out a fatal airstrike, which is regarded as an attack on the country’s sovereignty. Sudan is considered a transit point in the weapons route to Hamas, the Palestinian faction that runs Gaza.
- After seizing power for fourteen months, the military junta in Niger has formally handed over power to newly elected President Mahamadou Issoufou as promised.
- As South Africa gets ready to join its fellow BRIC countries as the newest member at this month’s summit in Beijing, economists argue that the country is simply too small, both in terms of its economy and its population.
- According to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, promises made by African leaders to increase their investment in agriculture to 10 % of their national budgets have been met by only 8 out of 53 countries.
AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
- AfDB pledges $900 million for Climate Investment Funds and promises additional funding to support Zambia and 12 other African nations in implementing clean technology and climate resilience projects
- AfDB Approves $40 million loan to Ethiopian Airlines to support the purchase of five Boeing 777-200LR passenger jets
- AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs speaks on the challenges facing the organization and says the continental body does not have adequate funds to ‘keep peace on the continent’
- EAC signs $108 million grant agreement to fund water and sanitation infrastructure in Lake Victoria Basin
- IMF introduces an analytical framework for assessing vulnerabilities and emerging risks in low-income countries arising from changes in the global economy
- In 2010, net ODA flows from members of the DAC of the OECD reached $128.7 billion, representing an increase of +6.5 % over 2009 thus showing a boost in development assistance for Africa in 2010.
- OECD releases a statistical overview of Climate Change aid
THE GLOBAL FUND
- Global Fund calls on beneficiary countries to show commitment in attaining the MDGs with regards to AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria
- UN Climate Change chief urges countries to tackle the key issues of emission reduction targets as well as funding and technology to assist developing nations tackle global warming
- The first UN climate talks for the year is taking place with negotiators to lay the foundations for agreements at the annual UN climate summit in South Africa
- UNDP helps boost Brazil-Africa partnerships
- UN pledges full support for Guinea’s security sector reform on path to democracy
- Experts at the 4th ministerial meeting of AU Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance predict greater growth for Africa in 2011
“If you grant me asylum in your country I’ll grant you asylum in mine”
Source: Hermann as featured in Courrier International
- The Telegraph (UK): Foreign aid is not a waste of money, 7 April 2011
‘We must aim to abolish the need for aid, but that time has not yet come,’ argues President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. She maintains that aid, when delivered on the basis of being timely, temporary and targeted, ‘can save lives and transform life chances in today’s developing world.’
- The Guardian (Nigeria): Small scale farmer’s key to hunger reduction, 31 March 3011
Food production in Africa could be substantially expanded if financial backing for research and for small farmers can be improved, according to Chair of AGRA, Kofi Annan.
- Washington Post (USA) China’s African investments: who benefits? 28 March 2011
Michael Gerson reflects on the signs of Chinese development in Malawi, motivated by what he argues is a plan to ‘establish China as a power throughout the continent, even in its remotest corners.’
- Daily Nation (Kenya) Nation should take advantage of world’s renewed focus on Africa; 26 March 2011
Kenya should take advantage of the renewed focus on Africa as an investment destination. There needs to be change in politics for this to happen. Author warns that any eruption of violence before or after next-year’s elections will damage Kenya’s economic recovery.
From the going on in Africa, it is clear that the continent has reached a turning point and the whole world is watching
- Boniface Ngahu, Marketing Director at SBO Research
- BRICS countries reiterate their commitment to the development of developing nations and the entire world
- In an effort to find a lasting solution to waste management, the Ghanaian government adopts Chinese technology in at least three waste recycling plants
- A poll shows that all African countries view China's increasing economic power as a force for good
- AFD, WWF and GEF join hands to finance a project of €8.4million in Mozambique that aims to increase the resistance and resilience of ecosystems to climate change
- Germany and Italy named by OECD among countries which have missed G8 targets – with Africa suffering most from shortfall
- The Italian government allocates just under €16million ($22.8 million) to finance the Rural Development Support Programme (PADR) in central Mozambique
- African countries are urged to prepare for a decline in aid and trade flows from Japan following the devastating earthquake that hit the world's third largest economy recently
- Japan donates $60,000 to support ECOWAS drug programme in Guinea
- A new SMS program was launched in South Africa, where free text messages from the country’s largest HIV treatment site, are helping to ‘boost health by targeting the continent’s 624 million mobile phone subscribers
- DFID publishes provisional statistics on UK ODA as a proportion of Gross National Income (ODA:GNI) in 2010 alongside revised estimates for 2009
- Britain to provide an emergency aid package to tens of thousands of people affected by the humanitarian situation in Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire
- A new AfDB-World Bank report entitled ‘Leveraging Migration for Africa: Remittances, Skills, and Investments’ finds evidence that suggest migration and remittances reduce poverty in the origin communities. Remittances lead to increased investments in health, education, and housing in Africa. Diasporas also provide capital, trade, knowledge, and technology transfers.
- Half of world’s poorest countries can ‘graduate’ out of their impoverished status within 10 years if they benefit from better targeted development aid, according to a UN report.
- UNECA- AU 2011 Economic Report on Africa underscores need for greater State role in development efforts and promoting a green economy.
- Economic diversification vital to boost poorest countries – Diversifying production rather than relying on commodity exports is crucial to boosting the economies of LDCs, a quarter of the world’s total, according to a United Nations report.
- Creative industries have shown more resilience to the impact of the global economic crisis than traditional manufacturing industries, according to UNDP’s Creative Economy Report 2010.
In the blogs...
- Reuters Africa Blog: Nigeria’s non-vote: Incompetence or sabotage, 2 April 2011
The delay to Nigeria’s parliamentary elections has inevitably put another question mark over the credibility of a series of elections seen as a chance for a break from a history of ballots where fraud and thuggery have been the order of the day.
- ODI Blog: Are we jumping the gun in trying to measure adaptation, 25 March 2011
With the impacts of climate change threatening to undermine development objectives and substantial pots of money being committed to support adaptation, evaluating the impact and effectiveness of adaptation interventions is paramount.
- African Arguments: The African Union- compromised from all sides; 29 March 2011
Muthoni Wanyeki asks what is going on with the African Union; is it drifting away from the bold values declared in its Constitutive Act, meant to signal a definitive departure from its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity?
|9 April||Nigeria Presidential Election|
|9-10 April||6th Spain-Africa International Meeting on Gender Equality: Windhoek, Namibia|
|11-15 April||141st Session of the FAO Council: Rome|
|14-15 April||World Bank Food Crisis Open Forum: 24-hour online conversation|
|16-17 April||Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group: Washington, D.C.|
|17-21 April||5th Session of African Union Conference of Ministers of Health on:The Impact of Climate Change on Health and Development in Africa:Windhoek, Namibia|
|18-19 April||Global Water Summit 2011:Berlin, Germany|