Jump to navigation

Published 29th September 2000

Vol 41 No 19

Economic battlefield

Africans have won the moral argument on debt: now they must win a much tougher one - over access to markets in rich countries

Two days of violence between demonstrators and police at the annual meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in the Czech capital, Prague, on 26-27 September left African delegates bemused and frustrated. 'On whose behalf are they demonstrating?' asked Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, Uganda's Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance. 'They want the IMF and World Bank closed down. We don't.' Uganda, whose economy was growing at more than 6 per cent a year throughout the 1990s, was the first country to benefit from the Bank's and Fund's debt-cutting plan for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). While Tumusiime-Mutebile praised anti-debt campaigning groups such as Jubilee 2000, which has publicised the issue globally, he said the solidarity of some other protest groups was misplaced. They should be pushing rich countries to drop their trade barriers, not demanding the end of the Bank and Fund, he said (AC Vol 41 Nos 11 & 12). Groups such as Jubilee 2000 and Friends of the Earth, both of which meet regularly with Bank and Fund officials, distanced themselves from the more radical Initiative Against Economic Globalisation (Inpeg) which led moves to surround and lock-in delegates in the congress centre in Prague's Vysehrad suburb. Attitudes to the protests - Jubilee 2000 had organised a peaceful funeral march two days earlier to commemorate casualties of the debt crisis - showed the difference between the new brand of campaigning non-governmental organisations which want to influence policy-making directly and the old-style street demonstration and civil disobedience groups.

Gueï goes it alone

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

View site

The army and the OAU are both at odds with the General

The head of the military junta, General Robert Gueï, says the generals who ranked second and third in his regime tried to have him murdered. And when seven heads of state of t...

Blame for the bombs

The government blames Islamists for a wave of terrorism in Cape Town

In the Cape Town area in the past 27 months, 21 bombings have caused three deaths and injured at least 130 people. In Cape Town itself, a major tourist resort, there have been eigh...

Union is strength

A dilemma for the trades union's new party: to represent the electors or the workers?

The Movement for Democratic Change, offspring of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, amazed everybody by winning 57 of the 120 seats contested at the parliamentary elections in ...


Kanu help?

Nwankwo Kanu of Nigeria, the current African Player of the Year who now plys his trade in Britain after spells in Holland and Italy, is telling British newspapers that he is unhapp...

Bad timing

A verdict is expected in the notorious treason trial before the parliamentary elections due on 29 October. The case, having aroused an international scandal, is now forcing the cou...

Dirty laundry

An arms and diamond trader linked to diamond-laundering in Liberia (AC Vol 41 No 13) has been gaoled in Italy for possession of cocaine.

Naming names

President Bakili Muluzi pleads for cancellation of Malawi's US$2.5 billion international debt. Meanwhile Parliament's Public Accounts Committee has described the embezzlement of mi...