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Published 8th June 2007

Vol 48 No 12


Nigeria

The new man in Abuja

Vested interests in the police and political class are already trying to block President Umaru Yar'Adua's reform efforts

At a subdued and well guarded inauguration ceremony in Abuja's Eagle Square parade ground on 29 May, President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua talked about reforming Nigeria's rotten political system. If he is serious, he must first break the influence of the party operators across 36 states who organised the murky elections that brought him to power.


Champagne in the Delta

At Government House in Port Harcourt last week, waiters scurried around pouring bottles of Cristal champagne as a white jacketed crooner sang Frank Sinatra's 'My way' in honour of ...


Campaign confusion

Rival personalities and ethnicities divide the coalitions seeking power in December

The electors may be excused for being confused. As the race to the December elections picks up, they face a choice between two coalitions that bicker constantly within themselves. ...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Ahead of this week's G8 summit in Heiligendamm, a leaked copy of its draft communiqué on Africa policy allows a rare opportunity to measure the intentions of the drafters against the realities of the summit. The 18-page document entitled 'Growth and Responsibility in Africa' reiterates the 2005 pledges on aid and trade, which haven't been met. It also calls for non-G8 countries to 'improve the transparency of their aid' and talks of trade as the engine of growth, but fails to specify measures ...
Ahead of this week's G8 summit in Heiligendamm, a leaked copy of its draft communiqué on Africa policy allows a rare opportunity to measure the intentions of the drafters against the realities of the summit. The 18-page document entitled 'Growth and Responsibility in Africa' reiterates the 2005 pledges on aid and trade, which haven't been met. It also calls for non-G8 countries to 'improve the transparency of their aid' and talks of trade as the engine of growth, but fails to specify measures to phase out rich-country subsidies on agriculture. Further on, it proposes the G8 help launch micro, small and medium investment funds. More problematic is support for the African Standby Force under the African Union. Tony Blair's proposal for more than a dozen European battle groups to intervene in Africa has been shelved. Instead, he is calling for the European Union to provide US$25 million to fund the AU force. The G8 communiqué avoids any precise commitment on funding and talks vaguely of support. The last six pages of the communiqué address the 2005 promise to provide universal access in Africa for anti-retroviral drugs by 2010 and suggests that the summit agree a precise amount to be pledged at a conference on AIDS funding hosted by Germany in September.
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Terror comes home to roost

A concerted attack on the violent Mungiki sect began in earnest on 4 June after two police officers were shot dead in the Mathare slums, a stronghold of the group. Police shot arou...


Sam and son of Sam

Former President Sam Nujoma holds on to his party presidency, while his relations make their fortunes

The governing party is split and its veteran leader wants to take control again. After months of tension, the Politbureau of the South West African People's Organisation decided in...


From Blair to Brown

The economists are coming

For the last decade, Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour government has presided over the modernisation of British Africa policy, from one suited to the era of the Cold War and apar...


Cosa Namibia

Palermo-born Vito Roberto Palazzolo, who is wanted by the Italian police on charges of membership of the mafia, drug-trafficking and money-laundering, is extending his business int...


Africa's new debtors

As Western campaigners congratulate themselves on achieving the cancellation or reduction of African countries' foreign debts, the grateful recipients are seeking new ways to borro...


Brown and the Brownites

Little is known about new Prime Minister Gordon Brown's intentions on foreign policy or his choice of lieutenants, even though he has been the economic supremo in the British gover...


A strange alliance

The President has cut a deal with his long-time foe and may now control parliament

Back-room dealing is habitual in Congo-Brazzaville, where President Denis Sassou-Nguesso and his Parti Congolais du Travail lead a coalition of 30 parties, the Forces Démocr...



Pointers

Blood chocolate

Chocolate sales could dive after a report that Ivorian rebels may earn more from taxes on cocoa beans than from 'blood diamonds'.


Sanction action

If they do little else, United States' sanctions on Sudan, strengthened on 29 May, draw attention to the scope for economic pressure on the Islamist regime.


Russian roulette

The shooting dead of a Nigerian driver and kidnapping of six Russians from their compound in Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom, looks like an escalation in a complex feud over the aluminium pl...