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Published 28th November 2008

Vol 49 No 24


Zimbabwe

Greed in a time of cholera

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Madhouse market economics and avaricious leaders are fuelling catastrophe as cholera begins to spread

The rains have barely broken and already deaths from cholera have been reported in all but one of Zimbabwe’s ten provinces. The United Nations and local doctors report that more than 6,000 people contracted cholera this month – and over 300 died of it. There are health warnings in newspapers and on the television along with panic reports that neighbouring states may close their borders as sick Zimbabweans seek treatment outside their country. Medical treatment is hard to find; staff at Harare’s main hospital, demonstrating against the closure of wards and lack of facilities, medicines and pay, met the usual heavy response from the riot police.


Making money with Britain's help

Share transfers can provide a means to export foreign exchange from Zimbabwe, as long as you get permission

Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Harare businessman Mohammed I. Mohammed are using a British company to siphon tens of millions of US dollars out of Zimbabwe to buy fuel and f...


A message from our sponsors

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua wants to use the budget as a key to his political revival – but business and voters are sceptical

Calculated and recalculated according to the wild swings of the global oil market, the 2009 budget is almost up there with the election tribunal and the cabinet reshuffle as one of...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Events in Africa and beyond this month seem determined to validate the conclusions of the United States National Intelligence Council’s ‘Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World’. Reversing its predecessor’s optimism about the USA’s economic and military resilience, this latest report projects the irrepressible rise of China to parity with the USA, the sidelining of Japan and an unwieldy, fractious European Union, as India is towed along in East Asia’s slipstream. For those who think Africa w...
Events in Africa and beyond this month seem determined to validate the conclusions of the United States National Intelligence Council’s ‘Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World’. Reversing its predecessor’s optimism about the USA’s economic and military resilience, this latest report projects the irrepressible rise of China to parity with the USA, the sidelining of Japan and an unwieldy, fractious European Union, as India is towed along in East Asia’s slipstream. For those who think Africa will benefit from such geopolitical shifts, the NIC report offers little succour. Yes, Africa’s oil, gas and metals will attract increasing attention but that it ‘may not benefit the majority or result in significant economic gains’. The NIC confidently predicts that ruling elites will get richer while poverty will worsen, exacerbating ethnic and religious tensions. Perhaps the most resonant section of this 150-page report is an imaginary memo written by a US President in the wake of a hurricane devastating New York and the opening of the United Nations General Assembly on 1 October 2020. The writer takes this disaster as a symbol of a global crisis that develops far faster than most predicted and warns of the sociopolitical consequences of climate change sweeping resource-rich countries such as Nigeria. Sweeping desertification could drag people into a wave of climatically inspired resource wars, the writer argues. A daunting agenda for President Barack Obama and his successors.
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Mining downturn

Low demand for minerals, especially from China, depresses mines and the whole economy

The world’s financial crisis threatens the mining deals that were meant to finance Congo-Kinshasa’s post-war recovery. The big mining companies are finding it hard to raise funds a...


The business of politics

The political fights within the governing African National Congress are spreading to banks and businesses

At the African National Congress's National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in mid-November, the incoming Chief Executive of ABSA Bank, Maria Ramos, turned up with the group's Ch...


Biya's grip

The economy is faltering but the opposition is struggling and the dictator President is ill

Twenty-six years in power do not explain the grip on Cameroon of Paul Biya and his ethnic clique. The tight circle of praise-singers who marked the President's 26th anniversary on ...


Slowdown hits the sparklers

New diamond mines no longer seem the prospect they once were

The new poor do not buy diamonds, so the big producers hope to keep their profit margins up by cutting production. A conference on 17 November organised by the Antwerp World Diamon...


Shooting down a president

Fourteen years after the murder of the two Presidents which triggered the genocide, France’s case against the nine accused looks very thin

Rose Kabuye’s French lawyers think the case against her is profoundly flawed. She was extradited to France following her arrest by German police at Frankfurt airport on 9 November...


Master political survivor

The former first lady Germaine Ahidjo, widow of Cameroon's first President, recently admitted in a rare interview that her Muslim husband Ahmadou Ahidjo made mistakes during his 26...


Swapping Stakes

There are over sixty current prospecting licences for uranium in Namibia

As Namibia's economy faces international pressure, its central bank, the Bank of Namibia, has revised its forecast for this year's real gross domestic product growth to 3.9% from 4...


Who arms Laurent Nkunda?

Congo-Kinshasa's Local Government Minister Mbusa Nyamwisi was running his own militia in the east a decade ago. Now he says it might be helpful for the Kinshasa government to open ...


Dialogue of the deaf

Fighting starts again, renewing the involvement of France and Libya in a familiar, intractable conflict

Twelve government soldiers were killed on 13 November at Kabo in the north and the Central African Republic's long march towards peace halted again. The government of President Fra...



Pointers

Identifying the problems

France’s Total and Spain’s Repsol YPF oil companies are under pressure to divulge who received more than US$6 million in consultant fees paid to suspected politically connected int...


Diabolical quarrels

The leaking of a private correspondence between the Malawian President and his predecessor has given Malawians a taste of bitter political battles to come. The 19 May 2009 polls wi...


Corruption credentials

Tanzania’s judges have piles of files to read over the Christmas holiday. A flurry of former ministers, high-profile businessmen and ex-employees of the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) were...


Pirates and the lads

Mercenaries, the media and worried looking men in suits are much exercised by the escalating operations of the Somali pirates patrolling the Gulf of Aden in search of booty. In fac...