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Published 6th February 2009

Vol 50 No 3


Diversions and deviations at the Summit

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Pressing issues on Somalia, Sudan and the global financial crisis were sidelined by a protracted argument about continental government

'At least our meetings with Libya's Moammar el Gadaffi as Chairman won't be boring', said one official ruefully at the African Union's 1-4 February summit in Addis Ababa. As if to buttress his point, Colonel Gadaffi then entered the conference hall, resplendent in an orange agbada and red fez and sporting wraparound sunglasses; he was accompanied by a retinue of yet more sumptuously dressed African traditional rulers who had earlier pronounced the Libyan leader to be 'Africa's King of Kings.'


Good-bye, maybe

Ethiopia's troops are gone and another transitional government is installed but the new order is tenuous

On 25 January, the last Ethiopian troops withdrew, only three weeks later than planned, from Somalia. They had originally intervened in Somalia in December 2006, at the request of ...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Alongside Moammar el Gadaffi’s theatrical bid for a United States of Africa, delegates to the African Union summit in Addis Ababa heard grave prognoses of the effects of the global slowdown on Africa after several years of record growth. At the summit, World Bank President Robert Zoellick repeated his call for rich countries to allocate 0.7% of their stimulus packages to a fund for developing countries. Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, said that many energy and trans...
Alongside Moammar el Gadaffi’s theatrical bid for a United States of Africa, delegates to the African Union summit in Addis Ababa heard grave prognoses of the effects of the global slowdown on Africa after several years of record growth. At the summit, World Bank President Robert Zoellick repeated his call for rich countries to allocate 0.7% of their stimulus packages to a fund for developing countries. Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, said that many energy and transport projects had been delayed or cancelled as international credit lines tightened. The ADB is to triple its lending this year, he added. In Paris, the new Africa Director of the IMF and former Liberian Finance Minister, Antoinette Sayeh, said the crisis might deepen further in Africa. The IMF now expects average GDP growth of 3.3% across Africa this year, compared to its predictions last year of over 6%. The combination of high food prices and lower export prices is putting heavy pressure on currencies and countries’ foreign reserves, she said. What none of the international bankers want to talk about is how the political storms in some of Africa’s biggest economies such as Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa will exacerbate the effects of the downturn. In Addis, it was left to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to predict that without tough action, the majority of African countries would become failed or failing states over the next decade.
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