Jump to navigation

Published 22nd February 2002

Vol 43 No 4

Saying yes, saying no

Rich countries aren't offering much aid or freer markets in response to Africa's development plan

Africa is enjoying, or perhaps suffering, a spring offensive by Western leaders. France's President Jacques Chirac hosted 13 African leaders in Paris on 8 February; British Prime Minister Tony Blair met Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, John Kufuor, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and Abdoulaye Wade on his 6-10 February whirl through Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Senegal; United States President George W. Bush is hosting Presidents José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique and Festus Mogae of Botswana on 26 February at the White House; and the Group of 8's next summit host ,Canada's Jean Chrétien, is also planning a trip to six or seven African states in April. This Western wooing is part of the run-up to the G8 summit in June, in Kananskis,Canada, when the world's richest countries are to announce an action plan in response to the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NePAD), launched at last year's Organisation of African Unity summit in Lusaka, Zambia (AC Vol 42 No 14). The new thing about NePAD is reciprocity. Africa commits itself to political and economic reforms, monitored by its own institutions; the G8 states agree to open their markets, boost aid and encourage private investment in Africa. The NePAD implementation committee, headed by South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo and Algeria's Abdelaziz Bouteflika, are designing an African contract on codes and standards of both economic and political governance ­ legal guarantees on property, free and fair elections.

Unconstructive engagement

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

View site

Western governments still don't get the measure of Sudan's resourceful rulers

As one Special Envoy gives up trying to bring peace to Sudan, another pops up with the same mission. United States Senator John Danforth is expected to abandon his brief next month...

Who's after Ali?

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

View site

Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, First Vice-President, National Islamic Front (National Congress) leader and the country's most powerful man, is ill. A reported heart attack took him to Jor...

New rebels, new danger

Guinean-backed war in Liberia may backfire on sponsors and unravel the Sierra Leone peace process

Both sides want to play up the recent rebel offensive against President Charles Taylor's regime. The rebels, calling themselves Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, a...

Rebels versus rebels

The Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebellion seems to have started in April 1999, when rebels attacked Liberia from Guinea. After more fighting in north-w...

High stakes at Sun City

Slow-flowing funds and covert bargains put peace-talks at risk

Peacemaking in the Congo has been a gamble so it's fitting that the next venue for talks is South Africa's casino capital, Sun City. First, though, the man in charge has to get his...


Crossed lines

Africa's biggest privatisation so far, the US$1.3 billion deal for control of Nitel, Nigeria's state telecoms company, is unravelling. A consortium of Nigerian businesses, banks, s...

Graça gets ready

Graça Machel's discreet campaign for the presidency gathers pace. We hear she failed to attend a meeting at the United Nations University for Peace of which she is Chancello...

106 Executions

Trigger-happy President Blaise Compaoré's human rights embarrassments have gone from bad to worse with an assault on 6 February from Amnesty International over 106 extrajudi...

Uncharted waters

The United Nations has issued an ambiguous legal opinion about exploration licences in the ocean off Western Sahara, and Morocco is objecting to exploration by Spain's Repsol YPF o...