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Published 10th October 1997

Vol 38 No 20

Asian tigers, African lions

African finance ministers are looking more carefully at Asia's economic models, mired in currency and environmental crises

African finance ministers making the pilgrimage to Hong Kong for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank (23-25 September) were treated to a bizarre contest between competing pugilists, representing Western capitalism and Asian tigers. There was a set-piece confrontation between global currency speculator George Soros and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. In the Eastern corner, Mahathir argued that currency trading was 'unnecessary, unproductive and totally immoral' and should be 'made illegal'. In the Western corner, Soros asserted that Mahathir was 'a loose cannon' and 'a menace to his own country'. However much of a caricature of the East-West economic argument the confrontation may have been, it reminded African governments of just how far the ground had shifted in Asia's favour.

On the cybermap

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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New telecommunications technology may be expensive but it's coming to Africa – fast

The internet and Africa might look like an odd couple, when only 12 million out of around 700 million people have telephones. Yet there is great excitement in Africa about the new ...

Net politics

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Since 1993, when only South Africa, Tunisia and Algeria had internet connectivity, there has been a vast expansion of web providers and services in Africa. Now only a minority of c...

Threatening 'good order'

Charles Taylor has been trying to raise funds and is planning a visit to the United States

Liberia's Police Director, Joe Tate, is on the warpath against those who threaten what he calls 'good order'. In an anti-crime drive, his policemen have shot dead several alleged a...

Policy rethink

Projected growth rates of more than 5 per cent next year add fuel to the recovery

As the Sahel recovers steadily from the sad years of the early 1990s, major donors are rethinking their policies. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's Club d...

French leave

As Paris ends military aid for Patasse, he turns to France's bogeyman – Laurent Kabila

On 23 September, a team from France's Defence Ministry arrived in Bangui to prepare the French troop withdrawal. The team, led by General Serge Sabathe and still in CAR as we went ...


Death drives

Ibrahim el Bishari, until recently Libya's Arab League Ambassador, died in a car crash on 13 September. This was barely two weeks after Colonel Moammar el Gadaffi's government real...

Ill-gotten gains

Mali's diplomats are congratulating themselves. Swiss banks will repay just over 1.5 billion CFA francs (US$ 2.7million) from accounts held by Boubacar Dembélé, ex-he...

No show

The three main parliamentary opposition parties are boycotting the 12 October presidential election because none can agree to work with the others. The parties are John Fru Ndi's S...