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Published 14th June 2002

Vol 43 No 12


Climbing to the summit

Rich countries may help on peacekeeping and health but will offer little to African exporters

In Canada's Rocky Mountain retreat of Kananaskis, leaders of rich countries will meet on 26-27 June to hammer out an African action plan on trade, aid, security and development. Officials from the Group of 8 (G-8) say their action plan will be 'short, readable and executive', backed by a bigger document detailing commitments and time-frames. It will be the rich-country response to the the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NePAD, AC Vol 43 Nos 2 & 4), under which Africa commits itself to political and economic reforms monitored by its own institutions, while the G-8 states open their markets, boost aid and encourage private investment. Few expect headlines from Kananaskis. Winding down expectations, Western officials insist that the real innovation is that Africa is being discussed in such detail at such a high level. Expect strong rhetorical support on health and education, peace and security but 'realism' on new aid commitments and debt relief. And expect very few concessions on trade reform. Rich countries, quarrelling among themselves about 'temporary' trade restrictions, won't offer much new access to African producers or lower subsidies to rich-country farmers. The best outcome on trade, according to one senior British advisor, would be 'good language' (medium-term commitments on trade by G-8 states) for use by African countries in subsequent World Trade Organisation negotiations.


Whose peace bonanza?

The oil and diamond boom enriches the party but doesn't feed the people

The view from the presidency at Futungo de Belas is bright. With peace and victory, Angola is on the path to becoming an oil- and gas-fuelled industrial economy to rival Nigeria an...


Banking on the donors

Now the war is over, Angola hopes to hoover up easy money from donors, who pledged up to US$1 billion at a round table conference in 1995 after the signing of the Lusaka peace acco...


Blood from stones

De Beers' diamond empire wants to polish its reputation – and its product

De Beers, the company which dominates world diamonds, hopes to maintain both its share of the market and the reputation of its gems. At stake, among other things, is the prosperity...


And the arms flow on

New arms imports are likely to fuel new fighting, despite the UN embargo

When international eyes focused on Somalia after the atrocities of 11 September, it looked as if the outside world might at last take the crisis there seriously. On 26 September, t...


By other means

President Sassou Nguesso claims a mandate but has restarted the civil war

Congo-Brazzaville's hidden conflict and flawed parliamentary elections show how thin a veneer of democracy covers recycled dictator Denis Sassou Nguesso. The official results from ...



Pointers

Cobalt crunch

This week, Finance Minister Emmanuel Kasonde receives the final audit report explaining how Zambia lost at least US$60 million in a cobalt marketing agreement with Bahamas-based Me...


Ancien régime

France may claim to have invented human rights but it has seen its role as the champion of liberty usurped by American, British and Scandinavian governments and private foundations...