Saturday, November 30, 2013

Zimbabwe Diamond Shops in Key Countries Urged

Diamond shops in key countries urged

Sunday, 01 December 2013 00:00
Darlington Musarurwa Business Editor
Zimbabwe Herald

Zimbabwe and other diamond-producing countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) region should actively consider making it imperative for a quota of diamonds produced in the
region to be cut and polished locally, civil society activists believe.

They said these countries should also ensure that the local cutters, polishers and jewellery manufacturers open retail stores in key global centres such as Paris (France), New York (United States) and London (Britain).

Sadc, they also urge, could even consider punitive taxes for countries that export diamonds in the rough.

According to a recent report published by the Centre for National Resource Governance (CNRG), a registered trust in Zimbabwe focusing on extractive industries, the plan should also include efforts to “package jewellery shopping in the tourism industry to attract high-spending buyers.”

There are concerns that the region is failing to unlock the maximum possible value from diamond mining despite accounting for more than half of global production.

Statistics from CNRG indicate that the Sadc region last year produced 56,1 percent of global production of rough diamonds, with 45,4 percent coming from Zimbabwe and Botswana.

However, the revenues generated have not been significant enough to make a positive economic impact, especially in Zimbabwe.

As a result, Botswana produced the most diamonds by value at $3 billion, while Zimbabwe was ranked at seventh, having produced $644 million worth of roughs despite producing the fifth highest number of diamonds by volume.

Experts say the anomalies are mainly because of the sanctions imposed on the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) by the United States and the Europea Union. ZMDC, which also wholly owns Marange Resources, is a Government-controlled entity that has joint ventures with three major diamond producing companies in Chiadzwa - Anjin, Mbada Diamonds and DMC.

Sanctions on the parastatal have since been removed.

Market watchers say there is a need for producing countries in the region to reform their laws to ensure that they control the diamond supply chain from exploration, mining, sorting, cutting and polishing, jewellery manufacture and retailing.

In Zimbabwe, the Mines and Minerals Act (Chapter 21:05, 1961), which is however under review, is the principal Act that governs the mining sector.

Observed CNRG: “Zimbabwe’s mineral sector is regulated through several Acts of Parliament and Statutory Instruments.

This presents a complex scenario for the public and potential investors who have had to interpret Zimbabwe’s Mineral Policy from these diverse sources of information.”

Zimbabwe has no law on the cutting and polishing of diamonds. Even the Zimbabwe Diamond Policy that was unveiled in November last year does not stipulate the portion of diamonds for local value addition.

Policymakers are tentatively considering setting aside 10 percent of production for beneficiation.

Local efforts to beneficiate diamonds – a critical undertaking under Government’s new economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation - have as a result been elusive. In March this year, Government released a Draft Minerals Policy, but it does not have a legal underpinning as yet.

President Robert Mugabe indicated during the official opening of the First Session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe that promulgation of a new Mines and Minerals Bill will be prioritised.

Despite making an undertaking to incentivise local cutting and polishing of gems, prospective investors received a major setback when Government last year increased licencing fees from $20 000 to $100 000.

As a result, this year only six out of 29 companies managed to reapply.
Fees were later revised to $50 000.

The civil society organisation also believes that contrary to World Bank research concluding that cutting and polishing of diamonds will not benefit the region because the cost of cutting and polishing is presumably higher than in some parts of the world, there is evidence to suggest that it can indeed be lucrative.

“One argument against beneficiation in Sadc has been the cost of cutting and polishing. In 2009 the government of Botswana estimated this cost to be about $100 per carat.

“In 2011, it revised this cost down to between $35 and $60 per carat compared to India (US$10 per carat), China (US$17 per carat) and Thailand (US$20 per carat). There is nothing to suggest this cost is less in Zimbabwe.

“The normal industry rule of thumb for cutting and polishing is that the cost of cutting and polishing should not exceed 10 percent of the value of the rough,” said the report, adding: “The World Bank has funded many researches that have shown that beneficiation will not profit the Sadc region.

However, this begs several important commercial questions that have a bearing on the development of one of Sadc’s most important export industries.

“The first question is that if the cost differentials are as large as suggested between that of Sadc producers and lower cost-cutting and polishing countries in Asia then why are beneficiation activities beginning to occur throughout the Sadc region?

“Secondly, if costs are such an important factor in determining the location of where diamonds are processed, why are so many diamonds still cut in countries like Israel, Belgium and the USA where costs are
considerably higher than in India or in Southern Africa?”

There are fears that if Zimbabwe fails to make proper and timeous interventions, it will lose out to Botswana, which last month began sorting and selling its gems.

Previously, the sorting, through the Diamond Trading Company, a subsidiary of De Beers, was done in London. Botswana held its first sale of diamonds between November 11 and November 14. The Southern African country is projected to generate $6 billion from Gaborone this year.

While Botswana is domesticating the sale of its gems, some quarters in Zimbabwe are actually pushing for the sale of diamonds in Antwerp, Belgium, which is one of the biggest diamond trading hubs in the world.

Exports of rough diamonds have primarily benefiting processing and marketing centres such as India, Belgium and Dubai, which do not produce the precious stones, at the expense of producing nations.

India, for example, has managed to employ
800 000 people from establishing a cutting and polishing industry over the past 40 years.

“Both Botswana and Zimbabwe have jewellery manufacturers and retailers to cater for their local markets. These markets usually are for small stones which in turn leads to the local cutting and polishing of smaller, low-value stones.

“The two countries can make efforts to package jewellery shopping in their tourism industry to attract high-spending buyers.

“Local cutters and polishers, and jewellery manufacturers can also set up retail stores in the top retail locations such as New York, London, Paris and Tokyo,” concluded CNRG.

Before the discovery of the vast diamond fields in Marange, Zimbabwe had two diamond mines, namely Murowa Diamond Mine which is majority controlled by Rio Tinto, and River Ranch in Beitbridge which has since been liquidated.

Zimbabwe has now emerged as one of the largest diamond-producing countries in the world, and it is estimated that it could supply more than a quarter of global demand.

Egyptian Student Union Demands Dismissal of Higher Education, Interior Ministers

Student groups demand dismissal of Egypt higher education, interior ministers

Ahram Online, Saturday 30 Nov 2013

Egyptian Student Union representatives and political parties demand Saturday the dismissal of ministers responsible for violations against students, call for end to protest law

Representatives of six university Student Unions, as well as the student representatives of eight political parties and movements, demanded Saturday the dismissal of the Minister of Higher Education Hossam Eissa and Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim.

The students declared during a press conference at the Egyptian Popular Current office in Cairo the Minister of Higher Education politically responsible for violations that have taken place within universities, and the Interior Minister responsible for the recent killing of students, demanding they be held accountable for their decisions.

The students further demanded that all detained students are released, that decisions to dismiss protesting students are revoked, and the government rescind a controversial new protest law.

On Thursday, Mohamed Reda, an engineering student, was shot dead during clashes between students and security forces at Cairo university while police attempted to disperse protesting students.

Hundreds of students, mostly supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, have been detained in recent weeks as police continued a 4-months crackdown on members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

On 21 November, a student supporter of Morsi was shot dead during clashes with security forces in Cairo.

Police officials denied using other than water cannons and teargas in dispersing university protests.

Student representatives demanding the dismissal of responsible ministers and an end to the new protest law include the Cairo University Union, Helwan University Union, Ain Shams Union, Alexandria University Union, the Kafr El-Sheikh student Union, Banha student Union, Egyptian Popular Current students, Constitution Party students, the Social Democratic Party students, the Bread and Freedom movement, Students of Freedom movement, students of the Socialist Alternative, Revolutionaries of the Cairo University Engineering Faculty and the Tahrir movement.

Universities have been a hotspot for protests in recent months. While Muslim Brotherhood students have been holding protests in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, non-Islamist student groups have recently escalated demonstrations against the detention of fellow students and the new protest law.

Last week, interim president Adly Mansour issued a new protest law approved by the cabinet, allowing the Interior Minister or senior police officials to cancel, postpone or change the location of a protest. The ministry requires advance notification of any planned demonstration. The law also applies to public meetings.

Egyptian Founder of the April 6 Movement to Remain in Police Custody

April 6 Ahmed Maher to remain in police custody

ElSayed Gamal El-Deen, Saturday 30 Nov 2013

April 6 Youth Movement founder denies assaulting police officer, asserts Tuesday's protest was peaceful

Qasr El-Nil prosecution ordered Saturday the detention of April 6 Youth Movement founder Ahmed Maher for a day on charges of assaulting Brigadier-General Emad Tahoun.

Maher who denied the accusation of assaulting Tahoun and stealing his walkie talkie, will remain in police custody until the police officer gives his testimony Sunday.

The former head of the April 6 Youth Movement is also accused of blocking a road and calling last Tuesday's protest without requesting authoritisation, as stipulated by the newly-issued protest law.

Maher, however, told the prosecution that the protest, which was held in front of the Shura Council and against an article in the constitution allowing military trials for civilians, was peaceful and that security forces initiated an assault on protesters, sexually harassed women protesters, and forcefully arrested some.

Two demonstrations on Tuesday — one commemorating a protester killed last year, and the other a rally against military trials for civilians — were dispersed promptly by police, with dozens of demonstrators arrested.

A group of female detainees were released on a desert highway after being allegedly beaten and sexually assaulted by police. Some 24 male protesters remain in custody and were slammed Friday with 15 days in detention pending investigations.

Arrest warrants were issued last week for Maher and activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, accusing them of calling for Tuesday's demonstrations without taking the necessary steps required by the new law on protests.

Abdel-Fattah was ordered Friday detained for four days pending investigations.

Six female activists who are part of the No to Military Trials group presented themselves to the prosecution office Wednesday and stated that they were the organisers of the protest.

No charges were brought against them, and they were not detained.

Egypt's new protest law, issued last Sunday by Interim President Adly Mansour, requires protest organisers to notify authorities three days in advance of a protest's aims and demands, imposing heavy jail terms and fines on individuals who break the law.

Appeal Date Set for 21 Young Women Given 11 Years in Egyptian Prison

Appeal date set for 21 pro-Morsi female protesters case

Elsayed Gamal El-Deen, Saturday 30 Nov 2013

The appeal in the case of 21 female Islamist protesters handed down harsh sentences will be heard 7 December

Alexandria's Sidi Gaber Misdmeanour Court ordered Saturday that the appeal in the trial of 21 Islamist female protesters would be heard 7 December.

The 21 female protesters, seven of whom are between 15 and 17 years old, were slammed with jail sentences of 11 years and one month by the court for destruction of private property, attacking security forces and stirring violence.

The seven convicted minors were order to be placed in a juvenile detention centre until they reach the age of majority.

The severity of the sentences sparked outrage in Egypt and among international observers.

On Saturday,Sekina Fouad, presidential advisor for women's affairs, said Interim President Adly Mansour would consider pardoning the 21 female detainees, adding, however,that Mansour can intervene only after a final verdict is returned in the case.

Mhize the Man to Watch Within the ANC

Mkhize the man to watch as stalwarts in the ANC age


IT IS unlikely that President Jacob Zuma will retire to his Nkandla security estate before his second term expires in 2019. His successor will probably aim to serve out two full terms as African National Congress (ANC) and state president. For these reasons, age may play a significant role in the forthcoming leadership succession process.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was born in 1949. If she were to be elected ANC president at the movement’s 2017 conference, she would be 68 years old. She would be 70 by the time she reached the Union Buildings. Cyril Ramaphosa is no spring chicken. Born in November 1952, he would be ANC president at 65 and state president at 66.

At 52, ANC Gauteng chairman Paul Mashatile is just young enough to bide his time. (In any event, his province’s current marginalisation makes a 2017 run impossible.) Malusi Gigaba was born only in 1971.

Zweli Mkhize, however, is a man in a hurry. Born in 1956, he probably cannot afford to wait for a rival to serve even a single term.

The present dominance of KwaZulu-Natal may also be a passing phenomenon and he will want to fully exploit the coherent political machine he helped to build.

Mkhize undoubtedly has the demeanour of a potential president. Like Ramaphosa, he came from a humble background and internalised a strong sense of personal discipline. The child of labour tenants in Willowfountain, he was rescued from farm labour by the sacrifices of his family and by his keen intelligence.

He is a moderniser but he has negotiated the traditional politics of KwaZulu-Natal with great dexterity. He is proud of his heritage as a descendant of the Mkhizes of Nkandla.

He claims that he cannot wait to retire from politics and devote all his time to his real passion: breeding Nguni cows in the thornveld.

His interest in politics was awakened by the protests of one of Pietermaritzburg’s most extraordinary eccentrics, the late David Cecil Oxford Matiwane in apartheid times.

The Latin-spouting Matiwane would arrive in town dressed in a suit to which he had pinned dozens of political pamphlets. He would encourage people to take them off his suit and keep them and arrest almost invariably followed. Mkhize was awestruck.

He qualified as a doctor despite his student political commitments, and he completed his internship in Durban in 1983.

He worked briefly at Edendale Hospital before going into exile in 1986. He practised medicine and worked for the ANC in Swaziland and Zimbabwe, before returning to South Africa in 1991.

He rose steadily from ANC regional treasurer in the violence-wracked Natal Midlands (where he was involved in peacemaking in the 1980s and 1990s) to provincial ANC chairman.

He was MEC for health from 1994 to 2004 and formed a close political alliance with Zuma. After a term as finance and economic development MEC, he became premier of KwaZulu-Natal in 2009. At Mangaung, he was elected the ANC’s treasurer-general.

Mkhize has been deeply immersed in the intricate game of provincial patronage politics, but he has escaped major scandal. He was recently attacked for spending R1.2m on 45 private jet trips when he was premier but disarmed critics by agreeing to repay the money if asked to do so by his successor.

He appears to be equally comfortable with diverse constituencies, from traditional leaders to businesspeople and the media. He can speak coherently for 30 minutes without notes. His family is a model of sanity and charm despite the obvious demands made on them by political life.

Mkhize has an interest in public policy and his views on economic and social policy seem to be broadly orthodox or conservative. He backs the National Development Plan.

He exhibits only one weakness. Despite his age, he is essentially a provincial politician who was elected to the national executive committee as late as 1997. It remains to be seen if he can use the office of treasurer-general to cement national political alliances. He will be hard to stop.

• Butler teaches politics at the University of Cape Town.

Somalia Appoints Interim Bank Chief

Somalia appoints interim bank chief

Yusur Abrar, shown above, resigned the position and fled the country after being pressured to engage in corrupt activity


NAIROBI — Somalia’s government has lined up a former governor of the central bank to return to the job temporarily and could approve his appointment in its bid to steady an institution that has been rocked by disputes about corruption.

Two governors have left in quick succession this year. The first was accused by United Nations (UN) investigators of corruption, which he denied.

The second governor quit and fled Somalia after saying she was under pressure to sign off on shady dealings.

The government has denied any corruption, but the departures have undermined donor confidence in the bank, whose probity is seen as vital to the country’s rebuilding effort.

Bashir Issa Ali, governor under a former transitional government, who also held a top post in Somalia’s commercial bank, has been asked to take up the post on an interim basis, Finance Minister Mohamud Hassan Suleiman told Reuters.

"There is an understanding with him and the government that he holds that position temporarily, but there is no cabinet approval," Mr Suleiman said.

There would be a council of ministers meeting on Thursday and his appointment was on the agenda. "He is widely experienced," he said, adding that Mr Ali was a man of integrity.

He began his banking career in the 1960s and has held several top posts.

The minister, speaking by telephone from Mogadishu before a cabinet meeting, did not explain why Mr Ali would not be given the post on a permanent basis.

Western and other donors, which have poured aid into Somalia to help prevent an Islamist militant resurgence, have pressed the government to clean up its finances.

Diplomats said the central bank saga has hurt confidence in the government.

The country’s first woman governor, Yusur Abrar, resigned and fled Somalia a month ago after less than two months in the post, citing pressure to authorise improper deals, accusations the government denied.

She had taken over from Abdusalam Omer, who left in September after holding the post since February.

A UN monitoring group report linked him to irregularities in central bank withdrawals, a charge he and the government denied.

Western nations and others in the region see Somalia’s reconstruction as vital to preventing the Islamist militant al-Shabaab group from regaining ground after being pushed out of major urban areas by an African peacekeeping force.

The areas the group controls are still seen as a launch pad for militants with more global ambitions and targets.


New AMISOM Force Commander Arrives In Somalia

AMISOM New Force Commander Arrives in Somalia

Nov 29, 2013
By Somalicurrent

The incoming commander of the military section of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Lt. Gen. Silas Ntigurirwa has today (29th November) arrived in the Somali Capital Mogadishu for a familiarization tour.

He arrives to take over office from the Ugandan outgoing Commander Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti who has held the office since May 2012.

Born in 1968, Lt. Gen. Silas Ntigurirwa brings vast experience from the Burundian army, in which he has served in different capacities, with the last posting being the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Defense and Former Combatants.

He comes in at a time when the AMISOM force expects a capacity boost following a UN resolution that recently approved growth of the force with an additional 4,400 troops.

The African force has also asked for 12 helicopters from African Union and UN member states, to facilitate quick movement of troops on the ground and also engage in combat missions, which has been a major challenge in the fight against the al Shabaab insurgents.

Speaking shortly after arriving into the country, Lt. Gen. Silas Ntigurirwa pledged to ensure the key AMISOM goal of ensuring that peace prevails in Somalia, will be pursued.

“First of all am feeling well, and it is visible that this country needs to recover peace and security. It is also visible that all AMISOM troops are ready to operate in order to help this country to recover peace and security and I hope we will succeed that mission soon as possible,” he said.

He also emphasized the need to empower the Somali institutions to take charge when the AMISOM mandate expires.

“The message for the Somali people is to feel that this country is for Somalis first. Secondly they must know that they have to work together themselves in order to help each other to recover this country because as you know AMISOM are doing well but we have duration on this mission. So after that the Somalis must know that they must work for their own country,” he stressed.

AMISOM began its operations in Somalia in 2007. The force is currently comprised of 5,432 from Burundi, 1000 from Djibouti, 3664 from Kenya, 850 from Sierra Leone and 6223 from Uganda.

Puntland Fight in Sool Region Kills More Than 10

SOMALIA: Fight in Sool region kills more than 10

Posted on November 30, 2013

More than 10 people were killed and at least 20 others wounded after heavy fight erupted in Taleh district of Sool region, the base of the newly declared state of Khatumo, RBC Radio reports.

The battle broke out on Thursday after Puntland Vice President Abdisamad Ali Shire reached the town with heavy armored vehicle that led to heavy gun fire with Khatumo forces based in Taleh.

Dozens of families were forces to flee from the town.

The situation has been calm since Friday despite tensions between the warring sides was high on time.

On Thursday, Mohamed Indhasheel said that he was attacked by Puntland presidential forces and that they have seized the town. Puntland did not respond to the claims.

RBC Radio

Somalia Struggles After Devastating Cyclone

Somalia: Somalis struggle after devastating cyclone: Aid agencies

NOVEMBER 29, 2013

More than 100,000 people are struggling in Somalia’s cyclone-hit northeastern Puntland region, aid agencies warned Friday, saying floodwaters had wiped out the livestock two-thirds of the people survive on.

A joint statement by 12 agencies — including Somali organisations as well as international ones such as CARE International, Oxfam, Save the Children, Refugees International and World Vision — said that people are “in dire need of food, clean drinking water and shelter”.

“For the pastoralist communities, the loss of their livestock could lead to an even greater number of people dying,” said Degan Ali, from Somali agency Adeso. “Livestock is the basis of the local economy and their only means of survival.”

The local government in the semi-autonomous region has said that as many as 300 people were feared to have been killed in the aftermath of the storm, but United Nations estimates later said that 80 were so far confirmed dead.

Aid agencies, the United Nations and local authorities are supplying food and medical supplies, but the recovery of communities struggling after decades of unrest — and still recovering from extreme drought last year — will take considerable time, the agencies cautioned.

“Families have lost their homes and possessions as floods damaged entire villages, roads and fishing boats,” the statement read, also warning of the risk of waterborne diseases.

Infamous pirate hotspots such as the port of Eyl — from where Somali gunmen have launched attacks far out into the Indian Ocean — are some of the worst affected places.

Somalia has been riven by civil war since the collapse of the central government in 1991.

Impoverished Puntland, which forms the tip of the Horn of Africa, has its own government, but unlike neighbouring Somaliland, it has not declared independence from Somalia.

Source: AFP

SOMALIA: Over 100,000 people devastated by the recent cyclone in Puntland

Posted on November 30, 2013

Over 100,000 people devastated by the recent cyclone in Somalia are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, aid agencies report. The tropical cyclone that hit the Puntland region of Somalia earlier this month resulted in the death of at least 80 people, mostly children and the elderly, and is estimated to have killed more than 100,000 livestock. Pastoralist communities appear the hardest hit.

Information from affected communities was initially limited due to the remoteness of the worst affected areas. Communication was halted from the lack of electricity to charge mobile phones, which was the only method of communication. Initial assessments indicate there is an urgent need to provide food, clean drinking water, shelter and medical supplies. Families have lost their homes and possessions as floods damaged entire villages, roads and fishing boats. Fears are also emerging of an outbreak of diarrhea and other waterborne diseases as many water sources were destroyed, while others are at risk of contamination from dead livestock.

Adeso’s Executive Director Degan Ali called this a silent crisis that needs to be addressed urgently. “For the pastoralist communities, the loss of their livestock could lead to an even greater number of people dying. Livestock is the basis of the local economy and their only means of survival. We, therefore, must respond quickly with more humanitarian aid but also recovery efforts to help restore livelihoods. ” she said.

NGOs in Somalia have been working with Puntland authorities and UN agencies through daily coordination meetings to determine how best to respond to save lives. To date, aid agencies have distributed food, water treatment tablets, shelter material and provided medical services. Puntland authorities have also created a bypass on the damaged Garowe/Dangoroyo road, facilitating the delivery of supplies to an estimated 30,000 people.

The storm has hit vulnerable communities who were still recovering from the 2011-2012 Horn of Africa famine and drought. With over 65percent of the population relying on pastoralism to earn a living, the huge livestock deaths could have long-term negative consequences. Beyond their immediate needs for food, water, medicine and shelter, families will need support to rebuild lost livelihoods including restocking of livestock. Displaced families will require new shelter or relocation in the long-term, and coastal communities will need assistance to replace lost fishing equipment.

“We appeal to the international community for more assistance to respond to this disaster. While agencies are responding to other much bigger crises that have greater media visibility around the world, we must remember the plight of the most vulnerable children and families in Somalia,” says World Vision Somalia Country Director, Francois Batalingaya.

40 Libyan Prisoners Liberated in Sabha

Scores of inmates escape Libya prison

Official says at least 40 escaped after a jail in the southern city of Sabha came under attack from unknown gunmen.

Last updated: 30 Nov 2013 20:02

At least 40 inmates have escaped from a prison in the southern Libyan city of Sabha after the jail came under attack by unknown gunmen, a security official has said.

The local official said on Saturday that the gunmen opened fire on the prison a day earlier and helped the inmates to escape after threatening the guards.

He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not allowed to brief reporters.

Libya's state news agency LANA quoted prison director Shaaban Nasr as saying that many of detainees later handed themselves in.

Jailbreaks are frequent in Libya, where the nascent police and army have been unable to secure the country and rely on armed militias who fought in the 2011 civil war that toppled long-time ruler Muammmar Gaddafi and often act above the law.

How Britain Ordered Files on the Suppression of the KLFA Destroyed

How UK ordered Mau Mau files to be destroyed: Archives reveal how staff 'cleansed' dirty documents relating to colonial crimes

Material which could ‘embarrass Her Majesty’s Government’ was burnt

Others were thrown into rivers or discretely flown back to Whitehall

Files disposed of to stop post-independence regimes obtaining them

Existence of archive was only revealed last year when a group of tortured Kenyan prisoners sued the British government

PUBLISHED: 19:48 EST, 28 November 2013

Secret documents released today reveal the full extent to which Whitehall systematically destroyed files relating to colonial crimes committed in the final years of the British empire.

Files published by the National Archives at Kew tell how administration staff in Kenya, Uganda and Malaya ‘cleansed’ so-called dirty documents.

Material which could ‘embarrass Her Majesty’s Government’ was burnt, dumped in rivers or discreetly flown to Britain to stop it falling into the hands of post-independence regimes.

Today’s declassified documents are the eighth and final batch of 8,800 files from 37 former colonies held in a secret Foreign Office archive at Hanslope Park, Buckinghamshire. They should have been made available to the public, but were kept hidden.

Mafia boss arrested in London after 20 years on the run from Italian police WON'T be granted bail as court overturns decision
The existence of the archive only emerged last year, when a group of Kenyans who were detained and tortured during the Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950s sued the British government, which finally agreed to release the files.

The latest batch contains scant detail of any atrocities committed – implying that the majority of the damning papers have been destroyed.

Among them are thought to be records of the torture and murder of Mau Mau insurgents detained by British colonial authorities, the alleged massacre of 24 unarmed villagers in Malaya by soldiers of the Scots Guards in 1948 and sensitive documents kept by colonial authorities in Aden, where the army’s Intelligence Corps operated a secret torture centre in the 1960s.

The destruction of this material was a huge undertaking, and in Uganda was codenamed Operation Legacy. The documents make reference to ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ files – presumably a reference to the information included in them.

Officials were told that ‘emphasis is placed upon destruction’, and no trace of either the documents or their incineration should remain.

Colonial officials in Kenya were told: ‘It is permissible, as an alternative to destruction by fire, for documents to be packed in weighted crates and dumped in very deep and current-free water at maximum practicable distance from the coast.’
And in Uganda, an official effectively excluded anyone who was not white from being involved in the destruction of certain documents. He wrote: ‘Steps are being taken to ensure that such papers are only seen and handled by Civil Service Officers who are British subjects of European descent.’
The files are available to the public from today in the reading rooms at The National Archives.

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Namibia Police: 33 Dead In Mozambican Plane Crash

Namibia police: 33 dead in Mozambican plane crash

AP 9:17 a.m. EST November 30, 2013

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A Mozambique Airlines plane carrying 33 people crashed in a remote border area, killing all on board, Namibian media reported Saturday.

The plane crashed in a Namibian national park near the border with Angola and there were no survivors, said Namibian deputy police commissioner Bollen Sankwasa, according to The Namibia Press Agency. An investigation of the cause was underway.

The plane was carrying 27 passengers, including 10 Mozambicans, nine Angolans, five Portuguese, and one citizen each from France, Brazil and China, said the airline. Six crew members were on board.

Flight TM470 from Maputo, the Mozambican capital, did not land as scheduled in Luanda, the Angolan capital, on Friday afternoon, and the airline initially said the plane might have landed in Rundu, in northern Namibia. It said it coordinated with aviation authorities in Namibia, Botswana and Angola to locate the missing plane.

A Namibian police helicopter joined officers on the ground in the search. The area is vast and there are no roads, making it difficult to locate the plane, said police official Willy Bampton, according to the Namibian Press Agency.

The search was conducted in the Bwabwata National Park in northeastern Namibia. Several thousand people as well as elephants, buffalo and other wildlife live in the park, which covers 2,360 square miles.

Airlines from Mozambique are among carriers banned in the European Union because of safety concerns.

Tony Tyler, director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association, said earlier this week that none of the 25 African members of the association, which include Mozambique Airlines, had an accident in 2012.

"But the overall safety record for Africa remains a problem that we must fix," Tyler said at a meeting of the African Airlines Association in Kenya. He said African aviation comprises about 3 percent of global airline traffic, and last year it accounted for nearly half of the fatalities on Western-built jets.

Mozambique Airlines uses Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer aircraft.

CEO Marlene Mendes Manave says in a statement on the airline's website that the airline grew 8 percent in the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2012.

183 Brotherhood Members Arrested for Unauthorized Protesting

183 'Brotherhood members' arrested Friday for unauthorized protesting

Ahram Online, Friday 29 Nov 2013

183 protesters were arrested across Egypt on Friday in accordance with a strict application of Egypt's newly enacted protest law

Egypt's Ministry of Interior said 183 members of the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested Friday for conducting unauthorized protests and blocking roads.

In a press release, the ministry strongly condemned mobilization that does not abide by the newly-enacted protest law, which stipulates that all protests must be preapproved by the police station that has jurisdiction over the area where the demonstration will be held.

The statement also stressed that police forces will enforce the protest law, despite the considerable controversy the law has stirred since its enactment on Sunday.

The ministry confirmed that police forces have used water cannons and teargas to disperse protests after issuing a warning, a protocol outlined in the new protest law.

In Cairo, 106 protesters were arrested during protests on Friday. Demonstrations also took place across Egypt, in Giza, Matrouh, Alexandria, Monufia, Demitta and Behira, Minya, Sohag and Bani Seuf.

The law has been labeled "anti-protests" by human rights groups and activists, who say that it fails to protect freedom of assembly and promotes heavy-handed state intervention. This view is disputed by the interim authorities.

"It is not a law that limits the right to demonstrate. It protects the rights of protesters," Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi told AFP on Sunday.

Conflicting Narratives of Egypt's Minya Sectarian Violence

Conflicting narratives of Egypt's Minya sectarian violence

Ahram Online, Friday 29 Nov 2013

Different stories have emerged to explain the sectarian violence that erupted in Minya on Thursday and Friday; official security sources say the conflict began with a Muslim girl found at the home of two Coptic boys

Sami Metwaly, security director for the governate of Minya, says the deadly violence that erupted in the area on Thursday and Friday was not originally sectarian, though some incitements made it appear to be.

Metwaly's statement directly contradicts the narrative offered by the Coptic Orthodox Archbishopric of Minya. A statement released by the Archbishopric earlier states that the events began with a dispute between a Muslim and a Christian over the construction of a wall in the Nazlet Abeed village, located around 6 kilometres from the city of Minya. According to the statement, the dispute then escalated into sectarian clashes.

Speaking to Al-Ahram's Arabic news portal, Metwaly said tensions started when a Muslim girl fled home in Minya and hid at the house of a Coptic family located in Cairo's Ezbet El-Nagkhl to escape from her father with the help of two Coptic young men, without specifying the reason.

The girl's father, according to Metwaly, found her in the Copts' home and subsequently forced her to go through medical check-up to make ensure that she was still a virgin.

"Usually in such cases fathers opt not to make a scene to avoid a possible scandal, but some people who want to ignite sectarian strife convinced him to confront the two Copts," Metwaly explained.

"Her father, brothers and other relatives of hers went to the house of the two Copts to confront them about their inappropriate behavior, and verbal exchange devolved into violent conflict. Rounds were fired, resulting in a death and an injury... they have both been arrested."

At least three people were killed and several injured in the scuffle late Thursday, reported Al-Ahram's Arabic website. Two of the dead were Muslim and one was Christian.

Clashes resumed on Friday, leaving four more injured, including a child, before security forces contained the situation.

Copts Without Borders said Friday that army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is responsible for protecting Egyptian Christians following the "public mandate" that he was given when millions took to the streets in response to his calls for popular support to "fight terrorism," referring to the mobilization of supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi.

The group also stated that ten houses owned by Copts had been torched and destroyed, while more than 60 more had been ravished. The statement added that four Copts were in critical conditions after being hospitalized following the violence on Thursday and Friday.

Copts Without Borders argued that violence erupted because of a "rumour" about a relationship between a Coptic boy and a Muslim girl.

In previous sectarian incidents in Egypt, similar allegations have ignited violent sectarian strife. In May 2011, for instance, a woman was allegedly held by Coptic churches in Cairo after converting to Islam, and the story enflamed sectarian violence in Imbaba that left 12 dead and 240 injured.

In July and August, security forces' dispersal of protest camps held by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi led to a wave of attacks on Coptic churches nationwide. In the town of Delga in the Minya governorate, a monastery, three churches and several Christian-owned properties were set on fire. Security forces entered the town in September and restored order.

Three dead in sectarian clashes in Minya

Ahram Online, Friday 29 Nov 2013

A fight over the construction of a wall developed into violence in Upper Egypt

Three people were killed and several injured when sectarian clashes erupted late Thursday in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Minya, reported Al-Ahram's Arabic website.

According to a statement released by the Minya Coptic Orthodox Archbishopric, a fight started between a Muslim and a Christian over the construction of a wall in the Nazlet Abeed village, located around 6 kilometres from Minya city, escalating into sectarian clashes.

Two of the dead were Muslim and one was Christian.

Clashes resumed the next day, leaving four more injured, including a child, before security forces contained the situation.

Egypt has seen increasing numbers of sectarian incidents, especially in Upper Egypt, over the past years.

In July and August, a wave of attacks on churches nationwide followed the dispersal by security forces of protest camps held by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

In the town of Delga in Minya governorate, a monastery, three churches and several Christian-owned properties were set on fire, and regular protests were held, with some protesters chanting anti-Christian slogans. Security forces entered the town in September and restored order.

More Oil Findings In East Africa Impacts Protected Areas

Oil in Africa parks drives hunt for eco-methods

2013-11-29 07:32

Cape Town - East Africa's oil rush is spreading into parks and protected areas, prompting companies to develop new ways to explore for hydrocarbons without disturbing wildlife and natural treasures such as rare fossils.

From Uganda, where France's Total is trying new and less intrusive methods of seismic testing in a national park, to Madagascar, where operations are under way next to a Unesco site, the industry is working in locations where damage would trigger public outcries.

"We can't take anything for granted. We are abutting next to a Unesco National Park," said Stewart Ahmed, chief executive officer of Madagascar Oil, which plans the first commercial crude oil production in the impoverished Indian Ocean island state.

"We are going to be under scrutiny and our pipelines, for example, will have to skirt around those kinds of areas," he said on the sidelines of an Africa oil conference organised by Global Pacific & Partners.

When an area is declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco -the cultural and scientific arm of the United Nations - it immediately comes under close observation by conservationists.

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, next to Madagascar Oil's operations in a rugged and remote region of the country's west, is known for towering limestone pinnacles and is home to rare wildlife such as the red-fronted brown lemurs.

"World Heritage Sites are of particular concern. Many companies are committed to not developing in World Heritage Sites and conservation groups are opposed to developments in such areas," said Ray Victurine of the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society.

"So there is a lot of scrutiny with regard to developments there," he said.

Seismic and human evolution

In Uganda, where Total is exploring in Murchison Falls National Park, home to elephants, lions and a rare giraffe sub-species, the company is using seismic technology which the industry says is less disruptive than traditional methods for pinpointing oil reserves.

Typically, seismic tests involve clearing bush in a straight line and blasting explosives. Echo patterns are then analysed to detect oil pockets beneath the surface.

Total has said that in Murchison it was using "one of the latest cableless technologies available in the industry".

Because cables will not be used to record the seismic signals, the technology, provided by Texas-based FairfieldNodal, does not require the removal of vegetation along the grid line.

In northern Kenya, Africa-focused producer Tullow Oil is making seismic adjustments as it works in a region renowned for hominid fossils that shed light on humanity's evolutionary past.

Blasting the "missing link" by mistake would not sit well in scientific circles.

"We have palaeontologists working on our teams in Kenya," said Paul McDade, Tullow's chief operating officer.

Because of advances in technology, seismic lines no longer have to be perfectly straight as computing can compensate for any bends or detours.

"You used to just shoot a straight seismic line. What we do now is send a party out ahead and if they find anything of interest we cordon it off and run the seismic line around it and then carry on," McDade told Reuters.

Seismic technology is becoming less intrusive in other ways as well.

Calgary-based Polaris Seismic International has developed seismic equipment employing an "accelerated drop" system, eliminating the need for blasting. It has been used in villages and wildlife areas in Tanzania.

Its system, the Explorer 860, thumps the earth with a hydraulically driven hammer. The energy goes straight down so wildlife and people nearby are not disturbed. Geological data is collected by geophones set up on the surface 6km on either side.

- Reuters

Scandal Widens Over Contracts for Navy Work

November 29, 2013

Scandal Widens Over Contracts for Navy Work

New York Times

A scandal involving the Navy’s ship supply network, until now focused on the Pacific Fleet, has spread to another contractor working for Navy ships in the waters off the Middle East, Africa and South America.

The Justice Department is looking into allegations that the company, Inchcape Shipping Services, with the help of subcontractors, overcharged the Navy by millions of dollars, interviews and previously undisclosed court documents show.

Inchcape, which is owned by the government of Dubai, was suspended this week from winning new federal contracts and is expected to meet with Justice Department officials soon to discuss the case.

The civil fraud investigation, which was prompted by a whistle-blower who had worked for the company, is another serious embarrassment for the Navy, which is already grappling with a criminal investigation of its main ship supplier in the Pacific, Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

The firm’s owner, Leonard Glenn Francis, was arrested in September on charges of conspiring to bribe Navy officials with cash, trips and prostitutes. In exchange, investigators say, those officials helped divert ships to certain ports where Glenn Defense submitted inflated bills. Three Navy officials have been charged with crimes, and four others, including two admirals, have been suspended over their ties to Mr. Francis.

“It’s like finding a couple of cockroaches in the kitchen when you turn on the light,” said Charles Tiefer, a former member of the federal Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan and a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law. “This suggests that this area of contracting is infested with problems, including a lack of competition, overbilling and resistance to government investigations.”

Investigators accuse Inchcape of a different scheme: that it paid commissions to subcontractors willing to give large discounts, then pocketed the difference instead of refunding it to the Navy.

A federal subpoena issued in March 2011 demanded that Inchcape turn over its records involving Navy ships and any discounts or rebates from subcontractors since 2002, court records show.

A Justice Department lawyer later sent the company an email saying investigators were especially concerned about its deals in supplying six aircraft carriers and four other ships from 2005 through 2009, and about its charges for fuel in Peru and for removing waste from ships in Bahrain, Dubai and South Africa. The email, which was included in court records, asked the company for a spreadsheet listing what the suppliers charged Inchcape, what it charged the Navy, and the company’s profit margin for those and other port visits.

As was the case with Glenn Defense, contracting experts say, the Navy ignored warning signs about Inchcape’s questionable practices.

Records show that the Naval Supply Systems Command extended Inchcape’s largest contract seven times since 2010, when the Justice Department began investigating the whistle-blower’s allegations. The company has won at least $257 million for work in the Middle East under the contract. Since 2010, the Navy has awarded the firm at least eight other contracts, estimated at more than $41 million, including three this year.

The Navy said it suspended Inchcape this week after finding “evidence of conduct indicating questionable business integrity.” Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, the Navy’s chief spokesman, cited significant overpayments to Inchcape and “conduct so serious” that it warranted the suspension. Inchcape can keep its contracts while suspended, but cannot win new orders without special agency approval.

Sheila Armstrong, head of corporate communications for Inchcape, said in an email that the Justice Department investigation and the suspension involved “a small number of Navy ships between 2005 and 2008.” The company has been discussing its billings for that work with the Justice Department “with a view to bringing this matter to a conclusion,” she said.

She also said that the company had conducted an “independent audit into its billing processes in 2009 and believes that this provided full answers to all of the questions raised.”

Under federal rules, suspensions, which are rare among major contractors, are not intended to punish firms for past deeds, only for continuing problems.

The government’s subpoena in 2011 also asked Inchcape for documents about any entertainment, gifts, cameras and cellphones it had provided to Defense Department employees.

Such gifts were a major part of Mr. Francis’s case, but Admiral Kirby said there were “no indications right now” of wrongdoing by naval officers in the Inchcape case.

Inchcape, which also works for commercial shipping lines and other navies, calls itself the world’s largest independent marine management company. The firm, which has its headquarters in Britain, was bought in 2006 by Istithmar World, a subsidiary of Dubai World, a state-run investment business headed by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, a relative of Dubai’s ruler.

Dubai World also has stakes in Cirque du Soleil, Barneys New York and the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Manhattan.

Shortly after it bought Inchcape, Dubai World came under fire in Washington when it acquired a British company that operated several American ports. Politicians in both parties opposed the deal, contending that Dubai’s ownership of those port operations was a threat to American security. Dubai World bowed to the pressure and sold its interests in the ports.

Dubai World also tried to sell Inchcape in 2010. But the potential buyers walked away, according to news media reports, after hearing that the Justice Department might be investigating its work for the Navy.

The case started in early 2010, when a former employee filed a whistle-blower suit accusing Inchcape of defrauding the government. Under such suits, the claimants receive a percentage of any money recovered.

The Justice Department joined the suit and told Inchcape in September 2010 that it was investigating whether the company had “overcharged the Navy for its services in potential violation of the False Claims Act.”

Even though such lawsuits are sealed to protect whistle-blowers from retribution, a few records in the case were placed in a public file late last year, when the Justice Department persuaded a federal judge to order Inchcape to hand over an internal audit of some of its billing practices. Inchcape claimed that the audit, which was completed in May 2008, was protected by attorney-client privilege. But Lawrence E. Cosgriff, a former United States merchant marine officer who had been an executive at Inchcape, filed a declaration saying that Claus Hyldager, the chief executive of Inchcape, had rejected a proposal that the law firm Arnold & Porter conduct the audit.

Mr. Cosgriff wrote in his declaration that he had sent two Inchcape employees to a workshop in Dubai in December 2007, where they heard about billing practices that “caused me to be concerned that there was potential liability for fraudulent conduct.” But, he said, Mr. Hyldager “expressed dismay” that he had talked to a lawyer and decided the company would do the audit itself.

Simon Tory, the group company secretary for Inchcape, wrote in another filing that Arnold & Porter had prepared a memorandum “summarizing the potential criminal and civil liability implicated by the activities as reported.” Mr. Tory said that he oversaw the work on the audit, and that Mr. Hyldager “decided to follow up directly with some of the witnesses” to ensure the information was complete.

Mr. Cosgriff, through a lawyer, declined to comment. The company’s spokesmen said Mr. Hyldager was unavailable for an interview.

People involved in the case said Mr. Cosgriff and several other Inchcape employees left the company in 2009 after the problems appeared to recur.

Court records show that five of the 10 port visits that the Justice Department singled out as among its top investigative priorities occurred after the audit. They included a stop in South Africa in October 2008 by the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt — the first visit there by an American carrier in 40 years — and three ship visits to Dubai and Bahrain in 2009.

Woman Behind Beauty Solutions For Africa

Meet The Woman Behind Beauty Solutions For Africa's Biggest Shows, Including Face Of Nairobi

Friday, 29 November 2013 19:2
by Adam Wagwau

Put a dark-skinned woman and the African sun together, throw in some grossly overpriced, often counterfeit make-up brands into the equation and what do you get? A recipe for disaster. Multiply that and you have a population of fashion police’s most wanted, not to mention a host of unsightly skin reactions.

This was the inspiration that led Suzie Wokabi, International Relations degree holder, to pursue her passion and create her authentic, affordable, high quality African make-up brand.

And it makes sense that SuzieBeauty would be the official make-up guys when Nairobi crowns its hottest beauty. They are one of the sponsors of the Face of Nairobi pageant going down tomorrow at the Pride Inn Hotel on November 30th between 7.00 p.m. and 11.00 p.m. Ordinary tickets to The Face Of Nairobi show will go for Kshs. 1,500 while VIP tickets are going for Kshs. 2,500. Get advance tickets at Pride Inn Hotel is located on Westlands Road, next to Graffins College.

This revolutionary line is Kenya’s first make-up/beauty brand and a global trailblazer in creating a bespoke product for the African woman, by an African woman.

Soon after graduating from University in the U.S, Suzie dove right into the fashion industry. She was trained by MAC Cosmetics and completed an intensive Media Make-up certificate course at the Award Studio Make-up School in Los Angeles.

She worked in New York within the fashion and beauty industries from 2001 until 2007, when she returned to her hometown of Nairobi, Kenya.

Suzie is now an accomplished make-up artist whose extensive industry experience runs the full gamut from Print Media to Television, Film, Video, Commercials, Runway, and Bridal.

She began creating her make-up/beauty brand in early 2009 and officially launched it in December, 2011. The hallmark of Suzie Beauty products is affordable, great quality, tailor-made for the unique needs of women living in the African climate.

To date, Suzie’s work has been featured in the Italian Vogue L’Uomo magazine, as well as countless local glossy magazines. She has graced the covers of Passion for Life, Prestige Magazine and True Love Magazines.

Since 2008 she has worked with Kenyan fashion veterans such as Ann McCreath of Kiko Romeo and the illustrious annual FAFA show (Festival of African Fashion and Arts), which draws several international heavyweights in support of its noble cause.

One of her major clients throughout her artistry career has been MNet, through which SuzieBeauty’s work has been seen on various TV Shows like IDOLS, The Patricia Show, Catwalk Africa, Face of Africa and Coke Studio. She has led SuzieBeauty backstage through three seasons of the biggest regional TV Show, Tusker Project Fame which is now in its 6th season.

SuzieBeauty sponsors most major fashion events including Fashion & Beauty Expo (FAB), Nairobi Fashion Market, Samantha Bridal Expo, Miss World Kenya and Kenya Fashion Week.

Suzie has been featured in vibrant design and lifestyle hubs including the blogs FashionNotebook, FashionForensic, DressupNation, and Kenyanstylista. Interviewed by world-renowned journalists like Jeff Koinange and featured in the New York Times, Suzie was named one of the Five Fashion icons of 2012 by Nairobi’s Capital FM radio station.

SuzieBeauty products are readily accessible online and in retail outlets in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and even in Kampala, Uganda, as well as in Australia. Additionally, the company plays a key role in the fashion, beauty, media and bridal industries and has established a seasonal school where aspiring local make-up artists can learn this valuable skill.

Ordinary tickets to The Face Of Nairobi show will go for Kshs. 1,500 while VIP tickets are going for Kshs. 2,500. Get advance tickets at Pride Inn Hotel is located on Westlands Road, next to Graffins College.

ICC Agrees to Changes in African Prosecutions

Africa / African News

ICC agrees to changes to ease tension with Africa


ICC putting stability of region at risk — Kenya
Africa concerns are raised at ICC summit
UN council to vote on Kenyans’ ICC trials
AMSTERDAM — The International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) member states on Wednesday agreed to changes to the court’s trial procedures that could help defuse the tension between the court and the African continent over the approaching trial of Kenya’s president.

The changes approved by the court’s 122 members will make it easier for suspects to participate in trial proceedings via video link and create a special exemption for top government officials, western diplomats said.

Kenya and its African Union (AU) allies have been lobbying hard for the trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to be halted or postponed, saying the case threatens to destabilise the East African region.

Mr Kenyatta and his deputy, former political rival William Ruto, face charges of crimes against humanity over ethnic clashes after Kenya’s 2007 elections, when 1,200 people died.

The new rules allow judges to grant an exemption to a suspect who is "mandated to fulfil extraordinary public duties at the highest national level", according to the text seen by Reuters.

Earlier this month, Kenya and the AU failed in their bid to have the trials of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto deferred by the United Nations (UN) Security Council for one year, leading some African leaders to urge Mr Kenyatta to boycott his trial, which is due to start on February 5.

A boycott would pose a dilemma to the 10-year-old ICC’s strongest supporters in Europe and North America, which see Kenya as an important ally in the fight against Islamist militancy in neighbouring Somalia.

Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, welcomed the vote, which she said would make it easier for Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto to "mount a vigorous legal defence", while doing their jobs as Kenya’s top elected officials. In a statement, she praised the court’s Assembly of States Parties for amending the court’s procedures "in a manner that appropriately protects the rights and interests of both victims and defendants, while allowing the judicial process to proceed without delay".

The US is not a member of the court, but it has tacitly supported it since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, and has urged Kenya’s leaders to co-operate in their trials.

But Human Rights Watch cautioned the amendment would have little practical effect, while risking creation of "two-tiered justice" with exceptions for the powerful. "This amendment keeps the decision on attending trial in the hands of the ICC’s judges, so it remains to be seen whether the change will make any practical difference whatsoever," said Liz Evenson, senior counsel at Human Rights Watch.

Judges have been lenient in granting requests by Mr Ruto to be excused from his trial, which began in September. They immediately allowed him to return home to deal with the attack by Somali militants on a shopping mall in Nairobi in September, in which at least 67 were killed.

The court, which has so far prosecuted only Africans, has long been under fire on the continent, where it is seen as an instrument of neocolonial interference.

Meanwhile, Kenya on Thursday launched the construction of a Chinese-funded $13.8bn flagship railway project, hoping to increase trade and boost Kenya’s position as a regional economic power.

The key transport link, to run from the busy port city of Mombasa inland to the highland capital Nairobi, is eventually hoped to extend onwards to Uganda, and then connect with proposed lines to Rwanda and South Sudan.

"What we are doing here today will most definitely transform … not only Kenya but the whole eastern African region," Mr Kenyatta told crowds at the ground-breaking ceremony he called a "historic milestone". "As a result, East Africa will become a competitive investment destination … a busy growing East Africa is good for us as a country."

Kenyan media have hailed it enthusiastically as the region’s largest infrastructure project for a century.

" It will be a landmark project both for Kenya and East Africa," China’s ambassador to Kenya, Liu Guangyuan, said at the ceremony. Financing — currently only from China — has so far been made for only the first 450km section from Mombasa to Nairobi, replacing the current single train line with a high-speed standard gauge track, and an additional line alongside.

Work on that section, by the state-owned China Road and Bridge Corporation, should be completed by 2017.

Freight trains are planned to be able to cut the 36-hour trip by rail to just eight hours, with planners claiming it will slash cargo transport costs by 60%.

Sapa-AFP, Reuters

This is How Structural Adjustment Policies Worked in Africa

Devarajan: This is How Structural Adjustment Policies Worked in Africa — a Rejoinder to Carlos Lopes

Former Chief Economist of the World Bank's Africa division, Shantayanan Devarajan, argues that SAPs may not have worked in the '80s and '90s, but that they have in the past 15 years.

29 NOVEMBER 2013 - 2:40PM

On 7 May, 2013, Think Africa Press published an interview with Shantayanan Devarajan, then Chief Economist of the World Bank's Africa division, entitled World Bank: "Structural Adjustment Programmes Worked in Africa", in which he argued that SAPs were a major reason behind Africa's current economic growth. On 25 November, Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, wrote a reply to Devarajan, refuting that SAPs had been successful . Below is Devarajan's rejoinder to Lopes, which was originally published as a comment under Lopes’s article.

I welcome Carlos Lopes’ reply to my interview with Think Africa Press, both as an opportunity to clarify what was — and was not — said; and to engage in an evidence-based discussion about Africa’s structural transformation.

First, what I said was that the reason for Africa’s recent growth was that “African policymakers followed Structural Adjustment Programmes over the last 10-15 years”(emphasis added). This is different from saying that SAPs worked in Africa during the structural adjustment era of the 1980s and 1990s. Unfortunately, the headline “World Bank: ‘Structural Adjustment Programmes Worked in Africa’” was ambiguous. Lopes seems to have used the second meaning, claiming that “SAPs were in fact not successful in achieving their desired objectives of increasing investment efficiency or reinvigorating growth…” I agree with this statement, which I have made in several publications. But the reason they failed, as we document in the book Aid and Reform in Africa, is not that the policies were wrong, but that they were imposed from outside, without enough consideration as to whether there was a domestic political consensus for the reforms.

Starting in the early 2000s, African governments took greater control of their reform programmes, many of which were designed in the countries themselves. The actual policies — controlling fiscal deficits and inflation, allowing markets rather than governments to determine prices, reducing state control of the banking sector — were not that different from those of the structural adjustment era. But this time, they delivered results because they represented a domestic political consensus.

Lopes also seems to disagree that these policies contributed to Africa’s recent economic growth, saying that the growth was “underpinned by a commodity boom and the emergence of development-oriented political regimes…” But Africa has seen commodity booms before, including in the 1970s, but they never translated into such a long period of sustained economic growth. The difference was that in the 2000s, macroeconomic policies were better. When the 1970s commodity boom ended, African economies suffered immensely. But in 2009, when commodity prices fell due to the global economic crisis, most African countries were able to cushion themselves thanks to the prudent economic policies of the previous decade. Here too, I think Lopes agrees because he lists “prudent macroeconomic management” among the list of factors that fuelled Africa’s recent economic growth.

Industrial policy

The rest of Lopes’ reply is about the case for a more active industrial policy in Africa to achieve structural transformation. Although the topic was not discussed in my interview, I am happy to engage on it, especially since I have written about it elsewhere. In our article in Foreign Affairs, Wolfgang Fengler and I make the same point that Lopes does, namely, that despite a decade and a half of relatively rapid economic growth, African countries have not achieved structural transformation.

Lopes seems to think that the reason is the lack of industrial policy to address the many market failures. However, the evidence points in another direction: most of the constraints to Africa’s transformation are government failures, not market failures. For instance, high transport costs along Africa’s roads are mainly due to profits accruing to trucking companies whose monopoly power is guaranteed by regulations (and the fact that, in many countries, the president’s family members own the trucking company).

Similarly, Lopes attributes Africa’s weak human capital to the cutbacks in social spending from the structural adjustment era. But the evidence is that, in public schools in Tanzania, Kenya, Senegal and Uganda, teachers are absent about 20-30% of the time. When present, they spend about a quarter of their time teaching. Doctors, whose absentee rate is even higher, spend an average of 29 minutes a day seeing patients. And money allocated to public health clinics leaks at alarming rates — 99% in Chad. In light of all these government failures, it is not clear that an increase in public spending in education and health will lead to better human development outcomes.

Finally, active industrial policy has already been tried in Africa: this was the import-substitution strategies of the 1960s and 1970s. Everyone — including advocates of industrial policy today like Joe Stiglitz and Justin Lin — agrees that they were a colossal failure, mostly because of political capture. The challenge today is to design policies to minimise the inexorable tendency for politically powerful people to capture them for their own interest. There are no easy answers, but some form of transparency and citizens’ holding government to account — by, for example, information campaigns and the use of mobile-phone technology for two-way communication between government and citizens — will have to be part of the solution.

Think Africa Press welcomes inquiries regarding the republication of its articles. If you would like to republish this or any other article for re-print, syndication or educational purposes, please contact:

World Bank: "Structural Adjustment Programmes Worked in Africa"

Chief Economist of the World Bank's Africa division, Shantayanan Devarajan, speaking to Think Africa Press, credits 'Africa Rising' in part to World Bank and IMF policies.

7 MAY 2013 - 5:29PM

World Bank President Jim Kim is greeted at Abidjan airport by the Ivory Coast's Ministers of Economy and Finance, Industry, and Foreign Affairs. Photo by Photo: Nathan Kone/World Bank.

The World Bank's influence as a political actor across the African continent has been on the wane for the past two decades. It has come in for heavy criticism from some corners of the activist, political and academic communities for the social and distributional effects of the economic policies both it and its sister institution, the IMF, have prescribed.

Following the rise of Chinese and other non-traditional sources of capital, the World Bank's dominance as a developmental lender has been called into question. Despite a forced rethink in some policy frameworks and recently being outspent by China, the World Bank continues to be a sizeable economic and norm-creating institution. Think Africa Press recently interviewed Shantayanan Devarajan, the Chief Economist of the World Bank’s Africa division, who defends the World Bank's record, provides his analysis of the economic situation on the continent and plots where things may lead.

Across Africa, there is still a worrying preponderance of poverty and food insecurity. How can this be reconciled with the assertion in Africa’s Pulse (the World Bank’s biannual Africa publication) that “African countries are among the fastest growing countries in the world”?
A taxi driver in Senegal told a colleague of mine, ‘I cannot eat growth’. I think that captures the average African’s view.

African economies are growing mostly because commodity prices are very high, so natural resource prices are high - such as oil and gas - and many of these countries are exporters of natural resources like Ghana, Gabon, Nigeria.

Also, investment is growing in Africa and so you are seeing quite a lot of foreign investment coming in as well as domestic investment. The investment rate, which is usually a predictor of future growth, means you are building capacity and capital stock is rising.

But I think it is fair to say the taxi driver in Senegal has a point because while poverty is declining, it is not declining at a fast enough pace. While the economic growth is a result of commodity prices, the poor are working in agriculture and there is no direct link between the growth in natural resources and agricultural growth.

Agricultural productivity has not been growing very fast across the board and many of these countries that are seeing very high growth rates are actually seeing very little agricultural growth – which has a high concentration of the poor.

Most Africans, the ones in rural areas as well as people in the urban areas, are in the informal sector. And there is a reason for that: they cannot afford to be unemployed.

Most of the unemployed in Africa are people with secondary school degrees, who have finished secondary school or even university. They are the ones who can actually afford to sit around and wait for jobs because their families can support them.

Most Africans are working very hard, full time but in very low productivity jobs - like selling vegetables in the streets, or the guys who clean your windshield and try to sell you stuff while you are stuck in traffic. They are working in order to make a living but the problem is that they are working in very low productivity jobs.

How do you translate this into poverty reduction?

First, increase the productivity of agriculture. There are different ways to do it; there are good ways and bad ways. What governments have traditionally been doing is to say 'lets subsidise farmers' - subsidising fertilisers or seeds.

The trouble is that this helps the large-scale farmers. When you subsidise fertilisers, the larger farmers use a lot more fertilisers than small-scale farmers. We need to come up with different ways of ensuring that farmers can benefit from the mineral wealth - including giving them cash transfers directly that will enable them to buy fertilisers rather than subsidise fertilisers.

Second, and very importantly for the informal sector, is the need to improve the skillsets. One of the reasons people are in the informal sector is because they do not have access to education. Something like 50% of those working in the informal sector have not finished secondary school. Strengthening the education system and teaching those skills that are not part of the traditional curriculum – soft skills, teamwork and work ethic – are crucial so that these people and their children have a chance of moving out of the informal sector into the formal sector.

Lastly, infrastructure is important. Another reason why agricultural productivity is low is because farmers do not have roads on which to take their produce to the market. This often gets neglected in favour of a flashy big motorway in an urban area.

These are the basics; this is an opportunity that may not come around very often. Right now, mineral prices are very high and Africa is the place where there seems to be the most undiscovered minerals. This could be a window into which Africa can translate this opportunity into sustained growth.

Discussions of the drivers of economic growth never mention the Structural Adjustment Programmes that the World Bank and IMF promoted in Africa. Is this a deliberate acknowledgement of the criticisms levelled at them?

There is no question that one of the major reasons for Africa’s growth over the last 10–15 years is because of macro-economic policies have improved. Average inflation is half of what it was in the 1990s. Fiscal deficits are down; current account deficits are down.

The reason is that African policymakers followed Structural Adjustment Programmes over the last 10 – 15 years. It worked, it delivered results. It delivered economic growth and poverty reduction. You can’t dispute that.

Today, non-fragile African countries have the best macro-economic policies in the whole world compared to other low-income countries. This has been a tremendous change.

This is why it is a puzzle or may be, seems like a puzzle: why is it that the structural adjustment programmes of the 80s and 90s are so criticised?

I think that there is a difference and this is the critical point: It is not that the policies were wrong but that there is a big difference with those policies being designed in Washington, London and Paris versus those policies being designed in Abuja, Yaoundé and Nairobi. And I think that is the difference we are seeing. After debt relief, African policymakers decided they had to have a plan. They sat down and worked it out and they came out with the exact same policies as the Structural Adjustment Programmes.

If you look at the programmes of the 2000s and compare them to the SAP, they are exactly the same but there is a big difference if it is home-grown and owned rather than externally imposed and I think that is the big difference.

There’s a lack of reliable statistics for Africa. Where are these figures com from and how problematic is this?

There is a huge problem with statistics in Africa. No question about that. These figures are coming from best estimates we have. We are not trying to project anything other than do some real estimation.

And the other thing we try to make sure we do is not rely on any one estimate. We do not for instance take a whole view of a country just by viewing the GDP. We look at poverty, which is evaluated in a completely different way from GDP. This is done by individual household consumption surveys. This involves actually meeting and asking a household how much they are consuming. And then you triangulate.

These are not statistics based on just one or two estimates. But that said, I think there is a real problem because the capacity is very weak and frankly the political support for statistics is very weak in African countries.

I want to see more and more African policy makers championing statistics. It’s easy to see why there isn’t such political support for this - statistics can make for uncomfortable reading, they might actually expose the failure of governments. But that is precisely why we need it. Statistics aren’t just for economists, they are for the people. They are for citizens to know, so they can decide whether what the government says it is trying to achieve it is actually working.

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