Tag Archives: Africa

The Panama Papers – African Summary

Over 214,000 offshore entities are involved in financial transactions in more than 200 countries and territories around the world, according to the consortium. The use of offshore companies, the key tools of tax evasion, is a practice allowed in most countries.

Among those mentioned in the millions of documents including listed associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who embezzled up to $ 2 billion with the help of banks and shell companies, according to ICIJ. The king of Saudi Arabia, Salman of Saudi Arabia, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the former emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and cousins ​​of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are also mentioned.

African leaders are also mentioned, although no head of state in the exercise personally. Only the former Sudanese President al-Amad Ali Mirghani, who died in 2008, had assets in a tax haven.

Relatives of the president are however. Among them include Clive Khulubuse Zuma, nephew of South African President Jacob Zuma, Mamadie Touré, the fourth wife of former Head of State of Guinea Lansana Conté (which is already widely cited in a mining bribery case in Simandou), Mounir Majidi, private secretary of the king of Morocco, Alaa Mubarak, the eldest son of former Egyptian president, but John Addo Kufuor, the eldest son of former Ghanaian President John Kufuour. Finally, the Ivorian banker Jean-Claude N’Da Ametchi, former member of President Laurent Gbagbo and today close to Charles Konan Banny, has, according to documents of the ICIJ, assets in an offshore company and an account in Monaco.

Among the mentioned African political leaders appear Jaynet Désirée Kabila Kyungu (MP and twin sister of DRC President Joseph Kabila), Abdeslam Bouchouareb (MP and Algerian Minister of Industry and Mines), José Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos (Angolan minister Oil), Kalpana Rawal (Vice-President of the Supreme Court of Kenya), Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua (former Minister of Energy and Water and current Minister of scientific Research and technical Innovation of Congo -Brazzaville), Brigadier General Emmanuel Ndahiro (director of the Rwandan intelligence agency from 2004 to 2011) and the Senegalese Pape Mamadou Pouye. Arrested in April 2013 with Karim Wade, he was sentenced to five years for illegal enrichment complicity.


Source: Jeune Afrique

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Black in France – the full 3 part documentary

If you missed this Al-Jazeera documentary when it came out a few months ago, it is now fully available to stream on their website.

Between one and five million French citizens claim African or Caribbean heritage. These numbers are, however, estimates, as population censuses do not recognise race.

For over a century, black immigrants, though never officially identified as different, were treated as ‘others’.

Even today, of France’s 577 members of parliament, only five are black.

This three-part series tells the story of blacks in France – a long history of segregation, racism, protest, violence, culture and community building – from the turn of the 20th century until the present day.


Catch the rest of the documentary on AJE’s website: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2013/08/201382894144265709.html

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Rising prospects for manufacturing in Africa

Danald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank Group tweeted this article from The Economist about the growing African industrial opportunities. The article mentions H&M, Buffalo Bikes and General Electrics as pionners in the industry.

Those who cast doubt on Africa’s rise often point to the continent’s lack of manufacturing. Few countries, they argue, have escaped poverty without putting a lot of workers through factory gates. Rick Rowden, a sceptical development pundit, says, “Apart from a few tax havens, there is no country that has attained a high standard of living on the basis of services alone.”

Yet a quiet boom in manufacturing in Africa is already taking place. Farming and services are still dominant, backed by the export of commodities, but new industries are emerging in a lot of African countries.


H&M, a multinational Swedish retail-clothing firm, and Primark, an Ireland-based one, source a lot of material from Ethiopia. General Electric, an American conglomerate, is building a $250m plant in Nigeria to make electrical gear. Madecasse, a New York-based chocolatier, is looking for new hires to add to its 650 workers in Madagascar already turning raw cocoa into expensively wrapped milky and nutty bars. Mobius Motors, a Kenyan firm started a few years ago by Joel Jackson, a Briton, is building a cheap, durable car for rough roads.

Domestically owned manufacturing is growing, too. Seemhale Telecoms of South Africa is planning to make cheap mobile phones for the African market. Angola says it is to build its own arms industry, with help from Brazil. African craftsmen are making inroads in fashion. Ali Lamu makes handbags from recycled dhow sails on the Kenyan coast and sells them on Western websites.

Kenya is not about to become the next South Korea. African countries are likely to follow a more diverse path, benefiting from the growth of countless small and medium-sized businesses, as well as some big ones. For the next decade or so, services will still generate more jobs and wealth in Africa than manufacturing, which is fine. India has boomed for more than two decades on the back of services, while steadily building a manufacturing sector from a very low base. Do not bet against Africa doing the same.

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The decline of gay rights in Africa

Under the new law, same-sex “amorous relationships” are banned, as is membership in gay rights groups, prohibitions that have sparked both fear and defiance among Nigeria’s gay activists. The government “have just legalized violence, stigma and discrimination,” a gay man in Lagos, who asked not to be identified for his safety, told AFP. “Our situation has gone from bad to worse.” The man said that he particularly feared for LGBT people in majority-Muslim northern Nigeria, a region that is administered partly under Islamic law.

The new law could prevent access to essential HIV services for LGBT people who may be at high risk of HIV infection, undermining the success of the Presidential Comprehensive Response Plan for HIV/AIDS which was launched by President Goodluck Jonathan less than a year ago.

The health, development and human rights implications of the new law are potentially far-reaching. Homosexuality is already criminalized in Nigeria. The new law further criminalizes LGBT people, organizations and activities. The law states, “A person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organisation, or directly or indirectly makes public show of same sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and is liable to conviction to a term of 10 years imprisonment.” The law also criminalizes any individuals or group of people who support “the registration, operation and sustenance of gay clubs, societies and organisations, processions or meetings in Nigeria.” The conviction is also 10 years imprisonment.

Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic globally––in 2012, there were an estimated 3.4 million people living with HIV in Nigeria. In 2010, national HIV prevalence in Nigeria was estimated at 4% among the general population and 17% among men who have sex with men.

The provisions of the law could lead to increased homophobia, discrimination, denial of HIV services and violence based on real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. It could also be used against organizations working to provide HIV prevention and treatment services to LGBT people.

From: UNAIDS and the Global Fund express deep concern about the impact of a new law affecting the AIDS response and human rights of LGBT people in Nigeria

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Slavery in West Africa: CNN documentary

In parts of Africa, still haunted by the 19th Century trans-Atlantic slave trade, new forms of slavery are thriving. According to the 2013 Global Slavery Index, four of the world’s worst 10 countries are in west Africa. In this film, CNN reporters examine why slavery still exists, including among children. They talk to victims, activists and politicians accountable for stamping it out.

CNN Correspondent Vlad Duthiers starts in Ghana, where many of the trans-Atlantic slaves were captured and where slavery now has its roots in different forms. The film also includes reports from Ivory Coast, The Gambia and Mauritania, the last country in the world to make slavery illegal, but where many people remain in servitude.


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The concept of endogenous or self-centred development refers to the process of economic, social, cultural, scientific and political transformation, based on the mobilisation of internal social forces and resources and using the accumulated knowledge and experiences of the people of a country. It also allows citizens to be active agents in the transformation of their society instead of remaining spectators outside of a political system inspired by foreign models.

Endogenous development aims to mainly rely on its own strength, but it does not necessarily constitute autarky. One of the pre-eminent theoreticians of endogenous development, Professor Joseph Ki-Zerbo, states, ‘If we develop ourselves, it is by drawing from the elements of our own development.’ To put it in another manner, ‘We do not develop. We develop ourselves.’
The conception that the Professor illustrates is without a doubt inspired by his young and charismatic compatriot. In fact, the Sankarist Revolution was one of the greatest attempts at popular and democratic emancipation in post-Independence Africa. That is why it is considered a novel experience of deep economic, social, cultural and political transformation as evidenced by mass mobilisations to get people to take responsibility for their own needs, with the construction of infrastructure, (dams, reservoirs, wells, roads and schools) through the use of the principle ‘relying on one’s own strength.’
For Sankara, true endogenous development was based upon a number of principles, among them:

– The necessity of relying on one’s own strength

– Mass participation in politics with the goal of changing one’s condition in life

– The emancipation of women and their inclusion in the processes of development

– The use of the State as an instrument for economic and social transformation

These principles formed the foundation of the policies implemented by Sankara and his comrades between 1983 and 1987.


Read the full article from Demba Moussa Dembélé here.

An African approach to development

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The 2013 Ibrahim Index of African Governance





The interactive Mo Ibrahim index for 2013 is located on: http://www.moibrahimfoundation.org/interact/

mo ibrahim index

Cote d’Ivoire is again at a shameful 44th place, right before Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe.


A certain progress has been noted over the years on the security and safety fields. However, in spite of the massive opportunities in mines and mineral resources, the “sustainable economic opportunity” index has been stagnating for a few years.

Full analysis on: http://www.moibrahimfoundation.org/interact/

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