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Posts Tagged ‘African’

Libya’s Gaddafi proposes 1 million-strong African army

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:45 am

African nations should join forces to create a one-million-strong army to protect the continent and confront outsiders like NATO and China, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said on Tuesday.


Gaddafi, well known for his forthright rhetoric, has acquired growing influence in Africa but his ambition to build a united states of Africa is not shared by the continent’s biggest powers.


“National militaries alone cannot save countries. Africa should have one army with one million soldiers,” Gaddafi said in a speech in the Senegalese capital.


He said the joint force would “guard the borders and seas, protect Africa’s independence and confront NATO, China, France, Britain and other countries.”


Speaking at an event called the World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures, Gaddafi also attacked opponents of his long-standing proposal for a unified African government.


“They should leave home, abandon their countries and go and live in the capitals of the capitalist, imperialist countries which once occupied Africa,” he said in his speech.


Gaddafi has been pushing for an African unity government for years, saying it is the only way Africa can develop without Western interference.


His ideas have had a sympathetic response in some states, helped by his reputation in parts of the continent as champion of the developing world and also by the millions of dollars in aid his oil-exporting country gives to Africa.


But many African leaders, especially in the bigger economies, are skeptical. They say they cannot be expected to cede sovereignty to an African bloc only a few decades after wresting it from their colonial rulers.

Source: SGGP

Ambassadors celebrate African Day in Hanoi

In Uncategorized on May 27, 2010 at 5:13 pm

South African Ambassador promotes African Day in Vietnam

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2010 at 9:24 am

Calls for African unity as Senegal unveils controversial statue

In Uncategorized on April 4, 2010 at 5:14 am

DAKAR, April 3, 2010 (AFP) – Senegal’s controversial African Renaissance statue was unveiled Saturday, with leaders from across the continent calling for unity and the realisation of a “United States of Africa”.

The African Renaissance Monument to mark Senegal’s 50 years of independence is pictured during its inauguration ceremony on April 3, 2010 in Dakar. AFP photo

President Abdoulaye Wade called for the continent to unite in an address to a large crowd and 19 African leaders at the foot of the bronze statue, built by North Korea and higher than the Statue of Liberty.


“The time to take off has arrived,” he said of the continent, split into 53 states, which is increasingly courted for the rich minerals beneath its soil and its market of over one billion inhabitants.


While African leaders vaunted the statue as a symbol for all black people around the world and its inauguration as a historical moment, thousands of local opponents protested at a wasteful extravagance in hard economic times.


Riot police patrolled nearby streets earlier Saturday as demonstrators held up banners demanding the resignation of Wade, 84, who has been in power since 2000.


Deputy opposition leader Ndeye Fatou Toure said the statue was an “economic monster and a financial scandal in the context of the current crisis,” in a country where half the population lives below the poverty line.


Championed by Wade, the 52-metre (164-foot) monument whose cost is estimated at more than 15 million euros (20 million dollars) has caused a mixture of anger over its price tag, and bewilderment over its style.


The inauguration of the statue is the highlight of Senegal’s 50 years of independence from France on April 4, 1960.


It depicts a muscular man emerging from a volcano with a scantily clad woman in tow and holding a baby aloft in his left arm, pointing West towards the Atlantic Ocean.


The depiction of a woman with a whisp of fabric covering her breasts and skirting her thighs has baffled many in this overwhelmingly Muslim country, where women dress demurely, and drawn criticism from Islamic leaders.


Calling for unity, Wade said that “only a political integration of the United States of Africa will shelter us from potentially fatal marginalisation” on the world’s poorest continent, which holds rich economic potential, he added.


After “five centuries of ordeals, slavery, Africa is still there, folding sometimes, but never breaking. She is upright and resolute to take her future in hand,” Wade said.


“The slave traders have left, the last colonialist has left. We have no more excuses. We must seize this opportunity so that history does not repeat itself.”


Former Nigerian president and African strongman Olusegun Obasanjo who cut a ribbon in the colours of the Senegalese flag, said the statue was “a monument for black people all over the world”.


“We have a symbol to remind us, to inspire us” of and against years of slavery and abuse. “A united union of Africa can make it not happen again.”


African Union chief Bingu wa Mutharika, the president of Malawi, called for a new African unity: “We have more things that unite us, than those that divide us… Let us return to our countries with a new hope of a new Africa.”


A 100-strong African-American delegation included civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and Senegalese-American singer Akon.


The presidents of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cap Verde, the Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Mauritania and Zimbabwe were also present as well as the head of the African Union Commission Jean Ping.


“Africa has seized this monument. It is rare to have one country hosting more than a dozen heads of state for this kind of event. That testifies to their support,” presidential spokesman Mamadou Bamba Ndiaye told AFP.


Long on the table, a United States of Africa has been planned by the African Union by 2025, but doubts have been raised about the ability of the continent to unite amid widespread poverty and conflicts.

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Source: SGGP

African Union imposes sanctions on Guinea junta

In World on November 7, 2009 at 5:14 pm

The African Union has implemented sanctions on Guinea‘s military rulers, AU Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra said Saturday.


“Africa has implemented sanctions against several dozen people in Guinea who are opposing a return to constitutional order,” he said at a press conference on the sidelines of a summit on the Madagascar crisis.


“The list has been sent to AU member states, to the UN Security Council and to the European Union (EU) so that we can harmonize our positions and take appropriate measures,” he added.


Lamamra said that “the hand outstreched to Madagascar to help it return to constitutional order coincides with the implementation of sanctions on Guinea: on the same day Africa is expressing its resistance to anticonstitutional changes of government. Democracy must be promoted everywhere”.








Guinean military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara (R) arrives at a ceremony in Conakry in October, flanked by General Sekouba Konate, minister in charge of national defence

The sanctions include bans on travel and the freezing of assets held outside Guinea by the junta‘s leaders.


They were imposed after junta troops on September 28 opened fire at a rally in a Conakry stadium where protestors were urging junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara not to stand in presidential elections planned for January.


Camara now wants to stand in the elections, despite his earlier committment not to do so and despite demands from the international community that he should not run.


At least 150 people died, the United Nations says. Human rights groups put the toll at 157 dead and more than 1,200 injured, including women who were publicly raped.


The military regime has said that 56 people died and 934 were wounded. NGOs say that between 150 and 200 people were killed and more than 1,000 wounded.


The United Nations has announced it will set up an inquiry into the massacre while the International Criminal Court said it will hold a separate preliminary inquiry to determine if war crimes were committed.


Both the AU and the west African economic grouping ECOWAS have already suspended Guinea and both the United States and the EU have imposed sanctions on the junta. ECOWAS has also imposed an arms embargo.


Camara seized power in the mineral-rich west African state on December 23 last year, just hours after the death of Guinea’s long-serving ruler Lansana Conte, who was an autocratic army general.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Gold tops $1,000. But South African miners not benefitting

In World on September 28, 2009 at 9:08 am

The gold miners gather in front of the old Crown Gold Mines and begin a peculiarly South African form of protest. They dance, hoot horns, wave knob-kerry sticks, and generally appear to be having a fabulous time.


But the joyous mood hides a serious problem. These workers are striking for a 13 percent salary increase. Food prices here are skyrocketing, and gold prices are hovering at more than $1,000 an ounce.


“[DRD Gold] is paying us peanuts,” says Juliet Sibanyoni, a plant operator, “but we are not monkeys. They should not pay us peanuts.”


But DRD Gold, which owns Crown Mines and two other facilities, says record gold prices don’t make record profits. Even though gold prices are high globally, the value of the US dollar is weak. By the time DRD Gold converts its dollars into the strong South African rand, the company says that it sees almost no profit.


For an industry that once defined South Africa‘s gold-rush economy, these are worrying times, and the growing bumptiousness of South Africa’s unions is a sign of more trouble ahead.


“I don’t want to suggest that this is a bad time for the gold mining industry, but it’s not a euphoric situation either,” says Azar Jammine, director of Econometrix, an economic analysis company in Johannesburg. The problem is that South African mining companies are hit hard by two economic trends: One, there has been 11 percent inflation, which means that the cost of tools and services have increased for the mining company’s daily operations. Second, the falling value of the US dollar – which is the currency that all gold is bought and sold in world wide – means that mining companies here see almost no benefit from higher prices.


30 percent increase in gold prices
Over the past year, the price of gold has risen from $750 an ounce to more than $1,000 an ounce, but at the same time, the value of the dollar has dropped from 10 rand to 7.5 rand to the dollar. This means that in rand terms, the value of gold has not increased at all.


On top of that, South African mines are more expensive to operate than elsewhere.


“In South Africa, most of the gold is at very deep levels – up to 3 miles deep – where in other countries, including your own, many of the mines are much shallower,” says Mr. Jammine. “The cost of producing our gold is much higher than it is abroad, so this is another reason why mining companies need to contain their costs.”


Such arguments have little sway among the gold miners, many of whom work with toxic chemicals to leach out traces of gold from the mine tailings – the leftover rock and soil that once contained gold deposits – at DRD Gold’s facilities here in Johannesburg and other parts of South Africa.


Negotiations between DRD Gold and the National Union of Mineworkers have broken down, and DRD efforts to have the current strike declared illegal have failed in court. The impasse largely revolves around wages. An entry level mineworker working above ground earns 4,500 rand (about $616) per month, which is roughly what a South African school teacher earns. The mineworkers union is requesting a 13 percent pay increase, while DRD is offering 6 percent.


“We understand that there is a recession, but they [management] are not feeling the recession. We are the ones feeling the recession,” says Johannes Matani, shop steward for the local branch of the National Union of Mineworkers at the Crown mines. “DRD is pleading poverty, but we believe they are telling a lie.”


One striker moves into the crowd to show off a handmade sign that reads, in Zulu, “We want 13 percent. Swine flu is better than 6 percent.”


Strikes could result in further layoffs
DRD spokesman James Duncan says the current strikes “make a bad situation worse.” As it is, deep earth tremors have caused serious damage at DRD’s operations at the deep-mining operation at Blyvoor, where the operation has been shut down since June for an estimated 6 months of repairs. In addition, DRD had already begun to study the size of its workforce and looking into layoffs. The longer the strike goes on, Mr. Duncan says, the greater the losses will be for DRD, and the more workers DRD may have to lay off.


In the gold industry, “you share the pain and you share the upside as well,” says Duncan. In addition to the base salary that workers earn, DRD Gold also pays up to 8.5 percent when the price of gold increases in rand terms. But given the strange strength of the rand, and the falling strength of the dollar, there can be no talk of sharing the wealth, Duncan says. These are times of pain.


“The only thing you can do is work harder and work smarter, and who wants to hear that?” says Duncan. “I don’t either, but that’s the simple truth.”


Source: SGGP

Vietnam calls for continued help to Central African Republic

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2008 at 4:28 pm

A senior Vietnamese diplomat has called on regional and international organisations to continue their assistance to the Central African Republic (CAR) in national reconstruction, socio-economic development and improvement of the humanitarian situation.

Addressing a United Nations Security Council consultation on the CAR in New York on June 27, Ambassador Bui The Giang spoke highly of the CAR’s recent efforts as well as positive political and socio-economic developments in the country.

Giang, who works as Deputy Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UNSC, applauded the recent signing of a peace agreement between the CAR’s Government and all principal armed groups.

The diplomat called on the parties concerned to respect the agreement, engage in dialogue in order to reach a solution satisfactory to all, work towards an end to the long-lasting conflict and create a favourable environment for the CAR to fully embark on the cause of stabilisation and development.

He affirmed Vietnam ’s support for the presence of the United Nations in the CAR and the expeditious and full deployment of the UN Mission in the CAR and Chad (MINURCAT) to ensure security and improve the humanitarian situation in the CAR.

The ambassador appreciated the CAR Government’s close coordination with MINURCAT, especially in facilitating the deployment of its forces, as well as the role played by the UN Peace-building Support Office in the CAR (BONUCA).