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Comment • Analysis • Opinion

No.7  ISSN 2040-0284 

Art: Ife sculptures make waves International: Taiwan seeks wider role China-Africa: time to re-think relationship

Zimbabwe: 30 years of independence

April 2010


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IN THIS ISSUE

Comment Analysis Opinion No. 7  April 2010 Published digitally by African Journals Publishing Company Limited

Whither Zimbabwe?

Cover story: The difficulties in stabilising an independent country forged in the crucible of racial oppression and violent confrontation  Page 10

Africa and China – time for a re-think

P.O. Box 60162 London SW19 2TN England

African countries should build a more constructive economic relationship with China Page 18

Tel: +44 20 8542 7957 Email: info@africanjournalspublishing.com Editor Desmond Davies d.davies@africanjournalspublishing. com Associate Editors James Kanu; Jeggan Senghor; Bunmi Akpata-Ohohe Contributors Guy Arnold; Lans Gberie; Emmanuel Ofegba Nuesiri; Prosper Yao Tsikata; Okey Uzoechina; Mohamed Abshir Waldo

Unity needed for drug development

African nations must pool resources to promote local pharmaceutical innovation Page 21

Amazing Ife Art

Production editionperiodicals.co.uk

Sculptures from Ife in Nigeria at the British Museum in London have debunked presumptions about art from Africa  Page 28

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© 2010 African Journals Publishing Company Limited

Contents

Editorial Straight Talk Opinion

4 5 6

Briefing

6

Gender equality Sudan  Nigeria  Ethiopia  African Union

Cover story

Whither Zimbabawe? Majority rule and the development challenge

Features and analaysis

Africa and China  Science and language Drug development Taiwan and cooperation

10

13 18 20 21  22

Business and finance

24

Art

28

Books

30

Zambia expands water use Agricultural research 25 Economic briefing 26 Ife art at the British Museum Justice and politics

www.africanjournalspublishing.com

African Prospects  April 2010  3


EDITORIAL

Tighten maritime security

L

AST YEAR Ghana became one of 12 Commonwealth countries to have been assisted by the Commonwealth Secretariat in London to lodge submissions to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to extend access to additional areas of seabed, potentially by an extra 150 nautical miles. By extending the area of its continental shelf from 200nm to a possible 350nm under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, Ghana would gain exclusive sovereign rights to explore and exploit a wealth of natural resources. Ghana, not the Commission, will set the outer limits of the continental shelf “on the basis of the Commission’s recommendations” which are “final and binding”. “As Ghana joins the list of other coastal countries which have already lodged their submissions, it is pertinent to note that we are witnessing the most significant and peaceful acquisition of territory by states during peace time,” explains Judy Ndaona, Legal Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat, who helped Ghana prepare its submission. According to Article 76 of the Law of the Sea Convention, the continental shelf of a coastal state comprises the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond its territorial sea throughout the natural prolongation of its land territory to the outer edge of the continental margin, or to a distance of 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured where the outer edge of the continental margin does not extend up to that distance. This is indeed a good move by Ghana and the other African Commonwealth island and coastal countries. But the important question that must be asked is this: are these countries fully equipped to protect their maritime resources? Maritime security is a major headache for African countries. And as such, Africa’s unprotected coast has become free for all to exploit – at great loss to the continent. This brings us to the issue of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing fleets that have had been depleting Africa’s fish stocks. Many coastal African countries are hard-pressed when it comes to safeguarding their territorial waters from European – notably Spanish – fishing pirates. Illegal fishing is killing the economies of coastal African countries. A recent estimate by the British government showed that IUU fishing costs these countries $1 billion a year in lost revenues. In West Africa, Spanish fishing fleets are pillaging the coastal waters. Greenpeace, the environmental watchdog, and the Environmental Justice Foundation have documented several

4  African Prospects  April 2010

instances of how Spanish fishing pirate ships are plundering West African coastal waters. These watchdogs say that the Spanish harbour of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands is a major Port of Convenience, providing services to pirate fishing fleets operating off the coast of West Africa, and hosting a number of companies that operate IUU vessels. Las Palmas therefore serves as the soft entry point to the enormous European seafood market, and also as the major transport hub for illegal fish heading for other large seafood markets, such as those in East Asia, Greenpeace and the EFJ point out. All this is being fuelled by European Union fisheries subsidies, almost half of which have gone to Spain, according to research by the Pew Environment Group. This fisheries funding has led to over-fishing in Europe’s waters, forcing the European (mainly Spanish) fishing fleets to raid West Africa’s waters – destroying the livelihoods of local fishermen. Given this situation, is it any wonder that Senegalese fishermen have decided to use their boats to transport illegal immigrants to Spain? If they can’t fish and make a living because Spanish trawlers are taking all the catch away, why not put their vessels to another use? Sure, the people who brave the dangerous seas to get to Europe in rickety boats are economic migrants. But without the illegal activities of Spanish fishing fleets these young men would not have any reason to become economic migrants. In all this, the economic cost to Africa is phenomenal. It is high time, therefore, that African countries and the EU reach agreement that would halt the activities of Spanish poachers in West Africa’s coastal waters. The EU should take responsibility for the disruption of the West African fishing industry. More importantly, African countries should beef up their maritime security and be prepared to open fire on pirate fishing fleets from Europe – just as naval ships from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are shooting at the pirates off the coast of Somalia. There is clearly a need for the international community to help African governments improve maritime security. Indeed, the UN-sanctioned Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia should have its remit extended to the whole of Africa to deal with European fishing pirates. Or else it would begin to look again like it is only Africans who are the pirates – just as it is now appearing that it is only Africans who commit war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide and, therefore, are the only ones who are being taken to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.  n


STRAIGHT TALK

Loan sharks curbed

J

UST BEFORE the UK parliament was dissolved for the May 6 general election, MPs approved a piece of legislation that should have a positive effect on the economies of hard-pressed developing countries. The private member’s Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Act is aimed specifically at operators of so-called vulture funds. These international loan sharks buy up debts of developing countries and then take action in the British courts to enforce payment. They are mainly companies operating offshore, which already throws a shadow over their operations. The debts are bought at huge discounts while the country involved has to repay the full amount. The sickening aspect of this practice is that the vultures don’t act until the country is granted debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. So, instead of the money saved on debt relief going to social services and other much-needed projects, the loan sharks insist on being paid. This legislation will be of great benefit to Liberia, whose government was facing the prospect of forking out $20 million to two vulture funds following a ruling by the High Court in London last November. The loan sharks had bought Liberia’s debt at a fraction of the sum. The case dates back to 1978. Liberia, which is still recovering from a civil war, has said that it does not have the funds to pay back the debt. These loan sharks are getting too predatory for comfort. According to a 2008 World Bank report, 54 lawsuits had been instituted by commercial creditors against 12 HIPCs over the past decade for claims amounting to $1.5 billion. Naturally, these companies did not pay anything near that amount to secure the debt. But the British move would hopefully put a stop to such immoral dealings by companies that are themselves operating clandestinely. The most galling thing is that some of these

It’s good to see that some steps have been taken to curb the dubious activities of offshore companies that take advantage of indebted poor countries, says Desmond Davies

companies are established to pursue one particular debt. And when they are successful, they are wound up. This is a human rights issue, too. And this is the view of Cephas Lumina, the United Nations independent expert on foreign debts. “From a human rights perspective, the settlement of excessive vulture fund claims by poor countries with unsustainable debt levels has a direct negative effect on the capacity of governments of these countries to fulfil their human rights obligations,” said Lumina, noting that “unconscionable profiteering” steals funds which could be better spent on health, water and sanitation, food, housing and education. The UK law will apply to existing debts of the 40 HIPCs which are eligible for relief and will prevent creditors holding these debts from recovering in excess of the rate of relief expected from all creditors under the initiative. It will also provide an incentive for debtors to cooperate in settling these debts on terms consistent with the initiative. This last bit is important because some governments of developing countries take a less than serious attitude to dealing with their debt problem. They think that by sweeping it under the carpet it would go away. Debt-ridden countries in Africa might now want to turn to the UK legislation for respite. But the problem with this is that some of these countries have not dealt with the issue of loans in the right manner. The case of Liberia is understandable. Its problem arose as a result of long years of civil war. In other African countries, there is no such excuse. Take Nigeria, for example. You would have thought that the so-called Giant of Africa would have his debt problem under control. But when former President Olusegun Obasanjo established the Debt Management Office (DMO) in 2001

40 per cent of projects in Nigeria for which money was disbursed never got off the ground

the findings were stunning. The country did not even know how much it owed external creditors. So a reconciliation exercise had to be undertaken to get the figures right. But the most astonishing finding was that 40 per cent of projects for which money was disbursed never got off the ground. This is incredible. A few rogue contractors had pocketed the money for projects without doing the job. And the poor Nigerian taxpayer had to foot the bill. The irresponsible manner in which African countries treat loans is one reason why the loan sharks feel that they can buy up a country’s debt and get away with being paid the full amount owed. There has been no proper accounting and this leads to discrepancies that vulture funds exploit. So how would the UK Bill affect lending to developing countries? Well, according to debt campaigners, it’s difficult to say. The legislation, however, does not affect new loans. So there will still be money available for loans to African and other developing countries. But this time one would hope that these loans are put to proper use and governments are responsible enough to monitor their loan repayments. Having said all this, one must point out here that it is only a tiny proportion of bent international “businesses” that is involved in dubious vulture fund operations. Most commercial creditors already reduce their debts in line with what the HIPC initiative calls for.  n

African Prospects  April 2010  5


OPINION

Agenda for gender justice Although numerous acts, treaties and resolutions have been adopted to enhance the status of women in society and their participation in development, the numerical victories scored to date are not reflected in the realities on the ground, argues Evelyn Ankumah

W

E HAVE seen, throughout Africa, a notable increase in the numbers of women who have risen to positions of governance, whether in parliament, the executive/administration, the judiciary, and other public and governmental bodies as a result of various global initiatives. For example, the post-conflict country of Rwanda boasts almost 50 per cent of women in parliament, the highest in any country worldwide. A woman leads the post-conflict state of Liberia. And Ghana has appointed women to key positions of governance. They include the position of Chief Justice, the position of Speaker of Parliament, and the position of Attorney General and Minister of Justice. Yet, these numerical victories scored to date are not reflected in the realities on the ground. Women continue to be violated, targeted, scorned, and disparaged at all levels of society, and through both crude and sophisticated means, with hardly any redress. One may question if these numerical victories for women are but cosmetic. While not a women-exclusive and gender specific organisation, Africa Legal Aid (AFLA) has had a bias for women and gender in all its activities since its inception. AFLA has focused its activities on marginalised and neglected areas of human rights and international justice. As a result, AFLA seeks to mainstream gender in all its activities. Given that AFLA’s core expertise is not gender, AFLA has seen the need to collaborate with women specific and gender groups who by themselves, or through their networks, share their

experiences and expertise with AFLA as well as learn from AFLA’s expertise on human rights and international justice and gender mainstreaming. As a result, over the years, AFLA has established an extensive network of women and gender groups, advocates and experts. It is through this coperation that AFLA was called upon to spearhead the creation of an Africa Gender Justice Network Forum, as one of the recommendations of the Dakar Gender Justice Forum convened by AFLA in cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)) in March, 2009. AFLA is establishing the Gender Network Forum in cooperation with a core group of organisations and individuals from various disciplines of gender across the geographical regions of Africa, including post-conflict and at risk countries. This core group will be responsible for steering the work of the Africa Gender Network Forum. Among other activities, the Gender Forum will provide targeted legal assistance to women in litigation on gender-based violence through amicus briefs to national, regional or international tribunals; Request for Advisory Opinions from the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights; and take up test cases, either directly or by assisting others in doing so. An interactive gender website is being established under the auspices of ALA to create online participating communities, including the legal fraternity, gender platforms and women and gender advocates and scholars to enable direct communication with the steering committee and networks in a time and cost-efficient manner.

6  African Prospects  April 2010

Women continue to be violated, targeted, scorned, and disparaged at all levels of society, and through both crude and sophis­ ticated means, with hardly any redress

■■ Evelyn Ankumah is Executive Director of Africa Legal Aid. This article is excerpted from a paper she presented at a seminar in Accra commemorating this year’s International Women’s Day.

Participants will have the possibility to create their own africalegalaid.com for access to a web based library search system on gender justice, human rights and international justice. With respect to gender, there are a number of offences that fall through the cracks because they are neither addressed in national legislation or in the statute of the International Criminal Court. And when they are addressed they are not implemented. Gender-based crimes, which are on the rise but do not receive sufficient attention in Africa, and more generally in the South, include gendered violence perpetrated through the media such as the internet. Forced marriage is recognised as a crime on paper but the gendered aspect of this crime is ignored. Contemporary forms of slavery are outlawed on paper but not seriously pursued and the gendered aspect is ignored. There is a need to define sexual violence and adopt a holistic approach to combating violence against women in all its forms. The policies formulated and adopted by the Gender Network Forum can enhance the work of the Crimes against Humanity Initiative. It will fill the gaps in protecting women from gendered violence. As well, it will be used for advocacy and lobbying initiatives before judiciaries and quasijudicial organs, legislative bodies, in Africa and elsewhere. I would like to conclude with a quote I read recently in a women’s magazine: “Women and power: is there a more incendiary combination of words in the English Language? Drinking and driving? Teenagers and sex? A woman can never be too rich or too thin, but…she could be too powerful, for which – if she wasn’t smart enough to camouflage herself – she generally paid the price. Sometimes she got burned at the stake. Sometimes she got run out of town. Sometimes she simply got sexualised, which has been the easiest way to neutralise, if not destroy an accomplished woman.” n


New One-Week Programme on Governance and Leadership in Africa at SOAS, University of London The School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) is launching a new one week programme Governance and Leadership in Africa which will run at the main SOAS campus in Bloomsbury in central London from 13to 17 September 2010. The programme will provide an excellent opportunity for managers from government departments and NGOs based in Africa or working on Africa-related issues to focus on and discuss topical issues affecting the African continent. Sessions will draw from the unrivalled expertise at SOAS as well as renowned academics from other institutions, providing two sessions each morning followed by a practical, interactive workshop each afternoon. Topics will include the following: †† Contemporary challenges of governance and leadership †† Law and governance †† Corruption and anti-corruption strategies †† Conflict resolution and the role of government †† Africa’s relations with China and India †† Civil society and governance †† Gender issues The course will be convened by Dr Emilia Onyema from SOAS and administered by the Research and Enterprise Office which incorporates the Centre of African Studies. For further details of the programme, fees and information on how to enrol on the programme please visit www.soas.ac.uk/gla or email louiseroberts@soas.ac.uk or call +44 20 7898 4837


BRIEFING

AU, ICC poles apart over Sudan

A

FRICA LEGAL Aid, an NGO organising a conference this month in The Hague to discuss the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, has had to change its programme quite a few times since the idea of the gathering was first mooted some months ago. This is because the two main bodies that are concerned – the African Union (AU) and the ICC – do not appear to want to be in the same room. Initially, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo and Dolly Joiner, the AU’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, were billed to share a platform to discuss whether Africa was a participant in international justice or a target. Joiner was to present the AU’s position and Moreno Ocampo was one of two discussants of the paper. But African Prospects has learned that Moreno Ocampo and Joiner refused to be on the same platform. The final programme, which is considerably different from the original one,

The African Union and the ICC do not appear to want to be together in the same room

does not show any representative from the AU and Moreno Ocampo is now to present a keynote address. It is obvious that the AU is boycotting the conference. But is the AU against the ICC or against Moreno Ocampo? First of all, going by the theme of the conference – The Al-Bashir Arrest Warrant: The World vs Africa or the African Union vs the People of Africa – it is expected that the conference will be a controversial one. AFLA, with offices in Accra, The Hague and Pretoria, has continued to ask awkward questions with regard to international justice and Africa. The arrest warrant for al-Bashir has caused relations between the AU and ICC to break down. Does this signal Africa’s opposition to the ICC? Well, senior officials at the AU say they do not have a problem with the ICC as such. “Moreno Ocampo is the problem,” one senior official told African Prospects without explaining why. But it is obvious that Moreno Ocampo’s aggressive style in pursuing those he feels should face trial

for serious crimes has put off some member countries of the AU and its staff in Addis Ababa. Naturally, pursuing an African head of state could well have sent shivers down the spine of other leaders in the continent whose human rights records are not that clean. On the other hand, many in Africa are not happy with the manner in which the ICC has focused on the continent and neglected other regions of the world that have even more serious incidents of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. African critics of the ICC or Moreno Ocampo, to a certain extent, are right. Why would the ICC want to open a liaison office in Addis Ababa? The ICC argues that this is for continuous engagement with the AU and Africa as a whole. However a recent mission of the ICC Registrar Silvana Arbia to Addis Ababa to meet with the AU and the Ethiopian government for the establishment of the liaison office was unsuccessful. Right now it is clear that the AU and ICC are poles apart. n

Babangida eyes Nigeria presidency

N

IGERIA’S FORMER m i l i t a r y l e a d e r, ex-General Ibrahim Babangida, has declared his intention to secure the presidential candidacy of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for next year’s election. He tried in 2007 but withdrew his candidacy because the Nigerian public, which likes and loathes Babangida in equal measure, were not ready for his return. But since the protracted illness of President Musa Yar’Adua threw a spanner in the works of the presidency, Babangida has seen an opening for manoeuvre. Babangida, who took power in 1985 in a bloodless coup, was forced to step down in 1993 when he annulled elections generally considered to be fair. Nigerians are divided over Babangida’s attempt to become

president. Some say that he represents the worst aspects of Nigerian life. They argue that large-scale corruption that the country is witnessing today started under his regime. Those opposed to Babangida say what Nigeria needs now is hope and he would destroy any chance of this blossoming. “Let’s not wallow in despair and hyperbole,” one contributor to the many Nigeria internet discussion groups noted. “The return of Babangida will not break Nigeria into pieces. I wish it would though, you know, create two states, one Nigeria, and the other an evil barren forest where all [those who have mis-ruled Nigeria] will languish in their own waste.” The debate is really hotting up “All this hyperventilation is amusing,” noted another contributor. His argument is that for the last 10 years Nigeria, under civilian presidents, has

8  African Prospects  April 2010

The Nigerian public likes and loathes Babangida in equal measure

witnessed more corruption and political chicanery than under Babangida’s military regime. “Babangida is the least of our problems. He will run and he will win, because, as the PDP once told my mama: ‘Please don’t bother voting, you have already voted’.” Many Nigerians acknowledge that the country has a credibility problem because of corrupt leadership. Even pro-democracy activists are not spared. They are up in arms against Babangida’s presidential plans. But they themselves have not enhanced their reputations over the past 10 years because some have become less critical of the politicians who have cajoled their critics into keeping quiet about a political system that is still flawed. “Anybody has to be better than the leaders that have ruined Nigeria this past decade,” one contributor opined. n


‘Man-made disaster’ in Ethiopia

I

NTERNATIONAL non-governmental organisations are calling for the halt of the Gibe 3 Dam on Ethiopia’s Omo River. They say it threatens the land and livelihoods of 500,000 tribal people in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. By ending the river’s natural flood cycle, it will destroy harvests and grazing lands along the river and fisheries in Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake, they argue. They claim the dam will devastate the unique culture and ecosystems of the Lower Omo Valley and Lake Turkana, both recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. “The dam violates Ethiopia’s constitution, international conventions, the environmental safeguard policies of international financial institutions and the strategic priorities of the independent World Commission on Dams,” the NGOs said in a statement. “Most of the affected people know very little about the project.

The Ethiopian government is harshly clamping down on dissent, and affected people are not able to express their views or get independent information about the project.” Construction began in 2006, but the Ethiopian government needs more than $1.4 billion to finish it. The African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank, the Italian and the Kenyan governments are currently considering funding the project. “Gibe 3 is the most destructive dam under construction in Africa. The project will condemn half a million of the region’s most vulnerable people to hunger and conflict,” said Terri Hathaway, director of International Rivers’ Africa Programme. The Counter Balance coalition, the Campaign for the Reform of the World Bank, Friends of Lake Turkana, International Rivers and Survival International ask the global community to join the campaign to stop the Gibe 3 Dam.

The dam violates Ethiopia’s constit­ ution, inter­ na­tional conven­ tions and environ­ mental safeguards

They have launched an online petition which calls on the Ethiopian government to halt construction and asks development banks and governments not to provide any funding for the project. International Rivers, CRBM, Friends of the Lake Turkana and the Counter Balance coalition call on international civil society and concerned people around the world to sign the petition. “While efforts are being made both locally and internationally to end conflict within the region, it is a pity that development banks would even consider undertaking a project that would shutter all efforts that have been made to bring these communities together,” said Ikal Angelei from Friends of the Lake Turkana. “They have created a sense of suspicion which is going to not only end the communication and sense of partnerships among these pastoralist communities but create a regional war. Where is the development in that?”n

Development Community (SADC). Swaziland has also been an active member of the Peace and Security Council of the AU, taking the initiative to convene the Ezulwini Retreat of the AU Peace and Security Council, which adopted a framework aimed at enhancing the capacity of the AU to deal with the scourge of unconstitutional changes of governments in Africa. Swaziland also contributed to the search for a consensual solution to the crisis in Madagascar during its tenure as chair of the SADC organ on defence, politics and security co-operation. This month, the AU Commission and Swaziland marked another milestone in the Year of Peace and Security with a double celebration held at the King’s royal residence in Ebuhleni. King Mswati III and the people of Swaziland used the occasion of the King’s birthday to underscore the importance of peace and security by lighting a flame of peace.

King Mswati noted: “Regional peace and security has been a cornerstone of the foreign policy of the Kingdom of Swaziland. It is therefore not by accident that the Kingdom of Swaziland is one of the first AU member states to mark the African Year of Peace and Security.” AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping said: “The Year of Peace and Security signifies an unprecedented opportunity to review current efforts to peace-building on the continent, with a view to strengthening them and, where appropriate, launching new initiatives. “The primary point of this effort is to show that peace is attainable in Africa and that peace saves lives. We aim to put peace in practice, through a collective cooperative moment of unity on Peace Day. The aim is to demystify peace-building, and to portray it as the responsibility of all of us – every African citizen.” n

Africa’s year of peace and opportunity

W

HEN AFRICAN leaders met at the African Union summit in Tripoli in last August, they declared that 2010 will be the Year of Peace and Security on the continent. It was about time that the continent’s leaders took a more proactive stance on ending the insecurity that seems to beset certain parts of Africa. The convening of this special session on peace and security in Africa and the decisions taken, including the adoption of a plan of action, bore testimony to African leaders’ renewed determination to promote lasting peace, security and stability on the continent. They agreed that without these, the vision of the political and economic integration and development of Africa will not materialise. Swaziland has been actively engaged in efforts towards peace and security in the Southern Africa

It was about time that the conti­ nent’s lead­ ers took a more proac­ tive stance on ending insecurity in Africa

African Prospects  April 2010  9


COVER STORY Post-independence politics in Zimbabwe provide a vivid example of the difficulties in stabilising and consolidating an independent polity forged in the crucible of deeply rooted racial oppression, violent confrontation and the attainment of independence through a national war of liberation, argues Stefan Andreasson

B

ECAUSE IT is difficult to analyse Zimbabwe’s trajectory without becoming overwhelmed by all the things that have gone wrong, commentaries on the contemporary crisis have a difficult task in terms of articulating ways in which the country could potentially overcome its debilitating legacy and catastrophic present to instead embark on a new era of politics geared towards well being rather than the retention of political power at any cost. The sense of desperation when considering the immense suffering and traumatisation of the Zimbabwean people, the lasting damage done to the national economy (most obviously to agriculture and to business more generally, where hyperinflation has rendered normal economic activity impossible) and the deep divisions and mistrusts, even hatreds, created by decades of misrule has meant that most analyses of politics and development in contemporary Zimbabwe have concentrated on how to end the crisis, halt the destruction and somehow get the country ‘back on track’. What is generally envisioned is a situation where state violence is stopped, economic activity can begin to recover, however modestly, economic and other aid can resume and opposing political parties (ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change) can begin to interact within the normal bounds of democratic politics. On September 15, 2008, the day Zimbabwe’s power-sharing agreement between ZANU-PF and the MDC was announced, Dominique Straus-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, released the following

11Robert Mugabe (left) and

Morgan Tsvangirai: is powersharing model likely to entrench forces of oppression and perpetuate a sense of injustice?

30 years on – whither Zimbabwe?

generic statement, illustrative of the general Western response – emphasising the need to “address the crisis” but saying little, if anything, about how to do so. “Today’s power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe paves the way for a new government that can begin to address the economic crisis. We stand ready to discuss with the new authorities their policies to stabilise the economy, improve the social conditions, and reduce power. I encourage the government to take steps to show clear commitment to a new policy direction and to seek the support of the international community,” Strauss-Kahn said. A 2008 discussion document entitled Comprehensive Economic Recovery in Zimbabwe, commissioned by the UN Development Programme and produced by economists, planners and consultants in Zimbabwe, focuses on how to achieve sustainable growth and effectively manage economic aid as a means to recover from the current crisis. The paper said: “One common thread which runs throughout the document is that of the imperative of restoring macroeconomic stability as a pre-condition for recovery. Specific

10  African Prospects  April 2010

The problem here is that there is no real era of normality to which Zimbab­ weans and their leaders can look back

measures that flow from this include profound changes to current patterns of both monetary and fiscal management in order to correct widespread distortions which have acted as impediments to savings, investment and production.” Statements like these by international financial institutions and Western governments alike are indicative of a traditional form of problem-solving (policy) process at work which does not explicitly address many underlying (and, in the strict sense, non-economic) problems relating to Zimbabwe’s disintegration, ranging from ethno-cultural roots of patronage politics to the ongoing exercise of state violence and indeed the very historical and socio-cultural roots of the Zimbabwean state itself, as well as the inability of major parties in this conflict to address concerns beyond those relating to the immediate distribution of political power. If the Western reaction might seem bland, the African reaction seems hurried indeed. The seeming eagerness with which other African leaders wish to ‘conclude’ the current crisis and ‘move on’, with Mugabe left in a position of considerable power despite the crisis that his government has created, suggests that what is primarily sought here is an end to the regional volatility, inter-African acrimony and bad international press created by the Zimbabwean crisis rather than a genuine alleviation of the Zimbabwean people’s plight and a reinstitution of proper accountability in Zimbabwean government – the latter arguably being impossible to achieve within the context of the ZANUMDC power-sharing deal as currently envisioned.


77Land lying

IRIN

In a rather remarkable rush to put the Zimbabwean atrocities behind them, African leaders quickly called for sanctions against President Mugabe and leading ZANU-PF officials to be lifted. South Africa’s then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nkosazana DlaminiZuma, notably joined in this demand while addressing a Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers meeting in Cape Town on February 26, 2009, stating: “It is our view that the formation of an inclusive government has indeed paved the way for the people of Zimbabwe to begin the process of national reconciliation, economic recovery and reconstruction and development.” The conclusion of the power-sharing deal to form a unity government that was agreed on by the Zimbabwean government and the MDC opposition in September 2008 saw Morgan Tsvangirai sworn in as prime minister on February 14, 2009 with Mugabe remaining president and with ZANU retaining a slim majority of Cabinet posts (including, crucially, defence, justice and land portfolios, with home affairs shared by ZANU-PF and the MDC) despite failing to secure a majority of votes in the 2008 parliamentary elections. There are of course necessary steps to any kind of recovery and easing of suffering, which would include the lifting of sanctions at an appropriate time. But it is also worthwhile to consider what happens after the crisis. Is it really feasible to think that a return to party politics as usual, even if that can be accomplished, will resolve the enormous economic and social problems the country is currently facing? The problem here is that there is no real era of normality to which Zimbabweans and their leaders can look back. The 1990s were beset with fundamental problems of corruption and mismanagement in an environment of one-party domination. The 1980s were, despite some success with development, a violent and increasingly oppressive decade, moving the country towards an ever harsher domination by the ruling party. It remains to be seen what lessons can be re-learned from the Rhodesian UDI era, but a time when the large majority of Zimbabweans lacked democratic rights can hardly be the source from which ideas about how to begin anew can be drawn. If solutions are to be found it is perhaps to Zimbabwe’s, by regional standards, unique collapse that one

must look. Considering again the notion of cathartic violence, it is in this facet of Zimbabwe’s crisis that an opening up of new space for articulating political solutions and approaches to development that depart from orthodox solutions might emerge. If the currently envisioned powersharing model is likely to entrench forces of oppression and perpetuate a sense of injustice, as those presiding over the brutalisation of Zimbabweans remain in government; and if a standard package of economic aid combined with some market-oriented economic reform might do little for those struggling to cope with immediate everyday needs – such as escaping AIDS, surviving cholera and overcoming starvation – then there might in this context of crisis and despair be found an appetite among those self-styled progressive forces in the country, whether in civil society, the academy or political leadership, to consider localised, bottom-up and genuinely inclusive approaches to meeting urgent needs. This would constitute a genuinely indigenous path towards healing and development (however defined) as opposed to the exclusivist policies of indigenisation pursued so far by ZANUPF. Such an approach could be facilitated by re-orienting national politics and economics away from servicing government and its cronies by means of predatory policies and instead towards policies aiming at societal cohesion and thus an easing of the violent fragmentation of social, political and economic life that has rendered development impossible. In this way, more people would be able to cope in a situation where a substantial alleviation of poverty is realistically a long time off. The current crisis might, in other words, focus minds in a

fallow: agriculture has suffered as a result of political instability

The point at which Zimbabwe has ­arrived suggests that trans­ formation would have to be bottom-up

way so that the thinking ‘beyond development’ as envisioned by post-development theory seems less implausible. The difficulty, as is recognised with all interesting and innovative postdevelopment ideas more or less irrespective of their particular merit, is how to translate such thinking beyond development into action and policy, or simply into changed (societal) behaviour where government policy is not the main focus and perhaps not directly relevant, in terms of what forces will eventually drive these changes. While it is true that a resilient civil society, which is the most likely catalyst for any radical re-thinking of development, survives in Zimbabwe despite government efforts to eradicate it – and with the exception of violent social formations such as the ‘Green Bombers’, enforcing discipline and adherence to government policy in rural areas, which have been encouraged to aid government in its suppression of opposition – there is clearly every possibility that the enormity of the current crisis makes those looking for a now different way out become risk-averse rather then bold. If that is the case, they will therefore concentrate on how to get back to ‘normality’ with the help of orthodox solutions rather than embrace new and likely unproven ideas. As with so many issues that need resolving in Zimbabwe today it is much too soon to tell, in the middle of such a volatile situation, just how the attitudes to change and a future Zimbabwe will align in an immediate post-crisis environment. In the end, however, the point at which Zimbabwe has arrived suggests that transformation would have to be bottom-up; there has been too much damage done by the state for it to remain a viable driver of any move beyond the

African Prospects  April 2010  11


COVER STORY contemporary development orthodoxy. It will therefore rest on Zimbabwe’s civil society to act as catalyst, perhaps in co-operation with international actors such as regional governments, NGOs and other civil society bodies and, at a later stage, perhaps also in cautious co-ordination with a future ruling MDC, if progressive forces within that party emerge dominant and ZANU-PF loses its current ability within the confines of the power-sharing deal to stall meaningful reform. The social movements, which during the 1990s put pressure on ZANU-PF and resulted in the creation of the MDC, were eventually discouraged by the MDC’s subsequent adoption of ‘neoliberal policies’, which consequently saw the party’s urban support base partly ‘demobilised’. ZANU-PF has in recent years also been effective in turning its own version of social movements against the opposition, as witnessed by its politicising of the rural poor and radicalising of the war veterans. Whatever shape such alliances take, they would have to be innovative in a societal vacuum of sorts that the enormity of the current crisis has brought about; there would be no easy way for those working for change to rely on appeals to popular tradition in the same way as in neighbouring Botswana. The rupture caused by the current crisis and the steady corrosion of society produced by three decades of ZANU-PF misrule have rendered such foundations for change all too thin. While this suggests that prospects for change are bleak, it is nevertheless in the emerging post-crisis interregnum that any change of course will be possible. Zimbabwe’s current stand-off between ZANU-PF and the MDC,

which continues seemingly unabated into the nascent power-sharing era, is mirrored in civil society more broadly by the continued conflict between the generally reactionary force of ‘agrarian patriots’ supporting ZANU-PF’s draconian redistribution policies and violent opposition of political dissent and the generally progressive force of ‘critical cosmopolitans’ supporting the MDC and an agenda for a democratic Zimbabwe. How the power struggle between these overlapping political and societal forces is eventually resolved will determine Zimbabwe’s future in at least the medium term. The problem, however, is not that these two socio-political groupings, or forces, represent different visions of how to extract Zimbabwe from the current crisis and what the aspirations for a developing Zimbabwe should be. Neither the so-called agrarian patriots nor the critical cosmopolitans seem willing to deviate from well-worn notions of how to reclaim and strengthen sovereignty (most important for the former) and how to promote development (more clearly articulated by the latter). Agrarian patriots seem intent on regaining a domestic consensus for a politics of re-distribution, ‘anti-imperial’ posturing and political centralisation once the MDC opposition has been neutralised by being brought into government, yet left without the ability to act decisively on its own agenda. Thus they represent a return to politics as usual that is not in ay sense emancipatory, developmental or democratic. Critical cosmopolitans wish to re-engage with the global economy, to promote good governance and thereby restore economic productivity so that standard development

Whatever shape such alliances take, they would have to be innovative in a societal vacuum of sorts that the enormity of the current crisis has brought about

IRIN

11Trying to make ends meet in Harare: hard-pressed ‘cosmopolitans’ provide critical support for the MDC

12  African Prospects  April 2010

policies, including aid and domestic reforms aiming to improve capacity across sectors and activities, can be effectively implemented. They recognise that Zimbabwe’s deep crisis requires drastic action and even difficult compromises with those responsible for past misdeeds. But their aim is essentially an embrace of ‘normalcy,’ which, if successful, might enable Zimbabwe to join the club of other relatively stable and nominally democratic developing nations, but which will not improve the likelihood that Zimbabwe will escape underdevelopment and marginalisation any more than has been the case for other African countries that have achieved success in that regard. At some point, both of these tendencies must be tempered and an effective way of bridging this urbanrural ‘divide’ must be found as a ruralurban society alliance of some kind would be best positioned to sustain pressure for transformation. If these are Zimbabwe’s only options, then the notion of moving beyond development to chart a truly novel path towards a sustainable future seems far-fetched indeed. The existence of the current interregnum, however, holds at least the possibility if a departure from both of these two scenarios. In the end it is this moment of fluidity, this transitional moment where civil society most obviously becomes “political society”, which those who reject a return to business as usual and an embrace of a development orthodoxy that has so far produced very little of the sort that can find an opportunity to build public support for new ideas and to channel these ideas into decision making power. A transition from authoritarianism is not in itself a guarantee of improvements in life chances for those previously oppressed. A political and economic transition must be accompanied by a re-alignment of social forces to support a paradigm shift in the thinking about development, together with concrete changes in policy, if emancipatory goals are to be attained. Where such paradigm shift seems elusive the future of development remains uncertain. ■■ Stefan Andreasson is lecturer in comparative politics at Queen’s University Belfast. The above is extracted from his book, Africa’s Development Impasse: Rethinking the Political Economy of Transformation, published by Zed, London. £70.00 hardback; £18.99 paperback


Majority rule and the development challenge 11A historic moment: Robert Mugabe appends his signature to the Zimbabwe independence document

Ntando Ncube looks at the liberation struggle and how this has shaped an independent Zimbabwe

O

N APRIL 16, 1980 ZANU-PF, PF-ZAPU an d t h e R h o d e s i an Front formed a coalition government. This was the end of the protracted struggle of the sons and daughters of Zimbabwe to topple the colonial government and establish a new democratic dispensation, which gave the voting franchise for the first time in the history of the country to all adults above the age of 18 years. When ZANU-PF and PF-ZAPU carried out their military operations, it was with a single vision: that they will conquer the colonial regime regardless of the timeframe. So they created two parallel structures: the military wing and that of intellectuals who had studied abroad on foreign scholarships

Govern­ ment meant grouping ­academics in the Diaspora to run the state machinery

to acquire the necessary academic credentials and technocratic skills that would be required for running an efficient government. The establishment of the first democratic national government meant grouping all the academics in the Diaspora to run the state machinery. Apart from a few academics that formed the top hierarchy of the military structure, the majority of the technocrats had no military background whatsoever. The first challenge of the new democratic government was to harmonise the two major tribes, the Shonas and the Ndebeles, who historically remained hostile to each other. In fact the one-man, one-vote franchise, apart from marginalising the white minority, also placed the Ndebeles

African Prospects  April 2010  13


COVER STORY

at a numerical disadvantage owing to their smaller population in relation to the Shonas who form almost 75 per cent of the black population of Zimbabwe. In analysing their political position in the new government Ndebeles became unsettled. The PF-ZAPU military wing concluded that its war efforts were not going to benefit Ndebeles, as they controlled less than 25 per cent of parliamentary constituencies. To them this meant they made sacrifices to benefit the Shonas. On the other hand, ZANU-PF regarded the revolt of a bunch of ex-Zipra cadres as an act of treason. The tense political environment meant that Zimbabwe was faced with a new war by disgruntled ex-Zipra military cadres, which had the potential of becoming a full-scale crisis and derailing economic development. This was the reason for the ZANU-PF-led gukurahundi, the massacres carried out by the Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland in the mid-1980s. History has shown that groups that successfully organised military resistance to colonial governments and formed governments do not let go of power quite easily. If there is going to be any power transfer it has to be done under the terms of the revolutionary government.

11Hanging on:

Robert Mugabe in fine form at a political rally, the hallmark of his presidency

The PFZAPU military wing concluded its war efforts were not going to benefit Ndebeles

14  African Prospects  April 2010

Mugabe has contrived to hang on to power because of the ex-combatants who appointed him while in exile to head both ZANU and ZANLA forces and it is them who will tell him when to quit. The ZANU-PF government was and will never be a pure civilian government because it was founded on military prowess that shaped it. This is the crux of the current political crisis in Zimbabwe: the growing divide between the rural people and the educated urbanites. The Zimbabwean liberation movements mobilised rural peasants to assume ownership of the liberation struggle spiritually and physically. Cadres were able to use culture as a mobilising tool. Communities relived their cultural practices of traditional rituals and ceremonies to reconnect to war spirits with songs, drumming and dances that made people aware of who they were and how the oppressive colonial policies deprived black people of economic development. Rural Zimbabweans in particular reclaimed their religion, which has all the concepts of human consciousness that resonates with their history and economic circumstances. Cadres had to open new battle zones by first engaging local people through unique self- reflection platforms and

then explain the reasons why fighting the colonial regime was the only option. War administrative structures were created to coordinate the engagement processes and spirit mediums inspired the fighters to outwit the enemy. It was not a war determined by superior firepower or military prowess. It was the will of the peasants driven by a collective vision of destroying the colonial machinery and to be free to control their political and economic destiny. But when the intellectuals took over Zimbabwe’s revolution the impetus of the peasants was derailed. The momentum that had destroyed the colonial regime stopped with the entry of the intellectuals. Combatants were gathered in military camps for a ceasefire while the intellectuals from the Diaspora were recalled to fill vacancies in the administrative and business sectors. Suddenly all political activities were transferred from the rural peasantry to urban areas. The rural peasantry was abandoned together with the combatants and cultural values were discouraged so that reconciliation could take place. Military psychology had to be put aside. It had no place in the new dispensation. It became clear that the intellectuals’ objectives of fighting the colonial regime


were different from the objectives of the peasants and cadres. The intellectuals were driven to take up arms owing to their failure to establish themselves on the job market in the colonial era, which operated on a racial basis. It was the first task that they addressed on establishing a new government: a thorough review of labour laws. The only time intellectuals think of ordinary Zimbabweans is when they want people’s votes. ZANU-PF enjoyed massive support for more than 20 years yet it failed to lead communities to economic development. It should be understood that the failure of the intellectuals has not been intentional or deliberate but due to ignorance and lack of capacity to think outside the box. Zimbabwean intellectuals seem to have developed a syndrome of casting blame on others for their failure. In the case of Zimbabwe the enemy is Britain and its Western allies that have allegedly sponsored opposition to topple the ZANU-PF government, which says the former colonial power wants to come back to re-colonise Zimbabwe through the back door. The MDC, though, lacks the political depth and ideological character to lead Zimbabwe. The party does not believe in solving Zimbabwe’s economic problems

with domestic resources but through international financial intervention. Unless the MDC engages with the revolutionary leaders, its current approach of direct confrontation with former guerrilla fighters is futile and dangerous. It is not that the ZANU-PF leadership wants to hold on to power forever. It is more to do with the ideological differences between the MDC and ZANU-PF. It is not an issue of Mugabe’s personal ego or his apparent wish to impose himself on Zimbabweans, it is about the values that drove people to fight the colonial regime. It is true that some key former top liberation cadres have benefited financially from Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown, but nobody knows how to flush out these undesirable elements to pave the way for internal transformation of ZANU-PF. The economic and political crisis has to some extent dried up financial sponsorship and with the opposition now part of the government it has become somewhat difficult to take advantage of whatever state resources to fund party activities. In spite of the incompatibility of political ideologies of Zimbabwe’s main political parties the reality is that the mindset of Zimbabwean intellectuals

11ZANU-PF

supporters: the grass roots will decide when the party should relinquish power

The excombat­ ants ­appointed Mugabe to head both ZANU and ZANLA forces and it is they who will tell him when to quit

cannot lead the nation to great heights of economic development, regardless of a political leadership change. It is also not practical contemplating that ZANU-PF will hand over power through the ballot box, regardless of whoever observes the voting processes. ZANU-PF was taken by surprise by the MDC in the constitution referendum which the opposition won. The constitution re-writing exercise was championed by the Constitution Assembly, which appointed Morgan Tsvangirai as its head. The surprising thing was that it received massive financial support from both international donors and white Zimbabweans and businesses. It was the first time since independence that whites had become so active in Zimbabwean politics. It became apparent that the idea of forming an opposition political party was a strategy mooted by whites. Immediately after the referendum results the new political party was launched as the Movement for Democratic Change, appointing Tsvangirai as its president. Judging from the support the ‘No’ vote received at the referendum it was obvious to ZANU-PF that it had a very powerful opposition party to contend with. ZANU-PF had no a campaign

African Prospects  April 2010  15


COVER STORY

agenda, as people no longer trusted its electoral promises hence the only option was to lure rural voters through land reform. The British Labour government of Prime Minister Tony Blair gave Mugabe the opportunity to act when it reneged on promises made in the Lancaster House independence agreement to compensate white farmers whose land

was taken over by the Zimbabwean government. ZANU-PF thrives on such confrontations and it was very easy for the government to go ahead and grab farms from white farmers without compensation. The land reforms coincided with severe droughts otherwise peasants have the capacity to produce surplus food for the nation, according to the government.

IRIN

16  African Prospects  April 2010

11Under the

cosh: police at MDC rally in 2008

55Enjoying the

trappings of power: the MDC’s Secretary General Tendai Biti

Since the coalition between the MDC and ZANU-PF, the political pressure on the latter and Mugabe has somehow lessened. The shops are full with a wide variety of goods. The multiple currency system in use has reduced hyperinflation but serious industrial production appears to be a long-term reality. ZANU-PF needs time to work out strategies in coalescing with the MDC. After all, once elections are called, ZANU-PF will try to regain full control of power. The advantage that ZANU-PF has over MDC is that the former is a well-structured party, but the MDC is learning fast. At times, though, it appears over-zealous, as its members enjoy now the trappings of power, and in this it plays into the hands of ZANU-PF. The future of Zimbabwe rests on ZANU-PF undergoing a comprehensive internal transformation that would result in a change of ideology. Also, there is no denying that the MDC is here to stay and being an effective and powerful opposition. But it too has to undergo a degree of self-reflection in order for it to be able be more welcomes by the majority of Zimbabweans so that it could eventually outwit ZANU-PF. n


C A L L

F O R

P A P E R S

Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion

RISC 2010 conference on ‘Development, Poverty and Global Crises: Reinforcing Governance’ Luxembourg: November 11-13, 2010

Organizers: IPSE Research Unit, University of Luxembourg (UNILU) and Centre for Population, Poverty and Public Policy Studies (CEPS/INSTEAD), Luxembourg Conference Synopsis Throughout the world, the failure of development policies at the local, national, regional and global levels are all tied to weaknesses related to governance. The global economic crisis of 2008-2009 highlighted this fact as global leaders publicly declared the need for new forms of governance and economic regulation. Similar calls for change have recently come in the fields of climate change, food security and human rights. Governance challenges related to development include: 1) political factors such as various forms of corruption, a lack of governmental transparency, weak rule of law, etc., 2) social challenges, in terms of weak social capital, a lack of citizen participation in policy-making processes, etc., 3) economic difficulties which are manifested in terms of unemployment, large informal economies, increasing socio-economic marginalisation, etc. Of course, these different arenas are inter-related and these relationships are the points of discussion that have arisen because of the recent economic crisis. This proposed conference examines poverty and development within the framework of recent global crises and governance. There will be two keynote panels, with pre-selected central presentations, that would address: 1) Economic Crisis, Poverty and Social Cohesion: Cross-Regional Perspectives and 2) Fragility and Development in 2010: Governance Successes and Shortcomings. Also, there will be open panels (see below) organized by RISC’s working groups in association with the conference organizers. They will examine topics related to the general conference theme in the following areas: 1) the Management of Strategic Resources, Environment and Society, 2) Comparative Border Politics, 3) Civil Society, Vulnerable Populations and Public Health, 4) Risk and Disasters, 5) Urban Violence and Citizen Security and 6) the Quality of Democracy. The RISC Consortium welcomes paper proposals for the following panels. Proposals, consisting of a title and an abstract of no more than 250 words should be sent directly to the panel coordinator by e-mail (see addresses listed below) before June 20, 2010. Notification of accepted papers will be sent in mid-July. The conference will include presentations made in English, Spanish and French with simultaneous translation. The RISC Consortium pays for hotel for all speakers (one per paper) during the conference as well as most of the meals during the meeting. International travel is the responsibility of conference participants or their home institutions. Unfortunately, the RISC Consortium does not have travel grants for this conference. General inquiries should be sent to: risc2010conference@uni.lu

African Prospects  April 2010  17


FEATURES AND ANALYSIS

Time for a re‑think T HE PARTNERSHIP between China and Africa has greatly evolved over the years, driven by an aggressive effort by China to find new markets for its goods and acquire natural resources to meet its domestic energy needs. The Year 2006 was declared the “Year of Africa” by Beijing and Chinese leaders have vigorously travelled the continent, courting African leaders for economic partnerships and creating what many have described as the Great Chinese Take Away. The Sino-African partnership, despite its many promises, has not been fully constructive. To address that, a closer look must be taken at how the partnership began, key strategic drivers behind the relationship, and the ongoing tensions that pose a threat to the partnership. China has always had an interest in Africa. In the 1960s and 1970s Beijing focused on advancing ideological solidarity with an aim to entrenching Chinese-style communism and minimising Western imperialism in Africa. China also turned to Africa for balance during the Cold War and during tensed China-Soviet Union relations. Political expediency and ideological motivations were the basis for many of China’s aid to Africa in the 1970s. One of such gifts was the $455 million Tanzania-Zambia railway project – a hugely significant gift at the time – that engaged 25,000 Chinese workers and saw completion in 1976. The events of Tiananmen Square also firmed up China’s relations with Africa. As the West turned away from China, most African countries did not and that led to the fostering of relations based on respect and non-interference. This relationship has since evolved over the years, primarily due to China’s transition from being an energy exporter to an energy importer in 1993. SinoAfrican relations are now driven by economic factors that the West had traditionally pursued with little regard to Africa’s development. China’s rapid double-digit economic

African countries should now be looking to safeguarding their interests and building a more constructive economic relationship with China, argues Yona Maro

expansion has now created a need for massive amounts of energy, making China the second largest oil consumer after the US. This growing demand for oil has led Beijing to pursue hydrocarbon sources in Africa. Chinese investments, combined with high level visits and a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of African nations has bought China favour with many African countries. One of such countries is Sudan, which supplies China with 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day. By advocating a policy of non-interference in Sudan’s domestic affairs, China has been able to get away with supporting Sudan’s discredited government and blocking UN Security Council sanctions against the regime in the wake of the killings of over 200,000 people in the ongoing conflict in the western Sudanese region of Darfur. This demonstrates China’s capacity to do whatever it takes to preserve its energy sources and economic interests, especially since Sudan remains China’s largest overseas oil project, as moves by the state owned Chinese oil firm, CNOOC, to acquire a sixth of Nigeria’s oil reserves for $50 billion recently failed. While countries like Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria and Angola continue to offer crude oil supplies to China, Beijing’s search for natural resources in Africa goes well beyond oil. Mozambique is a major source of timber, Zambia provides copper and Congo an array of minerals.

18  African Prospects  April 2010

Given China’s investment of billions of dollars in engineering and construction resources in oil, gas and mineral infrastructure in Africa, it is clear that Beijing is determined to compete with other Western nations in consolidating the security of its long-term strategic energy supplies in Africa. In a d d it i on t o n atu r a l resources, China has also found a lucrative weapons market in Africa. This is due to the rate of armed conflicts and civil wars in many African nations. African governments and rebel groups have invested heavily in Chinese weapons and military equipment which would otherwise be hard to obtain from Western nations that have imposed embargoes and restrictions on the sale of weapons to rogue regimes. One of such cases was the sale of $200 million worth of fighter aircrafts and military vehicles to Zimbabwe, despite US and EU arms embargo on the Mugabe administration. China is also reported to have been Sudan’s largest supplier of arms, including Chinesemade tanks, bombers, machine guns, helicopters and rocket propelled grenades. These same weapons that were sold to the Sudanese government were also used in Darfur, as governmentbacked Arab militias cleansed African tribes off their land. While China may realise huge profits from weapons sales to Africa, Beijing’s motiv­ations are not entirely economic.

55Chinese

shopkeeper in Africa: competition for local merchants


China also invests in building co-operative military relationships by offering military training and technical assistance to various African nations. This is with the aim of gaining support in the UN for its political goals. Such goal s include preventing Taiwanese independence and diverting the attention of the UN from China’s own human rights records. But China is not unique in striking deals with rogue regimes for political gain and strategic selfinterest. The US has itself continued to support human rights violators like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Egypt for its own strategic interests, making it difficult to reprimand Beijing for its unrestrained engagement of rogue regimes in Africa. Trade and investment are a major component of China’s strategic relationship with Africa. Uniquely designed to compete directly with US-African trade, Beijing established the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (CACF) to promote stronger trade and investment relations between China and African countries in both the government and private sectors. As a result, since 2003, the total annual growth of Sino-Africa trade has averaged more than 40 per cent and stood at $106.8 billion in 2008 as against $30 billion just four years prior in 2004. Despite China’s expanded investments in Africa, Sino-African relations have not been without tension. When China offers aid to African nations it requires the use of Chinese contractors for projects and the purchase of Chinese goods with the aid money. This has resulted in the proliferation of Africa-based Chinese firms with poor labour and environmental standards; and whose activities sometimes lead to riots, labour unrest, and environmental problems that breed deep resentment against Chinese presence in African communities. An example of such an incident is China’s state-run oil company, Sinopec, and its activities in Gabon. The company was caught drilling for oil in Gabon’s nature reserves of virgin rainforest, polluting, dynamiting and cutting down protected jungle to create roads for its equipments. Another such incident is the Zambian riots due to poor wage conditions in Chinese owned Zambian mines. Local African critics claim that Beijing extracts natural resources and minerals at non-competitive prices while flooding the continent with sub-standard, subsidised goods and excess Chinese labour

that take away jobs from the locals. The cultural differences that exist between China and Africa also create tensions and often lead to resentment. One of such incident was an attempt by the Chinese government to cremate the bodies of Nigerians that died in custody while in China. While this may be an acceptable practice in China, it is foreign and abhorrent to many Africans and the backlash was fierce, fuelling the already growing perception of insensitivity by China in Africa. Also, the world recently witnessed anti-racism protests in China by hundreds of Africans, due to the death of an African in Chinese immigration custody. Despite tensions that exist, the SinoAfrican partnership offers significant benefits to both sides. Africa provides China the ability to expand its sources of natural gas, oil and mineral resources, while also increasing access to markets for Chinese firms and Chinese goods. On the other hand, Africa registered 6.1 per cent economic growth in 2007 – its highest economic growth ever – in part as a result of billions of dollars in Chinese investments. The dams, roads, bridges and railway lines built by Chinese firms are low cost, judged to be of good quality by experts and delivered in significantly less time than they would usually take in Africa, if at all completed. Decades of aid and involvement in Africa by Western nations and institutions like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have done nothing to reduce poverty or drive developmental growth. Africa now has an opportunity to try a different development model with China. China being a developing country itself, may be in a better position to understand Africa’s development needs, while also doing more to advocate for Africa at international trade negotiations. In addition, China has effectively cultivated relations with African nations that would otherwise have remained isolated from the world on the basis of “no strategic importance” to Western countries. Nations like Sudan, Zimbabwe and Liberia – countries that are recovering from internal conflicts or have fallen out of the graces of Western powers. In order to consolidate positive gains and strengthen the Sino-African partnership, Beijing cannot just focus on cutting deals and simply getting business done. It must reform its poor labour and environmental practices in Africa and proactively require its firms to implement sound Corporate Social Responsibility practices. This will be

Trade and invest­ ment are a major compo­ nent of China’s strategic relation­ ship with Africa, uniquely de­ signed to ­compete directly with USAfrican trade

■■ The above was first published in the USA Africa Dialogue Series – a discussion group of Africans in the US

pivotal to the future success of Chinese firms in Africa, especially since many Western corporations who have had to pay for their past environmental atrocities in Africa will not hesitate to sound the alarm on foul Chinese practices. China must also expand its engagement beyond the governmental level and begin to engage more with African civil society, including direct involvement with the private sector and non-governmental organisations. This will allow for the rapid transfer of skills and technology and drive the development of mutually beneficial private partnership agreements between Chinese and African firms. Additionally, China must cultivate the hearts and minds of Africans and improve relations with Africans via cultural awareness programmes and educational exchanges. Africa must also play its part in this relationship in order to achieve maximum gains. While cheap manufactured products from China may help increase the standards of living of many Africans, they can also impede the growth of African industries and halt economic development. Africa must require that essential products be manufactured locally, especially using locally exploited raw materials, and implement appropriate tariffs and bans on such goods. This will help Africa achieve the necessary transfer of skill sets and technology, create employment for its citizens and build its much needed foreign reserves. African nations must also perform their due diligence on all aid offers from China to ensure that concessions are properly valued against aid offers and that maximum benefit is derived from such transactions. Africa should also avoid potential cycles of debt, whereby China provides commercial loans to nations that have just received debt relief. African nations must become assertive partners in this relationship, demanding more for their resources, especially given many interested bidders that include China, India, the European Union and the US. The China-Africa relationship can be a constructive partnership. It satisfies China’s need for diversified sources of markets and natural resources; and it enables African countries to effectively tap into global value chains, while delivering on much needed infrastructure development, affordable technology transfer, and jobs creation. However, both parties must agree to a fair and sustainable long-term development model and resist the temptation to plunder or slum n

African Prospects  April 2010  19


SCIENCE

A question of language

Indigenous African knowledge has much to offer science — but only if science can be translated into local languages, says Charles Dhewa

A

FRICANS HAVE a rich cultural heritage and a wealth of traditional knowledge on topics ranging from agriculture and forestry to medicines and medical practices — all of which could make valuable contributions to modern science. For example, traditional knowledge of drought-resistant crop varieties could prove crucial in helping small farmers across the continent adapt to climate change. Much of this type of knowledge is embedded in the diverse local languages and cultures found in Africa. Yet despite centuries of scientific undertakings on the continent, there is still no vernacular word for ‘science’. In southern Africa, science remains a minority, English-language based, pursuit that reinforces the domination of English at the expense of local languages such as Ndebele, Swahili and many others. This marginalisation of African languages and practices means much local knowledge is lost. Many innovations by farmers and rural communities are excluded from modern science and technology (S&T) because there are no local terms or expressions to capture them. It is vital for ordinary people to be able to participate in science innovation. Moving the large body of indigenous knowledge into mainstream S&T systems will help address pressing development issues on the continent. Engaging ordinary people with S&T could also help prevent unfair exploitation of natural resources and make citizens more aware of laws protecting these resources at national and regional levels. African policy-makers must make an effort to ‘domesticate’ science by using vernacular languages to talk about it. This means investing in translation activities. Literal translation is, of course, an important aspect. Initiatives to compile science dictionaries are a welcome step forward. Zimbabwean scientist Christopher Chetsanga is, for example, compiling a dictionary in the Shona language — spoken by nine million people in Zimbabwe — that

should do much to improve local understanding of scientific terms and issues. Certainly, big institutions such as the Economic Commission for Africa and huge initiatives such as the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, S c i e n c e a n d Te c h n o l o g y f o r Development should use translation to add value to the mountains of documents they publish in English. But it is not just individual words that need translating, it’s also the expression of ideas and meanings, formed in one context and received and interpreted in very different ones. To achieve this we must strengthen the role of intermediaries with specialist communication skills — people who can translate and summarise complex S&T ideas in local languages and explain both the concepts and implications with simplicity. Such people are sometimes called ‘integrators’, ‘filters’ and ‘synthesisers’. Integrators combine separate ideas into one body of knowledge. An integrator can adequately combine indigenous and scientific knowledge on climate change in ways that are meaningful to ordinary people. Filtering includes editing and clarifying ideas so that people can understand the benefits of, for example, biotechnology, without bias or misunderstanding. Synthesisers effectively summarise key issues. Translating the issues around topics such as climate change and biotechnology, where debate is often highly polarised, requires all three skills. Intermediaries can sometimes do more than simply explain the science. They might, for example, be able to draw attention to opportunities around intellectual property. And intermediaries can draw marginal communities into modern

20  African Prospects  April 2010

11Electronic

health system in use in Africa: science and technology terms need to be translated into African languages

scientific discourses, enhancing collaboration with researchers and formal S&T organisations. Translation activities should also promote cross-disciplinary sharing and collaboration. Many S&T disciplines still operate as self-contained silos. In Africa, for example, civil engineers rarely communicate with agricultural researchers, with potentially serious consequences for rural farmers. Boosting farmers’ yields through agricultural research is of little value if the transport infrastructure, including roads and bridges, cannot get their crop to market. Of course, domesticating S&T through translation can only succeed with sufficient investment to support it. In theory, money for translation activities should come out of national S&T budgets. But these remain very small in Africa. Despite African Union members promising, in 2007, to spend one per cent of their GDP (gross domestic product) on research and development, only two countries are doing so — Rwanda and Tunisia. The average spend across the continent is just 0.4 per cent — translation funds are unlikely to be found here. An alternative source of funding, recently championed by my scientific colleagues in Zimbabwe, could be national S&T taxes, modelled on Zimbabwe’s three per cent HIV/AIDS Levy, introduced in 1999. The levy has been remarkably successful in ensuring funds for HIV/AIDS activities, including access to lifesaving antiretrovirals, despite the country’s economic turmoil. An S&T Levy could be used to finance all aspects of research and development, including translation activities. It could also help promote industrialisation and help local producers and manufacturers add value to their products. Whatever the route to accessing money, the fact remains that science translation activities in Africa are urgently needed if we are to tap into the energy, entrepreneurship, creativity and intelligence of our people.  n ■■ Charles Dhewa, the managing consultant for communications and knowledge management consultancy Knowledge Transfer Africa in Harare, contributed the above to the Science Development Network.


Unity needed for drug development

A

FRICA BEARS a quarter of the world’s disease burden, yet accounts for less than one per cent of global expenditure on health. About half of the continent’s population lacks access to essential medicines and the few drugs that are available often come from outside. Sub-Saharan Africa imports nearly 90 per cent of its medicines. A lack of pharmaceutical innovation and access to essential medicines within Africa is severely hampering the continent’s ability both to discover and develop medicines that meet local public health needs, as well as to deliver drugs in a timely manner, at an affordable cost. To invest in national pharmaceutical innovation, countries can focus on generating long-term economic benefits by strengthening their science and technology sectors and adjacent sectors, such as drug delivery infrastructure. Or they can focus on improving universal access to essential medicines. Both approaches are viable and countries often mix the two objectives when considering innovation strategies. In the end, decision makers must be clear on the balance they want to achieve and craft a strategy that meets their goals — economic development, improved access, or both. In either case, investing in pharmaceutical innovation would enable the continent to target drug development at diseases specifically affecting local populations, and to explore and use its wealth of traditional medicines. There are signs that African leaders are waking up to the need for local pharmaceutical innovation and production. Thirty-seven countries on the continent now engage in some form of medicine production. Egypt and Tunisia, for example, have been particularly successful, meeting 60–95 per cent of their own drug needs. But capacity for local production elsewhere in Africa is generally low and most ‘production’ consists simply of packaging, or reformulating existing active ingredients. South Africa is the only country to produce new active pharmaceutical ingredients. T h e g l o b a l h e a lt h c om mu nity — including multilateral health

African nations must pool resources to promote local pharmaceutical innovation, say Ibrahim Assane Mayaki and Carel IJsselmuiden programmes, donors and UN agencies — has proved critical in providing affordable medicines to fight diseases neglected by profit-driven pharmaceutical manufacturers. For example, the Onchocerciasis Control Programme (OCP) has significantly reduced river blindness in the past 40 years, and various initiatives to develop antiretrovirals for HIV/AIDS have dramatically

increased the number of people treated in the past five years. But for too long, international players have set the African agenda for health research and drug development. It is imperative that countries be allowed to set their own priorities and formulate their own strategies to meet the needs of their people. Several African countries are now working to make this a reality. Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania, among others, have policies to guide investment in developing, producing and delivering medicines for their populations. These include Tanzania’s national drug regulatory authority and the traditional medicines policies of Nigeria and South Africa.

55HIV patient:

initiatives to develop antiretroviral have dramatically increased the number of people treated in the past five years

■■ Ibrahim Assane Mayaki is chief executive officer of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Carel IJsselmuiden is director of the Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED). Science Development Network.

Local pharmaceutical innovation is a principle agreed across the continent. All 55 members of the African Union (AU) have signed the Gaborone and Abuja Declarations supporting the development of an African pharmaceutical innovation plan. And a recent initiative led by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Strengthening Pharmaceutical Innovation in Africa, marks the first attempt to put African pharmaceutical innovation into practice. At a February meeting convened by the AU and the Council on Health Research for Development in Pretoria, South Africa, African research, political and industry leaders approved an action plan to build countries’ expertise in pharmaceutical innovation. At its meeting in last month, the African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST) recognised this initiative as a key ingredient in implementing the AU’s Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa. It will also prove indispensable in implementing the WHO’s Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property, which will be discussed next month by representatives of 193 countries at the World Health Assembly. But limited infrastructure and skills mean that the prospect of lab-topatient innovation systems remains a distant dream for many African countries. Much quicker progress could be achieved by pooling resources across regions. Working through Regional Economic Committees, individual countries could decide which skills to develop and craft strategies to attract investment to the region, calling on international expertise as needed. Opportunities for regional cooperation include sharing medicines registration, quality control, clinical trials, education and professional training for pharmacists. This would reduce investment costs and create economies of scale in innovation and production. Last month’s endorsement by AMCOST of the Strengthening Pharmaceutical Innovation in Africa initiative opens the way for joint action — between policymakers, pharmaceutical producers and development partners — to make country-driven pharmaceutical strategies a reality for Africa. It marks the beginning of a real movement to create a new cadre of African research and innovation managers to take on the challenge of developing pharmaceutical innovation on the continent.  n

African Prospects  April 2010  21


INTERNATIONAL

Taiwan states case for co‑operation

I

T HAS not been easy for Taiwan, having to lurk under the shadow of China since Beijing was invited to join the international community in 1971 after its membership of the UN. But since then, things have changed with regards to international co-operation. Every country, it seems, is needed within the fold to combat issues that are of global importance – for example, climate change and safer air transport. The climate issue has been fraught. Countries that are major emitters of greenhouse gas are haggling over the size of the reduction of their emissions. Taiwan, on the other hand, which is not a signatory to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), says it is “willing to shoulder the common responsibility of protecting the planet’s natural environment…” It wants to be part of the December 2009 Copenhagen Accord on climate change that 107 countries have signed, agreeing to cut their emissions in order to limit the rise in global temperatures to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, beyond preindustrial levels. China and India, among the largest and fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, formally agreed to join the Accord in March. Taiwan would like to be party to the agreement, according to its foreign ministry. Taiwan is the world’s 22nd largest emitter of CO2. According to the foreign ministry, the country has “undertaken firm actions to curb emissions…” It has abolished price subsidies on electricity and oil products; amended its Energy Management Law; passed the Renewable Energy Development Act; and drafted a Greenhouse Reduction Act. “These policies have succeeded in raising Taiwan’s energy efficiency,” the foreign ministry says. It went on: “In addition, Taiwan has voluntarily adopted measures that reflect the spirit of major UN agreements on environmental issues, even though it is yet to be part of them. Taiwan has also become an active partner in the

The Taiwanese government wants to play a more active role in international bodies such as the one on climate change, writes Desmond Davies Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone, the Basel Convention that controls the transportation of hazardous wastes across borders, as well as the Stockholm Convention that restricts the use of organic pollutants. These measures are a testament of Taiwan’s commitment and capability to fulfil its obligations to international environmental protocols,” the foreign ministry said. But the Taiwanese government feels that its efforts in protecting the environment are being “weakened by its lack of involvement in major international agreements”. For instance, Taipei says that as a result of its exclusion from the Kyoto climate mechanisms the country’s enterprises cannot access the UN Clean Development Mechanism designed to help lower the cost of reducing emissions for developed countries while also benefiting developing countries. Money, though, is no object for Taiwan. As the 18th largest trading economy in the world, with the fourth largest foreign reserve in the world, Taiwan has a technologically advanced and wealthy economy. Nevertheless, it is still threatened by the environment. As an island in the Pacific Ocean, Taiwan faces rising sea levels and the ravages of extreme weather. The island is densely populated and is at the mercy of the vagaries of abnormal weather and rising sea levels associated with climate change. In August

22  African Prospects  April 2010

11President Ma: strong focus on climate change issues

last year, Taiwan was hit by Typhoon Morakot, the deadliest in recorded history. In just two days, a total of 2,500mm of rain fell in the mountainous areas of central and southern Taiwan, the heaviest rainfall in 50 years. Taipei points out that the fact that Taiwan is unable to use UNFCCC information resources to formulate its own adaptation strategies, coupled with its exclusion from the international response framework, weakens its attempts to meet the challenges posed by global warming and climate change. The country’s environmental authority says that Taiwan urgently needs to be included in the disaster early warning system in order to have access to realtime information and to be part of climate adaptation mechanisms. Not surprisingly, Taiwan is now pushing hard for membership of the UNFCCC. In April the countr y’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) sent a draft letter to the UNFCCC Secretariat backing the Copenhagen Accord. In it, Taiwan pledged to cut its “business-as-usual” (BAU) level of greenhouse emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2020 – in effect to lower such emissions to its 2005 level. Taipei’s argument is that its exclusion from the UNFCCC is for political reasons – pointing out that this “is contrary to the spirit of the UNFCCC”. Indeed, the UNFCCC’s preamble notes: “...the global nature of climate change calls for the widest possible co-operation by all countries and their participation in an effective and appropriate response.” Taiw an h a s b e e n atte nd i ng Conference of Parties as an observer but with the status of a non-governmental organisation. This means that Taiwan can only take part in UNFCCC side events, which, for Taipei, is neither effective nor appropriate. Since President Ma Ying-jeou’s administration came to power in 2008, it has placed the mitigation of the effects of climate change on top of its agenda. Taiwan is proposing a global initiative to efficiently use fossil fuel and biomass


energy within 40 years. The Minister in charge of the EPA, Stephen Shu-hung, explained: “Power plants should be located in the most heat demanding temperate and frigid zones, while the tropical and sub-tropical zones are supplied by transmitted electricity. “Such a design can produce the highest energy efficiency globally. Future fossil fuels and eco-coal produced in the tropical and sub-tropical zones are transported to the temperate and frigid zones for cogeneration to provide the world with electricity, including powering electric vehicles. Through this proposed global cooperation, the most efficient way of energy utilisation can be reached.” In the meantime, Taiwan plans to step up efforts to develop renewable energy through the construction of offshore wind farms, development of solar power, while improving energy efficiency of public facilities and promoting carbon trading. Indeed, Taiwan’s solar energy sector has already achieved significant market presence with its impressive innovation. What will Taiwan contribute to the UNFCCC as a member? It says that it has transformed its economy from being based on traditional industries to one relying on electronics and hightech. In this light it has become a key global production hub. The country is currently re-adjusting its focus to become an important base for research and development, production, supply, planning and operations of value-added industries. A paper presenting Taiwan’s case for full membership of the UNFCCC notes: “If allowed to participate in UNFCCC mechanisms, Taiwan will be able to employ its precious resources more effectively. With Taiwanese enterprises

positioned all over the world, we can make Clean Development Mechanism investments wherever needed and enter the international carbon market so as to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.” The paper added: “Meanwhile, through public-private partnerships, Taiwan can help provide funding and technologies for cleaner economic development around the world, and assist developing countries with achieving sustainable development while meeting their economic, social and environmental objectives.” Taiwan clearly wants to be a member of international organisations that deal with global issues. In May 2009, Taiwan attended the 62nd World Health Assembly as an observer. This has galvanised Taipei, which now wants to focus on “achieving meaningful participation” in the UNFCCC and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). With regard to the ICAO, Taiwan lost its membership in 1971 and since then it has had “no access to timely information released by the ICAO”. Taipei feels that this is not right, given that Taiwan provides important regional air transport services. The facts speak for themselves. Taiwan links North East and South East Asia with around 2,600 weekly flights. The Taipei Flight Information Region under Taiwan’s jurisdiction covers 176,000 square nautical miles, servicing 12 international and four domestic routes and 1.35 million controlled flights pass through every year. “Given Taiwan’s prominent role in regional air control and transport services, and considering the aviation safety of all passengers that is at stake, the ICAO should find appropriate ways to fully integrate Taiwan into its network,” according to an aviation ministry statement.

11Seeking

international partners: African and Taiwanese officials at environment meeting in Taipei

The Taipei Flight Inform­ ation Region covers 176,000 square miles, servicing 12 inter­ national and four domestic routes and 1.35 million controlled flights a year

“To avoid creating a gap in the global civil aviation system and endangering the aviation safety of all passengers, the ICAO should make proper arrangements for Taiwan to participate meaningfully in its meetings, mechanisms and activities, and ensure Taiwan’s civil aviation regulations fully comply with ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices. This is now entirely feasible, given the positive developments across the Taiwan Strait and the fact that [since] August 2009, 270 regular flights are flying weekly between the two sides of the Strait,” the statement said. This is reference to the current rapprochement between Taiwan and China. Beijing has always baulked at any notion of an independent Taiwan but the Ma government has been working to strengthen ties with China. It was this pragmatic approach to Taiwan-China relations that played a great part in Ma’s 2008 presidential election victory. Ma has placed great store by the “1992 consensus” brokered in Hong Kong by Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait. This calls for each side to apply its own interpretation of the one-China principle. Ma has stressed that the identity of Taiwan must be recognised, calling for Beijing to respect the self-ruled nation and emphasising: “Taiwan is neither Hong Kong nor Tibet.” Ma claims that peace talks are possible, but only when China removes over 1,000 missiles aimed at Taiwan and agrees to negotiate on an equal footing. So, though Ma is looking to reduce tension between Taipei and Beijing, he is being urged by local commentators to give priority to issues that are of great concern to Taiwanese: Taiwan’s independence, the economy, investment and raising the country’s international profile. It is in this light that Taiwan is pushing for membership of highprofile international bodies such as the UNFCCC and ICAO. Given Taiwan’s importance when it comes to climate change and air transport, it is clear that the country has a major role to play within the bodies that deal with these issues. Taiwan has taken steps to become part of these UN specialised agencies with the full support of Japan, the US and the European Union. It is now up to other members of the UNFCCC and the ICAO to push for the inclusion of Taiwan. Leaving Taipei out in the cold would not augur well for the success that the world is looking for in terms of mitigating the effects of climate change and making air transport safer. n

African Prospects  April 2010  23


BUSINESS AND FINANCE

Zambia takes to the water

Zambia’s government has taken a big step to expand the use of water for agriculture and energy, reports Benedict Tembo in Lusaka

F

OLLOWING THE African Ministers of Agriculture, Water, and Energy conference in Sirte, Libya in December 2008, Zambia was one of three countries selected for a detailed study of possible investment in water for agriculture and energy. The other countries were Egypt and Kenya. This is under the Partnership for African Water Development. Zambian Minister of Energy and Water Development Kenneth Konga is now spearheading the Zambia Water Partnership (ZWP) to move the Sirte decision forward. The ZWP is functioning with support from Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the African Development Bank. Zambia is clearly well endowed with water resources relative to other countries in southern Africa. But these have not been properly harnessed. “The water resources of the country are largely undeveloped and the available freshwater supplies are 60 times larger than the current levels of withdrawal for economic consumption,” noted Marcus Wishart, World Bank expert on Energy and Water Development. He said this was three times lower than the average per capita withdrawals for developing countries, including those in sub-Saharan Africa. Hydrological variability is estimated to have cost $13.8 billion (in 2006 prices), on average, over the period 1977 to 2007. This is equivalent to a 0.4 per cent loss of growth annually. Rainfall variability lowers agricultural growth by one percentage point each year and the World Bank estimates that rainfall variability could keep 300,000 more Zambians in poverty over the next decade. Wishart feels if the post-Sirte process can assist the Zambian government to get resources to support implementation of the IWRM and Water Efficiency

Implementation Plan, then it represents an important next step in developing an appropriate infrastructure platform to realise the national development objectives. The success of the programme ZWP is facilitating anchors on the continuous and close involvement of the government, as well as all other stakeholders, including the private sector and the donor community. A recent conference was held in Lusaka to discuss the short-, mediumand long-term actions that are needed to ensure the food and energy security of the continent. The conference provided an opportunity to analyse the current situation and future needs for investment in water for agriculture and energy. “The objective was to promote waterrelated investment programmes in Africa based on concrete actions and accurate assessment of their financial cost, feasibility, and implementation, through a comprehensive review of existing and pipeline projects in all African countries,” said the FAO representative in Zambia, Noureddin Mona. He said the conference served to draw up a detailed portfolio of about 1,000 projects and programmes of investment in water control in the 53 African countries, with a total estimated budget of $65 billion spread over 20 years. “The backbone of the conference work consisted in the preparation of national investment briefs representing all African countries, where a short-, medium- and long-term assessment had been made for water control projects and programmes for both agriculture and hydroelectric power,” Mona said. He noted that the highly participatory approach that led to the compilation of the National Investment Briefs consisted of a series of consultations with the relevant national institutions or stakeholders. This was aimed at assessing the current developments in the water resources management and use for agriculture and energy in each country. The Sirte Conference Declaration called on the AU Commission, together with development partners, to design a roadmap and a strong follow up mechanism for the financing of water development projects in the continent. The follow-up process is now operational with the objective of enhancing the knowledge on the situation of water resources management in the continent,

24  African Prospects  April 2010

Hydro­ logical variability is estim­ ated to have cost $13.8 billion (in 2006 prices), on aver­ age, over the p ­ eriod 1977 to 2007, equiva­ lent to a 0.4 per cent loss of growth annually

while explicitly reviewing the scope for promoting investments in the water sector for enhancing food security and energy production. The process is also aimed at the enhancement of the national capacity to conduct a comprehensive assessment of projects and programmes while contributing to advocacy and project formulation and management. Maher Salman, FAO technical officer in the land and water division based in Rome, said Zambia was chosen for the National Investment Brief because high relevance of water for both agriculture and energy. Salman also cited the wide irrigation potential to be developed as currently only 30 per cent of the economic potential and that three per cent of cultivated areas are irrigated. Installed hydropower capacity of 1670MW with new developments undertaken on large and small-scale hydropower and high reliance on transboundary waters such as the Zambezi and Congo basins favour Zambia for the investment brief. Zambia has already submitted the final draft Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) – Compact. A number of programmes in line with the with the government’s priority areas Fifth National Development Plan have been identified to tackle the challenges low productivity in the agricultural sector and the Compact has now been approved by Cabinet. Zambia’s water resources include five river basins which provide an estimated 40 per cent of the surface water resources in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region. The country’s renewable water resource per capita is estimated at 8,700 m3 per year, well above the sub-Saharan Africa average of 7,000 m3 per year. The country’s current installed electric power capacity is 1,800 mega watts (MW) while total useable hydropower potential is about 6,000 MW. National demand for power in 2015 is expected to total 2,380 MW. PAWD’s efforts in the region are highly regarded by the Zambian government for steering to success the drafting and production to the Integrated Water Resources Management/Water Efficiency Plans for Zambia in 2008. The ZWP had identified over 40 such institutions during the time of the IWRM plans. n


AGRICULTURE

Research alone won’t do Even focused research will not deliver agricultural progress unless donors also help join up links in the development chain, says Sian Lewis

W

HEN inter­national development aid funds science, donors increasingly ask potential grant recipients what benefits they will achieve with the money. And there may be many good answers. Ask 1,000 donors, policymakers, private innovators, farmers and development workers how science can best serve development, and you’re likely to come up with 1,000 different responses. So it comes as no surprise that a major international conference, which brought such a group together last month to thrash out a new vision for agricultural research for development, failed to agree on an overall solution for translating agricultural research into effective development. T h e G l o b a l C on fe re n c e on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD), in Montpellier, France, heard major donors to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) — a global network of 15 agricultural research centres — call loudly for results-oriented research that delivers real development impact. But is it a realistic demand? The truth is that international research alone cannot guarantee agricultural development. Research is just one component in the complex system that produces new knowledge and puts it to use. That system includes not only national universities and research institutes, but also seed companies, extension services, small enterprises, non-governmental organisations, markets and farmers themselves. A new rust-resistant wheat variety, for example, may have great potential for reducing poverty and hunger. But if there are no seed policies or extension services in place to get it into the hands of farmers, it stands little chance of making a significant contribution to

food production. Enabling the system as a whole to deliver real improvements requires ‘joined-up thinking’ across the board, with all the components working together to produce a better and more effective result. Partly, this means national governments must take responsibility for bolstering their own research infrastructure and agricultural sectors, rather than leaving it to the international community. The GCARD flagship report calls on developing countries to increase their funding for agricultural research to 1.5 per cent of agricultural gross domestic product. It was authored by a global team of agricultural experts, led by Uma Lele, a former senior adviser at the World Bank. But can this actually be achieved in countries already struggling to meet existing commitments to invest one per cent of overall GDP in research across the board? The report also rightly calls on developing countries to increase investment in other parts of the agricultural system. At the end of the day, the CGIAR is not accountable for national development agendas. That is a sovereign responsibility. Yet donors have a supporting role in such a task. The Paris Declaration, signed in 2005 by more than 100 countries, provides a framework for wider bilateral investment that is driven, at least in principle, by national demands. It represents a commitment to harmonising aid policies across donors, and encouraging strategic use of that aid by recipient governments. But to achieve that, donors must also look to their own houses and ensure

Develo­ ping countries are being urged to increase their ­funding for agri­ cultural research to 1.5 per cent of agri­ cultural gross domestic product

77A farmer tends her crops: will she benefit more from ‘joined-up’ research?

their portfolios provide a coherent ‘package’ that builds national capacity in agricultural production. For example, to strengthen national agricultural innovation systems you must fund not only research but also national higher education institutions. This area has been sadly neglected by major donors in the past two decades, although it is slowly making its way back on to their agendas. And donors, through the vast array of projects they support, can and should promote the coordination needed to ensure that research delivers results. They should be facilitating networking between projects and opening up communication that builds bridges between knowledge providers and knowledge users. CGIAR’s past successes show how much can be achieved by joined-up thinking — not only between the donor agencies, but also between donors, governments and agricultural researchers — on what they want to achieve and how they want to achieve it. Last month’s GCARD meeting represented an important step towards including other key stakeholders, such as farmers and non-governmental organisations. Their engagement in setting the research agenda is essential if research goals are to be driven by real development needs. But the tensions that surfaced in Montpellier showed that there is a long road to travel before the system works smoothly. It will take the sustained political will and coordinated action of donors, governments, researchers and development partners to get us there.n ■■ Sian Lewis is Commissioning Editor of the Science Development Network.

African Prospects  April 2010  25


ECONOMIC BRIEFING

Tanzania settles mining debate

T

HE TA N Z A N IA N govern­m ent has finally settled the protracted debate over the country’s mining industry after parliament passed the Mining Act 2010, which should bring the country’s royalty rates for minerals production more in line with other African mining nations. The new legislation is intended to assure Tanzanians who have been worried that their country’s minerals sector is not contributing enough to the national economy, an issue that has surfaced in developing countries around the world. Among the highlights of the Act is the adoption of a gross revenue form of royalty that will see rates rise from three to four per cent for precious and base metals and from five to six per cent for diamonds and gemstones. There will be a flat seven per cent rate applied to uranium production and a standard three per cent rate for other minerals. In addition, the Act requires the government to own a stake in future mining projects based on the level of investment in each individual joint venture. The new law also requires mining

companies to list on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange. The government had examined various forms of royalties used in other mining jurisdictions and concluded the gross royalty route was the least complicated from an administration standpoint. “Adopting Gross Revenue form of royalty simplifies royalty calculation since it is based on few documents, and it is computed once at the point of export within the country. This form of royalty also eliminates disputes between the Government and mine operators resulting from royalty reconciliation,” the Tanzania Minerals Audit Agency said in a discussion report prepared before the new legislation was passed. The agency noted that despite changes to fiscal regimes for the mining industry in Zambia, Ghana, and South Africa, (the latter two countries being the African continent’s largest gold producers), investor confidence in those countries remained strong after the changes were implemented. In Ghana, royalties vary from three to six per cent of the gross value of minerals produced. The Act also seeks to make it mandatory for the government to set aside specific areas for small-scale miners as

a means of averting conflicts between artisanal miners and larger mining companies. James E. Sinclair, Chairman and CEO of Tanzanian Royalty, said his company had already taken the lead on this. “Our company has been a trend setter in this particular area and in fact we have already entered into partnership arrangements with artisanal miners which have provided mutual benefits to both parties. “We are also in a position to provide expertise to these people in all facets of mining including equipment selection and optimisation, on site training, operating practices, and safety issues,” Sinclair stated. In addition to finding and developing viable mineral deposits in Tanzania for the benefit of all stakeholders, Sinclair insisted that the company “has a moral obligation to empower Tanzanians by providing them with skills and knowledge that will help sustain them in the future”. “The new legislation will provide the impetus for Tanzanian Royalty and other companies to contribute in a meaningful way to Tanzanian society while developing the nation’s vast resource potential in a responsible manner.” n

US blocks African farmers

A

F R I C A N FA R M E R S would have benefited from a boost in world cotton prices if the US had moved quickly to implement the recommendations of a World Trade Organisation dispute panel, according to a new study from the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development. The study, commissioned by ICTSD and conducted by Mario Jales of Cornell University, suggests that cotton prices would have risen over a 1998-2007 base period if the US had cut the subsidies that were deemed unlawful by a dispute panel at the WTO, following complaints by Brazil. A recently announced deal to resolve the dispute, which came on the eve of punitive retaliatory trade measures that Brazil was due to impose on the US, could leave African countries dependent on a negotiated settlement at the WTO. Under the bilateral accord, the US will review its export credit programme and provide $150 million in compensation to Brazil’s

26  African Prospects  April 2010

private sector – leaving cuts to the controversial ‘countercyclical’ payments and marketing loan payment programmes to be discussed in subsequent talks. The paper also finds that farmers in poor countries would have gained from an average six per cent increase in world cotton prices over the same base period if the US had accepted proposals made by African nations to slash the lavish subsidies that Washington offers its domestic producers. Cotton production in the US would have declined by as much as 15 per cent, the study suggests, if African proposals in the Doha Round of trade talks had been in place over the 10-year period examined by the study. Production in the European Union would have dropped even more dramatically under the same scenario, falling by as much as 30 per cent. Meanwhile, however, production volumes would have increased by as much as 3-3.5 per cent in Brazil, Central Asia and West Africa – with the value of production growing by up to 13 per cent.

Similarly, if African proposals that are included in the Doha Round draft agriculture text had been in place during the 10-year period that the study examines, US export volumes would have fallen by 16 per cent on average. Meanwhile, average export volumes would have jumped between 12 and 14 per cent for Brazil and India, and edged upwards by 2-2.5 per cent in Uzbekistan, the ‘C-4’ West African cotton producing countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali), and Australia. “There is an urgent need to rebalance existing trade rules that permit developed countries to highly subsidise domestic production, depress world prices, push farmers elsewhere out of production and impair prospects for economic advancement in the developing world,” Jales argues in the paper. He concludes: “The adoption of ambitious domestic support reforms for cotton in the Doha Round would be a significant step towards the establishment of a fair and market-oriented trading system.” n


Africa seeks more investment

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HE INVESTMENT Climate Facility for Africa (ICF) will hold its Investment Climate Summit in Dar es Salaam on May 3 and 4, bringing together African leaders, senior government officials and executives from the business community to deal with the thorny issue of improving the investment climate in Africa. Given that several countries are taking measures to improve their investment climate, the summit will discuss how to get the private sector to respond to measures that are being taken to increase jobs and therefore reduce poverty. Delegates will explore four key business themes, identified as priority areas for ICF that can be easily shared and rolled out to other countries: business registration and licensing; anticounterfeiting and piracy; commercial justice; and taxation and customs. The need for cutting business red tape is dire indeed. It takes an average of 429 days and nine procedures to register

a business in Africa. The cost of each procedure needed to register a business is 20 times more expensive, as a percentage of per capita income, in sub-Saharan African countries (99.7 per cent of per capita income) than in countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (4.7 per cent). Customs and taxation also cause major headaches for investors. Complying with import and export procedures takes at least three times longer, and costs twice as much, in subSaharan Africa than in the developed world. It takes three weeks to transport goods from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the sea. It takes 306 hours in sub-Saharan Africa for business owners to pay annual taxes. But the ICF is happy that things are gradually changing for the better. “We are delighted with the progress our partners have made to improve Africa’s investment climate,” explained Omari Issa, CEO of the ICF. “We now have 34 projects in 13 countries and tangible

improvements to business environments are increasingly visible across the continent. “We are hosting the Investment Climate Summit because we believe sharing best practices is absolutely critical. By working together, we will identify proven methods of success and establish priority areas for intervention and allowing ICF to extend its support in improving the investment climates further so as to make Africa an even better place to do business in.” The ICF for Africa is a partnership between government and business that aims to help Africa create a more attractive business environment and realise its potential as a global player and trading partner. ICF works to remove real and perceived obstacles to domestic and foreign investment by assisting Africans to prepare and promote the continent as an investment destination. ICF has the support of Africa institutions, international development partners and private sector companies. n

ECOWAS closer to EU trade deal

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E M B E R C O U N ­T R I E S of the Economic Community of We s t A f r i c a n States (ECOWAS) and the European Union crept closer to reaching a trade deal during negotiations in Brussels last month, although long-standing disagreements remain. ECOWAS – a regional group of 15 countries that is joined by Mauritania in these talks – is one of five African bodies negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the EU. The negotiations mark a complex effort to arrive at trade arrangements between Europe and many of its former colonies in the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states. Historically, the EU has granted ACP countries better market access than it provides to other developing countries; however World Trade Organisation rules require that this arrangement be reciprocal. In other words, the ACP states must also open up their markets to EU exporters. In a rush to meet an end-2007 deadline, Côte d’ Ivoire and Ghana initialled so-called interim EPAs – deals that

would be replaced by a full regional agreement with the EU. Since then, negotiations at the ECOWAS-EU level have progressed slowly. One of the more contentious issues in the negotiations is how much the West African countries must open up their markets to European imports. The WTO demands that regional free trade agreements – such as the EU-ACP EPAs – must cover “substantially all trade” and be implemented in a reasonable amount of time. But the lack of specifics has led to widely diverging interpretations as to what percentage of trade must be liberalised and over what period. At the meeting in Brussels, ECOWAS tabled a new market access offer that would open about 70 per cent of its tariff lines and volume of trade over a 25-year period. EU officials have acknowledged the proposal but they have also indicated that they would like to see the tariffs brought down more quickly. Meanwhile, the EU and ECOWAS remain at loggerheads over a controversial Most Favoured Nation (MFN) provision. The EU has pushed for an MFN provision in the EPA that would grant it the same treatment that ECOWAS

countries provide to “major trading partners” in other FTAs. In Brussels, the EU proposed a list of 22 countries that each account for more than one per cent of world trade. The list includes major emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil and Indonesia. ECOWAS is uneasy with the proposed provision, fearing it will inhibit West African countries from pursuing agreements with major developing countries. Under the EU proposal, for instance, any trade preferences granted between a West African country and China would also have to be passed on the EU. ECOWAS wants to limit the MFN clause to developed countries. ECOWAS is also pushing the EU to remove agricultural subsidies that it believes are having a negative impact on West African farmers. However, the EU says there is little political appetite for further concessions on agricultural subsidies within the WTO negotiations. At the meeting in Brussels, the parties did agree to set up a contact group that would analyse the economic impact of the EU agricultural subsidies on West Africa. Dates for the next negotiations have not been set. n

African Prospects  April 2010  27


ART

Amazing Ife art

The ongoing exhibition of sculptures from the Kingdom of Ife in Nigeria at the British Museum in London has debunked some strange presumptions in the West about art from Africa, writes Bunmi Akpata-Ohohe

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N THE early part of the last century, hoards of bronzes discovered in the region formerly known as Ife, an early walled city-state in West Africa (now part of south western Nigeria), created an explosion of interest in African art from art aficionados and the not-so-arty types. These findings shed light on Ife as one of the world’s greatest centres of cultural activity and demonstrated the development of technological genius of Ife artists. This exhibition at the the British Museum in London, titled The Kingdom of Ife: Sculptures from West Africa, showcases the superb craftsmanship of Ife’s artists, with hundreds of terracotta, stone and metal sculptures mostly dating from about 1,100 to 1,400 centuries. The exhibition has debunked long-held assumptions about what the international art world had about Africa. The Kingdom of Ife: Sculptures from West Africa also marks the 50th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence from British colonial rule while also bringing to light the extraordinary diversity of Ife art through a variety of objects, including portrait heads, delicate miniatures, dramatic caricatures and sculptures showing the splendid and glorious ceremonial dresses worn by Ife’s kings and queens – and it takes us through the narrative of what the British Museum blurb describes as the “powerful, cosmopolitan and wealthy city-state” of Ife Kingdom, which flourished for 300 years from the 12th to 15th centuries as a “political, spiritual and cultural and economic centre”. We are used to the jagged-cut magic of African tribal and contemporary sculptures. But the exquisitely modelled works of art in this display, many of which are of great technical intelligence, yet also highly individualised, are composed almost entirely of sculpture in brass, copper, stone and terracotta, all made in the city-state of Ife, legendary homeland of the Yoruba. They demonstrate that African civilisation was as sophisticated as anything in the West during the Middle Ages. Yes, these Africans knew all about bronzes, copper, stone and terracotta casting long before the white man arrived to show them how it’s done. It’s not a large exhibition but many of the sculptures have never been seen in the UK before and never left Nigeria, except where a single object has been a central piece of exhibitions in the past, in the British Museum in 1948 but

28  African Prospects  April 2010

11Brass figure


IMAGES: BRITISH MUSEUM

without their historical and cultural contexts – so we’re discovering them anew. This is the first time it has been possible to experience the full magic of this over 1,000year-old Ife civilisation – and I tell you what it radiates energy, tranquillity, elegance and optimism. The Ife sculptures have a strangely calming effect, like a trip to the spa. All, but two of the objects are on loan from the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments to the British Museum as part of the wider exhibition projects. One of the most exquisite is the 14th-century copper mask called Obalufon II, who was Ife’s third king; (early Ooni of Ife – Patron of Copper – casting and brass – casting in Ife). It weighs in at five kilos, made to be worn by the kinsman, obviously, walking in front of the king – surely not the king himself. Below the eyes one can see small, semi-circular-shaped incisions; the wearer would have been able to see through these incisions, all meticulously done – one can only marvel at this sculpture. Even so, when it became clear that eye-pleasing work such as the Obalufon II hadn’t been made by creatures from outer space, European audiences were said to be confounded and unsure how to deal with such phenomenon and its people. Curator Julie Hudson said she hoped the new exhibition held in London until July 6, would engender similar wonder. “Some people will not have heard of Ife and may not be aware that work of such accomplishment was produced in Africa in the medieval period,” she raved. On February 20, 1960 William Fagg at the Department of Ethnography at the British Museum wrote in The Illustrated London News: “For students of African art, the magnificent naturalistic bronzes and terracottas of ancient Ife, the sacred city of the Yoruba of Nigeria, have long provided the central problem in art history – a problem to which final solutions are not yet forthcoming.” On the other hand, admiration has been heaped upon the exhibition since it opened in March. The UK media has turned out in numbers at the British Museum to view and critique the exhibition. There have been some enthusiastic reviews and not so enthusiastic ones. However, many have already noted whether it was a genius at work or gimmickry. Art critics have often struggled to describe African pieces. Here’s a selection of their attempts: likely to be star exhibition of the year; breathtaking bronzes; revisiting medieval Ife; mysterious; an astonishing display of African bronzes. Yet we still have little idea of who they represent, why they were made and why they were buried. Mysterious. One headline screamed “Sculpture compelling and masterly, but not Africa’s”. And in spite of detailed footnotes and lengthy explanation and narrative by the British Museum another sub-headline read: “The lost kingdom of Ife are reminiscent of Renaissance portraiture – if only we knew more of their origins”. Another shouts: “These busts were ahead of the game.” The economic security that resulted from Ife’s commercial success supported intense artistic and cultural activity that reached its height between the 12th and 15th centuries. However, it must be noted that these sculptures – 109 pieces unearthed in and around the Wunmonije Compound in Nigeria in 1938-39 – were created not primarily as works of art but were made for use in shrines or were employed in

11Terracotta head

■■ Kingdom of Ife: Sculptures from West Africa, sponsored by Santander, is open to the public until July 6. Admission £8. British Museum, London WC1. (britishmuseum. org 020-7323 8181)

important rituals and ceremonies associated with kingship. First excavated and first publicised by that barefaced German archaeologist, Leo Frobenius, in 1910 on one of his booty trips to West Africa, the Ife sculptures shook Western thinking about the nature of African art to its foundation. He could not believe that anyone in Africa could produce such magnificent works of bronze and terracotta heads “so perfectly moulded, so characteristically naturalistic”; which is to say European-looking but obviously different from European art – but something that so bears out with European standards of beauty and beyond. African artists, he declared, could not have made these. The story of Frobenius goes like this: while he was in West Africa in 1908, he heard tales of the famous city of Ife and its remarkable treasures. In 1910, he travelled to Ife with other members of the third German Inner African Exploration Expedition (more like steal from Africa Exploration Expedition). Although this first trip to Ife lasted only three weeks, Frobenius visited again on a number of occasions, going to several shrines and recording his observations. He collected several life-like terracotta heads and other fragments – his most sensational was the brass head of the sea goddess “Olokun”. But the British colonial administration prevented him from taking the head out of Nigeria. Undeterred by this setback Frobenius published a detailed account of his findings in his book, The Voice of Africa. Frobenius was certain that in excavating the Yoruba kingdom of Ife, he’d discovered the legendary lost city of Atlantis described by Plato, and he equated the local sea goddess, Olokun, with the Greek god, Poseidon. How patronising of Frobenius to think that Ife must be Atlantis because works of beauty was resting in it grounds – and he called himself an intellectual? It was at the height of of European racism, when Africa was the so-called ‘dark continent’. Alas, so much for African primitivism. After the findings became clear that they hadn’t been made by extraterrestrials, Frobenius et al had to advocate that Africans might themselves, like Europeans, be sophisticated and civilised people after all. Although we are in the 21st century, the response we’ve had so far is that visitors (black, white; African and Europeans) to the exhibition are again amazed – but in a more positive manner this time around. They could scarcely believe the works were from Nigeria and that they were so old and in good condition. “I love the show so much that I wept,” said a visitor from Belgium. Many just marvelled at the antistatic accomplishment. Who says that good things don’t come out of Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa and the one with the largest black population anywhere in the world? Such people should think again. There is much more to see than heads, mere bronze heads, (17 heads of which 10 are on show) in this exhibition. There are 109 superb pieces of sculpture – exquisite examples of brass, copper, stone and terracotta figurines. So take a journey into the Kingdom of Ife – broaden your horizon and be amazed. It’s magic! n

African Prospects  April 2010  29


BOOKS

Victims’ rights, peace and leaders INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE

Victims’ Rights and Advocacy at the International Criminal Court, by T. Markus Funk, Oxford Press

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HIS BOOK is the first detailed analysis of the newlyrecognised right of victims to participate in the trials of their accused abusers. T. Markus Funk draws on his extensive background in international criminal law and litigation to walk the reader through this unique - and, indeed, controversial body of procedural and substantive rights for victims of atrocity crimes. Funk provides a historical account of the ICC’s creation and the origins of victims’ rights. In addition, Funk gives the reader practical guidance on what it takes to litigate cases before the Court. This background, in turn, allows the reader to work through a number of key questions: How does the ICC function and how is it structured? What are the legal, theoretical, and political pillars upon which the ICC is built? What is the proper role for victims in atrocity crimes litigation? How successfully has the ICC lived up to its promises to victims? How does one become an ICC victim representative, prosecutor, or judge, and what does it take to fulfil the mandate of these positions? What are the costs and benefits sovereign nations must weigh before joining the ICC? What institutional flaws have kept the ICC, as well as other predecessor ad hoc tribunals, from meeting the weighty expectations they have set for themselves and the world community? The Role, Jurisdiction and Competence of the International Criminal Court: A Panacea for Ensuring Global Peace and Security, by Anya Kingsley Anya. Unibook

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RMED CONFLICT is particularly a serious challenge to the maintenance of international peace and security. Pacific priorities increasingly include the charter of the United Nations and surprisingly, the emergent statute of the international criminal court as part of efforts to address the resulting criminal responsibilities of perpetrators of crimes against humanity, war crimes,

genocide and aggression. This introductory text, though a monograph, assesses the role and competence of the international criminal court as part of efforts to ensuring global peace and security. The author examines the fleeting performances of the subsisting international criminal tribunals for Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone and extracted there from well informing legal breakthroughs incidental to the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators. The lesson of hope that the international criminal court offers to mankind is that an end to state and official impunity is at sight.

POLITICS Africa’s Liberation: The Legacy of Nyerere, edited by Chambi Chachage and Annar Cassam. Pambazuka Press, £12.95 paperback

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HIS PUBLICATION is yet another tribute to the late Tanzanian leader, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere. It revisits his revolutionary ideas which continue to inspire all those who still wish Africa well. The process of publishing the book has truly been a collaborative pan-African initiative. Authors from the continent and beyond have contributed chapters that address issues that were close to Nyerere’s heart – issues that still concern many in Africa today. This augurs well with Mwalimu’s wakeup call for Africa to embrace ‘Maximum Collective Self-Reliance’. Even the name of the publisher attests to this: Pambazuka. This is Kiswahili for dawn-awake! In this book readers will engage with the multidimensional thought and practice of Nyerere. The reader will get a glimpse of his attempts to finely balance the protection of human rights and the dispensation of justice which do not necessarily go together. Leading African human rights theorists and activists, Helen Kijo-Bisimba and Chris Maina Peter, have taken up that challenge of presenting this controversial subject in a balanced way. Their chapter helps readers to understand how and why Nyerere did “whatever” he “did that could be interpreted as violating human rights”.

30  African Prospects  April 2010

Nyerere juggled with power that was often claimed to corrupt.   How did he escape unscathed?

Nyerere was not just a politician. He was also an intellectual. That combination produced what the late Tanzanian scholar, Haroub Othman, referred to as “an intellectual in power”. His chapter highlights how Nyerere juggled with power that was often claimed to corrupt. How did he escape unscathed? Those who worked closely with Nyerere in the international arena reminisce on his global impact. Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, tells us of Nyerere’s wins and losses in the diplomatic battles. A former Deputy Secretary General of the then Organisation of African Unity, Mohammed Sahnoun, also recounts the victories and setbacks that Nyerere and the Frontline States encountered in the course of liberating South Africa from the scourge of apartheid. There are inspiring interviews that Nyerere gave to Nawal El Saadawi and Ana Camacho; the powerful question that Neema Ndunguru’s poem, But Dear Mwalimu, poses; and of other chapters that attempt to capture the many faces of Nyerere – Nyerere the artist, Nyerere the educator, Nyerere the economist, Nyerere the historians and so forth. The death in 1999 of Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania, left a cavern in the consciousness and conscience of the people of Tanzania and Africa. Nyerere was not simply a player on the national terrain. He was a pan-Africanist and an internationalist – in thoughts, writings and, crucially, in his practice. A giant of the liberation movement, Nyerere spoke out loud against injustices across the world. A decade later, his words, actions, achievements and shortcomings have acquired a sharper focus and relevance to today’s world. This book includes contributions from leading commentators, those who worked and fought imperialism alongside Nyerere, members of a younger generation – and Nyerere in his own words. Their writings reflect on Nyerere and liberation, the Commonwealth, leadership, economic development, land, human rights and education. Above all, they are a testament to the growing recognition of the need to rekindle the fires of African socialism to which Nyerere was deeply committed. n


PUBLISH WITH US African Journals Publishing Company is a publisher on African issues and international politics. We are looking for authors who are strongly committed to a paradigm change in the way knowledge about Africa is produced and disseminated. We are also looking for authors who can articulate their ideas without feeling inhibited by conventional wisdom.

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