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South Sudan Vice-President to attend Business and Security Forum

The Vice-President of South Sudan, HE Dr Riek Machar, will join senior ministers from Kenya and other African countries at the forthcoming Africa Forum on Business and Security, it was announced on Monday, July 30th.

Dr Machar has been a key figure in developing the fledgling economy of the world’s newest state since it attained independence from Sudan just over a year ago.

At the Africa Forum on Business and Security, which will be held at Nairobi’s Laico Regency Hotel on September 13th and 14th, 2012, Dr Machar and other statesmen will rub shoulders with business leaders, investors, security experts and decision-makers from all over Africa and beyond.

“The Africa Forum on Business and Security is taking place at a very interesting and important time for Africa,” says Peris Wanjiru of conference organisers ICWE. “Many African economies are growing at six or seven per cent a year. The one thing that can hold us back now is a failure to address the security challenges that confront us. This ground breaking, pan-African dialogue between the public and private sectors will make a real difference.”

The conference will focus on dealing with persistent problems, attracting investors, protecting vulnerable sectors and securing growth. It will also consider the immense opportunities for African business in delivering security, investment, skills and jobs.

Businesses wanting to take part in the Forum should contact Anna Shigwedha at anna.shigwedha@newsecurityfoundation.org for more information.

For more information on the Forum, please contact Juliane Walter at juliane.walter@icwe.net or visit the conference website http://www.usalamaafrica.org.

For more information, please contact:
The New Security Foundation
Leibnizstrasse 32
10625 Berlin
Germany

Tel.: +49 (0)30 310 18 18-0
Fax: +49 (0)30 324 98 33
Email: anna.shigwedha@newsecurityfoundation.org
Web: http://usalamaafrica.org

July 30, 2012 Posted by | AFRICA, African workshops seminars courses training, Sudan | | Leave a comment

Africa Book: A labyrinth of Kingdoms 10,000 miles through Islamic Africa – Kemper

This interesting new book A Labyrinth of Kingdoms, 10,000 Miles through Islamic Africa by Steve Kemper looks well worth a read.

A Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles through Islamic Africa

You’ve heard of Burton, Stanley, and Livingstone and their Victorian-era adventures in Africa. But you probably don’t recognize the name of Heinrich Barth. His five-year, 10,000-mile journey through North and Central Africain 1849 ranks among the greatest in the annals of exploration. Told for the first time in A LABYRINTH OF KINGDOMS: 10,000 Miles through Islamic Africa [W. W. Norton & Company; June 25, 2012; $28.95 hardcover], the story ofBarth’s survival and triumphrivals Burton or Stanley for excitement and surpasses them in scientific achievements.

For decades,Britain’s attempts to explore Africa were haunted by disaster, disease, and death. Gaps on the map were filled in by armchair geographers. To remedy this ignorance and to scout potential markets for British commerce, the Foreign Office commissioned an expedition to the central Sudan, a vast area south of the Sahara that today includes Niger, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, and northern Nigeria and Cameroon.

Barth was just the man for the job. The idiosyncratic German scientist meticulously, obsessively noted everything he encountered, from the number of trees in a palm grove to the types of roasted locusts served in the market. Unlike previous explorers, he did not assume that Africans were barbaric. Though Christian, his ultimate faith was in the power of scientific observation. Barth spoke Arabic and learned seven other African languages, which allowed him to talk to everyone from camel drivers to sultans, imams to slaves. He could discuss Ptolemy with a learned Muslim vizier and then join a band of marauders or a salt caravan for the next leg of the journey.

Barth mastered the complex economy of gifts, protection, and information necessary to pass through the kingdoms of Bornuand Sokoto and through the strongholds of the nomadic Tuareg, the mysterious “blue men” of the Sahara. He made the first accurate maps of the region as well as important geographical discoveries about Lake Chad and the Niger’s main tributary, the Benue. In the storied crossroads cities of Kano, Kukawa, and Timbuktu, he drew new cultural connections between disparate peoples that altered our understanding of Africa. He poured all this knowledge into his monumental, five-volume Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa.

But politics ran ahead of science. The age of European imperialism in Africa was about to begin, and Barth’s findings—and his thorny personality—were unwelcome in Britain. He has been almost forgotten. His discoveries are considered indispensable by scholars, but his great book is rare, even in libraries. Though he made his journey for the British government, there are no books about him in English. Suspenseful and sensitively told, A LABYRINTH OF KINGDOMS tells a forgotten story of survival, adventure, and scientific discovery by a remarkable man.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Steve Kemper is the author of Code Name Ginger: The Story Behind Segway and Dean Kamen’s Quest to Invent a New World. His work has appeared in many national publications, including Smithsonian and National Geographic. He lives inWest Hartford,Connecticut.

July 29, 2012 Posted by | AFRICA, African books | | Leave a comment

Africa Internship opportunity – design build camp Ghana

DESIGN-BUILD CAMP, INTERNSHIP & GAP YEAR IN AFRICA!

This internship programme will be of interest to students and graduates of architecture, arts and design. The Nka Foundation is pleased to announce that following the successful pilot design-build residency at SangArtsVillage in Ghana, the second edition, art+architecture camps will starts in September 2012.

Sang Round House by a Design-Build Team of Nico Smith, Humphrey Lloyd and George Bell from Wales, UK

If you are searching for an internship with a real project of real social value to put your design theories to the test- and work side-by side with local people who will warm your heart and leave you smiling from ear to ear, why not join one of our design-build camps in the historic Ashanti Region or the Dagomba nation in Northern Ghana. The challenge for each design-build camp is to use local materials together with local volunteers to generate a unit of a courtyard for rural livelihood skills empowerment. The livelihood skills centre will consist of a media arts studio for IT and new media training. The next design-build project will focus on a pottery/ceramic studio with workspaces and a kiln for firing the earthen wares.  Along the way, we will create a performing arts studio/community center for community theatre and music performances. The results of the design-build will benefit not only the local but the global community. For persons of artistry from around the world, it will be a contact point for artist-in-residence for community arts, special projects, and environmental education.

The project takes in the theoretical frame of the book, Architecture for the Poor: An Experiment in Rural Egypt by a known Egyptian architect, Hassan Fathy. In it, he puts forward that an informed person can, in fact, self-build durable, aesthetic and highly functional buildings without using expensive materials. Along this line, project is open to all students and graduates of design, architecture, engineering, the arts, and schools. Join us! Let’s us contribute to a real need and empower choices for those who say they are economically underprivileged despite the abundance of local resources. You will gain hands-on and international experience while meeting local community design needs, an essential part of education that employers and clients value.

View the press release: http://prlog.org/11891895 for AbetenimSangArtsVillage, and http://prlog.org/11891836 or download the design brief:http://www.thecela.org/pdfs/nka-foundation-2012.pdf for SangArtsVillage.

For additional information on previous projects go www.nkafoundation.org.

Interested?
Then please e-mail your CV/resume and date you are applying to info@nkafoundation.org.


POSTAL ADDRESS: Nka Foundation, Box Up 1115, KwameNkrumahUniversity of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana.

PROJECT DIRECTOR: Barthosa Nkurumeh, PhD.  Skype: nkaprojects. Tel: +1 (405) 819-4784 (Central Time, USA)

July 29, 2012 Posted by | African workshops seminars courses training, Ghana | , | Leave a comment

Africa H1N1 Summary and comparison with other health crises, updated 26.5.2009

For the latest update on this table and info please go to

Africa H1N1 Summary and comparison with other health crises, updated 16.6.2009

The following table is my attempt at collating information from a number of sources about H1N1 flu preparedness in Africa plus a comparison column of other health crises. I’ve listed the sources I’ve used above the table, although the same information is often posted on several sites. I’ve also added a new column tracking current communicable diseases in Africa so you can compare the H1N1 crisis with current crises. These figures change frequently and are the current figures that I find, usually through ReliefWeb or WHO. I hope you’ll find it helpful. I’ll change the heading for this post whenever I post updates.

Please note that many countries are adapting contingency plans they already had in place for H5N1 (avian flu) even though this is often not explicitly stated.

WHO has accredited at least 15 African laboratories to carry out flu testing. The laboratory in Brazzaville will be accredited soon.

You can access the latest WHO weekly update here (pdf).

WHO information on Africa as of 26.5.2009

There are no confirmed case(s) of Influenza A H1N1 in any of the 46 countries in the region so far.

All countries in the region have activated their national emergency preparedness and contingency response plans

A crisis management team has been put in place by the Regional Director at the regional office (Brazzaville) and the sub regional levels (Intercountry Support teams in Harare, Zimbabwe, Gabon and Burkina Faso)) to work closely with countries to boost their disease surveillance to ensure that any suspected case of Influenza A H1N1 is detected early.

Stockpiles of relevant medicines have been dispatched to all countries in the region as well as mapping laboratory and human resources capability at country and regional levels to enable WHO to support Member States to respond rapidly to any suspected outbreaks.

IRIN NEWS also reports the following regional efforts:

  • The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is drawing up a regional strategy, according to Adrienne Diop, ECOWAS commissioner of development and emergencies. One of the issues ECOWAS is studying is member countries’ access to flu medication. The West African Health Organization (WAHO) located in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, will execute ECOWAS’s eventual recommendations.
  • WHO’s Africa regional office is working with countries to bolster their disease surveillance systems and strengthen contingency and preparedness plans, WHO regional director for Africa Luis Sambo said in a 30 April communiqué. The regional office is strategically pre-positioning stockpiles of Tamiflu and personal protective equipment such as masks, as well as mapping laboratory and human resources capacity at country and regional levels, the statement said.
  • UN agencies are working on contingency plans with WHO as lead; World Food Programme will play a key role in logistics. The UN is working to spread awareness of how to prevent infection.
  • The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) has a USAID-funded humanitarian pandemic preparation project underway in six West African countries – Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal, according to Hans Jürgen Ebbing, IFRC health and care coordinator in the West and Central Africa office. The project involves helping National Red Cross Societies develop civil society contingency plans. IFRC plans to accelerate the effort in order to cope with the H1N1 flu threat. IFRC is also supporting national societies in 24 countries across West and Central Africa to help develop contingency plans and possible response plans. These will form part of government plans as societies are an auxiliary to government in emergency response. IFRC worldwide on 30 April launched an appeal for US$4.4 million to fund its response to the spread of H1N1.
  • World Vision is contacting health ministries in the seven West African countries in which it works (Chad, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone) to assist in raising public awareness without creating panic. “It is important to allow people to have appropriate information on this issue,” said Paul Sitnam, emergency response coordinator for West Africa.

Sources used: IRIN NEWS, Afrik.com, Reuters AlertNet, WHO – Regional Office for Africa, BBC  News, South Africa Info, ReliefWeb

World map showing outbreaks (you can focus in on Africa)

Africa H1N1 Summary from many sources, updated 4.5.2009

COUNTRY NATIONAL RESPONSE AND PUBLIC INFORMATION SCREENING AND DETECTION DRUG AVAILABILITY SUSPECTED AND CONFIRMED CASES OF H1N1 COMPARISON WITH OTHER COMMUNICABLE DISEASES

(NOTE: THESE FIGURES CHANGE DAILY)

Benin Inter-ministerial crisis committee.
Public information that it is safe to eat pork.
Screening all arriving and departing passengers. Distributing masks at the airport. 5,000 doses of Tamiflu (about 1/3 of estimated need). Suspected: 1 Isolated: 3 Meningitis (Jan-Feb 2008) 289 cases, 29 deaths
Cholera (2008)
600 cases
Burkina Faso Meningitis (2009)
3,390 cases, 449 deaths
Measles (2009)
31,000 cases, 226 deaths
Burundi Ongoing planning meetings.
Travel warnings to citizens.
Considering options for importing Tamiflu
Cameroon Inter-ministerial meeting. Created inter-ministerial flu-watch committee.
Travel and health warning to citizens.
Surveillance at airports, maritime and land entry points. Centre Pasteur is Regional reference laboratory for detection of animal and human flu viruses. Reinforcing Tamiflu stock (from avian flu stock). Measles (2009)               64 cases
Cap Verde National pandemic contingency plan, which identifies risk, planned responses, prevention and financing. (Also covers natural disasters and other epidemics). Health checks of travellers from infected countries. Unspecified stock of Tamiflu, working to obtain more supplies if needed.
Chad Meningitis (Jan-Apr 2009)
1,022 cases, 121 deaths
Côte d’Ivoire Distributing leaflets to travellers at airports and border crossings.
Media communications  explain H1N1 flu and give guidance on hygiene and prevention.
Specialists at the Institute of Public Hygiene will lead epidemiological monitoring 11,000 doses of Tamiflu Polio (2009)                       2 cases (vaccination programme in place)
Congo, Democratic Republic of Put in place’ une cellule de crise’. Limit non-urgent activities.  Media event with advice on 5th May.

11th May set up a national emergency management committee to step up swine flu monitoring and detection

Reduction of travel outside the country. Cholera (2009)
4,156 cases, 66 deaths
Egypt Ordered slaughter of all pigs Increased health checks at all border entry points. Increased medical staff at Cairo airport checking passengers arriving from Mexico and monitoring them.
Ethiopia Ethiopian Red Cross has human pandemic preparedness project. Ethiopian Red Cross training 800 volunteers for public health messaging.
Gabon Suspended imports of pork and pork products
(Ongoing strike by health workers)
Increased health checks at all border entry points
Ghana Banned import of pork products
National coordination committee in place.
Health screening at main airport in Accra. Quarantine system in place should any cases be identified. Regional hospitals instructed to set up isolation wards. Drugs available
Guinea Emergency meeting to formulate a contingency plan, prevention and response committees set up to put it into action Health workers surveying flu cases in the country’s main hospitals. Meningitis (2009)
92 cases, 8 deaths
Kenya Using avian flu surveillance teams which have already been set up. Quarantine facilities available. Monitoring visitors entering through airports and other border points who may come from infected areas. Screening visitors from USA, Canada, Israel, Spain and UK. Screening those who show symptoms Drugs available Cholera (2009)
2,612 cases, 58 deaths
Liberia Health authorities have convened an emergency meeting to formulate a contingency plan and have set up prevention and response committees to put it into action
Mali National pandemic plan in place to fight avian flu which would be applied if an outbreak of H1N1.
Morocco Health and airport workers issued with gloves, surgical shoes and masks (BBC) 1m doses of Tamiflu
Mozambique Cholera (2009)
16,424 cases, 133 deaths
Niger Meningitis (2009)
11,085 cases, 442 deaths
Nigeria Surveillance strengthened at airports, ports and land borders. Citizens requested to report suspected cases to health authorities. Meningitis (2009)
47,902 cases, 2,148 deaths
Rwanda Pork imports from European countries suspended, sale of grilled pork prohibited. Mobile clinics set up for screening visitors at airports and other entry points. Epidemiologists deployed to work on preparedness in main health facilities and information points set up in 143 centres.
Senegal Healthworkers throughout the country put on alert and given masks. Ministry of Health has set up H1N1 hotline. Diffusing public health messages Screening people with flu symptoms at airports, ports and borders.
Sierra Leone Meeting of representatives from Agriculture and Health Ministries, Office of National Security and WHO met to set up a taskforce.
Somalia No provisions or capacity, medical facilities destroyed
South Africa Outbreak response teams trained. Officials on alert at ports of entry. Outbreak response teams operational in all provinces. Suspected: 2 (1 negative, 1 ‘cured’)
Sudan Meeting between Health ministry, NGOs and other health agencies. Increased surveillance at the airport. Ban on people arriving directly from MexicoTransit passengers arriving from countries where problems relating to the disease were reported are kept in a room at the airport for 4 – 7 days. If a passenger shows symptoms then we will deal with all the passengers on the plane, local media reported a health official said.. (BBC) Says has enough treatment for 45,000 cases.
Uganda All districts on alert. Taskforce drawn from ministries of tourism, agriculture and health. Avian flu national taskforce revivied (BBC) Intends to screen all entries into the country. 10,000 doses of Oseltamivir, a cheap generic version of Tamiflu, in stock (BBC) Hepatitis E (2009)
42 cases
Zambia Emergency taskforce formed Suspected: 1
Zimbabwe Deployed teams at ports of entry to check for suspected cases. Zimbabwe does not have enough drugs in stocks to treat swine flu but will ask WHO Africa regional office Cholera (2009)
98,309 cases, 4,283 deaths

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June 17, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN HEALTH, African Swine Flu, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Cap Verde, Côte d'Ivoire/Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, HEALTH, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe | 6 Comments

Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem dies in a car crash on Africa Day – updated

News is coming in of the death of African activist Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem today, 25th May – Africa Day, in a car crash in Kenya.  Obits are starting to be published and I’ll put links to them on here as they come in.

One of the first obits was from Pambazuka News where Abdul-Raheem wrote insightful commentaries. They have opened a ‘book of condolences’ on the site and readers are invited to send in their condolences. As a measure of the man, by the time I got to the site there were already over 90 comments! He will be sorely missed.

Pan-Africanist dies in car crash

In Memoriam: Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, 1961-2009

Your Memories: Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem

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May 28, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN NEWS, AFRICAN POLITICS, NEWS | Leave a comment

Wet South-North corridors through the Sahara desert 120,000 years ago

Via Fossil Science

A new study challenges the idea that the Nile valley was the only or even the most likely route out of sub-Saharan Africa for early modern humans.

The leading author of the paper published in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is Anne Osborne whose PhD research is supervised by Dr Derek Vance of Bristol University and co-supervised by Professor Eelco Rohling of the University of Southampton’s School of Ocean and Earth Science, based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.

Read the full story

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May 27, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN ARCHAEOLOGY, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN HISTORY, African palaeontology, ARCHAEOLOGY, HISTORY | Leave a comment

Rwanda : Language Policy

An interesting article in The New Times (Rwanda) comments on the new language policy in Rwanda which emphasises the use of English as the medium of instruction in schools.

When the Government of Rwanda announced the new language policy, emphasizing the use of the English language as a medium of instruction in schools, some observers were quick to associate the decision with the soured diplomatic relations between Rwanda and France that stem from France’s prominent role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

Read the full article

Here are further articles on language policy from The New Times

Embrace English, KIE students urged
Friday, 23rd January 2009
English language issue in Rwanda: An educational, globalisation and economic development trend part 2
Tuesday, 11th November 2008
English language issue in Rwanda: An educational,globalisation and economic development trend part 1
Monday, 10th November 2008
English key in Rwanda becoming financial hub-Minister
Wednesday, 22nd October 2008
France should pay for the teaching of English in African Schools
Tuesday, 21st October 2008
Time to start implementing some unifying regional issues
Wednesday, 6th February 2008

May 27, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, Africa education reforms, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN EDUCATION, African language policy, African languages and education, African sociolinguistics, EDUCATION, LINGUISTICS, Rwanda, Sociolinguistics | Leave a comment

Graphs : The effects of AIDS in South Africa

There is an excellent article on The Southern Tip which shows in graphs the effects of AIDS in South Africa.

Compared to fifteen years ago, the average South African can expect to live about twelve years less than his/her counterpart from the early 1990s. This is compounded by the fact that during the preceding ten years the average wealth of South Africans reduced as a result of sanctions, boycotts, etc.

Read the full article

While you’re there check out other articles on this thoughtful opinionated blog.

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May 27, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, African AIDS/HIV, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN HEALTH, HEALTH, South Africa | Leave a comment

HIV and AIDS in Africa

If you want a broad view of HIV and AIDS in Africa then PlusNews is the place to go. Plus News is a specialist service from IRIN NEWS. You can search country profiles for AIDS programmes and organisations and there are also in-depth articles. The site is available in English, French, Portuguese and Arabic.

Here are a few links you might like to follow through:

Country Profiles

Hear our Voices – personal stories

Africa Specific News

Some current news stories:

GLOBAL: Basic healthcare crucial to beating HIV, study NAIROBI, 27 May 2009 (PlusNews) – Providing HIV prevention, care and treatment services at well-equipped local clinics could be the key to success in fighting the pandemic in the developing world, a new report by the international anti-poverty NGO, ActionAid, has said.
full report

AFRICA: Pregnant, HIV-positive and falling through the PMTCT cracks NAIROBI, 25 May 2009 (PlusNews) – An estimated 900 babies in the developing world are infected with HIV every day because governments fail to reach pregnant women with prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services.
full report

AFRICA: Governments must step up HIV funding, activists NAIROBI, 20 May 2009 (PlusNews) – A disappointing allocation for global AIDS programmes in the United States budget means African governments will have to step up their own funding, say activists.
full report

GLOBAL: Obama expands health agenda, but not funding JOHANNESBURG, 8 May 2009 (PlusNews) – At a time when many Americans are preoccupied with the economic crisis on their doorsteps, President Barack Obama has asked Congress to approve US$63 billion for global health over the next six years.
full report

GLOBAL: Economic downturn puts treatment of millions at risk JOHANNESBURG, 29 April 2009 (PlusNews) – After months of speculation about how the global economic downturn might affect HIV/AIDS programmes, a new World Bank report details the projected aftermath of the crisis and how it could place the treatment of more than 1.7 million at risk by year’s end.
full report

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May 27, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, African AIDS/HIV, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN HEALTH, HEALTH | Leave a comment

Report : How Corporate America Really Views Africa

You may be interested in this new report:

An inside-the-boardroom survey of attitudes toward corporate investment in Africa among leading U.S. corporations. The information was gathered between January and November 2008 in a series of closed door interviews with senior officers of 30 American Fortune 100 corporations by senior associates of Baird’s CMC.

Download the news release about the report.

Download the pdf of part 1 of the report

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May 26, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, Africa USA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, African papers reports, AFRICAN POLITICS, POLITICS | 1 Comment

Nigeria : Environmental Management and Sustainable Development Courses

“MAN Green Courses” is a joint initiative of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and Rosebank Consulting to promote people training and enlightenment in the areas of Environmental Management and Sustainable Development.

They provide a broad range of specialised training programmes for senior executives and managers in public and private sector organisations seeking new insights and strategies on how to manage their environmental footprints and making sustainable development an integral component of long-term business plans.

For further information on their courses go to their website

You will also find downloadable papers presented at the Environmental Management Seminars.

Comments are closed for this post, please visit their website for more details about the courses.

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May 26, 2009 Posted by | ACADEMIC, AFRICA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN ENVIRONMENT, African workshops seminars courses training, ENVIRONMENT, Nigeria | Leave a comment

NIGERIA SURPASSES HOLLYWOOD AS WORLD’S SECOND LARGEST FILM PRODUCER – UN

Report from the UN

New York, May  5 2009  7:00PM

The Nigerian film industry has overtaken Hollywood and closed the gap
on India, the global leader in the number of movies produced each
year, according to a new United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization
report released today.

According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) survey,
Bollywood – as the Mumbai-based film industry is known – produced
1,091 feature-length films in 2006. In comparison, Nigeria’s
moviemakers, commonly known as Nollywood, came out with 872
productions – all in video format – while the United States produced
485 major films.

“Film and video production are shining examples of how cultural
industries, as vehicles of identity, values and meanings, can open the
door to dialogue and understanding between peoples, but also to
economic growth and development,” said UNESCO Director-General
Koïchiro Matsuura.

“This new data on film and video production provides yet more proof of
the need to rethink the place of culture on the international
political agenda,” he added.

The three cinema heavyweights were followed by eight countries that
produced more than 100 films: Japan (417), China (330), France (203),
Germany (174), Spain (150), Italy (116), South Korea (110) and the
United Kingdom (104).

Key to Nollywood’s explosive success is Nigerian filmmakers’ reliance
on video instead of film, reducing production costs, and, as the
survey points out, the West African country has virtually no formal
cinemas, with about 99 per cent of screenings in informal settings,
such as home theatres.

The survey also revealed that about 56 per cent of Nollywood films are
made in local languages, while English remains a prominent language,
accounting for 44 per cent, which may contribute to Nigeria’s success
in exporting its films.

According to the study, US movies continue to dominate cinema
admissions around the world, and all of the top ten films seen in
Australia, Bulgaria Canada, Costa Rica, Namibia, Romania, and Slovenia
were US made.
________________

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

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May 26, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN ENTERTAINMENT, African films, ENTERTAINMENT, Nigeria | 1 Comment

African Language Materials Archive

The new website of ALMA, the African Language Materials Archive, a project of the West African Research
Association, and in collaboration with the DLIR, has gone live during the month of April, 2009.

The url for this new site is: http://alma.matrix.msu.edu/

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May 26, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, African free resources, African language materials, African languages, AFRICAN LINGUISTICS, LINGUISTICS | Leave a comment

History of the Mandinka people in Gambia and West Africa

A good article on the history of the Mandinka people can be found on the Gambia Guide (information portal).

The ancestors of the Mandinkas (Mandingo) of today’s Gambia and Senegal region lived in Kangaba which was a part of the ancient Mali Empire. They became independent in AD 1235 and gradually some of them moved westwards.

Read the full article

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May 26, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA | Leave a comment

Book : Private Schooling in Less Economically Developed Countries Asian and African perspectives

New book available from Symposium Books

Edited by PRACHI SRIVASTAVA & GEOFFREY WALFORD

2007 paperback 214 pages US$48.00
ISBN 978-1-873927-85-4

IN STOCK NOW   FREE delivery on all orders
All books are sent AIRMAIL worldwide

Click here to view further information and to order this book

The increased marketisation and privatisation of schooling in economically developing countries struggling to achieve Education for All and Millennium Development Goals warrants a focused examination of the phenomenon. However, there is little work on the nature and extent of private provision in countries that, on the one hand, are striving to meet international commitments of universal schooling provision and, on the other, face such challenges as constrained public budgets, low levels of quality, and persistent schooling gaps. This volume brings together new research evidence from academics and policy makers on the nature and extent of private provision in a range of countries across Asia and Africa. As South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa account for the majority of the world’s population of children out of school, this book sheds new light on the changing context of schooling provision in some of the most vulnerable regions. Of particular interest is the nature and potential impact of private provision on the educational opportunities of economically and socially disadvantaged children.

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May 26, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, African books, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN EDUCATION, EDUCATION | Leave a comment

South Africa : Language Policy

Books

LANGUAGE IN SOUTH AFRICA
Mesthrie, Rajend (Ed.)

A comprehensive and wide-ranging guide to language and society in South Africa. The book surveys the most important language groupings in the region in terms of pre-colonial and colonial history; contact between the different language varieties, leading to language loss, pidginization, creolization and new mixed varieties; language and public policy issues associated with the transition to a post-apartheid society and its eleven official languages. It also details the history of indigenous languages, the impact of European languages upon them, and of transformations to the European languages themselves. Notes, maps, index. xvii, 485pp. UK. CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS.

2002 0521791057 Hardback
Available from the Book Collective

Papers you can download:

Webb, V.N. Language Policy Development in South Africa, Centre for Research in the Politics of Language, University of Pretoria.

The pdf of the paper can be downloaded from:

http://www.up.ac.za/academic/libarts/crpl/language-dev-in-SA.pdf

Alexander, N, Language Policy and Planning in the New South Africa, Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa, University of Cape Town.

The pdf of the paper can be downloaded from :

http://www.codesria.org/Links/Publications/asr1_1full/alexander.pdf

Beukes, A-M, The First Ten Years of Democracy: Language Policy in South Africa, Paper read at Xth Linguapax Congress on Linguistic Diversity, Sustainability and Peace, 20-23 May, Barcelona

The pdf of the paper can be downloaded from :

http://www.linguapax.org/congres04/pdf/1_beukes.pdf

Alberts, M. National language and terminology policies – A South African perspective. EDITion Ausgabe 1/2008.

The pdf of the paper can be downloaded from:

http://www.iim.fh-koeln.de/dtt/Dokumente/edition_2008_1_web_artikel/edition_2008_1_alberts.pdf

Newspaper articles

Language policy ‘not off the ground yet’

Article from 2006 on IOL

South Africa’s language education policy has after nine years not yet been put into effect “convincingly”, Education Minister Naledi Pandor said on Monday.

“The policy, adopted in 1997 has not been implemented convincingly up to this point,” Naledi told a Language Colloquium in Cape Town.

Read the full article

Xhosa dictionaries unravel maths puzzle

Article from 2006 on IOL

With the introduction of the dictionaries as a resource in maths and science classrooms, teachers will now also be able to explain terms in Xhosa.

Read the full article

Municipalities ‘ignoring’ language policy

The majority of provincial government departments are implementing the Western Cape language policy, but more than a third of municipalities are completely ignoring it.

Read the full article

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May 25, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN EDUCATION, African language policy, African languages and education, AFRICAN LINGUISTICS, African papers reports, African sociolinguistics, EDUCATION, LINGUISTICS, Sociolinguistics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Uganda : First-language teaching policy highlights rural-urban education divide

For many children in Africa the reality is that they are taught in primary school in a language that they don’t understand. An article in the Learning English section of the Guardian Weekly uses a specific situation to bring a sense of reality to the mother tongue education argument.

On a hot Friday afternoon at Katine primary school, in north-east Uganda, Santa Awiyo points her large wooden ruler at the blackboard as her year-three pupils chorus the words she has written in white chalk. ” Idwe pore ngapo, igwen me sukulu gi . . . “

The paragraph, written in Kumam, the local dialect of this rural region, refers to the importance of school uniform and is part of a lesson that combines language and social studies.

The article highlights the way that curriculum reform together with mother tongue language policy makes a difference when allied with first language teaching.

Until 2007 all primary teaching in Uganda was in English, now the new policy

dictates that during the first three years of primary education pupils must be taught using the mother tongue of their area as the medium of instruction, with English taught as a separate subject, before switching to English-medium instruction in year four.

The reform is criticised by some, but as the article shows the differences between rural and urban school teaching is not just a matter of language. The paucity of teaching materials in English and the sociolinguistic environment affect learning outcomes. The challenge for the education reformers in Uganda is now to develop sufficient educational materials – in English and local languages.

Read the full article

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May 23, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, Africa education reforms, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN EDUCATION, African languages and education, EDUCATION, Uganda | Leave a comment

DVD : African Art Techniques – wood, cloth, metal, clay

A new DVD titled ³African Art has just been released.
Techniques: Wood, Cloth, Metal and Clay,² available form Createspace at
https://www.createspace.com/Customer/EStore.do?id=264574

African Art Techniques: Wood, Cloth, Metal, Clay
Detailed footage of the techniques African artists use to carve wooden masks
and stools, to cast brass, smelt and forge iron, to spin, dye, and weave
cotton cloth, and to form and fire pottery. Filmed in Burkina Faso and Ghana
from 2001 to 2009 by Christopher D. Roy, Professor of African Art, the
University of Iowa.

Christopher D Roy made this DVD to provide shorter, more concise information of the
many techniques artists in Africa use to create art.  My videos, African
Pottery Techniques, Arts of Ghana, From Iron Ore to Iron Hoe, and African
Sculpture are longer and more detailed.  This video devotes about ten to
fifteen minutes to each of the techniques of metal casting, smelting and
forging iron, carving wood masks and stools, spinning, dyeing and weaving
cotton, and pottery forming and firing.

Cost: $24.95.
Please order using this URL:
https://www.createspace.com/Customer/EStore.do?id=264574)
NOT through Amazon.

For those of you who are at the front edge of visual technology and own a Blu-Ray DVD player/and a high definition television, consider the Hi-Def version of the DVDs at:
http://www.africanartvideo.com/#Highdef

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May 23, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN ARTS AND CRAFTS, African carpentry and woodcarving, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN CULTURE, African textiles, ARTS, Burkina Faso, CULTURE, Ghana | 1 Comment

Conference : Implications of GM Crops for Smallholder African Farmers

Via http://africabiotech.wordpress.com/

International experts, key policymakers, heads of farmers associations, and private sector representatives gathered in Entebbe from May 19-21 to examine the potential benefits and challenges of producing genetically modified (GM) crops in Africa. The conference, “Delivering Agricultural Biotechnology to African Farmers: Linking Economic Research to Decision Making,” was organized by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in collaboration with the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology and the Science Foundation for Livelihoods and Development.

Deciding whether or not to make GM crops a priority in their agricultural development and food and nutrition security strategies and invest in modern biotechnology is an important consideration for many African countries. To help inform such policy decisions, conference participants shared research findings that address critical questions such as the economic impacts of GM crops on small farmers, the obstacles preventing farmers from gaining access to and successfully using GM technology, as well as what lessons countries can learn from each other. A critical element of the conference was determining how to better communicate these research findings to policymakers.

All conference information, including the presentations, press release, and more, are available here

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May 23, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, African agriculture, African conferences, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN ENVIRONMENT, ENVIRONMENT | Leave a comment

Saharan power plant to power Europe

In the UK yesterday the largest windfarm to date was switched on and there are plans to extend it. However, an article from 2008 caught my eye in Discover Magazine

European Union officials say they’re considering an ambitious plan to draw energy from the sun that beats down relentlessly on the Sahara. By building a solar power plant the size of Wales (a small area, compared to the vastness of the Sahara) and laying down high-voltage transmission cables, the EU could potentially capture enough clean energy to power the entire continent.

Here’s a project already funded
TRANS-CSP Trans-Mediterranean interconnection for Concentrating Solar Power

The TRANS-CSP study focuses on the interconnection of the electricity grid of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (EUMENA) with the purpose of supplying about 15 % of the European electricity demand by solar energy imports from the South by the year 2050. The conventional electricity grid is not capable of transferring large amounts of electricity over long distances. Therefore, a combination of the conventional alternate current (AC) grid with High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission technologies will be used in such a Trans-European electricity scheme.

Obviously there are pros and cons for the scheme, and it could also be said that the ones to profit are the European countries not African countries.   Note that the scheme is to meet Europe’s energy needs NOT Africa’s, and the energy needs of local people and African countries (including those whose land this will be built on) are not mentioned at all. This is inherently unfair. It seems to me to be yet another version of neo-colonialism.  I am greatly in favour of solar energy and renewable energy sources, but I am also stunned at the duplicity and arrogance displayed by Sarkozy, Brown and co in this proposal. I’ve already written about land-grabbing in Africa by foreign investors, now we see that African sunshine is also to benefit Europe whilst leaving Africans ‘powerless’.

Why should power-guzzling Europe have the right to do this?

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May 21, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN ENVIRONMENT, African power generation, African renewable energy, ENVIRONMENT | Leave a comment

Mali : Drought killing endangered desert elephants

There’s a sad article on CNN about the desert elephants in Mali. There are only 350-450 elephants left and they under great threat from the current drought.

The “last desert elephants in West Africa” have “adapted to survive in the harsh conditions” they face, Save the Elephants said Monday. But now, the group says, conditions have gone from bad to worse, and they are living “on the margin of what is ecologically viable.”

Save the Elephants distributed new pictures Monday that depict the devastating drought and the struggle for survival in Mali, one of the poorest nations in the world.

Read the full article

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May 21, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, African animals, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, African drought, African endangered species, AFRICAN ENVIRONMENT, ENVIRONMENT, Mali | Leave a comment

solar powered donkey carts

Continue reading

May 21, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN ENVIRONMENT, African power generation, African renewable energy, ENVIRONMENT | 4 Comments

Free resource : Steps Towards Learning, A guide to overcoming language barriers in children’s education

A new guide has been published by Save the Children UK which focuses on the plight of children worldwide who face the difficulty of starting school in a language they don’t understand.  Although the guide is not Africa specific it may be helpful to those advocating mother tongue education in African countries. At the moment it is only available in English.

In many countries of the world, large numbers of children start school, only to find their teachers are speaking to them in a language they don’t understand.

In other places, teachers start by communicating with children in their own language, but as soon as written words and numbers are introduced, teachers use a language children don’t understand.

Children learn to copy and often memorise the words and numbers, but don’t understand them and can’t apply them usefully.

In these situations, many children drop out of school altogether, while others fail their examinations and spend years repeating grades.

This guide summarises and explains what is known worldwide about the difficulties that children experience with unfamiliar school language.

It offers evidence, arguments and practical steps to help stop language preventing children from learning.

Download Steps Towards Learning: A guide to overcoming language barriers in children’s education (PDF 520KB)

May 20, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN EDUCATION, African free resources, African languages and education, EDUCATION | Leave a comment

e-learning Africa Conference Shows How ICTs Empower Education for All in Africa May 2009

eLearning Africa
4th International Conference on ICT for Development, Education and Training
May 27 – 29, 2009
www.eLearning-africa.com

eLearning Africa Conference Shows How ICTs Empower Education for All in Africa

Using examples from 60 countries, the 4th eLearning Africa conference, Africa’s largest event for learning technologies, will show how Information and Communication Technologies are helping African countries to reach the Millennium Goal of education for all. The eLearning Africa conference, which is to be held May 27th – 29th in Dakar, Senegal, will bring together ministers of education, senior government leaders, non-governmental organisations, school and university educators, developmental agencies and key business executives. They will exchange ideas, learn about new educational technologies and share best practices for introducing and expanding educational technology in their communities.

eLearning Africa will be officially opened by the President of the Republic of Senegal, His Excellency Abdoulaye Wade, followed by a panel of highly renowned eLearning experts and executives from organisations and companies such as NEPAD, UNESCO and NComputing. Beginning on Wednesday with 19 pre-conference events, the event will feature 60 sessions and 20 best practice demonstrations that cover current aspects of eLearning development in Africa.

A Focus on M-Learning
Mobile learning is of particular interest in Africa, given the number of mobile devices available and the lack of reliable terrestrial Internet access. eLearning Africa 2009 features many interesting practical examples, such as m-learning for health-care workers, initiated by the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Belgium; mobile learning opportunities by l’Ecole Nomade in France; a study by the University of South Africa on the use of Mxit; and a partner programme of the Mid Sweden University and the Open University of Tanzania that uses mobile phones to enhance in-service teacher training.

Affordable and reliable Internet access solutions remain a challenge for most education and training practitioners in Africa. Presentation sessions in which access is discussed will include input from the Senegalese Government, the French Foreign Office, Computer Aid International and AfrISPA.

Universities: Drivers for Innovation
A session on university experience in putting in place effective technology-enhanced learning will feature presentations from universities including Université Cheikh Anta Diop dé Dakar, Senegal; University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania; Université de Nouakchott, Mauritania; and École des Sciences de l’Information, Morocco. They and many others will provide first-hand accounts of the opportunities and challenges they face.

Now in its fourth year, eLearning Africa has established itself as the key event on ICT for development, education and training on the African continent. Its mission is to bring people together who are actively engaged in education and in the implementation of learning technologies in schools, universities, corporate training programmes as well as in education in the public sector.

Participants are policymakers such as Ministers of Education,
representatives from government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), development agencies and international organisations, senior executives from businesses, as well as practitioners from all fields of education. The conference will be held in both English and French.

Detailed information on the topics and the programme can be found at:
www.elearning-africa.com.

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May 20, 2009 Posted by | ACADEMIC, AFRICA, African conferences, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, African ICT, African ICT and education, African information technology, African internet, African IT, AFRICAN TECHNOLOGY, TECHNOLOGY | 2 Comments

African Health Monitor Jan-Jun 2009

The January -June issue of the bi-annual magazine ‘The African Health Monitor’ deals with non-communicable diseases. There are a number of articles in the magazine which point out that changing lifestyles in Africa have resulted in more chronic diseases.  As Dr Matshidiso Moeti states:

Heart disease, stroke, cancer,
diabetes and other chronic
diseases are often thought to be public
health problems of significance only
in high-income countries. In reality,
only 20% of chronic disease deaths
occur in high-income countries, while
80% occur in low- and middle-income
countries where most of the world’s
populations live.

Other issues covered in the magazine are mental health, substance abuse and living with disabilities.

Download the magazine here (pdf)

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May 19, 2009 Posted by | AFRICAN HEALTH, African papers reports, HEALTH | Leave a comment

Global Malaria Report 2008 – includes African case studies

I’ve been browsing through the various reports available at WHO Regional Office for Africa. One of the reports you may be interested in is the Global Malaria Report 2008 which you can download for free in pdf format. There are case studies of 30 high burden countries – the vast majority of which are in Africa. You can access these reports separately through the website if you don’t want to download the whole report.

Half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, and an estimated 247 million cases led to nearly 881 000 deaths in 2006. The advent of long-lasting insecticidal nets and artemisinin-based combination therapy, plus a revival of support for indoor residual spraying of insecticide, presents a new opportunity for large-scale malaria control. The World malaria report 2008 describes the global distribution of cases and deaths, how WHO-recommended control strategies have been adopted and implemented in endemic countries, sources of funding for malaria control, and recent evidence that prevention and treatment can alleviate the burden of disease. ::

Download the full report [pdf 4.9Mb]

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May 19, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN HEALTH, African malaria, African papers reports, HEALTH | Leave a comment

Democratic Republic of Congo : America and China Gain From DRC Mining Deals

Contributed by Dave Donelson

America and China Gain From DRC Mining Deals

by Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds, a novel of the Congo

While the eyes of the world are drawn to the brutal war over an estimated $200 million in annual illegal mineral revenues in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, negotiators for American and Chinese corporations are angling to control ten times that amount in mining contracts in Katanga Province.

Two multi-billion-dollar copper and cobalt contracts are currently being negotiated by the DRC Ministry of Mines. One is for Tenke Fungurume, which is managed by American mining goliath Freeport MacMoRan. It?s one of six existing contracts the DRC wants to renegotiate. The other is with two Chinese firms, Sinohydro Corp and China Railway Engineering Corp, and covers two under-developed mines being transferred from Katanga Mining Corp. Neither one is finalized as of this writing, but both are problematic from the standpoint of what they actually mean for the economic health of the DRC.

The American Deal

Freeport began shipping copper from Tenke Fungurume this year. The company expects the mine to produce 250 million lbs. of copper and 18 million lbs. of cobalt annually during the initial phase, with more than 400,000 tons of copper per year within five to seven years. At recently posted prices for copper ($4500 per ton) and cobalt ($30,000 per ton), this will generate some $2.7 billion in annual gross revenue at full production. When prices for the commodities rise?-as they surely will from today?s depressed levels?-this operation could easily gross $5 billion per year.

That?s not all profit, of course, but the margin is very high since production costs in the DRC are extremely low. Freeport projects that the net revenue generated by cobalt?-even at prices substantially below those achieved in the current market?-will more than cover the cost of recovering and shipping copper from Tenke. In fact, at $10 per pound (two-thirds the current price level) for cobalt, a 2007 feasibility study published in the African Review of Business and Technology says Tenke operating costs are actually negative $380 per ton for copper. At current price levels, in other words, Tenke can generate a minimum annual profit of $2.2 billion once the project reaches full production.

It should be noted that not all of that will flow to Freeport?s bottom line. The company owns a 57.75% stake in Tenke it acquired in 2008 when it bought Phelps Dodge. Another 24.75% of the project is owned by Lundin Mining, which had the original concession. The remaining 17.5% is owned by Gecamines, the DRC?s state-owned mining company. Freeport and Lundin are responsible for the total $1.75 billion cost of developing the mine. Subtracting Gecamine?s share of the profits (a not-inconsiderable $400 million), however, still gives Freeport and Lundin a nifty 100% annual return on that investment.

It?s no wonder that the DRC Ministry of Mines is asking for the contract to be renegotiated. The DRC wants to increase its share of the project to 45%, the level at which the deal was struck with Lundin in 1996. It also seeks to increase the signing bonus from $100 million to $250 million. The original agreement with the DRC was amended in 2005 to the current terms. The official line is that the new terms were necessary to provide the company a return commensurate with the risk it was assuming at the time, even though the agreement ending the Second Congo War had been signed in 2003 and the country?s first national elections were scheduled for 2006. The transitional period still saw substantial unrest, however, which supposedly justified the greater return.

The Carter Center says, though, that there were other factors at work:

?There are several reports that the political officer and temporary Charg? d?Affairs of the embassy was personally engaged in urging the President?s office to sign….The same official that is said to have actively lobbied for Phelps Dodge retired from the State Department in 2006. In September of that same year, she became Vice-President for Government Relations, Africa for Phelps Dodge, whose only major African interest is Tenke Fungurume. This official?s important role at the US embassy and the timing of the move have fueled suspicion on the part of DRC government officials and others regarding the interests of Western governments. At the very least it indicates obliviousness to the appearance of impropriety.?

As I mentioned earlier, Freeport acquired its stake in the project when it absorbed Phelps Dodge.

When the DRC requested a reversion to the old contract terms last year, Freeport responded with a simple ?no.? In a 2008 SEC filing, it said

?The Restated Agreements were negotiated transparently and approved by the Government of the DRC following extended negotiations, and we believe they comply with Congolese law and are enforceable without modifications. We are currently working cooperatively with the Ministry of Mines to resolve these matters while continuing with our project development activities.?

The hypocrisy is glaringly obvious: a ?contract is a contract? and can never be changed?-unless it is in the company?s interests to do so as it was in 2005. Subsequent statements have stuck to that position, although negotiations supposedly continue while Freeport ships copper and completes construction of the cobalt processing operation.

Also used to justify the one-sided contract are the expenditures made (mostly under terms of the 2002 Mining Code) for community support and infrastructure development in the region. There is no question that considerable economic benefit accrues to the DRC from Tenke, although nowhere near what the company claims. About 1,000 employees will be hired, with another 4,000 jobs indirectly created. Freeport is also spending on social programs for the local community as well as investing in the region’s infrastructure by upgrading roads, railways and a hydropower facility?-all items needed to make the operation successful. The DRC collects royalties, taxes, and other fees, too. It should be kept in mind, though, that all these expenditures?as helpful as they may be?are required by law. They?re also considered part of the project expenses, so are already included in the calculations for net profit.

If past is prologue, the Tenke Fugurame contract will eventually be revised. The DRC will get a higher stake (although nowhere near the 45% it?s requesting, much less the 51% that is fairly standard for similar contracts in South Africa and Zambia) in the project. Don?t expect Freeport to give without receiving, however. Watch for the Ministry of Mines to grant rights to another deposit in the region, agree to reimburse the company for its capital investment, or make some other major concession to get the deal done.

The Chinese Deal

The recently-announced copper/cobalt mining contract between the Democratic Republic of Congo and China–widely proclaimed as bringing $9 billion in development aid to the DRC–looks like another unfortunate deal for Congo. According to my back-of-the-envelope calculations, it is probably even more one-sided than Freeport McMoRan?s arrangement for Tenke Fugurume.

Last year, the Congolese Ministry of Mines announced that it had signed an agreement between China’s Exim Bank, the Kinshasa government, Congolese state mining company Gecamines, China’s Sinohydro Corp, and China Railway Engineering Corp forming a joint venture to develop the Mashamba West and Dikuluwe copper and cobalt deposits, concessions originally scheduled to be developed by Katanga Mining Ltd through a joint venture with Gecamines. The deposits are believed to hold ten million tons of copper and two million tons of cobalt.

While complete details of the contract are yet to be announced, what is known doesn?t look particularly profitable for the Congolese. On the surface, the deal sounds fine, with the Chinese agreeing to build $6 billion worth of roads and railroads and another $3 billion in mining infrastructure in return for rights to operate the mines. Gecamines is to own 32% of the venture, too, or nearly twice as large as the share it has in Tenke.

Using recent prices for copper ($4500/ton) and cobalt ($30,000/ton) and spreading production over the 25 year term of the deal, annual gross revenues of the mine will be $4.2 billion. Using the same operating cost assumptions as at Tenke, profits will be approximately $2.6 billion annually. Gecamines share could be $832 million.

The devil, though, is in the details. First, the $9 billion from the Chinese is not a gift?it?s a loan secured by the mines and to be repaid from the Congolese share of the operation?s profits. Generously assuming that the loan will be for the 25-year life of the project and carry an interest rate of only two percent (much less than I expect it will be), Gecamines will be on the hook for $540 million in annual debt service. That leaves only $292 million as the Congo?s share of the mine?s profits. By comparison, Gecamines?s deal with Freeport annually yields $100 million more.

Additionally, Gecamines has agreed to either give Katanga Mining deposits carrying nearly four million tons of copper and 200,000 tons of cobalt or pay the company $825 million as compensation for giving up the Mashamba West and Dikuluwe concessions. This additional cost, of course, further reduces the DRC?s take from the deal with China.

The IMF has objected to the deal on the basis that Congo is simply trading $11 billion in current debt (which the DRC hopes to have canceled) for $9 billion to the Chinese, and that the state guarantees of those loans are ill-advised at a time when the government can?t fund basic services, much less invest in the country?s growth. The IMF has said it might go along with the deal pending a study to make sure the mine?s reserves cover the cost of the infrastructure and if the terms are renegotiated.

The Chinese stand to gain in several ways from the deal as announced. In addition to their nearly $1.8 billion in annual profit from the mine, they?ll earn perhaps $4.5 billion in interest on the development loans?more if they carry an interest rate higher than two percent. There also looms the very large question of who will get the profits from the contracts to build the promised infrastructure. My assumption is that China’s Sinohydro Corp and China Railway Engineering Corp will be awarded those contracts on a no-bid basis, which means they?ll take home another billion or so in profits on the project.

It would seem to me that a better deal for Congo would be a straight-forward mining concession with the Chinese along the lines of those typically negotiated by Zambia and South Africa, where the parastatal companies get 51% of the operation. The infrastructure could be financed from those revenues, open-bid contracts for the roads, railroads, and power facilities let to the lowest bidders (maybe even Congolese companies), and funds would still be left over for the state general revenue coffers.

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More articles by Dave Donelson on Sociolingo’s Africa

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May 18, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, Africa china, Africa USA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN ENVIRONMENT, African mining, AFRICAN POLITICS, Congo, Democratic Republic of, ENVIRONMENT, POLITICS | Leave a comment

Polio in Africa 2009

An article on IRIN News reminds us that Polio is still a threat in many parts of Africa

Like a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, Nicksy Gumede-Moeletsi, a virologist who heads the sequencing section at the Polio Molecular Unit of South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), tracks her “criminal”, in this case a virus, by studying variations in the “genotypes” instead of fingerprints.

Read the full article

Another article features polio in Nigeria, and the hopes of health workers of eradicating the disease there.

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May 18, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN HEALTH, African polio, HEALTH, Nigeria | Leave a comment

Land-grabbing in Africa by foreign investors

There is a thought-provoking article on IRIN about a massive amount of land-grabbing in Africa.  You may also be interested in the analytical map in the article showing ‘land-grabbing in Africa by foreign investors‘.  The process seems equivalent to the colonial farming process. Huge ‘farms’ which are really industrial complexes are made up of annexed territories of ‘leased’ land linked to far-off markets.  Sounds familiar? Does it really matter? I think it does. It is the size and the manner of the annexation of lands which is definitely worrying both in its neo-colonial overtones and the impact on local people. The annexers argue that the land is idle and unused, but an overview of known situations show that mostly this is not the case. Wasn’t this a colonial argument too? – that local people did not know how to utilise their own land. The leasers involve Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, China and India. In the case of China there has often been an attempt to settle their own people in the leased land rather than using or training local farmers.

From the article here are just a few points:

  • Kenya:  proposal to lease a large chunk of the fertile Tanya River Delta land to Quatar which currently supports 150,000 farming families.
  • Mozambique: leased land to China (and resisted attempt to settle thousands of Chinese agricultural workers).
  • Madagascar: Negotiating with South Korea on the lease of 1.5 million hectares led to the conflict that overthrew government.
  • Malawi: China leased land for cotton plant.
  • Sudan: received huge foreign investments in agriculture. 75 deals made worth $3.8 billion in the last 8 years. 8 countries are involved.
  • Rwanda: announced a new programme to identify “unexploited“ arable land for foreign investors.
  • Republic of Congo: announced it would lease 10 million hectares of farmland to individual foreign farmers to boost its food security.

Read the full IRIN report here


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May 11, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, Africa china, African agriculture, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN ENVIRONMENT, African land rights, AFRICAN POLITICS, ENVIRONMENT, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, POLITICS, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sudan | 1 Comment

Literacy rate in African countries

The following table (click on the headline) is from UNESCO and is to be found at MSN Encarta.

Literacy Rate in African Countries

I’m working on a new table for this post, so check back soon please.

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May 8, 2009 Posted by | ACADEMIC, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, African literacy, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

New index ranking how well-prepared children are to succeed in school puts Chad last

In time for the US ‘Mother’s Day’ celebrations Save the Children is publishing its 10th annual ‘State of the World’s Mothers Report’. You can download the full report from here.

As part of the report Save the Children has compiled a new index which ranks how well-prepared children are to succeed in school. It studied 100 countries and looked at issues such as the number of primary school-aged children not attending school, under-5 survival rates, grade 1 repitition rates, female literacy and female fertility. In the new ranking Chad appears last, followed by Afghanistan, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau and Mali. In these countries 20% of children ‘do often suffer cognitive and physical impairments limiting their productivity and development, according to the report’.

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May 8, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN EDUCATION, AFRICAN HEALTH, African papers reports, EDUCATION, HEALTH | 1 Comment

African photo site

I’ve just found an African specific photo share site. On a quick look through it looks good with a range of pix for a lot of African countries. Some countries seem better represented than others. The Gambia set is particularly good.

Go to: http://africanphotos.gm/

Here is one of my favourites from The Gambia. I used to travel on this ferry across the River Gambia regularly when I lived in a village on the north bank.  Looking through The Gambia photos I see a lot of pix that I wish I had taken when I was there.

Another Gambia photo site is :http://www.accessgambia.com/photos.html
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May 8, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN ARTS AND CRAFTS, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, African photography, ARTS | Leave a comment

Solar water disinfection

While looking for some documents on water management and purification for a friend I came across the following article on Eldis  manuals and toolkits which you may  find interesting. One of the things I like about this manual is its mix of practicality and research. It is also full of photos and reflection, which makes an interesting read.

Solar water disinfection: a guide for the application of SODIS

Producing clean pathogen-free water using the sun, a plastic bottle and corrugated iron!

Authors: R. Meierhofer; M. Wegelin
Publisher: The SODIS Reference Center, 2002

Access to safe drinking water is a major issue faced by a large number of the world’s population. In an attempt to address this issue, multiple water processing methods have been developed. One such method is the Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) method: a simple, environmentally sustainable, low-cost solution for drinking water treatment at household level. It is aimed at people at risk of consuming microbiologically contaminated water. SODIS uses solar energy to destroy pathogenic micro-organisms causing water-borne diseases, thereby improving the quality of drinking water [adapted from author].

This manual provides guidance on the application of the SODIS method. It includes:

  • An introduction to water and the development of SODIS
  • Technical background and principles for the application of SODIS
  • Application in the field
  • Project implementation, including training and promotion

Diagrams, pictures and case studies are provided throughout the guide. In addition, promotional tools are provided such as flipchart posters, posters for display, short stories for radio, SODIS pamphlets, SODIS comic and a SODIS game to aid in the implementation of the method.

May 7, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN HEALTH, African training materials, African weather, HEALTH | 3 Comments

Call for papers : International Conference on Leadership Values in Africa, Nigeria Dec 2009

Please read to the bottom of the advert and respond accordingly to the conference organisers.

Deadline for submission of abstracts and panel proposals: July 30, 2009. Comments are closed for this post.

CALL FOR PAPERS
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON LEADERSHIP VALUES IN AFRICA
UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, NSUKKA
1 – 3 DECEMBER 2009

The Faculty of Arts, University of Nigeria, is
pleased to invite proposals for presentations on the
conference on Leadership values in Africa. This
theme is the first of five themes in the proposed
five-year research project: “RECONSTRUCTION OF
AFRICAN VALUES IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY.” Is it
possible to assess African indigenous leadership
values given the history of leadership in the
continent in the past decades? Could any such
findings be authentic in the face of the contact
with the outside world and the change of paradigms
for looking at social and cultural change? The
conference is intended to address these issues and
the coterminous linkage between good leadership and
development in human society. The dilemmatic and
elusive nature of development in Africa after
decades of self-rule and experimentation with
different versions of governance requires that
scholars of the social sciences, humanities and
others engage themselves in both re-interrogating
and re-assessing the nexus between leadership and
development in Africa. A crucial take-off point may
be re-examining the whole concept, process and
dynamism of leadership and its associated values and
development in Africa especially in relation to the
prevailing socio-economic and political worldviews
and processes ranging, for instance, from
globalisation, economic liberalization, democracy,
and universal human rights to current concerns with
energy, the environment and of course the global
economic recession. But such introspection should be
anchored on the notions and perspectives on
leadership and supportive social values in Africa
that have been pursued by scholars, development
practitioners and leaders.

The Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe, in “The Trouble
with Nigeria” identified leadership failure as the
bane of development in Nigeria and by implication in
most of Africa. As a matter of fact, even honest
African leaders like the late Nnamdi Azikiwe
(Nigeria), late Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana), and Nelson
Mandela (South Africa) had in the past pointed at
the leadership malaise in development in the
continent. While we may have gone beyond the
pejorative expression of Afro-pessimism or the crude
reference to Africa as the dark continent, Africa
still continues to present what may be called
daunting development challenges to the rest of the
world. It is instructive that the inability of most
African nations including Nigeria, Kenya, and
Zimbabwe to manage simple elections and husband
democracy underline the failure of both the modern
state and its associated modern leadership in
Africa.

One of the most poignant
illustrations of the modern African leader was
portrayed by the French scholar, Jean Bayart, who in
“The State in Africa: the politics of the belly,”
depicted the physique of the average African leader
as one with stomach protruding from excess eating.
In effect, African leaders are corrupt megalomaniac
figures whose physical shapes are distorted by
unbridled consumption fuelled by reckless dipping of
hands into the public till. This description may
ruffle some feathers yet it crucially calls
attention to the need to ascertain how this type of
leaders is representative of African leadership and
social values.

The critical examination of leadership values seems
imperative since it appears that development in
Africa is equally undermined by the unresolved
myriad of social and health problems in the
continent. Such problems whether in the domain of
public health (HIV/AIDS pandemic as typical), in the
realm of civil society where there seems a
disconnect between government and the people, or in
the sphere of service delivery and security are all
connected to the leadership structure.

Leadership values may be seen as both the outcome
and reflection of culture. In this wise,
development challenges cannot be divorced from the
cultures of the continent which in some quarters are
seen as inconsistent with progress particularly when
conceived more or less as Westernization. What is in
vogue in the social and human sciences is the
tendency to replicate Euro-Americanism as
development paradigm. But beyond this, and the
disenchantment of the conscientious African with
modernity and other viewpoints like it, there is a
glaring need to once again take a critical look at
our culture and the phenomenon of leadership in view
of the axiom that a people often end up with leaders
they deserve. Along this line of reasoning,
therefore, one wonders to what extent African
leaders are also representative of what Africans
need and true products of African values.  Aligned
to this quest is the need to re-interrogate extant
theories and viewpoints on leadership and their
consistency with the African value system and to
ruminate again on the extent to which African
culture can be seen as a bulwark to development or
an impediment to the evolvement of the modern state
in Africa.

Emanating partially from the above is the role and
place of sycophancy in the crisis of leadership and
leadership values in Africa. Considering the African
proverb that he who claps for a bad dancer asks for
more nauseating footsteps from him, one may ask: To
what extent has sycophancy or unexamined praise
singing – which in some instances may be seen as
akin to the use of royal bards in the courts of
kings in traditional Africa – played a role in the
evolvement of the modern African leader? More
critical for us here is examining also how this
phenomenon reproduces the typical modern African
leader and is resonant of the ideal leadership
values in Africa.

A cursory observation would reveal that the relative
failure of most African nations to develop has
created a scenario where the discourse of leadership
is in the front-burner of development discourse in
Africa and beyond. While these efforts to scrutinise
leadership have undoubted merit, there is a pressing
imperative to interrogate the extent to which
narratives of leadership in contemporary Africa are
consistent with the ideal leadership values which
characterise Africa both as a geographical entity
and a distinct social group in the world. The
conference on leadership values in Africa is
anchored on the foregoing observations and
reconfigured in the following sub-themes:

1.        Theoretical Issues in Leadership

v     Western Leadership Theories

v     African Leadership Issues

v     Gendered notions of Leadership

v     Other Theoretical Viewpoints on Leadership

2.      Leadership Values in Nigeria/Africa

v     Traditional Leadership Values

v     Modern Leadership Values

v     Integrating Modern and Traditional Leadership
Values

v     Sycophancy and Leadership in Africa

3.      Leadership and Development

v     Political Leadership

v     Leadership and Economy

v     Leadership and Religion

v     Leadership and Morals

v     Leadership and Tertiary Education in Africa

4.      Leadership and Sustainable Development

v     Social Acceptability of Leaders

v     Environmental Compartibility

v     Economic Benefits of Leadership

v     Leadership and Globalisation in Africa

v     New models of Leadership for Development in
Africa

In view of the recognition that the above issues are
not exhaustive of the broad theme of the conference,
the organisers welcome papers in other related
issues of leadership and leadership values in Africa
as well. We would also appreciate papers based on
detailed empirical examination of distinct cases of
leadership and social values in Africa and
gender-related issues on leadership.

Send abstracts of not more than 500 words to
<africanleadershipvalues@yahoo.com>

Deadline for submission of abstracts and panel
proposals: July 30, 2009

Conference fee: 2500 Naira (participants from Africa)
$50 (participants from outside Africa)

Accommodation:
C.E.C. University of Nigeria, from 4500Naira
Elrina Guest Houses (3 km from the campus), from
4500 Naira

Organizing Committee:
Dr. Egodi Uchendu
Dr. Pat Okpoko
Dr. Edlyn Anugwom

For further enquiries, do not hesitate to contact us:
Faculty of Arts Research Project, 2009 – 2014
University of Nigeria
Nsukka – NIGERIA
<africanleadershipvalues@yahoo.com>
http://www.unn.edu.ng/arts/

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May 6, 2009 Posted by | ACADEMIC, AFRICA, African Call for papers, African conferences, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN POLITICS, Nigeria, POLITICS | 1 Comment

Zimbabwe : Cholera outbreak 2009 map

I’ve been following the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe. Reliefweb is a good source of information and I found an excellent map on there which tracks the outbreak. You can access the map here (pdf)

As of 6th May 2009  90,070 cases have been diagnosed and there have been 4,230 deaths since August 2008.

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May 6, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA | Leave a comment

Mali : Dogon stone painters

This personal story seen on UNESCO Courier 2009 Number 2 is really worth looking up.

Stone is petrified speech, water is language laughing, the sown seed, a promised word: every element of reality is an integral part of Toro Tegu, currently spoken by some 5000 Dogons in the north of Mali.

Read the full article

mali03_250.jpg

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May 4, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, African art, AFRICAN ARTS AND CRAFTS, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, African languages, AFRICAN LINGUISTICS, ARTS, Mali | 1 Comment

Kenya : The Chanuka Express mobile outreach training initiative

See on the UNESCO Courier

A dozen facilitators, a pile of copies of an educational newspaper, a bus…sometimes it doesn’t take much to make thousands of schoolchildren more aware of sustainable development. In Kenya, the organizers of the “Chanuka Express” programme are inspiring underprivileged young people to become agents for change. Their motto: “Our life, our world”.
Read the full article

May 4, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN EDUCATION, African literacy, African non-formal education, EDUCATION, Kenya | Leave a comment

Burkina Faso : Koranic vs State Schools

OUAGADOUGOU, 22 April 2009 (IRIN) – In Burkina Faso’s predominantly Muslim northern region known as the Sahel, fewer than half of the some 150,000 school-aged children are enrolled in primary school versus the national average of 72 percent. Despite state efforts to boost participation in formal education, families in the north send their children to evening Koranic schools, or no school at all.

Read the full article


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May 1, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN EDUCATION, Burkina Faso, EDUCATION | Leave a comment

Medicinal plants boost livelihoods

The revision of WHO advice about the use of plants in the pharmaceutical industry is changing livelihoods of African communities and changing attitudes to traditional medicine. There is an excellent resource pack on medicinal plants (pdf download) from the CTA Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation. One issue that is raised in the resource pack is over-harvesting of natural resources. This will become more of a problem as communities realise the money-making potential of local plants.

There are a number of projects being developed to help communities develop medicinal products from plants. You will find a few of these below with links to news items and websites.

NAIROBI, 22 April (IRIN) – A project developing medicinal products from plants found in Kakamega forest, western Kenya, has transformed the livelihoods of nearby communities over the past few years, officials of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) have said.

A powder developed from one of the plants is used as a revitaliser, appetizer and clearer of hangovers: A group of farmers who have domesticated the “highly threatened” medicinal plant, known locally as mkombela (scientific name mondia whytei), used to collect and sell the roots locally.

Read the full article

Harnessing Africa’s medicinal plants to create new business opportunities for the rural poor

African farmers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are taking part in a social entrepreneurship project to cultivate medicinal plants for the pharmaceutical industry.

Some of the plants they will be growing will serve as food, high in protein and nutrition. Other plants could be used as treatments for diabetes, obesity and hypertension.

Read the full article

WHO traditional medicine strategy

WHO traditional medicine strategy 2002-2005
Arabic [pdf 1.3Mb]
Chinese [pdf 17.7Mb]
English [pdf 500kb]
Russian [pdf 952kb]

The main objectives of the WHO Traditional medicine activities are:

  • To facilitate integration of traditional medicine into the national health care system by assisting Member States to develop their own national policies on traditional medicine.
  • To promote the proper use of traditional medicine by developing and providing international standards, technical guidelines and methodologies.
  • To act as a clearing-house to facilitate information exchange in the field of traditional medicine.

The objective of the strategy is to discuss the role of traditional medicine in health care systems, current challenges and opportunities and WHO’s role and strategy for traditional medicine. Many Member States and many of WHO’s partners in traditional medicine (UN agencies, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and global and national professional associations) contributed to the Strategy and have expressed their willingness to participate in its implementation. The Strategy was reviewed by the WHO Cabinet in July 2001 and, based on Cabinet comments, has since been revised. The Strategy was printed in January 2002. Since this is at present a working document, the proposed objectives and activities have started to be implemented in early 2002 and the Strategy will be widely disseminated. We understand that the situation in the use of traditional medicine is quite different from country to country and region to region. For example, in AFRO and in WPRO, the Member States consider that traditional medicine is a priority for health care in their regions, but in other regions the role of traditional medicine is treated as complementary or alternative medicine.

For more information contact:

Dr Xiaorui Zhang
Traditional Medicine, Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy (EDM)
WHO/Geneva
Fax: +41 22 791 4730
E-mail: trm@who.int

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May 1, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, African development, AFRICAN ECONOMICS, African economy, African employment, AFRICAN ENVIRONMENT, African Herbs, ECONOMICS, ENVIRONMENT, Kenya | Leave a comment

WEST AFRICA: Combating world’s lowest literacy rates

WEST AFRICA: Combating world’s lowest literacy rates

DAKAR, 22 April 2009 (IRIN) – Illiteracy rates in West Africa are the highest in the world, cramping development and weakening citizens’ power to effect socio-economic and political change, say education agencies, who are calling on governments and donors to step up literacy and education efforts.

Sixty-five million West African adults – 40 percent of the adult population – cannot read or write according to a new study, ‘From closed books to open doors – West Africa’s literacy challenge’.

Of the 10 countries with the world’s lowest recorded adult – 15 and older – literacy rates, seven are in West Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone, the report says.

“Tens of millions of non-literate women, men and young people in West Africa are trapped behind closed doors, excluded from the living standards, educational opportunities, and democratic power that are their rights,” said Mahamadou Cheick Diarra, coordinator of the African Platform for Adult Education (Pamoja).

The study was done by Africa-based education networks the African Network Campaign for Education for All (ANCEFA), Pamoja, and non-profits Oxfam International and ActionAid.

“People [in West Africa] cannot access jobs or economic or technical opportunities that have been shown all over the world to be driving development,” said the report’s author, Oxfam West Africa advocacy coordinator Caroline Pearce.

Impact

Every year of education raises a person’s income potential by at least 10 percent, according to the UN-led Education for All coalition’s 2009 monitoring report.

In Niger, Nigeria and Senegal the mortality rates among children of mothers with secondary education were about half those among children with uneducated mothers, EFA says.

“Investing in literacy is a better value investment than a bank bailout; it is the key to development,” said Gorgui Sow, ANCEFA coordinator.

An educated population will also show stronger support for democracy, the report says. A recent study of 18 African countries found that education level was the most important factor determining levels of support for democracy and rejection of non-democratic alternatives.

Education activist and former child soldier in Sierra Leone, Ishmael Beah, told IRIN: “Education is not only something to get a career or change your socio-economic status, but it is a way you can begin to understand your government and demand more of it.”

Yet in many cases in West Africa, even political actors lack the basic literacy and numeracy skills that are basic tools of planning, fundraising and reporting, the report says.

Progress

West African countries have made progress, says Pearce – while they are the lowest in the world today, they are still higher than in the 1990s.

Some West African states, including Benin and Liberia, mention literacy in their national development plans; others, such as Benin, Burkina Faso and Mali, have adopted non-formal education policies. But literacy commitments within these plans tend to be narrow in scope and fragmented, says the report.

“These commitments must not just be written in a policy but must be prioritised and accorded appropriate budgets,” said Pearce.

Where is the money?

Education tends to be the biggest item in West African government budgets, according to Pearce, but no West African government is meeting the 7 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) targets ministers pledged in 2005. Spending as a proportion of GDP ranges from 1.7 percent in Guinea to 6.6 percent in Cape Verde.

The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) meanwhile has called on governments to commit 20 percent of national budgets to education, which could fund literacy training for 6.5 million people if sustained over three years.

But even this is not enough, Pearce said. “Were Liberia to devote its entire government budget to primary education, it would still spend only US$220 per child versus the United States’s current $9,138,” she said.

Alice Tiendrébéogo, director of National Funds for Literacy and Non-Formal Education in Burkina Faso says the government cannot keep up with people’s demand for literacy training.

“We can only meet about 60 percent of the requests we receive…We plan to increase literacy rates to 60 percent by 2015, which requires US$181 million, but since we were created we’ve only been able to leverage just over a quarter of that.”

Total education aid to ECOWAS from Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development donors rose from $500 million in 2005 to $1.2 billion in 2007, but 60 percent of this went to Nigeria, Ghana and Mali.

“Rich country aid to education in West Africa in 2007 was equal to just one per cent of what the US government spent on bailing out [insurance company] AIG alone,” Pearce said.

When supporting education donors should pay more heed to literacy, the report says.

“Unless we see a real step-change in the pace of [literacy funding] we’re looking at vast swathes of populations being shut off from development opportunities.”

Adult literacy rates
(as percentage)
Benin                 40
Burkina Faso       26
Cape Verde        83
Cote d’Ivoire       49
Ghana                64
Guinea               29
Mali                    23
Senegal              42
Sierra Leone       27
Source: UNESCO EFA Monitoring Report 2009

aj/np[END]

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May 1, 2009 Posted by | AFRICA, AFRICAN COUNTRIES, AFRICAN EDUCATION, African literacy, Benin, Burkina Faso, EDUCATION, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone | Leave a comment

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