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Posted on on May 25th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

EcoAgriculture Partners
EP Newsletter

Challenges of food security, poverty, climate change, ecosystem degradation, and biodiversity loss have risen to the top of the African development agenda. To address these issues, African leaders are seeking to move beyond zero-sum strategies that solve one problem but exacerbate others. The Inaugural Summit for Sustainability in Africa, during the 24th and 25th of May and convened by The Government of Botswana in partnership with Conservation International (CI), is bringing together these leaders in government, business, and other institutions to design strategies in the pursuit of environmentally sustainable economic development that is mutually beneficial to African nations and their investment partners.

This Summit is a recognition of the unprecedented demands being placed on the rural landscapes of Sub-Saharan Africa – for smallholder livelihood security, for commercial agricultural enterprises, for urban demands of food, fibre, and fuel products, and for biodiversity conservation to ensure the provision of ecosystem services. However, in the landscapes prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa dominated by agriculture, new approaches and practices to satisfy the multiple demands for people, food, and nature must be explored. Integrated landscape management approaches offer a strategy for conserving natural capital and generating ecosystem services, while also sustaining diverse agricultural production systems and livelihood strategies.

EcoAgriculture Partners and the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative place great importance on the issues with which these leaders are grappling over the course of the Summit’s two days. To provide an overview of integrated landscape management approaches, EcoAgriculture Partners in collaboration with Conservation International, prepared a Quick Reference Guide to contribute to the Summit dialogue, presenting a pathway towards achieving sustainability in agricultural landscapes.

Moreover, Dr. Sara J. Scherr, President and CEO of EcoAgriculture Partners, is participating in the Summit. She facilitated a breakout session on Thursday afternoon, focused on transitioning agriculture to a more sustainable system that protects natural capital and rural livelihoods alike. The outcomes of the Summit will be reflected in what organizers envision as a concluding Gaborone Declaration. The Summit’s emphasis on innovative public-private will then take these messages to the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development next month in Brazil.

Visit the Summit website at for more information and to watch the livestream of the event from 9:00-16:00 Central African Time on the 25th of May.

Follow the discussion on Twitter: @ConservationOrg@BWGovernment; and @ecoagpartners. Join the conversation with #sustainafrica.

To learn more, read the attached Quick Reference Guide on Integrated Agricultural Landscape Approaches. Please also find an information brief on the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative’s work in Africa.

For more information about EcoAgriculture Partners’ participation in the event, and to for any inquiries regarding theLandscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative, please contact Dr. Erik Nielsen, Senior Manager for Knowledge Sharing and Policy Advocacy at  Or visit our website at


Posted on on February 3rd, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

The kernel of the future – the projected five world leaders – are in trouble. With the US and China in a tiff because of Taiwan (arm sales by US manufacturers) and Tibet (a visit with the Dalai Lama), now South Africa, one of the three IBSAs that met with the G2 in Copenhagen, shows sings of 21st century immaturity. You just cannot go on living by Zulu rules if you want to lead your people out of poverty. Tiger Woods learned that very very fast that the limelight of world media will do you in, and even oil rich monarchs do not father now 20 children anymore. The stories about Zuma’s ascent in South Africa were plenty and his people we know told us so when it was rumored that he is in line to take over his country’s helm. It seems that Mandela’s South Africa deserves better – so does the 15 States group of Southern Africa { }, and black Sub-Sahara Africa at large. We said before, South Africa is the third IBSA not alone, but as the symbol of all that immense Sub-Sahara black chunk of resources rich land and its one billion people that have the potential of evolving into next great consumers market to drive their own economy and the world economy. To this mass of people, the South African President must be an example and our prejudice that we knowingly attempt to show by this posting, calls for an exemplary leader for South Africa – someone fit to try on Mandela’s shoes.

This week the African Union rejected the attempt of Libya’s rambling Gaddafi to hold on to the chairmanship of Africa for another year, and voted instead to give the position to Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika. We attach the story about that event at the end of this posting, as we focus on the further ramblings by a Libyan-sponsored group of African traditional leaders from an unnamed French speaking African country, who crowned Qaddafi “King of Kings.” Africa seems to react indeed with understanding to the fact that the world is changing into a 7 to 10 countries structure and that Africa wants one of its own, and that means not Qaddafi, to be part of this structure – a modern man rather then a traditional chieftain – neither do they think anymore that the position of leader in Addis Ababa belongs to a Mediterranean North African settler. They want a black leader – but hiding under a Zulu mantle, and invoking rules of the desert, simply  can not do anymore.

South Africa’s President Sows (Another) Sex Scandal.

Theunis Bates Contributor, February 2, 2010.
John Edwards might have reason to feel a little jealous of Jacob Zuma right now. The South African president has faced many accusations of sleazy behavior during his 20-year-long political career, from corrupt business dealings (the charges were withdrawn) to having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman (which he admitted). Yet his popularity in South Africa appears to be surviving even the latest addition to his scandal sheet: the revelation that last year he fathered a child – rumored to be his 20th – with a woman who is neither his fiancee nor one of his three current wives.

According to South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper, Sonono Khoza, 39 – the daughter of Irvin Khoza, the chief organizer of the 2010 soccer World Cup in South Africa and a close friend of Zuma’s – gave birth to a girl in October, three months before the president wed for the fifth time. The paper added that Zuma was believed to have paid his former lover “inhlawulo,” a traditional Zulu form of compensation handed over when a child is born out of wedlock.

The African National Congress issued a statement Monday confirming that Jacob Zuma, pictured, fathered a daughter out of wedlock. The child, born last year, is rumored to be the South African president’s 20th offspring.

Opposition politicians condemned the African National Congress leader’s bed-hopping antics as unpresidential. “We recommend Zuma goes for sex addiction therapy as Tiger Woods did,” said Christian Democrat Kenneth Meshoe.

Other parliamentarians pointed out that Zuma is sending the wrong message to his fellow countrymen and women, about 5 million of whom are infected with HIV/AIDS – the highest number of any nation in the world. Although the president was praised for increasing the availability of lifesaving anti-retroviral drugs after his election last year, opposition parties say his behavior is now undermining campaigns to raise awareness of the benefits of condom use and faithfulness.

“South Africa now has a president who, both through his words and actions, is doing similar damage to the struggle against HIV/AIDS – a life-and-death struggle for millions of South Africans,” said Helen Zille, leader of the Democratic Alliance. “President Zuma’s behavior directly contradicts the government’s campaign against multiple sexual partners, and the inherent AIDS risk in having unprotected sex.”

Zuma, who defends his right to have more than one wife as part of his Zulu culture, has yet to comment on the revelations, although the ANC issued a statement Monday confirming that he had fathered a child.

“There is nothing wrong that the president has done. There is nothing shameful when two adults have a relationship,” said ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu. “By being involved with any other person, President Zuma is not guilty of any offense and he has not breached our constitution or any of our laws.”

With Zuma’s approval ratings still sitting comfortably above 50 percent, most ordinary South Africans seem disposed, at least for now, to agree with that verdict.


After Losing a Post, Qaddafi Rebukes the African Union
February 1st, 2010,

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, delivered a rambling rebuke of fellow African heads of state Sunday after they chose to replace him as chairman of the African Union and failed to endorse his push for the creation of a United States of Africa.

“I do not believe we can achieve something concrete in the coming future,” said Colonel Qaddafi, before introducing President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi as his successor at the African Union’s annual summit meeting, held in Addis Ababa. “The political elite of our continent lacks political awareness and political determination. The world is changing into 7 or 10 countries, and we are not even aware of it.”

South Africa, Ethiopia and Nigeria were among the countries opposing Colonel Qaddafi’s attempts to form a continental government, which many view as impractical given the political and economic disparities in Africa.

Colonel Qaddafi argued that individual African states are too weak to negotiate with major powers like the European Union, the United States and China. His efforts to become the first African leader to win another one-year term as chairman of the African Union were thwarted by a push for Mr. Mutharika, 75, by the 15-member Southern African Development Community.

The Libyan leader also complained that such summit meetings were boring, that his colleagues were too long-winded and that he often was not informed of African Union decisions.

Colonel Qaddafi did not leave the lectern before giving the microphone to an unnamed representative of a Libyan-sponsored group of African traditional leaders who had crowned him “King of Kings” in a ceremony in 2008.

The representative, bearing a golden scepter and trailed by an aide fanning him with a large feather, spent much of his address praising Colonel Qaddafi.

“You have the African people with you,” said the man, who spoke in French and did not identify himself. “This is what is important, not politicking. It is politicians who have destroyed us.”


Posted on on August 3rd, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (

Niger: UN Secretary-General urges restraint ahead of referendum

Less bustle at a market in Niger’s capital Niamey, as some heed calls for a strike to protest a constitutional referendum.
31 July 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged the people of Niger to refrain from violence and exercise the utmost restraint, days before they vote on a controversial referendum to change the national constitution to allow the current President to run for a third term in office.
Mr. Ban “reiterates his support for an inclusive process to resolve the current crisis peacefully and in conformity with the country’s democratic values,” according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.

On Tuesday Niger is staging a referendum that could endorse a constitutional amendment on presidential term limits and allow incumbent Mamadou Tandja to run for a third consecutive term.

Mr. Ban said he was concerned that the referendum was taking place, “despite sharp differences among the country’s political stakeholders,” and he urged all sides in the impoverished West African country to show restraint.

“The United Nations stands ready to support initiatives that would help resolve the current situation in a peaceful and sustainable manner,” he added.


Posted on on July 12th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (

If President Obama wanted to show Africa that he appreciates those states that made democracy a way of governing, he had just two choices before him – these were Ghana and Botswana.

His clear intent was to go to Sub-Sahara, or black Africa, as this is the area from which people were brought to America as slaves, but these people contributed immensely to the powerhouse America has   become – so, stopping for 21 hours in Accra, with his wife, children and mother in law – descendants of slaves – he also spoke to America – see that is part of our roots – no less then Europe!

His previous trip to the African continent was to Cairo – but that was clearly a trip to the Arab world – Egypt and Saharan Africa are part of that world and not part of black Africa, even though in L’Aquila he had to shake the hand of Libya’s Muamar Gaddafi whom the States of all Africa appointed as the head of the African Union. Clearly that meeting had nothing to do with democracy nor with roots of America – even though it had one moment of grace – Libya, for whatever reasons, like South Africa and Brazil, are states that could have developed nuclear arms, but withdrew from doing so.

The stopover in Accra was, we think so, the only one positive event of this week-long Presidential trip overseas. This was a redeeming grace for the week and highlighted the statement that the President will in the future look forward to a decrease in large Summits that are too big to produce any good. From our point of view in effect counterproductive and just an increase of unjustifiable CO2 emissions.

We wonder even if the increase in the figure of an additional $5 Billion earmarked for Africa by the donors of the OECD could not have have been achieved in phone calls or by e-mails to Canada and the EU.


Obama Wins More Food Aid but Presses African Nations on Corruption

Jason Reed/Reuters
President Obama and the first lady greeted President John Atta Mills of Ghana and his wife, Ernestina Naadu Mills, left, in the capital, Accra, on Friday.

Obama Wins More Food Aid but Presses African Nations on Corruption
Group of 8 powers meeting in L’Aquila, Italy, for larger donations to the aid effort, citing his own family’s experiences in Kenya. As a result, the initiative grew from $15 billion over three years, which was pledged coming into the summit meeting, to $20 billion.

At a news conference afterward, Mr. Obama said that when his father came to the United States, his home country of Kenya had an economy as large as that of South Korea per capita. Today, he noted, Kenya remains impoverished and politically unstable, while South Korea has become an economic powerhouse.

“There had been some talk about the legacies of colonialism and other policies by wealthier nations,” he said, “and without in any way diminishing that history, the point I made was that the South Korean government, working with the private sector and civil society, was able to create a set of institutions that provided transparency and accountability and efficiency that allowed for extraordinary economic progress, and that there was no reason why African countries could not do the same.”

He also criticized the culture of corruption in some African countries, saying that those who wanted to start a business or get a job there “still have to pay a bribe.” While wealthy nations must help, he said, poorer countries “have an obligation” to reform themselves.

Mr. Obama said his thinking had been affected in part by conversations with his relatives who still lived in Kenya. “They themselves are not going hungry, but live in villages where hunger is real,” he said. “And so this is something that I understand in very personal terms.”

Other American presidents have called on African countries to take more responsibility for their countries’ problems and have pressed them to fight corruption, but none with Mr. Obama’s background. Just one generation removed from Africa himself, he occupies a powerful place in the African consciousness.


“No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top, or the head of the port authority is corrupt. No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. That is not democracy, that is tyranny, and now is the time for it to end.”
– PRESIDENT OBAMA,     on the need for reform in Africa.


Obama Delivers Call for Change to a Rapt Africa

Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
President Obama addressed the Ghanaian Parliament at the Accra International Conference Center on Saturday.
President Obama traveled in Africa as a potent symbol of a new era but also as a messenger with a theme of responsibility.

Text of Obama’s Speech in Ghana

Obama in Africa: Welcome Back, Son. Now Don’t Forget Us.



Posted on on May 26th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (

The US Chamber of Commerce has commissioned from Baird’s Communications Management Consultants (Baird’s CMC) in partnership with the Africa Business Initiative, 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.

The report can be found at:

Among the conclusions I found:

“USA Inc. is more interested in Africa than before, because the African market appears increasingly attractive, but Africa has tough competition and high hurdles for US investment. Education is at the top of the US corporate wish list for Africa; ‘educate your people so that we can employ them.’

The African countries that hold most interest are South Africa and some countries in the North, like Egypt; there are also some pockets of interest in West Africa, most notably Ghana, Nigeria and to some extent Angola; while some in the South (Botswana and Mozambique) and East (Uganda and Kenya), are also being watched.”


The report is in two parts:

Part One: Understand how US corporations view Africa as an investment destination and what their requirements are for investing in Africa on the same scale as their investments in the rest of the developing world.

Part Two: The response of African political and government leaders to these private sector views will be telling; what is the conversation about FDI behind government’s closed doors, when policy is made?


Why has Africa not attracted more interest from the U.S. business community?

Rule of law — The rule of law does not prevail to the degree required to make Africa an attractive investment destination. This applies to corporate, societal, and criminal law

Attraction — While the enormous natural resources are an attraction, Africa does not offer a sufficiently large middle class of consumers or show consistent economic growth that could promise a future market. Most African countries are small and have poor markets, and there are barriers to regional markets–such as taxes and the freedom of movement of people and goods

Risks versus rewards— Given the currently perceived risks in Africa, the rewards have to be very high to make it worthwhile to invest. Presently, U.S. corporations say that there are very few visible promises of future returns high enough to justify significant interest in investing

Supportive business framework–Transportation and communications infrastructure, trained or trainable human resources, and equitable trade and employment practices are insufficient to support corporate investment

A welcoming environment— African countries are not doing a sufficient job of providing education and health services to the potential workforce, which makes the potential hire-able local insufficient to support investment.


From the   angle we found the most important comment to be:  

“Africa may want to consider the benefits of encouraging US Corporations whose stated desire is to employ Africans, unlike others who merely exploit African mineral resources without contributing to local employment. Africa may also benefit in the long term from the US approach of skills transfer and technology development, provided that its intellectual property is protected.” This obviously requires African leaders to help educate their people which might then also lead to the obvious requirement to allow in new spirits such as more democratic stiles of government and distribution of wealth produced from this more intimate interaction with the outside world and we hope that this can be agreed upon for a true benefit of Africa.

If this study could open African eyes to such potentialities, then the study might indeed provide the positive basis for moving Africa away from the present dead point where the export of commodities such as oil, minerals, and diamonds, are the one way connections that masquerades as business relations between African governments and US corporations. On the other hand, the US public will have to allow also the opening of the US market to goods manufactured in Africa.All of this while US corporations become also investors in the creation of a more developed African internal market.

The report was brought to our attention by   Fabiane Dal-Ri   –  fabianedalri at


Posted on on October 22nd, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

U.S. agrees to debt-for-nature swap to preserve Peru rainforests.

In a bid to preserve some of Peru’s biologically diverse rainforests, the United States agreed this week to a $25 million debt-for-nature swap with the country, Peru’s second since 2002. Over the next seven years, in exchange for erasing millions of their debt, Peru will fund local non-governmental organizations dedicated to protecting tropical rain forests of the southwestern Amazon Basin and dry forests of the central Andes.

“This agreement will build on the success of previous U.S. government debt swaps with Peru and will further the cause of environmental conservation in a country with one of the highest levels of biodiversity on the planet,” said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

Other debt-for-nature agreements have already been brokered with Bangladesh, Belize, Botswana, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, and the Philippines.

This week’s swap makes Peru the largest beneficiary of such deals with the U.S., with more than $35 million dedicated to environmental conservation in the country.


Posted on on August 20th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (


Africa mourns loss of a leader unafraid to speak his mind

One Sunday in late June, Levy Mwanawasa, the Zambian president who died yesterday aged 59, was on the eve of the most momentous day of his career.He had been the first…
Aug 20 2008, By Tom Burgis, Financial Times
Zambian president dies in France

Levy Mwanawasa, the Zambian president who was laid low by a stroke hours before he was…would like to inform the nation that our president, his Excellency Dr Levy Mwanawasa, died this morning at 10.30am at Percy Military Hospital,” Rupiah Banda…
Aug 19 2008, By Tom Burgis in Johannesburg, site
Zambian leader’s health worsens

The health of Levy Mwanawasa, the ailing Zambian president who has been a sharp critic of Robert Mugabe, his Zimbabwean counterpart, has deteriorated, his deputy…
Aug 18 2008, By Tom Burgis in Johannesburg, site
Zambian mystery

The fate of Levy Mwanawasa, Zambia’s president, was last night shrouded in confusion amid reports that he had died in a Paris hospital after suffering a stroke…
Jul 04 2008, By Tom Burgis in Johannesburg, Financial Times
Zambia refutes rumours of president’s death

Zambia on Thursday moved to end the confusion surrounding the fate of Levy Mwanawasa, dismissing reports that the president had died in a Paris hospital after suffering a stroke.”These are false and malicious rumours…
Jul 04 2008, By Tom Burgis in Johannesburg, site
International pressure on Mugabe grows

…Mugabe if he claims victory in Friday’s poll.In some of the toughest words on Zimbabwe yet from an African leader, Levy Mwanawasa, the Zambian president and current chairman of the Southern African Development Community, described the situation…
Jun 24 2008, By James Blitz, Tom Burgis and William Wallis, Financial Times
International pressure to replace Mugabe grows

…Mugabe if he claims victory in Friday’s poll.In some of the toughest words on Zimbabwe yet from an African leader, Levy Mwanawasa, the Zambian president and current chairman of the Southern African Development Community, described the situation…
Jun 24 2008, By James Blitz, Tom Burgis and William Wallis, Financial Times
Global pressure to replace Mugabe grows

…Mugabe if he claims victory in Friday’s poll. In some of the toughest words on Zimbabwe yet from an African leader, Levy Mwanawasa, the Zambian president and current chairman of the Southern African Development Community, described the situation…
Jun 23 2008, By James Blitz, Tom Burgis and William Wallis, site
Africa must act to avoid being engulfed by Zimbabwe’s disaster

…President Paul Kagame is among the first to raise his head above the parapet, joining Botswana’s Ian Khama and Zambia’s Levy Mwanawasa in a growing band of African leaders who are prepared to condemn a tyrant. Not only has Robert Mugabe put southern…
Jun 25 2008, By Michael Holman and Greg Mills, site
Harare buffeted by winds of change blowing through region

…sea-change in the thinking of the 14- nation Southern African Development Community.Regional diplomats indicate that Levy Mwanawasa, Zambia’s president, and Ian Khama, Botswana’s new leader, are impatient with the region’s traditional reverence for…
May 01 2008, By Alec Russell in Cape Town, Financial Times


Africa mourns loss of a leader unafraid to speak his mind.

By Tom Burgis

Published: August 20 2008 03:00 | Last updated: August 20 2008 03:00

One Sunday in late June, Levy Mwanawasa, the Zambian president who died yesterday aged 59, was on the eve of the most momentous day of his career.

He had been the first to break the longstanding deference of African rulers towards Robert Mugabe, condemning the abuses that had culminated in the Zimbabwean autocrat claiming victory in a discredited election. As early as March last year, Mwanawasa had referred to the “sinking Ti-tanic” that was Zimbabwe’s inflation-battered economy.

Now, as the serving chair of the southern African bloc, the retiring former lawyer would carry the hopes of many Zimbabweans into an African Union summit in Egypt at which Mr Mugabe would try to stare down his counterparts into legitimising his flawed triumph.

For a man most at ease in small gatherings, assiduously reading his briefing papers or escaping to the family farm for the planting season, the ordeal ahead was immense. Alphabetical seating by country was to have put him next to Mr Mugabe.

It proved too much. Always in poor health since the car crash 17 years earlier that left him with slurred speech, Mwanawasa suffered a stroke. Even as he was flown to the Paris hospital where he would die seven weeks later, the summit was welcoming Mr Mugabe back to the fold, thwarting the efforts of a handful of Mwanawasa’s like-minded peers.

The second son of 10 siblings, Mwanawasa was born in Mufulira, near the Congolese border, in 1948, 16 years before Zambia’s independence from Britain.

A crusading legal career established his public profile. When the one-party state of Kenneth Kaunda unravelled into elections in 1991, Frederick Chiluba, the victorious leader of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, appointed Mwanawasa as vice-president.

In 2001, disillusioned with the pervasive corruption of the Chiluba regime, Mwanawasa turned on – and ousted – his mentor. Within weeks he had stripped his predecessor of immunity from prosecution. A London court later found that Mr Chiluba had salted away $46m (€31m, £25m) of public funds.

Mwanawasa’s anti-graft offensive won him the allegiance of international donors who flooded state coffers with aid. China came calling too, tempted by some of the world’s richest copper deposits. Economic growth rose from just over 3 per cent a year when he took office to 6 per cent last year.

Yet, as his critics point out, about seven in every 10 Zambians still live on less than $2 a day. “Wealth has trickled downwards but it has not trickled outwards to the rural areas,” said a European diplomat in Lusaka. “That challenge is only just beginning.”

It is not clear who will take up that challenge. Mwanawasa avoided anointing an heir. His death has thrown his party into turmoil as cabinet ministers who thought they had three more years to jockey for position face an election within three months. The discord may open a window for Michael Sata, the opposition leader who came second when Mwanawasa won a second term in 2006 and who has lambasted the government’s fiscal orthodoxy.

Those who knew Mwanawasa, who had six children with his wife Maureen and two from a previous marriage, describe a man whose unspectacular oratory masked a deep conviction.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwe’s opposition, yesterday lamented the death of “a good friend and comrade”. He added: “Sadly, he has left us at this most trying time.”



Posted on on July 16th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

UN Lets China Import African Ivory As It Did For Japan In 1999.

ELIANE ENGELER, Associated Press, July 15, 2008 from GENEVA.

A U.N. panel granted China permission today to import elephant ivory from African government stockpiles despite opposition from some countries and environmental groups.

The standing committee overseeing the U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, voted 9-3 with two abstentions that China qualified for the exception needed for the one-time auction because it has dramatically improved its enforcement of ivory rules.

Ivory trade was banned globally in 1989, but reviving elephant populations allowed African countries to make a one-time sale a decade later to Japan, the only country which had previously won the right to import. Now, about after another 10 years, China joins the infamy.

Last year, CITES authorized Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe to make a second sale of 108 tons of government stocks.

The body’s spokesman, Juan Carlos Vasquez, said after today’s vote that China and Japan would bid for their share of ivory at an auction later this year.

The stocks approved for sale include around 44 tons from Botswana, 9 tons from Namibia, 51 tons from South Africa and 4 tons from Zimbabwe.

CITES Secretary-General Willem Wijnstekers said the body will closely supervise the sale.

“We will continue monitoring the Chinese and Japanese domestic trade controls to ensure that unscrupulous traders do not take this opportunity to launder ivory from illegal origin,” he said in a statement.

China was pleased with the decision. “China has strived for this status for a long time,” said Wan Ziming, a member of the Chinese delegation.

Still, there was opposition to China’s inclusion in the latest auction from African countries Ghana and Kenya, which joined Australia in trying to block the decision. Those in favour included Britain, the European Union and Japan.

“It’s very evident that China has made an enormous commitment,” Tom Milliken, a senior investigator at Traffic, the world’s largest wildlife trade monitor, said Monday. “Seizures are occurring at a very fast clip these days. The government is putting a lot more in enforcement efforts.”

Mr. Wan said the Chinese would do their best to ensure that “illegal ivory cannot enter into the legal market.”

But some environment groups disagreed and said their case was strengthened by the Chinese government’s revelation that it lost track of 121 tons of ivory over a dozen years that probably was sold on illegal markets.

China told the CITES in 2003 that the “shortfall” – equal to the tusks from about 11,000 dead elephants – was accumulated between 1991 and 2002. The Associated Press obtained the document last week from the Environmental Investigation Agency, a watchdog based in Washington and London that was seeking to prevent China from gaining permission to trade ivory.

Allan Thornton, the agency’s chairman, said last week that China had left too many questions unanswered to be given the right to import. He said trading of ivory – a booming black market commodity, with tusks, jewellery and trinkets bringing in millions of dollars for smugglers and sellers since the 1989 ban – was “out of control.”

The agency said more than 20,000 elephants a year are killed illegally in Africa and Asia for the ivory black market, and that Chinese nationals have been implicated in illegal ivory seizures in more than 20 African nations.

Mr. Milliken, who was part of CITES’ original mission to China in 2005, disagreed.

“Does illegal trade continue? Yes. But that’s probably inevitable,” Mr. Milliken said, adding that Japan showed that one-time ivory sales had no correlation with a rise in illegal smuggling.

Trade in elephant ivory far eclipses any demand for other animals’ tusks.

Much of the ivory destined for China is carved into jewellery and ornaments bought by tourists from other parts of Asia.

After the sale, the four southern African countries will not be allowed to export ivory again for nine years and must use the sale proceeds for programs to protect their elephant populations.


Posted on on July 4th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

World News Desk – July 3, 2008 –

African Union Seeks to Resolve Zimbabwe Crisis.

The African Union (AU) held its 11th summit, primarily to discuss the political crisis in Zimbabwe. The result wa a call for a national unity government, following the widely condemned run-off re-election of incumben President Robert Mugabe. To escape the ensuing violence, the challenging opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has withdrawn a week earlier, taking refuge in the Dutch embassy for more than a week.

The meeting of the pan-African summit highlighted a deep division among the continent’s other countries regarding what to do about the Zimbabwean crisis, particularly Mr. Mugabe, who has historically been considered a “liberation hero.” The summit’s resolution fell short of a much stronger statement wanted by some nations.

According to a Reuters report, Botswana, which borders Zimbabwe’s west, called for Mr. Mugabe to be barred from both the AU and the Southern African regional body SADC. Mompati Merafhe, vice-president of Botswana, said that Mr. Mugabe’s participation in African meetings “would give unqualified legitimacy to a process which cannot be considered legitimate.” He added that the government and opposition must be treated as equal in any mediation. Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga made a similar call.

South Africa, the regional power, resisted the stronger statement for the AU, and called for the crisis to be resolved by the SADC, which it chairs. South African President Thabo Mbeki, however, has been criticized for what has been seen as ineffective mediation and favoritism towards Robert Mugabe. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), an opposition party to Mr. Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), issued a statement: “The MDC’s reservations about the mediation process under President Mbeki are well known. It is our position that unless the mediation team is expanded to include at least one permanent representative from the African Union, and the mediation mechanism is changed, no meaningful progress can be made toward resolving the Zimbabwean crisis. If this does not happen, then the MDC will not be part of such a mediation process.”

In addition, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who just began his six-month presidency of the European Union, said the EU would only accept a Zimbabwean government led by Mr. Tsvangirai, who is generally accepted to have beaten Mr. Mugabe in the first round of the March 29 election.
The AU’s position is tenuous at best, as Mugabe representative George Charamba had earlier rejected any Kenyan-style power-sharing deal, and MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti more recently said there was no chance of negotiations.

A Christian Science Monitor article pointed out that the AU’s inability to directly rebuke Robert Mugabe regarding an election that its own monitors say “fell short” of AU standards (e.g., due to acts of violence) shows that the body is unable to live up to promises of “African solutions for African problems.”

“This clearly indicates that there are no shared and common values around what good governance is, what democracy is,” said Chris Maroleng, a security analyst at the Institute for Security Studies in Tshwane, South Africa. “A lot of our leaders have questionable democratic credentials, so it’s not surprising that the AU fell short of the mark” (ibid.).

“A government of national unity at this stage is a nonstarter,” Mr. Maroleng added. Unless there is a complete restructuring of the Zimbabwean constitution, a change in the executive powers of the presidency, any power-sharing deal at this point would permanently tilt the advantage, in the favor of Mr. Mugabe. “It’s placing icing over a rotten core. It would look nice, but underneath, it would still be rotten” (ibid.).

In the meantime, the U.S. was preparing a United Nations resolution calling for economic sanctions against Robert Mugabe and 11 of his compatriots, as well as imposing an embargo on arms sales or military hardware to Harare. The position was to express “deep concern at the gross irregularities during the June 27 run-off presidential election (and) the violence and intimidation perpetrated in the run-up to the election that made impossible the holding of free and fair elections” (Reuters).

All the while, the people of Zimbabwe continue to endure severe financial and social hardship.


Posted on on June 26th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

Mugabe’s War – By Jacob Laksin, – Thursday, June 26, 2008.

Alongside death and taxes, count Robert Mugabe’s election this Friday among life’s more depressing certainties.
Behind Mugabe’s “victory” lies a grim reality. In recent weeks, the Zimbabwean dictator has savagely crushed internal opposition, making Friday’s vote more a coronation than an election. Dreading a repeat of March 29, when Mugabe unexpectedly lost the first round of presidential voting to his longtime rival, Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), he has sought to efface any possibility of a challenge to his hellish 28-year rule.

Thus was unleashed “Operation Makavhoterapapi?” (Operation Where Did You Put Your Vote?). The question is not rhetorical. A months-long campaign of state-backed repression and mass terror, it has targeted all who dared to vote against Mugabe in March. Thousands have been brutalized; dozens, if not hundreds, are dead. Those Zimbabweans that have not fled the country have been scared into submission. Even Tsvangirai, no stranger to intimidation and worse at the hands of Mugabe’s thugs, has withdrawn from what he calls a “violent sham of an election,” despairing that he “can’t ask the people to cast their vote on June 27 when that vote will cost their lives.”

In fact, it already has. The MDC says that at least 86 of its supporters have been killed since the March 29 vote. Human-rights watchdogs conservatively estimate that at least 10,000 Zimbabweans have been beaten and tortured by ruling-party militias. At least 2,000 have been jailed.

Bearing the brunt of Mugabe’s vengeance are Zimbabwe’s rural provinces. Deemed a hotbed sedition and MDC support by Mugabe, they have been beset by the Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), a combination of police, army veterans and other uniformed sadists who serve, in cold-blooded fashion, as Mugabe’s henchmen.

Instances of ZANU-PF brutality are too many to enumerate, but a few stand out for their sheer depravity. In one case, a man was beaten and castrated with barbed wire, dying later that day in a what Human Rights Watch describes as a “leaning position because he couldn’t lie on his stomach due to his injuries.” The victim’s crime? He had been listening to the March 29 election results on a Voice of America radio program. In another village, a 76-year old woman was dragged before a crowd and beaten with logs until residents confessed to being MDC supporters. Whether they were in fact sympathetic to the MDC is irrelevant; fear, not facts, is the business of Mugabe’s terror squads.

So, too, with the “reeducation camps” that have sprung up across Zimbabwe. Intended to instill fear and root out alleged traitors, the camps are a testament to Mugabe’s murderous paranoia. Writing in the New York Review of Books, Joshua Hammer records this chilling scene:

On the evening of May 5, ruling-party thugs descended on three villages in Mashonaland Central province, a former Mugabe stronghold that had turned decisively against the dictator on March 29. Repeating a pattern that has been seen throughout rural Zimbabwe, villagers were summoned to a “reeducation meeting,” where they were forced to denounce the MDC and pledge their allegiance to the ZANU-PF. Then names were called, and those singled out were hustled into the darkness. “Next we heard the whips and screams,” a witness named Bernard Pungwe said, describing a night-long rampage that left six MDC supporters dead and dozens injured. “Every time someone screamed hard the chairman of the meeting would stop his lecture and say: ‘Listen to the traitors, they are dying.'”

It’s not an isolated incident. At another “reeducation” meeting, armed government soldiers dispensed live ammunition to the villagers. As they held the bullets in their hand, soldiers warned: “If you vote for MDC in the presidential runoff election, you have seen the bullets, we have enough for each one of you, so beware.”

Pre-election violence is nothing new in Zimbabwe. In the past, Mugabe’s regime has been known to ratchet up its intimidation in the run up to a vote. Never before, however, has the violence reached its current scale. “What is happening now,” Human Rights Watch observes, “eclipses the violence in any previous election.”

That Mugabe must rely on violence as an instrument of policy highlights just how miserably he has failed his country. The economy is a case in point. Independent estimates place inflation at over 165, 000 percent, with food staples especially hard hit. In the last year, the price of chicken has risen by 236,000 percent, eggs by 153,000 percent. A loaf of bread, now priced at over $30 billion Zimbabwean dollars, is unaffordable and, to most Zimbabweans, unavailable. Food shortages are frequent, the legacy of Mugabe’s disastrous seizure of white-owned farms in 2002, a move that crippled the most productive sector of the country’s fallow economy. Unemployment now tops 80 percent.

Worse, there is no relief in sight. Western countries have passed sanctions and issued the requisite condemnations, but to little effect. An “African solution” to Mugabe’s menace, meanwhile, is not forthcoming. With a few exceptions – Botswana, Tanzania, and more recently Angola – the continent has been content to look on as Mugabe wars on his own people.

Most disgraceful in this regard has been the South African government of Thabo Mbeki. As the leader of Zimbabwe’s neighbor and largest trading partner in Africa, Mbeki is ideally placed to pressure Mugabe. Instead, out of misplaced sympathy for the man he considers a hero of the struggle against apartheid, Mbeki repeatedly has given the dictator a pass. Zimbabweans have paid a terrible price for his silence.

Not only will this week’s programmed election not change that, but it will likely usher in worse torments for the country. Echoing Mugabe’s preferred presidential slogan – “The Final Battle for Total Control” – one senior ZANU-PF official recently declared, “This is not going to be an election. This is going to be a war.” Let no one say that they haven’t been warned.
Jacob Laksin is a senior editor for FrontPage Magazine. He is a 2007 Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellow. His e-mail is  jlaksin at


Posted on on May 26th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

Defiant Mugabe threatens to expel US ambassador: “I’ll kick him out of the country.”

By Cris Chinaka, for the Independent of London, as per Reuters.
Monday, May 26, 2008

Robert Mugabe: ‘I’ll kick him out of the country’ – this about the US Ambassador.

The Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, accused the United States of political interference and threatened to expel its ambassador yesterday, as his party, Zanu-PF, began its campaign for next month’s election run-off.

Mr Mugabe also said the US State Department’s top diplomat for Africa had behaved like “a prostitute” by suggesting that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, had won the elections on 29 March.

Mr Mugabe’s attacks on the American Ambassador, James McGee, and Assistant Secretary of State, Jendayi Frazer, signalled the start of his campaign for the run-off on 27 June against Mr Tsvangirai, who won the first round but fell short of an absolute majority.

“He [Mr McGee] says he fought in Vietnam, but fighting in Vietnam does not give him the right to interfere in our domestic affairs. I am just waiting to see if he makes one more step wrong. He will get out,” Mr Mugabe said at a campaign rally. “As tall as he is, if he continues to do that, I will kick him out of the country.”

Of Ms Frazer, he said: “You saw this little American girl trotting around like a prostitute celebrating that the MDC had won. A disgraceful act.”

Mr Mugabe, who has been in power since the end of white rule in 1980, routinely accuses the US and Britain of backing the MDC to punish him for seizing thousands of white-owned farms since 2000. He told supporters in Harare that the Western allies wanted to control Zimbabwe’s resources.

He also promised land to Zimbabweans who returned from South Africa. Some 3.5 million people have fled the country to escape poverty in an economy where inflation is more than 165,000 per cent; four in five adults have no job; and food and fuel are in desperately short supply.

Tsvangirai returns and calls on Mugabe to “set the people free:” Zimbabwe’s opposition leader tells the President that attacking his supporters will not stop them voting.

By Angus Shaw in Harare
Sunday, 25 May 2008

Zimbabwe’s opposition leader and presidential candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, returned home quietly yesterday after an absence of more than a month, stopping first to visit supporters in hospital who were targeted in an onslaught of state-sponsored violence. He then called on President Robert Mugabe to “set his people free”.

Mr Tsvangirai left six weeks ago to warn the world about impending violence. He first tried to return last weekend, but called that off after his party said he was the target of a military assassination plot. The former union leader has survived at least three assassination attempts.

Last week, a meeting of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Harare and a rally had been planned for his return. In the end, he came back in typically low-key style, speeding off in a three-car convoy to a Harare hospital where victims of political violence were being treated. “I return home to Zimbabwe with a sad heart,” he said afterwards. “I have met and listened to the stories of the innocent people targeted by a regime seemingly desperate to cling to power.”

Mr Tsvangirai faces a presidential run-off against Mr Mugabe on 27 June. Independent human rights groups say opposition supporters have been beaten and killed by ruling party thugs to ensure the 84-year-old President, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, wins the second round. He trailed the MDC leader in the first round on 29 March.

“Mugabe once led our people to freedom,” Mr Tsvangirai said. “He can now set his people free from poverty, hunger and fear” by stepping down.

The violence poses questions about whether the run-off can be free and fair, but the opposition candidate did not expect his supporters to stay away from the polls. “If Mugabe thinks he has beaten people into submission, he will have a rude shock on the 27th,” he said.

Mr Tsvangirai said farewell to his family in Johannesburg, and said it was not clear when his wife and six children would join him. Among the assassination attempts the 56-year-old has survived was one in 1997 by unidentified assailants who tried to throw him from a 10th-floor window. Last year, he was brutally assaulted by police at a “prayer rally”, and images seen around the world of his bruised and swollen face came to symbolise the plight of the opposition in Zimbabwe.

When Mr Tsvangirai left Zimbabwe early in April, he said he wanted to present regional leaders with information that Mr Mugabe planned attacks on the opposition. He then embarked on an international tour to rally support for democracy in his country. “I’m sure that we have managed to ensure an African consensus about the crisis in Zimbabwe,” he said yesterday, adding it was now time to turn his attention to rallying his supporters at home.

Since the first round of voting, 42 of his party’s “most dedicated, brightest and strongest” supporters and activists had been killed.

The MDC leader says he won the first round outright, and that official results released on 2 May, showing a run-off was necessary, were fraudulent. Asked whether he thought Mr Mugabe would be any more likely to step down in June than he was in March, Mr Tsvangirai said the run-off result would be “definitive”.

Saying that he was looking ahead to the difficult task of healing a nation “traumatised” by political violence, Mr Tsvangirai called on Zimbabweans who have fled political and economic collapse to return. At least four million Zimbabweans are abroad, most in South Africa, where they have been among the main targets in a deadly wave of anti-foreigner violence. This could also be blamed on Mr Mugabe, he said yesterday, adding: “Our crisis in this country is impacting on [neighbours’] economies and societies. The entire… region awaits a new Zimbabwe.”


Mbeki says South Africa ‘disgraced’ by xenophobic riots as death toll rises to 50.
By Ian Evans in Cape Town
Monday, 26 May 2008

President Thabo Mbeki admitted last night that South Africa had been “disgraced” by the wave of anti-foreigner violence which has convulsed the nation.

Facing intense criticism over his government’s ineffectual handling of the attacks, Mr Mbeki said in a televised address that South Africans’ heads were “bowed” and reminded his countrymen that their economy rested on the work of migrants from across Africa.

His intervention came as police raised the official death toll from the spree of violence from 43 to 50 and said that 35,000 people had been left homeless in the fortnight since armed gangs in the squatter camps and informal settlements in the main urban centres of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town began killing, raping, beating, stabbing and burning nationals from other African countries.

Mr Mbeki has come under fire for travelling to Tanzania for an African Union summit on Wednesday and for waiting until the same day before ordering the army on to the streets to help the police. He has also been criticised for being too out of touch to realise that the violence was in part fuelled by the lack of adequate housing and jobs for the poorest South Africans.

A front-page editorial in South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper said: “Throughout the crisis, arguably the most grave, dark and repulsive moment in the life of our young nation, Mbeki has demonstrated that he no longer has the heart to lead.”

Moeltsi Mbeki, of the South African Institute of International Affairs, who is Thabo Mbeki’s brother, said the government had lost credibility.

“Even a strong statement by somebody who has such weak authority will not convince the people. This crisis is the result of the failure of their foreign policy against Zimbabwe and they don’t want to admit that,” he said.

The Johannesburg area has borne the brunt of the trouble and most of the deaths, but seven of the nine South African provinces have reported attacks against immigrants.

Thousands of refugees and economic migrants from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi and other countries are making their escape from South Africa from bus and train stations in the transport hub of Johannesburg. But even there, armed police are guarding them from marauding gangs armed with axes and knives.

Mozambique said yesterday that 20,000 of its nationals had fled South Africa, a reverse influx which has prompted authorities there to declare a national state of emergency.

In South Africa, makeshift tented refuges have sprung up in the big urban centres to take in some of those fleeing their attackers. In Cape Town alone, 10,000 people have been displaced. Some refugees have been put up at police stations, community halls and churches, also with armed police protection, but voluntary groups complained yesterday that they, rather than the authorities, were bearing a disproportionate burden of the humanitarian relief and emergency response.

On Saturday, 400 people arrived at a Cape Town race track looking for a place to shelter after a nearby settlement was targeted. Hundreds of Zimbabweans and Somalis chased from Cape Town into the surrounding Cape Peninsula have been put up in giant marquees on a beach on the Atlantic coastline. Volunteers and local government workers have been providing blankets, clothing and food to the community at Soetwater, which police claim is too remote for local South Africans to attack.

The violence has been waged by poor South Africans who claim the refugee population, which some estimate to be as high as five million, take their jobs and dwellings and commit crime. However, police and politicians say there is also a significant element of thuggery and criminality with shops and homes looted for personal gain.

Jacob Zuma, the ANC leader and the man tipped to succeed Mr Mbeki as president, visited townships around Johannesburg yesterday. He told a rally of some 5,000 people in Johannesburg yesterday: “Fighting won’t solve your problems but will instead exacerbate them and they will therefore remain unsolved. Peace should prevail and we must engage each other on whatever issues there might be.”

On Saturday, 2,000 people marched in central Johannesburg to protest against xenophobia. Risking violence themselves, the crowd held aloft posters saying “xenophobia hurts like apartheid” and “we are all Zimbabweans”.

The president of the United Democratic Movement party, Bantu Holomisa, said yesterday that Mr Mbeki’s inquiry into the outbreak of violence needed to reveal whether a so-called “third force” was responsible for stoking the crisis. He said: “The key here would be to remove any kind of suspicion that this thing was unleashed deliberately and orchestrated by whoever. Ministers are already telling us there is a third force. Let them bring that evidence to the commission.”


The Independent Leading article: Lessons for Mbeki.
Memorial Day in the US, Monday, 26 May 2008.

There is a terrible irony in the recent tragic events that have gripped parts of South Africa, where township residents have been turning on economic migrants, killing some and driving away thousands of others.

It lies in the fact that Thabo Mbeki’s government has bent over backwards to remain onside with the Mugabe regime in Harare, downplaying its criminal folly and blunting initiatives to rid Zimbabwe of its dictator. South Africa is now suffering the consequences of Mbeki’s policy, as Zimbabwe’s misery ripples outwards to encompass its neighbours and as millions of Zimbabweans flee their country in search of jobs and livelihoods.

Of course, there are other elements to this grim saga, starting with the inexcusable xenophobia of the men behind the violence. It is notable that not all the incomers who have borne the brunt of these thuggish attacks have been Zimbabweans. But the huge number of Zimbabwean migrants present in South Africa, estimated to be at least 3 million, is a factor in the bloodshed, placing enormous strain on the bonds holding the townships together and adding to the competition for resources.

And when the question is asked, as it should be, about why so many Zimbabweans have left their country for its neighbour, part of the answer is that the Mugabe regime remains in power, and is busy completing the ruin of Africa’s former breadbasket, with the South African president’s apparent complicity.

Loath to bow to the former colonial powers, Mbeki has shielded Zimbabwe’s venal and selfish old leader from criticism, blind to the consequences. Now that the wretched condition of Mugabe’s dissolving state has been brought to his door, one must hope the president sees this as a reminder of the need for South Africa to play a more constructive role in helping its once flourishing neighbour get back on its feet.

It is especially urgent that South Africa changes its tune on Zimbabwe now, as Mugabe heads into a run-off presidential election with his nearest rival, Morgan Tsvangirai. The leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change returned to Zimbabwe for the campaign yesterday.

Arguably, this election should not be taking place; because Tsvangirai appeared to win the first round. But we are where we are. As Zimbabwe prepares to vote a second time, Mbeki must stop making excuses for his ally and start expediting rather than blocking change in Harare. If he does not, the impact of Zimbabwe’s collapse will continue to have repercussions for South Africa, and we may see more shameful scenes in South Africa’s already fragile, hard-pressed townships.

At we saw all of this coming when we watched that May 2007 Friday night, in Room #4 of the UN New York Headquarter’s Basement how South Africa led the Africans to self-immolation and the tearing down of the UN Commission for Sustainable Development by fighting for Mugabe’s Zimbabwe to take over the CSD Chairmanship for one year.

Now that year is over. The CSD is still in the pits, Mugabe is on the roll – but South Africa is in deep …. and my friends tell me that it will only get worth. They did not like what Thabo Mbeki did to it, and say that Zuma will be worse. They even told me that the Soviet Union under Stalin will be the model for next phase of the SA – that will still be led by this intermediate generation that did not study leadership through the academy of Robin Island – but still is not led by people that are true Nationalists. The problem is called corruption.


Posted on on December 27th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

Subject: Fukuda, Japan’s Premier, Wants To Pick Up From Where Kyoto Left, and In 2008 To Bring China Into The Fold; but More – Japan Wants To Strengthen Bilateral Relations With The Growing China, and Must Also Compete With China’s Political and Economic Expansion in The Pacific and Africa. This Year’s G8 is a Catalyst. Japan Has A Full Agenda.

Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007

Fukuda to make pitch on energy, environment to Chinese leaders.
Kyodo News

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda plans to make a proposal to top Chinese leaders concerning environmental and energy issues when he goes to Beijing this week, but he isn’t saying what that proposal will be, a government official said.

In an interview with Chinese media prior to his visit that begins Thursday, Fukuda said he also wants to discuss bilateral issues, including the dispute over gas and oil exploration rights in the East China Sea, as well as topics of international concern, such as North Korea’s nuclear threat.

“I believe we must think not only about bilateral cooperation between Japan and China, but also how we can cooperate and be of use in bringing about the stability and advancement of this region and the world, so I want to discuss these things,” Fukuda was quoted by the official as saying.

Fukuda made the remarks in a joint interview with the Tokyo bureau chiefs of China’s official Xinhua News Agency, the state-run China Central Television and the People’s Daily, which is the Communist Party’s newspaper.

Fukuda is scheduled to leave Thursday for the four-day trip. He will meet with President Hu Jintao, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and other leaders, and visit regional sites, including Tianjin and Qufu, the hometown of Confucius.

Regarding climate change, Fukuda said he wants to continue cooperating with China on improving the efficiency of coal thermal power plants, preventing water pollution and building a recycling-oriented economic system, the official said.

Fukuda said such assistance will be made possible using technology, knowledge and experience that Japan has in the fields of energy conservation and environmental improvement.

Fukuda said he hopes to “see and feel” the growth of China by visiting a development zone in Tianjin, which has deep economic relations with Japan.

He said he is looking forward to his first trip to the Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu, a World Heritage site, to look back on the exchanges between Japan and China from ancient times to the present.

“Confucianism has had a big influence on Japan and other countries in Northeast Asia,” the official quoted Fukuda as saying. “In advancing diplomacy, I think we must think about the development of history, culture and bilateral exchanges with the other country.”

Fukuda said China’s rapid economic growth is an opportunity for Japan, and emphasized that the further deepening of economic cooperation between the two countries is important for the healthy advancement of their economies as well as the stability and development of Asia and the world.


Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007

Japan to open six embassies Jan. 1, 2008.
Kyodo News

Six new Japanese embassies will be opened on New Year’s Day, including in the African nations of Botswana, Malawi and Mali, to strengthen Tokyo’s diplomatic presence internationally as well as bilateral relations with the countries concerned, Foreign Ministry Press Secretary Mitsuo Sakaba said Wednesday.

The new embassies, which will also be established in Micronesia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Lithuania, were approved in the budget for this fiscal year.

They will bring the total number of Japanese embassies worldwide to 123.

Japan, which will take the rotating presidency of the Group of Eight nations next year and host the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, is seeking to open five more embassies in the next year, including another two in Africa.

“We are working toward a goal of having 150 embassies,” Sakaba said.

The new embassies reflect Japan’s eagerness to catch up with other major nations in the number of diplomatic posts around the world amid the aggressive expansion of China’s presence, especially in Africa.

On the new Micronesian embassy, the Foreign Ministry said, “It is important to further strengthen Japan’s relations (with Micronesia) in the international arena amid China’s growing influence on Pacific island nations.”


Posted on on November 8th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

Africa is becoming better and better,” writes Globe&Mail on line’s Monkaagedi Gaotlhobogwe from Gaborone, Botswana, November 7, 2007.

Two of Africa’s most respected elder statesmen, Botswana’s former president Ketumile Masire and Mozambican ex-leader Joaquim Chissano, believe the continent is finally shedding its reputation as a theatre of conflict and corrupt governance.

In interviews with Agence France-Presse as Masire launched a new peace foundation this week, the two men both painted an upbeat assessment on Africa’s future based both on their time in office and recent careers as conflict troubleshooters.

“The future is bright. We are dealing with positive changes,” said Masire, who has served as a mediator in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Lesotho and Swaziland since standing down in 1998.

“The economies are better, elections are taking place in many African states, presidents are willing to leave offices, and there are no coups these days,” added Masire whose country is one of the few in Southern Africa to have escaped conflict since independence.

Chissano, Mozambique’s leader from 1986 to 2005, spent the first six years of his presidency trying to end a civil war which erupted soon after the former Portuguese colony gained independence in 1975.

He won widespread praise for not only overseeing the south-east African nation’s reconstruction but also standing down voluntarily and was awarded a new $5-million prize for leadership last month.

Chissano said continuing unrest in the DRC, Sudan and Uganda were “remnants of conflicts from long time ago” and did not reflect a broader picture.

Better and better
“They are not new conflicts. Uganda used to have many movements, now there are two or three remaining, the main one being the LRA [Lord’s Resistance Army], the one I’m working with right now,” said Chissano, who was last year appointed as a United Nations envoy to end the long-running conflict in northern Uganda.

He has played a similar role in Guinea-Bissau and also sits as the chairperson of a forum of 29 former African heads of state dedicated to peace efforts.

“We [the forum] have availed ourselves to help sitting heads of states, as well as helping in peace facilitations,” said Chissano.

“We are playing the role of advocacy in Africa, we believe the trend is changing, Africa is becoming better and better. The changes are good for peace, stability and integration.”

Asked about some of the continent’s worst conflicts of recent years, Chissano said “conditions for peace are ripe” in the DRC while the “situation is improving” in the Côte d’Ivoire.

“I believe in Sudan the leaders will discuss, Darfur will find a way out. Secession is possible but I believe they will first work for unity, I do not believe they are in a hurry for secession,” he added.

Masire said his foundation aimed to raise money to ensure peace efforts do not unravel due to a lack of funding.

“When I was the head of the mediation team in the DRC for instance, there was no funding for such a mission, and I had to pay the mediation team from my pockets,” he said.

“The aim of the foundation is to raise funds to enable peace facilitators to do work. They could be useful but they are often discouraged by lack of funds for transport, accommodation and other related activities.”

‘Not for the media to know’
Both Botswana and Mozambique have prospered at a time when their common neighbour Zimbabwe has been plunged into a crisis characterised by assaults on opposition leaders and the world’s highest rate of inflation.

Chissano was reluctant to be drawn on Zimbabwe but said there were signs that South African-led mediation talks were bearing fruit.

“Zimbabwe faced worse situations and found solutions before, so if helped, if given a chance, Zimbabwe could find a way,” he said.

Masire was also tight-lipped, saying the mediation efforts were sensitive.

“If it is happening behind the scenes, it’s not for the media to know,” he said. – Sapa-AFP


Posted on on July 15th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

From: Republic of Botswana (15/7/07): TAUTONA TIMES no 23 of 2007
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President

July 16, 2007 – President’s Day in Botswana.

Today is the eve of President’s Day celebrations in Botswana. Like “Botswana Day”, which every year falls on the anniversary of our nation’s independence, President’s Day is an annual occasion for Batswana to reflect on the fruits of their political sovereignty. The creation of the State Presidency at the time of independence brought to an end a period of eighty-one year’s in which the British Crown had claimed and exercised sovereign rights over Botswana’s territory, much of which was thus demarcated as “Crownlands”.

During the colonial period, imperial sovereignty over Botswana was annually celebrated by the British administration as either “King’s” or “Queen’s” day, an Empire wide tradition that dated back to the time of Queen Victoria (“Mmamosadinyana”). Replacing Queen’s Day with President’s Day thus represented a break from foreign rule to self-rule.

Subsequently, it was also deemed appropriate to mark the 1st of July birth date of Botswana’s first President, Sir Seretse Khama with a separate holiday, while preserving the tradition of President’s Day.

It has also become an informal tradition for local political parties to hold meetings on the President’s Day long weekend. Thus, while H.E. the President has been attending the 32nd National Congress of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), elsewhere around the country there have been similar gatherings of various other political movements that, like stars in a constellation, collectively enlighten this nation’s democratic unity in diversity.


From the President’s Statement:


14. Our government has championed citizen empowerment for the past 41 years, and we will continue enthusiastically to do so. A plethora of empowerment schemes exist and have existed as individual projects or as sectoral programmes in our development plans. Since they have not been isolated and highlighted in one document, some people, including members of the BDP have erroneously assumed that we do not have a policy on citizen empowerment.

15. The bottom line is that an enabling environment should exist, wherein all Batswana are empowered with requisite opportunities and skills to enable them to optimise their standard of living. Furthermore, it should be clarified, that most proponents of a stand alone citizen economic empowerment policy often refer to countries that have a preferential treatment policy for a specific segment of their society.

16. In most cases the segment that is being singled out for targeted empowerment tends to be a historically disadvantaged group, but in Botswana our empowerment efforts should and must focus on every single Motswana and not a specified segment of the population as we have all been previously disadvantaged.


17. The BDP Governments have over the years focused aggressively in resourcing the poor in our society. Not only has poverty dropped from 60% in our population in 1985/86 to 28% in 2002/03; a clear indication of our success in our poverty eradication efforts, but we have also very effective safety nets which ensure, that not one Motswana can perish because of hunger.

18. Our safety nets include schemes for the poor, the aged, remote area dwellers, orphans, the disabled and war veterans. As I speak, my government has allocated some P395m to drought relief projects for this year alone. This will provide part time employment for some 180, 000 Batswana the majority of whom would have depended on agriculture had the rains been good.


19. Education has been either heavily subsidized or totally free for all Batswana from primary to secondary education. All deserving Batswana continue to get substantial assistance for their education even at tertiary level. These subsidies on education are a targeted investment by the BDP government, intended to provide Batswana, with a springboard they could use to empower themselves.

20. The expansion of the University of Botswana; the planned Botswana International University of Science and Technology; and the Medical School and Training Hospital are recent examples of projects in education aimed at further empowering Batswana for employment and higher calibre job creation. Recently the Ministry of Education started to sponsor students at local private tertiary institutions for Diploma and Degree courses. Over 7000 are now so sponsored. This is empowerment.


21. Health care is virtually free in Botswana. Even expensive medications such as ARV’s are availed free of charge. The BDP government is cognisant of the relationship between an individual’s health and their overall ability to command an acceptable living standard.

22. For this reason, we have ensured, on a sustained basis, that our people have the best healthcare we are capable of providing as a nation. The evidence is overwhelming! Our commitment and determination to arrest the spread of HIV/AIDS is total and unshakable – hence the modest success we have registered in reducing the rate of infection.


40. Our ultimate objective is to achieve full employment for all our citizens as reflected in our Vision 2016 statement. As Democrats are aware, the rate of unemployment was around 10% in the early 1990’s. However, as a result of a combination of chronic droughts and the plateauing of minerals growth with a concomitant depression in the construction industry unemployment rose to 24% and it hovered around that level for many years, until recently, when we were able to reduce it to 17.6%.

41. The big projects which your government has initiated should force unemployment to go down further. I must express my concern though, about the rather lax attitude of some of our people. Many jobs in the agricultural sector remain unmanned for a long time because Batswana are not interested in working in that sector. This is regrettable. If we are to fight unemployment successfully we must become less choosy.


51. This is the penultimate congress before the next General Elections in 2009. This means by the time we get to the 2009 Congress it will be too late to fine tune or sharpen our thinking in various policy areas. This congress is, therefore, the most important opportunity to do so.

52. Our election preparedness starts right now with the preparations for “Bulela Ditswe” our primary elections. The Central Committee has appointed a Task Force, which in turn has sent teams around the country to clean up our membership registration hitches. This is very important, as it will determine that we have a clean, peaceful primary election, not adulterated by incomplete voters’ rolls and allegations of rigging.

53. Of course ultimately the business of any political party that wants to run the country is to win elections. It is for this reason that everything that we do must be aimed towards – the attainment of that objective – the 2009 elections. I shall never tire of reminding you, to channel all your energies towards making sure, that the BDP not only wins those elections but does so convincingly.

54. A scenario where we win the majority of seats but fail to command a comfortable majority in the popular vote is not a good one. Let us face it, it would undermine our mandate. Although in other countries it is not uncommon for a party to win elections sometimes with numbers as low as 30%, our opponents seem to think our 52% gives them some hope and even reason to celebrate.

55. I know we can legally and legitimately exercise a mandate even with less than half of the popular vote, but this we should never aim at. If all Batswana who were carrying our cards in 2004 had voted for their party, we would have won with more than 60% of the popular vote.


56. As for the opposition, we should remember, that they still present no alternative to ourselves, united or separately. This is why Batswana look to us as their only hope. Our policies, programmes and projects are well thought out. I still do not know what our opposition stands for. This situation is further compounded by the very public disunity that currently plagues the main opposition party, the BNF.

57. Anyone who thinks their recent special congress has healed their rift has got another surprise coming. To begin with, the one group did not even accept the results and we are receiving reports of a divided and disenchanted opposition membership around the country.

58. We should not, however, just sit here and celebrate their current state of disarray. We must work hard to exploit it to our benefit. We should graphically point out their current state of affairs.
Imagine the leader of a political party contemplating to run in an election under another party name and symbol as we hear is being contemplated in Ramotswa! And as happened in Lobatse when the leader of PUSO, in the person of Modubule successfully usurped the BNF seat and came to Parliament. You could go through them one after another and still be left wondering. The answer is of course that there is still no alternative.

59. This is why it is laughable for an organization like the BCP, which is not even running for state power, to lampoon Botswana’s democracy. Our democratic credentials are impeccable. They constitute the foundation of our political culture. And as such they do not belong to a single party but to all Batswana.

60. An entity that dissociates itself from this democratic culture runs the risk, of being driven into the political wilderness by our voters. I would not be surprised if the lonely member the BCP has in Parliament, who is there by dint of our generosity, went into extinction after 2009.

61. Madomi a Mantle, as I mentioned at the recent Women’s Wing Congress, the Constitution of our country, quite properly decrees that I retire by the 31st March 2008. I thank you most sincerely for the support that you have always given me during my tenure as Party leader. I have no doubt that you will extend similar support to my successor, His Honour the Vice President, Lt General Seretse Khama Ian Khama. I should enjoy my retirement immensely if you would do so.


62. In conclusion, let me wish you well in your Congress and encourage you to be level headed in your discussions if you are to come up with meaningful resolutions. May I also ask that we end our Congress in the spirit of love and mutual respect that must reflect our current theme: Unity and hard Work: Towards 2009 and beyond. Those elected and their supporters must, as they celebrate their success, do so with the utmost restraint and have consideration for the feelings of those who will have been less fortunate.

63. Much as I will spend as much time with you as I can, the immediate affairs of the country require that I, as is usual, leave you at some point to join the people of Goodhope on President’s Day. I join Batswana in different parts of the country every year for these celebrations at this time.

64. It is now my singular honour and privilege to declare this the 32nd National Congress of the Botswana Democratic Party officially open. TSHOLETSA! TSHOLETSA!


10/7/07 – from the World Bank Institute launches 2007 World Governance Indicators (WGI) Report:

With reference to the above, please find below [a] Statement by this Office, as well as [b] the full text of a media release received earlier this evening from the World Bank. The World Bank media release had been embargoed for forward transmission until 19hOO local time (CAT) (13h00 EST – Washington D.C.). Both statements’ can thus be understood as breaking news.

[a] “Botswana praised in latest World Governance Indicators Report

This Office is pleased to note that Botswana was once more been singled out for special praise by World Bank researchers in the context of today’s launch of the 2007 World Governance Indicators (WGI) Report, the full title of which is: “Governance Matters, 2007: Worldwide Governance Indicators 1996-2006”.

The launch was held at the World Bank Institute in Washington D.C.

In a statement released by the World Bank to coincide with the launch, Botswana has been singled out by researchers as being among a select group of developing countries that score higher on key dimensions of governance than a number of leading industrialized countries.

Botswana is the only African country to be so singled out in the statement. The other high achievers among those classified as “developing countries”, which are listed along with Botswana in the statement are Slovenia, Chile, Estonia, Uruguay, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, and Costa Rica.

The 2007 World Governance Indicators Report is said to represent a decade-long effort by a global network of researchers to build and update the most comprehensive cross-country set of governance indicators currently available to the public.

The latest indicators are further reported to cover a total of 212 countries and territories, drawing on 33 different data sources to capture the views of tens of thousands of survey respondents worldwide, as well as thousands of experts in the private, NGO, and public sectors.

This Office is also pleased to note that Botswana has performed well in all six of the Report’s identified components of good governance, which are:

1. Voice and Accountability – measuring the extent to which a country’s citizens are able to participate in selecting their government, as well as freedom of expression, freedom of association, and a free media.

2. Political Stability and Absence of Violence – measuring perceptions of the likelihood that the government will be destabilized or overthrown by unconstitutional or violent means, including terrorism

3. Government Effectiveness – measuring the quality of public services, the quality of the civil service and the degree of its independence from political pressures, the quality of policy formulation and implementation, and the credibility of the government’s commitment to such policies

4. Regulatory Quality – measuring the ability of the government to formulate and implement sound policies and regulations that permit and promote private sector development

5. Rule of Law – measuring the extent to which agents have confidence in and abide by the rules of society, and in particular the quality of contract enforcement, the police, and the courts, as well as the likelihood of crime and violence

6. Control of Corruption – measuring the extent to which public power is exercised for private gain, including both petty and grand forms of corruption, as well as “capture” of the state by elites and private interests.

The aggregate indicators as well as data from the underlying sources will be available at the website, which currently posts last’s year’s aggregate data.

According to the World Bank statement measuring various countries’ governance performance, and their improvements over time, is both a key item on the international governance agenda and a complex challenge, as governance has many dimensions, each with inherent measurement challenges. It goes on to state that the Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) project shows how this challenge can be met.

[b] [World Bank Institute] Press Release No: 2007/009/WBI… [The Release is now accessible online at –]

E2) 11/7/06: “Botswana a global leader in Political Stability”

The World Bank Institute report “Governance Matters, 2007: Worldwide Governance Indicators 1996-2006”, which was released yesterday, has ranked Botswana among the global leaders for Political Stability and the Absence of Violence.

With a score of 92.8% Botswana was ranked number 16 in the category out of the 212 countries and territories covered by the study, as well as number one in Africa. The score also placed Botswana above:

* all of the G8 nations, i.e. Canada (80.3), France (61.5), Germany (75.0), Italy (56.3), Japan (85.1), Russia (23.6), UK (61.1), and USA (57.7);

* all but 2 of the member states of the European Union, i.e. Finland (99.0), Luxemburg (99.5);

* all but 2 countries/territories in the Western Hemisphere, i.e. Aruba (95.7), St. Kitts & Nevis (94.2);

* all but 3 countries/territories in Asia, i.e. Bhutan (95.2), Brunei (93.3), and Singapore (94.7).

The 2007 World Governance Indicators Report is said to reflect a decade-long effort by a global network of researchers to build and update the most comprehensive cross-country set of governance indicators currently available to the public. Its composite indicators for 212 countries and territories have been drawn from 33 different data sources to capture the views of tens of thousands of survey respondents worldwide, as well as thousands of experts in the private, NGO, and public sectors.

Botswana scored exceptionally well for all six areas identified by the Report as being the key components of good governance. As labelled in the report itself, these are:

1) “Voice and Accountability” – measuring political, civil and human rights;

2) “Political Stability and Absence of Violence” – measuring the likelihood of violent threats to, or changes in, government, including terrorism;

3) “Government Effectiveness” – measuring the competence of the bureaucracy and the quality of public service delivery;

4) “Regulatory Quality” – measuring the incidence of market-unfriendly policies;

5) “Rule of Law” – measuring the quality of contract enforcement, the police, and the courts, including judiciary independence, and the incidence of crime; and

6) “Control of Corruption” – measuring the abuse of public power for private gain, including petty and grand corruption and state capture by elites.

With a composite score for all of the above categories of 74 Botswana occupies first position in Africa, followed by Mauritius (72) Cape Verde (66), South Africa (65), Namibia (62) and Seychelles (55).
13/7/07: 2007 Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) Africa Top Ten wrap up: “Botswana leads the way, as African countries make progress”

According to a now widely circulated news article, originally published in the New York Times, Africa has been portrayed “as a continent of great variety, with some countries making extraordinary progress over the past decade” in the latest World Bank Institute study “Governance Matters, 2007: Worldwide Governance Indicators 1996-2006”, which was released earlier this week in Washington D.C.

The article further cites the World Bank’s own descriptions of the study as providing strong evidence to contradict the notion of “Afro-pessimism”, while, moreover, establishing that wealthy, industrialized nations must also struggle with challenges of corruption and bad governance. In this respect the study is seen as a credible counter to negative media stereotypes of Africa as a whole as somehow being a continent that is uniquely mired in corruption, misrule and violence.

When combined, the World Bank Institute Report’s indicators place Botswana among the global leaders, as well as number one in Africa, for good governance. At the Report’s launch Botswana was thus singled out as being among an emerging group of developing countries that had scored higher on key dimensions of governance than many leading industrialized countries.

Described as the world’s most comprehensive database on governance issues, the Report incorporates composite indicators for a total of 212 countries and territories, which have been drawn from 33 different data sources. These are said to capture the views of tens of thousands of survey respondents worldwide, as well as thousands of experts in the private, NGO, and public sectors.

Botswana’s composite WGI score was 74, while Africa’s other top ten overall performers were, as ranked, were: Mauritius (72), Cape Verde (66), South Africa (65), Namibia (62), Ghana (55), Seychelles (55), Tunisia (53), Madagascar (48) and Lesotho (48).

In achieving its top score Botswana was also ranked well above the international norm, as well as in first, second or third position for Africa in each of the sub-category indexes for the six areas that were identified by the Report as being key components of good governance.

Botswana score and rank among Africa’s top ten for each of the six is reproduced below:

I. “Political Stability and Absence of Violence Index”, which is a composite of indicators measuring the likelihood of violent threats to, or changes in, government, including terrorism:

Botswana (93), Seychelles (84), Mauritius (79), Cape Verde (79), Namibia (75), Mozambique (64), Benin (59), Zambia (57), Libya (55), and Ghana (55). (In this index Botswana was also ranked 16 out of the 212 countries and territories surveyed.)

II. “Voice and Accountability Index”, which is a composite of indicators measuring political, civil and human rights:

Mauritius (75), Cape Verde (74), Botswana (67), South Africa (67), Benin (66), Namibia (61), Ghana (60), Mali (58), Lesotho (56), Seychelles (54).

III “Government Effectiveness Index”, which is a composite indicators measuring the competence of the bureaucracy and the quality of public service delivery:

South Africa (77), Botswana (74), Mauritius (72), Tunisia (71), Cape Verde (62), Namibia (59), Ghana (57), Morocco (56), Seychelles (53), Madagascar (50).

IV. “Regulatory Quality Index”, which is a composite of indicators measuring the incidence of market-unfriendly policies;

South Africa (70), Mauritius (67), Botswana (63), Tunisia (58), Namibia (57), Ghana (51), Morocco (48), Cape Verde (45), Madagascar (43), Senegal (42).

V. “Rule of Law Index”, which is a composite of indicators measuring the quality of contract enforcement, the police, and the courts, including judiciary independence, and the incidence of crime:

Mauritius (76), Botswana (67), Cape Verde (66), Tunisia (60), Namibia (57), South Africa (57), Seychelles (55), Morocco (53), Ghana (51), Lesotho (49).

VI. “Control of Corruption Index”, which is a composite of indicators measuring the abuse of public power for private gain, including petty and grand corruption and state capture by elites:

Botswana (78), Cape Verde (72), South Africa (71), Mauritius (66), Tunisia (62), Namibia (61), Seychelles (61), Lesotho (58), Morocco (57), Rwanda (56).


11/7/07: Report from VOA News – “Six African Countries Win High Marks in New Study of Religious Freedoms”

Six African countries – Botswana, Mali, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, and Kenya – rank among the world’s most tolerant societies in terms of religious freedoms. That’s according to the latest study by the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom. It measured the amount of government regulation, government favouritism toward a particular religion, and the amount of social pressures and constraints imposed by other faiths and organized groups in the country.

These factors, along with a high economic correlation had a close bearing on the study’s rankings of more than 100 countries worldwide. Eritrea and Sudan ranked among the most restrictive. Paul Marshall is the Hudson Institute Centre’s Senior Fellow and editor of its latest study, Religious Freedom in the World 2007. In Washington, he said that the 20 African countries studied revealed several success stories and also displayed some surprising anomalies.

“Sub-Saharan Africa scores lower than western Europe and the North Atlantic countries, all of which tend to score pretty highly with ones, twos, or threes. It scores better than North Africa and West Asia (sometimes called the greater Middle East),” he says……”The study shows that religious freedom correlates very well with firstly economic freedom, and the development of markets. Secondly, it correlates with economic well-being, that income levels measure equality. It actually correlates even better than income with indexing, as measured in this context, by numbers of cell phones in use. And we have grounds to believe that we can actually show, in general, religious freedom helps development. This is true in Sub-Saharan Africa especially,” he says.


Posted on on July 1st, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

I was home nursing a virus I caught on the Flight home from Lima Peru. Internationally it was supposed to be an exciting weekend. In the UK, it was going to be a time of the changing of the guard. Good man Tony Blair who got tripped by his insistence on lining up with the US, was leaving 10 Downing Street and Michael Gordon was moving over from the British Treasury where his performance was all praise. A new man with a reasonably new broom was seen to have a chance of reorganizing UK’s international relationships, while Tony Blair, as the newly appointed Chair of the Quartet’s handling of the Middle East, was seen as having gotten a post to vindicate himself by showing independence without having to jeopardize the UK. To top all of this, youngsters William and Harry of the Royal House found it appropriate to have a celebration of life in memory of their mother – Princess Diana. Mat Lauer of Channel 4 was in London to interview the Royal Princess and to report about the star-studded concert.

Not to be left out-done, Larry King, on CNN had planned a reunion of the Beetles – that is the surviving two and the widows of the other two. There was promise on the air that Britannia will rule again!
But not everyone wished the best for the UK.

Saturday night two vehicles filled with tanks of fuel and material for shrapnel were found in Central London, then the following day another vehicle rammed a terminal at the Glasgow airport – to say this mildly – they stole the show.

Christiane Ananpour was seen on CNN running alongside a bearded lawyer in London asking him if he believes in Democracy – he answered with a flat – “NO! – that is if it interferers with Sharia law.” She wanted to know the obvious – why does he live in the UK if it is not to his liking. What keeps him there? We want to know further – why in the hell do they keep him there? If the need is for Islamic oil – why let also their rebel-rousers run freely in London and Scotland? Or you stop buying and using the oil, or you let in only the oil merchants on temporary business permits. Why not make them sign that they are under the obligation to submit to the law of the land – better laws in their mind – go back to where you or your parents came from.

Now, with this sort of thoughts in the mind of every sane person, I really would not have taken the time to write this article. The reason I nevertheless am sitting in front of the computer, is that two coincidental TV programs just happened to attract my attention that day – and gave me insights and a connectivity that astonished me with the conclusions I reached.

The first program was in the morning – you know – one of those inspirational religious preachings. It was Joel Osteem of on Channel 4. He was talking about people rising out of poverty. He came from humble beginnings but his father already refused to lie down just because all around him lived in poverty. He kept repeating that poverty is in our mind – “come, shine, for your time has come.” “You are not a grasshopper with wings that cannot fly – be an eagle that can fly. Become a better you.”

The second program, on C-Span 2 Book TV was about a meeting at no less then the World Bank in Washington DC. The astonishing conclusion was a relation between Culture and Poverty. In clear terms – NOT ALL CULTURES ARE EQUAL. So, relating to the previous program, we can say that some cultures make you soar, but other cultures make you crawl. Now, that is something to chew on! I have no intent to let lose from above concept – and really I do not care about false correctness – the like of the garbage being dished out at the UN under the mind boggling efforts at “Alliance of Cultures.”

Professor Lawrence Harrison teaches at Fletcher School of Law at Tufts University. He wrote about The Central Liberal Truth 2000. He lectures about the right to an adequate standard of living, he is not some sort of right winger – but comes though as a very rational thinker. He makes clear distinction between Confucianism, Protestantism and Judaism on the one hand, that promote thinking, democracy and education, and Catholicism, Islam, and Orthodox Christianity, on the other hand, that in all honesty – do not! Hinduism has done well in promoting democracy but not education. Buddhism did not show strength in development. Overall – Confucianism, was much more successful from among the Asian cultures as it had much stronger emphasis on education. In the west it was only Judaism and protestantism that did also well.

He gives Chile, Botswana, Singapore, Sweden as examples of success in development when elaborating on The Central Liberal Truth – this because development in those countries came without religious strings attached.

Talking of diasporas – it is the Chinese, Japanese, Jewish, and Greek diasporas that were successful – this because they allowed freedom of the individual and they were self-propelling communities.

The Chinese showed success in such wildly different environments as the US, Indonesia, Mauritius. Professor Harrison actually mentioned the fact that on that same day Christiane Amanpour had that discussion with the Islamic Lawyer on the street in London who said that he does not believe in Democracy if it interferes with Islamic law. So, the culprit seemed quite obvious to me.

Democracy will not take hold in Iraq he said. Very major errors were made by assuming that culture can be imposed and that institutions that work in one society can be imposed on another society! He quoted Alexis de Tocqueville who said you can have great national resources but no culture (in Tocqueville’s terminology it was “habits”) – you get nothing. Others also tried to copy the US Constitution and failed.

Harrison provided figures of enrollment at Caltec, Harvard, MIT in relation to numbers of Chinese students explaining that these are of a complicated background that includes Confucianism but also Taoism, Buddhism and Ancestral Worship. But what unites them with Judaism is that in all these cases there is a matrilineal line of promoting the culture.

Sure, there are more progressive streams in Islam. Turkey showed some results, Indonesia was pushed ahead by their Chinese community, Jordan does best among the Arab countries and takes up enlightened leadership, and he sees the possibility for Iran to take off. He reminded his World Bank/Brookings Institution audience that was brought together by “The Office of Diversity” at the World Bank, of the Arab Development Report, and said that if they would try to implement its recommendations it would become a boon to the Arab Society. As I remember – the key in this report was Education, Education, Education… and the writers did not mean the numbing of the mind by learning by heart the Quran and the Sharia laws.

Further, Central Europe, Nordic Countries, US, Canada, other British offsprings, and East Asians are Capitalist Democracies – not Theocracies! (at least we hope that he is right on this).

There was a question about the place of the media in all of this and how harmful it can be. Professor Harrison said that Mr. Schoenfeld, who was the first head of CNN is now on the Board of the New Cultural Institute at Fletcher, and he looks at the media and studies how destructive they can be. See

So why do I find so astounding the three different TV programs I quote here that have become such an obviously an eye opener to me? This is by thinking that the Islamic Killer-Doctors have long risen above poverty – so did the engineers of 9/11. What they were laking was not monetary resources, but plain acceptable human culture as required in order to truly succeed in a democratic capitalist society based on self promotion. Instead, they lived in some nether-world of dogma, manipulated by people that may have been less then honest in the choice of a modus operandi.

Harrison, based on Tocqueville, makes it clear that it is not natural resources, but culture, that pushes you to success. But, on the other hand, natural resources in the hands of wrong people could hold you back from achieving your self-fulfillment. This bringing me to the place of oil in all of this, as it is quite obvious that it is the money we gave them for their oil that was recycled into funding those imams and hate-mongers and keep their sick minds spinning. So we can only blame ourselves for the stupidity that feeds the subhumans. If we refuse to look at the world with open eyes, rather then act acccording to the reality as it is, we are not entitled to blame the perpetrators we helped by our own lack of resolve.



Posted on on June 30th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

Botswana’s Ambassador Meant Well, was right, and we wish him best of luck if he hoped to influence his audience.

The statement: as delivered at the Security Council by The Permanent Representative of Botswana:
1. The delegation of Botswana aligns itself with the statement delivered by Tunisia on behalf of the African Group. Mr. President, I thank you for organizing this important debate.

2. It is a welcome initiative and we commend your leadership. The debate should contribute to the promotion of awareness and greater understanding of how a combination of factors and individuals can conspire to exploit natural resources in a manner that causes conflict.

3. The questions we must ask and answer therefore are how can we prevent the recurrence of such conflicts? What measures can be put in place to prevent the use of resources for the wrong objectives? Can we find ways and means of strengthening existing mechanisms to ensure that natural resources contribute to the development of countries and for the benefit of peoples?

4. There are several questions that demand answers. The delegation of Botswana wishes to submit that in our view the debate is really about natural resources and development. How can we ensure that natural resources are exploited for the common good?

5. Africa is home to some of the richest natural resources in the world ranging from oil, uranium, gold, diamonds, tropical hard wood to coal and ivory. The revenues from these natural resources are the mainstay of the economies of many African countries including my own, Botswana.

6. In recent years, natural resources were implicated in a number of conflicts in Africa. Although Africa has had a large share of such conflicts and the vast majority of victims are Africans, Africans are not the only culprits. Some who benefit from the resources through the manufacture and illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons and ammunition are in other parts of the world.

7. The conflict over resources is neither new nor unique to Africa. Throughout history, there are many examples of conflict over land, wildlife resources and water. Natural resources and conflict probably began when humankind started hunting and gathering. The scramble for Africa by colonial powers for instance, entailed conflict with Africans over their natural resources.

8. The challenge we face is how to eliminate this old-age evil of grabbing and fighting over natural resources. The seeds of conflict are sowed when a group of people either grab what does not belong to them or exclude others from benefiting from their national heritage.

9. Mr. President, surely we must end all wars so that human energy, intellect and natural resources as well as advances in science and technology can be deployed to the service of humanity.

10. The Security Council is correctly debating this matter today because it concerns humanity as a whole. The human family must find the means to live at peace with one another. As Member States, we have individual and collective responsibility to do all in our power to contribute towards the prevention and settlement of conflict. We must combine our efforts to break the link between illegal transaction in natural resources and armed conflicts. However, in doing so, we should avoid demonizing natural resources and stifling legitimate trade in such resources.

11. In this respect, the peace building and post conflict reconstruction and recovery in affected countries deserve strong support to enable them to speedily establish effective institutional and requisite internal controls to manage their resources for the common good. People in affected countries should not only enjoy peace and security, but most importantly they must also benefit from the wealth derived from natural resources which is their common heritage.

12. Mr. President, the delegation of Botswana is strongly convinced that for most developing countries, natural resources should really be a source of hope and opportunity for a better future rather than a threat or a curse. Botswana can indeed attest to the good that diamonds can do.

13. There can be no doubt however that left alone, diamonds cannot do anything. Positive and innovative actions, policies and practices by people combined with good leadership are critical to transforming a resource to good use. Political stability, good governance, people centred development and respect for the rule of law as well as transparent and accountable national systems are essential for the efficient management of these resources for the common good.

14. Botswana fully supports the Kimberley Process. This is a practical mechanism underpinned by General Assembly and Security Council resolutions calling for accountable and transparent internal controls and systems at the national level as well as international measures to monitor and track the trade in rough diamonds.

15. The strength of the Kimberley Process is in collaboration, commitment and partnership. It enlists the co-operation and participation of different global stakeholders, namely, exporting and importing countries, non governmental organizations and the diamond industry to ensure full compliance.

16. Today almost all international trade in diamonds is processed through the Kimberley Process and diamonds have become a major source of funding for social progression and economic development in many countries, particularly in Africa. The Kimberley Process continues to be a major success in curbing production and trade in conflict diamonds.

17. Botswana is also strongly committed to the implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). To this end, we continue to carefully manage our wildlife resources in particular, elephants. The result is that today, we have huge and healthy elephant populations. It should not come as a surprise, therefore, that we consider it a legitimate demand that we be allowed to sell our huge stockpiles of ivory which in any case were harvested from animals that died naturally.

18. Mr. President, there is agreement on the urgent need to effectively prevent conflict over natural resources. In doing so, we should not establish mechanisms that create conditionalities for trade in natural resources and place a heavy burden on exporting countries. This would be unfortunate as it would set new trade barriers.

19. We must not demonize or stigmatize natural resources. Natural resources do not cause conflict. They simply do not! It is illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons, human greed, mismanagement, corruption and exploitation that generate conflict!

The seedlings of conflict are planted when the vast majority of citizens are excluded from enjoying the wealth of their national heritage.

20. There is no single way to address the issue of conflict over resources. We call for equal accountability for those who manufacture and export arms and those who use the proceeds of the sale of natural resources NOT to produce food, provide education, health care, clean water and communications infrastructure BUT rather subvert and divert such proceeds to purchase and import arms in order to perpetrate or fuel war on their populations.

21. Most African countries are dependent on natural resources for their foreign exchange earnings. In this regard, it is crucially important to avoid mechanisms that can adversely impact on the ability of African countries to profitably exploit their natural resources.

22. Mr. President, in conclusion we need a wise combination of measures to assist Africa to urgently and effectively tackle the challenges of underdevelopment. The phenomenon of Natural Resources and Conflict is common to Africa because of the problem of underdevelopment. In the highly industrialized countries it no longer exists because the economies are primarily dependant on science and technology and highly skilled services.

23. If natural resources are demonized, the result would be that only natural resources from Africa would be excluded from international trade. Mechanisms that can adversely impact on the ability of African countries to profitably exploit their natural resources should be avoided. Underdevelopment in Africa therefore deserves urgent attention. Strong partnership, assured support and mutually beneficial co-operation in tackling this problem are key to solving the question of Natural Resources and Conflict. Thank you Mr. President!


Further, at the opening session of the 7th United Nations Forum on “Reinventing Government,” in Vienna, Austria, His Excellency, Botswana President, Mr. Mogae, observing that Africa’s challenges were also global challenges, he proposed the need for the continent to work with others in resolving such outstanding issues as conflicts in Darfur, Somalia, and Cote d’Ivoire, as well as facilitate dialogue in Zimbabwe.

President Mogae further welcomed the establishment of the MDG Steering Committee.

The President went on to note that, notwithstanding the many challenges facing the continent, most African states were now enjoying greater levels of democratic governance and economic growth. He, however, observed that the continent’s current overall growth rate of about 5% per annum would have to double if the continent was to close the gap with the rest of the world.

From all the above, a picture is drawn of a continent of very mixed composition. Some brutal governments rule in order to enrich themselves, with total disregard of the population, and by expropriating for their own benefit whatever natural resources they can find. On the other hand, some enlightened leaders understand that they must act for the benefit of all their people. These latter, for political reasons, may sometimes talk nevertheless half-truth by creating excuses for some of the worse realities that kept Africa’s development from happening. THE WORD UNDERDEVELOPMENT is historically just one such excuse.


Posted on on May 28th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

At the UN, Africa Day was the occasion for a panel discussion on “African Economic Outlook 2007” – a joint publication by the African Development Bank and the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – co-organized by the OECD Development Centre, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the UN University Office at the UN in New York.

We happened still to have had handy the Former UN Secretary-General’s, an African himself, message on Africa Day of 2006. We scan it in because it says to us that Mr. Kofi Annan acknowledged in it the effect that aid from the G8 was having on development in Africa. Then a second release from the UNSG on May, 25, 2006, to a Ministerial Round-Table of West and Central African Countries in Madrid, was dedicated to the fight against terrorism in the African regions – this meeting being held in a European city that itself was still smarting from effects of terrorism. It is not hard to see that in the year since then, indeed, little progress was achieved in places like Sudan/Darfur or Zimbabwe.



From an African point of view – May 25, 2007 the leadership of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the motor of NEPAD – the New Partnership for Africa’s Development – had the following remarks from Gaborone, Botswana:

“The Southern African Development Community (SADC) today joins the people of the African continent, from all walks of life, in commemorating the forty-fourth anniversary of Africa Day. May 25 marks an important landmark in the history of the African people’s struggle for self-determination, freedom, independence, economic and social development. It is a day on which we celebrate the formation, on 25 May 1963, of the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

On this historic occasion, SADC would like to pay tribute and salute the pioneers of the OAU, whose formation was primarily driven by a common aspiration towards de-colonisation, liberation, equality, justice, progress and the unity of the African people. The legendary vision of the founding fathers of the OAU to seek a joint African solution to the dichotomy that faced Africa in the 1960s, through a common vision of unity, inspires us today to further achieve greater unity, cooperation and integration.

Africa Day exemplifies the achievements made by the various leaders on the continent with regard to the founding of the African Union (AU) in 2002, in establishing NEPAD and other continental developments, to address the challenges of the continent and ensure that the 21st Century truly becomes an African Century.

The commemoration of Africa Day also highlights the important role and participation of SADC in the continent’s development and integration agenda. This year’s Africa Day is an occasion to celebrate a range of welcome developments on the continent. The African Union has taken root, with many of its institutions already established. The Pan-African Parliament has been inaugurated as a platform for the articulation of the aspirations of the peoples of Africa. Commendable progress has also been made in the implementation of NEPAD, especially in the priority areas of agriculture, infrastructure, environment and health – which are the key areas in reducing poverty, promoting social stability and improving the quality of life. Equally, progress has been made in the areas of peace, security and stability.

However, much remains to be done. We must keep striving to address both HIV and AIDS, gender inequality, domestic violence and the persistence of violent conflicts in various parts of Africa, which continue to hold back development by destroying social and economic infrastructures, diverting resources and tearing asunder the social and cultural fabric of affected societies. On this Africa Day, let us rededicate ourselves to the unity and socio-economic development of Africa and its people.

May we all, across our continent, celebrate Africa Day with pride in the achievements of the OAU. May we all be inspired to face the future with renewed vigor, loyalty and dedication to our continent and its people, confident that the successor to the OAU, the African Union, and its development programme, NEPAD, will take us forward towards the achievement of the goals of African unity, peace, democracy and prosperity for all.”

Mail & Guardian Online, Evan Pickworth, Johannesburg, South Africa, Reports on May 28, 2007:
“UN report cautiously upbeat on Africa’s growth.”

(but questions how much this reflects a true African point of view.)

Africa remains on the march to economic prosperity with growth of 6%
expected in 2007 from 5,6% this year, said the United Nations in its mid-year World Economic Situation and Prospects Report, launched in Johannesburg on Monday.

“Strong growth is expected to continue into 2008. Africa’s good recent growth record represents a major turnaround from the previous decades of Africa’s economic stagnation,” the report says.

Rising mining outputs and increases in investment and infrastructure growth are highlighted as key benefits for Africa in the period ahead by Robert Vos, director of the UN’s development policy and analysis division.

However, the UN highlights that growth in Africa is not fast enough to meet the Millennium Development Goals, with the report noting that 44 developing countries did not manage to reach a growth rate of 3% in GDP per capita.

“This group includes a large number of African countries, suggesting that economic developments in these countries falls short of what is considered necessary by Nepad [the New Partnership for Africa’s Development] and international agencies to achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” says the UN.

The report highlights that growth of Africa’s economy continues to stem largely from developments in a few big economies in the region, namely Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa.

“All these economies, except Morocco, will expand at almost 5% or more in 2007,” the report notes. The UN also stresses that the growth of oil-importing countries in the region is “less robust” on average and that social and political tensions continue to restrain economic growth in a number of the poorer African nations.

“Risks to the outlook for the region are mainly on the downside. In particular, a further slowdown of the United States economy, the main global economic engine, would slow world economic growth and thereby also affect African economies.

“A weakening housing sector is the main cause of the present slowdown in the US. In the baseline scenario, only a mild further weakening of the US housing sector is expected, while US business investments are expected to pick up again in 2008 after a slow period,” says the UN.

The report warns, however, that should house prices in the US start to decline, this could affect domestic demand more seriously and push the global economy into recession.

It also highlights that growth in Africa is highly concentrated in a narrow range of activities, “making many African economies extremely vulnerable to exogenous factors such as weather conditions, terms of trade developments and aid flows”.

“As a result, most African countries have been unable to sustain sufficiently high growth rates over the medium term,” says the UN.

The report shows that from 1998 to 2006, only seven of the 52 countries monitored by the Economic Commission for Africa achieved an average real GDP growth of more than 7%, considered by some as the minimum required growth rate to halve extreme poverty in the region by 2015.

“Growth of the majority of the economies in the region has clustered in the range of 3% to 7%. By this measure and at current trends, few countries would be on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” it says.

The report also states that world gross product is expected to decline to a pace of 3,4% for 2007, down from 4% in 2006. This slowdown is, however, expected to stabilize in 2008 with projected world gross product at 3,6%.

For Africa to achieve the dual aims of increasing growth rates and sustaining them, the UN says it will require sustained improvements in domestic investment climates to promote private-sector activity, improved provision of infrastructure, measures to minimize the adverse effects of external shocks on incomes of the poor and, most importantly, progress in the diversification of production and exports.

Vos was speaking at the Southern African launch of the report by the Association of Southern African Development Community Chambers of Commerce and Industry in partnership with the UN Information Centre in South Africa and the UN department of economic and social affairs.


The bottom line from all of the above is that economists at the World Bank and the UN tend to see Africa in a very large sweep as if it were a browned goulash. Most economists giving us averages of the kind that one millionaire and one popper average as two rich people – and that is not the reality in Africa where poor people are poor, and the leadership in oil and mineral exporting countries is rich. In the Arab North Africa and in South Africa, the colonial powers did develop a middle class – thus these regions are somewhat different from the rest of the continent. Now, the UNU-ONY led Panel of May 25, 2007, that presented joint African Development Bank – OECD Development Center produced “African Economic Outlook 2007,” was indeed the best presentation on the economy of the African continent that was provided at a UN meeting.
It did not gloat in figures and did indeed show the discrepancies.

To get a sense of what development means today to people measuring it in terms of GNP growth, rather then in term of Sustainable Development, we like to mention that the growth leader is seen as China and for the 2007-2008 period the figure mentioned is 10.5%, with India running at 8%, Russia at 6% while the developed/industrialized countries show much lower figures: Canada at 3%, the UK at 2.5% and the US, the Eurozone, and Japan at 2.3% only.

In above context, the African Bank/OECD Center figures for growth of the oil-exporting Africa are 11.7% and for the non-oil exporters 6.7% – these figures are really in no way comparable to the China and India figures – this because of the fact that the oil money has not led to any real industrialization in the oil exporting countries, and the growth in the non-oil-exporting countries is in a large part based on foreign aid rather then on entrepreneurship like in India. We are much less inclined to see in Africa the great hope that the “diplomatese” of some of the articles we posted here would like to assume. We also are aware that much of this growth has led to harm to the environment in those countries without having given them much in return – this because even the oil money did not create further industrialization – though we know that Khartoum has now a well developed consumer minority, but what about what goes on in Darfur? Two states in Africa, Somalia and Zimbabwe are failed states and rather retracted by 5%. This is specially hurting when one knows something about Zimbabwe.

We took lots of notes, the presenters were ready to provide further data and we give here the reference to: and we will now only look at some of the Q&A session.

Patrick Hayford, Director of UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, wanted to know if water should be privatized in Africa, and was told that there were various methods used for privatization, but in all methods there was the experience that the companies could not get back their investment and now the question is moot – there is a general retreat from privatization in water distribution.

We decided that following the debacle with the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, and that Sustainable Development is the only way forward for Africa, there is a question that must be asked.
We said so, and wanted to know that – as the report showed there are oil exporters and North African and South African economies that nominally do well, there are many economies that were helped from the outside and managed to improve, and there are two failed states. So our question was why did the Africans chose to appoint one of the failed states to lead the UN CSD – specially when next topic of the CSD is going to be agriculture – the main crater the Zimbabweans created for themselves and by themselves? Will this not hurt the other African States?

Mr. Patrick Hanford said he can answer this as his office was involved in the discussions – and that “this was a decision on Zimbabwe by Sovereign States.”

OK, people are entitled to shoot their own feet – but why harm in the process their own citizens? Sorry, this was as bad an answer, though clearly an honest answer, as one could have thought up. Nobody else on the panel added to that answer, though I saw one other member who wanted to answer but was discouraged of doing so by the chairman. The person told me afterwards – “that was a good question.”
And I must add here that this is a bad UN – the kind of organization that has put “we the governments” ahead of “we the peoples.”