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Archive for January 13th, 2007

Trade between China and Africa: Who is the beneficiary?

Posted by African Press International on January 13, 2007

Understanding trade between China and Africa is not easy. China organised a conference in the Chinese capital for all African states late last year. The aim of the conference was trade between China and the African continent.

Number one: It sounds good to hear of trading partners. China is to fund projects, give aid and also participate in the process!

Number two: It is the participation on the ground in Africa by the Chinese that is questionable.

Questionable because the deal opens for direct trade, but also participation by the Chinese on the ground – in African countries.

One may question the questionable raised, but it has to be understood that direct participation by Chinese merchants will make poor African traders to loose their businesses, because of the Chinese merchant’s throw-away prices.

The Chinese stand strong in this, because they manufacture, export to Africa, follow their goods, market and practically sell them direct to the customers and not through African businessmen and women. Before Africa realises what is taking place, most of the citizens will be unemployed and as we all know, high unemployment is one of the contributing factors to crimes.

We take one example, Kenya an independent developing country.

There is high unemployment in the country and this is one of the African countries that has entered into trade agreement with the Chinese.

African leaders lined up in China!

The lining up ceremony: The African leaders line up for handshake with Chinese premier: Nr.49>….Nigeria> Kenya> Uganda> Tanzania> A woman with an umbrella walks past a billboard in Beijing announcing the African summit Ethiopia> Zimbabwe> …….> 

Kenyan President Mwai KibakiPresident Mwai Kibaki of Kenya waits for his turn in the line up to get a handshake from the Chinese premier. He was one of the African leaders, who attended last year’s conference in China, where the host – the Chinese premier, treated the African heads of state as college students, when he made them  to be lined up to greet him, as though they were students lining up in school to get to the dining hall – one by one during lunch hour rush to get the food.

Chinese President Hu Jintao delivers his address as he opens the summit

Chinese Premier (right photo>) speaks to all African heads in China last year after summoning them all to a trade partnership conference. Mugabe (left photo>) was reported to have been very impartient during the meeting!

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Zimbabwean president<President Mugabe wants attention from the premier, because he simply wants the funding processed immediately!

It was a show of power by the Chinese premier.  How he treated the leaders was distasteful. It smells of a saying;- “Come to me, you line up, you put forward your grievances as “Mugabe is doing here”, I will listen, and make consideration on how to proceed, whereas your duty is to accept and open trading windows for my people!”

Otherwise, how can one understand and interpret, the way African heads of state were made to line up in a queue to shake hands with their host!It is like African leaders can easily be made to jump, or go down on their knees, as long as they know they will get money to take home to their countries. And yet this is not free money.

If China is seriously thinking of having Africa as trading partners, there should be mutual respect between the parties.

And the only reasonable way to put into practice mutual understanding and respect is through equal partnership.

China can export goods to African countries, and let the locals there do the practicals, instead of the  Chinese doing everything by way of Producing, exporting, and moving their people to the ground in Africa to do the selling.

What happens to the African man and woman? Are they in a position to compete? The answer is no, they are not able to compete.

So what aim do the Chinese have? Of course, they are thinking of themselves, while African heads of state seems not to have the insight on what is behind the game the Chinese has set to roll.

Zimbabwe’s president, Mr Mugabe (right President Robert Mugabe walks among supporters at his party conferencephoto>) is one of those African heads of state who wrecks his own country’s economy through his preferred high cost lifestyle, only to rush to China and cash-in on a handshake with Chinese premier! But does he know who benefits or he simply wants to get the money to maintain himself in power?

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Mr. Ogola asks African leaders to wake up!

In Kenya and Uganda, for instance the local traders are loosing their businesses because foreign trading partners have their hands on almost everything bearing the name – trade and benefits!

According to Kenyan Mr. Kennedy Ogola, a businessman based in Norway, Kenya is making a big mistake by allowing foreign traders to take over direct sales to the customers in the name of partnership. “My understanding, says Kennedy Ogola, is that the trade ties creates unemployment in the country and the result here is that the Chinese are the beneficiaries, while the local Kenyan man and woman, who depends on small scale trading will be put out of business. The simple fact that our leaders should bear in mind when entering into trade relationship, is to ensure that the local businessmen and women benefit through the program.”

Mr. Ogola is one of the people who reacted angrily when he saw all African leaders lined up by the Chinese premier, like school boys meeting the headmaster.

He reiterates that, “African leaders must wake up, and refuse to be pushed around in the name of “aid” packages, which in actual sense do more harm to African countries, while the so-called “foreign trading partner” is the sole beneficiary.”

By Korir, African Press in Norway, APN, africanpress@chello.no

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South Koreans released unharmed!

Posted by African Press International on January 13, 2007

A masked militant holding a gun in the Niger Delta (file image)

<Nigerian insurgents!

 South Koreans, 9 in number taken hostage in Nigeria have been released unharmed. They were held hostage by Nigerian gunmen.

The Koreans are oil workers. “The attack took place on Wednesday at a Daewoo oil facility in the southern oil state of Bayelsa. A Nigerian worker was also abducted. Less than a week before the kidnapping, five Chinese telecom workers were seized by gunmen in another area of the volatile Niger Delta.”

These are acts that must be condemned. Such, “kidnappings for ransom and attacks on the industry are frequent in the area,” and must be treated in the  same line as terrorism carried out around the world. The Nigerian government has to join in the fight against terrorism instead of sitting back and watching their people harass foreign oil workers.

When terrorists kidnap  workers and force governments to negotiate, it is a clear threat to the international security. “South Korean diplomats had been negotiating with the militant group to secure their release.” It is definite that the South Korean government must have bought themselves out of the problem. Doing so, only encourages more kidnappings in the region. 

By Korir, African Press in Norway, APN africanpress@chello.no, source.bbc

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Lord’s Resistance Army says they will not join next week’s peace talks!

Posted by African Press International on January 13, 2007

Vincent Otti, second-in-command of Lord's Resistance Army

<The rebels must assemble latest February this year.

The LRA rebels – Lord’s Resistance Army are now saying that the do not want to participate in the peace talks scheduled to start next week between them and Museveni’s government.

According to media reports, “delegation leader Martin Ojul said public pronouncements by President Omar al-Bashir and his deputy Salva Kiir show they are not welcome in Sudan. He said Kenya should host any further talks as it would be neutral ground.”

The talks is seen as a very important step towards peace in the region. The conflict has been on for over 20 years. “In view of the statements by the two leaders and security considerations, the LRA delegation for the peace talks are not going back to Juba,” Mr Ojul told reporters in Nairobi.”

BBC reports that Mr Ojul confirms that, “they had communicated their position to ex-Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, the newly appointed United Nations envoy for Uganda at a meeting in Nairobi. Mr Chissano who was appointed last month to help resolve the 20-year conflict, made his first visit to Uganda this week hoping to bring fresh impetus to the government’s peace talks with rebels.”

LRA spokesman Obonyo Olweny who had accompanied Mr Ojul, “called on Kenya President Mwai Kibaki, the current chairman of regional body Igad to convene a summit to salvage the talks in Juba.”

By Korir, African Press in Norway, APN, africanpress@chello.no, source.bbc 

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Madonna for more adoptions from Africa!

Posted by African Press International on January 13, 2007

Madonna on the David Letterman Show< Madonna and Latterman.

Singer Madonna who recently adopted a child from Malawi is calling for others to do the same – to adopt children from Africa.

There was a lot to controversy due to Madonna’s adoption, because many people in Malawi felt that the singer bypassed the laws, and got things done favourably simply because of her status.

BBC reports that, “The singer told US talk show host David Letterman she was “saving a life” by taking the one-year-old to the UK. She admitted she had been warned it might be difficult but had not expected so much criticism.”

While she realises that her actions – the speedy adoption by-passed the regulations was unpopular, she seems not to regret it and now, “The 48-year-old suggested laws needed to change because a million children in Malawi needed to be “rescued.”

By Korir, African Press in Norway, APN, africanpress@chello.no, source.bbc

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“Martial law” takes over in Somalia!

Posted by African Press International on January 13, 2007

Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu <Ruling by the gun in Somalia!

It is finally martial law rule in Somalia that has been imposed, and is declared will last for 3 months.

The government says the purpose of doing that is to ensure that security comes back to the capital after the rout of Islamist forces.

BBC reports that, “MPs sitting in the provincial town of Baidoa voted 154 to two to ratify Prime Minister Ali Mohamad Ghedi’s plan to restore order in the war-ravaged state. The government regained control after a campaign led by Ethiopian troops which also saw US air attacks on militants.”

It is reported that, “nine people have died in clashes between rival clans in a town in central Somalia.”

Somalia has been without a real government for long now, and it is the wish of the international community that the Somali people get long lasting peace. 

Many will not be opposed to the martial law, because it is the wish of many people and the neighbouring countries to have stability in Somalia.

However, the interim government has to prove itself and move the parliament to the capital Mogadishu in order to be taken seriously.

If the parliament continues its day to day affairs from outside the capital, that does not encourage the residents, but makes them continue believing that there is total insecurity in the capital. So the earlier the law makers move to Mogadishu, the better.

By Korir, African Press in Norway, APN, afrcicanpress@chello.no, source bbc

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Secretary of State, Rice indicates that the US will soon discipline Iran and Syria!

Posted by African Press International on January 13, 2007

 US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (file picture)

<Condoleeza Rice, the US Secretary of State has stated that her country is not out to escalate the war in Iraq, but has warned that the US will continue to be firm against those who assist terrorist activities. In this case, she was referring to Iranians and the Syrians.

According to her, President Bush is right in pursuing those whose mission is to make bombs and destroy people’s life with them.

BBC reports that, “Ms Rice spoke ahead of a visit to the Middle East, a visit that will focus on Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The week-long tour will take in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as Israel and the Palestinian territories.”

According to Rice her country was not going to sit and watch any country continue to create dangerous atmosphere and put the lives of US soldiers stationed in Iraq in danger.

US is out to stamp out the activities, but it seems Rice will not say whether her country will use force as the first option, an indication that they want to give diplomacy a chance.

It is known, however, that President Bush will not sit, and wait for diplomatic negotiations that may last until after his leadership is over.

He will want results soon, and if the two countries, Iran and Syria are not willing to listen, the US might resort to bombing targets that they will identify and call thme “centres for training terrorists” even if such centres do not exist.

One must get a good reason to attack, just like the Iraqi story, and the theory of weapons of mass destruction, which in practice was never found, but the idea helped to build up a coalition that finally took on the late Saddam Hussein’s regime.

The leaders of the two countries must now think twice. Bush may choose to remove them from power as well.

By Korir, African Press in Norway, APN, africanpress@chello.no

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