China sought to defend its role in Africa, ahead of the G8 summit taking place this week, saying that its long friendship with the continent was a force for good and shrugging off the threat of criticism at the meeting in Germany. China's increasing presence as a lender to Africa has troubled some G8 ministers, who are worried Beijing is too willing to lend money without strings to African countries. "China and African countries have had a very friendly, brotherly partnership since the establishment of new China, since the 1950s, and that has continued up to now," Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai told a news conference. The Chinese government also released its position paper for the G8 meetings in Heiligendamm, Germany, on June 6-8, outlining Beijing's policy on Africa.
Robert Zoellick on a Global Tour
Robert Zoellick, President Bush's choice to run the World Bank, is embarking on a government-paid global tour as the United States seeks to mend relationships strained by the rocky tenure of the bank's outgoing president. He will visit Africa, Europe and Latin America. "I want to leave no stone unturned in showing people I am serious," said Zoellick, currently a vice chairman at Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs. He said he wants to reach out to government leaders, financial officials and others about issues facing the poverty-fighting institution and its programs in the developing world. "My immediate goal is simple: I want to listen and to learn," Zoelleck said.
Africa Not a Sea of Conflict
Addressing the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on African Affairs, UN Deputy Secretary-General, Asha-Rose Migiro, said that in many parts of the continent, remarkable advances have been made in ending armed conflict and consolidating peace, highlighting examples such as Liberia, where a landmark vote two years ago brought the first woman President of an African nation into office. Hailing the progress made in recent years to advance peace and security in Africa, Ms Migiro said that equal attention must be devoted to development and human rights on the continent. “Africa’s progress disproves the distorted and widespread portrayal of the continent as a sea of conflict and undifferentiated poverty,” she said, noting the dramatic drop in violent conflicts in the last decade. At the same time, she recognized that Africa continues to grapple with immense challenges such as promoting human rights, the rule of law, and achieving the MDGs - a set of global anti-poverty targets to be achieved by 2015.
India's Interest in SA Grows
India's interest in the South African economy is growing apace. Planned investments by Indian companies in SA over the coming years reportedly add up to billions of rands. The Tata Group is, or soon will be, active in vehicles, telecommunications, hotels, tourism, and ferrochrome. Mahindra is reportedly planning to build an assembly plant in Midrand. Other companies such Apollo Tyres, the UB Group (diamond cutting and polishing) and pharmaceuticals heavyweight Ranbaxy are also lining up. The Indian consulate in Johannesburg has established a forum to facilitate interaction between Indian executives operating in SA.
NEPAD to Carryout Self Assessment
The New Partnership for Africa's Development will carry out a country self-assessment in Uganda in democracy and political governance, economic governance and management, corporate governance and socio-economic development. The two-month assessment will be carried out under NEPAD's African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) in 12 selected districts in the country based on regional basis. The survey funded by Uganda government, UNDP, DFID, GTZ and African Development Bank is aimed at finding out to what extent Uganda has taken measures to sign, ratify, adopt and comply with the standards in those areas. NEPAD's Programme Manager, Ms Silvia Angey Ufoyuru, said the exercise to be carried out in Gulu, Arua, Mbarara, Sironko, Kampala, Moroto and Masindi districts among others starts mid this month and ends in July.
US to Provide Technical Advice
U.S President George Bush announced a new project that will see America provide technical assistance to help African nations strengthen their financial markets. The new project, Africa Financial Sector Initiative, will see the U.S Overseas Private Investment Corps (OPIC) headed by Mr. Rob Mosbacher, work with the U.S' financial community to create several new private equity funds. The new equity funds will mobilize up to a billion dollars of additional private investment in Africa.
Kenya’s President Visits Libya
The Kenya President left for Libya on Monday June 4. The visit is geared towards consolidating the growing ties between Kenya and Libya. Libya being the latest entrant into the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is not only a potential trade partner for Kenya but also the COMESA regional economic bloc. The visit is also a follow-up to the Memorandum of Understanding, which the Kenyan government through the Ministry of Energy signed with the Tamoil Holdings Limited, the National Oil Corporation of Libya early this year.
Josephat Juma, Managing Editor of The African Executive represented IREN and made a presentation titled Africa Does Not Need Foreign Aid during the commemoration of 60 years after George C. Marshall’s speech that tremendously resuscitated Europe’s growth after the devastating World War 11. The forum was held in Vienna, Austria on June 4, 2007. In attendance were: Scott F. Kilner, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy; Ferdinand Lacina, President of Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation and Franz Fischler, Chairman Ecosocial Forum Europe among others.
Meanwhile James Shikwati, Director IREN, joined the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers for the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference in Arusha-Tanzania on Sunday. Under the theme “Africa: The Next Chapter”, 50 speakers from Africa will be giving an 18 minute talk. The speakers are drawn from diverse fields, which include inventors, business leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, designers, artists, writers, activists, musicians and mavericks.
Compiled by Anne Mugoya
Inter Region Economic Network
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