Debt Relief Push Revived

Published on 26th April 2005

A Toast For IREN

NAIROBI – The Inter-Region Economic Network (IREN Kenya) held a congratulatory party on Wednesday 20th April 2005 at the Pan-Afric Hotel. IREN-Kenya was celebrating its achievements, among them winning the Templeton Freedom Award for Institute Excellence and the nomination of Mr James Shikwati, its director, to the interim Economic Social and Cultural Council of African Union (Ecosocc) committee of the African Union. The one-hour event brought together invited guests and friends of IREN. Shikwati autographed a book he has edited, ‘Reclaiming Africa.’ The book seeks to mobilize Africans to take responsibility and ownership of the continent’s problems.

Opposition Rejects Poll

LOME — Togo\'s main opposition party yesterday called for popular resistance after the ruling party candidate, Faure Gnassingbe, was declared provisional winner of a presidential poll in the West African country. \"We call on the people to resist,\" said Jean-Pierre Fabre, secretary-general of the Union of Forces for Change party. \"This regime must understand that we will never accept Mr Faure Gnassingbe as president of the republic because neither his father, nor him, could win a normal election in Togo,\" he told Reuters.

Debt Relief Push Revived

LAGOS — Nigerian lawmakers put pressure on rich Western creditor nations yesterday to cancel some of the country\'s $35 billion debt and revived a threat to halt payments unilaterally. The government of Africa\'s top oil exporter believes it now has a better chance than ever for relief because Britain, its main backer and largest creditor, holds the presidency of the Group of Eight rich nations. The House of Representatives passed a non-binding motion in March calling for a halt to all foreign debt payments, but it later made a u-turn by passing this year\'s budget including $1.3 billion in repayments.

Garbage Pile Up

HARARE — Garbage is piling up uncollected in Harare as Zimbabwe struggles with a deep economic crisis that has also left major towns short of water and electricity. The Harare city council said yesterday rubbish had not been collected in several townships and suburbs of the capital for three weeks because of a national shortage of fuel and the expiry of contracts for some private garbage collectors. Critics say the city\'s mounting problems mark a grim new stage of Zimbabwe\'s long-running political and economic crisis, which many blame on President Robert Mugabe\'s government.

Oil Slips After Assurance

LONDON — Oil prices eased for a second day yesterday as traders booked profits from a week-long rise after Saudi Arabia said it could quickly tap spare oil production capacity if necessary. US light crude last traded down 47 cents to $54.10 a barrel, extending Monday\'s 82 cent loss in New York. London Brent crude was down 33 cents to $54.05. Prices fell on renewed signs of rising OPEC supply and comments the assurance from the world\'s leading exporter Saudi Arabia.

Central Bank Cuts Interest Rate

JOHANNESBURG — Botswana\'s central bank unveiled a surprise interest rate cut yesterday, citing a \"generally positive\" inflation outlook in a move which analysts said was aimed at boosting flagging economic growth. In a statement on its website, the Bank of Botswana (BOB) said it was trimming its key bank rate by 25 basis points to 14%, as credit growth and government spending were in line with its inflation objectives for the year.

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