top 5 posts

May 7, 2007 at 8:29 pm (Uncategorized)

1 Somalia, the Saga continues; https://tahoeinafrica.wordpress.com/2007/05/06/somalia-the-saga-continues/

2 Chaos in Somalia; https://tahoeinafrica.wordpress.com/2007/04/22/chaos-in-somalia/

3To begin what is the African Union; https://tahoeinafrica.wordpress.com/2007/02/11/to-begin-what-is-the-african-union/

4 Crisis in Guinea, why should we; https://tahoeinafrica.wordpress.com/2007/02/15/crisis-in-guinea-should-we-care/

5 EU in the horn of Africa, a response; http://ccloud.wordpress.com/2007/05/06/european-union-in-the-horn-of-africa/

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Somalia, the saga continues

May 6, 2007 at 10:51 pm (Uncategorized)

Earlier this month, the AU has announced that security forces have gained control of Mogadishu, the Somali capital and relations bewteen locals and AU soldiers are expected to become better in the coming weeks. The interim government that was created in January 2007 has officially announced that it has defeated Islamist rebels in the capital city and that fighting as quieted down, after nearly 1 000 civilian deaths. The flight of 400 000 residents has slowed and those who escaped admist the fighting are expected to return to the city.

The AU announced that rebel groups have agreed to disarm and register their weapons. However only four companies out of 151 operating in Mogadishu, publicly disarmed and registered their weapons during a ceremony last week. This is a positive move in the right direction, and very small steps shou;d be seen as large victories, since Somalia’s recent history is awash with anarchy and guerrilla warfare. AU troops have reportively gained control over the capital and installed a security force to minimise any isolated fights that may occurr.

While Somalia is slowly begining to rebuild itself, it now must deal with a large civilian population that does not and will not support a stable government. In the essence of survival during war, many urban Somalis benefited greatly from the past 16 years of anarchy and instability. These people have become entrepeneurs in a sense, selling anything from water to textile materials out of their homes, shelters and cars. This group of capitalists believe that the creation of a stable government will not only hinder their economic successful but practically strip them of all economic assests, taking away their only source of sustainable livelihood. Goverments regulate markets and trade, they monitor trade flow and tax goods. This entrepeneurial class of Somalis believe that stable government will force them out of business, it will place standards on markets that will be too expensive to meet, therefore many traders who live off of income gathered from the sale of produce and agriculture, will be forced out of business, and forced into poverty, which they have so cleverly evaded during the period of anarchy and conflict. These people will sacrifice security for economic vitality, and many of them are able to survive admist intense fighting and still able to bring their goods and services to the front lines, in exchange for money and security.

The case of Somalia is quite interesting. The AU has quite a long road ahead if it wants to bring stability to the nation, it has many groups that want and expect it to fail, only continuing the 16 year period of anarchy and conflict. The EU and North America seem disinterested in the success of Somalia, However the US has pushed for the government to not tolerate any sort of terrorism or terrorist training within Somali borders. Any Somali found guilty of terrorism faces life imprisonment or execution.

Somalia is still a mess, its a problem that very few nations will dirty their hands with, and it is a nation where people have nearly adapted to living admist constant fighting, fear and danger.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6620869.stm

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Chaos in Somalia

April 22, 2007 at 12:21 pm (Uncategorized)

Okay, so its been a while since I’ve blogged, I’ve been having a problem finding the time and energy to do this.

But I’ve been meaning to write about some of the interesting news stories that have happened in the past weeks regarding the African Union and individal African States.

Somalia has seen its fair share of troubles over the past decade. A functioning government hasn’t existing in the country since the early 1990s. The begining of 2007 gave new hope to this country when UN and AU forces drove out the warring Islamist militas and warlords. For a time high hopes emerged from these developments, then Mogadishu, the captial, fell to intense battles between Islamist warlords and occaional ouside forces. Ethiopia, a state that desperatly wants to stablise Somalia, has sent a large contengency of troops to help reinstate peace and an civilian government. The warlords reacted with attacks against the Ethiopian and AU coalition. The state, as I understand, has fallen yet again and the government has lost control of the nation. Mogadishu is a city in ruins and over the past 2 months nearly 100 000 Somalis feld the city to rural villages in the southern corner.

In northern Somalia we are seeing quite a different story, this region, called Somaliland, that has a coastline along the Gulf of Aden, has not faced the same violent problems that the southern regions have faced. This area is relativly well governed and has a much stronger civil infrastructure. People are not straving to death, at least not in the same magnitude.

Somalia has been a and will continue to be an international problem. The southern regions are alleged breeding grounds for Al Qaeda terrorists, a region that has no police force to speak of and absolutly no civil infrastructure….which makes it ideal for terrorist camps.

Somalia is a tragic story and will continue to be so until the problem is met with serious action. A serious UN coalition is needed to enter the  nation and suppress the anti government forces, with violence and brutal force when necessary.

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Crisis in Guinea, should we care?

February 15, 2007 at 8:42 pm (Uncategorized)

So, Guinea is next West African state to experience recent problems. Guinea is a African state that is sandwiched between Senegal and Cote D’Ivoire. It also shares borders with Libera and Sierra Leone. In recent weeks President Lansana Conte has created policies that have yet again damaged the domestic economy. Conte has only been the 2nd president since the nation’s independence 50 years ago, he’s had the position for 23 years. Conte’s mismanagement of the economy has angered the Guinean population and many organisations have demanded his resignation. People had had enough and demonstrations began last weekend to protest against Conte’s presidentcy. Conte reacted with violence, sending in the military to halt all demonstrations, killing at least 100 people. As a result of the chaos and violence, Conte instigated an 18 hour Marshall Law, citizens are only able to leave their homes between 12pm and 6pm. The nation is at unrest and like its neighbours of Sierra Leone and Liberia, war may be imminent if violence is not resolved.

Last May, President Conte reshuffled parliament and remolved the prime ministre from office, vesting all state powers in himself, Guniea became and is now, a military authoritarian regime. Guineans are visibly upset at the current state of their nation, and their anger is only met with violence and murder. The African Union, United Nations and various other organisations have condemned the president’s recent behaviour, but little or no action is taken to intervene and actually take care of the situation. The AU released a statement asking for Conte to restore normalcy and regularity to the nation.

Well, normalcy is not needed, justice is needed. Conte has economically ruined his country and destroyed the current generations’ employment opportunities. While disposing him may not be the best idea, can the AU take a stronger stance against his policies? Would they? It seems like the AU is pretty weak, it rarely intervenes in  a states’ affairs (which may be a good thing) but does little to promote human rights and justice, an integral part of its mission. The AU could simply become more active, instead of offering vague statements while sipping coffee in Cannes, France. A major crisis if unfolding in Guinea, will the world and the AU turn a blind eye and allow a decades long civil war to destory the nation, similar to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Somalia? If action is not taken to restore and/or create peace, war seems imminent.

read on at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6365275.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/6364513.stm

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To begin, “What is the African Union”?

February 11, 2007 at 8:38 pm (Uncategorized)

Welcome back, it’s been a few days since I last posted a bog, from here on out I will track noteworthy stories and interesting developments about the African Union. The African Union  (AU) is an organisation similar to that of the more well-known European Union. The AU was established as the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963 under the vision of then Ethiopia’s foreign ministre, Ketema Yifru. 32 independent African states met in Addis Ababa of May 1963 to openly discuss African Unity, what it means and how all African states could benefit from it. At the time notable leaders such as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the frist elected president of Ghana, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya and many more African leaders met to discuss the prospect of a unified African Continent. The OAU soon became known as the African Union (AU) as we know it in 1999. The AU retains all the goals of the original OAU and has added more, to create an economically integrated African continent, with now 53 member states.  The AU is a military organisation as well and currently has peace keeping missions in Somalia and the Darfur region of Sudan. The debate is whether or not these missions help to create or destroy peace in the region. I’ll write more on this later.

read more here http://www.africa-union.org/root/au/index/index.htm

The African Union should become of interest to the United States and the West in the upcoming months, with terrorist suspects hiding out in Somalia and Kenya, and a new trade deal that could potentially upon up Africa exclusively to China.  The AU has become a powerhouse and will continue to gain power and a voice on the global stage/

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A comment on ‘Saving Africa’

January 26, 2007 at 5:26 pm (Uncategorized)

In this blog “Saving Africa” Nima Sanandaji examines and responds to insight from Thomas Brandberg. Nima is a biotechology student at Chalmers and responds with eloquence in this blog that gives insight to Africa’s economic woes. This blog, which was published in May of 2005, had only two short comments, both of which do not critically analyise the blog, but add bits of information to the facts and statistics already posted.

This blo argues that capitalism is not the reason why economies of Africa have experienced disappointing growth rates, and in some states all out economic collapse. Brandberg argues and Sanandaji agrees that political corruption,  and ‘un-free’ market practices contibute to Africa’s economic problems. Its not that multinational corporations are establishing a presence and encouraging money flight (As is a problem with Shell in Nigeria) but that most multinationals simply aren’t coming to Africa. Political problems, cupped with un-capitalistic market practices are detering companies to invest in many African nations. As a result economies continue to fail to produce, poverty rates rise and the demand for more aid increases. As stated in the blog, foreign aid encourages dependency and corruption. So it seems that its a brutal cycle, that unless dramatic changes are made, Africa will continue to face mounting economic problems.

This blog brought up some interesting points but only stated tge condition as it is, with little intention of much more. What I would like so ask these authors is what about those nations who actually have bulit up their economies to appease the Washington Consensus? Like Botswana, Namibia and Uganda (well Uganda has accomplished some requiredments of the WC). These nations allow for open markets and free trade. Yet leaders of these countries have been unable to attract foreign investment. The continent scars companies and investors away, Africa is simple too risky and most multinationals believe that African investments will not be beneficial to their corporations.

What I think needs to be done (this is simply an opinion) is for the west to encourage alignment to the Washington Consensus, and we need to do more than encourage, we need to help states like Zambia and Malawi develope free market institutions, so they don’t go bankrupt and spirl even more out of control. Encouraging and aiding development and developmental projects that meet the regulations of the Washington Consensus may lead to economic growth and sabitility. However, we need to be careful, the same is with every developing economy, certain steps are needed to project it, which may require some protective barriers. The West has shunned such steps, which has caused somewhat successful economies in Zambia and Mauritius to falter. It takes a village to raise a baby, well in this case the baby economies of Africa are going to need the support from the world, if they are to be successful and experience the growth needed to fix the rest of Africa’s woes.

This article by Brandberg and Sanandaji briefly explains the current state of Africa’s economic incompacities and argues that much more is to blame than just multinational corporations or capitalism. It doesn’t explain, though, that some states have activly tried to build their economies along the requirements of the Washington Consensus, and are still faltering. A much deeper look is needed to find general recommendations and solutions to Africa’s economic problems.

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Hello world!

January 19, 2007 at 3:34 am (Uncategorized)

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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