Category: Africa
USA/Africa: Building Back Better? Or Not?
worker | July 28, 2021 | 7:53 pm | Africa | No comments

USA/Africa: Building Back Better? Or Not?

AfricaFocus Bulletin
July 27, 2021 (2021-07-27)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor’s Note

Last week marked six months for the Biden administration and for the narrow Democratic majority in Congress. So it seems an appropriate time for a report card on U.S. Africa policy. And that also means a review of U.S. policies on today’s most pressing global issues, on which the negative effects fall disproportionately on Africans on the continent and in the diaspora.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin is my version of such a report card. It’s short, just pass/fail. It’s not an essay, nor is it an argument to persuade others that mine is correct.

Bottom line, there’s no doubt that Biden is doing better than Trump on almost all points, so that’s a clear pass. But there are also no signs of any intention to reexamine and question past U.S. policies, whether the time frame begins with the end of World War II, extends into the distant past, or focuses only on the post-Cold War period. Within the administration and Congress, there are only faint glimmers of questioning and review of the foreign policy record. So that’s a clear fail.

The most critical question is whether the United States can play a constructive and collaborative role in confronting today’s global crises that threaten planetary suicide. On that, the grade is clearly “incomplete.” It depends on many unknown factors, some of which can be addressed by human action and some of which may already be out of control.

This Bulletin is intended to serve as a resource for anyone who wants to make their own report card on U.S. Africa policy at this critical time for the United States, Africa, and the world. The short quotes and links provide background on the sources that informed my grading. Readers or others who want to contest the grades, including current policy makers, are welcome to send me by email other sources that support alternative views. I don’t guarantee an answer to all, but I will definitely read and think about them.

For a related Bulletin released today, focused particularly on the regressive and dangerous U.S. policy towards Cuba.visit http://www.africafocus.org/docs21/uscuba2107.php,

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on USA/Africa relations, visit http://www.africafocus.org/country/usa-africa.php

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AfricaFocus pause

For August and early September, AfricaFocus will be taking a break from regular publication for rest, reflection, and time with family and friends. However, you can expect to receive one or more messages, either sharing information or updating you on future plans. Later this week I hope to provide an update from another project that I have been working with, directed by my longtime colleague and friend Imani Countess. And at some point I will share my reflections about the future direction this Bulletin should take, with an editor approaching 79 years old and a world that is moving and changing faster than ever before.

Thanks, as always, to my readers for your support in many ways over the years.

Bill Minter, Editor, AfricaFocus Bulletin.

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Building Back Better? Or not?

US Africa Policy Report Card:
Six-Month Grades, Pass/Fail
Better than Trump Pass
Build back better Fail
Sufficient to stave off planetary suicide Incomplete

Background Resources

Beyond Eurocentrism and U.S. Exceptionalism: Starting Points for a Paradigm Shift
from Foreign Policy to Global Policy

by William Minter and Imani Countess

http://www.africafocus.org/usa-2020.php

About this series

Our goal in this writing project to not to lay out a comprehensive vision of U.S. foreign policy or of U.S. policy toward Africa. It is rather to suggest that the time is ripe for re-visioning how we think about the U.S. role in the world. Such rethinking is essential for any fundamental changes in policy on pressing global issues, on which Africa both suffers the greatest vulnerability and has significant potential for leading global rethinking about solutions.

1. Beyond Eurocentrism and U.S. Exceptionalism, January 27, 2020
2. The Green New Deal Can and Must Be Global, January 27, 2020
3. National and Global Inequality are Intertwined, February 24, 2020
4. Special Issue: Can Coronavirus Be a Catalyst for Thinking Globally?, March 25,2020
5. Contesting Health and Workers´ Rights, May 12, 2020
6. Special Issue: Racial Pandemic and Viral Pandemic, June 8, 2020
7. Divest from Violent Policing and Endless Wars, 1, August 24, 2020
8. Divest from Violent Policing and Endless Wars, 2, August 24, 2020
9. Special Issue: Overhauling U.S. Foreign Policy, September 22, 2020
10. Building back a better Africa policy should not mean going back to old ways, November 25, 2020

Articles in Responsible Statecraft

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2021/07/14/face-it-new-counter-terror-policy-in-africa-lacks-political-will-to-change-course/ – by Elizabeth Schmidt and William Minter

“Last month the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership Program Act of 2021” with strong bipartisan support. Current U.S. policies have been counterproductive and a new U.S. policy is desperately needed in Africa and elsewhere in the global south. However, the proposals outlined in this bill — while welcome — risk being nothing more than a change of sentiment.”https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2021/04/08/in-africa-an-acknowledgement-that-counterterrorism-has-failed/ – by William Minter and Elizabeth Schmidt

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2020/11/25/building-back-a-better-africa-should-not-mean-going-back-to-old-ways/ – by Imani Countess and William Minter

“The record of both Republican and Democratic administrations, over more than six decades, has been mixed, ranging from destructive interventions to neglect to — far less often — productive collaboration with Africans on common goals. If the Biden mantra of “Build Back Better” is to be applied to Africa, we need to think about new frameworks to guide policy rather than retreading the shibboleths of the past. “https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2020/10/24/overhauling-us-foreign-policy-the-bitter-fights-ahead/ – by William Minter and Imani Countess

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2020/08/30/divest-from-violent-policing-and-endless-wars-invest-instead-in-a-new-social-contract/ – by William Minter and Imani Countess

Background Pages and Essays for US-Africa Bridge Building Project

Sign up for updates from the project! Like the project on Facebook!*

* And invite your friends to like it! See these two short YouTube videos for how to do this on a computer and on a mobile device. Thanks to Sam Minter for helping out with these two videos.

https://www.us-africabridgebuilding.org/tax-justice/tax-justice/

Taxation is at the heart of our understanding of government. In a society ruled by a corrupt elite, taxation is seen as unjust, another way of siphoning wealth upward in an already unequal society. In a society in which the interests of the people are represented, however imperfectly, government is an essential tool for providing public goods. Taxation is the essential tool to provide resources to meet common needs such as education, health, public safety, protection of the rule of law, physical infrastructure such as roads and bridges, and more.Over the past four decades, right-wing ideologists preaching the gospel of an unhindered free market have dominated public discourse in Western countries and in the international economic institutions under their influence. Taxation for public health and other common goods has been portrayed as illegitimate interference with the preeminent right to private property.https://www.us-africabridgebuilding.org/transnational-solidarity/transnational-solidarity/

As the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis make clear, threats to our common welfare cannot be confined by borders and walls. Collaboration across borders is essential for us to cope with the damage done and build a safer future. No nation-state, however powerful, can achieve this by acting alone. Indeed, the failure to act together can only lead us into a downward cycle of destruction in which ultimately there are no winners.https://www.us-africabridgebuilding.org/essays/confronting-global-apartheid-demands-global-solidarity/
by Imani Countess and William Minter, April 2021

The term “apartheid” comes from South Africa, notorious in the 20th century as the last stronghold of white minority rule. Political apartheid in South Africa ended in 1994 with free elections open to South Africans of all races. But South Africa and the world are still embedded in an international system of inequality reflecting the history of European conquest and domination.In this system, wealth and power are still structured by race and place, both within and between nations. Whether or not one labels it global apartheid, there are striking parallels with South African apartheid.In July 2020, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in the annual Nelson Mandela lecture, addressed what he called the “inequality pandemic” and called the world to a “new social contract.” Such a contract, it is clear, will not happen quickly. But it will not happen at all unless millions around the world mobilize to make it happen.https://www.us-africabridgebuilding.org/essays/angela-davis-steve-biko-memorial/
April 2021
Steve Biko Memorial Lecture by Angela Davis, September 9, 2016

https://www.us-africabridgebuilding.org/essays/disinvestment-reinvestment/
by Donna Katzin, May 2021

In today’s global economy, the rallying cry “An injury to one is an injury to all” has become less a slogan than a statement of fact. Racism, poverty, climate change and pandemics know no borders.International solidarity activists who helped bring South Africa’s apartheid to its knees used multiple methods to exert economic pressure for peaceful change. These included familiar strategies of consumer boycotts and sanctions by governments. Particularly innovative and effective, however, were campaigns to pressure multinational corporations to withdraw their investments and sever economic ties to South Africa. These campaigns for disinvestment of resources, mobilizing massive support across the globe, set precedents and provide touchstones for today’s solidarity movements.https://www.us-africabridgebuilding.org/essays/redefining-the-possible/
May 2021
By Varshini Prakash | Sunrise Movement | 2020

https://www.us-africabridgebuilding.org/essays/african-young-women/
by Rosebell Kagumire, June 2021

Asking young women and queer Africans to put their own struggles aside, in deference to the argument that “national” liberation must come first, as our foremothers did again and again, is not acceptable. (see longer excerpt below).https://www.us-africabridgebuilding.org/essays/africa-feminist-charter/
June 2021
African Feminist Charter, 2006

The roots of U. S. Foreign Policy

There are many books to recommend but probably the most important is the eagerly awaited book by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Not a Nation of Immigrants. It is available for pre-order at Bookshop.org, and ships on August 24.

“While some of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants, others are descendants of white settlers who arrived as colonizers to displace those who were here since time immemorial, and still others are descendants of those who were kidnapped and forced here against their will.”No analysis of U.S. domestic or foreign policy will make sense unless there is an understanding of how they are intertwined and defined by a history of conquest, slavery, and imperial expansion.For more references on this history, see the two essays above on “Divest from Violent Policing and Endless Wars.”

U.S. policymakers should also watch Raoul Peck, HBO series, April 2021

I haven’t watched it yet (I’m not on HBO). But signing up just for this is on my must-do list.

https://www.hbo.com/exterminate-all-the-brutes

https://www.hbo.com/content/dam/hbodata/documentaries/exterminate-all-brutes/resources/eatb-syllabus-210412.pdf

Selected Background Readings on Global and African Issues

The effect of U.S. policies on Africa come primarily not from proactive engagement with specific African countries. The continent remains marginal to mainstream policy makers. And U.S. influence in any specific country is only one factor among many external influences. But U.S. global policy, extended to Africa, has enormous effects on the fate of Africa, which suffers the most from the inequality of the world system.

(1) U. S. Wars

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2021/04/08/in-africa-an-acknowledgement-that-counterterrorism-has-failed/ – by William Minter and Elizabeth Schmidt

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2020/08/30/divest-from-violent-policing-and-endless-wars-invest-instead-in-a-new-social-contract/ – by William Minter and Imani Countess

http://peacehistory-usfp.org/africa-wot/ – by Elizabeth Schmidt
“Africa and the War on Terror” (written for the general public and undergraduate student)

https://www.thenation.com/article/world/new-cold-war-china/
Dividing the World Into Opposing Camps Is the Road to Armageddon

Washington aims to recast NATO in the image of the US military, with its focus on “great power competition” and a renewed arms race with Russia and China.
by Michael Klare, June 25, 2021

“Ostensibly, the aim of all this summitry was to revitalize the Western alliance in the wake of all the damage wreaked by former president Donald Trump and to restore America’s status as the West’s leading champion. But what is this new chapter really about? The 79 points in the final communiqué make the intent clear: to recast NATO in the image of the US military, with its focus on “great power competition” and a renewed arms race with Russia and China. The vehicle for accomplishing this is the NATO 2030 agenda, a virtual facsimile of the Pentagon’s 2018 National Defense Strategy. Both call for the harnessing of advanced technologies to ensure combat superiority in every “domain” of warfare—land, air, sea, space, and cyber—and both focus on countering China’s geopolitical outreach in Asia and beyond.”

(2) Women’s Rights

https://www.us-africabridgebuilding.org/essays/africa-feminist-charter/

https://www.us-africabridgebuilding.org/essays/african-young-women/
Asking young women and queer Africans to put their own struggles aside, in deference to the argument that “national” liberation must come first, as our foremothers did again and again, is not acceptable.

Women were central to the movements for independence and everyday resistance to colonial rule. But often the movements themselves morphed into ruling political class hegemonies. While we have increased the number of women in parliaments in Africa to match the global average of 25%, actual power in government and society falls far short of that achievement. True liberation for women and minorities from shackles introduced by colonial subversion of gender remains elusive. From homes to bars to streets and workplaces, for all the strides made in “empowering women,” we have yet to truly see the liberation of women, in the sense of being able to walk this world free in their own skin and their own bodies – free from violence.

And often there’s an expectation that oppressed people, in this case, African young women and gender-diverse people, should be civil in demanding that their full humanity be recognized. We hear condescending phrases such as “you are asking for too much.”

But who defines what is “too much” for anyone’s freedom and existence? For Sheena Bageine and Stella Nyanzi here in Uganda, and young women and queer Africans resisting dehumanization around the continent, the response is to be “too much.” It is only when women are “too much” that new cracks in the wall of patriarchal dictatorships can emerge.

(3) Tax Justice

https://www.us-africabridgebuilding.org/tax-justice/movement/

https://twitter.com/gabriel_zucman/status/1417907044326068228

https://www.taxobservatory.eu/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/EU-Tax-Observatory-Note-n.1-Substance-carve-outs.pdf

Minimizing the Minimum Tax

by Mona Baraké, Theresa Neef, Paul-Emmanuel Chouc, Gabriel Zucman

On July 1st 2021, 130 countries under the OECD and G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS agreed to promote a minimum tax of at least 15% on their multinationals’ profits. Having been joined by Peru and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines since then, 132 countries are now part of the joint statement. The joint statement includes a substance-based carve-out of 5% rate of return on the carrying value of tangible assets and payroll. In the first years of the implementation, the carve-out would be 7.5%.

Introducing carve-outs for substance raises two issues. First, it profoundly changes the nature and meaning of a global minimum tax and could exacerbate tax competition. Second, it would reduce the revenue potential from a minimum tax. . . .

Conceptually, a minimum tax with no substance carve-out means that some tax rates are considered too low by the international community. An agreement on such a minimum tax would be a landmark because it would be the first time that limits are put to international tax competition. A minimum tax with carve-outs, by contrast, reflects a different perspective. With such a tax, a company that owns €1 billion in assets in a country with a 0% corporate tax rate, and makes €50 million in profit there, would still be subject to no tax at all. In other words, no tax rate is considered too low. . . .

Worse, it gives firms incentives to move capital and employment to places where tax rates are very low. The members of the OECD Inclusive Framework and the OECD need to be very clear: do they want to restrict tax competition? Or is any tax rate — even 0% — acceptable? Is the goal of the Inclusive Framework to stop the race to the bottom? Or is it merely to limit profit shifting to countries where no real activity takes place?

(4) Climate Crisis

#Film4Climate 1st Prize Short Film Winner – “Three Seconds” from Connect4Climate on Vimeo.

http://www.africafocus.org/intro-env.php

https://eand.co/this-isnt-a-heatwave-it-s-a-dying-planet-ac1c9eb529d1

https://eand.co/america-will-be-remembered-as-the-country-that-killed-the-planet-d1e6d4fe2564

(5) Covid-19

http://www.africafocus.org/intro-health.php

https://blogs.imf.org/2021/06/28/sub-saharan-africa-we-need-to-act-now/

by Kristalina Georgieva and Abebe Aemro Selassie

“Sub-Saharan Africa is in the grips of a third wave of COVID-19 infections that threatens to be even more brutal than the two that came before.

This is yet more evidence of a dangerous divergence in the global economy. One track for countries with good access to vaccines, where strong recoveries are taking hold. And another for those countries that are still waiting and at risk of falling further behind.

The growth of infections in sub-Saharan Africa is now the fastest in the world, with an explosive trajectory that is outpacing the record set in the second wave. At this pace, this new wave will likely surpass previous peaks in a matter of days—and in some countries, infections are already more than double, or even triple, their January peaks. The latest (delta) variant—reportedly 60 percent more transmissible than earlier variants—has been detected in 14 countries.”

(6) Democracy and Human Rights

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2021/07/19/bidens-summit-for-democracy-must-put-pressure-on-forever-presidents/

The US must stop supporting ‘forever presidents’ in Africa

Despite aid and other commitments, democracy is backsliding among some key US-partners.

by Philip Oke-Thomas, July 19, 2021

Although a signatory to human rights treaties on the universal right to health, in practice the United States opposes implementation of these rights, both at home and its international policies. See https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/human-rights-and-health and https://www.ohchr.org/documents/publications/factsheet31.pdf

Background Readings on Regional and Country Issues

It is more and more difficult to keep up on the many crises around the world, including in Africa

Any of these would provide ample material for an AfricaFocus Bulletin. But each takes time to do. I did two on Mozambique in May. In lieu of more Bulletins than I can possibly find time to prepare, I provide below just a few background sources.

(1) Mozambique – AfricaFocus

http://www.africafocus.org/docs21/moz2105a.php

http://www.africafocus.org/docs21/moz2105b.php

(2) Ethiopia

http://www.africafocus.org/country/ethiopia.php

https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v43/n12/alex-de-waal/steal-burn-rape-kill

A comprehensive analysis of the war and famine, up-to-date as of mid-June, 2021, by a leading scholar and activist with deep experience on the region and on famine.

(3) South Africa

https://martinplaut.com/2021/07/23/if-you-read-just-one-analysis-of-the-zuma-riots-that-tore-south-africa-apart-read-this/

http://www.africafocus.org/country/southafrica.php

For in depth background on the history of U.S. policies towards Southern Africa, see my 1986 book King Solomon’s Mines Revisited, now available as a PDF download worldwide on the online bookstore http://Lulu.com.

This essay, by Sylvia Hill and William Minter, focuses more specifically on the United States and South Africa.
http://noeasyvictories.org/research/sadet_usa.pdf

Biko

 

Biko | Peter Gabriel | Playing For Change | Song Around The World

1,550,772 views

(4) eSwatini (Swaziland)

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/africa-s-last-absolute-monarchy-is-shaken-as-protestors-defy-eswatini-s-king/ar-AAMzGE8 – July 26, 2021

https://allafrica.com/view/group/main/main/id/00078657.html – July 6, 2021

The eSwatini army has taken full charge after mass pro-democracy protests left many people dead, according to a Human Rights Watch official. Dewa Mavhinga, director for Southern Africa, added that reports received by the organisation were that the Army were on a ‘killing spree’. He said police in Swaziland had reported that the Army had refused to have joint operations so military deployment was not under civilian authority or oversight. Mavhinga reported: “From a police source, the army is now fully in charge for real .. not even the police knows what the army is doing now.”

Regional ministers of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) went to eSwatini to try and defuse the crisis there, but left without having properly engaged the opposition.

Demonstrations against the authoritarian monarchy escalated following the shooting of a student in mid-May. Swazi Media Commentary reported that marches took place in at least 10 places, mainly in rural areas despite a ban placed by the king on pro-democracy demonstrations. Reports indicated that as many as 19 people had been shot dead, allegedly by the military.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/africa-s-last-absolute-monarchy-is-shaken-as-protestors-defy-eswatini-s-king/ar-AAMzGE

http://www.africafocus.org/country/swaziland.php

(5) Rwanda

“Rethinking the Rwandan Narrative for the 25th Anniversary,” bu

Gerald Caplan. By far the best summary and analysis of a very complex debate, as of 2018.

https://utpjournals.press/doi/10.3138/gsi.12.2.03

http://www.africafocus.org/country/rwanda.php

The Path to Genocide in Rwanda by Omar Shahabudin McDoom, 2021
First chapter available for free
https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/path-to-genocide-in-rwanda/what-we-do-and-do-not-know/F1212A3CE78312EB02E240F1808BC797
Full book available for $99 at https://bookshop.org/a/709/9781108491464

Defining U.S. values

 

‘What To The Slave Is The Fourth Of July?’: Descendants Read Frederick Douglass’ Speech | NPR

1,277,950 views

See also, by James Earl Jones
https://www.democracynow.org/2021/7/5/james_earl_jones_frederick_douglass_july4

AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter. For an archive of previous Bulletins, see http://www.africafocus.org,

Current links to books on AfricaFocus go to the non-profit bookshop.org, which supports independent bookshores and also provides commissions to affiliates such as AfricaFocus.

AfricaFocus Bulletin can be reached at africafocus@igc.org. Please write to this address to suggest material for inclusion. For more information about reposted material, please contact directly the original source mentioned. To subscribe to receive future bulletins by email, click here.

AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter. For an archive of previous Bulletins, see http://www.africafocus.org,

Current links to books on AfricaFocus go to the non-profit bookshop.org, which supports independent bookshores and also provides commissions to affiliates such as AfricaFocus.

AfricaFocus Bulletin can be reached at africafocus@igc.org. Please write to this address to suggest material for inclusion. For more information about reposted material, please contact directly the original source mentioned. To subscribe to receive future bulletins by email, click here.

Sorry is the Hardest Word: Why Dutch are Not Alone in Refusing to Apologise for the Slave Trade

https://sputniknews.com/world/202107051083311548-sorry-is-the-hardest-word-why-dutch-are-not-alone-in-refusing-to-apologise-for-the-slave-trade/

 

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An independent panel in the Netherlands has told the government it should apologise for the Dutch role in the transatlantic slave trade. But what would be the implications if it did, and what about all the other nations involved in the slave trade?

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte set up an independent panel last year – in the wake of the death of George Floyd and under pressure from the Black Lives Matter campaign – to look into the role played in the slave trade by the Netherlands.

After publishing the report on 1 July, the chair of the panel, Dagmar Oudshoorn said: “History cannot be turned back. However it is possible to state the intention that this historical injustice…whose ill consequences are still being felt today, be corrected as far as is possible, to make that the starting point of policy”.

​On the same day, Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema, said: “On behalf of the city, I issue an apology for the Amsterdam city council’s active involvement in the commercial system of colonial slavery and global trade of people reduced to slavery”.

Amsterdam’s bankers and merchants were key to the slave trade in Dutch colonies such as Suriname, Curacao, and Aruba.

​But Mr Rutte has said his government will not apologise for slavery because he did not want to divide public opinion by passing judgement on Dutch history.

The Dutch West India Company operated a chain of fortresses in what is now Ghana and shipped around 500,000 African slaves to the Caribbean and Brazil.

The Netherlands banned slavery in all its overseas colonies, including Suriname, in 1863.

But what about the other nations involved in slavery?

Great Britain

The British Empire – or England as it was until 1707 – did not invent slavery but it was responsible for turning it into a huge wealth-creating industry.

From the middle of the 17th century until the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, English ships were exporting iron goods, guns, cloth, and other manufactured products like glass beads to Africa where they would be used to buy slaves from local African chiefs.

The slaves would then be put in chains and transported across the Atlantic to the Caribbean or to the southern states of what would become the United States, where those that survived would be put to work on sugar, tobacco, or cotton plantations.

Protesters throw a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into Bristol harbour during a Black Lives Matter protest on 7 June 2020.
© AP PHOTO / BEN BIRCHALL
The statue of Edward Colston is thrown into the harbour in Bristol.

The crops would then be sent back to Britain on the same ships and the triangular trade would go on.

Merchants and bankers in Bristol, Liverpool, and London played a leading role in the slave trade but the monarchy, the government, and the church all benefited from it financially and saw little unethical about it until independent MP William Wilberforce embarked on a campaign to end it.

In recent years, the Bank of England and the Church of England have both apologised for the role they played in the slave trade and there has been much debate in cities like Bristol about renaming venues and removing statues of slave merchants like Edward Colston who also happened to be philanthropists.

​In June of last year, the Lloyd’s of London insurance market apologised for its “shameful” role in financing the slave trade and promised to fund job opportunities for black people.

In 2007, then-Prime Minister Tony Blair said during a visit to Ghana: “I have said we are sorry and I say it again …It is important to remember what happened in the past, to condemn it and say why it was entirely unacceptable”.

But Hilary Beckles, chairman of a Reparations Commission set up by Jamaica and several other Caribbean countries, told Reuters: “It is not enough to say sorry. We are not asking for anything as mendicant as handing out cheques to people on street corners. The issue of money is secondary, but in this instance the moral discharge of one’s duty does require in a market economy that you contribute towards development”.

Spain

Spain bears a heavy responsibility for the slave trade as it was the Spanish monarchy which funded Christopher Columbus’ expedition in 1492 and then followed up shortly afterwards by sending a fleet of conquistadors to crush the Aztec and Inca empires and subjugate indigenous people from Mexico to Peru and Cuba to Argentina.

The Spanish were the first to bring slaves to Jamaica – which England conquered in 1655 and turned into a thriving slave-owning economy – and they also exploited the agricultural wealth of Venezuela and Colombia by using African slaves.

When Simon Bolivar – who himself owned slaves – liberated Venezuela and Colombia in the 1820s he failed to persuade local plantation owners to free their slaves and slavery was only abolished in 1852.

Slavery continued in the Spanish colony of Cuba until 1886, only 10 years before the US ousted the Spaniards and began their own period of neo-colonial rule.

The Spanish government has never formally apologised for enslaving millions of people in Latin America, or for the atrocities committed by the conquistadors, who often enslaved indigenous people who refused to convert to Christianity.

The closest it came was in 2001 when then-Labour and Social Affairs Minister Juan Carlos Aparicio, said: “We profoundly regret the injustices of the past”.

France

During the 18th century, France competed with Britain, Portugal, and Spain when it came to building empires and dominating trade and it was not shy in getting involved in the slave trade.

France took almost 1.4 million African slaves to the Caribbean to work on plantations in Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and the western half of the island of Saint Domingue – now known as Haiti – which would become a major sugar exporter and the jewel in the French empire.

When Toussaint L’Ouverture led a successful slave revolt in Haiti, Napoleon Bonaparte was so affronted that he ordered the island be recaptured and slavery reimposed.

But the campaign was a bloody failure and Haiti became the first black republic and abolished slavery in 1805.

France finally abolished slavery in its colonies in 1848.

In 2006, then-President Jacques Chirac oversaw a ceremony which commemorated the “indelible stain” of slavery in French history, but France has never formally apologised.

Portugal

Portugal was one of the first countries to see the potential for profits in slavery.

Only 12 months after Columbus discovered the Americas, the King of Portugal had claimed what is now Brazil and this was accepted by a papal bull and then the Treaty of Tordesillas.

By the 16th century, Portugal, having pioneered slave plantations on Madeira and São Tomé, introduced the slave trade to Brazil and began bringing in hundreds of thousands of slaves from what is now Angola, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to cut sugar cane on “engenhos” in Brazil.

Brazil became independent from Portugal in 1822, but the economy was built on slavery and it was not abolished until 1888.

It is estimated that around five million enslaved people were brought from Africa to Brazil between 1501 and 1866.

Portugual has never formally apologised for its role in the slave trade, but in 2017 President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa visited Senegal and said he recognised the “injustice of slavery”.

United States

The southern states – Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Virginia, and North and South Carolina – inherited slavery when the US threw off the shackles of British control in the late 18th century.

There is even a theory that the war of independence was begun because American slave owners feared the British Empire was about to end the slave trade.

Slavery remained integral to the US economy, especially in the south, until the 1860s when the Civil War tore the country apart.

Alison Lane gestures as she celebrates Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in Texas, two years after the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves elsewhere in the United States, in Washington, D.C. U.S., June 19, 2021.
© REUTERS / KEN CEDENO
Alison Lane gestures as she celebrates Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in Texas, two years after the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves elsewhere in the United States, in Washington, D.C. U.S., June 19, 2021.

Abraham Lincoln finally freed the slaves and defeated the Confederacy in 1865.

In July 2008, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution apologising for slavery and for the Jim Crow laws which discriminated against blacks for decades after the abolition of slavery.

Nine US states have also made official apologies for enslaving Africans and their descendants.

African Nations

Possibly the most politically awkward subject is the culpability of various African nations – or their ancestors – for enslaving other Africans in the first place.

Toyin Falola, a Nigerian professor of African studies at the University of Texas, told The Wall Street Journal in 2019: “The organisation of the slave trade was structured to have the Europeans stay along the coast lines, relying on African middlemen and merchants to bring the slaves to them. The Europeans couldn’t have gone into the interior to get the slaves themselves”.

The author of the article, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, wrote about her great-grandfather, a chief in the Igbo tribe of eastern Nigeria, who had sold slaves in the 19th century.

The slaves tended to be from inland tribes while the slavers tended to be from tribes like the Igbo who lived along the coast of West Africa.

‘Africa in midst of full-blown third wave’: Health officials issue stark update about continent’s Covid outbreak
worker | June 21, 2021 | 7:57 pm | Africa, COVID-19 | Comments closed

https://www.rt.com/news/526848-africa-covid-fatality-inequality-pandemic/

‘Africa in midst of full-blown third wave’: Health officials issue stark update about continent’s Covid outbreak

‘Africa in midst of full-blown third wave’: Health officials issue stark update about continent’s Covid outbreak
Health officials in Africa have warned that the Covid-19 virus is gaining strength on the continent, with cases rising by more than 20% week-on-week in nearly two dozen countries as the vaccination rate remains woefully low.

Speaking on Thursday, Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for Africa, warned that cases numbers were rising concerningly fast, with cases on the continent up by 30% in the past week, and nearly two dozen countries registering at least a 20% rise.

“Africa is in the midst of a full blown third wave… We’ve seen in India and elsewhere how quickly Covid-19 can rebound and overwhelm health systems,” Moeti stated. She added that deaths are up 15% and that five countries – South Africa, Tunisia, Zambia, Uganda and Namibia – account for three-quarters of the new cases.

Speaking at a separate news conference on Thursday, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention chief John Nkengasong warned that only 0.79% of the continent’s 1.3 billion people are vaccinated.

ALSO ON RT.COMMore than 30 members of Congo’s parliament have died from Covid-19, says senior lawmakerFour African nations are yet to start their vaccination campaign, although the WHO said that Tanzania plans to request to join the COVAX global vaccine-sharing facility.

Both Moeti and Nkengasong also noted that countries which were vaccinating at a good pace were in danger of running out of stocks.

The continent is yet to experience an emergency in the same way that other parts of the world have to date in the pandemic, although some outlying data suggest that the virus may be more prevalent than the poor Covid testing capacity implies.

In May it was announced that around 5% of lawmakers in the Democratic Republic of Congo had died from Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. The figure suggests that there may have been more virus cases than the 31,000 the country claimed to have registered at the time, given the known fatality rate of the virus.

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USA/Global: Bad Days for Big Oil (except in the GOP)
worker | June 14, 2021 | 8:38 pm | Africa | Comments closed

USA/Global: Bad Days for Big Oil (except in the GOP)

AfricaFocus Bulletin
June 14, 2021 (2021-06-14)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor’s Note

“Fossil fuel companies are having a big reckoning with climate change this week. Shareholders for Exxon and Chevron voted for measures that could force them to take more responsibility for their emissions, while a Dutch court is forcing Shell to slash its pollution.” – The Verge, May 26, 2021

It is too early to tell the long-term impact, of course, but May 26, 2021 might just prove to be a turning point in the difficult and urgent fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to have a chance of avoiding a severe escalation of the climate crisis. Pressure on corporations is growing on many fronts, as illustrated also by the June 9 announcement that the Keystone XL pipeline has been definitely cancelled by the developer TC Energy.

And now climate protesters led by indigenous people are ramping up the campaign against a new oil pipeline projected to run from Canada’s tar sands to northern Minnesota. The StopLine3 campaign, calling for President Biden to cancel the permit for the project, is also mobilizing protesters blocking construction, leading to mass arrests earlier this month.

Measured by the “production gap” calculated by the UN Environment Programme with allied research agencies at the end of last year, the immediate impact on actual emissions levels of these recent victories is likely to be minimal. The stated commitments by governments and corporations are falling far short of the minimum necessary to avoid catastrophic consequences, and their actions are even more limited.

Nevertheless, this is a signal that corporations themselves must and can be held accountable. The same applied to governments, the policies of which are still overwhelmingly biased towards fossil fuels by inertia and by current fossil-fuel interests. In the United States for example, Republican opposition and Democratic timidity threatens to eviscerate the ambitious climate actions in the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin, in addition to the links just below, includes (1) excerpts from a New York Times article on the significance of the Exxon board meeting outcomes; (2) a press release on a new essay by Donna Katzin, entitled “From Disinvestment to Reinvestment;” (3) excerpts and a short video from the Production Gap 2020 report; (4) a summary essay on a new expert study on a “Fossil Fuel Exit Strategy,” and (5) brief excerpts from a MSNBC interview with U.S. Senator Ed Markey, who notes that the Republican Party (GOP) now effectively stands not for “Grand Old Party” but for “Gas and Oil Party.”

The links above should work in email on a laptop or desktop computer. On a mobile devide you may have to click above on “View this email in your browser” to make these links within the email work.

I know that is a lot to absorb in one 25K document, and I don’t expect very many of you to read it all. But I hope you will skim some of it, save it for later reference, and share it. If you are reading this in email, to http://www.africafocus.org/docs21/clim2106.php to get a URL to share.

Or you can break up your reading by going to the music video selections at the end of the bulletin, now a regular feature for AfricaFocus.

For additional related news coverage and commentary see

https://cleantechnica.com/2021/05/27/a-bad-day-at-black-rock-for-big-oil/
Another useful and well-written summary, in addition to the one cited above.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/09/business/exxon-mobil-engine-no1-activist.html
Analysis of long-term significance (see excerpt below)

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jun/07/its-time-to-nationalize-shell-private-oil-companies-are-no-longer-fit-for-purpose
Argues that private companies will never really get out of fossil fuels and the governments should nationalize them to do that. The catch is that that depends on the politics of the governments!

https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/keystone-is-xl-is-dead
“OMG! It’s official,” Dallas Goldtooth, Mdewakanton Dakota and Diné, wrote on Twitter regarding Keystone XL’s termination. “We took on a multi-billion dollar corporation and we won!!”

https://www.iisd.org/publications/natural-gas-finance-clean-alternatives-global-south
Step Off the Gas: International public finance, natural gas and clean alternatives in the Global South. Extensive study of options based on case studies of Argentina, Egypt, and India.

For a powerful 3-minute video on the climate crisis by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, released in 2014 but still relevant almost 7 years later, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlh_ptOljkg

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on climate change and the environment, visit http://www.africafocus.org/intro-env.php

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor’s note+++++++++++++++++

Exxon’s Board Defeat Signals the Rise of Social-Good Activists

back to topThe energy giant’s stunning loss was the work of a tiny hedge fund that believes investing for social good is also good for the bottom line.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/09/business/exxon-mobil-engine-no1-activist.html

[excerpts]

The strategy of Engine No. 1 hinged on getting votes from Exxon’s three largest shareholders, BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street, on its side, an uphill climb since such firms often side with management.

Engine No. 1 held only 0.02 percent of Exxon’s shares, giving it a similar portion of proxy votes, while those three institutional investors together accounted for nearly 20 percent of the voting shares.

. . .

Analysts say it’s hard to overstate the impact that Exxon’s defeat will have on corporations across the country.

In 2018, BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street cast an average of about 25 percent of the votes in elections for directors of all of the companies in the S&P 500, according to academic research. The mere threat that some of those votes are more likely to be cast against management will force executives to think long and hard about how to address their concerns, analysts say.

“You’ve seen that kind of shift dramatically overnight,” said Lyndon Park, managing director at ICR, a firm that advises corporate boards on investor relations issues.

Mr. Park, who formerly worked at BlackRock, added: “The days are over where you could think, you know, these guys would give the benefit of the doubt to management.”

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From Disinvestment to Reinvestment

back to topUS-Africa Bridge Building Project

Press Release June 7, 2021

https://www.us-africabridgebuilding.org/news/from-disinvestment-to-reinvestment/

Activist campaigns to force corporations and governments to shift resources away from unjust and destructive systems can make a difference, Donna Katzin contends in the essay “From Disinvestment to Reinvestment.” The essay was published on May 30 by the US-Africa Bridge Building Project, a Washington DC-based nonprofit geared toward fostering transnational solidarity primarily around economic justice. Katzin’s essay cites evidence from the transnational anti-apartheid movement in the mid-20th century to later social justice movements, including the movement to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy and the Black Lives Matter demands to shift resources from policing and incarceration to investment in underserved communities.

In her essay, Katzin notes that racism, poverty, climate change, and pandemics know no borders. This makes it increasingly clear that the rallying cry “An injury to one is an injury to all” applies to a host of global as well as national issues.

Katzin recently retired as the founding executive director of Shared Interest, which she led for 26 years. She previously directed the South Africa and International Justice Programs of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility from 1986 to 1994. Since 1994, Shared Interest has benefited 2.3 million people by issuing $30 million in guarantees unlocking more than $125 million in credit to South and Southern African borrowers who would otherwise be considered “unbankable.”

The strength of her argument was strikingly confirmed just before its publication in what news stories and leading climate justice activist Bill McKibben called “A Bad, Bad Day for Big Oil.” At the Exxon Mobil board meeting on May 26, a dissident slate of candidates for the board calling for action on the climate crisis won 3 out of 4 contested seats against the company’s opposition.

On the same day, Chevron shareholders approved a resolution for tighter limits on greenhouse gas emissions. And a court in the Netherlands ruled that Shell Oil must drastically cut its emissions over the next ten years.

When asked about this news, Katzin noted that such massive shifts require mobilization over years and decades, and that it is too soon to tell the impact of this development. But, she said, “The May 26 victories may be a turning point in the campaign to press Big Oil to put the brakes on fossil fuels – before climate change becomes irreversible. It mirrors the moment when captains of industry recognized apartheid as a motor for crimes against humanity, and underscores the lesson that reinvestment in solutions is not only essential to our shared future – it is also possible.”

Similarly today’s activists can confront current challenges like those arising from the COVID-19 pandemic through a combination of boycott, divestment, sanctions, and reinvestment strategies.

“A global reinvestment coalition could coordinate campaigns to pressure companies that use public funds for the development, manufacturing, and production of vaccines, but fail to make their vaccines accessible where they are needed most,” Katzin suggests. “They could further require them to “reinvest” by pricing vaccines affordably and delivering them equitably to low-income countries and communities.”

Among the tactics deployed by transnational solidarity activists to end apartheid, according to Katzin, campaigns to pressure multinational corporations to withdraw their investments and sever economic ties to South Africa proved especially effective. “These campaigns for disinvestment of resources, mobilizing massive support across the globe, set precedents and provide touchstones for today’s solidarity movements,” she writes.

Economic pressure through boycotts, divestments and sanctions have been and remain powerful tools to change corporate and national policies that harm and hinder social and economic mobility. However, for these efforts to have a lasting impact, they must be paired with strategies that reinvest resources in disadvantaged communities and countries.

The same message comes through clearly from the Movement for Black Lives and their allies. The message is clear. Organizing to defund entities exploiting, threatening, and imprisoning Black, indigenous, and communities of color. But reducing these destructive uses of resources must be accompanied by positive reinvestment in communities, including housing, education, health, and criminal justice.

The fight against injustice can only succeed if it is linked with a vision of justice. The reallocation of resources is both a means to realize that vision and a measure of its success.

Katzin’s essay is the second original essay in a series of essays for a Playbook for Transnational Solidarity. The Project also published a companion essay on May 30, reposted with permission from the Sierra Club magazine, entitled “Redefining the Possible,” by Varshini Prakash of the Sunrise Movement.

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The Production Gap: 2020 Report

back to topUN Environment Programme

A digital copy of the full report is available at: http://productiongap.org/2020report

Between 2020 and 2030, global coal, oil, and gas production would have to decline annually by 11%, 4%, and 3%, respectively, to be consistent with a 1.5°C pathway. But government plans and projections indicate an average 2% annual increase for each fuel.

The Production Gap: 2020 Special Report

1,754 views

Key Findings

To follow a 1.5°C-consistent pathway, the world will need to decrease fossil fuel production by roughly 6% per year between 2020 and 2030.

Countries are instead planning and projecting an average annual increase of 2%, which by 2030 would result in more than double the production consistent with the 1.5°C limit.

Pre-COVID plans and post-COVID stimulus measures point to a continuation of the growing global fossil fuel production gap, locking in severe climate disruption.

To date, governments have committed far more COVID-19 funds to fossil fuels than to clean energy. Policymakers must reverse this trend to meet climate goals.

Countries with lower dependence and higher financial and institutional capacity can undertake a just and equitable transition from fossil fuel production most rapidly, while those with higher dependence and lower capacity will require greater international support.

Policymakers can support a managed, just, and equitable wind-down of fossil fuel production through six areas of action.

. . .

Six main areas of action for governments could help ensure a managed, just, and equitable transition away from fossil fuels that “builds back better” from the COVID-19 pandemic:

1. Ensure COVID-19 recovery packages and economic stimulus funds support a sustainable recovery and avoid further carbon lock-in. Many countries have begun to make investments in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, green hydrogen, and improved pedestrian infrastructure. But if this is accompanied by significant support for high-carbon industries, COVID-19 recovery measures still risk locking in high-carbon energy systems and development pathways for decades into the future. Governments that choose to invest in high-carbon industries to boost economies and safeguard livelihoods in the short term — perhaps because they see few near-term alternatives — can nonetheless introduce conditions to that investment to promote long-term alignment with climate goals.

2. Provide local and international support to fossil-fuel dependent communities and economies for diversification and just, equitable transitions. Each country and region faces unique challenges in a transition away from fossil fuels, depending on their dependence on production and their capacity to transition. Inclusive planning is essential, as is financial, technical, and capacity-building support for communities with limited financial and institutional capacity.

3. Reduce existing government support for fossil fuels. Many long- standing forms of government support to fossil fuels — including consumer subsidies, producer subsidies, and public finance investment — stand in the way of a sustainable recovery to COVID-19 and need to be ended.

4. Introduce restrictions on fossil fuel production activities and infrastructure. Restricting new fossil fuel production activities and infrastructure can avoid locking in levels of fossil fuel production higher than those consistent with climate goals. It can also reduce the risk of stranded assets and communities.

5. Enhance transparency of current and future fossil fuel production levels. A key barrier to aligning energy and climate plans is the lack of clarity on levels of fossil fuel production and planned or expected growth. To improve transparency, countries could ensure that relevant production data are more readily and publicly accessible. They can also provide information on how their fossil fuel production plans align with climate goals, and on their support for the production of fossil fuels. Governments can also take steps to disclose their level of exposure to fossil fuel asset stranding and associated systemic risk, and to require companies within their jurisdiction to do so.

6. Mobilize and support a coordinated global response. Policies to transition away from fossil fuels will be most effective if supported by countries collectively, as this will send consistent, directional signals to energy producers, consumers, and investors. International cooperation, both through established channels and in new forums, can support a just and equitable wind down of fossil fuels. The Paris Agreement’s global stocktake, nationally determined contributions (NDCs), and long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LEDS) offer opportunities to facilitate a transition away from fossil fuel production through the UN climate change process. International financial institutions can help shift financial support away from fossil fuel production while scaling up support for low-carbon energy.

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‘Fossil Fuel Exit Strategy’ Shows Transition to Renewable Future Totally Doable

back to tophttps://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/06/10/fossil-fuel-exit-strategy-shows-transition-renewable-future-totally-doable

“The hurdle is no longer economic nor technical; our biggest challenges are political. A cleaner future is within reach.”

Andrea Germanos, Staff Writer

Ditching fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy in order to keep warming below the 1.5ºC threshold is both “necessary and technically feasible.”

That’s the conclusion of an analysis released Thursday entitled Fossil Fuel Exit Strategy. Produced by the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures in cooperation with the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, the report states clearly that “there is no need for more fossil fuels” because the world is overflowing with renewable energy capacity.

“The world has more than enough renewable energy resources that can be scaled up rapidly enough to meet the energy demands of every person in the world without any shortfall in global energy generation.” —Fossil Fuel Exit Strategy

Such a pathway, said Sanjay Vashist, director of Climate Action Network South Asia, would avert a “criminal waste of money” that would “have devastating climate and humanitarian consequences.”

A key point in the analysis is that simply stopping the industry’s planned expansion of fossil fuel projects is insufficient to meet the Paris climate agreement’s temperature goal and would actually “push warming well above 1.5ºC.”

With this angle, the new analysis goes beyond the International Energy Agency’s report last month calling for no oil and gas expansion in order to meet a goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. That’s because even if there were no expansion, the report’s projections show, the world would produce 35% more oil and 69% more coal than is consistent with meeting the 1.5°C target.

As such, Fossil Fuel Exit Strategy lays out a dirty energy phaseout with an annual decline of 9.5% for coal, 8.5% for oil, 3.5% for gas from 2021-2030.

A further difference between the new report’s 1.5ºC scenario and the IEA report is its rejection of carbon capture technology and bioenergy as well as nuclear energy going forward.

Leaving those sources aside is no problem because expanding efficiency measures will lower overall energy demands, even amid increased electrification. That’s because wind and solar power—sectors that are accelerating —are in a position to take over for fossil fuels.

“Our analysis shows that even applying a set of robust, conservative estimates that take into account environmental safeguards, land constraints, and technical feasibility, solar and wind energy could power the world more than 50 times over,” the report states. “This is the case even for Africa and India with their growing energy demand.”

“With this report, it is even clearer to everyone that world leaders have no excuse. We must act now.” —Mitzi Jonelle Tan, Youth Advocates Climate Action Philippines

The report points also to previous estimates showing Africa’s potential as a renewable “superpower” because “the solar and wind potential across the continent far outstrip every other region of the world.”

There are also global financial benefits to be considered. The report notes that renewable costs are becoming at least cost- competitive with fossil fuels. What’s more, investments in dirty energy are becoming “stranded assets .”

The good news is that “the world has more than enough renewable energy resources that can be scaled up rapidly enough to meet the energy demands of every person in the world without any shortfall in global energy generation,” according to the report.

Rebecca Byrnes, deputy director for the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, welcomed the new publication as providing evidence “that a practical pathway exists where there are no new fossil fuel projects, existing projects are phased out, emissions are kept within a 1.5°C budget, and energy access becomes universal, all while using existing and increasingly cost- competitive technologies.”

“The hurdle is no longer economic nor technical; our biggest challenges are political,” she added. “A cleaner future is within reach and, while international cooperation is essential for innovation and investment, nation-states can and should act now to regulate fossil fuel production decline.”

Referencing the record number of extreme weather events that have battered her home country, Mitzi Jonelle Tan of Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines and Fridays For Future Philippines called the “current level of warming… already hell for us in the Global South.”

Tan sharply criticized the possibility of further fossil fuel expansion, saying it “will clearly put us past the 1.5°C limit [and] is a death sentence to the most marginalized people.”

“With this report,” she added, “it is even clearer to everyone that world leaders have no excuse. We must act now, the science and the people are united in calling for justice.”

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Chris Hayes with Senator Ed Markey, MSNBC, June 10, 2021

Excerpts: Full transcript available at https://www.msnbc.com/transcripts/transcript-all-chris-hayes-6-10-21-n1270438 back to topHAYES: But when Senator Romney was asked yesterday about how the Democrat`s climate agenda fits in the bill, he responded, “The Democrats climate agenda is probably something they pursue by and large outside of an infrastructure bill.”

OK, here’s the thing. An infrastructure bill that is not climate- focused is quite literally not worth passing, probably worse than nothing. Because climate is the central infrastructure challenge we face obviously.

. . .

Senator Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts who cosponsored the resolution for Green New Deal told The New York Times, “The planet cannot survive another successful Republican obstructionist strategy. We have to have climate at the center of any infrastructure package in order to have my vote. No climate, no deal.” And Senator Ed Markey joins me now.

SEN. ED MARKEY (D-MA): Well, it sounds to me that they have a package which is climate denial masquerading as bipartisanship. We can’t have an infrastructure bill in 2021 that doesn’t have climate at its center. And any other bill that we are going to consider that does not have aggressive solutions to the climate crisis will just have that response which I`ve been giving which is no climate, no deal. That’s the only way in which we can respond.

This bill has to meet the magnitude of the challenges which the climate crisis is presenting to our country and to the planet.

. . .

HAYES: Well, you tick through some of the things that are in the sort of initial Biden American Rescue Plan proposal. You know, there’s money for battery storage and research on that. There’s money for electric vehicle charging stations. There`s some talk about that moving to the surface transportation bill, although that`s in the weeds. There’s a lot of stuff for the electric grid. There’s some stuff on clean energy in terms of, you know, renewable portfolio standards, if I understand.

Do you have a sense of what is or isn’t out? It’s just a weird thing where these 10 senators in a room trading this stuff away. Like, do you — are you read in on what is in the package or not?

MARKEY: Well, I don’t know what’s in the package except what you just read about Senator Romney`s commentary on it which is that this package will not be dealing with the climate crisis in any significant way. And, you know, the bottom line is, the GOP used to stand for Grand Old Party, now it’s — GOP stands for the gas and oil party.

We know that the fossil fuel industry is the largest single contributor to this party. And so yes, we do need new highways, we do need new bridges, but we also have to have an infrastructure revolution for the energy sector so that we are the global leader, so that the rest of the world says the United States is back and we believe in science, and we know that we can solve this problem by unleashing this revolution.

So that President Biden can go to Glasgow later on this year and say, we`re back. We are no longer the laggard, we are the leader again, and we must solve this problem for future generations. That is what this bill must have so that President Biden will have the credibility he needs meeting with the rest of the world later on this year.

****************************************************************

AfricaFocus Music Break

back to topBeginning in May, I started adding an embedded short music video at the end of each bulletin. When working on a bulletin, I find it essential to take breaks to listen to such videos, because the topics I cover often reflect more grim realities than hopes for change. I choose videos that I like and I hope that you will also enjoy them.

Blitz the Ambassador

Blitz The Ambassador – Remembering The Future (Live with 12 piece band)

107,764 views

Musician and film director Blitz (the Ambassador) Bazawule, who splits his time between Brooklyn and Accra, is probably best known now for collaboration with Beyoncé in Black is King. But he has also long been known to his fans around the world for his powerful music and creative short films such as the Diasporadical Trilogia below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gheiegmG5Q – Shine
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBCbmzZDi_Q&t=2s – Juju Girl
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1btIIf_iBg – Running

AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter. For an archive of previous Bulletins, see http://www.africafocus.org,

Current links to books on AfricaFocus go to the non-profit bookshop.org, which supports independent bookshores and also provides commissions to affiliates such as AfricaFocus.

AfricaFocus Bulletin can be reached at africafocus@igc.org. Please write to this address to suggest material for inclusion. For more information about reposted material, please contact directly the original source mentioned. To subscribe to receive future bulletins by email, click here.

Mozambique/Global: Fossil Fuels, Debt, and Corruption
worker | June 1, 2021 | 8:53 pm | Africa | Comments closed

Mozambique/Global: Fossil Fuels, Debt, and Corruption

AfricaFocus Bulletin
May 31, 2021 (2021-05-31)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor’s Note

“The scandal of Mozambique’s “hidden debts” has already cost the country at least 11 billion US dollars, and has plunged an additional two million people into poverty, according to a detailed study of the costs and consequences of the debt published on Friday by the anti-corruption NGO, the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP), and its Norwegian partner, the Christian Michelsen Institute. The term “hidden debts” refers to illicit loans of over two billion US dollars from the banks Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia in 2013 and 2014 to three fraudulent, security–linked Mozambican companies – Proindicus, Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company), and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management).” – report by Centre for Public Integrity (Mozambique) and Christian Michelsen Institute (Norway)

Long-time subscribers to AfricaFocus Bulletin will know that I occasionally publish two Bulletins on one day (although not more than 4 times a year). This Bulletin (available at http://www.africafocus.org/docs21/moz2105b.php) and its companion Bulletin on Mozambique/Global: War, Intervention, and Solidarity (http://www.africafocus.org/docs21/moz1205a.php) are the first such double-posting this year. The reasons are both personal and analytical, given my editorial criterion of focusing on developments relevant for the entire continent and for the world, as well as one particular country. This editorial note is also longer than usual, although even so it points to more questions than answers.

First, it’s personal for me, since Mozambique has been the African country to which I have had the most personal ties for more than 50 years, since first arriving in Dar es Salaam to teach at the FRELIMO secondary school in 1966. My time actually living and working with Mozambicans, first in Tanzania and then in Mozambique and working with Mozambicans only amounts to five years in the 1960s and 1970s. And my occasional visits for research or conferences in the decades since then have been far less frequent than I would have wished. But like my Mozambican friends and others who have worked in that country, I am acutely and painfully aware that Mozambique is now suffering its third war over the last six decades.

All three have been the result of complex interactions of national, regional, and global factors. The armed struggle for independence lasted 10 years, from 1964 to the 1974 agreement for transition to independence in 1975. The post-independence war from 1976 to the peace agreement in 1992 was simultaneously a regional war fueled by Rhodesia and South Africa and an internal conflict. And the present “insurgency” in the northeastern province of Cabo Delgado is driven both by internal discontent and by a mix of external factors. It began in October 2017 and has escalated sharply since March 2020, drawing increased international news coverage and debate.

But much of that coverage is superficial and focused on the single issue of whether external actors should intervene militarily or not, and if not, which of the numerous candidates to do so should step up first. Within Mozambique and the Southern African region, there is a much better informed debate by both scholars, civil society activists, and in the media about the causes of the conflict and what kind of response is needed from Africa and the global international community, prioritizing humanitarian assistance and development rather than a military solution.

[Those who know me will know that I am normally not a fan of webinars, which often supply less solid content than the time they take to watch. But this 2-hour webinar hosted by SAPES Trust on May 27 (https://www.facebook.com/sapestrust/videos/1076962609494070) is an exception. These are real experts from Mozambique and the region with in-depth knowledge of the issues engaged in real debate. No answers, but keen insights and eloquent presentations. A must-watch for anyone wanting to understand the real options for international response to the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Cabo Delgado.]

Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado is now a central test case for whether lessons have been learned from the consistent failures of such a military solution in Mali, Somalia, and northeastern Nigeria. Sadly, it is likely to be a protracted repetition of such mistakes, with the added complexity of the interests of multinational natural gas companies.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from the new report quoted above on the hidden debt in Mozambique, as well as some additional reflectino by Joseph Hanlon on the future of natural gas in Mozambique. The situation is rapidly changing, but Hanlon regularly provides updates, links to other sources in English and Portuguese, and well-informed analysis. You can subscribe to his newsletter at https://bit.ly/Moz-sub.

My apologies for the length of this comment and of these two Bulletins. If you do not have time to read them now, I hope that you will put them aside for later reference. For now, however, I have several suggestions.

  1. Do read and watch this first short on-the-scene report from the conflict zone in Cabo Delgado by veteran BBC journalist Catherine Byaruhanga, who is based in Uganda (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-57254543), from on May 27, 2021
  2. Do read this summary of the report on the hidden debts, from the Mozambique News Agency, May 29, 2021 (https://allafrica.com/stories/202105290201.html), and
  3. Take a break from the news by watching the short music video embedded at the end of this Bulletin (a new feature I added last week, featuring videos I have found it essential to watch while taking breaks from writing subjects which more often feature grim realities than hope for change. The videos I choose are not linked to the specific theme of each Bulletin, but they definitely illustrate the visions of the resilience and hope needed both by Africa and the world.)

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on Mozambique, visit http://www.africafocus.org/country/mozambique.php

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on peace and conflict in Africa, visit http://www.africafocus.org/intro-peace.php

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor’s note+++++++++++++++++

Costs And Consequences of The Hidden Debt Scandal of Mozambique

Centro de Integridade Pública (CIP), Moçambique, and Chr. Michelsen Institute, Norway

May 27, 2021

[Excerpts below from the executive summary and the preface.

For the full report in English:
https://www.cipmoz.org/en/2021/05/27/costs-and-consequences-of-the-hidden-debt-scandal-of-mozambique/

Additional coverage from CIP, in both English and Portuguese
https://www.cipmoz.org/en/category/dividas-ocultas/]

Executive Summary

How a $2 billion hidden and corrupt loan has cost $11 billion and increased poverty

In 2013, bankers in Europe, businesspeople based in the Middle East, and senior politicians and public servants in Mozambique conspired to organise a USD 2 billion loan to Mozambique – an incredible 12% of GDP of one of the poorest countries in the world. The loan was kept hidden. None of the borrowed money, except bribes, went to Mozambique, and there were no services or products of benefit to the Mozambican people.

The knock-on effects of such a huge corruption scandal may already have cost Mozambique at least USD 11 billion – nearly the country’s entire 2016 GDP – and almost 2 million people have been pushed into poverty. If Mozambique is forced to service this debt, there is USD 4 billion more to pay, on top of future damaging impacts.

This report is an inventory of the huge costs and consequences of the hidden debt scandal – measuring them in numbers where possible and tracing the chain of harmful events and tendencies resulting from it. The impacts were economic (direct costs and damages), social (reducing welfare), and institutional (worsening politico- institutional environment).

Economic costs

There are direct costs associated with the loans, mainly past and future costs of interest and repayments. Past direct costs – those incurred up to, and including, 2019 – amounted to USD 674,2 million. To that will be added another USD 3,93 billion that the country will have to pay to service the hidden debt until 2031.

The economic crisis was caused partly by the debt itself, but even more by the damage that flowed from the secrecy and corruption, and the following discredit. And its impact on Mozambicans was hugely more than the hidden debt. When rumours about hidden loans began to circulate, Mozambican ministers lied to the IMF and ambassadors of Mozambique’s development partners, denying the existence of any loans. When the Wall Street Journal revealed the hidden debt in April 2016, the anger was extreme. Donors and lenders had kept the country afloat, and they pulled the plug.

The IMF halted its programme and donors cancelled direct budget support and other aid to the government – a reduction of USD 831 million in 2016 compared to the year before. The cascade that followed included a fiscal crisis making the government unable to pay its bills, there was a major currency devaluation, foreign debt became unpayable, the economy slowed down sharply, real GDP per capita fell, unemployment soared, and poverty increased.

This report calculates that damage. The best and simplest overall measure of it is the fall in the value of the GDP caused by the debt, which we calculate to be USD 10.7 billion in the four-year period. Future costs of lost GDP will continue to pile up, since the damage caused by the HDS is perennial.

[see table by year in full report]

Summarised, a group of corrupt businesspeople and senior government officials committed Mozambique to a debt of over USD 2 billion and split the proceeds of the fraud. That cost Mozambicans, in the years 2016-2019 alone, over USD 11 billion – or USD 403 per citizen.

On top of that, in the decade to come, Mozambique is scheduled to pay nearly USD 4 billion more in direct costs, plus the incalculable economic damage.

Social Costs

The sudden reduction of external donations after the hidden loans were revealed in April 2016 triggered a fiscal and monetary instability that forced the government to reduce public spending severely.

In 2016 real public expenditure (in USD) was cut to less than half of what it was in 2014. That reduction in public expenditure hit the sectors aiming at social welfare. Comparing the three-year average of 2016-18 to the three previous years, spending on health and education fell by USD 1,7 billion – entirely due to the debt. Put in per capita terms, the scandal caused, for each Mozambican citizen:

– USD 10 less in the education sector, each year
– USD 7 less in the health sector, each year

There are many indications that poverty increased during the years after 2015, in various ways of measuring it. The sudden rise in inflation in 2016 and rising prices drove 2,6 million people under the threshold of consumption-based poverty, as shown by studies projecting poverty levels in 2016 using data from the most recent household surveys (IOF 2014/15). We then estimated the proportion of the increase in poverty to be explained by the hidden debt, and found that:
– because of the hidden debt scandal, at least 1,9 million people fell below the line of consumption-based poverty by 2019.

There is no starker measure of the tragedy that the hidden debt scandal has inflicted upon Mozambicans.

Political and institutional costs

The costs and consequences of the hidden debt scandal on the political and institutional landscape in Mozambique were real and severe, yet no single figure or currency captures its full impact.

Mozambique’s performance deteriorated on all relevant indexes measuring aspects of democracy, governance, public financial management and credibility in the decade between 2010-2020. Many of them also registered an acceleration of the deterioration after 2013 when the debt was incurred, and a particularly sharp fall coalescing with the discovery of the secret debt in 2016 – the “smoking gun” evidencing the secret debt’s contribution to the deterioration. This report goes beyond circumstantial evidence and also shows how and why the hidden debt contributed to the deterioration of governance.

Knowing that the debt was illegal and fraudulent, some powerful Mozambicans pushed developments contradicting good and democratic governance. They acted to:

• Cover up the deal and the debt, reducing transparency. Senior politicians lied to the public about the debt, and public finance management reforms stagnated or were reversed.

• Seek impunity, manipulating politics and institutions to avoid accountability for punishable offences. So far, no one in Mozambique has been held to account and convicted for manifestly illegal actions. Checks and balances failed. The Justice system and the Assembly of the Republic were unable to control the actions of the Executive. A Special commission of the Assembly of the Republic was highly critical, but no action was taken. The Constitutional Council ruled that the hidden loans were unconstitutional, but the Executive has ignored this.

• Create political conflict, reducing institutional cooperation. Injection of large amounts of money into one faction of the political elite, and the inevitable bickering over responsibility following the fraud, increased factional fights and institutional chaos.

• Discredit the country and its reputation, as the eventual and inevitable discovery of the debt damaged the Government’s and country’s reputation and integrity. Mozambique’s credit rating plummeted, and its reputation as a serious development partner was severely dented.

Some were inevitable costs of the decision to defraud the state and the population. However, some political choices were not inevitable. When Mozambican society reacted to the fraud with demands of accountability and refusal to pay the debt, the state chose to implement: authoritarian measures, countering the principles of the liberal-democratic Constitution. Harassment of key individuals reduced the scope for public criticism. Blatant manipulation of elections in 2018 and 2019 reduced chances that the regime would lose power.

Summarised, the hidden debt and ensuing scandal impacted heavily on politics and institutions and led to:

1. More contradictions and debilitating conflicts within the state and political system.

2. Worse governance quality and weakened state institutions.
3. Disrepute of the regime and government.
4. A less democratic and more authoritarian country.

Preface

. . .

The hidden debts, the pandemic and other disasters

The final draft of the report was drawn up in the second half of 2020, a time when the Covid-19 pandemic was battering both Mozambique and the rest of the world. This analysis will make no mention of this plague, for the simple reason that the last year included in the report is 2019. It is, however, noteworthy that is in that year Mozambique suffered the abnormal consequences and costs associated with the damage caused by the cyclones named Idai and Kenneth. The consequences of these disasters will be included in the due analyses under the relevant indicators.

The reader will have the opportunity to understand that a small group of people linked to the hidden debts scandal, some of them Mozambican and others foreign, caused damage which greatly exceeds the losses caused by the cyclones. The debts which they managed to conceal until 2016 resulted in an economic meltdown, a weakening of the institutions of governance, and a loss of political and international trust. They contributed to a worsening of the social indicators.

While we do not yet know the consequences of the pandemic currently under way, we are sure that Mozambique would have had much greater capacity to face the pandemic – and perhaps also the growing problem of the war in Cabo Delgado – had it not been for the hidden debts. For example, we will show that it is likely that, without the hidden debts, the health services would have been in better condition. Although our analysis is mostly retrospective, it is obvious to us that the costs of the hidden debts will have consequences of delaying development, also in the future – like a coefficient that multiplies the weight of all the other difficulties.

The analysis in the report leaves aside speculations about the future, the forensic debate about the individuals responsible, and the politico-normative considerations about the necessary reforms in governance. It is dedicated mainly to describing and analysing the consequences of the hidden debts, and calculating their costs realistically, from their conception up to the end of 2019.

The judicial situation of the HD

When the CIP and CMI team of researchers finished writing this report, 17 citizens were under arrest in Mozambique, accused by the Attorney-General’s Office of being involved and of having benefitted directly from this corrupt scheme. Among them there stand out:

* Ndambi Armando Guebuza, son of the former President of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza;
* Gregório Leão, former director of the State Intelligence and Security Services (SISE) ;
* António Carlos do Rosário, former Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Ematum, ProIndicus and MAM;
* Inês Moiane, private secretary of President Armando Guebuza;
* Renato Matusse, political advisor to the then President Armando Guebuza;
* Teofilo Nhangumele, one of the Mozambicans who is also accused in this same case by United States prosecutors.

Internationally, the former Minister of Finance, Manuel Chang, has been under detention in South Africa since 29 December 2018, awaiting a decision as to whether he will be extradited to the United States or to Mozambique. While Chang was awaiting this decision, in the United States, in a New York court, Privinvest official Jean Boustani was tried and the jury considered he had not committed the crimes of which he was accused within the New York jurisdiction, and so he was acquitted.

In London courts, other lawsuits are under way. In one of them, the Mozambican Attorney-General’s Office is pitted against the bank Credit Suisse and Privinvest, while in others a group of creditors is fighting the Mozambican government, as well as VTB against MAM and the Republic of Mozambique.

So, when the final draft of this report was produced, this case was still far from reaching an outcome in the various jurisdictions where the lawsuits were being waged. However, its effects, as from 2016, are already visible in the lives of millions of Mozambicans who have witnessed a worsening cost of living and the deep economic and financial crisis into which the country has been plunged. With regard to the lawsuits, although it is regrettable, the delay in the trial of the various cases related with this enormous corruption scheme is understandable. It is justified by the fact that the cases are taking place in several jurisdictions and may potentially have a contagion effect – that is, the decision in one case may influence or produce evidence for the other cases.

The path to follow

However, the same excuse cannot be used for the delay in introducing structural reforms to prevent the occurrence of new scandals on this scale. Since the discovery of the hidden debts, in April 2016, more than four years have passed and the focus of the analyses is still on the individuals who were behind the contracting of the debts, and never on analysing how the system of checks and balances completely failed to create antibodies so that a fraud of this nature would not happen .

The Assembly of the Republic (AR) failed completely in its role of checking the actions of the Executive, and did not redeem itself even after the debts were discovered. The parliamentary commission that investigated the case was a clear example of this failure of the AR. The Mozambican parliament never managed to take the case of the hidden debts as an opportunity to initiate a more profound debate on the role of the legislature as inspector of government actions, probably because parliament is controlled by the ruling party which benefitted from the swindle (in the New York court, documents were presented which proved bank transfers of about USD 10 million to finance the party’s campaign), in which at least part of the leadership was complicit. So, it is an inconvenient matter for the Frelimo parliamentary group.

As for the judiciary, this also showed it did not have enough power to force the Executive to comply with the Constitution. The refusal of the government to obey rulings of the Constitutional Council is the most flagrant example.

It is essential that the country should reflect deeply on the structural reforms that should be implemented so that cases like this are not repeated. And after this reflection, mechanisms must be set up to guarantee that these reforms are undertaken. The Assembly of the Republic should lead this process.

But intellectuals, academics, civil society organisations and the public in general can and should play an important role in helping the political institutions make the necessary reforms. Currently, the weaknesses of the system persist. Hence, new actors and the knowledge of what went wrong with the hidden debts, could lead to an even more daring swindle, and one which avoids financing from western countries, such as the United States and Britain who have legislation which can act belong their physical borders.

If the internal control systems remain weak, if the parliament and the judiciary remain decorative bodies, then the Government of the day, under a presidentialist system in which the President of the Republic is all-powerful, can seek financing from creditors who are outside of the western financial systems, but who have liquidity and as a counterpart for the high risks involved, demand in exchange the country’s natural resources.

The institutional weakness, the weakness of the institutions that should act as checks and balances raises some questions in the event that Mozambique manages to win the lawsuits that it brought in London, and if it has to be compensated for the damage done to Mozambicans. If this hypothesis comes to pass, where would the money paid to the country in compensation for the damage caused by the HD go? If the institutions are not credible and controlled by the Executive and by the party that controls the government, it raises the possibility of this money returning to the hands of some of those involved in this case, thus overturning all the efforts that are being made so that companies such as Privinvest, Credit Suisse can be held responsible for the damage done to the country.

This report is a contribution to the debate around this matter and may be a useful tool for political decision makers, for public institutions, for the Assembly of the Republic, the Attorney- General’s Office, the Administrative Court, the Constitutional Council, the private sector, civil society organisations, intellectuals, academics, and the public at large.

We are confident that the report will contribute to constructive and structuring debates. Debate it, criticise it and improve its analyses and estimates! But, above all – use it! Let the extent and gravity of the injustice committed be known, so that it is never repeated, and so that its lessons may be used to build a more just, equitable and safe society!

Edson Cortez
Executive Director of CIP
May, 2021

*******************************************************

Mozambique 546 – Energy agency says no more Moz gas; Total demands peace – 20 May 2021

International Energy Agency says no future for Mozambique gas

This newsletter in pdf is on http://bit.ly/Moz-546

Mozambique’s gas fields cannot be developed if global warming is to be kept to 1.5º above pre-industrial levels, according to a dramatic International Energy Agency (IEA) report published Tuesday (18 May). The IEA is part of OECD and thus represents establishment, mainstream thinking. So when it says gas is done, that carries significant weight.

The IEA report is entitled Net Zero by 2050, and shows what needs to be done to reduce global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to net zero by 2050, to limit the long-term increase in average global temperatures to 1.5º C, and ensure universal access to electricity and clean cooking by 2030. https://www.iea.org/reports/net-zero-by-2050

To do this requires that “beyond projects already committed as of 2021, there are no new oil and gas fields approved for development.” Only two Cabo Delgado projects fit within that window – ENI’s floating LNG plant (3 million tonnes per year – mt/y – of LNG) and Total’s suspended project (13 mt/y). ExxonMobil has still not committed, and Total has not committed to a larger project, so under IEA scenario they are excluded. In any case, the Economist (4 Feb) reports that shareholders are pushing ExxonMobil to go green. This means production of at most 16 mt/y, which is far less than the 100 mt/y being predicted just six years ago.

“The contraction of oil and natural gas production will have far- reaching implications for all the countries and companies that produce these fuels. No new oil and natural gas fields are needed.” This will mean a huge cut in projected income for gas-producing countries. “Net zero calls for nothing less than a complete transformation of how we produce, transport and consume energy.”

“No new natural gas fields are needed… beyond those already under development. Also not needed are many of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) liquefaction facilities currently under construction or at the planning stage. Between 2020 and 2050, natural gas traded as LNG falls by 60%. … In the 2030s some [gas] fields may be closed prematurely or shut temporarily.”

. . .

Global 2º compared to 1.5º for Mozambique: Hotter, drier, worse cyclones; south hit hardest

IEA cites extensively a report by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), which is so detailed that it is possible to estimate the difference between global warming of 1.5º and 2º for Mozambique. The 1.5º and 2º are global average increases, and the actual impacts vary significantly across the world, and even within Mozambique.

+ Temperature rise in Mozambique will be more serious at global 2º than global 1.5º of warming. The hottest days and coldest nights will both be hotter. Global 1.5º causes a Mozambique temperature rise, but the increase is much greater at 2º. The number of hot days increases more in the north than in the south.

+ Southern Mozambique will become much dryer at 2º with droughts. Water shortages will be more severe at 2º than 1.5º. The number of consecutive dry days increases, particularly in the south.

+ Total rainfall will decrease more at 2º than 1.5º across Mozambique, and will be most serious south of the Zambeze river. However extreme rainfall increases significantly, particularly in northern coastal zones.

+ The number of cyclones may actually decrease, but their intensity increases. Thus flooding causes by heavy rain and intense cyclones will be more serious with 2º warming than with 1.5º.

+ The ocean will get warmer, and sea level will rise – with significant difference between 1.5º and 2º.

+ There is increased risk to mangroves.

+ Moving from 1.5° to 2° of warming reduces maize yield and the suitability of maize as a food crop. Food shortages are predicted, and the risks at 2º are “much larger than the corresponding risks at 1.5°”.

This all comes from an extremely detailed comparison of 1.5º and 2º with maps good enough to identify differences within Mozambique in Chapter 3 of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) thick 2018 tome Global warming of 1.5ºC https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/ .

Higher Ground 2020 (Stevie Wonder) | Playing For Change | Song Around The World

441,167 views

There are many other versions of this song available on-line, including different versions by Stevie Wonder

Three that I found and think you might like are

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XV1DK9tSHio – Stevie Wonder in 1973

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PEPrPRAp4M – Stevie Wonder, Shakira & Usher at Obama inauguration

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYi8Haq4C-oAfrican River

AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter. For an archive of previous Bulletins, see http://www.africafocus.org,

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Mozambique/Global: War, Intervention, and Solidarity
worker | June 1, 2021 | 8:51 pm | Africa | Comments closed
Mozambique/Global: War, Intervention, and Solidarity

Mozambique/Global: War, Intervention, and Solidarity

AfricaFocus Bulletin
May 31, 2021 (2021-05-31)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor’s Note

“No amount of international military assistance will, within two years, create a fighting force that can combat the insurgency. Two other factors complicate external support. Foreign intervention is likely to provoke a response from Islamic State to provide weapons and training to the insurgents. And the fight is already underway between factions in Frelimo over the upcoming 2024 elections. Cabo Delgado politics and economics, the police and military, and the war itself are already caught up in the bitter infighting. Thus the war seems likely to escalate and continue until a new president is in place in 2025.” – Joseph Hanlon

Long-time subscribers to AfricaFocus Bulletin will know that I occasionally publish two Bulletins on one day (although not more than 4 times a year). This Bulletin (available at http://www.africafocus.org/docs21/moz1205a.php) and its companion Bulletin on Mozambique/Global: Fossil Fuels, Debt, and Corruption (http://www.africafocus.org/docs21/moz1205b.php) are the first such double-posting this year. The reasons are both personal and analytical, given my editorial criterion of focusing on developments relevant for the entire continent and for the world, as well as one particular country. This editorial note is also longer than usual, although even so it points to more questions than answers.

First, it’s personal for me, since Mozambique has been the African country to which I have had the most personal ties for more than 50 years, since first arriving in Dar es Salaam to teach at the FRELIMO secondary school in 1966. My time actually living and working with Mozambicans, first in Tanzania and then in Mozambique and working with Mozambicans only amounts to five years in the 1960s and 1970s. And my occasional visits for research or conferences in the decades since then have been far less frequent than I would have wished. But like my Mozambican friends and others who have worked in that country, I am acutely and painfully aware that Mozambique is now suffering its third war over the last six decades.

All three have been the result of complex interactions of national, regional, and global factors. The armed struggle for independence lasted 10 years, from 1964 to the 1974 agreement for transition to independence in 1975. The post-independence war from 1976 to the peace agreement in 1992 was simultaneously a regional war fueled by Rhodesia and South Africa and an internal conflict. And the present “insurgency” in the northeastern province of Cabo Delgado is driven both by internal discontent and by a mix of external factors. It began in October 2017 and has escalated sharply since March 2020, drawing increased international news coverage and debate.

But much of that coverage is superficial and focused on the single issue of whether external actors should intervene militarily or not, and if not, which of the numerous candidates to do so should step up first. Within Mozambique and the Southern African region, there is a much better informed debate by both scholars, civil society activists, and in the media about the causes of the conflict and what kind of response is needed from Africa and the global international community, prioritizing humanitarian assistance and development rather than a military solution.

[Those who know me will know that I am normally not a fan of webinars, which often supply less solid content than the time they take to watch. But this 2-hour webinar hosted by SAPES Trust on May 27 (https://www.facebook.com/sapestrust/videos/1076962609494070) is an exception. These are real experts from Mozambique and the region with in-depth knowledge of the issues engaged in real debate. No answers, but keen insights and eloquent presentations. A must-watch for anyone wanting to understand the real options for international response to the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Cabo Delgado.]

Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado is now a central test case for whether lessons have been learned from the consistent failures of such a military solution in Mali, Somalia, and northeastern Nigeria. Sadly, it is likely to be a protracted repetition of such mistakes, with the added complexity of the interests of multinational natural gas companies.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts on the war in Cabo Delgado from recent newsletters by Joseph Hanlon. The situation is rapidly changing, but Hanlon regularly provides updates, links to other sources in English and Portuguese, and well-informed analysis. You can subscribe to his newsletter at https://bit.ly/Moz-sub.

My apologies for the length of this comment and of these two Bulletins. If you do not have time to read them now, I hope that you will put them aside for later reference. For now, however, I have several suggestions.

  1. Do read and watch this first short on-the-scene report from the conflict zone in Cabo Delgado, from May 27, 2021, by veteran BBC journalist Catherine Byaruhanga, who is based in Uganda (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-57254543).“Today, on one of the islands – Quirimba – rows of white tarpaulin tents line the white sandy beaches. We are the first international journalists to arrive here since the attack on Palma. More than 9,000 people from different parts of Cabo Delgado are seeking shelter here. By this point, it was nearly two months since the town was overrun but she’s spent all that time travelling to Quitunda and other villages before taking a boat to Quirimba where she hopes other family members will join her.
  2. She started her journey seven months pregnant, but while out at sea she went into pre-term labour and her son died.” – Catherine Byaruhanga
  3. Thirty-two-year-old Mamo Sufo from Palma and her three young children arrived at the island just days before we did.
  4. Do read this summary of the report on the hidden debts, from the Mozambique News Agency, May 29, 2021 (https://allafrica.com/stories/202105290201.html), and
  5. Take a break from the news by watching the short music video embedded at the end of this Bulletin (a new feature I added last week, featuring videos I have found it essential to watch while taking breaks from writing subjects which more often feature grim realities than hope for change. The videos I choose are not linked to the specific theme of each Bulletin, but they definitely illustrate the visions of the resilience and hope needed both by Africa and the world.)

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on Mozambique, visit http://www.africafocus.org/country/mozambique.php

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on peace and conflict in Africa, visit http://www.africafocus.org/intro-peace.php

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor’s note+++++++++++++++++

Mozambique: News Reports and Clippings

545 – part 1 – 16 May 2021

Editor: Joseph Hanlon ( j.hanlon@open.ac.uk)
To subscribe or unsubscribe: https://bit.ly/Moz-sub
Articles may be freely reprinted but please cite the source.

This newsletter in pdf is on http://bit.ly/Moz-545-gas

Part 1 – security

Security will be at the top of the agenda when President Filipe Nyusi meets French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday (18 May) in Paris. Also in Paris will be Antonio Costa, who is both Portuguese Prime Minister and President of the Council of the European Union (EU), and he will probably also meet with Nyusi. But their agendas will be very different. Macron wants Nyusi to agree on a French security cordon so Total can return to Afungi. Costa wants Portuguese soldiers in Mozambique, preferably under an EU umbrella.

Total’s declaration of force majeure and its complete withdrawal from Afungi means it does not expect to return soon – definitely not this year. But it has to return within two years. Longer than that will require renegotiating contracts – with buyers, contractors and the Mozambique government, And a delay in production to 2026 or 2027 will require rethinking about whether or not there is a long term market for gas (discussed in part 2 of this special report).

What Total decides determines what happened to the other large gas block (area 4), which is run by Exxon Mobil (with a 28% stake). Exxon has repeatedly delayed it final investment decision, now pushed back to 2023, and will not agree before Total is back at work. Area 4 has China’s only gas investment in Mozambique; China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has a 12% stake. The newsletter China-Lusophone Brief (30 Mar) says this investment in now imperilled. So what happens in the next two years determines the future of not just Total, but Exxon and its partners as well.

No amount of international military assistance will, within two years, create a fighting force that can combat the insurgency. Two other factors complicate external support. Foreign intervention is likely to provoke a response from Islamic State to provide weapons and training to the insurgents. And the fight is already underway between factions in Frelimo over the upcoming 2024 elections. Cabo Delgado politics and economics, the police and military, and the war itself are already caught up in the bitter infighting. Thus the war seems likely to escalate and continue until a new president is in place in 2025.

After being misled by President Nyusi in March about the ability of the Mozambican defence forces to protect Palma and Afungi, Macron will probably tell Nyusi that Total will only return if France has complete control of a large security zone. This will be hard for Frelimo to swallow and there will be delay, but they want the gas money and will eventually agree – especially if there is another successful attack on Palma.

. . .

Multiple foreign players

With Mozambique’s defence forces (FDS) weak, divided and corrupt – and now at the centre of high level fights inside Frelimo – the FDS has little chance of winning a purely military war against guerrilla insurgents. That leaves two alternatives. One way is to resolve the grievances that are at the root of the war, sharing the resource wealth and creating thousands of jobs. That is unacceptable, because so many people are profiting, and because if Mozambique admits the cause of war is poverty and inequality, it is effectively admitting responsibility. The alternative route is to blame external aggression by Islamic State (IS) and call on outsiders to join the new holy war against IS. And this is the route that Frelimo has chosen.

Four countries and two international bodies have shown some interest in joining the war: the United States, Portugal, South Africa and Rwanda, as well as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the EU. Because of Total, France is also a possible player, although it might prefer to stick to its security zone.

Portugal is sending an 140-person training mission of whom 60 are already in Mozambique, training marines in KaTembe and commandos in Chimoio.?Training will continue for three years. Portuguese and Mozambican defence ministers Joao Cravinho and Jamie Neto met in Lisbon 10 May and signed a five year military cooperation agreement.

United States (US)  A dozen US special force soldiers completed two months of training of Mozambican marines on 5 May, and another training session will start in July. On 10 March the US called the insurgents “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria- Mozambique (ISIS-Mozambique)” and designated them as a “foreign terrorist organisation”. The US said on 6 May that it would provide humanitarian assistance in response to what the US State Department called “devastating violence by ISIS-affiliated terrorists”.

Rwanda. President Nyusi flew to Rwanda on 28 April and met President Paul Kagame, who promised military help. Just 10 days later, on 8 May, a Rwandan military mission was seen in Pemba.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) sent an assessment mission 15-21 April which recommended a 3,000-person regional military force plus submarines, surveillance aircraft and drones. SADC expects the EU and US to fund the mission. It would take a year or more to get such a mission on the ground. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on 10 May South Africa would join such a force if asked. But Mozambique has not encouraged the SADC mission.

The European Union (EU) is divided and slow. The European Union must move with “urgency” to step up its support for Mozambique, said Josep Borrell, EU “foreign minister” (High Representative for Foreign Affairs) on 6 May. But with a hint of frustration, he continued: “We are considering a potential European Union training mission, like the ones that we already have in several African countries.” Borrell said any mission would be similar to the EU’s involvement in the Sahel. He hoped a mission could be sent to Mozambique before the end of the year, and suggested sending 200-300 soldiers to Mozambique. Portugal currently holds the EU’s six month rotating Council presidency, and has been pushing for EU involvement in Mozambique. “Portugal has already offered half of the staff [and] sent in advance military structures. It will be integrated into the EU training mission, if we finally agree on that,” said Borrell. But there is no agreement yet.

. . .

Does a military response ignore the roots of war?

The rush for military support has caused substantial debate. Many of the issues were raised in a letter from 30 African civil society organisations (CSOs) to SADC, in response to the proposal to send 3000 troops – a major military force. The CSOs’ letter is on http://bit.ly/Moz-CSO-SADC

It welcomes “collective action from SADC” but continues: “We urge our leaders to consider the lessons learnt from other similar conflicts in Africa. Sahel, Somalia, and the Niger Delta offer stark contemporary reminders that a purely militaristic solution (devoid of measures to address the causes of the insurgency) increases the likelihood of its intractability. It is also unlikely to pave the way towards achieving sustainable peace.”

“Any SADC intervention should also provide avenues to pursue political and diplomatic solutions to the conflict. This necessitates an acute understanding of the root causes of the conflict, push and pull factors that lead to the recruitment of locals and youth into insurgency operations, and the motivations of actors operating in the region.” Creating a sustainable peace requires creating “avenues for local communities to address their grievances with government, which is paramount to addressing the root causes of conflict.”

And the CSO letter calls for “holding government and businesses to the highest levels of accountability regarding their operations in Cabo Delgado. Corruption, maladministration, and skewed development are central to communities’ feelings of marginalization. Ensuring that citizens receive the lion’s share of dividends from gas revenue form part of broader longer-term socio-economic solutions to insurgency.”

Two key issues are raised by the CSOs’ statement, the roots of the war and danger that foreign military forces will remain indefinitely.

There is a quite broad agreement that the insurgency was initially local and based on local grievances about growing poverty, inequality and marginalisation. The division is about what happened next. The US argues that the insurgency has been totally taken over by IS which now commands and controls. But the respected International Crisis Group say IS does not have “the ability to exert command and control.” Local researchers confirm that although there is contact with IS, command and control remains local and the grievances remain important for insurgent recruiting.

The CSOs stress the role of government and business in the “skewed development”, which effectively puts the blame for the war on Frelimo and government. This suggests that diverting money from those getting rich on the gas and minerals and instead using the wealth to create jobs and development would play a key role in ending the war.

It is also central to the interveners. The US, EU and others would not support Mozambique to kill hungry, illiterate peasants demanding a share of the wealth. But they would intervene in a war against Islamic State.

And Frelimo and the Mozambique government are being very careful that those who intervene do not talk about grievances and root causes. Thus it supports intervention by foreign governments and private military companies, which it can control, and not by international bodies such as the UN, EU and SADC, which issue statements it cannot control.

. . .

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Mozambique: News Reports and Clippings

546 – 20 May 2021

This newsletter in pdf is on http://bit.ly/Moz-546

Total will return only with peace and tranquillity

“As soon as Cabo Delgado has peace again, Total will return,” the president of the French oil and gas company, Patrick Pouyanee, promised Monday (17 May). President Filipe Nyusi confirmed Tuesday (18 May) that Total will return only when everything “is calm”. “Total may demand that there is tranquillity and peace to develop its economic projects,” Nyusi added. (Lusa 18 May)

France has shown “complete willingness” to provide whatever is necessary for Mozambique’s fight against terrorism in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, according to President Filipe Nyusi after his meeting in Paris with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, on Tuesday. (18 May) Nyusi said “we discussed in detail the situation of terrorism. The matter is unavoidable. France has shown great willingness, but it has left sovereignty in the hands of Mozambicans”. To follow up, Nyusi said, the two countries must advance quickly to sign the agreements which will define exactly the type of support to be granted by France. (Mediafax 19 May) But it remains unclear if Mozambique sovereignty will allow enough of a French presence to guarantee the tranquillity and peace Total demands.

Nyusi also met in Paris with Arnaud Pieton, executive administrator of Technip, the principal offshore contractor. Pieton said “we have received guarantees from the Mozambique government that they are doing everything to reintroduce security, and this is a fundamental condition for the project to be developed rapidly.” ( O Pais 19 May)

Government still blocking aid to Palma; the focus on ‘terrorists’ makes it worse

There is still no aid reaching up to 20,000 people not being allowed to leave Quitunda near Palma. Finally Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has spoken out. “Significant restrictions are placed on the scale up of the humanitarian response due to the ongoing insecurity, and the bureaucratic hurdles impeding the importation of certain supplies and the issuing of visas for additional humanitarian workers,” said Jonathan Whittall, MSF Director of Analysis, on 14 May. http://bit.ly/Moz-Palma-MSF

It is also made very difficult for foreigners to visit the area. The UN was allowed to send a team to Quitunda on 21 April, but could not negotiate aid access. After the visit, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) called “for full humanitarian access and a reduction of bureaucratic impediments, including the issuing of visas [for UN experts], to ensure timely and efficient delivery of humanitarian aid.” There is also a need for “greater and strategic engagement with the Government,” said Laura Tomm-Bonde, IOM’s head of mission in Mozambique. But the call fell on deaf ears.

Whittall, too, recently visited but apparently without gaining access.

He writes: “What does seem set to scale up is the regionally supported and internationally funded counter-terrorism operation that could further impact already vulnerable people. In many conflicts, from Syria to Iraq and Afghanistan, I have seen how counter-terrorism operations can generate additional humanitarian needs while limiting the ability of humanitarian workers to respond.

“Firstly, by designating a group as ‘terrorists’, we often see that the groups in question are pushed further underground – making dialogue with them for humanitarian access more complex. While states can claim that they ‘don’t negotiate with terrorists’, humanitarian workers are compelled to provide humanitarian aid impartially and to negotiate with any group that controls territory or that can harm our patients and staff.”

“For Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), successfully providing impartial medical care requires reserving a space for dialogue and building trust in the fact that our presence in a conflict is for the sole purpose of saving lives and alleviating suffering.”

Whittall is showing why the Mozambique government is trying to keep out the foreign humanitarian workers. The government says that it cannot find anyone with whom it can negotiate. MSF says it can “negotiate with any group that controls territory” – and clearly has in Cabo Delgado.

“Counter-terrorism operations try to bring humanitarian activities under the full control of the state and the military coalitions that support them. Aid is denied, facilitated or provided in order to boost the government’s credibility, to win hearts and minds for the military intervening, or to punish communities that are accused of sympathising with an opposition group. The most vulnerable can often fall through the cracks of such an approach, which is why organisations like MSF need to be able to work independently. … Being aligned to a state that is fighting a counter-terrorism war would reduce our ability to reach the most vulnerable communities to offer medical care.”

“In counter-terrorism wars around the world, we often see civilian casualties being justified due to the presence of ‘terrorists’ among a civilian population. Entire communities can be considered as ‘hostile’, leading to a loosening of the rules of engagement for combat forces,” Whittall writes.

And he concludes: “The current focus on ‘terrorism’ clearly serves the political and economic interests of those intervening in Mozambique. However, it must not come at the expense of saving lives and alleviating the immense suffering facing the people of Cabo Delgado.”

548 – 30 May 2021

South Africa says send troops; Tanzania says no troops,  instead negotiate, develop

South Africa is pressing for urgent military intervention in Cabo Delgado, South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor told Reuters (21 May) in a telephone interview. Since 2008 SADC has had a regional defence pact that allows military intervention to prevent the spread of conflict. “We support the use of the defence pact. It’s never been really been utilised in the region, but we believe this is the time, this is a threat to the region,” Pandor said.Tanzania will not send troops to Mozambique to counter insurgents in Cabo Delgado, Minister of Foreign Affairs Liberata Mulamula said Wednesday 26 May in Dar es Salaam. The Tanzania government has, instead, emphasised on the need for talks as a means of promoting peace and tranquility in Mozambique, calling on the international community to help the country by sending development aid. (Citizen 27 May)

A SADC evaluation proposed 3000 troops and equipment including a submarine. The SADC summit scheduled to discuss this was postponed from April to 27 May, and the summit simply postponed the issue until a new summit on 20 June. President Filipe Nyusi’s longstanding opposition to a multi-lateral force and the opposition of some countries such as Tanzania suggest the SADC force will never happen.

At the Frelimo Central Committee on 22-23 May, President Filipe Nyusi made clear he wanted foreign troops. But in his closing speech, he stressed the “concentration on bilateral efforts to combat terrorism in Cabo Delgado”. It is a point he has stressed in private talks with diplomats for more than a year, that he does not want international forces – SADC, EU or UN. Instead he wants agreements with individual governments and the ability to move and assign foreign troops to particular zones or tasks. SADC or UN troops would have their own external commanders, but Frelimo will only accept foreign troops that it controls – which means private military companies (PMCs) or bilateral arrangements with governments.

Will Rwandan troops create the Total security zone?

Rwandan troops may play a central role in creating the security zone around the Palma-Afungi natural gas area. Rwanda has become a major participant in peacekeeping missions and has had troops or police in Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan and other countries. But more three-way discussions will be needed between France, Rwanda, and Mozambique.

On 28 April Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi flew to Rwanda for talks with President Paul Kagame. Just 10 days later a reconnaissance team of Rwandan officers was in Cabo Delgado. Nyusi and Kagame were in Paris for the French Africa summit 17-18 May; both met President Emmanuel Macron and Cabo Delgado was discussed. Last week Marcon was in Rwanda and South Africa to meet their presidents on 27 and 28 May. Again, Cabo Delgado was discussed, although not top of the agenda.

France’s acceptance in a report this year that it bore a responsibility for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda marked a “big step forward” in repairing relations between the two countries, which are now on the mend, Kagame said.

After the fiasco of President Nyusi guaranteeing a security zone including Palma just days before the insurgents took Palma against little resistance, Total wants more than just promises. It will demand overall French control of any security zone, and French navy control of the ocean off of Cabo Delgado. Mozambique will demand that its soldiers are on the ground, but will accept a foreign presence. Rwanda fits the bill. For Mozambique, Rwandan troops are more acceptable than South African soldiers. For France and Total, Rwandan troops are well trained and experienced, and much more effective than Mozambican army or police. Improved relations between France and Rwanda complete the package.

Who will be top dog?

An increasing number of countries want part of the action, and there is a quiet struggle as to who will be top dog. On the ground Portugal has 60 soldiers doing training, the US just finished its first training mission, Rwanda has a military investigation team, and South Africa has had private military companies and sent in soldiers to rescue its civilians after the Palma attack.  Off shore, France and South Africa have regular naval patrols and the United States and India have had less frequent patrols.

French President Emmanuel Macron travelled to Africa and met Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Thursday 26 May and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday, 28 May. In both countries, the Cabo Delgado war was on the agenda. In South Africa Macron said France is available to assist the Mozambican military, but only in the “‘context of a political solution”. And any help “should be an African response at the request of Mozambique and coordinated with the neighbouring countries,” he said. The interest of both Rwanda and South Africa is that France and the EU pay for their intervention.

Macron particularly stressed that France already has a regional presence in its island territories of Mayotte and Reunion, and stood ready to offer naval assistance. “We have frigates and some other vessels in the region and on a regular basis organise operations. So we could be available, and very quickly so, if requested,” he said.

Meanwhile EU foreign policy head Josep Borrell said on 28 May that the EU could have a military training mission in Mozambique in months. “The problem will be to look for capacities. Apart from Portugal, who else is going to contribute?”

Saudi Arabia is working with SADC to support the Mozambican military fight the insurgents, Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman said on 20 May. There is a certain irony in this, as many Mozambicans have been trained in Saudi Arabia in fundamentalist Islam.

The United States is now beefing up the embassy’s security advisory team with the help of private military contractors (PMCs). A new adviser to head up the counter-terrorism programme will be provided by one of the Pentagon subcontractors bidding for the contract, reports Africa Intelligence (28 May), a Paris based newsletter which backs Paris in its confrontation with Washington. The US has been strongly critical of the use by Mozambique of PMCs, despite their being extensively used by the US in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Difficult negotiations are ahead as Mozambique desperately tries to keep support fractured and in pieces it can control, and at least four countries want to be top dog:

United States: Wants a base in southern Africa and has long coveted Nacala, with its big airport and deep water port that would be good for submarines. Mozambique could be its new base for the war against Islamic State. Mozambique could be the new Afghanistan or Libya.

France: Wants control of the gas zone but appears willing to accept Rwandan fighters. But will expect to control coastal security.

South Africa: Wants to assert itself as the regional power but has been cutting the military budget, so hoping the EU will pay.

Portugal: The military of the former colonial power want to return and prove their ex-colony still needs them. They are using their position as president of the EU to gain EU backing for their operation.

None of these four has won a recent war against a guerrilla insurgency. Frelimo won a guerrilla independence war 47 years ago, but has never beaten a guerrilla force.

Fighters or job creators?

As governments try to militarise Cabo Delgado, civil society groups increasingly stress the need to resolve the roots of the war – growing poverty and inequality, youth seeing no jobs and no future, and the belief that the Frelimo elite are eating all the wealth from rubies, gas, and other resources.

Speaking to Reuters, [South African] Foreign Minister Pandor said “We have had our colleagues, for example in Nigeria, saying: ‘don’t allow this to get out of hand because once it does it is uncontrollable and very difficult to reverse’. So, that is why we believe it is urgently necessary that we have action.” Academic analysts point to the similarity to the roots of Boko Haram in Nigeria and al Shabaab in Cabo Delgado. Both are groups in Muslim areas where young people feel marginalised and with no future, and they are recruited on that basis. Thus the “don’t allow this to get out of hand” lesson is the need to create jobs and development before the war gets out of hand. It is, contrary to Pandor, not military but development intervention that is urgent.

Three articles from the South African mainstream establishment point to alternative thinking:

“Suicidal SADC military deployment to Mozambique looms” was the headline of an opinion article in the Johannesburg Business Day (28 May) “SA soldiers will return home in body bags, as was the case in the failed military deployment to the Central African Republic in March 2013. The defence force must serve sovereign national interests and not the interests of private actors working for profit.” The article argues that South Africa government is under pressure from national corporations and France to protect the profits of their investors.

The article continues: “Like France and its transnational corporation Total, the LNG project in Mozambique is critically important for SA and its corporations. SA state financiers the Industrial Development corporation (IDC), the Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) have, in total, lent more than $1bn in public funds to the LNG project. Standard Bank has sunk $485m into the project, and other major players include Absa and Rand Merchant Bank.”

The article is written by Sam Hargreaves, director of WoMin/African Women Activists, and Anabela Lemos of Justica Ambiental/Friends of the Earth Mozambique. The article’s publication in a mainstream business newspaper suggests opposition to militarization of Cabo Delgado is gaining a hearing.

“Regional support is a good start, but much more than a SADC military deployment to Mozambique is needed,” according to a 27 May report from the Institute of Security Studies (ISS) of South Africa. “At the root of the conflict is a governance challenge that includes allegations of deeply entrenched corruption in the ruling party, Frelimo. Poor governance and state absence have antagonised the local population and left a security vacuum. … The government must commit to the development and effective governance of the region.”

Military support may be needed to contain the violence. But the report stresses “the education system must be reinvigorated to train and prepare locals for skills suited to new job opportunities. Authorities in Cabo Delgado would also need to invest in public works programmes to complement job creation in the formal and informal sectors and offer social activities such as sport to engage the youth. An important poverty-alleviation measure would be a cash transfer (or social grants) programme that would directly benefit the community and demonstrate the government’s commitment to development.”

“Maputo needs to own and drive the response to the insurgency and the recovery of local and investor confidence. No amount of private security advice, support or foreign troops and equipment can compensate for political leadership and the establishment of trust between people, the government and regional actors.” Lead author of the report is Jakkie Cilliers, founder and former Executive Director of ISS – another indication that senior establishment figures are pointing to the roots of the conflict.

“Regional military intervention in Mozambique is a bad idea,” wrote Gilbert M. Khadiagala, Professor of International Relations at the University of the Witwatersrand, on 27 May. He argues “SADC interventions in internal conflicts in its neighbourhood haven’t worked out well.” In 1998 Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe intervened in Lesotho. “South African troops lost their lives and SADC troops had to withdraw in ignominy. The SADC has since had to continually intervene as a peacemaker in the fractious terrain of Lesotho politics.”

The other major intervention was by Malawi, Tanzania and South Africa to defeat the M23 Movement in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2013. Initially it made a difference. “But the militia menace in the region has continued unabated, raising questions about the long term efficacy of the brigade’s work,” notes Khadiagala.

More generally, military interventions in resource curse civil wars only make matters worse, he says, citing South Sudan, Cabinda in Angola, and the Niger Delta.

“SADC is now being asked to intervene in a conflict [in Mozambique] that it has neither resources nor the political will to manage. When the body bags begin to come home, there will be tremendous pressure on SADC forces to withdraw. Rather than the folly of an intervention, the region should be encouraging the Mozambican state to address the grievances of the communities in Cabo Delgado.” Khadiagala concludes: “SADC’s military intervention will only embolden die-hards in Frelimo who are reluctant to find peaceful and political solutions to the crisis. And the intervention will postpone a problem that is not going to go away any time soon.”

One Love with Playing for Change

One Love (Bob Marley) feat. Manu Chao | Playing For Change | Song Around The World

59,419,809 views

There are many other versions of this song available on-line, including two by Bob Marley.
Three that I found and think you might like are:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdB-8eLEW8g – Bob Marley, with lyrics
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13RSENmoamk – Bob Marley, 1978 Peace Concert
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXLumLvHWfA – Benefit for UNICEF

AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter. For an archive of previous Bulletins, see http://www.africafocus.org,

Current links to books on AfricaFocus go to the non-profit bookshop.org, which supports independent bookshores and also provides commissions to affiliates such as AfricaFocus.

AfricaFocus Bulletin can be reached at africafocus@igc.org. Please write to this address to suggest material for inclusion. For more information about reposted material, please contact directly the original source mentioned. To subscribe to receive future bulletins by email, click here.

Africa/Global: Decolonizing Medical Technology
worker | May 18, 2021 | 8:06 pm | Africa, Health Care | Comments closed

Africa/Global: Decolonizing Medical Technology

AfricaFocus Bulletin
May 17, 2021 (2021-05-17)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor’s Note

“A continent of 1.2 billion people should not have to import 99% of its vaccines. But that is the tragic reality for Africa. Fixing the lack of home-grown manufacturing capacity has become a top priority for Africa’s policymakers. Last week, 40,000 people, including researchers, business leaders and members of civil-society groups, joined heads of state for a two-day online summit designed to share the latest developments and kick-start fresh thinking on how to bring vaccine manufacturing to Africa.” – Nature magazine editorial, April 21, 2021

Covid-19 has revealed the urgency of reducing the inequality in global access to vaccines, prompting a wide-ranging and ongoing debate about what must be done about what many are calling “vaccine apartheid.” But, as stressed in this summit convened by the Africa CDC and the African Union, the issue goes beyond any single disease, to the need to plan for future pandemics and address the inequities in capacity in both research and manufacture of vaccines.

This is already the case for malaria. A new vaccine with over 70% of efficacy was first reported earlier this month. African and world leaders and health officials are increasingly focused on the possibility of accelerating the fight against this deadly disease, which in 2019 caused over 84,440 deaths world-wide. Ninety-seven percent of those deaths were in sub-Saharan Africa. So while global campaigns under the slogan of “Malaria Must Die” continue, it is clear that the initiative for action must come from Africa.

Even once vaccines are available, there will remain formidable problems of manufacturing and distribution. On April 13, African leaders pledged to increase the share of vaccines manufactured in Africa from 1% to 60% by 2040. It will not be easy.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin includes (1) key links on the current status of the fight against malaria, (2) an open letter to international funders from African researchers, reposted here in full with permission from Nature magazine; and (3) excerpts from a news story and an editorial in Nature magazine on the urgency of development of vaccine capacity in Africa.

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on health, visit

http://www.africafocus.org/intro-health.php

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Two additional notes about this Bulletin

1. Unlike many if not most readers of AfricaFocus, including my wife, I have never had malaria, despite a total of more than five years spent in areas of the continent where the disease is endemic. But my awareness of the disease began long before I first traveled to Africa. My father, Dr. David Minter, served as a malaria control officer in the South Pacific during World War II, where in the early years the disease caused more casualties among U.S. troops than the Japanese military. Atabrine, DDT, and education of the troops brought the toll down significantly.

Unlike many wartime assignments, his posting to this position made good sense, as he had several years of experience in treating malaria in the 1930s in Mississippi, where malaria was endemic before the war.

His colleague in the South Pacific in this effort, Filipino physician Dr. Francisco Dy, who later served as the World Health Organization regional coordinator for the Western Pacific, became a life-long friend of my parents.

2. With this Bulletin, I am including a short embedded video featuring the Kanneh-Mason family cover of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song. I may make this a regular feature of the Bulletin, featuring short music videos that do not take up extra bandwidth in the email. The idea came from the editors of Quartz Africa, who often end their weekly email with a note saying “written while listening to.”

I am not good enough at multi-tasking to listen while I write. But I do find it necessary to take short breaks from writing to listen and watch short music videos. That is essential for the spirit, particularly when one is writing about subjects which more often feature grim realities than hope for change. The videos I will choose for inclusion are not linked to the specific theme of the Bulletin. But they definitely illustrate the visions of the resilience and hope needed both by Africa and the world.

I hope some of you enjoy them. If you don’t, it’s easy not to watch. They aren’t set to auto-play.

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor’s note+++++++++++++++++

Recent news and background on malaria

 

https://theconversation.com/new-malaria-vaccine-proves-highly-effective-and-covid-shows-how-quickly-it-could-be-deployed-159585

https://qz.com/africa/2005934/africa-can-avoid-covid-19-vaccine-missteps-with-malaria-vaccine/

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/malaria

https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/distribution.html

https://allafrica.com/malaria/

https://allafrica.com/stories/202105040682.html
Meeting of African Leaders Malaria Alliance

https://malariamustdie.com/
World campaign against malaria, headlined by David Beckham

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Open letter to international funders of science and development in Africa

April 15, 2021

Nature Medicine, April 15, 2021

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-021-01307-8

From Ngozi A. Erondu? ?1,2;, Ifeyinwa Aniebo 1,3,4; Catherine Kyobutungi 5; Janet Midega1, 6; Emelda Okiro 7; and Fredros Okumu 1,8.

1 Aspen Institute, Washington, DC, USA; 2 O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC, USA; 3 Health Strategy and Delivery Foundation, Lagos, Nigeria; 4 Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA;

5 African Population Health Research Center, Nairobi, Kenya; 6 Wellcome Trust, London, UK; 7 KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Nairobi, Kenya; 8 Ifakara Health Institute, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Contact email for authors: ngozierondu@gmail.com

To the Editor—Recently there was an announcement1 of a US$30 million grant awarded to the nonprofit health organization PATH by the US government’s President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). The grant funded a consortium of seven institutions in the USA, the UK and Australia to support African countries in the improved use of data for decision-making in malaria control and elimination.

Not one African institution was named in the press release. The past year has been full of calls from staff and collaborators of various public-health entities for equality and inclusion, so one might imagine that such a partnership to support Africa should be led from Africa by African scientists, partnering with Western institutions where appropriate, especially where capacity has been demonstrated.

We write this letter to the major international funders of science and development in Africa as African scientists, policy analysts, public-health practitioners and academics with a shared mission of improving the health and wellbeing of communities in our continent and beyond. We represent a diverse group of institutions and communities dedicated to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and to establishing a more equitable world.

Our work is informed by lived experiences and accumulated local knowledge of diseases such as malaria, AIDS, diarrhea, meningitis and polio, which have plagued millions of our families and friends for ages. We are therefore grateful that organizations that fund international health research have long been part of the international efforts to rid the world of these illnesses and their associated inequities. We believe the reason these organizations are financing global health and development is that they share in our dreams and aspirations.

We also believe, just like you, the decision-makers at these major funding organizations, that all humans, regardless of where they are located, are equal, even if opportunities are not. We recognize multiple injustices that have been perpetuated through historical practices, often without due consideration of their negative consequences. The current political climate has amplified the global call to ‘decolonize global health’, a more overt stance against what public-health practitioners in both high-income countries and low-income countries have known all along: that the predominant global health architecture and its business model enable ‘western’ institutions to gain more than, and sometimes at the expense of, the people and institutions in the countries where the actual problems are.

As the ‘decolonize global health’ movement has demonstrated, dismantling structures that perpetuate unequal power over knowledge and influence must support the quest for justice and equality. Global health institutions, especially funding organizations, must therefore examine their own internal policies and practices that impede progress toward justice and equality for populations that they intend to help. We write this letter as a collective, hoping to accelerate, and in some cases initiate, a process toward real fairness. We believe that there are many issues with this specific consortium focused on malaria, including the fact that there are strong African institutions with excellent capabilities this area, including some already actively engaged on the ground, such as the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Information for Malaria (INFORM) initiative that began in 2014 (http://inform-malaria.org/).

International funding, such as that from the President’s Malaria Initiative, has substantially advanced the goal of improving people’s health and wellbeing in Africa and beyond. However, funding models such as that of the PATH-led initiative are among the reasons that after several decades and billions of dollars spent, the control of diseases such as malaria is still heavily donor dependent, This type of funding has also contributed a model of implementation that puts the delivery of several health interventions directly in the hands of Western non-governmental organizations, which further diminishes the capacities and ownership of national programs to deliver to their populations and ultimately leads to weak health systems and a lack of sufficient local capacity. Decisions about such major funding initiatives should be made in consultation with in-country scientists and researchers involved in this work, alongside ministries of health and national malaria-control programs, to augment national priority research efforts. Such efforts have the best chance of success if they are run by local research agencies and institutions that can work closely with governments and are well positioned to support decision-makers in integrating data into local policies and strategies.

The new ‘high burden to high impact’ initiative from the World health Organization rightly recognizes the need for such vital work to be country-owned and country-led to reignite the pace of progress in the global fight against malaria and to increase the likelihood of success in eliminating malaria. Omitting African institutions from leadership roles and relegating them to recipients of ‘capacity strengthening’ ignores the agency these institutions have, their existing capacity, the value of their lived experience and their permanence and close proximity to policy-makers.

In 2017, the USA, UK and Canada collectively spent US$ 1.1 billion on malaria development aid, which includes research funding. When the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation data-visualization tool is used (https://vizhub.healthdata.org/fgh/), it appears that once global fund contributions are removed, 81% of funding was used to support institutions in the funding country and 18% went to non-governmental organizations (probably based in high-income countries)—that leaves just 1% of malaria funding available to local in-country research institutions. We recognize that the current funding structures create an imbalance of power and a monopoly that favors Western institutions and is derived in part from the perpetuation of inequities in access to funding with policies that lock out African institutions. These structural inequities must be examined, and they must end.

We know that several decision-makers of these organizations recognize the limitations of the model that you have woefully applied to the issue of which we speak. The New Partnerships Initiative from the US Agency for International Development (https://www.usaid.gov/npi) and the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (https://www.aasciences.africa/aesa) are good examples of funding local institutions for impact. The latter is shifting its center of gravity by ensuring its funding is provided directly to African scientists and institutions, which in turn empowers and enables them to shape their research agenda and to conduct research relevant to the continent. But we argue that these are the exceptions. For long-term progress, true partnerships and stronger collaborations, you, the funders, are responsible for totally transforming this model. We believe that in the same way we have to apply innovation in our work to fight diseases, innovation can be applied to the design of sustainable funding models with local researchers and organizations at their center.

We are asking that all major international funders of science and development in Africa commit to finding and implementing short-term and long-term changes to these models with consideration of the points we have listed above and with further consultation with reputable Africa-based institutions and scientists. There is a way to create equitable and dignified partnerships and to defeat the diseases that threaten everyone. We who authored this Correspondence are few, but we are committed to assisting any organization that is willing to make a substantial change.

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01307-8

References

1. PATH. https://www.path.org/media-center/path-announces-pmi-inform-malaria-operational-research-project/ (10 February 2021).

2. World Health Organization & RBM Partnership to End Malaria. High burden to high impact: a targeted malaria response (WHO, 2019).

Author contributions

All authors were involved in the original drafting, reviewing, and editing of this letter and gave final approval of the version to be published. This letter is signed in an individual capacity. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of any organization they (the authors) are associated with or employed by.

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How COVID spurred Africa to plot a vaccines revolution

For decades, Africa has imported 99% of its vaccines. Now the continent’s leaders want to bring manufacturing home.

Nature magazine, April 21, 2021

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01048-1

[excerpt from full news story available at link above]

Prompted by the pandemic, Africa’s leaders are on a path to ramp up capacity in vaccine manufacturing and boost the continent’s regulatory bodies for medicines. On 13 April, they pledged to increase the share of vaccines manufactured in Africa from 1% to 60% by 2040. This includes building factories and bolstering capacity in research and development.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left Africa woefully short of vaccines, according to John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), based in Addis Ababa. The ambitious move represents an important step in boosting Africa’s capacity in public health, he added.

Nkengasong was speaking at a 2-day vaccines summit on 12 and 13 April, co-organized by Africa CDC and the African Union, and attended by 40,000 delegates. Also taking part were heads of state and leaders from research, business, civil society and finance.

“We have been humbled, all of us, by this pandemic,” said Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, Senegal’s minister of health and welfare. The 1% figure “boggles the mind”, added virologist Salim Abdool Karim, formerly a science adviser to South Africa’s government.

. . .

In the next pandemic, will Africa make its own vaccines?

The AU meeting ended on an upbeat note, with delegates talking of “tipping points”, “now-or-never moments” and “global goodwill” to enable Africa to finally create its own vaccines industry. Progress will need political commitment, long-term finance and regional cooperation, said Patrick Tippoo, executive director of the African Vaccine Manufacturers’ Initiative, a group of vaccine manufacturers and research institutes.

The foundational problem, Tippoo added, is that the continent’s leaders have lacked the vision to recognize the centrality of local vaccine manufacturing in health-care policy.

The lack of manufacturing and weak regulation will require long-term governmental support if they are to be overcome, said Solomon Quaynor, a vice-president at the African Development Bank Group. Without such support, he warned the meeting’s delegates, “there will be no vaccine manufacturing in Africa”.

But momentum is on the side of new beginnings. “In the final analysis, the onus is on us as Africa. I do know we can do the job,” said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former finance minister and now director-general of the World Trade Organization.

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Africa’s vaccines revolution must have research at its core

It’s an injustice that Africa has to import 99% of its vaccines. COVID has sparked a push for change — and researchers have a crucial role.

Nature magazine, April 21, 2021

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01038-3

[excerpt from full editorial available at link above]

A continent of 1.2 billion people should not have to import 99% of its vaccines. But that is the tragic reality for Africa. Fixing the lack of home-grown manufacturing capacity has become a top priority for Africa’s policymakers. Last week, 40,000 people, including researchers, business leaders and members of civil-society groups, joined heads of state for a two-day online summit designed to share the latest developments and kick-start fresh thinking on how to bring vaccine manufacturing to Africa.

For more than a century, vaccine research and development (R&D) and manufacturing have been concentrated in Europe, India and the United States. Amid a raging pandemic, one result of this is that people in low- and middle-income countries might have to wait until the end of 2023 before they can be vaccinated against COVID-19. This is simply unacceptable.

Delegates at last week’s summit vowed to accelerate plans to boost the continent’s vaccine manufacturing, research and regulatory capacity. They endorsed a proposal for 60% of Africa’s routinely used vaccines to be made in Africa within 20 years, and agreements were signed with international organizations representing companies and donor agencies. But achieving this goal will need some hard conversations in the weeks and months ahead.

One such conversation must be on the need for sustained and long-term investment, especially in domestic R&D, as a vaccines industry cannot be created without this. In spite of the best efforts of researchers such as the late Calestous Juma, who founded the African Centre for Technology Studies in Nairobi, most governments, for a variety of reasons, pushed back against the idea that domestic R&D is of long- term value. It needed a pandemic to persuade Africa’s leaders to be convinced of the case for bigger investments. That is to be welcomed — but it will need more than warm words at a conference to provide assurance that the plans being hatched will come to fruition.

There will also need to be hard conversations with donor countries, their pharmaceutical companies, and funders and researchers — essentially, all those currently involved in supplying Africa with vaccines. If the goal is now African self-sufficiency in what some call the vaccine ‘value chain’, then international partnerships with the continent’s institutions will require a different approach. A partnership in which the objective is to empower the continent’s own researchers and businesses will need to be different from existing partnerships, in which the objective is to supply Africa with vaccines. Some international companies might regard African self- sufficiency as a long-term risk to their business; some might fear a loss of influence. Firms and researchers from outside Africa shouldn’t take this view if they agree that a genuine partnership of equals is in everyone’s interests. Vaccines are essential to public health. And public health is essential to strong economies.

. . .

The world’s researchers have created, and continue to create, innovative vaccines. But it is now time to grow and share this knowledge with colleagues in under-served regions, especially in Africa. Their intervention in Africa’s vaccine-manufacturing ambitions might well be too late to make a difference during the present pandemic, but it will almost certainly help to ensure that the continent’s people are much better protected during the next.

Redemption Song (Arr. Kanneh-Mason)

312,283 views

There are many other versions of this song available on-line.

Three that I particularly like are

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhtZ5SyGHFU – with Bob Marley

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZncWCgN-zms – with Angelique Kidjo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55s3T7VRQSc – Playing for Change with Stephen Marley

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