Media Review for November 9, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 11/09/2012

Please note: The following news items are presented here for informational purposes. The views expressed within them are those of the authors and/or individuals quoted, not those of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, the National Defense University, or the Department of Defense.

Today’s News

Brazil in Africa: A new Atlantic alliance
Lula stressed his country’s “historic debt” to Africa, a reference to the 3.5m Africans shipped to Brazil as slaves. Outside Nigeria, Brazil has the world’s biggest black population. Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s current president, is continuing those policies—though with more emphasis on how the relationship benefits Brazil. There are many ways that it can. Africa needs infrastructure and Brazil has lots of construction firms. Africa sits on oil and minerals in abundance; Brazil has the firms to get them out. Its agribusiness giants are also eyeing up Africa. If the continent’s economy continues to grow as it has in recent years, it will produce millions of customers much like Brazil’s new middle class. The Economist

How to Rob Africa
The world’s wealthy countries often criticise African nations for corruption – especially that perpetrated by those among the continent’s government and business leaders who abuse their positions by looting tens of billions of dollars in national assets or the profits from state-owned enterprises that could otherwise be used to relieve the plight of some of the world’s poorest peoples. Yet the West is culpable too in that it often looks the other way when that same dirty money is channelled into bank accounts in Europe and the US. Al jazeera

South African report highlights Chinese labor abuses in the Sub-Sahara
A new report by Johannesburg-based South Africa Resource Watch (SARW) claims that Chinese companies have engaged in widespread labor abuses in sub-Saharan Africa and subjected local employees in the mining industry to harsh and unfair working conditions. The report, which investigates Chinese labor practices in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, states that small PRC mining companies are the chief culprits with respects to labor abuses and infractions. Minning.com

Mali’s long wait to reclaim the north from Islamists
As details emerge about a military plan to recapture parts of Mali currently occupied by Islamist rebels – involving up to 4,000 soldiers mostly from West African nations – some in Mali doubt that it will be a success. Like many former French colonial towns in Africa, Mopti, in northern Mali, was built to maximise luxury for its rulers. BBC

Ansar al-Din new position raises questions
Islamist group Ansar al-Din on Tuesday (November 6th) ended peace talks in Ouagadougou with a promise to reject extremism and terrorism, fight trans-border organised crime and engage in a dialogue with all parties to the Mali crisis. A delegation from the group met in the Burkinabe capital with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mediator for the Mali crisis, Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré, before announcing a surprising array of promises. Magharebia

Al-Qaeda resurgent?
While hopes have dimmed for an international response to the crisis in Syria, a coordinated intervention in Mali is probable after the US elections, with the aim of reclaiming territories seized by al-Qaeda affiliated militants earlier this year. Within the next month, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union will submit a detailed plan for the intervention to the United Nations Security Council, in accordance with Resolution 2071. Al Jazeera

Israel is enemy No 1, says Sudan’s Bashir
A tired but healthy-looking Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir appeared on television on Thursday after a minor operation, calling Israel “enemy number one” in a return to his typical fiery rhetoric. Bashir, aged 68, spoke standing at a lectern for about 15 minutes in what government-owned Blue Nile TV said was a broadcast recorded earlier in the day at Sudan’s embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. News 24

Obama’s Victory: An African Perspective
Even though I live far away in South Africa, I am as excited as any American after the President Obama’s re-election. I am relieved that, despite the downtrodden economy and biting attacks from the Romney campaign, Americans still felt the incumbent was the right man to lead them forward. By choosing to re-elect Obama, Americans showed that they recognize the effective work he did in pulling their country out of a serious recession and ending the war in Iraq, amongst other accomplishments. Republicans did all they could to downplay these achievements but voters saw beyond partisan politics. The Huffington Post

Malawi: Churches force U-turn on gay rights
The government has back-tracked on its decision to suspend the arrests of gay people, after churches fiercely criticised the move. The Justice Minister, Ralph Kasambara, was widely quoted in media this week as saying the government would suspend arrests pending a decision on whether to repeal laws banning homosexuality. The Independant

Senegal’s ex-minister summoned by police over illegal wealth
Former Senegalese minister Karim Wade, who is son to ex-president Abdoulaye Wade, is ordered to appear before the department of the Senegalese gendarmerie on Nov. 15 over suspicion of illegal wealth acquisition. The order was made on Thursday in Dakar, the capital of the West African country, by the prosecutor at the Anti-Corruption Court (CREI), Alioune Ndao. Xinhua

Uganda: Presidential family ties attract attention
Amid the quick rise of President Museveni’s son through the ranks, politicians inside and outside of the ruling party are speaking more freely about the corruption and nepotism of the 26-year-old regime. Africa Report

Somalia: New Team, Old Hurdles
Barring any significant opposition in parliament, Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon’s ten nominees for Somalia’s post-transition cabinet could be the ones to promote and sustain the achievements of the just-ended transition in the country. Their nomination has already been greeted with optimism in certain circles, amid public relief that the post-transition government, despite delays, is gradually taking shape. Others regard the inadequacies of the nominees and the imbalances in the proposed cabinet as indicative of the character of the new leadership and of the concessions they will be ready to make in the interests of peace and the development of the country. ISS

The Ogaden Problem: Will an Old Insurgency Tip the Balance in East Africa?
Hopes that one of the Horn of Africa‘s longest running conflicts could soon come to an end foundered when peace talks between the Ethiopian government and ethnic Ogadeni rebels recently broke down. Due to the Ogaden National Liberation Front’s alleged ties with Eritrea, Ethiopia’s troublesome neighbour, and rumored links to al-Qaeda affiliated militia al-Shabab, many fear the failure of the negotiations could fuel instability and conflict in the region. Time

UN rejects move to fund Kenyan Naval forces in Somalia
The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday shelved a request by the African Union for UN funding of Kenya’s naval forces operating off the coast of Somalia. “Three or four members” of the 15-nation Security Council blocked the effort to secure financial support for a Kenyan naval component of the AU military mission in Somalia, said Doctor Mashabane, South Africa’s deputy UN ambassador. Daily Nation

Pakistan’s new frigates a boost for anti-piracy, maritime security efforts
The Pakistan Navy will next year take delivery of its fourth and final F-22P frigate. The locally built vessel will help it ensure maritime security, not just for Pakistan but also for the international community as the Pakistan Navy combats piracy and other threats in the Indian Ocean region. DefenceWeb

Remarks at the Partnership Meeting on Wildlife Trafficking: Remarks by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Now, some of you might be wondering why a Secretary of State is keynoting an event about wildlife trafficking and conservation, or why we are hosting this event at the State Department in the first place. Well, I think it’s because, as Bob Hormats has just pointed out, and as the public service announcements reinforce, over the past few years wildlife trafficking has become more organized, more lucrative, more widespread, and more dangerous than ever before. State.gov

Kenya’s 2013 Election: Will History Repeat Itself?
Following a High Court ruling in March this year, Kenya will hold general elections to choose a president, members of parliament, and local representatives on March 4, 2013. In the case that no presidential candidate obtains a majority of the vote, or does not receive 25% in at least 24 counties, a second round will be held on a yet to be determined date, with President Mwai Kibaki remaining in office for the interim period. Think Africa Press

Kenya’s mobile telephones – Vital for the poor
AFRICA’S “mobile decade”, when telephones at last reached most corners of the continent, has meant a huge improvement in the lives of the poor. But quantifying it is hard. How useful can a mobile phone be to someone living on less than $2.50 a day, the World Bank’s standard benchmark of poverty? Researchers in Kenya have given a partial answer. They find that people will skip a meal or choose to walk instead of paying for a bus fare so that they can keep their phone in credit. The Economist

Dark Days Loom for Malawi Tobacco
The latest proposals by the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to stop farming of the crop could potentially affect about two million livelihoods in Malawi and decide the fate of an entire nation struggling with a sputtering economy. IPS

Raiders of the Congo
A few years ago, a pair of white security contractors embarked on a journey deep into the African bush. Their mission? Unknown. A week later, a seemingly innocent man lay dead on the side of the road, and the two soldiers of fortune were the targets of an epic manhunt through the Congolese jungle. James Bamford retraces the strange odyssey of Tjostolv “Mike” Moland and Joshua French—and discovers that more than one hundred years after Heart of Darkness, some things never change. GQ

In Mozambique, transforming guns into art
Whenever Goncalo Mabunda looks at his sculptures, he wonders whether any of his materials killed his uncle, a government soldier who was fatally shot during Mozambique’s 15-year civil war. Mabunda’s works are made from the bullets and rifles that fueled the conflict. The Washington Post

Pee power! African teens create urine-fueled generator
In a stroke of ingenuity that could have proven handy during Hurricane Sandy, four teenage African girls have come up with a urine-powered generator. Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, and Faleke Oluwatoyin, all 14, and Bello Eniola, 15, collaborated on the invention, which they claim generates one hour of electricity from one liter (about a quart) of urine. The pee-powered product made its debut at Maker Faire Africa in Lagos, Nigeria, this week. Cnet.com

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