Monday, June 20, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

will Swiss banks fight corruption?

a long Foreign Affairs article about dictators hiding their assets in Swiss banks...there is now a new law that might help get the money back to the people.

Swiss banks became known as a top choice for corrupt dictators by holding the multi-million dollar accounts of, among others, former Nigerian ruler Sani Abacha, former Filipino President Ferdinand Marcos, and former Haitian strongman Jean-Claude Duvalier. Thus, it may come as a surprise that last October, Switzerland adopted what is arguably the world’s toughest law for repatriating the ill-gotten gains of corrupt politicians to the people of those countries, allowing the country to return potentially corrupt assets more easily.

the bad news?

Mugabe probably has his money in Malaysia.

China in Africa

Friday, June 17, 2011


I'm doing an article on G6PD Deficiency on one of my other blogs, and notice something? It doesn't occur in Zimbabwe.
Probably because this problem, like sickle cell disease trait, gives some protection against malaria, and malaria is rare in the highlands of Africa.

When I read laments about the white farmers, I remember the story that when some of our area (altitude 6500 feet) was rezoned for white farms, the people were sent to an area which was only 3000 feet in altitude....and a couple dozen ended up dying of cerebral malaria.

Two of our sisters also ended up with cerebral malaria and lived, but what is interesting is that the European sister "caught" it after visiting the low veldt, and the Shona sister caught it while working in the low veldt, but her family was from the high veldt.

So I saw few malaria in Zimbabwe, although I had malaria and treated many cases when I worked in Liberia.

Interesting too: The only case of sickle cell disease was in a woman who worked in the nearby mining area. Since she was not an "official" wife, she couldn't be treated at the mine hospital so came to us when the child was sick. Both her and the father were immigrants from Malawi...

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Hedge funds grabbing African land

BBC reports it's not only China and India that is buying up African farmland:

US and European hedgefunds are buying up the land to make plantations for biofuel.

more reports at the OaklandInstutute

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Phantom voters in Zim

from the BBC

A leaked version of Zimbabwe's voters' roll contains some 2.5m too many names, according to a report by a respected South African organisation....

"This phantom vote is more than enough to settle the outcome of any election," said the author, Richard Johnson.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Anglican corruption in Zimbabwe

NYTimes article

In a three-hour interview in his office, Mr. Kunonga, a portly man with a gravelly voice, scoffed at the idea that he or his allies had sought to have anyone killed. In fact, if he had wanted anyone killed, he said, it would have been Bishop Gandiya, his rival as the legitimate bishop of Harare.

But there was no need for violence, Mr. Kunonga said, because he was already winning the legal battle to control church properties.

“You must have a very good reason to kill people,” he said. “Being a political scientist, I know who to eliminate if I wanted to physically, and to make it effective. I’m a strategist.”

Mr. Kunonga added, “If I want to pick on people to kill, Gandiya would not survive here.” As for allegations that he and his men were involved in Mrs. Mandeya’s killing, Mr. Kunonga retorted, “What would an illiterate 89-year-old woman do to me to deserve death or assassination?”

GetReligionBlog points out that the NYTimesg
by ignoring that the "bishop" attended a very liberal left wing seminary for training, ignores the communist aspect of the matter: The Times spins their own article, not to bash the left who loves Mugabe and helped get him into power, but to bash the US christians who oppose the homosexual agenda...

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

China buying land in Africa

from a 2009 article

The countries where China are mainly in South Africa including Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi and currently Angola. The agricultural land story began with Zambia in 1995 when Zhongkan Farm, a private Chinese company invested $22,000 in a farm project. By the end of 2007, the number of farm projects across Africa had increased to 63. Mozambique has received $800 million from China for modernizing its agricultural sector. This will be used to increase rice production in the country from 200,000 tons to 500,000 tons. Teams from the Chinese Hunan Hybrid Rice Institute and at least 100 specialists are stationed in Mozambique.

Similarly, Tanzania received millions of dollars to modernize its own agricultural sector. The idea behind this was to help create a green revolution in Africa. In the entire African continent, 1134 agricultural specialists have come from China to teach and see the implementation of agricultural modernization policies.

Angola is increasingly becoming the most sought after country for Chinese investment. It is already China’s biggest trading partner, and is now going to benefit through agriculture. Angola offers the best environment for beef production, coffee, spices, fruits, sugar and cotton.

The agricultural revolution gradually taking place in Africa is not just beneficial for China alone, it is also helping the African countries as an employment generating industry and providing larger food supplies for its starving millions. It is a win-win situation for both.

Source : Chinafrica

Could GM foods help Africa

this article is more recent, from All AFrica, originally from The Monitor:

the article laments the usual suspects, i.e. that evil corporations are behind it, then quotes Prince Charles who is against it, then laments that South Africa hasn't fully implemented it so it hasn't worked yet, and then adds:

GM also is not so much about African foods like millet, sweet potatoes, cassava or yams and the various African vegetables. We need to develop our own food crops as we fight hunger and we don't have to automatically switch to foods from other continents. The more we adapt to western technology the more we have to spend on machinery and chemicals manufactured in the west.

After all, the industrialised countries will not buy our surplus food (including GM food) since they always have enough food and anyway they have safely put in place trade barriers that discourage African products access to their markets. Our food and poverty problems must be solved right on our small plots of land and by ourselves as farmers and researchers...

yes, those old women with hoes using traditional crops will do it...while all the younger men migrate to work for the Chinese in factories and farms and send their money home, like they do here in the Philippines, to feed their children (we have also forbidden GM crops, but some of our food is hurt by cheaper imports from countries that use modern chemicals and production values forbidden here)

china investment in farm lands

from ELDIS

During 2006 and 2007, a raft of new initiatives and programmes sprang into being around the goal of promoting agricultural technology, including biotechnology, in the African continent. These initiatives have been led by African governments themselves, as well as by international aid donors, agricultural research centres and philanthropic organisations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Africa remains the part of the world which faces the most intractable problems of entrenched poverty and poor productivity in agriculture. The new initiatives mentioned above are intended to stimulate new innovation and growth in African farming, a new ‘Green Revolution’ to match the transformations which took place in other parts of the world during the 1960s, 70s and 80s...

China is another part of the globe where government, scientists and policy-makers are working towards a uniquely tailored approach to biotechnology development. For many years now, China has taken a circumspect approach to GM crops

Food articles

Biowatch South Africa reports:

South Africa is the only African country commercially producing genetically modified crops. It is also the only country which is producing a genetically modified staple food – maize – on a commercial scale.

At least six of the 15 Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries have said no to genetically modified crops.

The countries in SADC are Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Madagascar applied for membership recently.

The six which have taken a firm stand against genetically modified crops are:

* Angola – bans imports of all GM products except food aid, providing this has already been milled.
* Lesotho – bans Gm imports unless processed or milled
* Madagascar – bans growing or importing GM foods
* Malawi – bans GM imports unless they are already processed or milled
* Zambia – bans imports of all GM products
* Zimbabwe - bans GM imports unless they are already processed or milled

Other SADC countries and countries in the rest of Africa are developing legislation to regulate genetically modified crops.
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