Wednesday, January 07, 2004

The Herald notes an agreement between the World Health Organization (WHO) and the pharmaceutical giant Novartis on tuberculosis drugs. The Zimbabwean state daily reports that the deal would provide drugs to tuberculosis patients in developing countries including Zimbabwe. WHO director general Mr Lee Jong-wook said the drugs to be provided by Novartis for a five-year period would assist in the control of TB in the world.

The Christian Science Monitor wrote of an innovative program in South Africa called the Community and Individual Development Association (CIDA) University. Founded in 1999 by four Johannesburg businessmen, it is a virtually free university that operates on a shoestring, largely through corporate support. The goal is to mold motivated students from the country's poorest and most marginalized communities into a new generation of African business leaders and high-powered entrepreneurs who will spread knowledge and prosperity across the continent.

The CSM also explained how Ethiopia's cooking-oil industry got burned by US aid. The paper calls the story a cautionary tale of how too much aid at the wrong time can sap a nation's self-sufficiency and create a dependence on hand-outs. While I am favor of foreign aid, this anecdote is worth noting since it shows that aid, by itself, is not the only answer and that self-sufficiency should be the ultimate goal. Ethiopia is the world's largest recipient of international aid and the country's economy would collapse without it.

Retired BBC World Service editor Robin White returns to Africa and gives his impressions of a Cameroon divided by language and culture.

The Daily Mail and Guardian tells how former Nigerian dictator Ibrahim Babangida may run for the country's presidency in 2007. The man whose controversial decision to cancel Nigeria's democratic elections in 1993 tore the country apart has founded a campaign organization called The 007 Project, which was registered shortly after he joined the ruling PDP party. Most members of the 007 project are either retired military officers or civilians who benefited immensely during Babangida’s rule from 1985 to 1993 according to the daily. Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka was disdainful. "The memory of people is not as short as he thinks. There are so many queries he still needs to answer."


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