Black Star Journal
Commentary on the news, culture, sports and current events of sub-Saharan Africa from someone who's lived there.
The author served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa.
All essays are available for re-print, with the explicit permission of the author. Contact him at mofycbsj @ yahoo.com
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Guinea's pipe dream
For a nation ranked as the world's most corrupt, as the third most unstable country in the world not at war, the new Guinean government sure has a lot of confidence. Last month, the government announced that it was going to seek nuclear power.
Last week, the government continued its grandiose delusionalism. The cabinet recently announced that Guinea was going to make a bid to host the 2016 African Nations Cup.
Construction began a few months ago on a new 50,000 seat stadium in a suburb of the capital Conakry, but this would be the only stadium in the country that would met the standards of the African soccer confederation (CAF) for hosting the continent's premier soccer tournament.
The country was in virtual meltdown earlier this year because of corruption and skyrocketing prices. Inflation is so bad that the country recently introduced 10,000 franc (FG) banknotes into circulation, worth about US$2.40. And the central bank is also planning to issue a 50,000 FG note. Electricity is virtually non-existent. Basic food prices are through the roof.
The new prime minister Lansana Kouyaté has generally gotten good marks. But if he's smart, he'll tell his ministers to stop wasting money and time preparing for a soccer tournament that no sane organization would award it and focus on restoring basic necessities to the population.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Militia activity in northern Mali
Foreign diplomats are noting with increasing concern the deteriorating security situation in the north of Mali. The region has seen a spate of attacks by armed militias.
The attacks have been met with indignation in the rest of the country, with citizens wondering why security forces aren't able to get ahold of the situation.
Mali and Niger were rocked by Touareg rebel movements from 1990 until peace deals were signed in 1995. Touareg groups span the border region, which has largely been at peace since the peace agreements until this year when a Touareg-dominated group in northern Niger, the Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ), began attacking civilians and the army in northern Niger and laid landmines there. The MNJ has reportedly denied it is linked to the militias responsible for the attacks in Mali.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Guinea-Bissau to shoot down drug planes
I wrote earlier about how Guinea-Bissau might become Africa's first narco-state. The government has responded by promising to shoot down suspected drug planes that enter the country's airspace.
How much of a deterrent this will represent is open to question. BBC West Africa correspondent Will Ross says it is clear that the very people who should be countering it have been involved. Earlier this year a consignment of over 2.5 tonnes of cocaine was flown into a military airstrip. Two soldiers were later arrested in cars which had been packed with over 600kg (over 1300 lbs) of cocaine.