Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Bits and pieces - Africa edition

AFRICAN CORRUPTION NUMBERS TRUMP DEVELOPMENT AID
Foreign Policy's blog has a piece on Africa's missing billions and the tax havens that aid and abet these crimes. Each year, more than $1 trillion exits developing countries, and more than $140 billion of comes from Africa. That's almost four times as much as the continent gets in official development aid... The key players in this shadow economy are corporations. Globally, more than 60 percent of capital flight comes from multinationals operating in resource-rich regions.


THE RISH AND FALL OF A VILLAGE HOUSING MARKET
The Wall Street Journal has an article on a small village in Guinea's Forest region that saw a housing market develop around investment from giant Rio Tinto only to crash when the controversial mining giant shuttered two-thirds of its operations only a short time later.


FILM FESTIVAL IN THE SAHARAN SANS
The New York Times had a feature on a film festival held in the Algerian desert.


UNCLE TED RETIRES
A story I must've missed earlier: Ted Roberts, the much loved Sierra Leonian news presenter, retired in February from the Voice of America. He worked at the VOA since 1964 and spent the last 14 years as host of the weekend news program Nightline Africa.


KENYAN NOBEL LAUREATE INTERVIEW
The American channel C-SPAN had an excellent hour-long interview with Kenyan Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Wangari Maathai, who spoke, among other things, about her book The Challenge for Africa.


PRO-MONARCH POLL BANNED IN MOROCCO
You know freedom of the press is pretty limited when media outlets are banned from publishing polls that are 'extraordinarily favorable' toward the head of state. That's what happened in Morocco recently. The Moroccan magazine Tel Quel and the French daily newspaper Le Monde collaborated on a poll to measure the popularity of King Mohammed VI, on the 10th anniversary of his accession to the North African country's throne. Publication of the results were banned in Morocco. "The monarchy can not be put into the equation, even via a poll," explained Khalid Naciri, the government's spokesman and information minister. Daring ask people if they approve of their head of state would sent a terrible precedent, apparently. The irony? The banned results were overwhelmingly favorable toward the king, who is the 7th richest monarch in the world. 91 percent admitted to having sensed some positive change, since Mohammed became king. The further irony? 51 percent said that the overbearing royal protocol had lightened.

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