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Posts Tagged ‘Henry Bonsu’

Nigeria’s growing sectarianism: who stands to gain the most from the current situation?

Posted by AT on September 23, 2010

Africa Today
EP 75
Topic: Nigeria’s growing sectarianism: who stands to gain the most from the current situation?
Broadcast: 21st September 2010
Presenter: Henry Bonsu
AP: Nicholas Asamoah

1- Rolake Akinola Sub-Saharan Africa Analyst
2- Mohammed Umar Writer and Analyst

Part 1

Description: There have been religious clashes several times in Nigeria and recently growing sectarianism in the country. Reasons for this have been blamed on poor governance and extreme poverty. But is this the only reason why this is happening or perhaps outside interests are to account for this? Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and vital location for western interests. Some have suggested breaking the country into two, perhaps in order to have more control on its affairs. Brief: The army is conducting joint patrols with the police in Nigeria’s northern city of Maiduguri after a wave of killings blamed on the Islamist sect, Boko Haram. The police have also banned riding motorcycles at night as several of the shootings were carried out by people on motorbikes. Twelve people, including seven policemen, have died in the past month. Clashes between Boko Haram and the police in July 2009 left hundreds dead. Most of those who died were supporters of the sect, which is also known locally as the Taliban and wants to see Islamic law imposed across Nigeria. It is opposed to Western education and accuses Nigeria’s government of being corrupted by Western ideas. The sect’s leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was among those killed, apparently after he was handed over alive to the police.

Part 2

Tensions in Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north have continued to rise after the radical sect Boko Haram attacked the city of Maiduguri in Borno state, and several targets in the state of Bauchi. In Maiduguri, security is on high alert after the group killed over a dozen people including members of the security forces. Their raid on Bauchi prison freed several inmates, resulting in many deaths.

SOUNDBITE (English) Danlami Yar’Adua, Bauchi state police commissioner: “They already released as many as 121 inmates including their members. Their members were 105 remaindered there (indistinct word).”

These recent events highlight Nigeria’s complex social divisions and its failure to address the root causes. Some critics have blamed the growing sectarian culture on socio-economic problems and endemic corruption. But it’s also claimed this corruption is fuelled by western control of the country’s natural resources, in which multinationals have bribed officials to influence policies in their favour, and vast wealth has flown out of the areas they operate in. But is this the reason for the ongoing tensions and the growing gap between rich and poor? Africa Today investigates the truth behind Nigeria’s growing sectarianism and asks who stands to gain the most from the current situation?

Part 3

Although present in one form or another for generations, present-day sectarianism really took root in Nigeria after independence in 1960. Most groups were borne out of religious differences. More recently, economic hardship and underdevelopment have encouraged the formation of sects, particularly in Northern Nigeria, where the majority of the country’s Muslims live. Boko Haram, also known as the Nigerian Taliban, opposes western ideology and development, and accuses the Nigerian government of being corrupted by foreign ideas. The group was formed in Maiduguri, Borno State, in 2002 by a charismatic leader Mohammed Yusuf who was killed in controversial circumstances last year by police after being arrested by the army. Clashes between the group and security forces have claimed over a thousand lives since 2009. The latter have been accused of failing to act on warnings until violence has broken out, leading to fears that one day these underlying tensions could threaten the very existence of the state itself.

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Foreign Direct Investment to Africa: a force for good or ill?

Posted by AT on August 27, 2010

Africa Today 71
Topic: Foreign Direct Investment to Africa: a force for good or ill?
Broadcast Date: 24th August 2010
Presenter: Henry Bonsu
1- Miss Katharine Pulvermacher, Chief Executive, African Rainbow Consulting
2- Mr Kofi Mawuli Klu Chief Executive Commissioner, PANAFRIINDABA
Remote Studio:
3- Miss Geetha Tharmaratnam Principal, Investments & ESG, Aureos Advisers Limited

This is a wider discussion on where Foreign Direct Investment to Africa go, and what’s it doing to countries like Angola, Congo, the DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, South Africa and Zambia, and is it a force for good or ill?

Uganda and Tanzania are, for the third year in a row, among the top 12 recipients of foreign direct investment in sub saharan Africa, according to the latest United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), World Investment Report. Investment in Uganda has surged over the past three years from $733 million in 2007 to $799 million last year. In Tanzania investment has remained steady at between $645 million and $680 million. The two countries were not affected by the global downturn in foreign investment, as well as commodity price falls – in marked contrast to their neighbours in Kenya.

With AID failing to improve the lives of Africans on the continent, some campaigners are calling for a new investment strategy that will attack the causes of poverty and deliver long term growth. They say free markets and foreign direct investments in Africa can stimulate economies and create the jobs the continent so badly needs. Currently about 60 percent of Africans are under the age of 24, which many dreaming of a future in the west that their homeland cannot provide. But how sustainable are these FDI’s and their interests in Africa. Are they operating a biased trading system to get the most out of her natural resources? Investors from Asia, the Pacific and South Asia have been criticized for their poor human treatment and disregard for business ethics, while those from western industrialized nations have been accused of long term exploitation. This week Africa Today finds out if Foreign Direct Investment – the billions that come in from governments and multinationals – is a force for good or ill.

For African countries to attract Foreign Direct Investments, they’re told to improve the business environment, and make changes that usually favour the investors. According to the research body African Economic Outlook, FDI inflows are important as a stable and long-term source of capital to promote industry and commerce, but the majority of FDI to Africa remains targeted to extractive industries, like oil, gas, and mining, in a relatively limited group of countries. This means big commercial developments financed by outsiders often have little positive impact on local communities and the wider economy. The World Bank in a recent report classified 24 African countries as oil and mineral dependent. It said these countries accounted for about three quarters of annual FDI flows over the past two decades. Given the global economic downturn, will these African states be able keep their investors and at what cost?

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DR Congo crisis: when does this end after thousands flee their homes?

Posted by AT on August 26, 2010

Africa Today 67
Topic: DR Congo crisis: when does this end after thousands flee their homes?

Broadcast Date: 27th July 2010
Presenter: Henry Bonsu
Studio Guests:
1- Dennis Katungi, Spokesperson, NRMUK
2- Okito Tongomo Chair, Congolese Support Group

Description: Tens of thousands of people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have fled their homes amid an army offensive against Ugandan rebels, presenting fresh impetus to humanitarian agencies’ efforts to adapt their response mechanisms to sudden displacement.

Part 1

Brief: A large wave of displacement was prompted by a 28 June attack – allegedly a rebel reprisal against the offensive – on the village of Mutwanga, which left eight civilians dead. Further attacks took place from the second week of July, with the ADF/NALU, estimated to number around 1,300 fighters, again being blamed by witnesses. As displacement patterns evolve, creating an increasingly intricate web of flight and return routes on eastern DRC’s map, so RRMP agencies have adapted their responses. From 2010, assistance is no longer distributed according to whether beneficiaries are fleeing, returning or hosting IDPs in their own homes. “We had more and more zones where displaced and returned people lived side by side. In some villages, we had one partner [agency] assisting the displaced and another one assisting returnees,” Sizaret said. Now the needs of entire populations in displacement areas are assessed with questionnaires and scorecards – in Beni evaluations began on 2 July – in an effort to deliver blanket assistance as rapidly and efficiently as possible.

Part 2

There are still unresolved questions surrounding the ongoing fight against rebel groups by governments in the great lake regions of Africa. The recent offensive against Ugandan rebels by the Democratic republic of Congo government has “raised fresh concern about this seemingly perpetual crisis. The fighting against rebels of one nationality or another has lasted a quarter of a century. The latest military operation is against the Allied Democratic Forces and the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF/NALU) in the North Kivu district of Beni. As a result of this incursion tens of thousands have been reported fleeing the eastern part of DRC triggering another humanitarian crisis. With the sudden displacement of people, Africa Today asks how peace can finally be brought to this most troubled part of Africa.

Part 3

WHO THEY ARE: The main rebel groups in the great lakes region operate in and around Eastern DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. In Easter DRC , the main rebel movement RCD is fighting to overthrow President Laurent Desire Kabila. This movement is split into two with allegations that they are being backed by Uganda and Rwanda. In Rwanda are the FAR, former Hutu militias and ex Rwandan armed forces responsible for the 1994 genocide. Burundi’s main rebel groups FDD and CNDD- with FDD seen more as a pro Kabila helping Congo’s forces fight the RCD while in Uganda is the ADF and LRA who are more concerned with destabilising Uganda. While these groups have direct links with these countries they also operate from areas in Tanzania, Sudan and Central African Republic.

The main rebel groups in the great lakes region are:

* Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD)- Easter DRC
* Forces armees rwandaises (FAR)- Rwanda
* Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie /Forces pour la defense de la democratie (FDD/CNDD)- Burundi
* Allied Democratic Forces/ Lord’s Resistance Army (ADF/ LRA)- Uganda

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Israel’s secret relationship with Africa?

Posted by AT on June 16, 2010

Africa Today 61
Topic: Israel’s secret relationship with Africa?
Broadcast: 15th June 2010
Presenter: Henry Bonsu
1- Thandi Makiwane, Community Activist
2- Richard Millett, Journalist
3- Richard Dowden, Royal African Society

Part 1

A report in the Guardian uncovers one of Israel’s secret relationship with Africa. It is not known the extent of Israel’s alliance with Africa and Secret documents revealing offer to sell nuclear warheads to South Africa cast fresh light on alliance.
It’s the relationship that never was. Kept to the shadows, it was shielded behind secret agreements and disinformation that dressed up military cooperation as mining deals.
But when the spotlight occasionally flickered over one of the most intimate and enduring alliances of the postwar years, Israel was quick to underplay its deep military ties with apartheid South Africa as nothing more than a necessity of survival without a flicker of ideological affinity.
But as is shown by Sasha Polakow-Suransky’s book, The Unspoken Alliance, that relationship went beyond mere convenience.
For years after its birth, Israel was publicly critical of apartheid and sought to build alliances with the newly independent African states through the 1960s.
But after the 1973 Yom Kippur war, African governments increasingly came to look on the Jewish state as another colonialist power. The government in Jerusalem cast around for new allies and found one in Pretoria. For a start, South Africa was already providing the yellowcake essential for building a nuclear weapon.

Part 2

Israel’s relationship with South Africa began after most African governments cut ties with Israel against its 1973 Yom Kippur war. These Africa governments became suspicious about Israel and saw it as another colonialist power. South Africa was already providing Israel Uranium, a key ingredient in building nuclear weapon. Israel on the other hand failed in its attempts to sell South Africa nuclear warheads. However, Israel armed and provided the white minority government with military technology to help sustain its hold on power and its oppression of the black majority over two decades. South Africa subsequently became Israel’s largest weapons buyer. Is South Africa the only country Israel had this secret affair with? Africa Today explores Israel’s covert relationships with other African countries, and asks why some would rather we didn’t know what’s really going on”.

Part 3

Israel’s Africa relationship started long before Israel was founded in 1948. The father of modern political Zionism, Theodor Herzl in 1907 said “once I have witnessed the redemption of the Jews, my people, I wish also to assist in the redemption of the Africans.” This redemption was however shrouded in secret agendas and deals. Formal relations with Africa was established in the 1950’s when Israel opened its first embassy in Africa in Accra, Ghana. However many experts believe that Israel was more interested in political advantages and not economic gains. Its main contributions to Africa have been in the form of military aid such as weapons and training. Israel’s aim was to gain support over its war in the Arab region and also defuse Arab influence in Africa. The extent of this relationship with Africa is unknown but it is believed it goes further than South Africa.

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