Category Archives: West Africa

West Africa – flight ban by Asky over ebola threat

BBC

Ebola outbreak: Asky bans flights in West Africa

Medical staff working with Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) put on their protective gear before entering an isolation area at the MSF Ebola treatment centre in Kailahun on 20 July 2014

A major West African airline has stopped flying to Liberia and Sierra Leone amid growing concern about the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

Asky said it took the decision to keep “its passengers and staff safe during this unsettling time”.

The number of people killed by the virus in West Africa has now reached 672, according to new UN figures.

In Sierra Leone, the doctor who led the fight against Ebola, Sheik Umar Khan, has died of the disease.

Government officials hailed Dr Khan, 39, as a “national hero”.

The government disclosed last week that he was being treated for Ebola and had been quarantined.

His death follows that of prominent Liberian doctor Samuel Brisbane at the weekend.

Police deployed

Ebola kills up to 90% of those infected, but patients have a better chance of survival if they receive early treatment.

It spreads through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids.

The outbreak – the world’s deadliest to date – was first reported in Guinea in February. It then spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

A banner creating awareness about Ebola in Monrovia, Liberia (28 July 2014) Liberia tied Independence Day celebrations on 26 July to efforts to create more awareness around Ebola
A Liberian man washes his hands as an extra precaution for the prevention of the spread of the Ebola virus before entering a church service in Monrovia, Liberia -27 July 2014 Greater emphasis is being placed on hygiene in an effort to contain the virus
 Liberian money exchanger wears protective gloves as a precaution to prevent infection with the deadly Ebola virus while transacting business with customers in downtown Monrovia, Liberia, 28 July 2014 People have also been urged to wear protective gloves

Asky is the second airline, after Nigeria’s largest airline, Arik Air, to ban flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

It had not halted flights to Guinea, but passengers departing from there would be “screened for signs of the virus”, Asky said.

Last week, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, reported its first case – that of Liberian finance ministry official Patrick Sawyer who flew to the main city, Lagos, in an Asky flight.

Liberia has deployed police officers at the international airport in the capital, Monrovia, to ensure passengers are screened for symptoms of Ebola.

Football ban

“We have a presence of the police at the airport to enforce what we’re doing,” said Binyah Kesselly, chairman of the Liberia Airport Authority.

“So if you have a flight and you are not complying with the rules, we will not allow you to board.”

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Ebola since 1976

Graphic showing Ebola virus outbreaks since 1976
A map showing Ebola outbreaks since 1976
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Most border crossings in Liberia have been closed to contain the outbreak and affected communities are being quarantined.

Liberia has also suspended all football activities in an effort to control the spread of Ebola.

“Football being a contact sport – people are sweating – they do contact each other, and that could result in contracting the disease,” the president of its football association, Musa Hassan Bility, told the BBC.

“It also has to do with the fans because whenever there is a game, a lot of people come together and we want to discourage gathering at this point,” he said.

The association had also told football governing body Fifa to cancel trips to Liberia scheduled for August and September because “we do not want the life of the Fifa president [Sepp Blatter] to be exposed to this disease”, Mr Bility said.

In a statement, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said that 1,201 Ebola cases had been reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Of the 672 deaths, the highest number was in Guinea with 319, followed by Liberia with 249 and Sierra Leone with 224, it said.

The BBC’s Jonathan Paye Layleh in Monrovia says that public awareness campaigns around Ebola have been stepped up in the city.

Many people are worried about the outbreak, and fewer people are going to restaurants and entertainment centres, he says.

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Ebola virus disease (EVD)

Coloured transmission electron micro graph of a single Ebola virus, the cause of Ebola fever
  • Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
  • Fatality rate can reach 90%
  • Incubation period is two to 21 days
  • There is no vaccine or cure
  • Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
  • Fruit bats are considered to be virus’ natural host

BBC

Nigeria – suicide bombers hit Kano during Eid

Punch

Two female terrorists bomb Kano

Scene of Boko Haram attack

Two female suicide bombers struck in different parts of Kano on Monday, killing   and injuring many on a day Muslim faithful thronged the prayer grounds in the city to observe the Eid-el-Fitri.

The first attack took place at about 10am on a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Mega station   at Hotoro Quarters along Maiduguri Road. The second was at about 1.40pm at the Trade Fair Complex entrance on Zoo Road.

But there were conflicting figures on the numbers of the killed and injured.

Only on Sunday, a bomber hurled explosives at worshippers in a Catholic church in the city, killing five and wounding eight. The same day,   a 15-year-old female suicide bomber killed herself while trying to target some police officers.

There have been no claims of responsibility for any of the blasts, but fingers point at the militant   Islamist group, Boko Haram.

A resident, Tijjani Isa, told the Associated Press that the first bomber was standing in line with many women   buying kerosene   before she set off the bomb.

Another resident was quoted by the Agence France Presse as saying that the “female bomber who was milling in the crowd set off explosives concealed under her dress.”

The resident, Habibu Ali, added that “several people, mostly women, were killed.”

Ali’s account, according to the AFP, was supported by another resident, Shehu Mudi, who said that many were killed.

But the   state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Adelenre Shinaba, told journalists that doctors at the Murtala Muhammad Hospital confirmed the death of three, out of the 10 people evacuated from the scene.

He added that the impact of the blast caused partial damage to the canopy of the kerosene section of the mega station.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, however said   in a statement that four people, including the bomber, died while eight were injured in the mega station attack.

Mba said, “The suicide bomber and three others have been confirmed dead, eight persons were injured and rushed to the hospital.

“It is instructive to note that the mega station did not go ablaze due to the security barricade put in place by the policemen on duty at the station.

“Security forces have cordoned off the scene and police bomb disposal experts are sweeping the area.”

He added that investigation into the incident had begun, while security operatives had intensified patrol of the city.

The second blast occurred when the female suicide bomber   aged about 19,   blew up herself and injured six others, including two policemen at the entrance gate of the Kano Trade Fair Complex near Shoprite.

The state Police command spokesman, Magaji Majia, told journalists that   security operatives had stopped the suspect for screening when the IEDs hidden under her dress went off.

Majia said the policemen had been treated and discharged, while the remaining four persons are still in hospital.

He said the mangled body of the female suicide bomber was recovered and deposited at an undisclosed government hospital.

The police added that investigations had commenced with a view to unravelling those behind the renewed attacks on the city.

Meanwhile, there was heavy traffic in Kugbo, Nyanya and Karua on the Abuja-Keffi Road on Monday due to   roadblocks set up by soldiers.

Residents going to amusement parks in the Federal Capital Territory to enjoy Monday which was a public holiday were stranded for many hours.

Also,   presence of armed soldiers was observed   at the AYA, Central Area and the Eagle Square.

Copyright PUNCH.

Nigeria – Borno State bans car use during Eid

BBC
Nigeria’s Borno state bans cars during Eid

Motorbikes were permanently banned in Maiduguri in 2011 to prevent drive-by assassinations

The use of vehicles in Nigeria’s north-eastern Borno state has been banned during Eid, the three-day festival that ends Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month.

Eid started on Sunday in Nigeria, and authorities say they have intelligence that Islamist group Boko Haram is planning to carry out car bomb attacks.

Meanwhile, police say a bomb has exploded in the northern city of Kano.

For a third year the city’s famous Eid durbar, or horse parading ceremony, has been cancelled due to security fears.

Boko Haram has carried out a wave of bombings and assassinations in Nigeria since it launched a brutal insurgency in 2009.

It sparked international outrage in April by abducting more than 200 girls from their boarding school in Borno state, where the militants are mainly based.

On Sunday, police said a bomb was thrown at worshippers in Kano as they were leaving a church killing four people; separately, a female suicide bomber blew herself as she was cornered by police near the city’s university.

Details about the blast on Monday morning are still sketchy, but the BBC’s Yusuf Ibrahim Yakasai in Kano says three people who were queuing up with others to buy kerosene from a garage have been killed by an apparent suicide bomber.

Traumatised
The governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima, said the decision to ban cars was taken “in order to safeguard the lives of the innocent citizens”.

Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in Hausa
He was traumatised to see people walking for miles in Maiduguri, the state capital, he said, “under the scotching sun in an attempt to observe a very important spiritual rite which is the Eid prayers”.

“I am very much aware that there are those of our citizens who only get what to feed themselves and their families after going out every day either as traders, transporters or artisans,

“I know that the restriction of vehicle movement would greatly impede on their source of livelihood,” he said.

“But we all have to be alive before we can do anything at all.”

In May 2013, President Goodluck Jonathan imposed a state of emergency on Borno and its neighbouring states of Adamawa and Yobe. But the military’s efforts have failed to contain the emergency.

There are almost daily attacks in the north-east and New York-based Human Rights Watch says more than 2,000 civilians have been killed by the militants this year.

On Sunday, the Cameroonian military said Boko Haram members had abducted the wife of the country’s deputy prime minister in the northern Cameroonian town of Kolofata.

The militants have kidnapped foreign nationals in northern Cameroon before, including a French family and Chinese workers.

Who are Boko Haram?

Boko Haram loosely translates as “Western education is forbidden”
Founded in 2002
Initially focused on opposing Western education – Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
Launched military operations in 2009 to create Islamic state
Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria – also attacked police and UN headquarters in capital, Abuja
Some three million people affected
Declared terrorist group by US in 2013
Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists

Kano’s durbar – a three-day horse parade – used to be huge tourist attraction

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-28526358

Liberia closes border to contain ebola

Reuters
Liberia shuts border crossings, restricts gatherings to curb Ebola spreading
MONROVIA Mon Jul 28, 2014

(Reuters) – The Liberian government on Sunday closed most of the West African nation’s border crossings and introduced stringent health measures to curb the spread of the deadly Ebola virus that has killed at least 660 people across the region.

The new measures announced by the government on Sunday came as Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone struggle to contain the worst outbreak yet of the virus.

Speaking at a task force meeting, Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the government is doing everything to fight the virus including inspecting and testing all outgoing and incoming passengers by Liberia’s airport authority.

“All borders of Liberia will be closed with the exception of major entry points. At these entry points, preventive and testing centres will be established, and stringent preventive measures to be announced will be scrupulously adhered to,” she said.

Ebola can kill up to 90 percent of those who catch it, although the fatality rate of the current outbreak is around 60 percent. Highly contagious, especially in the late stages, its symptoms include vomiting and diarrhoea as well as internal and external bleeding.

Under the new measures, public gatherings such as marches, demonstrations and promotional advertisements also will be restricted.

The outbreak has placed a great strain on the health systems of some of Africa’s poorest countries.

“No doubt, the Ebola virus is a national health problem. And as we have also begun to see, it attacks our way of life, with serious economic and social consequences,” Sirleaf said in a statement.

Still, despite efforts to fight the disease, the virus continues to spread. A 33-year-old American doctor working for relief organisation Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia tested positive for the disease on Saturday.

The charity said on Sunday a second American, who was helping a team treating Ebola patients at a case management centre in Monrovia had also tested positive.

Samuel Brisbane, a senior Liberian doctor, who was also treating infected patients has died after contracting the virus, authorities said on Sunday. In Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, a Liberian man who tested positive died in on Friday.

A health worker with disinfectant spray walks down a street outside the government hospital in Kenema, July 10, 2014.
CREDIT: REUTERS/TOMMY TRENCHARD

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http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/07/28/uk-health-ebola-africa-idUKKBN0FX01H20140728

Nigeria – Bakare says attack on Buhari meant to split Nigeria

Punch

Pastor Tunde Bakare

The Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, on Sunday said Nigerians should be grateful that the attempt on the life of a former Head of State, Maj. Gen Muahammadu Buhari, (retd.), was unsuccessful, as it would have led to a crisis of unprecedented destruction and loss of lives.

Bakare, who was Buhari’s running mate on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change during the 2011 Presidential elections, said Buhari had millions of supporters in the North who might have taken the law into their own hands.

He said the crisis would have spread to the South, where more reprisals would occur.

Bakare said this while preaching in his church in Lagos on Sunday.

He said, “But for what could only have been an act of God, this past week might have marked the beginning of the end for our nation. For if the attack targeted at Buhari and his entourage on Wednesday had succeeded, the hatchers of the Nigerian disintegration agenda would have been smiling home to the bank by now.

“The enormous goodwill and massive following enjoyed by the General among the tens of millions of disadvantaged northern youths for whom he has become a messianic symbol, would have transmogrified into the unguided and uncontrollable fury of a vengeful army, whose target would not be without political and ethnic colouration.

“Invariably, this would have sparked up a corresponding reaction of violence from an equally militant antagonistic young population from across the Niger. One needs not be a political analyst to see that such a scenario might have culminated in the demise of our nation.”

Bakare said according to available statistics, between April 2010 and June 2014, terrorism had been the cause of about 6,000 deaths in the country while this year alone, a conservative figure of over 2,500 were reported to have been killed by the activities of Boko Haram.

He warned that it would be naïve for anyone to think that terrorism was purely a northern problem since 486 terror suspects had been arrested in Abia State while Boko Haram had claimed responsibility for the attacks in Apapa, Lagos after an attempt by the government to dub them mere “explosions.”

Bakare said the reasons terrorism thrived in Nigeria were because of the failure of intelligence which resorted to tracking the opposition rather than criminals and the enemies of the state.

He gave other reasons as governmental incompetence, a weakening armed forces, internal and international conspiracy; and opportunism.

He added that the attack should have made it clear to all that Buhari was not a Boko Haram sympathiser.

Bakare noted that the military at present cannot adequately combat terrorism, noting that soldiers confront members of the Boko Haram with “inferior weapons.”

He criticised President Goodluck Jonathan for seeking $1bn foreign loan to fight terrorism, saying “the last time the military was equipped was in the 1980s and there have been budgetary allocations every year.

“The senate say they want to reconvene to consider the request and nobody is asking what happened to the amount budgeted for security this year.”

The cleric noted that the reign of terror should not be ascribed to religion but “sheer psychosis.”

He warned that traditional Islam and radical Islam must not be grouped together, saying that radical Islam, alongside zoning deprivation, oppression and injustice, were the cause of terrorism.

“To win this war, we must embark forthwith on accurate diagnosis. There is a fundamental difference between traditional Islam and the radical Islam of our day. To lump them together would be a tragic mistake. It would only produce error, which would lead to attendant terror.

“I only hope that this is a wakeup call to our government and we must now rise up so that together we can deploy all our resources to stop the terrorists dead in their tracks,” he said.

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Is Africa really rising?

allAfrica

document

Photo: Tami Hultman/AllAfrica

Kingsley Moghalu

London — Public Lecture at the London School of Economics by Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, Deputy Governor (Financial System Stability), Central Bank of Nigeria and Author, Emerging Africa: How the Global Economy’s ‘Last Frontier’ Can Prosper and Matter (Penguin Books, 2014)

Is Africa Rising?

In the past decade Africa has emerged in the world’s consciousness in the context of an evolution in the continent’s image. Africa is not yet seen as the place to be, to go to, or to be envied in terms of economic and societal progress. Indeed, still too many people around the world hold a decidedly different view. Gradually but surely, however, Africa is increasingly viewed less as a “hopeless” continent and more as one with promise for economic development, less as a haven of poverty, war and natural disaster and more as a continent that offers economic opportunity. In short, Africa is seen more as a “normal”, even if less prosperous place than many other parts of the world, than as the decidedly “abnormal” place off the map of the mental imagination that it once was.

This recent emergence and the positive evolution of the continent’s image has led to the growth of an “Africa-Rising” industry of analysts, commentators, scholars and business executives in which the continent is seen as the next big thing in the world’s economy. The continent in this view can lay claim to a looming African century close on the heels of the economic rise of Asia in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Three main factors have shaped this trend.

First, many of the wars for which Africa was famous have ended. The wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia, the Great Lakes region of Africa including Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the long armed conflicts in the Horn of Africa in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan were and are only a few of the destructive orgies of annihilation of human capital, political stability and economic possibilities that shaped perceptions of Africa as a war zone writ large in the 1980s, the 1990s and the 2000s. As most of these conflicts have ended, more recent ones have raged in Mali and the Central African Republic, keeping the world’s peacekeeping armies in business. But the continent is far more at peace now than it once was, clearing the path for a shift in attention to democratization and economic development.

Second, macroeconomic stability has been broadly established across the continent in the past decade. Inflation is down, at an average of 10 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa compared to the nearly 25 per cent in the 1980s and the 1990s. This trend can be traced to the evolution of better monetary policy by increasingly independent central banks, as well as improved fiscal management. At the same time, GDP growth has continued apace. Average GDP growth in sub-Saharan Africa in the decade leading to 2013 was 5 per cent, with a third of Africa’s countries reaching growth rates of 6 per cent and others, such as Nigeria, growing at average rates of 7 per cent.

According to the African Development Bank, Africa’s economies are growing faster than those of any other continent. Nearly half of Africa’s countries are now classified as middle income countries, the numbers of Africans living below the poverty line fell to 39 per cent in 2012 as compared to 51 per cent in 2005, and around 350 million of Africa’s one billion people are now earning between $2 and $20 a day.

The third factor is the global financial crisis and the subsequent recession in the Eurozone and other Western economies at a time in which African economies were growing rapidly. This has led to opportunistic focus on Africa by several multinationals and global investment funds as the “final frontier” for wealth creation, with returns on investment that can only be the stuff of dreams in the world’s industrialized countries.

But the reality is more nuanced. Contrary to the breathless prognostications of enthusiasts, while Africa has become an economic opportunity in the world economy, the continent is yet to fully emerge, let alone rise, as an economic presence and a co-creator of global prosperity.

Let us look at another set of statistics. Africa’s share of world trade is a minute 3 per cent, with less than 4 per cent of global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows going to the continent. With a combined GDP of S1.6 trillion, the combined GDP of the continent’s 54 countries is just about that of Brazil. The GDP of the entire sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa, is just about equal to that of Belgium or that of metropolitan Chicago. All the electricity produced in sub-Saharan Africa, half of which is, in fact produced by South Africa, is equivalent to that of Spain which has 20 times fewer people than Africa.

The Argument for a New Paradigm of African Development

What all this suggests is that real questions regarding the “rise” of Africa include that of what parameters are used for measuring the continent’s progress and who does the measuring. Is Africa aspiring to holistic development that encompasses human development as a reflection of the real quality of life of Africans or is it focusing on economic growth statistics that do not necessarily translate into more jobs for its citizens and better education and healthcare? Have African economies become industrialized manufacturing economies, and will job creation outpace population growth and put Malthus to shame? What is the role of science, technology and innovation in African economies? Is Africa assessing its own progress against benchmarks it has set for itself, or is its “rise” the received wisdom from global institutions and the ambassadors of global capital seeking new frontiers of profit?

In Emerging Africa I make the case that Africa needs an endogenous growth model that is inside-out in its perspective, rather than the presently dominant one that is outside-in and globalization-centric. Africa needs to manufacture goods for its own markets as a first foundation, spreading out regionally from that base and emerging as economic power in its own right through competitive advantage or at least self-sufficiency. What is being celebrated as Africa’s rise is the fact that the continent has increasingly become a market or a playground for globalization.

Africans appear to have become excited merely to be participating in the wider globalization process, and the external economic players for whom the continent has become the new frontier are excited at the novelty of playing in new territory and the benefits it has brought or potentially will. This is quite a different thing from structural economic transformation, which is what has happened in many Asian economies and which is what Africa really needs to achieve for itself and its peoples. Without a doubt, GDP growth is necessary for such a transformation, but is not an alternative for it because the two are not the same thing.

Africa’s recent economic growth statistics have been derived largely, but admittedly not completely, from a structural dependence on primary commodity products. This growth is thus not transformative, and it is only transformed economies that can truly rise, in the manner in which we speak, for instance, of the rise of China. The continent needs to decide whether it will continue to engage with the world as (a) a destination market for consumer goods and ideas, (b) a self-sufficient player based on endogenous growth, or (c) as a dominant actor. I argue that the first option is not an option for real progress, the third one is not realistic in the near to medium term given how far behind Africa really is in terms of the structure of its economies, while the second is realistic and achievable within the next 30 years.

The required approach to creating the real economic rise of Africa must be based on at least three things. The first is what I call fundamental understandings, a philosophical approach to wealth creation and economic prosperity that prioritizes the role of individual and collective minds in economic and social progress. In this context, what is required is nothing short of the reinvention of the contemporary African mind. That mind must better understand foundational realities and its inherent power to alter these realities in favour of the continent. The second approach is the need for strategy and the active management of risk. The third is the role of governance, the rule of law, and institution-building.

Fundamental understandings – worldviews and globalization

The point of departure for Africa is the need for African states, their governments and their citizens to understand how the world is structured in reality, and why this is so. They will then need to develop mechanisms that can enable them arrive at a different interpretation from their own perspective, and stamp that interpretation as an alternative reality in their environment. That is to say, African governments must create worldviews, and in that context develop a proper understanding of globalization as a dominant economic context, the implications of this concept and context for Africa in the world economy, and the possibility of creating an “African century”. Nothing is written in the stars in terms of Africa’s destiny. The continent can create the destiny it wants, just as other parts of the world have done.

This requires a reappraisal of a number of fundamental assumptions that have prevented Africa’s economic development and transformation such as a misunderstanding of where responsibility lies for the continent’s transformation. From this point of departure, the fundamental understandings of issues such as globalization, foreign aid, capitalism and international economic governance as a framework for economic development, and so forth, can be applied to economic activities such as industrialization, finance, agriculture, foreign investment, science and technology, and world trade.

I argue in Emerging Africa that the fundamental reason for Africa’s condition of underdevelopment is the absence of a futuristic worldview. This is the most fundamental aspect of the African development dilemma. A worldview is basically how we see the world, understand and interpret it, and how we engage with the world around us and beyond us. It is that inner world of the mind of an individual or group, which he or she or they project in their outward actions, and which influences the world around them by creating certain realities.

The Belgian philosopher Leo Apostel and his research collaborators identified seven core components of a worldview. These are: (a) a model of the world – an understanding of how the world is structured and how it functions; (b) an explanation of where we have come from and why the world is the way it is; (c) rational futurology, which addresses the question of where we are going, the possible destinations, and the options and alternatives to promote or avoid; (d) values, including systems of ethics that guide what we should or should not do; (e) action – how to get to our goals by developing and implementing plans; (f) knowledge – how to construct knowledge systems, addressing the questions of what’s true or false; and (g) building blocks that construct a worldview from what already exists in theories, concepts or models across various disciplines or ideologies.

Worldviews matter enormously, because their outcomes are never neutral. Indeed they are often reflected in or as world orders. Although initially subjective, they can with dogged application result in “objective” reality. The transatlantic slave trade was a world order based on a worldview – repugnant as it was – of the “superiority” of slave owners and the “inferiority” of the enslaved peoples. Emancipation and the abolition of slavery was also based on another worldview, and the hardiness of the worldview of the transatlantic slave trade, faced with a strong opponent in abolitionism, transmuted into colonialism in order to ensure and continue the economic benefits of the exploitation of Africa and the Africans.
Thus, the projection of these worldviews, backed up by the sustained deployment of certain comparative advantages such as military prowess based on technology, established realities that are accepted as “facts of life”. This has been demonstrated in diverse climes such as the Western world, with its worldview of scientific rationalism and individual freedoms leading to economic progress along a certain model, and the East, which has risen, represented by China, along another model of stability as an end in itself, and the importance of the clan or society above the individual.

From this foundation we can then situate globalization, its impact on Africa’s economic trajectory, and why Africans need to engage the phenomenon from a somewhat different and more sophisticated standpoint. Globalization is the process of increasing interconnectedness of the economies of previously well demarcated nation-states; the phenomenon of the instant transmission of ideas, events and culture over long distances through the instrumentality of technology, and the impact of these processes on local environments.
Thus, for our purposes here, there are two highly relevant dimensions of globalization. The first is that it has two main elements, the economic and the social, with technology as its chief instrument. This is why we all believe that the internet has made the world a much smaller place, and Africa now has over 600 million mobile telephone users, more than the United States and Europe.

Second, a more comprehensive understanding of globalization must involve both its scope and its motives. We must go beyond issues such as the extent and the geographies, the boundaries of which have been breached by globalization, to the questions of who is globalizing and why. [1]

This is what has been termed “global intent” or strategic intent, without which globalization will not be what it is and would not have had the economic and other impacts it has had.

Economic globalization has, in fact, hurt Africa more than it has helped the continent, contrary to the received wisdom. The gains for African countries from opening up to international economic forces without adequate internal preparation have been limited and far outweighed by the adverse of the continent’s engagement with economic globalization. Economic policies enunciated by the Bretton Woods institutions in the 1980 and 1990s led to lost decades of development opportunities and outcomes. Structural adjustment and liberalization without the proper foundations as a core condition led to the effective de-industrialization and unproductiveness of the continent by weakening the manufacturing sector and promoting import-driven economies. Trade liberalization under WTO regimes has not brought benefits. It has removed incomes from tariffs that have not been replaced by effective internal revenue mobilization.

It is against this backdrop – that of an uncritical embrace of globalization and its institutions or agents in the mistaken belief that these forces are benign in intent or impact, or agnostic in belief, or that African countries are obliged to do so as members of a presumed “international community” or “global village” – that Africa’s “rise” must be evaluated. The road to progress begins with asking and answering the right questions, and African countries must do so. Who is responsible for Africa’s development? Who will shape Africa’s destiny?

The answer: Africans and no one else. Not foreign investors; not development “partners”; not the supposed international community; not foreign aid.

Nevertheless, one of the paradoxes of globalization is that the phenomenon has so opened up the world and its inhabitants to each other that the prospects and opportunities economic advancement are now almost universal. This process, underpinned by the invention and innovation of industrial technology, is not a secret. It is open to any country or region of the world that is prepared to harness it. Perhaps the secret lies in what’s beneath the surface – the full understanding of all the dimensions of that process and the preparation to harness the recipe. It does not have as much to do with presence or absence of natural resources, with Africa is endowed more than any other continent. If it did, Africa would be the richest continent rather than the impoverished one it has been for far too long.

Paths to Economic Transformation

The first application of these fundamental understandings to take a very clear-headed approach to capitalist economics, the paradigm through which virtually all African states are now seeking to develop in the aftermath of the Cold War and the collapse of communism and socialism. Most of the growth of Africa’s economies is driven by the private sector. That’s ok, but not unreservedly so. To be clear, I am a capitalist.

But, to drive real economic transformation, capitalism must be managed by the state in a number of ways. The first is that clear choices must be made between the different kinds of capitalism –indeed there must exist in African governance and public policy an understanding of these different strands, and the implications of each as a possible choice for each African country. Thus, African states must choose between state capitalism as practiced by China, welfare capitalism, crony or oligarchic capitalism, and entrepreneurial capitalism. I recommend a blend of at least two of these according to the peculiarities of each African country, but have a bias for entrepreneurial, small-business capitalism because that is what most suits Africa’s historical development, societies, and its large informal economies.

Second, African countries must revisit the role of the state as a guiding hand as opposed to the misguided abdication of the responsibility of the state to the private sector. This creates wealth but with too much inequality in the distribution of that wealth, which is in itself a long-term risk. There must be a public-private private approach to the three fundamental requirements for successful capitalism – access to finance, property rights, and innovation.

The next step in the application of fundamental understandings is that African countries must embrace industrialization. This imperative also extends to the industrialization of agriculture, a mainstay of many African economies but presently largely at a subsistence level. It would be foolhardy to be caught in the fanciful conceptual trap of a supposed post-industrial society that is assumed to have developed in the West, with 3-D manufacturing supposedly threatening traditional industries and service economies challenging manufacturing ones.

Africa must first create industrial societies because that is what creates jobs, which African countries need to outpace population growth and maintain economic growth and social stability by avoiding a youth bulge in the future. Moreover, 55 per cent of world trade is based on manufacturing, while 7 per cent is based on agriculture. And massive infrastructure networks of electric power and transport infrastructure connecting the continent’s countries to one another and their component parts have rightly been recognized as a priority by many African governments which are moving to create such infrastructure over the next decade.

The next two key drivers of economic transformation are science, technology and innovation on the one hand, and education and human capital development on the other. Both must be linked. African countries need to make technology and innovation a strategic priority from the standpoint of a worldview that Africa can invent and innovate, and must do so if it is to liberate itself from the oppressive dominance of globalization. Some African countries such as Kenya are making strides in the development of innovation with the development of an ambitious, $15 billion “silicon savannah” in Konza, a 2,000 hectare city 60 kilometres outside Nairobi that is designed to turn Kenya into an attractive location for technology businesses and incubators, and challenge South Africa’s dominance in this area.

Science, technology and innovation is one of the main paths which Africa can exploit to make a great leap forward in the world economy. Talent abounds in the continent, but African governments need to create an enabling environment for innovation and create incentives, institutions and markets to support it. Here the link between innovation and taking innovations to market as commercial products that are priced competitively to counter imports is key. Human capital development in which African countries improve the falling quality of education in several countries and focus on education that builds technical and technological skills that are linked to industrial policies and job-creation strategies will play a major role in economic transformation.

Governance, Leadership and Institution-Building

The intervention of military governments in most African countries in the three decades between the 1960s and the 1990s set back the hand of the clock in Africa’s economic development because it led not to benign dictatorships that drove economic development as happened in some Asian countries, but to the restriction of the space for the evolutionary development of good, accountable governance. With the return of virtually all African countries to democratic status, this challenge remains, alongside that of economic development.

Governance and leadership determine to a large degree how much progress a country can make on the economic front. If the governance of an African country is based on the search for the economic progress of citizens, and the effort is well directed and managed, economic transformation can occur. But if governance is based on rent-seeking and competition for the spoils of public office, the resources of the state will be drained far more than real wealth can be created, in which case the dividends of democracy become questionable.

The best way to utilize governance as a tool for creating the wealth of Africa’s nations is for governments to create a number of paradigm shifts through public and economic policy. These include the establishment of economic complexity through an industrial policy that supports manufacturing. Countries such as Nigeria and Ethiopia are making progress in this direction. Building strong, independent institutions that will ultimately have a positive impact on economic activity by assuring the rule of law and protecting investments from arbitrariness, and creating a level playing field for economic actors is also critical. Another fundamental requirement of good governance as a wealth creator is the manufacturing of consent of the citizens to a vision of economic transformation to which a nation’s collective energies can be channelled in a united manner.

The difference between the wealth and poverty of nations, their success or their failure, lies in the existence or absence of strong institutions. Institutions, when they function well, function dispassionately as systems that make predictable decisions based on benchmarks and thresholds that are clear to all. They serve to remove the system of economic incentives from the tyranny of the whims and caprices of individuals. Where institutions are weak and caprice reigns, there will be little or no progress because there is no meritocracy. Rewards are aligned not to creativity or productivity, but along lines of unproductive patronage networks that sustain political power but do not create wealth for a nation. A society that functions in this paradigm is fundamentally unable to transform its economy because the playing field is not a level one. Rent-seeking is rampant, but creates pools of plenty for the tiny few that are linked to the patronage network within vast pools of poverty.

The manufacture of consent is absolutely essential for economic transformation in Africa. Because development is the result of the deployment of creative talent and economic activity in a productive direction, it is necessary for African governments to define economic policy visions and directions and obtain the buy-in of the citizens to such a vision. We have seen this approach utilized by every dominant economic power in the world, whether it is the United States which applies a free-market oriented economic culture or China, which has achieved massive leaps in economic development in the past 30 years through an adaptation to state-directed capitalist activity while maintaining the dominance of the Communist Party. In all instances, this has been achieved through propaganda and mass mobilization.

Strategy and Risk Management

African countries have often not lacked an understanding of what the challenges to their economic development are. The real challenge has sometimes been to just get on with “doing it” effectively and creating the required transformation. This requires an understanding of strategy as a modern management concept and its application to governance. Sadly, this is still lacking inside African governments, with only very few exceptions.

Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, had a famous strategy unit in 10 Downing Street that drove his governance agenda and ensured that a single thread of vision, communication and execution priority – in this case, education – ran through all the narratives actions of his ten years in office. Strategy and risk management have just come into their as legitimate functions in Africa’s private sectors. Their application to the role of the government and the effectiveness of the state – which encompasses the private sector commercial space – is even more consequential for the future of Africa.

Strategy and risk management need to become embedded in governance thinking and architecture in Africa. Strategy is about shaping the future. It is about how to create the future of our imagination. If we are to create an African century, African countries will not succeed without a clear strategy and strategic thinking. That “how” is the difference between dreaming and visioning, and bridging the gap in between.

Strategy is first of all about thinking and about a way of thinking, before it becomes a matter of plans. As Max McKeown writes in the context of corporate organizations, but also applicable to nations, it is about “outthinking your competition”. Thus strategic intent and ability are linked to the concept of worldviews, since strategy first requires strategic thinkers whose minds are open to vast possibilities. Second, worldviews, strategy formulation and strategy execution are intricately linked. Many African countries have been “planning” for decades but without the sort of strategic intent that has moved Asia forward in massive leaps. This requires focused objectives, an understanding of strategy management, especially in the context –framing choices and strategic possibilities, making the choice, and strategy execution management.

Africa’s Future

To conclude, then, contrary to the prevailing popular view about Africa Rising, the continent has no automatic, inexorable future. Growth, though a significant factor in economic development, is quite a different thing from transformation, which is what Africa really needs. Transformation means fundamentally improved indicators in such things as education and healthcare, infant mortality, life expectancy, infrastructure, and industrial production, not resource-driven economic activity or subsistence agriculture that produces a “growth myth”, the myth that increases in GDP will make poor countries catch up with rich ones based on numbers that, while generally accepted as a standard of measurement, in fact have debatable exactitude.

The Cambridge University economist Ha-Joon Chang makes the provocative but thoughtful point that a society can become better off without marked increases in GDP [2]. Thus the focus for African countries must remain that of a fundamental transformation in the structures of their economies, not the growth numbers that the current structures throw up. This implies a transformation away from the prevailing model that is presently being celebrated as the Africa “rising”.

Africa’s future is thus not on auto-pilot to some gilded age, but will be one that Africans create by their economic and public policy choices. What exists now, without doubt, is an opportunity for a turn-around in the continent’s trajectory from that of its not-too-distant past. In this context, then, there is no need for a return to defeatist Afro-pessimism, but what the continent needs is realism and a determined focus on the right priorities.

The most important factors that will influence Africa’s future, then, include: (a) whether African countries can develop and execute transformation strategies effectively and with discipline; (b); how Africa handles the continent’s burgeoning population, projected by some estimates to hit 2.4 billion people by 2050 – will it yield a demographic dividend or a youth bulge?; (c) how African countries handle the challenge of jobless and non-inclusive growth; and (d) whether the continent can develop and effectively deploy its human capital, the most important investment for competitiveness in a globalized world.

All of this, of course, will have to be anchored on the foundation that is the real secret for the success of Africa’s quest for prosperity – the African mind. That mind-set needs to change from one that is predominantly focused on day-to-day or short-term survival or “progress” as defined through this prism – not of a well-ordered society but of individual affluence in the midst of mass exclusion from prosperity – to one in which the mind-set takes a long term, past and future view of the world and the place of the African in that world, and what it takes to get to that place.

The African mind-set needs to place greater emphasis on “thinking it through” because action that is transformational is one that is guided by a philosophical or conceptual compass – a worldview. As we have seen, worldviews are the secret of the rise of the societies of the West and the Rest (mainly Asia). These worldviews develop through a combination of historical and cultural evolutions, on the one hand, and through the instrumentality of propaganda and public diplomacy to the citizens of a state and the rest of the world. The place to begin is in the educational system. It is that combination of well-inculcated worldviews, knowledge and skills that produces human capital – the secret of transformation.

I rest the case for a truly Emerging Africa.

Thank you.

[1] Alex MacGillvray, A Brief History of Globalization (Constable and Robinson, 2006), 27.
[2] David Pilling, “Has GDP Outgrown Its Use?”, Financial Times Magazine, July 5/6 2014   allAfrica

© Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, 2014

Nigeria-Cameroon – Boko Haram abductions and church attack

 

BBC

‘Boko Haram’ abducts Cameroon politician’s wife

Cameroonian soldiers standing next to pick up trucks with mounted heavy artillery in Mora, northern Cameroon, on 17 June 2014 Cameroon stepped up its border security in the wake of Boko Haram’s kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls in April

The Cameroonian military says members of the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram have abducted the wife of the country’s deputy prime minister in the northern Cameroonian town of Kolofata.

A local religious leader and mayor was also abducted from the same town.

Separately, at least five people in northern Nigeria were killed in a blast – residents suspect Boko Haram.

Boko Haram has stepped up cross-border attacks into Cameroon in recent weeks, as the army was deployed to the region.

Militants have kidnapped foreign nationals in northern Cameroon before, including a French family and Chinese workers.

‘Critical situation’

The wife of Deputy Prime Minister Amadou Ali and her maid were taken in “a savage attack” on his home by Boko Haram militants on Sunday, Information Minister Issa Tchiroma said.

But Mr Ali, who was breaking his fast for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan at the time of the attack, managed to escape to a neighbouring town, regional commander Col Feliz Nji Formekong told the Reuters news agency.

French hostage Georges Vandenbeusch, a French Catholic priest, disembarks from plane in Yaounde on 31 December 2013 French Catholic priest Georges Vandenbeusch was taken hostage in northern Cameroon and released over a month later

“The situation is very critical here now, and as I am talking to you, the Boko Haram elements are still in Kolofata town in a clash with our soldiers,” he added.

A local politician and his family were also abducted in a separate attack.

Meanwhile, Nigerian police say five people were killed when a bomb was thrown at worshippers as they were leaving a church in Nigeria’s main northern city of Kano on Sunday.

A young female suicide bomber also wounded five police officers as she rushed towards them and blew herself up in a separate incident, they add.

Eid festivities in Kano to mark the end of Ramadan next week have been cancelled as a result of the two incidents, officials told the AFP news agency.

Charges

Cameroon’s long and porous border with Nigeria means Boko Haram fighters can come and go at will, attacking police stations and villages, and spreading terror throughout the region, says BBC Africa editor Mary Harper.

The group has attacked Cameroon three times in as many days in the past week, killing at least four soldiers, Reuters reports.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau on 13 July 2014 Boko Haram loosely translates as “Western education is forbidden”

On Friday, more than 20 members of the militant group were jailed in Cameroon on charges of possessing illegal firearms and plotting an insurrection.

The armed group is seeking to establish an Islamist state in Nigeria.

Earlier this week, Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad and Niger agreed to form a 2,800-strong regional force to tackle Boko Haram militants.

Efforts to step up regional co-operation gained momentum after Boko Haram caused an international outcry by abducting more than 200 girls from a boarding school in north-eastern Nigeria.

The girls are thought to be held in the vast Sambisa forest, along Nigeria’s border with Cameroon.

Many Nigerian civilians in border towns have fled to Cameroon to escape from the Boko Haram attacks.

Map showing where militant groups are based

BBC

Cameroon – Boko Haram kidnap wife of deputy PM

Reuters
Boko Haram kidnaps wife of Cameroon’s vice PM, kills at least three
BY TANSA MUSA
YAOUNDE Sun Jul 27
(Reuters) – The wife of Cameroon’s vice prime minister was kidnapped and at least three people were killed in an attack by Boko Haram militants on in the northern town of Kolofata on Sunday, Cameroon officials said.

A local religious leader, or lamido, named Seini Boukar Lamine, who is also the town’s mayor, was kidnapped as well, in a separate attack on his home.

Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamist militant group, has stepped up cross-border attacks into Cameroon in recent weeks as Cameroon has deployed troops to the region, joining international efforts to combat the militants.

“I can confirm that the home of Vice Prime Minister Amadou Ali in Kolofata came under a savage attack from Boko Haram militants,” Issa Tchiroma told Reuters by telephone.

“They unfortunately took away his wife. They also attacked the lamido’s residence and he was also kidnapped,” he said, and at least three people were killed in the attack.

A Cameroon military commander in the region told Reuters that the vice prime minister, who was at home to celebrate the Muslim feast of Ramadan with his family, was taken to a neighboring town by security officials.

“The situation is very critical here now, and as I am talking to you the Boko Haram elements are still in Kolofata town in a clash with our soldiers,” said Colonel Felix Nji Formekong, the second commander of Cameroon’s third inter-army military region, based in the regional headquarters Maroua.

The Sunday attack is the third Boko Haram attack into Cameroon since Friday. At least four soldiers were killed in the previous attacks. Meanwhile, some 22 suspected Boko Haram militants, who have been held in Maroua since March, were on Friday sentenced to prison sentences ranging from 10 to 20 years. It was unclear whether the events are related.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/27/us-cameroon-violence-boko-haram-idUSKBN0FW0CQ20140727

Sierra Leone ebola escapee dies

BBC

Ebola outbreak: Sierra Leone escaped patient dies

Medical staff take a blood sample from a suspected Ebola patient at the government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone, 10 July, 2014. The Ebola virus has killed hundreds in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone

A Sierra Leone woman who fled hospital after testing positive for the Ebola virus has died after turning herself in, health officials have told the BBC.

Her family had forcibly removed her from a public hospital on Thursday.

Saudatu Koroma’s is the first case of Ebola to be confirmed in the country’s capital Freetown, where there are no facilities to treat the virus.

Since February, more than 660 people have died of Ebola in West Africa – the world’s deadliest outbreak to date.

Nigeria has put all its entry points on red alert after confirming the death there of a Liberian man who was carrying the highly contagious virus.

The man died after arriving at Lagos airport on Tuesday, in the first Ebola case in Africa’s most populous country.

The outbreak began in southern Guinea and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Reports on Saturday said that a prominent Liberian doctor, Samuel Brisbane, had died after a three-week battle with the virus.

And later it emerged that a US doctor working with Ebola patients, Kent Brantly, was being treated for the virus in a hospital in the capital Monrovia.

Street protest

The virus, which kills up to 90% of those infected, spreads through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids.

Patients have a better chance of survival if they receive treatment early.

Ms Koroma was the first registered Ebola case in the capital Freetown.

Both she and her parents – who are suspected of having the virus – had been taken to Ebola treatment centres in the east of the country, health ministry spokesman Sidi Yahya Tunis told the BBC.

line

Ebola virus disease (EVD)

Coloured transmission electron micro graph of a single Ebola virus, the cause of Ebola fever
  • Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
  • Fatality rate can reach 90%
  • Incubation period is two to 21 days
  • There is no vaccine or cure
  • Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
  • Fruit bats are considered to be the natural host of the virus
line

The woman had been one of dozens of people who tested positive but were unaccounted for, the BBC’s Umaru Fofana reports from the capital, Freetown.

Her case highlights Sierra Leone’s lack of preparedness in responding to the outbreak, our correspondent says, with no laboratory or treatment centre in Freetown.

The Ebola cases in Sierra Leone are centred in the country’s eastern districts of Kenema and Kailahun, just over the border from the Guekedou region of Guinea where the outbreak started.

Police said thousands of people joined a street protest in Kenema on Friday over the government’s handling of the outbreak.

Earlier this week, it was announced that the doctor leading Sierra Leone’s fight against Ebola was being treated for the virus.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization said that 219 people had died of Ebola in Sierra Leone.

Members of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) wearing protective gear walk outside the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital, on 23 July 2014 in Conakry There is no vaccine or cure for Ebola, which spreads via bodily fluids including sweat

Meanwhile, in Nigeria, the health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said that all other passengers on board the flight with the infected man had been traced and were being monitored.

The patient had “avoided contact with the general public” between the airport and the hospital, he said.

“All ports of entry to Nigeria, including airports, sea ports and land borders have been placed on red alert,” he added.

line

WHO: West Africa Ebola outbreak figures as of 24 July

Map
  • Guinea - 314 deaths, 415 cases
  • Liberia - 127 deaths, 224 cases
  • Sierra Leone – 219 deaths, 454 cases

WHO update

BBC

 

Nigeria on red alert over ebola

BBC
26 July 2014

Nigeria says it has put all entries into the country on red alert after confirming the death of a Liberian man who was carrying the Ebola virus.

The man died after arriving at Lagos airport on Tuesday, in the first Ebola case in Africa’s most populous country.

Surveillance has been stepped up at all “airports, seaports and land borders”, says Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu.

Since February, more than 660 people have died of Ebola in West Africa – the world’s deadliest outbreak to date.

It began in southern Guinea and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Contact avoided’
The Liberian man collapsed on arrival in Lagos last Sunday. He was taken from the airport to hospital, where he was put in quarantine.

Officials have identified the 40-year-old man as an employee of the Liberian government.

Ebola, which is highly contagious, spreads via bodily fluids, including sweat
Mr Chukwu confirmed that the other passengers on board the flight had been traced and were being monitored.

The patient had “avoided contact with the general public” between the airport and the hospital, he said.

Health specialists have been deployed at all entry points into the country, he added.

The virus, which kills up to 90% of those infected, spreads through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids.

Patients have a better chance of survival if they receive treatment early.

Ebola virus disease (EVD)

Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
Fatality rate can reach 90%
Incubation period is two to 21 days
There is no vaccine or cure
Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
Fruit bats are considered to be the natural host of the virus

The red alert in Nigeria comes as Sierra Leone launches a hunt for a woman infected with Ebola, who was forcibly removed from hospital by her relatives.

The 32-year-old, who is the first registered Ebola case in the capital Freetown, was described by national radio as a “risk to all”.

West African states lack the resources to tackle the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola
The Ebola cases in Sierra Leone are centred in the country’s eastern districts of Kenema and Kailahun, just over the border from the Guekedou region of Guinea where the outbreak started.

Police said thousands of people joined a street protest in Kenema on Friday over the government’s handling of the outbreak.

Earlier this week, it was announced that the doctor leading Sierra Leone’s fight against Ebola was being treated for the virus.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization said that 219 people had died of Ebola in Sierra Leone.

WHO: West Africa Ebola outbreak figures as of 24 July

Guinea – 314 deaths, 415 cases
Liberia – 127 deaths, 224 cases
Sierra Leone – 219 deaths, 454 cases
WHO update

20140726-130207-46927610.jpg

20140726-130207-46927680.jpg

20140726-130207-46927518.jpg

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-28498665