Wednesday, July 8, 2009

G8 set to tackle hunger in Africa

President Obama is expected to reveal a major initiative to boost agricultural development and prevent hunger in Africa, worth perhaps $3bn (£1.8bn) to $5bn, at the summit.

The Japanese government also says it wants the G8 to put more emphasis on helping African farmers to produce enough food to feed local communities.

Japan spent more than $1bn supporting agricultural projects in developing countries in 2007 and has pledged to increase spending on this area, despite a recession.

More at

Monday, July 6, 2009

Liberia - Sirleaf 'surprised' at ban call

Liberia's truth commission has called for President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to be barred from office - a decision her spokesman says is "surprising".
The commission recommended a 30-year ban for Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf and dozens of other senior politicians.
She has admitted that she had backed former warlord Charles Taylor's rebellion 20 years ago.
The recommendations could become law if parliament, in which the opposition has a majority, decides to adopt them.
The BBC's world affairs correspondent Mark Doyle says the report leaves the president - Africa's first elected female leader - in serious political difficulties.

More at

Obama will not deliver a speech while visiting Ghana

It might seem like a moment just too good for the White House to pass up – America’s first black president, on his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa, looking out over a sea of jubilant faces, delivering a message of friendship and hope.
Yet President Barack Obama, who would command a monumental audience nearly anywhere he spoke on the continent where he traces his ancestry, is not scheduled to deliver a speech to the general public when he visits Ghana next week.

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Mugabe and the art of name calling

President Robert Mugabe described the U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs as "an idiot" after an acrimonious meeting between the two at an African summit in Libya, Zimbabwe's state media reported Monday...

According to the Herald paper, Mugabe said nothing came out of those talks.
"You wouldn't speak to an idiot of that nature. I was very angry with him, and he thinks he could dictate to us what to do," Mugabe was quoted as saying...

Mugabe is known for vitriolic outbursts against his critics, reserving some of his harshest comments for those who, like Carson, are black.
Mugabe labeled Carson's predecessor, Jendayi Frazer, who is also black, as "that little girl trotting around the globe like a prostitute" to campaign against him.
Frazer had criticized Mugabe's party over political violence and vote rigging surrounding disputed national elections in March 2008.
The pro-Mugabe state media launched repeated attacks against former U.S. Ambassador James McGee, who is also black, describing him as a "house Negro" for white Western leaders.
In typical language used by Mugabe, he has called former British Prime Minister Tony Blair a "B-Liar."
Before Tsvangirai joined the coalition government, Mugabe had referred to him as "Fatcheeks" and a tea boy, a lowly domestic worker.

Full article at

Friday, July 3, 2009

Zimbabwe’s Diamond Fields Enrich Ruling Party

Zimbabwe’s military, controlled by President Robert Mugabe’s political party, violently took over diamond fields in Zimbabwe last year and has used the illicit revenues to buy the loyalty of restive soldiers and enrich party leaders, Human Rights Watch charged in a report released Friday.

The party, ZANU-PF, has used the money from diamonds — smuggled out of the country or illegally sold through the Reserve Bank — to reinforce its hold over the security forces, which seemed to be slipping last year as the value of soldiers’ pay collapsed with soaring inflation, Human Rights Watch researchers said.
On Friday, Zimbabwe’s government roundly denied the charges in the report, which cited visits by its researcher to the diamond fields in February and interviews with soldiers, miners and other witnesses.

Full report at

China 'agrees huge Zimbabwe loan'

Mr Tsvangirai had been criticised by supporters of President Robert Mugabe for failing to get more support during his recent trip to the West.
Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Mugabe formed a power-sharing government in February.
The government says it needs some $8bn to rebuild the country following years of collapse.
"The government through the minister of finance, secured credit lines of almost $950m from China," Mr Tsvangirai said in a news conference.
China was one of the few countries to retain economic support for Zimbabwe in recent years.
"We will encourage and facilitate more Chinese companies to seek development in Zimbabwe," Chinese official Zhou Yongkang told state news agency Xinhua.

Full article at

Thursday, July 2, 2009

We Let You Loan to the Working Poor

Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.

The people you see on Kiva's site are real individuals in need of funding - not marketing material. When you browse entrepreneurs' profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need.