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					                            AEFJN NEWS and INFORMATION
                                   Issue 48 – May 2011
1.      Africa Competitiveness Report
The ‘Africa Competitiveness Report 2011’ was released May 4th by the World Bank, the African
Development Bank and the World Economic Forum. Sub-Saharan Africa's economic recovery is well
under way, although among country groups there is variation in the speed of the recovery. In most of
the region's low-income countries and among the seven oil exporters, growth is almost back to pre-
crisis levels. However, in the region's middle-income countries, including South Africa, the recovery
has been more gradual. This Regional Economic Outlook describes the impact of recent economic
developments - sharp increases in food and fuel prices will need fiscal interventions targeting the
poor, while higher oil prices will be a boon to some countries and adversely affect others. Policy
adjustments are needed to move away from the supportive stance of the last few years but should be
balanced against the need to alleviate the impact of rising food prices on poor households.
Presentation of the report: YOUTUBE video
To read the report:

2.      Financial Transaction Tax enjoys increased support
The financial crisis has shown us the dangers of unregulated finance and the link between the
financial sector and society has been broken. Ahead of a meeting of the G20 finance ministers in
Washington, a thousand economists have called for the introduction of a financial transactions tax
(FTT), to help the world’s poor. In an unusual show of unity, the economists of 53 different countries
pointed to the importance for the financial sector to actively contribute to the international
community’s fight against poverty. The tax is “technically feasible” and “morally right” and an ideal
opportunity for the international community to live up to its aid commitments, the letter continues.

3.      The Great Green Wall (GGW) facing growing opposition
The Great Green Wall that crosses 11 African countries is supposed the combat drought and favour
food security for millions of people. This (ageing) plantation project has just been approved of by a
whole series of African states, from Senegal in the west to Djibouti in the east.

AEFJN News, Issue 48 – May 2011                                                                  1
However, those defending the interests of indigenous peoples are denouncing its negative socio-
economic and environmental impacts. Recourse to certain sources of financial aid has involved having
to have monocultures of foreign, fast-growing species. Moreover, the GGW would force the
displacement of people living in the targeted areas and reduce even further the water supplies that
are already scarce. To read more :

4.      WATER: New special Rapporteur
Catarina Albuquerque, formerly an independent expert who was responsible for the UN report on
human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation, has been appointed
special rapporteur for the right of access to drinking water and sanitation at the United Nations. From
now on, communities whose right to water has been violated or barred can bring her their complaint.
As a special rapporteur, she will be able to help governments to define the scope and content of the
rights. (English & Spanish)

5.      The wars of the 21st century and the health systems of poor countries
In recent years, we have been seeing an increase in the international community’s use of military
force. The astronomical amount of resources committed to wars begs the question of hidden
agendas: geopolitical control, exploitation of mining and oil resources, the sale of arms by
multinationals. The huge military budgets in developed countries contribute to the emasculation of
development and health aid in poor countries already suffering from precarious social and economic
conditions. The consequences? Destruction of health facilities, reduced health personnel,
displacement of populations ...

6.      New malaria medicine
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has just recommended a change in the first line of treatment
of malaria. This could save nearly 200,000 lives each year. However, health activists in Africa are
getting ready for a long battle in order to be able to apply the new guidelines. Since 2006, WHO has
been recommending the use of Artesunate for treating adults with severe malaria; recently, the
organisation has reviewed its guidelines and decided to recommend it for children as well.

7.      Nord-Kivu – Oil production a concern for the local people
The people of the province du North Kivu are getting impatient about oil production in Virunga
National Park. They are watching to see how much of it will contribute to their own province’s
economy. This issue is of equal interest to the elected representatives in North Kivu. (French only)

AEFJN News, Issue 48 – May 2011                                                                   2
8.      Trafigura avoids prosecution for dumping waste in Ivory Coast
The infamous oil company Trafigura will not be prosecuted for dumping toxic waste in Ivory Coast.
That was the decision of the Court of Appeal in The Hague in the outcome of the complaint
proceedings initiated by Greenpeace to induce the Department of Public Prosecutions to initiate a
prosecution. (French article)

9.      The transfer of arms to Zimbabwe and the Arms Trade Treaty
Since 2000, Zimbabwe has been suffering from new levels of political violence. While some states and
the EU have reacted by imposing embargos on arms, other countries have continued to provide
Zimbabwe with arms. An analysis from SIPRI details the sources of arms and other military equipment
destined for Zimbabwe. It scrutinises the question of human rights in relation to arms deliveries and
considers some of the implications for an arms trade treaty arising from the case of Zimbabwe and
international agreement on what should constitute ‘responsible arms transfers’.

10.     World Sunday for Peace, 22 May 2011
On Sunday, 22 May 2011, churches in every corner of the world are invited to celebrate God’s gift of
peace. Those who take part will be together in spirit, song and prayer with the International
Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) in Jamaica, united in the hope of peace. The suggested text for
the Sunday is Ephesians 2, where Christ “who is our peace” makes peace among us and creates “one
new humanity”. Reconciled in Christ we are “no longer strangers and aliens” but members of the
household of God. Churches and Christians are indeed called to be peacemakers in their communities
and in the wider spheres of government, business and the environment. It is a call to unity – across
borders – for the sake of peace.

11.     Regional integration important for trade
Speaking at a dialogue on trade organised by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) in Windhoek, Paul
Kalenga, a trade advisor at the SADC (Southern African Development Community) Secretariat in
Gaborone, Botswana, said Namibia could become an important transport hub for the Free Trade Area

AEFJN News, Issue 48 – May 2011                                                                 3

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