|Africa News Digest
Ghana News Agency Reports Zepp-LaRouche Call for New Bretton Woods
"New World Economic Order Must Serve Man" is the headline of a story released by Ghana News Agency on its website, GhanaWeb, May 20, covering the call by Helga Zepp-LaRouche for a New Bretton Woods financial system.
The text begins: "Globalisation is a predatory form of capitalism that has shown itself beyond all doubts to be bankrupt on every front, whether economic, financial or moral, Schiller Institute's Chairwoman, Helga Zepp-LaRouche has said.
"An appeal being circulated around the world, a copy of which was made available to Ghana News Agency, said: 'The paradigm shift of the last four decades, a period in which the world economy increasingly abandoned manufacturing and gave itself over untrammelled speculation, now draws to an end.
"'The world financial system is about to implode. Hanging over a gross production worldwide of mere 40 trillion dollars and accumulated physical capital, is a gigantic bubble umpteen times that size2,000 trillion dollars worth of financial turnover....' [actually, 2,000 trillion speculative derivatives contracts per yeared.]
"To prevent the world's people from suffering the untold harm that the breakdown of the system would unleash, a number of people have appended their signature to demand an emergency conference to be convened to agree upon a new financial architecture along the lines of the Bretton Woods System launched at Franklin D. Roosevelt's initiative in 1944."
The article goes on to report that signatories "'Stress that Lyndon LaRouche is the Economist, who has best grasped the causes of the systemic crisis, and who has moreover, put forward a package of measures that would adequately deal with ita new Bretton Woods Agreement.' They further stressed that the Italian Chamber of Deputies has taken up LaRouche's proposal, and on 6 April 2005, voted up a resolution calling for 'an international conference at Heads of State level, in order to lay the basis for a new and just world monetary and financial system.'"
Ghana News Agency adds that the proposed "measures include: The immediate re-establishment of fixed exchange rates; enactment of a treaty between governments, forbidding speculation in derivative products; debts should either be cancelled or reorganized; fresh credit lines should be opened by States to create full employment by investing in critical infrastructure and technological innovations."
It concludes by again quoting Zepp-LaRouche's call: "It is Man, who must stand at the centre of the economy, and accordingly, the economy must serve the common weal. The purpose of a new economic order is to guarantee the inalienable rights of Man."
Marburg in Angola: 'Situation Explosive, Terrifying.'
"The situation is explosive, it's absolutely terrifying," according to Swiss doctor Gian Meyer, referring to the Marburg Fever outbreak in Angola, as reported in The Star (Johannesburg) May 18. Meyer had just ended a six-week stint there.
Aphaluck Bhatiasevi, World Health Organization (WHO) spokeswoman in Uige, in a telephone interview with the UN's IRIN service May 16, said, "We've seen new cases in new municipalities that don't have obvious links to earlier cases."
Adriano Duse, head of microbiology and infectious diseases for the South African National Health Laboratory Services, told The Star, "At least five dogs and two pigs were found dead with hemorrhagic manifestations because of the poor waste disposal." Duse had just returned from three weeks in Uige province.
The Star writes that "Duse witnessed ... the lack of isolation facilities in the impoverished province, the glaring lack of proper infection controls, the mistrust of the people, and a lack of political will from the country's health department."
According to the Angolan Ministry of Health May 18, the total number of cases is now 345 and the number of deaths is 319. Only those with positive lab tests are included in the counts. (The actual numbers are probably small multiples of these.)
Nigeria Suffers a 'Tsunami' of Child Deaths Monthly
Nigerian Senate Whip Udoma Udo Udoma, chief of the Nigerian legislative delegation which went abroad seeking debt relief, told the press of the progress of the mission in Abuja May 9, "We made it clear [in the UK, U.S., Germany, and Italy] that we are not asking for a favor, but for what is our right, because a lot of these monies were obtained through conspiracies between Western bankers, Western industrialists, companies, and some Nigerian collaborators. Most of the money is still in the West; we have asked for the money to be returned, but they still have not, and insist that we pay interest on the money that never left their country. We ... made our point very strongly." This is an approximate representation of the "economic hit man" operations exposed by John Perkins' book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. Udoma seems to have omitted mention of the collusion of governmentsa key part of those operations; his mission is to appeal to governments.
In his impassioned remarks, Udoma faulted the IMF's assessment that Nigeria's debt is sustainable, saying that one can't just look at export proceeds from crude oil, but must consider how great the social needs are. He said, "Unless you want every Nigerian to die of poverty so that we can pay the debt, ... the position is simply impossible." And, he added, "We pointed out to them that 79,500 children are dying every month before the age of five, which is about 1 million Nigerian children dying every year. These are not our figures; they are figures given by the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). This means that we have a tsunami in Nigeria every month; we pointed this out to them."
Yet, Udoma was optimistic: "Everywhere we went, they were very receptive, were happy that we went to talk to them. They listened carefully and were willing to lend support and we are hopeful that something will come out of it." The mission is going next to France and Japan.
The Nigerian legislature wants unilateral action if necessary.
Bush Offer to Nigeria: Debt Cancellation for Taylor
In his meeting with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo May 6, U.S. President George W. Bush offered to cancel all of Nigeria's debts to the U.S. government, if Obasanjo will surrender former Liberian President Charles Taylor to the UN-backed war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone. This was reported by Radio France Internationale according to the Monrovia, Liberia, daily The Inquirer May 9.
Taylor was given a promise of asylum, and escorted to Nigeria in 2003, by Presidents Obasanjo, Mbeki (South Africa), and Kufuor (Ghana), with U.S. State Department encouragement, as a way to end the civil war in Liberia.
Powell Defends Obasanjo on Taylor
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, speaking at a dinner in his honor hosted by the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation in Washington May 7, said that Nigerian President Obasanjo should not have been asked "to be unfaithful to the commitment he made" to provide asylum to Charles Taylor, in a successful effort to end the Liberian civil war, according to allAfrica.com May 10. "The United States was a full partner in that agreement," he told an audience of nearly 600, including Obasanjo, members of Congress, the African diplomatic corps, and senior administration officials. Powell said he consulted personally with Obasanjo to find a solution to the civil war.
"Ultimately, Charles Taylor will face justice," but for the moment, the agreement that was made must be respected, Powell said, according to the allAfrica account. "Obasanjo has pledged that he would send Taylor back to Liberia if requested to do so by an elected government there after elections that are scheduled for October," allAfrica added.
Powell said he was proud that the U.S. had substantially increased assistance to the developing world during George W. Bush's first term. But, he said, "it is not enough. Africa deserves much more, and we must do more for Africa." Obasanjo built upon Powell's remarks, saying, "There is still a lot you can do, a lot that humanity expects you to do, and particularly a lot that Africa expects you to do."
Pope: Europe Brought Corruption and Violence to Africa
"We have to confess that Europe has exported not only faith in Christ, but also all sorts of vices, the sense of corruption, and violence that devastates" the continent, Pope Benedict XVI said May 13, in answer to a question at his first meeting with the clergy of Rome in the Basilica of St. John in Laterano. The question was asked by an African priest posted to Rome. The Pope also specified "abuse of the treasures of this Earth" and arms trafficking, as among the vices exported from Europe. He continued, "We Christians have to do everything possible so that along with faith, there also arrives [in Africa] the strength to resist these vices." He said that faith could help rebuild "an Africa that is happy, a great continent of new humanism."
Congo's Proposed Constitution Could Be Step Forward
The National Assembly of DR Congo has adopted a constitution, according to BBC News May 14. It has already been passed by the Senate, and must now be approved in a referendum within the next six months. If ratified, the current transitional government has until June 2006 to hold presidential and parliamentary elections.
The proposed constitution, according to BBC, limits the powers of the President, who will serve a maximum of two five-year terms, and allows a greater degree of federalism. EIR has not yet analyzed the text.
The proposal recognizes as citizens, members of "all ethnic groups" (BBC's language) present in the country at independence in 1960. With EIR's caveat that we have not yet studied the actual language, this appears to be a major step forward. It apparently means that families of Rwandan origin who had taken up residence in DR Congo by 1960 for economic or political reasons, are citizens. This eliminates the necessity for this significant population in the Kivu provinces to look to Rwanda for support. They have been in citizenship limbo for years: It was granted, then taken away again. Whole books have been written about how to equitably solve this problem. This measure deals a blow to those among President Joseph Kabila's backers who have been promoting hatred of all Rwandophones. (Kabila himself so markedly differs with these of his backers on this point that he is rumored to have a Rwandan mother.)