|Africa News Digest
Financial Recolonization: Buying Up Africa for a Song
Sept. 24 (EIRNS)For the past decade, British speculators have been moving into Africa to grab up real assets such as mining companies and plantations. Now they are grabbing real estate. According to Times Online, Rutley Capital, the private equity unit of the Knight Frank property agency, and the manager of Rutley Capital East African fund, wants to buy into some of Africa's rapidly growing economies, which, they claim, have been left moribund by war and corruption for years.
The fund will invest in countries that have experienced swift economic growth over the past few years. These include Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Ten years ago, the British financier oligarchy started switching to buying mines and other physical assets, and now they are moving into real estate.
Rutley Capital expects to raise $100-200 million of equity with borrowings, which will allow the fund to buy up to $350 million worth of property. According to a report out this week from Knight Frank, Zimbabwe, despite its troubled economy, is experiencing a shortage of office, retail, and industrial space, as hyperinflation has prevented new developments.
Knight Frank still has 129 staff in Harare, and 27 more in Bulawayo, fully employed in collecting rent.
Wars and corruption were perpetuated by the global financial oligarchy, with the included purpose of preparing for the collapse of the foreign exchange rates in these African countries. With the exchange rates now at their lowest ever, in comparison with the U.S. dollar and pound sterling, Rutley Capital will be buying property for a song.
Severe Floods Hit 18 Countries in Africa
Sept. 25 (EIRNS)Over a million people have been affected by torrential rains stretching between West and East Africa since July, with Ghana and Uganda accounting for more than half the tally. The disaster is compounded by the fact that the region affected includes large sections of Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the countries of the Great Lakes region, which have been ravaged by internal conflicts for decades, and are not in shape to tackle the enormity of the problems brought about by these floods. These countries will have to depend on aid. With the necessary infrastructure, such as dams, the flooding could have been managed.
Heavy rains started in July. The torrential rains have swept away crops, bridges, and property. Subsistence farmers have been left destitute. It is feared that outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and malaria are likely.
Many farmlands that had been prepared for planting, and the crops that were planted in the months of June, July, and August, were washed away by rains that have measured in the range of 200% above the long-term average. This is harvest time for many countries, and there are already food shortages. Sudan, Ghana, and Uganda are the worst hit. The situation is particularly dire in the north of Uganda, which is just emerging from a 20-year war, and whose residents have recently begun returning to their homes from camps for the internally displaced.
Sarkozy Gets UN Credentials for Military Intervention
Sept. 26 (EIRNS)The UN Security Council yesterday authorized a European Union peacekeeping force of 3,000 (mostly French) troops for eastern Chad and northeastern Central African Republic, using manipulated conflicts as the excuse for a Western military presence in Africa.
Under the French-drafted resolution, 300 UN policemen will monitor camps for Darfur refugees and other internally displaced persons, according to an AFP release yesterday, and liaise with the UN-African Union peacekeeping force that is to be deployed in Sudan later this year. The 3,000 troops are to protect the UN police officers, and will be led by a British general, according to AFP. The force will be known as MINURCAT, the French acronym for UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad.
The pretext for the resolution is the humanitarian crisis in that region, resulting from the attacks on local institutions and law enforcement in Darfur by rebel groups, and the never-mentioned proliferation of small arms throughout the region. The resulting crisis is simplistically blamed on the Sudan government.
An unidentified source told AFP that a small number of non-French troops would be included, so that the deployment would not be seen as a French initiative. France already has 3,000 Air Force personnel in Chad. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner have been pushing for this intervention since Sarkozy became President in May. Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno, who had earlier this year set up joint border patrols with Sudan, as the preferred way to control the unrest on both sides of their common border, indicated, however, in a press conference in Egypt in June, that Chad could not oppose the French drive for intervention, which was taken to mean that his government would fall if it refused to go along.
Sarkozy presided over a special session of the UN Security Council on Africa yesterday, at which he wanted the resolution to be approved. However, African heads of state rebelled, saying they would not be extras in Sarkozy's photo-op, according to the UN correspondent of Inner City Press. After this protest, France agreed to pass the resolution more quietly, in an early morning session.
Pentagon reticence has reportedly prevented the Bush Administration from jumping into this situation militarily. After the French resolution passed, President Bush immediately supported it: "This UN mission is going to help nation [sic] and local governments exercise sovereignty over their territory. It is going to allow workers to deliver humanitarian aid. That makes us feel good."