|Africa News Digest
Kenyan Ambassador Calls for Marshall Plan for South Sudan
March 25 (EIRNS)Elkanah Odembo, Kenyan Ambassador to the U.S., speaking today at a forum on "Southern Sudan in Transition," called for a strategic "Marshall Plan" to develop the soon-to-be new state of South Sudan. In answer to a question from Lawrence Freeman of this news service, Ambassador Odembo elaborated that, given the extremely poor economic conditions in South Sudan, what is urgently needed is a 25-30-year comprehensive, robust, long-term economic infrastructure program.
He emphasized that such a "Marshall Plan" cannot be done piecemeal, and stipulated that it cannot be imposed on Southern Sudan, but be done in collaboration among various nations and institutions. He stated that World Bank financing will not work, and therefore a new financial mechanism must be found. "This is not business as usual," he said.
Odembo also expressed concern that there are very important issues still to be resolved before the July separation of North and South Sudan, which are part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended the civil war. On that date, Sudan is slated to become two separate countries. The separation of the South from Sudan is the result of the CPA-mandated referendum which began Jan. 9, 2011. In that referendum, people from the South voted overwhelmingly for separation. The separation is to become official six months after the referendum, on July 9.
Odembo expressed concern that it would be more difficult to resolve the remaining unresolved issues between the North and South after the six-month transition period between the referendum and the finalization of the separation.
Egyptian Foreign Policy Focuses on Food and Water Security in Sudan
March 28 (EIRNS)In his first foreign trip, the new Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf (appointed in February by the Supreme Armed Force Council, following the forced resignation of President Hosni Mubarak) went to Sudan to discuss large food production and water projects. His delegation included Egypt's Agriculture Minister and Irrigation Minister. This is a positive step to resolve food and water issues in the two Nile valley nations.
"Egypt will make the completion of a partially built canal [Jonglei Canal], spanning an unnavigable section of the River Nile in South Sudan, a top priority," a cabinet spokesman said yesterday, according to AFP. Cabinet spokesman Magdi Radi told a news conference in Khartoum: "We want to start building the Jonglei Canal, because it is a top priority. It offers to provide 4 billion cubic meters of Nile water annually." (See LPAC video "The Extended NAWAPA Project: Possibilities for Africa," for a detailed description of this project at http://www.larouchepac.com/node/15817)
The delegation's two-day visit included both North and South Sudan.
The Egyptian officials emphasized that Sudan is an important ally for Egypt, both in terms of its agricultural potential, and in Cairo's efforts to secure an acceptable agreement with upstream Nile countries about the future of its vital water supplies. The South suspended the construction of the Jonglei Canal during the civil war to put pressure on the North.
Sharaf pointed out that Egypt is the third-largest investor in Sudan, with current investments amounting to $5.4 billion. He emphasized that he wanted to see this investment increase.
The Egyptian premier highlighted an agreement by the joint ministerial committee to develop food security through different agricultural projects in Sudan. "The first strategic project for us is meat production. We will also have a contractual partnership in the Gezira Scheme," he said, referring to Sudan's vast but neglected farming project on land between the Blue and White Nile, south of Khartoum.
Sudanese officials said that 41,000 feddan (17,000 hectares) of land in White Nile state had been set aside for the meat project. Egypt's Minister of Agriculture Ayman Abu Hadid described some of the food projects as urgent, saying that the production of meat, sugar, wheat, and corn could start within six months.
Production of food, and creation of new water and land resources, are matters of immediate life and death for the Egyptian nation, which has become dependent on foreign countries, for up to 50% of its food supplies, thanks to 30 years of IMF "reform" policies and globalization.