Weekly anb06216.txt #8

WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 21-06-2001      PART #6/8

* Rwanda/Uganda. Internal security problems - The implementation of the Lusaka peace accord is resulting into serious security problems for Rwanda and Uganda as anti-government forces are returning into these countries and stepping up an armed struggle. According to security sources, the Interahamwe have crossed back into northern Rwanda and have engaged government forces at various points in Ruhengeri and Gisenyi prefectures in north west Rwanda. Rwandan security forces claim to have killed at least 300 of them, though the RCD faction supported by Rwanda, claims more are assembling near Goma. Uganda also has the problem of increased urban terrorism. Bombing campaigns in Kampala are increasing -- the most recent one being on 5 June where three bombs exploded at various points in Kampala injuring at least 20 people. There have been an increasing number of armed robberies in which at least five policemen have died since beginning of June. There's also been attacks on diplomats -- the recent shooting at the Libyan envoy and the car-jacking of the Egyptian envoy's Mercedes Benz. Threats on both US and UK embassies have been issued. Major General Katumba Wamala, the new Inspector General of Police suspects it to be handiwork of the rebel Allied Democratic Front (ADF) and some soldiers. The police are on the point of calling in the military to assist in what looks like a deteriorating situation, with security reports speaking of an ADF operational base near Kampala. (Crespo Sebunya, ANB-BIA, Uganda, 14 June 2001)

* Sahara occidental. Plan marocain rejeté - Le Front Polisario a rejeté un plan marocain d'autonomie partielle pour le Sahara occidental, dit la "troisième voie", transmis par l'envoyé de l'Onu James Baker. Selon des sources proches du Polisario, ce projet marocain prévoit de ne déléguer aux Sahraouis qu'une partie des affaires locales, essentiellement dans les domaines sociaux et culturels. En matière économique, Rabat propose de confier aux Sahraouis 20% des recettes prélevées localement par l'Etat. En revanche, les Sahraouis ne jouiraient d'aucun élément constitutif d'une quelconque souveraineté: la diplomatie, la défense, les douanes seraient du seul ressort du Maroc. Le Polisario rejette donc ce projet, et s'en tient à un référendum sous l'égide des Nations unies pour clore ce dossier né de la colonisation du Sahara espagnol. (D'après Le Monde, France, 20 juin 2001)

* Sénégal. Les médicaments génériques plébiscités - Les pharmaciens africains en conclave à Dakar ont prôné le recours aux médicaments génériques pour un accès des patients démunis aux soins de santé, lors d'un forum consacré à la sécurité et à l'accessibilité du médicament en Afrique. Depuis la dévaluation en 1994 du FCFA vis-à-vis du franc français, les médicaments "classiques" ont vu leur prix doubler, entraînant une diminution des ventes auprès d'une population au pouvoir d'achat réduit. A la pharmacie Guigon, un paquet de 16 comprimés de paracétamol coûte 1.200 FCFA (1,83 euros), alors que le même médicament conditionné en générique vaut 446 FCFA (0,68 euros) pour 20 comprimés. Devant la prolifération des ventes illicites, avec parfois des complicités à des niveaux "insoupçonnés", les pharmaciens africains estiment devoir être les "seuls autorisés à distribuer les médicaments", pour briser la chaîne des "trafics, de la contrefaçon et des abus". Si les prix des médicaments ne baissent pas, beaucoup de gens continueront de se soigner par "analogie", utilisant les mêmes produits que ceux absorbés par un voisin ou un parent affecté par le même mal, avec le risque de se tromper, notamment sur la posologie, avertit un médecin dakarois. (D'après AFP, France, 20 juin 2001)

* Sénégal. Plan "Omega" pour l'Afrique - En visite officielle cette semaine en France, le président sénégalais Abdoulaye Wade a présenté un plan de sauvetage pour l'économie africaine, baptisé le "plan Omega". Omega, déjà cautionné par l'OUA et les pays francophones, est un plan d'action destiné à évaluer les besoins du continent africain et à trouver des crédits. Les remboursements de ces crédits pourraient s'étaler sur une cinquantaine d'années pour moderniser quatre secteurs essentiels: infrastructures (routes, ponts, chemins de fer, barrages), éducation, santé et agriculture. (Reuters, 20 juin 2001)

* Somalia. Somali region recognises government - The town of Kismayo in southern Somalia has become the first in the country to set up a new administration supportive of the transitional government that is attempting to establish itself throughout the country. Kismayo -- a port 500 kilometres south of the capital, Mogadishu -- will now be run by an 11-member council designated after talks between the region's clans. Correspondents say the move is designed to build on a process which began with the selection at a conference in Djibouti last year of an administration aiming to become Somalia's first national government for a decade. It is being opposed by several armed factions, as well as the secessionist regions of Somaliland and Puntland. (BBC News, UK, 19 June 2001)

* South Africa. South African high-flyer brought low - The career of Saki Macozoma, a leading South African businessman, was in jeopardy on 14 June after allegations in parliament of serious breaches of corporate governance in his management of South African Airways (SAA), the state-owned national carrier. Jeff Radebe, the minister of public enterprises, accused Mr Macozoma, the former managing director of Transnet, SAA's holding company, of flouting rules in the negotiation of a contract with Coleman Andrews, a US executive hired as the airline's chief executive. Under the terms of a secret contract, Mr Andrews was paid R232m for two and a half years work at the airline. Mr Andrews paid R361m for consultants and expatriates with no measures of their performance in place, said Mr Radebe. "It has now become clear that since 1998 there has been a systematic erosion of corporate governance at SAA," said Mr Radebe. "It does appear that this litany of breaches of corporate governance was informed by Andrews' belief that he could report directly to the former managing director of Transnet in spite of the existence of the SAA board." (Financial Times, UK, 15 June 2001)

* South Africa. Investing in South Africa - 14 June: A drive to promote African economic development will be a "second term priority" of the UK government, Tony Blair, the prime minister, said after talks with Thabo Mbeki, the South African president. He pledged his support for "a partnership between Africa and the developing world...to help Africa develop its full potential.I think it is possible to put together an agenda which is about good government, proper commercial and legal systems and a right climate for investment," he said, promising to back Mr Mbeki's plan for an African-led recovery programme. Earlier the South African president told British investors that Africa suffered from a host of negative perceptions, and that South Africa was seen as part of a "bad neighbourhood" in which the economic and political turmoil in Zimbabwe played a large part. "It is clear that there are many things that have gone wrong in Zimbabwe," he said, in an unusually frank assessment. Referring to the rash of land seizures by so-called war veterans in Zimbabwe, he said that redistribution of land was necessary, as it was in South Africa, but "it needs to be handled correctly...There is a need to observe the law. Clearly we do not want a situation of collapse in Zimbabwe. We have to engage...to address those matters we believe have been handled wrongly." Mr Mbeki urged investors to recognise that "the process of changing South Africa for the better is proceeding well". There was an opportunity to turn the good potential and good prospects of South Africa "into something that will convey a message about the African continent that will be radically different." 18 June: Christoph Kopke, Daimler-Chrysler SA's chief executive says that "South Africa is not an investor-friendly country and the AIDS situation is only making the situation worse". Daimler-Chrysler is the single largest foreign investor in South Africa. Mr Kopke says: "AIDS is definitely one of the factors inhibiting foreign investments -- on top of all the structural issues. When I try to persuade foreign suppliers to invest here, they ask about four things -- trade unions, cost of capital, crime and AIDS. (Financial Times, UK, 15&19 June 2001)

* South Africa. Bollywood success for father and son - A father and son team have scooped top honours at the "Indian Oscars" awards ceremony in South Africa. Sun City played host to the Bollywood awards honouring the best of the Indian film industry. Heartthrob Hrithik Roshan won best actor for his debut film "Kaho Naa Pyar Hai" at the International Indian Film Academy Awards. The film, which translates as "Tell Me You Love Me", won best picture award and Roshan's father Rakesh took the award for best director. As actress Waheeda Rehman picked up a lifetime achievement award she said she was proud to be part of "an industry where there is no caste or creed". The prolific Bollywood movie industry sees around 800 new films made each year, with an estimated turnover of $200m. Last year's inaugural event, was held at the Millennium Dome in London. At this year's ceremony near Johannesburg the best actress gong was won by Karisma Kapoor for her role in "Fiza". The film also received a best supporting actress award for Jaya Bachchan. Best supporting actor was Amitabh Bachchan in "Mohabbatein". (BBC News, UK, 17 June 2001)

* South Africa. Charges dropped - The High Court in Pretoria has dropped 15 charges, including murder, against Wouter Basson, the military surgeon dubbed "Dr Death" as head of a chemical warfare programme that included dreaming up 007-style gadgets to kill opponents of apartheid. His lawyers had called for most of the 61 charges against him to be dropped, on the basis that there wasn't sufficient evidence to support them. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 19 June 2001)

* Afrique du Sud. Pénurie de carburant - L'Afrique du Sud va réduire de moitié ses exportations de carburant vers les pays voisins, à la suite de l'importante pénurie de carburant qui sévit dans le pays. Cette réduction portera un coup sévère au Zimbabwe dont l'approvisionnement en carburant rencontre déjà de considérables difficultés. Le Botswana, le Lesotho, la Namibie et le Swaziland seront également affectés par cette décision. Selon un porte-parole, l'incendie qui avait éclaté à la raffinerie Natref de Sasolburg au début du mois, a rendu nécessaire la fermeture de cette unité pour au moins 14 semaines. La fermeture pour maintenance d'une autre raffinerie exacerbe le problème. Au début du mois, les prix de l'essence vendue au détail en Afrique du Sud ont atteint le chiffre record de 4,01 rand le litre (8 rands = 1 dollar). Cette hausse va certainement provoquer une remontée du taux d'inflation et entraîner une augmentation des prix aux consommateurs. (PANA, Sénégal, 20 juin 2001)

Weekly anb0621.txt - #6/8