Weekly anb05301.txt #9

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WEEKLY NEWS ISSUE of: 30-05-2002  PART #1/9

* Afrique. De l'OUA à l'Union africaine - Le secrétaire général de l'Organisation de l'union africaine, Amara Essy, a déclaré le 22 mai à Addis Abeba que le projet de transformation de l'OUA en Union africaine (UA) est en cours et que l'UA sera lancée, comme prévu, au prochain sommet de l'OUA à Durban. Ce sommet devra discuter de l'Assemblée des chefs d'Etat, du Conseil exécutif (qui remplacera l'ancien Conseil des ministres), du Comité des représentants permanents et du statut de la Commission. (PANA, Sénégal, 23 mai 2002)

* Africa. African Union - The African Union (AU) should play a centre-stage economic role to help African countries move rapidly towards social progress, the Egyptian Ambassador to France, Ali Maher Al Sayed said in Paris, on 23 May. Al Sayed, who is also the dean of the African diplomatic corps in Paris, emphasised that only a strong economic and political union of African States can help the continent surmount the current challenges. "I remain deeply convinced that through unity, all 53 countries of the continent will be able to make important accomplishments for themselves and for their peoples,", he said. The Egyptian diplomat described NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development) as an initiative that would enable Africa to organise its priorities better and make external contribution more efficient. Africa is not looking for charity from the rest of the world, Al Sayed observed, saying that development partners who accept to be involved in NEPAD "will be helping themselves". (PANA, Senegal, 23 May 2002)

* Africa. COMESA leaders adopt protocol for Free Trade Area fund - Leaders of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) ended their 7th summit in Addis Ababa on 23 May after adopting a protocol establishing a fund that will provide budgetary support to countries which have joined its Free Trade Area (FTA). The summit, which ended a day earlier than scheduled, appealed for international support towards the fund that will compensate and assist member countries to meet transitional costs that may hamper the implementation of the FTA. The fund will also support priority infrastructure developments in the region. According to a final communiqué, the leaders asked non-FTA member states to indicate when they intend to join the preferential trading arrangement, including their timeframe for reducing tariffs before the end of the year. The deadline for joining the FTA is December 2004. Just nine of the 21 COMESA member states have joined the FTA since its creation in October 2000. (PANA, Senegal, 23 May 2002)

* Africa. Children in need - (N.B. ANB-BIA's Supplement (issue 435) has as its theme: "Africa's children"). Nigeria: "Harvest-Time Ministries", a non-profit-making organisation, has introduced a children's project called the "Salama Children's Project". Salama African children are those orphans, or children coming from traumatized or depressed families, who have suffered during religious, ethnic or political crises. The Project's aim is to help raise these children in a peaceful and religious atmosphere, despite their previous experiences and setbacks. In a pilot project, twenty-five of these children come together twice a week to learn to praise and worship God. Use is made of indigenous musical instruments. Zambia: In a joint study funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Childrens Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), and the Republic of Zambia, the conclusion arrived at, was the state of Zambia's children is bad. The study reveals the urgent necessity to address this situation. The fact is, only about 6,000 orphans in Zambia are being cared for. This suggests that many are homeless, living on the streets or in disused buildings. One expert working for an NGO has even gone so far as to declare the state of children in Zambia to be a "national disaster". Many of these children are left homeless because their parents have died from AIDS. (K. Dareng - Nigeria; J. Mupundu - Zambia. May 2002)

* Africa. Children are victims of slave traffickers - The number of people forced into slavery around the world has risen to 27 million, according to a report published by an international human rights group. The study -- released to coincide with a special UN session on slavery -- says millions of girls working as domestic servants are forced into sexual slavery. The trafficking of child camel jockeys to the United Arab Emirates, bonded labour in Pakistan and forced labour in Sudan are also highlighted. Slavery is fuelled by "poverty, vulnerability and lack of political will", Anti-Slavery International says. Last week, the US endorsed a report drawn up by an international group of "eminent persons" which concluded that slavery existed in Sudan. The report recommended that the Sudanese President, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, take the lead by launching an anti-slavery campaign and calling for the release of all slaves. The Sudanese Government comes in for criticism from Anti-Slavery International, which accuses it of "failing to take adequate steps to end raiding and slavery". Between 5,000 and 14,000 people are said by the group to have been abducted into forced labour in Sudan since 1983. There are also problems of forced labour in Mauritania where, the London-based rights group says, little has been done to secure the release of slaves or punish those who use them despite the abolition of slavery in 1981. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 27 May 2002)

* Africa. World Cup preliminaries - Cameroon: On 23 May, Cameroon's World Cup trek ended when the squad finally touched down in Japan after a 60-plus hour journey. The Indomitable Lions' arrival also ended the long wait of their hosts in the tiny Japanese village of Nakatsue. Cameroon's journey began after their friendly against Denmark in Copenhagen the previous Friday. After the game, a row over players' bonuses initially delayed the squad by 48 hours in Paris. Following a stop in Bombay, the squad's charter plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Bangkok after failing to gain permission to fly over Cambodian, Vietnamese and Philippine airspace. Following another six-hour delay, the plane was allowed to leave Japan after obtaining clearance. Cameroon's embarrassing delay risked a loss of goodwill after local residents in Nakatsue were forced to cancel several events, including a welcome ceremony and a practice match with local high school students. Lateness is rarely tolerated in Japan and some considered Cameroon's tardy arrival an insult. Nakatsue, with a population of 1,400, has spent a considerable sum of money on improving lodging and training facilities for the visit of the Olympic and African champions. Despite the delay, the Japanese hosts were still preparing to roll out the red carpet in the small hours of the morning. -- On 26 May, Cameroon held England to a draw 2-2, in a friendly warm-up. Nigeria: Nigeria's World Cup team will receive substantial financial rewards if they reach the finals of the tournament, the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) has said. Largely made up of overseas-based players, Nigeria's team has a history of pay disputes before and during major tournaments. There were huge arguments over bonuses and allowances during the Super Eagles 1994 and '98 World Cup outings. At the last African Nations Cup tournament in Mali, players protested against the non-payment of air fares. -- Defender Celestine Babayaro has arrived in Japan and begun full training, relieving doubts that he might have had to withdraw from the squad. He survived his first training session with his team-mates on 28 May with no ill-effects from an injury that had kept him out of all Nigeria's warm-up matches. It means the Nigerians now have a full strength squad from which to choose their line-up their opening match against Argentina on 2 June. Senegal: Senegal's top striker El-Hadji Diouf was the star of the show as the Dakar Lions triumphed over Ecuador in their last warm-up game before the World Cup. Diouf showed great touch throughout the game and set up the winning goal. He created panic in the Ecuador defence with a well-placed cross that was turned into his own goal by defender Augusto Porozo on 69 minutes. The goal came only a minute after Diouf could have opened the scoring himself. He feigned to go outside before cutting back inside and curled a shot from long-range past Cevallos that bounced off the post. After the match Senegal boss Bruno Metsu singled the Lens player out for praise. South Africa: After the doubts that surrounded South Africa's build-up to the World Cup, it has become quite a job to wipe the smiles off the faces of coach Jomo Sono and his players. After all the doom and gloom following poor performances in recent friendlies, the euphoria in the camp is understandable following their 2-0 win over Turkey on 23 May. That victory meant they lifted the Reunification Cup in Hong Kong with a game to spare in the tournament. The euphoria in the team should however, not be misplaced. It was, after all, a warm-up friendly and the Turks used no fewer than nine substitutes. Nevertheless the victory would have given the team a tremendous psychological boost ahead of next weekend's opening game against Paraguay. The important thing is that they have scored four goals in their last two games without conceding any. On 26 May, South Africa defeated Vissel Kobe 3-0, in a friendly warm-up match. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 28 May 2002)

* Africa. Action against the Media. - The Gambia: On 27 May, Article 19 expressed concern over the excessive control of the public media in The Gambia by the government. Malawi: On 23 May, Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) condemned the actions taken by Dumbo Lemani, an advisor to the President. He assembled a group of between 1,000 and 3,000 militant members of the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) on 20 May in front of the publishing firm Blantyre Newspaper Limited, which publishes two pro-opposition newspapers, the Daily Times and the Malawi News weekly. He then incited the crowd to threaten two journalists, Mabvuto Banda, and Akimu Kaingana, who had written articles opposing President Muluzi's candidacy for a third presidential term in 2004. Niger: On 23 May, RSF protested the arrests of Abdoulaye Tiémogo, publication director of the private weekly Le Canard Déchaîné, and Abarad Mouddour Zakara, publication director of the private weekly La Roue de l'Histoire. Rwanda: On 19 May, the Ugandan editor of the independent privately-owned weekly, Rwanda Herald, Asuman Bisiika, was deported by the Rwandan authorities, to Uganda. Somalia: On 27 May, RSF protested against the shutting down of the privately-owned Somali Broadcasting Corporation by the authorities of Puntland. (ANB-BIA, Brussels, 27 May 2002)

* Africa. Statistics - On the occasion of the Meeting of Superiors of Missionary Institutes being held in Rome, the following statistics have been published concerning Africa: Population: 756.9 million (65% rural, 35% urban); Life expectancy: 50.7 years; Religions: Catholics -- 14.9%; Other Christians --31.6%; Muslims -- 40.5%; Traditional African religions and others: 13%. (Fides, Vatican City, 28 May 2002)

* Afrique. Bilan 2002 d'Amnesty - Dans son rapport 2002, rendu public le 28 mai, Amnesty International (AI) dresse un sombre bilan du monde de l'après-11 septembre. Les attentats du 11 septembre, "crimes contre l'humanité", appellent "la justice, non la vengeance", avertit AI. Sous couvert de sécurité, les démocraties ont restreint les espaces de liberté et les droits des personnes par des législations draconiennes, alors que les régimes autoritaires en ont profité pour écraser leurs opposants ou relancer les opérations contre les minorités. En Afrique, AI épingle notamment l'Afrique du Sud et l'Egypte. En annexe de son rapport, AI a ajouté un chapitre "Bonnes nouvelles"; pour l'Afrique, y est notée la libération d'Alpha Condé en Guinée. (D'après Le Monde, France, 29 mai 2002)

* Afrique. Appel de la BAD - L'Afrique est la seule région en développement qui risque de ne pas atteindre la croissance voulue pour diminuer de moitié la pauvreté la plus grave d'ici à 2015, a indiqué le président de la Banque africaine de développement (BAD), M. Kabbaj, lors de l'ouverture, le 28 mai, de la réunion annuelle de la banque. Environ 30 des 53 pays africains qui ont établi, il y a deux ans, un plan de développement avec les Nations unies et la BAD, atteindront partiellement le niveau prévu; pour les autres, les prévisions sont mauvaises. En Afrique, quelque 340 millions de personnes (environ la moitié de la population du continent) ne disposent même pas d'un dollar par jour, la limite de la "pauvreté absolue". M. Kabbaj a lancé un appel à la communauté internationale pour qu'elle double l'aide au développement de l'Afrique afin de pouvoir réaliser l'objectif de croissance économique prévu de 7%. (D'après De Standaard, Belgique, 29 mai 2002)

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