|Africa News Digest
Sudan's Kiir, in Washington, Reveals IMF/World Bank Role
Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice President of Sudan and President of the Government of Southern Sudan, speaking in Washington Nov. 4, revealed the role of the IMF and World Bank in the January peace agreement between the Sudanese government in Khartoum in the North, and the John Garang-led movement in South. After the peace agreement, Garang became Sudan's First Vice President, but died three weeks laterJuly 30in a helicopter crash.
Lt. Gen. Kiir, who replaced Garang, spoke publicly after meeting with senior officials in the Bush Administration, and officials from IMF and World Bank. Kiir told the audience the key features of the peace deal that revolve around control of Sudan's oil revenues, departing from his written statement. The salient features of the peace deal are as follows.
Sudan's oil production is at 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) and is expected to increase to 500,000 bpd. For oil produced in the South, which is three-quarters of total oil production for Sudan, a benchmark price was established in consultation with the IMF; originally it was $30 per barrel and then revised to $45 per barrel as a result of inflated oil prices.
Oil revenues above the benchmark price are put into an Oil Stabilization account supervised by the IMF and World Bank. Two percent of the revenues below the benchmark price go to the oil-producing states in the South, and the remaining 98% is divided equally, with the National Unity Government of the North getting 49% for its 15 states, and 49% going to the Government of Southern Sudan for its 10 states. The World Bank is to provide transparency for oil revenues. The World Bank will also control the South's money in managing its reconstruction.
Obviously, the prime motivation for recent pressure by the West, led by the Bush Administration, to force a settlement ending almost a quarter-century of war in Sudan, was for the banks to find a way to get their hands on Sudan's growing oil wealth at inflated oil prices. Sudan's foreign debt is $26 billion, and with "peace" in Sudan, the oil revenues can be used to pay this debt, and at the same time the IMF/WB can "supervise" the banking of the oil revenues themselves.
Recall that the recent debt deal in Nigeria worked to help provide liquidity for the banks, at a time when the oligarchs are trying to hold onto their bankrupt system. The bottom line was that the banks got a cool $12 billion from Nigeria's oil revenues to retire $36 billion in fraudulent debt that was not going to be paid.
In response to a question concerning the Darfur crisis, which is veering out of control, Kiir did not endorse the usual line of genocide, and emphatically responded that it is not a racial war, but one of injustice. One irony that was not lost on the First Vice President was that either before, during, or immediately after his meeting with Vice President Cheney, he was informed that sanctions against Sudan would continue. You can't please everybody.
Rice To Visit Sudan This Month on Zoellick's Heels
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit Khartoum this month to promote the implementation of the North-South peace agreement and deal with sensitive issues, according to Sudan Tribune Oct. 29, citing a report in the Khartoum daily al-Ayam.
Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick prepared the way for Rice by leading a high-ranking delegation to Khartoum Nov. 8 for a four-day visit (his fourth this year). Zoellick's delegation will be followed by a Congressional one.
According to al-Ayam, Washington is concerned over the slow implementation of the peace agreement and the inclusion in the national unity government of individuals hostile to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in January.
Candidate from Harvard and Citibank Wins Liberian Presidency
A Harvard-trained economist with Citibank and World Bank experience has won the Liberian Presidential election. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, known in Liberia as the "Iron Lady," has won the Liberian Presidential run-off election. As of Nov. 11, with 97% of polling stations reporting, she had 59% of the votes. Her opponent, soccer star millionaire George Weah, received 41%. Johnson-Sirleaf is prepared to offer Weah a post in her government, Reuters reported Nov. 10.
Weah's supporters, who claim fraud, have been chanting, "No George, No peace"; some of them are civil war veterans. Weah is the hero of the poor, from which he came. Hundreds of his supporters tried to break through a UN barrier near the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia Nov. 11. UN peacekeepers fired tear gas and swung batons to disperse them, according to AP.
U.S. and other international observers claim the election was largely clean. U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters Nov. 10, "On the whole ... it was an orderly and efficient process."
Johnson-Sirleaf, now 67, opposed the destructive government of Samuel Doe (1980-89), who came to power with U.S. support in a bloody coup. She was briefly imprisoned by Doe and later accepted exile in the U.S., where her campaigning against the Doe government was ignored in favor of Kissingerian genocide.
She has a Master's degree in Public Administration from Harvard and was Liberian Finance Minister in the last eight months before the 1980 coup. She has also been Africa director of the UN Development Program.
U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Threatened with Expulsion
U.S. Ambassador Chris Dell angered the Zimbabwe government when he gave a speech Nov. 2 at Africa University in Mutare in which he blamed Zimbabwe's economic woes on corruption in government and bad economic policies, rather than economic sanctions.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, accused Dell of "inciting the people of Zimbabwe against the Government, thereby portraying the Government as a villain, in flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention." Dell apparently had taken over the ambassadorship with an eye to encouraging regime change, and the authorities are tired of his destabilizing antics.
Officials Say Marburg Epidemic in Angola Has Ended
The Angolan Health Ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) claim the Marburg epidemic in Angola is at an end. WHO's Fatumata Diallo told the press Nov. 8, "After more than 45 days of no new cases, we can say we recommend that the epidemic be declared over." The criterion is a period twice the maximum incubation time (21 days) without a new case.
Health Minister Sebastiao Veloso said that 227 people died from the disease. However, the Angolan press agency, Angop, had reported Sept. 28 that more than 400 had died.