|Africa News Digest
West African States' Hold Emergency Meet on Food Crisis
May 20 (EIRNS)The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held an emergency meeting of their ministers of agriculture, trade, and finance yesterday in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, in an effort to come up with a comprehensive regional response to the food crisis, which has led to demonstrations and unrest in several West African nations. Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, president of the ECOWAS commission, called for urgent action to deal with the crisis, because peace, security, and stability were threatened by the high cost and shortage of food, which will necessitate throwing IMF and World Bank dictates overboard. One member of ECOWAS, before the summit, blamed the IMF and World Bank for the inability of the ECOWAS states to produce enough food. ECOWAS indicated that the 44.4 million of West Africa's people living in abject poverty are the most vulnerable group.
Before yesterday's meeting, ECOWAS economists estimated that immediate steps to improve access to food supplies, increase food production, and build up reserve stocks could cost member-states $11.6 billion. The emergency meeting earmarked $100 million a year for the food crisis, and called for $2 billion to feed the poor, and a $4 billion investment between 2008 and 2010 to boost agricultural productivity. In the long term, member-states agreed to improve their budgetary allocation to agriculture, invest in local fertilizer production and seed multiplication, subsidize agricultural production, encourage the provision of concessionary credit to the sector, as well as provide infrastructure that will support agricultural productivity.
The speaker of the ECOWAS parliament, Mahamane Ousmane (formerly President of Niger), came down hard on the IMF and World Bank, according to an article published on May 14, before the meeting, in Leadership, a newspaper in Abuja. He said, "Our governments have been applying defective agriculture policies under pressure from international institutions, like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund." He added that these policies have resulted in crises that have spread across the whole of West Africa.
Anglo-Dutch Cartel Escalates Anti-Zimbabwe Campaign
May 25 (EIRNS)The Anglo-Dutch financial cartel has continued its campaign to overthrow the Zimbabwe government. The U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee, has abandoned any pretext of being a diplomat, by becoming a fervid supporter of the British-created and -backed opposition MDC party. According to a May 16 BBC broadcast, McGee charged the government with using violence against its own population, in order to enable President Robert Mugabe to win the run-off election for President against Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC. "Violence has spun out of control," McGee said. When BBC asked him if Mugabe could win as a result of violence, McGee responded: "That's exactly what the international community has to avoid." He charged that there is "no question that people are being beaten for the way they voted in the last election to ensure that they vote the right way in any run-off here." He maintained that fair elections are not possible, and called for a "force of election monitors in the country, well before the run-off, who would stay here until the results are announced." He made no mention of government assertions that the MDC was carrying out violence to provide a pretext for the kind of intervention that McGee was talking about.
Before the March 29 election results had been announced, McGee had said at an April 24 press conference in South Africa, that the United States would lift sanctions and disburse billions of dollars to Zimbabwe if a new, pro-free-trade government were to take power.
After McGee asserted that post-election violence is making a fair run-off vote impossible, Tsvangirai on May 17 added to the theatrics by announcing that he had postponed his return to Zimbabwe to begin campaigning, because an assassination plot made it too dangerous. This melodrama aside, it cannot be ruled out that the British would organize the assassination of the candidate they have been backing, and blame it on Mugabe, so as to strengthen the anti-Mugabe fervor they have already whipped up.
Zimbabwe Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa responded to the claims of violence being made by the MDC and its backers: "Whenever there is a claim of an act of politically motivated violence committed, it should be very good that we form joint teams made up of the Zanu-PF [ruling party] and MDC so that we can establish the veracity of these claims."
Mugabe, speaking at a political rally in Harare today threatened to expel McGee from the country for political interference, which Mugabe referred to as a retread of the Rhodesian Front party of the racist minority government of Ian Smith. "I'm just waiting to see if he makes one more step wrong," said Mugabe. "He will get out."