From Volume 7, Issue 35 of EIR Online, Published August 26, 2008
Africa News Digest

Nationalist Shift in Algeria Followed by Terror Attacks

PARIS, Aug. 20 (EIRNS)—Twin car bombings struck the Algerian city of Bouira today, hitting a military headquarters and a hotel, killing 11 people. This follows yesterday's terror bombing in Les Issers, where a suicide bomber rammed a car into a line of applicants at a police academy and killed 43 people.

This escalation must be seen as part of the "arc of crisis" destabilization spawned by the London financial cartel, spanning Afghanistan, Turkey, and extending into Africa.

In Algeria, the destabilization targets Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, who just assumed his position on June 23, and who, earlier this month, made what Algerian sources described as an "economic strategic shift" away from IMF looting. A July report of the Algerian central bank noted that the profit rates of Algerian banks soared, from 23.4% in 2006 to over 28% in 2007. While cash flows out of the country totalled $22.2 billion between 2001 and 2007, promises from foreign (overwhelmingly Arab) investors were only $13.5 billion for the same period. However, what provoked the "shift" was the fact that the Egyptian consortium Orascom sold its subsidiary, the Algerian cement company, to the French Lafarge, and the Algerian telecom company Djezzy, to France Telecom. In both cases, Orascom benefitted greatly from the deal and Algeria got peanuts.

A government spokesman said that the sales of prime Algerian companies "created major discontent for the authorities, who decided to put order in this area, and to revise their strategy of privatizations and partnerships," according to on July 30. The Algerian state stopped all privatizations of banks and insurance companies, and will take majority positions in companies essential to major development programs. As EIR reported in last week's Africa Digest, the shift simultaneously opened a debate on LaRouche's economic and strategic perspective, through the publication of two articles in two major Algerian dailies.

SADC Launches Economic Cooperation, Endorses Mbeki's Diplomacy

Aug. 19 (EIRNS)—The Southern African Development Community (SADC) officially launched its Southern Africa Free Trade Area (FTA) on Aug. 17, the final day of a two-day summit in South Africa. The move creates one of the largest common markets on the African continent, covering some 250 million people. Under the theme "Free Trade Area for Growth, Development and Wealth Creation," the launch of FTA scores a significant step toward SADC's ultimate goals of a custom union in 2010, a common market in 2015, a monetary union by 2016, and a single currency by 2018. The successful implementation of this integration plan would allow the region to lessen the grasp of the City of London financial cartel.

Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba told the media that the launch of the FTA would set a new era of economic integration in the region.

South Africa took over the leadership of the SADC at the summit, and President Thabo Mbeki said that the SADC was an important catalyst for regional integration, for harmonization of policies, and as a central platform which should continue to give expression to an African renaissance as well as the implementation of an African agenda that will help Africans to realize the central objective of the regeneration of Africa. The member states were urged to improve regional infrastructure to facilitate efficient movement of goods and people in a more open regional economy.

London is fomenting the conflict in Zimbabwe in order to sabotage cooperation in the region.

The summit also passed a resolution of support for Mbeki's mediation in Zimbabwe, giving him a mandate to continue his efforts. The resolution appealed to all the parties in the conflict to sign the agreement which has been negotiated, as a matter of the highest urgency, to restore political stability to Zimbabwe.

Two of the three parties in the negotiations have agreed to sign; the only holdout is Morgan Tsvangirai, who is London's pawn. He is now traveling to nations in the region, and to Kenya, where he met with Prime Minister Railla Odinga, trying to garner support for his position, that he be put in charge of the government. He will have to return to Harare from his tour, next week, to meet Mbeki, who continues to try to get him to go along with the deal.

Mugabe had delayed calling Parliament to session, as negotiations were still ongoing. It is now expected that he will call Parliament to session Aug. 26, with the support of most of the SADC heads of state. The new Speaker is to be determined Aug. 25.

Aid Agencies Beg Food for 15 Million in East Africa

Aug. 18 (EIRNS)—Food aid agencies yesterday repeated calls for help for seven East African nations, where 15 million people are severely malnourished, and thousands are dying. In Ethiopia, some 10 million out of its 79 million people are suffering from lack of food. There were no seasonal rains in February and March, and food stocks are now next to nothing. The World Food Program is distributing food assistance to 3.2 million people in Ethiopia, 900,000 in northern Kenya, 707,000 in northeastern Uganda, 115,000 in Djibouti, and is trying to reach 2.6 million in Somalia. In many places, the WFP is reducing its aid rations, to make them stretch to more people.

Because of special appeals, the WFP's donations are running way ahead of last year, but falling way behind in what the money will buy. Just a year ago, there were contrived debates in donor nations about whether to donate cereal aid-in-kind, or fund aid agencies to buy relief supplies locally. Now, it doesn't matter. Grain on local or foreign markets is equally costly, or even non-existent. For example, in southern Ethiopia, corn prices have risen fourfold in just a year.

In recent years, some 40 nations in Africa, with nearly 850 million people, have commercially imported 44 million tons of grain annually, and received a few million tons of food aid as well. But only 20 million tons were lined up for import towards this in 2008 (commercially or as aid) as of May, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Even presuming the full 44 million tons of grains could be acquired by the more than 40 food-import dependent nations in Africa this year, yet another 25 million tons above that is needed for baseline nutrition! This figure was calculated by EIR from data kept by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on 70 low-income, food-import dependent nations. ("Food Security Assessment, 2007," USDA Economic Research Service, July, 2008).

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