From Volume 7, Issue 43 of EIR Online, Published Oct. 21, 2008
Africa News Digest

Financial Meltdown Threatens Severe Food Crisis in Africa

Oct. 15 (EIRNS)—The global financial crisis is going to threaten further food shortages, hitting Africa and the rest of the developing sector especially hard, according to UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) director-general Jacques Diouf, formerly President of Senegal. In a statement issued from the FAO's Committee on World Food Security, which met in Rome on Oct. 14, Diouf urged the developed nations not to cut aid to food-short nations, and not to put up protectionist measures in response to the financial crisis.

Food prices have remained extremely high, draining the revenues of poorer nations. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) issued a statement on Oct. 15, saying that export prices of rice, one of the world's most important food grains, almost tripled between last November and May, triggering riots in more than a dozen countries, before softening to still historically high levels of more than $700 a ton. "The 2008-2009 rice market is likely to remain tight even with projected record global production of 432 million tons, a 1% increase over last year's 428 million tons," the Philippines-based institute said in its quarterly publication Rice Today. The soaring food price crisis threw an additional 75 million people into hunger and poverty in 2007 alone, according to another report.

Many African nations depend heavily on commodity exports, and commodity prices have begun to drop sharply. Such reduction in revenue earning is going to force these nations to cut back food grain plantings, causing a lower harvest in the coming years. Given continuing low grains stocks, this scenario could lead to record food prices next year—a catastrophe for millions who by then would be left with little money and no credit.

London Enraged at Mbeki for Zimbabwe Intervention

Oct. 19 (EIRNS)—The London-based global financial cartel lost its stiff upper lip and spewed forth its hatred of former South African President Thabo Mbeki, in a London Economist editorial dated Oct. 16. The cartel is particularly incensed that Mbeki—whom the cartel contrived to have thrown out of office last month—six months before the end of his term—is still trying to mediate a peaceful end to the political stalemate in Zimbabwe, by which Mbeki is still attempting to sabotage the cartel's use of manipulated conflicts to turn the political fight in Zimbabwe into a regime-change scenario against the government.

Entitled "A need to knock heads together," the Economist editorial says that even though the Southern African Development Community (SADC) reappointed Mbeki as mediator in the impasse in Zimbabwe between the ruling Zanu-PF party and the British-backed MDC opposition party, the worsening situation in Zimbabwe requires that Mbeki be replaced.

Under the subtitle "Find a new head-banger," the Economist says it is time for Mbeki opponent Jacob Zuma, the new president of the African National Congress, to take over the job in Zimbabwe, because he will be tougher on Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

If Zuma is too busy, adds the Economist, then the SADC and African Union should bring in former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to do the job.

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