|Africa News Digest
Korean Leaders Push African Development, Glass-Steagall
July 2 (EIRNS)A conference on "Recasting the Korean Model of Development: Issues, Debates, and Lessons," was held June 30-July 1 in Washington, D.C. The focus was how South Korea was transformed from a basket-case economy after the 1950-53 Korean War (and 50 years of Japanese colonial control) into one of the leading agro-industrial and nuclear powers in the world, and how this model could be applied to developing nations todayespecially in Africa.
The conference presentations, many by influential Korean scholars and economists, demonstrated that Korea succeeded only by rejecting the IMF/World Bank proposals that it use its Adam Smith-style "comparative advantage" by remaining an agrarian nation, while depending on export substitution. South Korea instead chose industrialization, quality exports, the transformation of the rural sector through infrastructure and jobs programs, and R&D. These efforts were carried out by both the government and government-supported private sector "Chaebols."
Speakers from Congo and Nigeria contrasted this model to the imperial looting of Africa, which grabbed resources and kept the population alive only as needed for near-slave labor.
Two of the speakers, both leading Korean scholars and economists with prominent roles in government, told EIR in private discussion, that they, and other leading Koreans, were watching the fight over Glass-Steagall in Washington very closely. Although they mistakenly believed that President Obama was supporting Glass-Steagall, they were anxious to understand the actual fight, and quickly grasped the difference between the Obama/British policies and those of Lyndon LaRouche, and the potential for the latter to be implemented if Obama can be removed.
One of the economists, upon seeing LaRouche's "Global Glass-Steagall" proposal, exclaimed: "Glass-Steagall! That's it! It's either Glass-Steagall, or there will be no hope for world capitalism. We have something like that in Korea, and China, also, but the U.S. and the world must do it or it will be crash after crash, decay upon decay."
Ethiopia Budget Favors Infrastructure; Defense
July 2 (EIRNS)Ethiopia announced a record $5.76 billion budget yesterday, emphasizing infrastructure development to drive growth in an extremely poor country that is, however, one of Africa's fastest growing. Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa, after Nigeria.
Of the total budget, $2.6 billion will go for development, a 23.4% increase, mostly for roads and electrification. Ethiopia, the source of the Blue Nile which provides at least 85% of the water in the Nile River, is building several hydroelectric dams. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said the government is working hard to electrify rural towns, and a large amount will go to roads. The country is still mainly reliant on agricultural exports, primarily coffee and sesame seeds.
China is building several of these hydroelectric dam projects.
The worsening situation in one of Ethiopia's neighbors, Somalia, is not allowing the government to focus only on development, however. As a result, Ethiopian defense spending is slated to increase 10%. Somalia does not have a functioning government, and is being used by British-controlled interests from outside Africa, as a staging ground for terrorist capabilities. All of Somalia's neighbors are concerned about the implications of this situation.
Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses M. Wetangula today called the situation in Somalia "very, very dire." He said that terrorists have relocated to Somalia, which is on Kenya's northern border, because of the safe haven provided there resulting from the absence of any functioning government. In an interview with AP, Wetangula said "There have been Afghans, there have been Pakistanis, there have been certain Middle Eastern nationalities, quite a number. Intelligence reports indicate that there's quite a cocktail of them." He added: "We can't quite quantify them. It's simply not possible in a situation such as that, but there are sufficient numbers to worry us and worry the international community."
China-Ethiopia Cooperation To Include Military
June 30 (EIRNS)Ethiopia Foreign Affairs Minister Seyoum Mesfin held talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi today in Beijing. Yang said China hopes to boost cooperation with Ethiopia in social and economic development. 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two nations.
On June 28, senior Chinese and Ethiopia military officials pledged to set up closer ties, in a meeting in Beijing between Chen Bingde, Chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army, and Samora Yenus, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Ethiopia. Chen said, "The Chinese armed forces attaches great importance to relations with the Ethiopian armed forces."
South Africa Hit Hard by Global Economic Collapse
July 2 (EIRNS)South Africa has the highest unemployment rate in Africa, according to the 2010 report of the United Association of South Africa (UASA) trade union, which was released yesterday. South Africa also has the largest industrial production in African (roughly equivalent to the rest of Africa). Yet almost 60% of the population are unemployed. Currently, more people are receiving money from welfare than from employment, with 12.8 million working, and 13.8 million receiving welfare payments from the proceeds of 5 million people working. The union spokesman said that the only countries doing worse than South Africa are countries of Iraq, Gaza, and Afghanistan. The report showed that fewer people are working now in South Africa, than before 1994, i.e., before the end of the pro-apartheid government.