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This article appears in the May 13, 2022 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this article]

Africa Briefs

Africa Not On Board the War Drive Against Russia

The U.S. State Department’s April 28 “Declaration for the Future of the Internet,” a not-so-subtle attack on Russia and China—without naming them—has obtained the signatures of only 60 governments worldwide as of May 3, of which only four are African—Cape Verde, Kenya, Niger and Senegal. And Kenyan government spokesman Col. (ret.) Cyrus Oguna has now denied that Kenya’s signature belongs on it, saying that, “Kenya can only be a signatory to an international instrument after Cabinet approval and ratification by the National Assembly, which are yet to be done for the said pact.”

None of the BRICS member nations are signatories.

The declaration attacks “digital authoritarianism,” saying, “Globally, we are witnessing a trend of rising digital authoritarianism, where some states act to repress freedom of expression, censor independent news sites, interfere with elections, promote disinformation, and deny their citizens other human rights.” It appears that the State Department’s declaration is an attempt to obscure the constant censorship and disinformation that is the daily fare dished out by Washington to the world in the current war drive against Russia.

Nigeria, Mozambique: More Energy! No Exit from Coal!

In addressing an Atlantic Council online conference on a “just transition” on April 13, Nigerian VP Yemi Osinbajo declared, “Nigeria will require huge investments in new infrastructure. We’re going to build more roads, ports, industrial parks, and especially power systems. [Emphasis added.] For every Nigerian to consume the Modern Energy Minimum of 1,000 kilowatt-hours per year by 2050 would require a 15-fold increase in our national power generation.”

The conference was held to establish an “Inclusive African Climate Working Group” by the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, to confine and manipulate viewpoints such as Osinbajo’s. The Atlantic Council, headquartered in Washington, D.C., has no formal ties with NATO, yet their policies are not distinguishable.

The government of Mozambique, for its part, has now declared that it has no intention of abandoning the mining and export of coal. The declaration came in an April 28 seminar in Maputo organized by the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) on “the challenges and opportunities for promoting an inclusive energy transition in Mozambique.” Teodoro Vales, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, said: “Right now coal is the major contributor to the balance of payments ... so we cannot abandon these sources from one day to the next,” according to an April 29 release from the wire service, Agência de Informação de Moçambique (AIM). It stated that the government had “ruled out the possibility of abandoning the mining of coal as part of the energy transition advocated by the UN in order to meet the target for reducing carbon emissions by 2030.”

The CDD was founded in London in 1997 and is registered in Lagos, Nigeria. It has Ford Foundation funding.

Africa Up Against ‘Great Reset’ of the Bankers and Oil Majors

South Africa’s largest oil refinery, Sapref, near Durban—a joint venture of Royal Dutch Shell and BP—is shutting down. It provided 35% of the country’s crude oil refining capacity (2.7 billion liters per year).

The Great Reset is visible in the lines, and between the lines, of the News24 report of Feb. 12: “The indefinite suspension of operations at Sapref is not the first nor will it be the [last] refinery to halt operations in South Africa as the oil and gas industry continues to reassess investments amid regulatory changes and uncertainty, and pressure to pivot away from fossil fuels.

“On Thursday [Feb. 10], BP and Shell announced that they were no longer prepared to invest money into the Sapref refinery and would halt operations for an indefinite period as they mull the future of the business.”

International oil companies are also leaving Nigeria. Last year it was Royal Dutch Shell, then ExxonMobil in February, and now French oil major TotalEnergies—all have dumped their participation in Nigerian oil production, selling their stakes to minor production companies. TotalEnergies announced in April that it will sell its minority stake in a Nigerian onshore joint venture.

Bloomberg reported April 28, “The firm wants to focus on deep-water fields away from the difficulties of operating in close proximity with local communities.” That’s odd, the company had no such scruples before.

Guinea, Burkina Stand on Sovereignty vs. ECOWAS

The military juntas in Guinea-Conakry and Burkina Faso are asserting the sovereignty of their countries and giving priority to national needs, against the demands of ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) that procedural democracy must trump life itself.

ECOWAS had set a deadline of April 25 for each to submit an “acceptable” schedule for a return to civilian rule or else face economic and financial sanctions.

But on April 25, Guinea government spokesman Ousmane Diallo said, in an interview on FIM FM radio, “We didn’t hand over [such] a document and we have been clear about this from the start, that the Guinean government does not act under the constraints or the diktat of anyone.” When asked if Guinea might pull out of ECOWAS, Diallo responded, “Nothing is ruled out.”

Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, interim president of Guinea, came to power in September 2021, decrying the parlous state of the national economy and his predecessor’s repression. He quoted the respected former Ghanaian President, Jerry Rawlings, who said, “if the people are crushed by their elites, it is up to the army to give the people their freedom.”

Doumbouya, on April 8, ordered the bauxite mining operators to build aluminum smelters in the country. Domestic beneficiation of minerals is also a major concern in Mali, Ghana, and in fact most of Africa.

The junta in Burkina Faso also missed the ECOWAS deadline and has asked for more time. Led by Paul-Henri Damiba, it took power in January.

It is insisting on a 39-month schedule before holding elections, pointing out that it must first defeat an Islamist terrorist operation that has already spelled disaster for the country, with thousands dead and a million (4.5%) displaced. Interim Foreign Minister Olivia Rouamba told a press conference on April 28, “We have maintained our position,” and that negotiations with ECOWAS were ongoing.

In neighboring Mali, where a junta came to power in May 2021, ECOWAS has already imposed sanctions on members of the junta, and—in flagrant violation of international law, in imitation of the Anglo-American powers—shut Mali’s borders, frozen its assets at the Central Bank of West African States, and decreed a trade embargo.

Will the ANC Privatize Most of South Africa’s State Sector?

Bloomberg claims to have seen a draft economic policy document from South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) that, according to Bloomberg’s April 25 report, calls for the sale or closure of the majority of the 700 state-owned enterprises.

According to Bloomberg, “The current model for state firms ‘is dying,’ the African National Congress, which is due to hold its national policy conference later this year, said in the document ... ‘The era of bail outs for state-owned enterprises is over…. Most of these state-owned enterprises were once well-run, profitable companies that were internationally competitive,’ the ANC said. ‘The decade of state capture destroyed many of them, as have structural changes in some of their sectors.’

“Government’s options are limited as efforts to clean up corruption and appoint competent management will not rescue the majority of the stricken companies, the ANC said. Instead, it suggests companies could be closed or sold…. ‘There is no shortage of buyers wanting to buy some of the state-owned enterprises….’ the ANC said.”

The policy of wholesale privatization has long been the dream of the powerful patrons of President Ramaphosa in Britain and South Africa.

Perhaps the alleged ANC policy document, like others before it, does not mention how these powerful interests have worked to amplify the social and cultural weaknesses—including economic insecurity and venality—to bring South Africa to a point at which the argument for privatization could be made.

The powerful worked in part through prestigious British and U.S. consulting firms—Bell Pottinger, Bain & Company, McKinsey, KPMG, and others—who can be made scapegoats.

The thief-in-chief of the infamous 1999 Arms Deal (on the South African side), the feared gangster Joe Modise, Minister of Defense of the 1990s, and his partners in European governments—haven’t they been conveniently forgotten: forgotten so that a much lesser figure at the time, Deputy President Jacob Zuma, can today take the fall?

Who today is capturing the South African state under the protective cover of the Zondo Commission of Inquiry?

Convictions in the Assassination of Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso

Blaise Compaoré, a former President of Burkina Faso, was sentenced in absentia to life in prison on April 6 for the 1987 murder of his great predecessor and erstwhile friend, President Thomas Sankara, after a six-month military trial in Ouagadougou. He was among 14 accused, of whom 3 were acquitted. Compaoré, ousted in a 2014 coup, is living in Côte d’Ivoire. Sankara family lawyers are seeking his extradition. Sankara is one of Africa’s greatest and most beloved leaders, remembered in many books, documentaries, and shorter videos.

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