Archive for December 5th, 2007



Morning / afternoon / evening, Peter here with news of todays World Have Your Say, on air at 1800 GMT :o)

CAN AFRICA EVER ACHIEVE PEACE AND PROSPERITY WITHOUT THE OUTSIDE WORLD …? The reasons I ask is because the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, is in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, for a series of meetings on some of Africa’s worst conflicts. Ms Rice will discuss the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and Sudan with regional presidents and ministers. She said she was “increasingly concerned about several crisis spots in Africa” before starting the talks. She will also hold bilateral talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. They are expected to discuss renewed tensions with neighbouring Eritrea. A deadline set by an international border commission for the countries to demarcate their shared border expired on Friday without agreement.


This is nothing new, Ms Rice is not telling the world something we didn’t know already. The United Nations has worries too about the issues of conflict which define many African countries.


The international community should support efforts by the African Union to address border issues so that they will no longer be a potential source of disputes, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said. “Since African countries gained independence, the borders – drawn during the colonial period in a context of rivalries between European countries – have been a recurrent source of conflict,” said the Secretary-General in a <“;> message to the Seminar on the Implementation of the African Union Border Programme, held in Djibouti on 1 December. “The situation is particularly challenging in cases where strategic or natural resources are located in cross-border areas,” he said. “Demarcation of all borders between States before they become a source of conflict is thus an important preventive measure.”CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME …?But all this is to pre-suppose that the outside world has the desire and indeed the right to get involved, to “manage” the countries of Africa. There is a view that says the problems of Africa can, and should, be sorted by Africa; and given enough time they would all come to some sort of resolution.Really ? How does that work ? Pause and consider Darfur – one of the most frustrating aspects of that conflict has been the Africa Unions in, out, can’t get involved, trust us, “we’ll be there eventually” attitude — which has peppered the past two years, during which more people continued to die, more people continued to suffer.

Tell us what you think. Can African sort out the problems of Africa ? With any solution would there come a western model of democracy ? Is there a generational aspect to this — once the current Presidents and Prime Ministers begin to fade away, will there be a spreading of power to the people, which would then mean internal solutions ? Can the dynamic for this come from the ordinary voters – when will they exert genuine democratic power, and kick-start peace and prosperity across the continent ? Why does the west think it knows best ? What’s driving the US Secretary of States trip to the region ?

As ever


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African disunity



A long-threatened offensive against rebel leader Gen Laurent Nkunda began on Monday in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The country’s armed forces say they have taken control of the rebel headquarters in the eastern town of Mushake.  Fighting is reportedly continuing in the town, while UN peacekeepers have been supporting the government troops.

At least 200,000 people have been displaced by the latest fighting in the area. The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, is in Africa for talks on the Congolese conflict, as well as the situations in Somalia and Sudan.

We’ve heard from people in the troubled east of the DRC before, but perhaps we should revisit the story?

Maybe there is a wider question on how far the outside world should go in trying to solve Africa’s conflicts? 


Britain’s Times newspaper is reporting that almost half of Afghanistan is now too dangerous for aid workers to operate in.

It says the UN has drawn up a map showing that most foreign and Afghan aid workers have pulled out of rural areas in the south of the country, confining themselves to the cities and the north.

It follows a report last week that rebels have a presence in half the country. Has the intervention in Afghanistan by the US and Nato-led International Security Assistance Force been a failure? 


 A few weeks ago one or our colleagues, Matthew, suggested we debate whether the “American dream” no longer exists.

The question was whether immigrants to the US could no longer build better lives for themselves and their families than those that they had in their countries of origin.

A conference on the topic was taking place at the time, but we had to postpone the debate due to other more pressing stories.

But the subject has risen again with reports in the US that thousands of immigrants, in particular Brazilians, are returning to their home countries as they feel they can no longer improve their lives in the US. 

It comes as research shows that 20 per cent of Canada’s population is now foreign born, with the country’s highest ratio of immigrants since the 1930s. Meanwhile, many other migrants are now choosing to go to Europe. Are they avoiding the US, and is it because the American dream has come to an end?