Falta de verbas pode deixar 1,3 milhão de crianças africanas sem merenda escolar

Foto: Programa Mundial de Alimentos da ONU

Publicado Originalmente: 30/08/2016

Mais de 1,3 milhão de crianças na África Central e Ocidental correm risco de não receber refeições nas escolas. O alerta foi feito nesta terça-feira (30) pelo Programa Mundial de Alimentação das Nações Unidas (PMA).

Sem financiamento necessário, a agência está se vendo obrigada a reduzir seus projetos nas escolas africanas. Segundo o PMA, alguns países mudaram seus mecanismos de financiamento e muitos doadores têm, agora, outras prioridades.

A falta de refeições escolares deve afetar, no próximo mês, alunos nos Camarões, em Mali, na Mauritânia e no Níger. Se o PMA não receber financiamento, outras 700 mil crianças poderão ficar sem merenda em 11 países.

No Chade, a falta de dinheiro levou a agência da ONU a reduzir seus programas de merenda escolar em mais de 90% nos últimos três anos. Desde 2013, o número de crianças beneficiadas caiu de 200 mil para 15 mil.

No Senegal, os fundos serão necessários para entregar refeições a menos de um quinto dos alunos. Na Mauritânia e nos Camarões, a assistência do PMA precisou ser cortada pela metade em janeiro e em maio.

O problema é que a população de muitos países da África Central e Ocidental já enfrenta fome e malnutrição. Com os conflitos armados, as escolas acabam por ser um refúgio para crianças e muitas vezes o único local onde recebem refeições.

O PMA necessita, com urgência, de US$ 48 milhões para continuar a entregar refeições para alunos das duas regiões africanas.

Estudos da agência mostram que, para cada dólar investido em projetos de merenda escolar, existe um retorno econômico entre US$ 3 e US$ 8, uma vez que a produtividade aumenta. Além disso, quando se tornam adultos, esses alunos têm mais chances de melhorar a saúde de seus filhos.

Garantir que nenhuma pessoa passe fome no mundo até 2030 faz parte dos Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável, um conjunto de metas estabelecidas pelos Estados-membros da ONU em setembro de 2015. Doadores importantes para os projetos do PMA na África são Canadá, União Europeia, Japão, Luxemburgo, Arábia Saudita e Estados Unidos.

FONTE: ONU

Is China A Neocolonial Power In Africa? – Analysis

Publicado originalmente em 26 de abril de 2016.

China-bashing has predictably reemerged as a familiar theme in the current 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, with the frontrunners of both parties attacking China for having committed a myriad of alleged outrages against U.S. interests.1 Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, is of special interest, as she had prominently accused China of engaging in neocolonialism in Africa during her 2011 visit to Zambia in her position at the time as U.S. Secretary of State.2 The Chinese have not forgotten this slight, and the state-owned Xinhua news agency recently published an opinion piece critiquing Clinton’s accusation of China’s alleged neocolonialism, concluding that:

Accusing China of being a neo-colonialist in Africa puts the biased West in an absurd scenario where the robber acts like the cop.”3

As I recounted last year, China has indeed been very active with its various economic projects in Africa. To briefly recap: “Recent examples of such projects include China Railway Group’s Light Railway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the first phase of which was recently completed; China Railway Construction Corporation’s Abuja-Kaduna railway in Nigeria, which was completed in December 2014, and which is the first phase of a larger railway modernization project connecting Lagos with Kano; and the Lobito-Luau railway in Angola, also built by China Railway Construction Corporation, which will eventually be connected to the Angola-Zambia and the Tanzania-Zambia railways. Likewise, Chinese engineering firms … are constructing airports across the continent, including airports in Angola, Comoros, Djibouti, Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, and Togo. Apart from the transportation sector, Chinese companies are also involved in Africa’s energy sector, including hydropower dams in Ethiopia and Uganda; biogas development in Guinea, Sudan and Tunisia; and solar and wind power plants in Ethiopia, Morocco, and South Africa. Other economic sectors Chinese companies are actively involved with in Africa include agriculture, construction, healthcare, mining, and industrial manufacturing. A recent count estimates over 2,000 Chinese companies are engaged across almost every country on the African continent.”4

Does this intense level of economic engagement count as neocolonialism? Gordon observes that the relationship of neocolonialism is one of “political-economic domination” such that “there is no viable cultural, economic, or military opposition to the hegemonic weight of the current ‘world order.’” The world order today is Euro-American, and its hegemony was won through not just the collapse of the Soviet Union and its socialist satellites at the end of the Cold War, but also the “years of successful political, economic, and military destabilization of Third World sites of resistance.”5 Such efforts at destabilization continue in our contemporary era, as can be seen in the 2011 Western intervention against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya, which in turn led to the strengthening of African jihadi groups such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Boko Haram, and which in turn has led the U.S. to establish a network of secret military bases across the African continent to fight its War on Terror.6

Mason reminds us of Hu Jintao’s 2006 pledge to double China’s development aid to Africa, and of the subsequent surge in Chinese investment in infrastructure construction on the continent. Indeed, Chinese aid is more attractive for African governments compared to that offered by the West as it famously comes without the preconditions for political or economic reforms usually imposed by Western donors.7 Memories of the painful experience during the 1980s across Africa of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) and the World Bank’s structural adjustment policies looms over the Nigerian government’s recent decision to seek infrastructure loans from the Chinese government rather than the IMF.8 Such memories echo Sartre’s warning that neocolonial efforts to emphasize the economic benefits accruing from colonial reforms are in fact intended to disguise the reality of political domination.9 Indeed, development aid from China has allowed developing countries such as Cambodia to avoid having to adjust their political and economic orders to satisfy the demands of Western donors.10

Mason suggests that the increased Chinese emigration to Africa that has accompanied the increase in Sino-African economic engagement mirrors the “white settlement and rule in Africa” that occurred during the colonial era, and focuses in particular on the economic impact of Chinese merchants in Africa, who “sell goods made in China,” as well as that of their African counterparts who travel to markets in Guangzhou and elsewhere in China to purchase goods for sale back in African markets.11 This influx of cheap goods from China has been known to “drive out traditional suppliers” and “undermine the local economy.”12 Dixon notes that the removal of trade barriers following Nigeria’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 1995 led to a flood of imported goods from China, and this in turn led to mass closures of local factories that were unable to compete with the cheaper Chinese products. The resulting deindustrialization of northern Nigeria laid the economic conditions for the rise of the Boko Haram insurgency which still afflicts the region today.13 However, this by no means represents the inevitable outcome of local industries in Africa confronting global competition. Brautigam cites examples of local African entrepreneurs in countries like Kenya, Lesotho, and Madagascar who were able to successfully compete against Chinese and other foreign imports, in some cases thanks to the human resource development and technology transfer provided by Chinese industrial investment in their countries.14

A related claim that is commonly presented in the media about China’s alleged neocolonial exploitation of Africa is that China and its firms have been engaged in a massive land grab on the continent. In Brautigam’s calculation, if all these media reports were accurate, Chinese companies would own 6 million hectares, or 1% of Africa’s total arable land. However, the actual figure is closer to just 240,000 hectares. As she explains: “Discouraged by poor infrastructure, political instability, and the sober realization that profits were likely to prove more elusive than hoped, Chinese firms came, explored, and then often went elsewhere—most often to countries in China’s border regions: Russia, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia.”15

The small actual size of Chinese-owned farmland in Africa also disconfirms related accusations of China’s alleged neocolonial plot to transform Africa into a farm to feed the hungry masses back home in China. Recent trade data shows that China is currently importing most of its food commodities like maize and soybeans from major non-African agricultural exporters like the U.S. and Brazil. Indeed, the development of Africa’s food producers into major global food exporters will require significant investment in agricultural modernization, which means the countries concerned will have to do more to attract much-needed investment from international agricultural firms like those of China.16

With regard to journalists and researchers repeating false claims about China’s agricultural activities in Africa, similar examples can be found in reports of Chinese loans to African states. A 2011 report from Fitch Ratings calculated that loans issued to Sub-Saharan African states between 2001-10 from the Export-Import Bank of China amounted to 67.2 billion USD, “overtaking World Bank lending of USD54.7bn to Africa for the same period.”17 This claim would subsequently be repeated elsewhere. Mason, for example, repeats the claim that Chinese aid to Africa exceeded that of the World Bank.18 The suggestion that China has been inundating Africa with cheap money has various implications, including the neocolonial image of China purchasing influence from impoverished African governments. However, the Fitch claim is wrong. A recent study of Chinese loans to Africa from Johns Hopkins University’s China Africa Research Initiative (CARI) shows that a more accurate estimate of Chinese loans to Africa during 2001-10 would be 30.5 billion USD, or less than half of Fitch’s estimate. Indeed, China’s growing pledges of development aid, including concessional loans, should be differentiated from the loans that are actually agreed upon and accepted, especially since a “growing number of countries … have suspended or canceled Chinese offers of credit lines.”19 As the authors of the CARI report recount of their analysis:

“Of the 1,223 reports of Chinese loan financing that we analyzed, only 56% actually materialized and are being used. The rest turned out to be mistakes, hopes, rumors, cancelled, or real loans—but not from China.”20

Looking beyond Africa, this trend of misreporting China’s global activities is most glaringly seen in alarmist reports of China’s alleged attempts to subvert the existing Euro-American world order by creating a parallel constellation of international institutions.21 In the case of the new international financial institutions (IFIs) set up by China, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and the New Development Bank (NDB) set up by China with its BRICS partners, China has always asserted that these are intended to supplement rather than replace the existing constellation of IFIs.22 Indeed, the modest nature of the first projects to be funded by the AIIB and the NDB confirms that this is the case.23 Beyond the shores of Africa, China is also not exhibiting the behavior of an aspirational neocolonial power.

Fonte: Eurasia Review

Senegal’s Farmers Reap Rewards of Climate-Smart Agriculture

Publicado originalmente em 02 de dezembro de 2015.

Farmers are planting the seeds and harvesting the rewards of Climate-Smart Agriculture in Senegal. Climate-smart seeds, practices and technologies are helping smallholders grow more food for their families and markets, become more resilient to climate change and reduce their negative impact on the environment.

Fonte: World Bank

Entrada em vigor do Acordo de Preferências Comerciais MERCOSUL-SACU

Postado originalmente em: 04/04/2016

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O Acordo de Preferências Comerciais entre o MERCOSUL e a União Aduaneira da África Austral (SACU) entrou em vigor no dia 1º de abril de 2016. 

Assinado, em 15 de dezembro de 2008, pelos Estados Partes do MERCOSUL e, em 3 de abril de 2009, pelos Membros da SACU (África do Sul, Botsuana, Lesoto, Namíbia e Suazilândia), o Acordo MERCOSUL-SACU prevê margens de preferência de 10%, 25%, 50% e 100% para 1.050 linhas tarifárias de cada lado.

Entre os setores produtivos do MERCOSUL que se beneficiarão das preferências comerciais no âmbito do Acordo encontram-se: químico, têxtil, siderúrgico, plástico, automotivo, eletroeletrônico e de bens de capital, além de produtos agrícolas.

 As exportações brasileiras para o bloco sul africano somaram US$ 1,36 bilhão em 2015, com saldo comercial positivo para o Brasil de cerca de US$ 720 milhões. O impacto benéfico do Acordo poderá ser sentido principalmente no setor industrial, uma vez que dois terços das exportações brasileiras para a SACU (US$ 908 milhões em 2015) são formados por produtos manufaturados.

 A entrada em vigor do ACP contribuirá para a promoção do intercâmbio comercial no Atlântico Sul. Os países do MERCOSUL passarão a ter acesso facilitado a um mercado de potencial econômico significativo, constituído por cerca de 65 milhões de consumidores.

Fonte: Itamaraty

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Shattered Childhoods

Published on Mar 7, 2016

At just 16-years-old, Emmanuel Mborie-Idie is now the parent to six younger sisters. Last Christmas, gunmen stormed his village in South Sudan, killing his mother. Emmanuel and sisters fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo, his father stayed behind. A new rebellion in South Sudan has forced about 20,000 from their homes. UNHCR operations across the region are racing to help those who’ve arrived traumatized and with nothing.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Sede de África: A atuação das multinacionais brasileiras na África é uma questão em grande parte nova no País, que pode ser aperfeiçoada

Publicado originalmente em: 24/03/2016

É um Celso Amorim informal o que nos recebe em seu apartamento em Copacabana, iluminado pela tarde de verão. Longe de governos e dos rituais de sua profissão, o ex-chanceler e ex-ministro da Defesa respondeu abertamente às perguntas da Pública com bom humor e pragmatismo. Não assumiu a defensiva nem quando questionado a respeito da relação do país com governos autoritários, como o de Angola.

“O planeta Terra é um grande condomínio, eu não posso ficar escolhendo meus vizinhos”, brincou.

“Todos aqueles que partiram para impor o bem, causaram mais mal do que bem. Exemplos recentes: Iraque, Líbia…”

Orgulhoso de ter participado da aproximação entre Brasil e África no governo Lula, defende a política adotada pelo ex-presidente, de apoiar as empresas brasileiras na África. “Se você está apoiando uma empresa brasileira em relação a uma chinesa ou uma russa ou uma norte-americana é o que todos os países fazem!”. E garante: ganhar dinheiro não era a prioridade do Brasil no continente africano.

“Haviam razões comerciais também, mas eu não diriam que elas predominaram. Elas eram importantes um pouco até para satisfazer o apetite da mídia brasileira”, disse, afirmando que havia um “racismo subconsciente” que apontava como inútil a aproximação entre Brasil e África.

Confira a entrevista concedida em outubro de 2015 a Eliza Capai, Marina Amaral e Natalia Viana:

Fonte: Brasil no Mundo

UN panel chief, Thabo Mbeki, urges action plans to tackle illicit financial flow from Africa

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19 February 2016 – Addressing billions of illicit financial outflows from Africa is imperative as the continent needs domestic resources for its development, said the former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, who chairs a United Nations panel on the issue, urging the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and partner institutions to relevant elaborate action plans.

In a special briefing to the Council, Mr. Mbeki, Chair of the UN Economic Commission of Africa (UNECA) High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, said the issue of illicit financial flow came up during the discourse on how to mobilize domestic resources in the context of the newly-adopted 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

The panel was established at the 4th meeting of the Joint African Union Commission – UN-ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development in 2011. “There is now a universal consensus that illicit financial flow is a challenge requiring global action,” he said.

Issues related to illicit financial flows, such as taxation, corruption, the function of the corporate sector, and recovery of stolen assets have been identified, he said, urging ECOSOC to elaborate action plans and practical steps to be taken to address those challenges.

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015, provided a positive climate to address illicit financial flows, he said, adding that the indicators for measuring implementation of the development goals, including that for illicit financial flow, must be developed.

African countries are not simply asking others to rectify the situation, but are firmly committed to addressing the issue from within, he said. To do that, institutional capacity must be bolstered.

At an AU Summit last year, African leaders decided to prepare annual reports on implementation, he said, calling for the establishment of a coordinating mechanism between AU and ECOSOC.

ECOSOC President Oh Joon said that implementing the transformative agenda for sustainable development will present formidable challenges. These challenges will be no doubt steepest for Africa, he said.

“Stemming illicit financial flows from Africa is both an African and international challenge,” he said. “The call made by the High-Level Panel for engagement with partner institutions to elaborate a global governance framework to address this problem, therefore deserves our full attention.”

Other members of the High-level Panel also delivered presentations, followed by a question and answer session between Member States and Mr. Mbeki. Interventions were made by South Africa, Sweden, Italy, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Peru, Benin, Botswana, and Gambia.

Fonte: UN