Archive for July 21st, 2007
20 July 2007
U.S. officials also unveil range of other initiatives at forum on trade act
By Jim Fisher-Thompson
USINFO Staff Writer
ccra, Ghana – The Sixth Annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum was capped July 19 with the announcement by top U.S. government officials of initiatives to strengthen the export-boosting trade measure first passed by Congress in 2000.
A new faculty exchange program will try to build the capacity of agricultural institutions in Africa, a continent overly dependent on oil and gas exports, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a video link with the more than 1,000 officials, businessmen and civil society representatives meeting July 18-19 in Accra.
Forum members who deliberated on how best to optimize AGOA’s trade benefits agreed that a more diverse range of exports is needed and that Africa’s agricultural sector should be strengthened. Some 6,400 African products are allowed duty-free, quota-free entry into U.S. markets under AGOA, but oil and gas products now account for more than 80 percent of those exports.
“In recent years, we have expanded our cooperation together” with several initiatives meant to help African businesses compete more successfully in the global economy, Rice said. “Now, we are building on those good efforts with a new initiative” aimed at making African agricultural products more competitive.
To do so, “African agricultural products must meet the sanitary requirements of developed countries,” Rice told the AGOA audience. “To help you reach this goal, we are instituting a new faculty exchange program to bring some of the best African agricultural specialists to study at American universities,” she said.
Beginning in August, the new U.S.-Africa Sanitary-Phytosanitary Capacity Building Program will partner with African scientists and scholars to promote sound agricultural teaching and research techniques.
During the first year of the program, two U.S. universities, Ohio State and Texas A&M, will host seven faculty members from six AGOA countries: Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda.
The exchange program, along with several expansions of AGOA’s favorable trade provisions carried out during the Bush administration, “signifies America’s enduring, bipartisan support for Africa’s trade and development efforts,” Rice said.
“We are here to put agriculture to work for [continue reading]
July 21 2007 at 02:05PM
By Fiona Gounden and Noor-Jehan Yoro Badat
Traffic offenders can look forward to a discount of up to 50 percent on their fines if they pay within 32 days – and errant motorists can even opt to pay their fines in instalments.
Thabo Tsholetsane, the spokesperson for the Road Traffic Management Corporation, said the pilot project would take place in Tshwane – Pretoria – “early in the new year”.
It is hoped the new system, part of the new Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences demerit system, will remove the “stress” on the courts and reduce their workloads by offering incentives to motorists to pay their fines.
While the proposed discount on traffic fines will be good news for motorists, the new system will also result in motorists getting demerits for various offences, which could lead to their losing their driver’s licences if they exceed a certain number of points.
Commenting on the new discounted and easy-pay system, Tsholetsane said: “This will really take away the administration work from the courts.
“If an offender pays early then it is a [continue reading]
source: SW Radio Africa
By Violet Gonda
20 July 2007
All systems in Zimbabwe are collapsing. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get through on the phone, there are extensive electricity and water cuts, supermarkets are empty of basic commodities, long queues for fuel have resurfaced and businesses are near collapse. The economic meltdown has resulted in thousands of Zimbabweans fleeing the country daily.
Outspoken political analyst Dr John Makumbe said this is how Robert Mugabe has fast-tracked his own demise but he expressed disappointment in the pro-democracy movement in Zimbabwe for failing to capitalize on the crisis.
He said: “In the past the affected people used to be only sections of the population, either the very poor or the students, the progressive forces, the opposition parties, the media or the lawyers. This time it’s everyone including the rich themselves, including ZANU PF members, including the army, including the police.”
The analyst said the nation is on the verge of total collapse and people are literally starving as they can’t find food in the shops, but there is no opposition to mobilize the masses.
Dr Makumbe said it’s unfortunate that even Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono is becoming more vocal than the pro-democracy movement. He urged the opposition movement to focus and [continue reading]
The Monitor (Kampala)
21 July 2007
Posted to the web 20 July 2007
EUROPEAN medical authorities have approved modalities for ensuring that a new, low-cost anti-malarial drug is fast-tracked and delivered to African countries including Uganda to curb the country’s number one killer as soon as possible.
The drug, dubbed Eurartesim, belongs to the Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies (ACTs), and is a combination of dihydroartemisinin (DHA) and piperaquine, a combination that has been proven to clear the malaria parasites from the body in just three days.
Save the Children, a British charity said in a press release Thursday that the new drug had achieved orphan status in Europe at the 8th meeting of the Committee for Orphan Medical Products of the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (EMEA) that took place late last month. The granting of the “orphan drug” status is designed to encourage the development of drugs that are necessary but would be prohibitively expensive/un-profitable to develop under normal circumstances.
Dr Marco Corsi, the medical director of Sigma Tau Industrie Farmaceutiche reunite S.p.A. (Italy), which is developing the drug, said the achievement could allow a quicker submission to the health authorities in endemic countries.
“Therefore, this drug is likely to get onto national antimalarial drug policies much quicker. This is very good news for sub-Saharan Africa but more so for Uganda because this drug is administered once a day for three days and an adult dose is likely to cost less than one US dollar,” said Dr Corsi.
Dr Ambrose Talisuna, field coordinator of [continue reading]
Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)
20 July 2007
Posted to the web 20 July 2007
President Robert Mugabe and his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki are set on a collision course at the Sadc meeting in Zambia next month following the collapse of inter-party talks between Zanu PF and the MDC aimed at resolving the Zimbabwean crisis.
Mbeki, who has postponed direct talks on several occasions after the Zanu PF negotiating team failed to turn up in at the venue in Pretoria, has nothing tangible for Sadc leaders who selected him to facilitate talks between the two parties at a summit in Dar es Salaam in March.
The next Sadc meeting is in Zambia on August 12. The flimsy excuses given by Zanu PF for failure to attend the talks have raised suspicion that Mugabe could have snubbed the Sadc initiative in the face of a self-destructing opposition. The two MDC formations are represented by their secretary-generals, lawyers Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti.
Zanu PF key negotiators, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and Labour minister Nicholas Goche, again did not turn up for negotiations scheduled to resume in Pretoria last week.
However, South Africa’s Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said the Zanu PF team had last week failed to attend the talks because of “prior commitments”. He said the delegation had apologised to the South African government.
Mamoepa denied claims that the talks had collapsed. Mbeki himself recently reported “progress” in the mediation effort.
The process is being conducted under a media blackout.
Sources said Mugabe was unhappy that Mbeki appears sympathetic to calls for a new constitution before Zimbabwe’s first joint parliamentary and presidential elections next year and the proposal for [continue reading]