Archive for June 24th, 2007

source: allAfrica
Inter Press Service (Johannesburg)

23 June 2007
Posted to the web 24 June 2007

Christi Van Der Westhuizen

Development plans like the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are “just words” if financing is not made available to implement the plans, says Jeffrey Sachs, Nobel Prize winning economist and head of the Earth Institute at New York’s Columbia University.

IPS spoke to Sachs at the Local Governments’ International Mid-Term Evaluation Conference on the U.N. Millennium Development Goals which ended in Rome Saturday. He told conference delegates that developed countries’ financing of the MDGs is “totally inadequate”.

“Don’t believe them when they say there is no money. There is more wealth than ever before. The money is just not getting channeled to people who are so poor that they are dying. There is no shortage of money in the world. There has been a shortage of follow-through from rich countries.”

He said that donors need to be helped to understand that the MDGs “are not just nice ideas” but that they can be reached with specific interventions. Researchers have spent years developing strategies to achieve the MDG on child mortality, for example. “But now interventions are not done in a systematic way. That is where the break is.”

Sachs is critical of the lack of donor accountability. The MDGs are very specific and require specific interventions, he said. But these interventions are not being implemented because there is no public accountability. “Jobs do not depend on the achievement of the targets so there is no sense of urgency (on the side of developed countries),” said Sachs.

“If anything goes wrong, Africa is blamed. And then the response is to build capacity.”

But, the large sums of donor money currently being spent on “capacity building” are wasted if money is not also spent on [continue reading]


United States seeks input from Africans, other partners

By Jim Fisher-Thompson
USINFO Staff Writer

Washington – The new Defense Department command in Africa, AFRICOM, will be unique in its mission and command structure, according to a senior Defense Department official.

Ryan Henry, principal Defense Department under secretary for policy, told reporters June 21 and June 22 that the United States is consulting extensively with African nations and other allies as planning for the new command, which is expected to become operational in the fall of 2008, continues.

Henry, who recently returned from his second round of consultations on AFRICOM, said he met with senior defense and foreign ministry officials from Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Djibouti and the African Union on his latest trip.  French officials also discussed AFRICOM with him during a stopover in Paris, where he also met with military attaches from 40 countries.

“We explained the broad outlines and goals of AFRICOM and then sought their viewpoints … as their inputs are valuable to us as we start to make the decisions about the way ahead,” Henry said.

The administration in February announced its intention to create AFRICOM.  Until now, U.S. military involvement in Africa has been shared among the U.S. European Command, the U.S. Central Command and the U.S. Pacific Command.  Defense Secretary Robert Gates called this [continue reading]

source: The Voice

By Chedza Simon
Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA) has awarded Mascom Wireless a 15 year Service and Technology Neutral License.

BTA Chief Executive Officer Thari Pheko said the neural license is another transformation process in the telecommunications sector.  He said the award of the licenses, which Botswana telecommunication Corporation (BTC) and Orange Botswana have, will enhance competition among the three operators. “The new license is elevating Mascom to the elite league joining BTC and Orange as the main players in the market. The current framework will help operators to operate in a way that does not restrict methods and modes of provision of the telecommunication services. We believe the framework will foster innovation and that alternative facilities designed to meet the needs of the market place will be explored.  Any restrictions on the method of provision of service may cause investment distortion and result in higher prices to consumers, a situation we do not want to see in the market,” said Pheko.

One of the key functions for BTA as a regulator, he said,  was to ensure that there was an effective competition in the telecommunication market, which was critical in making Botswana a globally competitive economy.  “BTA is committed to liberalising the market and promoting fair and effective competition,” he said.

Pheko said the transition from monopoly to competition in the telecommunications market in Botswana has been quite challenging as they had to settle some disputes whilst at the same time focusing on achieving their regulatory role. “Competition in the telecommunications sector has grown unevenly across different regions of the country and at different levels. Delivery of telecommunication  services outside cities and some districts remains elusive. This may have been exacerbated by the licensing regime which was technology and service specific  and to a larger extent, the operator’s lack of capital for infrastructure expansion in less economically viable areas,” said the CEO.

According to Pheko, the imbalance would be corrected under the current licensing regime of service and technology neutrality. “Competition was mainly among the two mobile operators while the incumbent fixed operator continued to enjoy monopoly on the provision of fixed telephony services and other related services. We have now taken a step further to have all the three operators compete on an equal footing in offering all forms of communications services using any technology of their choice,” he explained.

To enhance competition, Pheko said, the market has to be structured in such a way that the sector could spur tangible economic development and benefits, where the majority of the people could have access to service, through expansion of network coverage and competitive tariffs. “In Botswana, the issue of service affordability  and availability have long constituted the biggest challenge to the provision of universal access.

Mascom Chief Executive Officer Jose Geraldes Gomes expressed his excitement at the new license. “We rededicate our full commitment to the development of the ICT sector in this country in general. We fully support the liberalisation initiatives introduced recently and are more than ready to participate,” he said. The Voice 

source: The Midweek Sun
by Ntibinyane Ntibinyane

6/17/2007 5:42:53 AM (GMT +2)

Justice, Defence and Security Minister, Phandu Skelemani last week told Francistown residents that the proposed Security and Intelligence law would not be used to spy on adulterous men and women as some politicians believe. Skelemani said this when addressing Francistown residents on the bill at Donga customary court on Friday.

“There are some people within us, including some honourable Members of Parliament who are afraid that the law is going to be used to get information about their private lives. Ba bangwe ba tsaya gore mapodise a sephiri ba tsile go re ba sala morago le ha re tsena ko go bo mma se mang-mang,” said Skelemani.

The Minister assured the residents that the law would be used to guard the interests of Botswana in and outside the country and that the security officers will not be allowed to dig into other people’s private lives and affairs.

“The President would not allow the security officers to report to him such issues that are private. In fact he would be surprised if the officers are to do it,” said Skelemani adding that the law would not be used to address petty issues.

He also said that some people fear that the security officers would use information to blackmail them into cooperating with the police.

“The security officers would not be allowed to blackmail any one using his or her private life details to get certain information. The head of the security intelligence division would punish officers who would be found doing that accordingly. Nna ha ba ka tla ko go nna ba mpha dikgang tsa matshelo a batho ke tla ba bolelela gore ha ba kgotshe tiro ba tlogele,” he said further saying that no one would be immune from the law.

He also assured politicians that [continue reading]

source: news24
23/06/2007 20:32  – (SA)

Johannesburg – An 18-month-old baby girl is in a serious condition after she was attacked by a leopard at a game farm just outside Heilbron in the Free State, paramedics said on Saturday.

ER24 spokesperson Riana Beech said the family had been visiting the farm on the R57 around 15:40 when she was attacked by the leopard.

“According to eyewitnesses on scene, the girl’s father was holding her in his arms when the leopard somehow managed to grab her through the fence,” said Beech.

She said the little girl sustained serious facial injuries and was transported to the Midvaal Hospital, in the Three Rivers area.

She was in a serious condition.

“Her father sustained injuries to his left hand and was also transported to hospital in a stable condition,” she said.

Beech said it was not known how the animal managed to attack the family through the fence. news24