Archivio | novembre, 2016

Franco-Chinese common investments in Africa come true.

27 Nov

Tuesday, November 15 President Francois Hollande and Chinese Vice-Prime Minister Francois Hollande signed financial agreements to turn into reality the Franco-Chinese Partnership in Third Markets Declaration signed during the visit to Paris of People’s Republic of China Prime Minister State of Affairs: Li Keqiuang on July 2, 2015. The Partnership will promote co-financing and implementation of joint projects carried out through by French and Chinese transnational companies joint ventures. Projects focus on Asian countries but especially on African continent. The investment will be concentrated in various sectors from the high finance to infrastructures.

Mr. Kai has come to Paris with a strong delegation from China Communist Party Central Committee to sign the contract to create the financing structure of this unprecedented partnership between two historical enemies that for over a decade have severely clashed for the monopoly of African markets. 3,000 m euro have been deposited by the respective central banks in to the CDC International Capital saves, a French financial institution controlled by bank group Caisse des Depots. This is an initial capital destined to reach the two billion euro by 2020. To achieve this goal the governments in Paris and Beijing intend to involve in the initiative of private financial institutions in their respective countries

The economic partnership agreements for the Asian and African markets is based on three principles.

1. The dominant role of private enterprises with the support of public authorities. Companies will be the main players in commercial and industrial partnerships in third countries. They will be subject to the respect of international law, international practices and relevant commercial principles, as well as the laws and regulations of France, China and third countries. Governments will support their private companies providing guidance and coordination to create an enabling environment and conditions for business partnerships.

2. Equal partnership and win-win cooperation. France and China want to contribute to structuring projects for local economies, strengthening their “connectivity” and supporting regional integration. This targets are vital in order to create a win-win situation where benefits will be shared with third Countries in order to avoid popular unrests and develop national economies to create more and better market opportunities for France and China enterprises.

3. Complementarity, mutual benefits, openness and inclusiveness. France and China will engage in partnerships based on their productive, technical and / or financial complementarities. They will encourage their companies to go beyond the traditional subcontracting schemes to give way to new formulas for co-production, co-production and co-financing. In addition to the private sectors, projects in third markets may be carried out by public and semi-public financial institutions and companies. Open to other countries and international and regional organizations, these partnerships could be sought potentially in all regions of the world. Nevertheless, priority will be given to Asia and Africa.

IV. France and China partnership intend to cooperate in the following areas:

1. In the fields of infrastructure and energy, promote environmentally friendly industrial partnerships between Chinese and French companies in third markets. French and Chinese companies will be encouraged to support the development of regional interconnections and the strengthening of the private sector in Europe, Africa and Asia. With regard to cooperation in the field of civil nuclear energy, these fall within the scope of the joint declaration on nuclear energy adopted on 30 June 2015.

2. Support the entry into third country markets of civil aircraft manufactured jointly by France and China.

3. In the field of transport, make the most of the respective strengths in order to strengthen co-operation in the field of high-rail and urban railway, study and discuss regions and potential co-operation. China has already lunch a serial of railway projects that will link several African Countries, increasing the regional economic integration. The railway Ethiopia – Djibouti will permit to Addis Ababa to have an access to the sea, lost after Eritrea secession. This will boom Ethiopian economy and will reduce the present border conflict dangerous situation with Eritrea that has create a war and several minor border military confrontation in the recent past. Another inter regional railways project is focus to link several East African Countries: Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania. The main objective is to assure a rapid and cheapest transport of goods linked to East Africa Community economic integration project that will support the political and social regional integration. Chinese East Africa railway network may have positive impact on regional peace. Through the market link increment several regional underground conflict may be mitigate by common economic interests between East Africa Countries. At the moment is not clear if French companies will joint these mega railways projects or will limit to participate only to new railways project in the Continent.

4. In the agricultural sector, France and China desire to make full use of the respective industrial and technical strengths to intensify bilateral cooperation in favor of food security, food safety and agricultural training with a sustainable integrating economic development approach. They hope to increase third Countries environmental performance and common wealth. Specific sectors such as animal husbandry, crop production, and issues such as agro-ecology, agricultural mechanization, rural energy can be the subject of enhanced cooperation. Paris and Beijing are intentioned to straight knowledge cooperation in agricultural with training and scientific research in order to assist developing Countries in raising the level of agricultural production and achieving the sustainable development of agriculture and agri-food industry.

In this sector the two international partners have at the moment different approach. France utilize agricultural investment in Africa to improve French companies expansion on international markets exporting African products with the advantage of free trade agreements between Africa and Europe. These agreements are mainly facilitate French companies that can export in European markets agricultural raw products or agro alimentary products without pay custom taxes. This is artificially increasing French companies competitive advantage respect European agriculture companies that are concentrate their business in Europe. China is more focus to create a strong agricultural market in Africa with the hope to monopolize it for further huge profits. The integration between these two fundamental different business approach will be the mainly problem to resolve in order to assure win-win opportunities in the sector.

5. In the health field, France and China will fight together against emerging infectious diseases and major epidemics. French and Chinese pharmaceutical industry will actively participate in the analysis of epidemics and the sharing of information. Strengthening collaboration in these areas will have a positive impact on the third Countries only if inclusive and efficient public health systems will be assured to the population by African governments. If not French and Chinese health investments will be profit to private hospital industries in East Africa monopolized by Indian corporations.

6. In the area of combating climate change, France and China wish to explore the possibility of establishing several projects in third Countries, in particular in developing countries, in the field of renewable energies. Energy efficiency, prevention, alert and disaster reduction will be the core of the intervention. France and China welcome and support efforts to accelerate the development of renewable energy in Africa and developing countries in the run-up to COP21 and COP22.

7. The finance and insurance sectors may facilitate the establishment of partnerships between French and Chinese companies in third countries, in particular: encouraging partnerships between Chinese and French financial institutions in accordance with market principles and multilateral practices; establish mechanisms for regular dialogue and information sharing among these institutions; actively develop cooperation modalities such as co-financing, parallel loans, equity investments, risk-sharing and technical assistance; develop the use of innovative financing instruments involving public and private funds in the framework of cooperation projects. The common objective is to foster the creation of a fair and open governance framework and business climate for the investment projects concerned. France and China intend to straight financial cooperation with third-party institutions in order to diversify sources of financing and provide necessary financing facilities for common industrial projects. Financial and insurance cooperation may stop the development of finance and insurance African companies now days mainly controlled by Islamic institution in North Africa, Nigeria financing holding in West Africa and Kenyan and South African bank system in East and South Africa. African financial holding lobbies may force African governments to impose nationalistic measures to protect local finance environment under menace by French and Chinese financial holdings.

Both international partner underline the importance of the Franco-Chinese High-Level Economic and Financial Dialogue and other mechanisms of dialogue and cooperation between France and China at the multilateral and bilateral level. Their interactions and coordination with international organizations, including the UN, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the regional multilateral development banks, in particular the new Asian Investment Bank (AIIB), should be enhanced and enhanced. in order to associate them with cooperation projects in third markets. French and Chinese companies will be encouraged to actively discuss opportunities to jointly response to international calls for tenders.

The Franco Chinese economic alliance if will be consolidated, is destinate to become one of the key players for productive investments in Africa. An alliance that will force Paris and Beijing to review their foreign policies on the Continent. They will be discussed all the antagonistic or unclear positions regarding relations with African countries. The two world powers will have to find compromises and common policies towards issues such Zimbabwe and Burundi. Two Countries where France and China foreign policies are currently deep different.

For France, the Franco Chinese Partnership in Third Markets implementation is a way out of the political and military logic of confrontation with the Red Dragon. A logic which is gradually moving away from trade wars and military conflicts virtually unsustainable for Parsi. For China, this alliance represents a rare opportunity to break the western front against the Chinese expansion in Africa. It’s an unexpected opportunity to access to advanced technologies. This economic agreement will permit China to slow down its very expensive military engagement in Africa. Military efforts already evident with the military cooperation agreements with Djibouti that will permit China to open its first military base in Africa. Chinese military engagement in Africa is underlined too by the first Chinese military adventure in South Sudan (2014) that is turning into a resounding failure inserted into the failure of the peacekeeping operation of the United Nations.

The Paris Beijing Financial economic axis represents a break on the policy of secret wars promoted in the last twenty years by the Bush, Clinton, Obama administrations to contain China’s advanced in Africa. Policy that will likely be maintained by the newly elected president Donald Trump. At the moment, no official reaction from the White House has been reported. The American Berlusconi is engaged in the creation of the presidential team.

The Paris Beijing axis is also a France obvious lack of confidence on European Union foreign policy of the. A foreign policy that has never managed to become common but always entrusted to guide European Power interests: Great Britain, France, Germany. With BREXIT earthquake (very favorable for Africa) and the end of the axis Berlin – Paris, France is forced to support alone the necessity to continue French African colonies domination. Colonies increasingly rebellious.

Africa is vital to prevent the French economic collapse. In face of the European Union economic treaties – Africa failure Paris seem determinate to straight the alliance with Red Dragon in order to don’t lose Africa natural resources forever. An alliance that will bring to France concrete benefits in the medium term but will increase China’s power in the world. A long-term alliance that could benefit the Asian power only.

The Paris Beijing axis can represent certain advantages for African countries. First of all the reduction of instability and conflicts created by Western powers for geopolitical domination reasons, the downsizing of the French colonial role in Africa and the possibility of access to alternative investment fonts to World Bank and IMF. These benefits will only last a few decades if the African Union will not be able to exploit foreign partners to start their own industrial revolution, strengthen the continental union process and stood on international arena as the fourth independent political and economic center. Failure to reach these target will put Africa at risk to be crushed by the imperialist logic of old and new colonial powers.

Fulvio Beltrami
Journalist, Uganda
@Fulviobeltrami

Annunci

Maasai and other indigenous people demand for direct access to climate finance

17 Nov

Indigenous communities, through their representatives, put forth their case, during the ongoing climate negotiations (COP22), on why they should be given direct access to the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

Among other demands such as recognition of and respect for their rights, the indigenous groups said that access to the climate finance will enable them to play a significant role in management of natural resources and mitigation and adaptation of climate change.

Grace Balawang of Tebtebba, an indigenous peoples’ organization based in Philippines said “indigenous people have been in direct contact with forests for a long time, have built indigenous knowledge system over the period and should therefore be supported to continue applying indigenous knowledge to protect the forests.”

Tarcila Rivera Zea of CHIRAPAQ, Peru added that despite the indigenous peoples’ wealth of knowledge, they have been hard hit by the impacts of climate change.

We are the ones that suffer the consequences of climate change when droughts, floods, landslides and typhoons occur.” Ms. Tarcila said. Through slides, she showed images of indigenous communities hit by drought and landslides.

Some medicinal plant resources useful to the indigenous communities have been lost and there have been limited efforts to recover them.” She continued.

Ms. Tarcila believes that if indigenous people get the necessary support, they will use their indigenous knowledge to create crops that are resistant to droughts, recover species that are facing extinction especially medicinal plant species important in their culture, improve and produce more environmentally friendly technology like the energy saving stoves that emit less smoke that has been part of their culture for a while.

However, the challenge standing between the communities and the necessary climate action is lack of financial muscle.

Stanley Ole Kimaren, Executive Director of Indigenous Livelihoods Partnerships, Kenya (ILEPA), said that though pastoralist groups like the Maasai have proven that there is an indigenous science behind the enhanced livelihood systems, there has not been sufficient support towards their initiatives.

What we need is funding and capacity building support to engage more robustly in climate action and livelihood enhancement.” He said.

One of the funding sources eyed by the indigenous communities is the Green Climate Fund. However, a number of hurdles hinder their access to the fund meant for adaptation and building of climate resilience among vulnerable communities.

The GCF instruments at the moment do not recognize indigenous people who are often most affected by climate change as a special constituency. We have also been excluded and marginalized from the decision making processes.” Mr. Kimaren said.

The Green Climate Fund should recognize the rights of indigenous people and address the issue of direct access or a dedicated financial arrangement for the indigenous people,” He continued.

The Global Climate Fund was established in 2010 by 194 countries party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to assist developing countries to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

We ask the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22) to provide a direct observer seat to the indigenous people to participate in the GCF discussions.”

There are approximately 370 million indigenous people in the world, belonging to 5,000 different groups, in 90 countries worldwide. They are often seen as the primary stewards of the planet’s natural resources. Their ways of life have contributed to the protection of the natural environment on which they depend on.  

Article by Jonathan Odongo
Founder and Executive Director,
Kenya Environmental Education Network

Panelists: Indigenous Peoples and Green Climate Fund. Photo/COURTESY Jonathan Odongo

What Trump Presidency might mean for climate action in Africa

15 Nov

It’s not a bad dream anymore. It’s a reality. Donald Trump has won the US election to become the most powerful person in the world.

This, however, is not good news for the victims of one of the major problems facing the world today: climate change.

Donald Trump has not only made it plain umpteen times that he does not believe in climate change but also threatened to undo President Obama’s climate agenda including the Paris Agreement if he wins.

The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” He said in one of his tweets.

Now that he has won, his victory has sent cold shivers down the spines of victims of climate change and those hard at work in the fight against the catastrophe.

To make matters worse, a precedence had been set by George W. Bush, also a US Republican president.

In 2001, after assuming office as the President of the United States, Bush trashed the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement meant to reduce current greenhouse gas emissions by putting obligation on developed countries on the basis that they are historically responsible for the current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, soon after it was signed by Bill Clinton.

It is this action that has been bedeviling the Protocol.

Donald Trump, going by his comments, may as well pull a George Bush on Paris Agreement.

If – or when – this happens, the Paris Agreement – an agreement that US under Obama administration was instrumental in seeing through – may face the same challenges as Kyoto Protocol.

This spells doom for the developing countries. Why?

Prior to COP 21, countries submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) outlining the post-2020 climate actions they intended to take to cut greenhouse gas emissions, limit temperature rise and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

A good number of developing countries outlined how they will adapt to climate change impacts and the kind of support they need to adopt low-carbon pathways and to build climate resilience.

To put in place the adaptation measures, the countries, for example Kenya, stated that implementing their INDCs is ‘subject to international support in the form of finance, investment, technology development and transfer, and capacity building’.

This international support often comes from governments and agencies like USAID (United States Agency for International Development). This literally means that under Trump presidency, no funds or support of any kind will be channelled to poor, vulnerable and developing countries to support climate action.

Donald Trump stance on climate change is a disaster for Africa.” Lina Yassen, Climate Tracker from Sudan.

Africa is already burning. The election of Trump is a disaster for our continent. The United States, if it follows through on its new President’s rash words about withdrawing from the international climate regime, will become a pariah state in global efforts for climate action. This is a moment where the rest of the world must not waver and must redouble commitments to tackle dangerous climate change,” said Geoffrey Kamese from Friends of the Earth Africa.

However, not all hope is lost. It might take up to four years before US thinks of pulling out of the agreement.

Paris in now international law and has entered into force and requires four years to pull out, making it very difficult to walk away from the table.” said Tina Johnson, US Climate Action Network Policy Director .

But who knows? President  Trump might have a change of heart. But if he even thinks of going that direction, a number of activists have vowed to lead him back on the right track in so far as climate action is concerned.  

Whilst the election of a climate denier into the White House sends the wrong signal globally. We, the grassroots movements for climate justice, will redouble our efforts, grow stronger and remain committed to stand with those on the frontline of climate injustice at home and abroad.. In the absence of leadership from our government, the international community must come together redouble their effort to prevent climate disaster,” said Jesse Bragg, from Corporate Accountability International.

Donald Trump. Photo/COURTESY Slate Magazine

Article by Jonathan Odongo
Founder and Executive Director,
Kenya Environmental Education Network

Libya. Five years of Western Chaos

4 Nov

The Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt affected Libya internal stability. Protest against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi regime erupted on February 2011, brutally crushed by the army. The force used by Gaddafi and Western interferences will soon create a dramatic civil war ended on October 20, 2011 when Libyan leader was caught and shot dead by Libyan National Transitional Council militia with the active support of French Intelligence services.

Nowadays Libya, former developed African Country and leader of Pan African Movement, is a country torn apart and divided, with to governments fighting between them and claiming the control of the Nation. The real Libya’s owner are local militias (ISIL DAESH included) that have power of live and death over the population of the areas they control. Economy is collapsed. GDP shrank by 10.2% in 2015 adding to the 24% collapse in 2014. Production of crude oil fell to the lowest level on record since the 1970s: around 0,4 million barrels par day. Western Power (Italy included) are nowadays engaged with air bombardment and military interferences in order to support Libyan factions. A Somali scenario repeated with incredible stupidity wisped the dramatic western mistakes that transformed Somali civil war erupted on 1991 in an eternal conflict with terrorist international complications.

As we assist in Somalia on 1993, Libyan local militias strategies and objectives are became oppose to the ones promoted by Western powers, transforming Libya in an African Syria. A battlefield between different imperialist and regional powers. A war without end that has full involved US. Libya should be added to disastrous adventure in Iraq and Afghanistan. In all these countries the Pax Americans has not established and the masses pay the heavy bill of American failure. Libyan situation is so negative for US foreign policy that President Barak Obama has considered 2011 Western intervention the worst mistake ever made by his Administration. U.S., France and Britain destroyed the old state apparatus in Libya creating a dangerous empty space fulfilled by Al-Qaeda and DAESH militias. What Obama did not take into account was the situation impossible to manage created by the role plaid by tribal rivalries that were temporally balance during Gaddafi’s rule.

Different actors are inside to Libyan drama. U.S., France, Britain, Italy, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Turkey. All attracted by the strategic position of this North African country with its shores on the Mediterranean Sea very close to Europe. A North African country really reach: 38% of African continent’s oli and 11% of European consumption. The government of Tripoli is supported by Qatar and Turkey. The Tobruk government, recognized by U.N and E.U, is supported by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Arab Emirates. DAESH forces still control Derna and Sierte surrounding areas. International alarms grown after the serious influence of Islamic State in Libya. In order to resolve the problem U.N. and Western Powers pushed for a national unity government against terrorism treat. The Government of National Agreement (GNA) under Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj control was created on March 30 of this year. A really weak government that has increase the conflict in the country. GNA was immediately boycotted by several former ministers, tribes and clans. Al-Serraj has been transformed in the most weak African Prime minister from the very first day of his election. Living condition of Libyan population dropped dramatically fulfill the ranges of local militias and terrorists groups. Al-Serraj’s government is still alive only thank to West support. In reality Al-Serraj has no real power but a virtual surrogate of it.

On August 2016 a new chapter in Libyan civil war has opened with US involvement. Bombing Sirte was an American decision that has make worst the situation. 330 US Air-Forces strike have not facilitated Sirte fall. Al-Baghdadi militia are still able to offer a fierce resistance. Sirte was Gaddagi’s hometown very well protected. To assure the conquer of Sirte there are need of ground troops. There is no national army in Libya so the ground troops must come from African countries or Western Powers. African Union, Arab Liguea, U.N. Europe and U.S. are showing the total absence of direct military intervention willing. They prefer to support the different Libyans militias in a never ending proxy war. The eternal battle for Sirte has weakest Al-Serraj government meantime other players are taking advantage of the situation.

Tobruk strongman General Khalifa Haftar, control Sidra and Ras lanuf oil terminals recently conquer. Haftar General is supported ny Egypt and France. French special forces are military active in Cyrenaica, regione lagerly controlled by Haftar General. Several Africans analysts consider unlikely that in the current situation Haftar will be able to restart oil production. Anyway Sidra and Ras Ianuf oil terminals and refineries are powerful weapons in his and that increase his influence over future negations about power division in Libya. GNA government has just miraculously survive to Khalifa al-Ghwell militias coupt attempt in Tripoli. Al-Ghwell strike was so determinate to force Prime Minister Al-Serray to hiding to a secret location in Tunisia. Western power have take for granted that Al-Serray is at the end of his days. Now are forced to increase their military presence in the region under usual justification of fighting Islamic terrorism.

France is one of the most active powers in this scenario. Last July, the GNA issued a protest where considering the French presence in Libya’s eastern region as a breach of international norms and sovereignty. France ignored that protest and increased its presence, a fact exposed by the crash of an airplane in Malta last Monday. At least three passengers were members of French intelligence heading for Libya.”, explain Roberto Sarti, a marxist Italian activist and expert over Libya issues.

Italy, the former colonial power, is trying not to be excluded from the division of the booty. In September they sent 300 soldiers to Libya, with “humanitarian” intentions, of course. The Italians are planning to build a military hospital in Misrata, and the official task of the troops will be “to protect the premises.” In reality they are going to protect their local proxies in Misrata and in the siege of Sirte. Not everybody is happy with the Italian initiative. The Zintani Brigade (a militia that, when it changed sides, was crucial in the fall of Gaddafi) declared that it would “not stand idly by and will face any invader with all our might,” and “we call on all Libyans to stay united and prepare to fight the new Italian invasion of our land.”

As Mr. Sarti describes the situation in Libya is assuming the character of a long a protracted civil war. An Western crime make possible by the passivity of African Union to resolve Continental issues alone, imposing democracy and human rights respect in autonomy way even with the use of African military force. The only A.U. attempt to resolve African crisis is in Somalia, where African troops AMISOM are fighting Al-Shabaab and DAESH militias, under Uganda command. A fight weakened by the withdraw of Ethipian troops decided by Addis Abeba government in order to face Oromo rebellion.


Fulvio Beltrami

Freelance Journalist
@Fulviobeltrami