Friday, June 15, 2007

World Bank Reports African Rennaissance possible?

African Rennaissance is Possible- The Greening of Africa

Kof Annan and Bill Gates Join for the Green Revolution in Africa

Today’s Headlines: Thursday, June 14, 2007, 2007

Africa's AIDS Epidemic Slowing - World Bank
Germany Urges World Bank to Focus on Africa, Climate Change
Kofi Annan Named As Head Of New Body To Boost Agriculture In Africa
Lack of Networks Hampers Entrepreneurs
Reducing Environmental Risks Could Save 13 Million Lives Annually, Report
Also in This Edition: WHO Says Studying Bird Flu Vaccine Insurance Policy;
Briefly Noted

Africa's AIDS Epidemic Slowing - World Bank

"The pace of Africa's deadly AIDS epidemic is slowing as communities are
empowered to help themselves in tandem with better delivery of condoms and
live-saving treatments, a World Bank report [Condoms, Drugs, NGOs, Slow
HIV in Africa] said on Wednesday.

Launched in ...Kigali, the study noted a marked increase in access to HIV
prevention, care and treatment programs... The World Bank report said the
epidemic was showing signs of slowing in Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe, as
well as in urban Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi and Zambia.

'The mobilization of empowered 'grassroots' communities, along with
delivering condoms and life-saving treatments, are beginning to slow the
pace of the ... epidemic,' the study said, without giving specific
statistics for the decrease. Southern Africa, however, remains the
epicenter of the disease with unprecedented infection rates, the report
added. ...

The study assesses the results of the Bank's six-year $1.28 billion
Multi-Country HIV/AIDS Program (MAP), set up in 2000 to increase access to
prevention, care and treatment plans. ...But the Bank said HIV/AIDS would
remain an enormous economic, social and human challenge to sub-Saharan
Africa for the foreseeable future. ..." [Reuters/Factiva]

BBC News adds that "Figures from the World Bank put the prevalence of Aids
in Rwanda at about 3%, down from 11% seven years ago. ... In Francistown,
a city in Botswana bordering Zimbabwe, 70% of women in their early 30s
were found to be HIV-positive, according to a 2004 household survey. Last
year, the epidemic killed more than 2m people in Africa.

Global funding for HIV more than quadrupled between 2001 and 2005, from
less than $2bn to more than $8bn, but falls short of what countries need,
says [Joy Phumaphi, of the World Bank's Human Development Network, a
former health minister of Botswana] . The reports says there is no single
ideal Aids programme and each country must design their own, based on what
drives the epidemic in that region." [BBC News]

Germany Urges World Bank to Focus on Africa, Climate Change

"German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul on Wednesday urged
Robert Zoellick, the US nominee to head the World Bank, to focus on Africa
and climate change during his mandate.

'The fight against climate change and the advancement of renewable
energies must become central tasks for the World Bank,' Wieczorek-Zeul
said after meeting with Zoellick in Berlin. Wieczorek-Zeul, who was one of
the leading voices calling for previous World Bank President Paul
Wolfowitz to stand down, praised Zoellick for his international experience
and negotiating talent. 'I am certain that he fulfills all the
requirements for the post of World Bank president,' Wieczorek-Zeul said.

Wieczorek-Zeul also urged Zoellick to make Africa a priority if, as is
widely expected, he is elected to the top job at the development
institution. ... Zoellick said that after a day of discussions with
officials in Berlin, 'I came away with the sense that there has certainly
been no lessening of the commitment to African development on the part of
Europe.' 'There is a very strong interest in Europe about African
development,' he added. ..." [Deutsche Welle (Germany)/Factiva]

AFP reports that "Zoellick said Wednesday he was confident he can overcome
the 'period of turmoil' caused by the scandal surrounding the Bank's
former head. 'There is no doubt that the institution has been through a
period of turmoil and I think that one of the tasks of a new president
will be to try to calm the waters,' Zoellick said after talks with

'I think the best way to do that, to start, is by tapping the incredible
expertise and knowledge and perspective on some of the issues. But my hope
is that the people who have been drawn to the Bank who I have met over the
past 20 years have really come because of a very strong commitment to the
mission of development. 'And again what I have seen in both the public and
private sector is that the best way to mobilize people is to have a sense
of common mission and purpose,' Zoellick said. ..." [Agence France

Kofi Annan Named As Head Of New Body To Boost Agriculture In Africa

"Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is to head a new organization
intended to boost agricultural production in Africa and curb mounting
hunger, soil erosion and lack of water.

Annan said Thursday [at the annual African meeting of the World Economic
Forum (WEF)] that he has agreed to be chairman of the Alliance for a Green
Revolution in Africa, set up last year by a grant of $150 million from the
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

The alliance says its most pressing priorities are to improve seed
varieties; help women, who form the backbone of the continent's farmers;
and improve water management. The situation is likely to worsen with
climate change, expected to wreak havoc with crop yields that already are
well below the global average, he said...

Aid agencies are sounding the alarm that drought is expected to devastate
this year's maize harvest in southern Africa, leaving millions of people
in countries like Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho dependent on foreign
handouts. ..." [The Associated Press/Factiva]

In related WEF news, Reuters writes that Li Ruogu, Chairman and President
of the Export-Import Bank of China told a press conference that
"...African countries need to focus on development first rather than on
transparency and reforms as pre-conditions for economic growth. ...He said
countries like the US, Britain and Japan struggled with issues of good
governance hundreds of years ago as they sought to develop their
economies. Some of those countries still have lingering issues of
governance to sort out, he said.

Although he stressed that he was speaking in his own capacity, Li sought
to defend his country's role in Africa, saying its involvement on the
continent was to bolster growth. ...Li said his bank had invested in more
than 300 projects across the world's poorest continent, where he said he
had traveled widely to more than 20 states and found that the overriding
desire by Africans was to improve living standards. ..." [Reuters/Factiva]

Meanwhile Xinhua reports that "Britain Wednesday announced to provide $20
million over three years to the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF).
The announcement was made by Baroness Amos, leader of the House of Lords,
at a press conference at the WEF on Africa in Cape Town.

The AECF will provide match-funding for business innovations and support
businesses to help people in Africa become economically active. ...Britain
became one of the first donors to get behind the new fund. Other donors
include the African Development Bank, the Consultative Group to Assist the
Poor and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

The AECF will become operational in early 2008. It will offer grants of up
to $1.5 million dollars to businesses that provide innovative proposals
for improving people's chances to take part in economic activity,
particularly in the areas of finance and agriculture. ..." [Xinhua

The Star writes that "...The new fund sought to encourage private
businesses, complementing the efforts of aid organizations to address
poverty, Amos said. One example of the projects it may help fund is a cell
phone system in Kenya that enables people without bank accounts to
transfer money. ..." [The Star (South Africa)/Factiva]

Lack of Networks Hampers Entrepreneurs

An FT report on leading businesswomen writes that "For some women it is
the bureaucratic barriers that have to be tackled when they attempt to get
licenses or register companies in male-dominated business sectors. For
others it is the challenge of overcoming perceptions and having to work
that much harder to be accepted. And for all there is the problem of
networking - how to compete with men who are able to thrash out deals and
talk contracts in coffee shops and at diwans and other social events from
which women are often excluded.

Setting up a business in the Middle East is a tough exercise for both
sexes because of cumbersome bureaucracies, the high level of start-up
capital required and poorly functioning judiciaries and regulatory
frameworks. But for women operating in traditionally conservative
societies the challenges can be exacerbated by age-old discrimination and
prejudices. ...

Yet despite the hurdles, there are many ... examples of successful
businesswomen throughout the region. The key is getting over the initial
barriers, says Nadereh Chamlou, a senior adviser at the World Bank. 'In
the Middle East, surprisingly, we have a large number of women
entrepreneurs, which defies perception,' she says. 'What is happening is
you have businesswomen in the very large sectors so the issue is once they
make it over the entry barriers they are able to compete and move up the
ladder. The problem is getting started and standing on your feet.'

She says the main barriers for women seeking to start-up companies are:
access to capital; the lack of networks for women to mingle with other
business people and potential clients; and the challenges of juggling
running a family with managing a business. ..." [The Financial Times

Meanwhile, in a separate piece, the FT further reports that "When the
International Finance Corporation, the World Bank's private sector arm,
asked Arab women entrepreneurs in a recent survey to list their business
concerns, lack of access to finance was a common complaint. The survey
found that very few women were using formal bank credit to finance their
expansion, turning instead to personal savings, family and friends and
reinvesting their earnings. Those who did seek to borrow faced the
obstacles of high interest rates but also lack of collateral or track

Although the women interviewed did not perceive this as gender
discrimination, experts say many banks are, in practice, wary of lending
to women, sometimes asking for fathers or husbands to sign for a loan. ...
As the number of women entrepreneurs rises, however, some bankers are
starting to smell an opportunity. ..." [The Financial Times (UK)/Factiva]

Reducing Environmental Risks Could Save 13 Million Lives Annually, Report

"Tackling air pollution, contaminated drinking water and other
environmental risks could save 13 million lives annually around the globe,
according to a new report Wednesday.

The Environmental Burden of Disease: Country profiles report, released by
the World Health Organization (WHO), shows that Angola, Burkina Faso, Mali
and Afghanistan... are among the countries most affected by environmental
risk factors that also include noise pollution, hazards in the work place,
agricultural methods, and climate change.

In 23 of the 192 countries focused on in the report, more than 10 percent
of deaths can be traced to just two risk factors - unsafe drinking water
and indoor air pollution because of the burning of so-called solid fuels -
including wood, cow dung or coal - for cooking, the WHO said. ...Speaking
in Vienna, WHO officials stressed the report was just a preliminary
estimate of how environmental factors impact health, adding they hoped
countries would now take steps to improve their specific situations. ..."
[The Associated Press/Factiva]

AFP notes that "...poor countries suffer the most from ill health caused
by a person's surroundings or social conditions, including poor quality
water supplies, air pollution, work-related stress, unhealthy lifestyles
and road accidents, the WHO said. China and India account for about 38
percent of the global deaths due to environmental health problems...

The problems faced by individual countries were revealed in a new
breakdown of global figures released a year ago, including a worldwide
annual death toll of 13 million due to environmental health problems. ...

The WHO has repeatedly warned in recent years that poorer countries face
new problems with lifestyle diseases caused by smoking or fatty foods as
they start to get wealthier, without necessarily shedding their old ones
with infectious diseases." [Agence France Presse/Factiva]

Also in This Edition: WHO Says Studying Bird Flu Vaccine Insurance Policy;
Briefly Noted

WHO Says Studying Bird Flu Vaccine Insurance Policy. "The World Health
Organization (WHO) made a unique proposition on Wednesday - what if big
donors' pooled resources to take out private insurance to pay for vaccines
in the case of bird flu pandemic?

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said the organization had been given
more preparation time than it could have hoped for ahead of an influenza
pandemic. Chan said the WHO was using that time to study various financing
options to allow poor developing nations to receive vaccines and prevent a
pandemic catastrophe that could kill millions of people. ...

Taking donations to buy vaccines before an outbreak may not please
cost-conscious donors, said Chan, but it may make more sense to have
organizations donate money to pay for an insurance policy premium. ...
Chan said the world had an unprecedented chance to have vaccines ready to
coincide with the outbreak of a pandemic. ..." [Reuters/Factiva]

In related news AP reports that "Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline
PLC has agreed to donate 50 million doses of H5N1 vaccine to the WHO in an
attempt to create a pandemic vaccine stockpile for poor countries, company
officials announced Wednesday. The vaccines will be delivered over a
three-year period and should provide enough doses for 25 million people;
two shots per person will be needed. ...

While the stockpile is a reassuring development in pandemic preparedness
planning, many questions remain. WHO has not said how the vaccine
stockpile might be distributed... Nor has WHO addressed the question of
how the vaccines might be delivered. ...

Many of these questions, including the operational details of where the
stockpile would be kept, will be addressed by WHO and partners in the
coming months. [The Associated Press/Factiva]

Reuters adds that GlaxoSmithKline Plc "chief executive, Jean-Pierre
Garnier, also urged governments of major European countries like Germany,
France, Italy, Spain and Britain to place orders to secure a supply for
their populations. ... Garnier told reporters Glaxo was also ready to sell
stocks at preferential prices to the non-profit GAVI Alliance, which could
result in tight global supply. ..." [Reuters/Factiva]

Briefly Noted... Rich countries' pledges of more aid to Africa are
undermined by the lack of a delivery timetable which prevents the world's
poorest nations from planning development, the International Monetary Fund
said on Wednesday. [Reuters/Factiva]

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday said the 2007 economic
outlook for Mali was 'broadly positive' due to higher gold prices, with
GDP likely to grow by around 5 percent, from 5.3 percent last year. In a
statement on Wednesday, following a June 13 mission to the Western African
country, the IMF also said inflation in Mali was set to remain at a low 2
percent this year. [Reuters/Factiva]

Zimbabwe's inflation accelerated to 4,530 percent in May from 3,713.9 in
April on an annual basis as President Robert Mugabe's government looks
unable to break the inflation cycle that has left consumers impoverished
and the economy in deep crisis. [Zim Online (South Africa)/BBC

Latin America's private sector must become a motor to generate employment
and improve conditions for eradicating poverty in the region, stated World
Bank Regional Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, Pamela
Cox. During her participation in the 'Accounting & Accountability for
Regional Economic Growth' conference, organized by the World Bank, she
said Latin America has made progress in increasing exports and reducing
external debt. [Notimex (Mexico)/Factiva]

The amount of land dedicated to cultivating coca, the raw material in
cocaine, increased 7 percent last year in Peru, the world's second biggest
producer of the crop, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said in an annual
report released in Lima said Wednesday. [The Associated Press/Factiva]

China came under increased pressure to revalue its currency on Wednesday
as a bipartisan group of US senators introduced legislation designed to
push the Bush administration towards a full-blown trade dispute with
Beijing. [The Financial Times (UK)]

The UK will give $490 million in aid to India to help reduce the number of
children dying before their fifth birthday, Britain's Minister for
International Development, Gareth Thomas, said in a statement on
Wednesday. The aid will go to Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh
and will be used to improve healthcare for socially excluded groups like
lower castes, ethnic groups and minorities such as Muslims.

Russia has to complete negotiations with countries concerned about the
transparency, predictability and quality of its economic system before it
can join the World Trade Organization, the body's director-general Pascal
Lamy said Wednesday. [The Associated Press/Factiva]

Croatia is unlikely to join the EU before 2010 and is also seen struggling
to cut its budget deficit to below three percent of GDP, a Reuters
quarterly poll showed on Wednesday. Five analyst put 2010 as the entry
year, four opted for 2011 and one for 2012. [Reuters/Factiva]

Formal talks between Serbia and the EU resumed Wednesday and Belgrade was
offered the prospect of closer ties with Brussels. The first negotiations
in a year mark a significant improvement in relations between the two
sides based on improved Serbian cooperation with the UN war crimes
tribunal in The Hague. [The International Herald Tribune]

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday the UN is considering
sending a multinational force to Gaza, where conflicts among rival
Palestinian factions are escalating. [Xinhua (China)/Factiva]

The European Commission proposed a EUR 1.6 billion ($2.13 billion)
public-private plan to help Europe's air-transportation industry develop
environmentally friendly technologies to reduce pollution emitted by
planes. The Clean Sky program would begin next year. The largest single
portion of the EU funding, 27%, would go toward developing more efficient
engines. [The Wall Street Journal]

A UN target to halve maternal mortality will be missed unless more women
in poor countries get access to safe blood transfusions, the World Health
Organisation warned on Thursday. In a statement marking World Blood Donor
Day, it called for more blood donations, better tests of donated blood,
and closer monitoring of severe bleeding risks during and after childbirth
to save women's lives in the developing world. [Reuters/Factiva]

No comments:

Post a Comment