Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Africa Open for Global Business? WSF is challenged by Land and people development and investment

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This summary is prepared by the External Affairs Department of the World Bank. All material is taken directly from published and copyright wire service stories and newspaper articles. The daily summary and other news can be found on the World Bank’s external website at http://www.worldbank.org/news. For inquiries call (202) 473-7660 or send a written request to the News Bureau.
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Today’s Headlines:
  • World Social Forum Denounces Land Grabbing In Africa
  • Southern Sudan Votes 98.83 Percent To Secede
  • Tunisian Prime Minister Says Uprising Cost At Least $5 Billion
  • Egypt Raises $2.2 Billion In Treasury Auction
World Social Forum Denounces Land Grabbing In Africa. “The World Social Forum on Monday denounced land grabbing in Africa by foreign groups…. Bernard Pineau of the Catholic Committee against Hunger and Development said the purchases of land were made not only by multinational companies such as South Korea's Daewoo in Madagascar, but also by states such as Saudi Arabia, ‘to the detriment of small farmers.’…” [Agence France Presse/Factiva]
Bloomberg adds that “…African countries should pursue a ‘green revolution’ to protect the world’s poorest continent from rising global food prices, said former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. ‘There can be no sovereignty without food sovereignty,’ he told a meeting of the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal. ‘I am convinced that Africa has all the conditions necessary to follow the path trailed by Brazil, with the promotion of a green revolution.’…
Lula urged African countries to unite politically and distance themselves from ‘the major world powers’ by forging ties with other developing nations….” [Bloomberg]
Deutsche Welle writes that “…the annual World Social Forum was founded in 2001 as an alternative to the business-oriented World Economic Forum. The forum defines itself as a platform for those ‘opposed to neoliberalism and a world dominated by capital or any form of imperialism.’…” [Deutsche Welle (Germany)]
Southern Sudan Votes 98.83 Percent To Secede. “Southern Sudan was well on track to become the world's newest state Monday after final results of its historic independence referendum showed that 98.83 percent of its people had voted for succession…. ‘The referendum was correct, accurate and transparent and we have no objection to the results,’ Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil, chairman of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission, said….” [Agence France Presse/Factiva]
Deutsche Welle adds that “…Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has formally issued a decree accepting the result of last month’s referendum in southern Sudan overwhelmingly in favor of secession from the north…. The outcome of the referendum seals the division of Africa's largest country geographically, but also ushers in a period of uncertainty as the two sides grapple with unresolved issues….” [Deutsche Welle (Germany)]
AP reports that “…decades of war and poverty have kept Southern Sudan in a decrepit state, and its 8.7 million people live in one of the least developed regions in the world. The UN says a 15-year-old girl here has a higher chance of dying in childbirth than finishing school. An estimated 85 percent of the population is illiterate. Adding to the challenges, the prices of some everyday goods like sugar, soap and cooking oil have increased by more than 50 percent in recent weeks….
A new currency must be established. Diplomatic missions need to be opened. And a country name must be chosen. Critical negotiations still must be held with the north to decide on citizenship rights, oil rights and even the final border demarcation….” [Associated Press/Factiva]
Tunisian Prime Minister Says Uprising Cost At Least $5 Billion. “Tunisia's recent uprising cost the country at least $5 billion to $8 billion, said the interim Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi…. ‘The needs going forward are even more significant,’ he said. ‘Companies have suffered losses, because factories were set on fire, some employees were laid off, some goods weren't exported, and tourists didn't arrive.’…” [Dow Jones/Factiva]
FT adds that “…the government estimates that foreign tourism, which accounts for more than 6 percent of the country’s $100 billion economy, plunged by 40 percent, in terms of both arrivals and revenue. Public infrastructure suffered significant damage in the unrest, with police stations, national guard posts, tax offices, government employment centers and schools among the buildings burnt down….” [Financial Times]
AP reports that “…Ghannouchi said foreign aid and investment is needed ‘to protect the Tunisian experiment.’… The prime minister says that to safeguard democracy ‘we must undertake massive and speedy investment in the regions, especially in the most underprivileged regions.’…” [Associated Press/Factiva]
Egypt Raises $2.2 Billion In Treasury Auction. “Egyptian financial officials promised to restart the stock market in a week and raised more than $2 billion through Treasury Bills on Monday, as the government pushed to maintain investor confidence in the country…. The Central Bank's T-bill auction drew $2.2 billion in offers, providing the government with a rare bit of good news in a week in which predictions of the protests' impact included a devaluation of the Egyptian pound by as much as 25 percent and a cut in GDP growth from 5.3 percent to roughly 3.7 percent….” [Associated Press/Factiva]
Meanwhile, AFP reports that “…Egypt's government has agreed to raise public sector salaries and pensions by 15 percent, the state-controlled MENA news agency reported on Monday…. It will become effective in April, MENA said, quoting new Finance Minister Samir Radwan who added that the cabinet's legislative committee had approved the raise. Increasing allocations for civilian and military pensioners will cost the treasury $940 million, Radwan said….” [Agence France Presse/Factiva]
In related news, Xinhua writes that “…Radwan said on Monday the government would not seek any aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to compensate losses due to massive protests that swept Egypt for the past two weeks. The Governor of Central Bank of Egypt Farouk el-Okda sent an official message on Friday to inform the IMF that Egypt is not in need of any monetary or financial assistance as it plans to take several local measures to face the current crisis….” [Xinhua/Factiva]
Also in This Edition, Briefly Noted World Bank Vice-President for the African Region Oby Ezekwesili averred that urgent intervention is needed to salvage the state of education in Nigeria as the sector had witnessed steady deterioration in recent decades owing to inadequate investment and poor implementation of policies. [African Press Association]
Ethiopia and the UN said on Monday 2.8 millions Ethiopians will need emergency food aid in 2011, and appealed for $227 million to fund programs for the first six months. [Reuters/Factiva]
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has told a gathering of business and economics students in Sao Paulo that the US is ready to support a greater role for Brazil at the International Monetary Fund and in other multilateral forums. [Dow Jones/Factiva]
The EU on Monday gave the Dominican Republic EUR25 million for social development programs. [Xinhua/Factiva]
Poverty worsened in the Philippines over the past decade despite strong economic growth, with one in four people now living on a dollar a day or less, the government said Tuesday. [Agence France Presse/Factiva]
Sri Lanka's central bank on Tuesday shrugged off food inflation fears and held interest rates at six-year lows as expected, saying export earnings growth and adequate rice stocks should offset any supply shocks. [Reuters/Factiva]
The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Fijian government have taken a collaborative approach to child protection by signing a Child Protection Multi Year Work Plan for 2011-2012. [Xinhua/Factiva]
Syria's national social aid fund will start handing out financial aid to families living below the poverty line next Sunday, according to the official daily Al-Thawra. [Agence France Presse/Factiva]

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