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THE MAGAZINE OF AFRICA CARIBBEAN PACIFIC
& EUROPEAN UNION COOPERATION AND RELATIONS
Sir John Kaputin, Secretary General
Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States
Mr Stefano Manservisi, Director General of DG Development
Director and Editor-in-chief
Franois Misser (Deputy Editor-in-chief),
Aminata Niang, Debra Percival
Editorial Assistant and Production
Contributed in this issue
Marie-Martine Buckens, Sandra Federici, Andrea Marchesini Reggiani, Akberet Seyoum
Public Relations and Artistic coordination
Andrea Marchesini Reggiani
(Public Relations Manager and Responsible for NGOs' and experts' network)
Joan Ruiz Valero
(Responsible for Networking with EU and National Institutions)
Graphic Conception, Layout
Orazio Metello Orsini
View of a paddy field,
African gas station, Cotonou, Benin
45, Rue de Trves
Tel: +32 2 2374392
Fax: +32 2 2801406
Published every two months in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese
For information on subscription,
go to our website www.ace-eucourier.info or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
GOPA-Cartermill Grand Angle Lai-momo
The views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the official view of the EC nor of
the ACP countries.
C cultural centre promoting artists
from countries in Europe,
Africa, the Caribbean and the
Pacific and cultural exchanges bet-
ween communities through perfor-
mance arts, music, cinema, to the
holding of conferences. It is a mee-
ting place for Belgians, immigrants
of diverse origins and European
Centre cultural d'Etterbeek
Place dedicated to other privileged
The consortium and the editorial staff decline ail responsibility for the articles written by
external contributors. I-----1
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
THE MAGAZINE OF AFRICA CARIBBEAN PACIFIC & EUROPEAN UNION COOPERATION AND RELATIONS
Table of contents
THE COURIER, N. 3 NEW EDITION (N.E.)
Refusing fatal strategies
TO THE POINT
Meeting with Gertrude Mongella,
President of the Pan-African Parliament
Energy: Potential for major development in Africa
Africa's increasingly important strategic value
The EIB: Banking on infrastructures
The uranium rush
An enormous yet underused resource
Renewable energies: Unexploited Treasures
Energy partnership on the agenda
at EU-Africa Summit
A Watershed in Relations between Two Continents
Small businesses showing imagination
EU-Africa-China, a new triangular relationship?
International cooperation and foundations:
A profitable encounter
Celtel: Creating a buzz in Africa
Beginnings of a decisive turning point
in the approach to EPAs
Sugar without a Protocol
Testing times for small ACP banana growers
3 A day in the life of Dieudonn Kabongo
Eritrea: Fossil is missing link in elephant lineage
4 Electronic waste: Private sector involvement in Africa
8 Birth of a nation: An epic effort
9 Timor's key concem:
11 Preparing for ASEAN membership
12 No Violence Please!
Toppling the government by hook or by crook
14 Understanding the Timorese
16 Surviving splendours and curiosities:
Discover them before the tourists come
18 Strengthening institutional capabilities and rural
development: Responding Quickly to crisis
Ljubljana -a gateway to Slovenia's many assets
22 Wines gaining a global reputation
23 Waking up Ljubljana
Slovenian NGOs on world map
Yambi festival: It's 'Congo Nouveau' Time!
WHY AFRICA? The Pigozzi collection
Rwanda: Invitation to the Voyage
he end of this year is of great significance to
relations between the African, Caribbean
and Pacific States and the European Union.
After the wide-ranging and open debates of
the European Development Days in November comes
the EU -Africa Summit, during which, among other
topics, questions related to the energy partnership
between the two continents will be discussed.
The special report in this issue of the new Courier
series examines from various perspectives the grow-
ing attraction of the African continent's energy
resources at a time when the whole world fears for the
future of energy supplies, and even for the survival of
planet Earth in the centuries, if not the decades, to
core. The African continent's energy resources, both
in fossil fuels such as oil or nuclear fuel, and renew-
able energies, are vast and will contribute to the conti-
nent becoming the focus of many and varied interests.
The ACP countries of the Caribbean and the Pacific
regions are not to be ignored, although the issue
affects them on a smaller scale. Timor-Leste, a small
country in Southeast Asia, is the subject of an in-depth
Courier report for the first time. Its oil reserves have
attracted considerable interest, and in the years to
corne will probably play a part in Timor-Leste's co-
operation with the European Union, given the EU's
decision to make the fight against climate change and
the management of energy resources a priority in its
Timor-Leste is a country whose recent history has
been a rather sad tale. It remains largely unknown.
Since gaining independence in 2002, Timor-Leste has
rarely been the focus of attention of the world's press,
that is, during the upheavals that left many people dis-
placed but resulted in relatively few deaths. Its assets
are remarkable, beginning with its geo-strategic posi-
tion between Asia's current and future dominant po-
wers, a relatively healthy, well-managed state sector,
no foreign debt, oil, and particularly the management
of its reserves, the transparency of which is more often
compared to that of Norway than to that of countries
where hardship and poverty are frequently in direct
and stark contrast with their natural wealth.
Another small country cores under the spotlight in
this issue of The Courier. Slovenia, a country on the
other side of the cooperation equation, is in a class of
its own. It is the first country of the former Yugoslav
federation to emerge from the post-Soviet turmoil and
upheaval and become a member of the European
Union, and the first of the 10 new Member States of
2004 to gain access to the euro-zone. At the beginning
of 2008, Slovenia will become the first of these ten to
accede to the presidency of the European Union. It
will be called upon to guide and set the tone for rela-
tions between the European Union and the ACP coun-
tries during the crucial period of the implementation of
the next five-year tranche of European development
financing. But above all, Slovenia will be required to
manage the launching of the economic partnership
agreements between the African, Caribbean and
Pacific regions and the EU, or to oversee the remain-
ing difficulties of the negotiations.
One of our readers has asked whether The Courier is
a publication that only covers the success stories of the
ACP countries and their co-operation with Europe, in
other words, if it is just a good-news magazine. The
answer, quite simply, is that The Courier covers both
good and bad-news. Timor-Leste, for example, is not
yet completely free of its woes; United Nations forces
are still stationed there to prevent further trouble.
Slovenia, on the other hand, has not yet caught up with
the old countries of the European Union.
Nothing is perfect. However, is this a reason to be
drawn into exaggerations in the media, as in so many
other aspects of life? The Courier refuses "fatal strate-
gies" of exaggeration identified and denounced by
Jean Baudrillard, which neglect to present the positive
side-by-side with the negative, and lead to destruction
through excess-where what is sought is truer than true,
more real than real, uglier than ugly, what is more sen-
sational than sensational, and mimic, but without the
underlying humour, the pithy maxim of the celebrated
19th century actress, Marie Duval: "Je ne suis pas
belle, je suis pire (I am not just beautiful, I am worse
* Jean Baudrillard "Les strategies fatales" ED Grasset & Fasquelle
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
o the point
Francois Misser & Debra Percival
PRESIDEnT OF THE
Gertrude Mongella was appointed President of the Pan African Parliament (PAP)
at its inauguration in Midrand, South Africa in 2004. She spoke to us about her
vision for the fledgling organisation, an organ of the African Union. Twenty-five
of its members will meet with an equal number of their European Parliament
counterparts prior to the December Africa-EU Summit in Lisbon to the people's
On the set-up of the Pan-African Parliament
ts main goal is to look into conditions in Africa, make recommen-
dations to heads of state on the development of African continent.
We have a role to harmonise the laws of Africa. We have achieved
a legislative role in this respect and have a responsibility of politi-
cal and economic integration of the people of Africa.
Aims and achievements
We've set up the structure of the Parliament comprised of the presiden-
cy, bureau members representing the five regions of Africa and 10 com-
mittees working on different issues.
We've developed our strategic plans from 2006-2010 and there will be
another strategy in 2010 to give us a sense of direction.
A relationship with a number of parliaments of a similar nature on the
continent and outside Africa has been established. For example, there
is close collaboration with the European Parliament, Latin American
Parliament and Indian, German and Japanese Parliaments. We also have
very close relationships with our national Parliaments because they are
the ones who designate the five members from each country (53 coun-
tries are represented) to sit on the PAP. They support our activities and
even pay the expenses of some of the members of so they can carry out
their responsibilities as members of the PAP.
A trust fund has been set up to compliment the regional resources that
we get from the African Union because it is also under-funded. We're
therefore looking for friends and partners to contribute to the Fund to
enable the Parliament to build its capacity and human, financial and
We have also carried out a number of activities of great interest to the
African continent. Conflict and security is permanently on the agenda,
as is discussion about development of Africa in general, and also the
NEPAD -the African initiative for development.
Do Member States pay enough attention to the PAPs views? This is
often the problem with European Parliament resolutions.
This is definitely a problem. A vote cannot be taken on every resolution
you adopt. This is why we have to work out a sort of mobilisation or
sensitisation mechanism to make sure that the issues we raise of great
concern to everybody cannot be ignored.
How can the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) and
European Parliament support the PAP?
When the PAP was established we were well aware that Africa is a con-
tinent with relationships with other continents, so issues concerning the
African continent are not necessarily all localised on Africa. We nee-
ded to reach out to similar bodies such as the European Parliament and
others, to see how we can work together, share experiences and look at
what others have been able to achieve and how they did it.
We want to share information and look at whether we could solve in
partnership some of the world problems, like HIV/AIDS or migration.
A partnership can strengthen the work of the PAP and likewise, the PAP
can strengthen the work of other parliaments. For example, we'll be at
the Africa-EU Heads of State Summit in Lisbon with our colleagues
from the European Parliament. We want to see what Heads of State
decide. This is of concern to both the people of Africa and Europe. By
doing things jointly we have more energy. Alone you can run fast,
together you run faster.
o the point
graduate :f the East Africa Universiy
in Dar es Salam, during her early
career, Mrs. Micngella held various posis in
education in her native Tanzania. She
became af mrembei of parliament and was
subsequently appointed to rinisteiial posi-
On the international stage, she is especially
renowned toi hei work in promoting wom-
ens issues and rghis In 1995, as LInited
Nations Assistant Secretary General, she
was Secretar% General ot the LIN s 4th
Beijing World Coinference for w:nimen In
2uu2, she became a member of the
Organisatio:n ot African LlnitL's (OALI) High
Level Adcisory Panel of Eminent Persons.
Gertrude Mongella with the President of the European
Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering.
European Parliament / Manoocher Deghati
What is PAP's request forfinancial support from the EU?
We have asked for EU financial assistance. The EU's support for Africa
should have a broad base. You cannot support democracy if you do not
support parliamentary institutions. They have a role to play in promo-
ting democracy. EU support for Africa should be for good governance,
economic development, etc. The PAP is part of that process.
How ... i.r. oi,- can the EU assist good governance?
Part of our strategic plan is to promote the democratic processes in
Africa: elections and the rule of law. This can only be done if we have
capacity within the PAP, particularly for oversight of laws.
How can the Parliament help make progressfor peace in L, i r '1
From the outset, we have taken this issue very seriously. At the begin-
ning of this Parliament, the first thing that we tackled was Darfur. We
sent a mission there and have drawn up a report on the Darfur conflict.
We gave some recommendations on how to solve some of the internal
problems of Darfur. We are fully engaged in looking at the situation
and the real causes of the problems in Darfur. What next after the
fighting has stopped? There is spillover into Chad and the Central
African Republic. We eventually intend to send another mission to the
When last in Brussels, you brought up the complex issue of Zimbabwe.
As you know there's is a bone of contention between EU and Africa over
Zimbabwe. Is consensus possible?
Africa cannot deal with the Zimbabwe question just by finding consen-
sus with Europe. The question is whether Africa can work with
Zimbabwe to resolve its problem. This is why have we have taken ini-
tiative to work with Zimbabweans to find a solution. We think that the
involvement of issues where the conflicting parties are now engaging in
dialogue is to be commended. We should not be hard line. We are all
family members. You cannot throw family members overboard simply
because they may have gotten drunk or have made a mistake.
Zimbabwe is Africa. We are concerned and we must work with them to
find a solution. This is what Africa is doing. If the relationship between
Africa and Europe is judged by the way Africa loves Zimbabwe, or
doesn't love Zimbabwe, the Lisbon meeting will miss the point. We
should not destroy the Lisbon meeting by bringing in issues that can be
better dealt with on the continent. l
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
T hirteen Pacific Island Forum (PIF) nations will together
receive 276 million in assistance under the 10th European
Development Fund (EDF), a 20% increase over the previous
ninth EDF. Funds will be spent on specific policy areas con-
tained in strategy papers, jointly drawn up with individual Forum coun-
tries and signed with the EU during the PIF Ministerial meeting in
Nuku'alofa, Tonga on 19 October.
The region is the first to put its signature to the 10th EDF spending
programmes due to come on stream 1 January 2008. Beneficiary
countries are: Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated
States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa,
Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Pen is also being put to
paper on strategies for the other two PIF members; East Timor and
Fiji which is normalising relations with the EU following a military
coup in December 2006.
Sustainable management of natural resources by such as renewable ener-
gy development is priorities for 11 PIF countries, said EU Development
Commissioner, Louis Michel, while in Tonga.
Another focus is strengthening good govemance. PIF nations, including
good govemance-related projects in their country strategy paper, receive
a 25% top in their respective spending allocations.
"My main aim with you is not to focus exclusively on what may be
wrong. You will not catch me moralising you. What I am interested in is
supporting what is or what has the potential to become good," added
Ownership and efficiency of spending are high priorities with direct sup-
port to national budgets, the preferred means of disbursing funds.
Vanuatu is already following this path, with Samoa expected to follow.
The Pacific Island Forum countries are also expected to benefit from a
95 million Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) to promote regional
integration and facilitate implementation of a European Partnership
Agreement (EPA) with the region. It adds up to a tripling of the regional
package over the 9th EDF.
> 'Stepping Stone' trade accord
Sides are yet to reach agreement on a fully-fledged EPA with a so-called
'stepping stone' agreement in the offing until there is further progress in
the free trade talks.
"The EPA is intended to support your own integration agenda and pro-
vides you with a bridge to integrating gradually into the world economy,"
EU Director General for Development, Stefano Manservisi, told
Ministers in Tonga.
"The advantage of having an Interim Agreement is that it would enable
us to bridge the gap to this ideal situation whilst securing for you those
fruits which can be reaped now such as the EU's market offer and
Pacific-specific fisheries rules of origin," he added.
In October in Brussels, Pacific and EU Ministers agreed on a comprehen-
sive EPA which by 31 December 2008 will also include trade-related
rules and services.
The EU's goods offer is for duty-free, tariff free access for all imports
from the Pacific except for sugar and bananas.
Another first at the Pacific Forum was the move towards an enhanced
political dialogue between the two regions, which will include regular
EU-Pacific high level meetings to discuss issues such as regional securi-
ty, good govemance, economic stability and growth, international trade,
development cooperation and all other topics in common. a
on TIMBER IMPORTS
consider strengthening current
measures to ensure that timber
imported into the EU is not the
result of illegal logging. This is the conclusion
drawn from public consultations by the
Commission between December 2006 and
March 2007. These consultations examined
the need to support the policy ,iini!.iil. pur-
sued by the EU based on voluntary partnership
agreements with certain exporting countries:
agreements known by the English acronym
FLEGT*. Most of those involved in these dis-
cussions, including the private sector, believe
that the bilateral negotiations carried out by
the EU in the framework of the FLEGT will
not be enough to guarantee the legality of tim-
ber entering EU territory. And indeed, a major-
ity -although a narrow majority in the case of
industry believe that it is not too premature
to be considering additional measures.
Opinions vary as to what measures, with a
third of the private sector (unlike the NGOs)
believing that the voluntary agreements they
have concluded will be enough to resolve
much of the problem. As to a ban on the
imports of illegal timber, responses are more
mixed, although most participants are in
favour of legislation that would guarantee only
legally logged timber to be sold in Europe.
Now, these various options must be evaluated
on their overall impact by the Finnish compa-
ny Indufor and the Commission, which must
submit its formal evaluation of the situation by
March 2008. a
* The EU's Forest Law Enforcement, Govemance and
Trade (FLEGT) is the EU's action plan to clamp down on
illegal logging and illegally traded timber. Implemented
from May 2003, it links good governance with legal trade
THE LJUBLJAnf 12
he Slovenian Presidency is to host a meeting of first-time contributors to the European
Development Fund (EDF) in February 2008. Ail of the EU's 12 newest Member States will
I be party to the 22.682 billion (2008-201 3) 10th edition of the European Development
Fund (EDF from 1 January 2008, along with the 15 other long-time EU members).
Individual contributions of ail 27 EU Member States to the EDF are largely decided by a key
based on a percentage of their national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Germany, France, Italy
and the United Kingdom, respectively, are the biggest contributors in monetary terms.
The Fund is for EU projects in African, Caribbean and Pacifc (ACP) nations and Overseas
Countries and Territories (OCTs). Since the EDF cores straight from the pockets of EU Member
States, they each have a say on the approval of how the money is spent in ACP/OCT states.
The Ljubljana meeting will be an opportunity to explain to the public in the newcomer states
what EDF monies are for, and also look at how some of their own companies may benefit from
future tenders under the Fund.
Few of the 12 have a legacy of projects in ACP States; many over the past years have focused
assistance on their neighbours in South-east Europe. Trade flows between the EU newcomers
and ACP States are also low.
A counselor at Slovenia's delegation to the EU in Brussels confirmed that implementation of the
European Partnership Agreements (EPAs) also due to core on stream from 1 January 2008, and
the eradication of poverty in Africa were both high on the agenda for the Slovenian Presidency
of the EU, January-June 2008. M
CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE EU's NEWEST MEMBER STATES TO THE 10TH EDF
*Bulgaria 0.14 31,754,800
Czech Republic 0.51 115,678,200
Estonia 0.05 11,341 000
Cyprus 0.09 20,413,800
Latvia 0.07 15,877,400
Lithuania 0.12 27,218,400
Hungary 0.55 124,751,000
Malta 0.03 6,804,600
Poland 1.30 294,866,000
*Romania 0.37 83,923,400
Slovenia 0.18 40,827,600
Slovakia 0.21 47,632,200
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
Wali L IIILI
3 r 1 LI
ligerld Z.U L.LZO Iz.3 I .u'o
n ll I 1 -1 1 '-'.. i i i ''
Congo-Brazzaville 0.26 0.3% 1.9 0.2%
LEq.it 0.67 0.8% 3.7 0.3%
Gabon 0.23 0.3% 2.1 0.2%
Equatorial Guinea 0.35 0.6% 0.23 0.3%
Libya 1.83 2.2% 41.5 3.4%
Sudan 0.39 0.5% 6.4 0.5%
lunisia u.uo u. 1 'I U.-' U. 1 I
Si:ther tr., in ,:,:,ntr 0.06 0.1% 0.6 0.1%
Banking on infrastructures
Between 2008 and 2013, the European Investment Bank (EIB) intends to invest up to
e4.4 billion in ACP countries and South Africa. Emphasis will be particularly on devel-
opment of infrastructures. The 'Chinese factor' remains to be taken into account.
n line with the Africa Strategy approved by the European Council
in December 2005, support for infrastructures is one of the priori-
ties of the European Union. The Commission intends to commit up
to 5.6 billion to develop African infrastructures from
2008-2013. The EIB intends to invest 1.5 billion in the ACP countries
as a whole. This money comes from the investment facility, a renewa-
ble fund set up under the Cotonou Agreement, plus loans from its own
resources amounting to a maximum of E2.03 billion. The EIB's scope
for intervention is increased by a fiduciary fund intended to finance
infrastructures in Africa. This was set up in February 2006 with the
European Commission, which allocated 60 million to interest rebates
on EIB loans and for feasibility studies.
> multiplier effect
The request has been granted, at least in part. Last June the world's
eight most industrialized countries met in Germany where they
approved a series of initiatives proposed by the World Bank to reduce
the impact of greenhouse gases on climate.
They include the creation of a 'carbon forest' partnership designed to
avoid deforestation, which experts believe is responsible for 20% of
greenhouse gas emissions.
This partnership consists of a series of pilot projects implemented ini-
tially in a number of key countries such as the DRC, Brazil and
Indonesia. Minister Pembe believes that the DRC could receive around
US$6 billion a year, a considerable sum when one considers that the
country's total budget is unlikely to exceed US$2 billion in 2007.
However, these projects will not be included in the market mechanisms
(including the C02 exchange) provided for in the Kyoto Protocol until
2012 and the start of the protocol's second phase where the greatest
uncertainty remains. Forests saved by carbon markets? Some experts
doubt it. Jutta Kill of the FERN ecological research organisationWith
an initial allocation of 87 million, this fund will have a multiplier
effect. According to EIB President Philippe Maystadt, it should enable
the Bank to grant over 400 million in loans for projects in the fields
of energy, water, telecommunications, transport and information tech-
nologies. The objective is to facilitate the economic integration of the
continent. The first two projects to be launched will be the Felou Dam,
which, when completed, will supply Mali, Mauritania and Senegal with
power and the construction of a submarine fibre optic cable running
around the entire East African coast from south to north. Branches will
also serve Madagascar and landlocked countries. In the energy sector,
the EIB is also planning to fund two interconnections in Souther
Africa: Zambia-Namibia via the Caprivi Strip and Malawi-
Mozambique. Additionally, a loan of 100 million for the construction
of a 250-megawatt Dam on the White Nile in Uganda is being studied.
The EIB is also planning to provide 70 million to fund the construc-
tion of the Ghanaian section of the East African gas pipeline between
Nigeria and Togo. Also, in the longer term, the Bank is considering the
option of participating in the rehabilitation of the Inga Dam in the
Democratic Republic of Congo jointly with the World Bank and the
African Development Bank a NEPAD flagship project. Renewable
energy sources should also receive support from the Bank, which
decided in December to finance a wind power generation plant with a
capacity of 9.4 megawatts in Barbados.
Moreover, a ceiling on loans by the EIB to South Africa has been raised
from 825 to 900 million. The emphasis will be on improving access
to water and electricity for people living in rural areas and townships.
But why borrow from the EIB if China is prepared to lend with no envi-
ronmental or social strings attached and without a detailed technical
analysis of the projects? Maystadt acknowledges the problem, and, like
European Commissioner for Development Louis Michel, he intends to
expand the dialogue with Chinese financial institutions like Eximbank
and African governments about investment conditions in Africa.
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
U ranium prices have soared in the past two years, creating a
prospecting boom in Africa where a growing number of
Uranium prices have soared in the past two years, creating a
countries are at the threshold of entering the nuclear indus-
try. In less than two years (between December 2005 and
October 2007) the price of uranium nearly quadrupled, from US$20 to
$75 a pound, reaching a peak of US$135 dollars in July 2007.
According to market analyst David Miller's forecast, prices could dou-
ble yet again. There is considerable tension in the market due to the
unexpected increases in demand and also the fear of exhausting ura-
nium supplies between 2015 and 2040, as predicted by the most pessi-
mistic of the economic forecasters. However, this view is contested by
Robert Vance, an analyst with the Organisation for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD), who believes that, "Today
there is sufficient uranium to produce electricity for 270 years, espe-
cially as the new fourth generation rapid reactors will consume 50 times
less uranium than at present." However, Vance's comments do take into
account that demand is set to rise dramatically. Over the next five years
31 nuclear plants will be built or modernised worldwide and by 2020
China alone plans to invest US$8 billion in building 27 plants, with
India constructing a further 17 by 2012.
There is also demand from Africa. In South Africa, where there are
fears of an electricity generation shortfall of some 10,000 megawatts by
2020, the national electricity company ESKOM is planning to build a
fourth generation reactor (likely in Koeberg), plus additional projects
with a total capacity of over 4,000 megawatts. This is in addition to its
two existing reactors (out of 442 worldwide), which are the only reac-
tors currently operational in Africa, with the exception of several small
> nuclear programmes in flfrica
Other African countries are also emerging as future clients for urani-
um. In July 2007 French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Libyan leader
Muammar Khadaffi signed a protocol agreement to supply Libya with
a reactor for civilian use. This agreement was facilitated by Libya's
pledge to drop any plans to acquire weapons of mass destruction and
to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA). The previous year France had also signed a nuclear coopera-
tion agreement with Tunisia, which is considering the construction of
a 600 megawatt reactor.
Last April, Ghana (which like Nigeria has had a small research reac-
tor supplied by China since 1994) signed a cooperation agreement
with Egypt in 2006 and announced it also planned to embark on
nuclear energy production. Elsewhere, Russia has already supplied
Libya with a 10 -megawatt reactor and is now carrying out prospective
studies in Algeria with a view to starting up nuclear production there. It
is also conducting feasibility studies to build a reactor in Morocco at
Sidi Boulbra, which could be operational by 2016. Namibia, Africa's
number one uranium producer, is now considering using this resource
to generate electricity. However, apart from South Africa, it is perhaps
Nigeria that has the most ambitious plans with negotiations already in
progress with the IAEA to develop a nuclear production capacity of
4,000 megawatts by 2025.
This favourable climate is fuelling a uranium 'gold rush' across the
African continent where in 2006, according to the Paris Energy
Observatory, four countries possessed almost 20% of proven world ura-
nium resources: Niger (6.8%), South Africa
(6.7%), Namibia (5.7%) and Algeria (0.7%).
In Namibia, where production reached 3,200
tonnes in 2005, the Australian firm Paladin
Resources plans to produce an additional
1,200 tonnes from the Heinrich mine in the
Namib Desert. This despite protests by envi-
ronmental groups who fear that mining this
radioactive mineral will threaten the ecology
of the Naukluft National Park.
Niger, Africa's second producer (3,093
tonnes), which on its own accounts for 13.5%
of EU imports, skilfully played off rival min-
ing groups this summer to impose a 46%
increase in the price of the uranium. It sold
this to the world's number one, the French
company Areva, until then its sole customer.
But the days are numbered for this monopoly.
In 2006, the China Nation Nuclear
Corporation acquired two concessions and
three Australian firms recently obtained
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
The prospecting rush concerns at least 10
countries. Landmark Minerals (Canada) is
interested in Hoggar, Algeria while another
Canadian company, Pan African Mining, is
prospecting in Madagascar. Australian firms
are particularly enterprising with Paladin
Resources negotiating a permit in Malawi,
while in Tanzania at least five Australian
companies have obtained concessions.
There is also uranium prospecting in Zambia
and Mauritania, while the South Korean
Institute for Geoscience and Mineral
Resources has plans to begin prospecting in
Nigeria. In Uganda, the African
Development Bank, the Nordic Fund and the
World Bank are financing an airborne geo-
physical exploration initiative. Finally, the
British firm Brinkley Africa has just signed
an agreement with the DRC's General
Commissariat for Atomic Energy to assist in
monitoring exports of Congolese radioactive
materials and substances. The aim is to com-
Abu Bakaar Mansaray, Digital Man, 2004.
Ballpoint pen and graphite on paper, 150 x 201.5 cm.
Courtesy of C.A.A.C.
The Pigozzi Collection, Geneva.
Photo: Maurice Aeschimann
bat trafficking and any danger of prolifera-
tion for military and terrorist ends which, as
The Economist reported, have increased with
the spread of civilian nuclear technology.
The involvement of African countries in the
nuclear industry also brings new challenges,
not least in financing the high cost of reactors
that run into billions of dollars, as well as
that of managing waste and providing proper
security. There is also the question of their
long-term profitability and already oppo-
nents of the civilian nuclear industry are
arguing that by 2040 it will be cheaper to
produce electricity from renewable
resources. That said, and whether or not
African countries fully embrace the nuclear
industry, the continent is already strategical-
ly positioned on the world hydrocarbon mar-
ket and it appears it is even more strategical-
ly placed when it comes to uranium exploita-
tion and its ultimate use.
in enormous yet
The future of the African continent is dependant to a large extent on its ability to har-
ness its source of renewable energy hydropower. And the focus falls principally on
the future potential of the main river systems.
t must be wonderful to work in the hydro-electric business in
Africa. Consider this: on its own, the Inga power station -situated
on the river Congo between Kinshasa and the Atlantic has an
estimated potential output of between 39,000 and 44,000 mega-
watts. That is more than twice the power produced by the Three Gorges
Dam in China, which is the biggest in the world. However, only a
minuscule proportion of the Inga Power station's output is being used
(just 1,774 megawatts) and less than half of the site is operational. Now,
repair work is under way thanks to funding from the World Bank.
Inga is the stuff of engineer's dreams. Electricity de France and
Lahmeyer International carried out a pre-feasibility study in 1990
thanks to funding from the African Development Bank -on the
construction of a third (Inga III) and a fourth (Grand Inga) power sta-
tion, as well as a 5,300 kilometre energy superhighway linked to the
Aswan Dam in Egypt. Even then -almost two decades ago -the cost
of the projects was estimated at US$29 billion.
But with the return of peace to the region hopes have been raised that a
smaller-scale -but nevertheless significant -project could be feasible.
This would involve the construction of Inga III (3,500 megawatts) and
the Western Corridor, a second energy highway that would link Inga
with South Africa, via Angola and Namibia and provide a connection
with Botswana. A third axis in the pipeline would provide a supply
connection between Inga and Calabar in Nigeria (2,100 kilometres).
This is one of the flagship projects of the New Economic Partnership
for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
There is certainly massive need and consequent demand. For unless
new electricity generation infrastructure is operational by 2012 the
whole of souther Africa will face significant shortages. Additionally,
there is significant demand from the mining industry, with two major
projects (BHP Billiton's aluminium factory in Bas-Congo, costing
US$2.5 billion, and CVRD's steel plant in Soyo, Angola) that require a
total capacity of 1,800 megawatts. That, of course, is more than the Inga
1 and Inga II power stations produce today.
After the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) -whose total hydro-
electric potential is estimated at some 100,000 megawatts -Africa's
next most significant hydroelectric source is found in the mountainous
Moma Titanium project in Mozambique 'Filling the dredge pond'.
EIB Photo Library |
plateaus of Ethiopia where the Blue Nile rises. Here too, hydroelectric
potential has hardly been tapped. Actual output is currently less than
1,000 megawatts although the country's potential capacity is estimated
at around 40,000 megawatts.
However, rapid development is expected in the future and production
capacity is set to double within two years when the Takeze (300 mega-
watts), Anabeles (460 megawatts) and Gigel Gibe II (420 megawatts)
dams become operational. Adding to this capacity another Dam, the
Halale Werabesa (367 megawatts), will come on stream in 2011.
The European Investment Bank has been approached to provide fun-
ding for the electromechanical part of the biggest project in the region,
the Gigel Gibe III (1,870 megawatts) power station, costing an estima-
ted US$1.8 billion. Already a contract for the engineering of the project
has been signed between the Ethiopian Electric Power Company and
the Italian company Salini Costruttori. The aim of these projects is not
just to satisfy internal demand, but to export electricity to the surroun-
ding region (Djibouti, Kenya, Sudan and Yemen).
The current economic climate favours these types of projects, as a pre-
vious reluctance by both Sudan and Egypt towards any Dam upstream
of the Nile is now fading away. Most encou-
ragingly, a tripartite joint venture, the Eastern
Nile Technical Regional Office -whose legal
advisor is the former Secretary General of the
ACP Group, Ghebray Berhane recently esta-
blished a common framework for the manage-
ment of projects on the river.
As one of the last great frontiers, Africa offers
great opportunities and challenges for electri-
city-industry professionals from all over the
world and emerging countries are taking
advantage of this.
Currently, China is in negotiations with the
govemment of Guinea over the possibility of
constructing the Souapiti Dam (600 mega-
watts) on the river Konkoure in exchange for
valuable supplies of bauxite.
The Zambeze is yet another strategic river sys-
tem, with the potential of generating 12,000
megawatts on the Mozambique stretch of its
course alone. Indeed, in Mozambique, where
Portugal has just handed back ownership of
the Cahora Bassa Dam (2,075 megawatts),
Energy Minister, Salvador Namburete, antici-
pates the construction downstream of a second
major project by 2015. This is the Mepanda
Uncua Dam (1,300 megawatts) to be built at
an estimated cost of US$1.3 billion, to be fol-
lowed by a second 850 megawatt power sta-
tion to the north of Cahora Bassa.
The final financing of these projects has not
yet been concluded, but considering the requi-
rements of South Africa and a rapidly gro-
wing domestic market, the Compagnie
Electridade de Moambique (Mozambique
Eli.,.i!;i.. Company) is not too conceded
about the outcome.
Angola -with the basins of the Kwanza (6,000
megawatts) and Queve (3,000 megawatts)
river system -is another unexploited source in
a region where demand is set to rise, with
growth in gross domestic product reaching
around 30% towards the end of 2007.
Other significant projects are also set to get
underway soon. In April the World Bank gave
the go-ahead for the funding of US$360 mil-
lion for the Bujagali Dam on the White Nile,
while the African Development Bank has pro-
vided US$110 million in additional financing
for the project. However, the drop in the water
level upstream in Lake Victoria, which could
reduce the installation's anticipated power out-
put from 250 megawatts to a final 175 mega-
watts, needs to be taken into account. In
Nigeria, the World Bank also intends to contri-
bute towards the repair of the Kainji (760
megawatts) and Jebba (540 megawatts) dams
on the river Niger.
The implementation of projects like these does
not always have unanimous support. For
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
Hydroelectric barrage in Burkina Faso.
EIB Photo Library
example, the Mozambique authorities face a
difficult task in persuading environmentalists
of the validity of constructing the Mepanda
Uncua Dam. The project's opponents say it
will displace 2,000 people, most of who are
farmers. They also argue that the Dam will
retain sediment and silt with adverse downs-
tream consequences for the mangroves of the
Zambeze delta. At the same time, everyone
recognizes that to develop economically,
Mozambique needs to increase its capacity for
And that need for economic development inclu-
des the future of small and medium-sized enter-
prises. For example, in Bukavu in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, the joiners, tai-
lors and TV repairmen of the Kadutu district
would all be out of a job or forced to pay an
extortionate price for electricity if the power
supply of the Ruzizi Dam was interrupted. Day-
to-day realities like these point to the fact that
when it comes to the power of water the situa-
tion across Africa is without question much
more complex than at first glance. F.M. M
R enewable energy production could save Africa from poverty.
This at least is the belief of a growing number of African sta-
tes, beginning with the non-oil-producing countries.
However, the main obstacle to the development of solar,
wind, geothermal or biomass energy (see separate article on major
hydroelectricity projects) remains at a relatively high cost although,
with oil prices that could reach the US$100 a barrel mark in the
future, they are becoming increasingly attractive. Today, investment
in alternative energy projects is receiving a great deal of support, star-
ting with financing by the European Investment Bank and the new
risk capital fund proposed by the European Commission, which has
allocated an initial budget of 100 million. Additionally, there is the
ACP-EU Energy Facility with a budget of E220 million (see article
on these funds in The Courier n. 1).
> The world's least electrified continent
According to the International Energy Agency (IAE) just 23% of the
sub-Saharan population has access to electricity. Rural areas are the
most poorly served, with just 8% of the inhabitants having mains elec-
tricity and often having to pay high prices to produce electricity from
generators or solar panels. Renewable energies, especially stand-alone
facilities like solar and wind power, could make up a large part of this
deficit. Despite their vast potential at present they represent less than
1% of the electricity generated commercially. According to the OECD,
just 7% of hydro-capacity and less than 1% of geothermal capacity is
currently exploited. What is more, in countries such as Nigeria and the
Congo as much as 40% of electricity is estimated to be 'lost' during
transport, compared with the global average of just 10%. Worse still,
the share of renewable energy remains low compared with world pro-
duction levels (excluding major hydroelectric projects) even if it is
growing at a faster rate than that of total consumption.
> Unpredictable winds
Although parts of Africa lie within the equatorial belt, where the
wind is often not as strong as in Europe or North America, Africa's
wind power potential is far from negligible. This is especially true of
the countries furthest from the equator -South Africa and those lying
along the southern shores of the Mediterranean. In Central Africa, the
preference has been for projects on a small scale. And the sector is
growing fast when you consider that in 2002 Africa's wind power
capacity was still very low at around 150 megawatts (or 0.5% of the
global installed capacity), but this year the total installed capacity
was almost 1,000 megawatts.
Currently the most important projects are in Morocco and Namibia,
followed by Egypt, Eritrea, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and South Africa.
An example of this is the Zafarana Wind Park on the banks of the
Red Sea in Egypt, an area known for its strong winds, which pro-
duces 160 megawatts and supplies a total of 340,000 homes with
> Geothermal resources in the Rift Ualley
The exploitation of geothermal resources is particularly promising in
the 'natural fault' of the Rift Valley. However, at present strategical-
ly placed countries like Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania are not
exploiting this resource, with only Kenya having a development pro-
ject. For this, Kenya is receiving assistance from both the EU and
Germany to construct Africa's biggest geothermal plant that will sup-
ply 10% of the country's electricity. And this output is set to double
in the coming years.
> The attraction of biofuels
for the forests
Although biofuels are attracting growing criticism due to their
greater impact on climate change than at first thought, for many
African countries they remain a major alternative to oil. Many
African countries see biofuels as providing more jobs in agriculture,
the dominant sector of their economies. Indeed, the World Bank esti-
mates that biofuels require 100 times more labour per unit of energy
produced than fossil fuels. For example, in Brazil the bioethanol
industry is believed to provide more than half a million direct jobs.
In addition to South Africa, Senegal was one of the first African
countries to show an interest in biofuels, even nurturing an ambition
Titos Mabota, Bicicleta rural, 2006. Mixed medium,
180 x 150x350 cm.
Courtesy of C.A.A.C. The Pigozzi Collection, Geneva.
Photo: Grant Lee Neuenburg
of being the launch pad for biofuels in Africa. This was reaffirmed in
Brasilia in May by Senegalese President Abdouaye Wade at the
signing of a series of agreements with Brazil. Brazilian President
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took this opportunity to stress the "major
progress" his country had made in biofuel production, adding, "under
Senegal's leadership, we want to extend this initiative to Africa's
other non-oil producing countries." The members of this group are
known collectively as 'Green OPEC'.
Because of this focus on biofuels, plants previously thought to have
limited uses are now seen as offering new opportunities. This is true
of tabanani, or jatropha -almost 188 hectares of which were recent-
ly planted in Senegal. The eventual aim is to cover more than 5,000
hectares with this flowering shrub originating in Brazil and whose
seeds yield an oil previously used only in traditional medicine and
Yet it is South Africa that remains the driving force in biofuels. Maize,
sugarcane and other plants play a part in helping South Africa to reach
a target of 10% of its petrol and diesel needs from biofuels by 2010. The
figures speak for themselves. In 2005 the country produced about 110
million gallons of biofuel, making it the world's seventh biggest pro-
ducer -although this is still far behind Brazil's 4 billion gallons and the
United States' 3.5 billion gallons. Production elsewhere in the ACP
countries is on the rise, although on a different scale featuring on the list
from the world's principal biofuel producers: Mauritius (26 million gal-
lons), Zimbabwe (6 million) and Kenya and Swaziland with 3 million
gallons each. Other countries are also committed to embarking on bio-
fuel production, such as Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau,
Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria and Senegal. a
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
on the agenda at the EU-ffrica Summit
With growing energy interdependency between Africa and Europe, a partnership in
this sector is to be formally established at the December EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon.
t all began at the European Council of 8-9 March 2007 when the
heads of state and government of the EU-27 adopted a global
action plan in the energy field for the 2007-2009 period, including
provisions to set up a specific dialogue on energy with the coun-
tries of Africa. Subsequently, in mid-May, Europe's foreign ministers
proposed that this energy partnership should be the subject of a formal
agreement at the EU-Africa Summit.
In their conclusions, ministers detailed EU plans to create a long-term
global framework for dialogue drawn up with the African Union in
cooperation with the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(NEPAD) and the Forum of Energy Ministers in Africa (FEMA). For
this, the European ministers recommended that a high-level EU-Africa
meeting on energy should be held every two years.
Among the objectives is improving access in Africa to safe, reliable,
affordable, diverse, climate-friendly and sustainable energy services in
cooperation with the World Bank. The partnership also seeks to ensure
that the sector contributes to the Millennium Development Goals and to
increasing energy supply security for Europe and a safe market for
Africa. The strategic importance of Africa as a supplier of hydrocarbons
-with potential production of 50 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas
(LNG) a year (or 30% of the world's total) is also stressed by Dutch
MP Jos Van Gennip, author of a report published in 2006 by the
Parliamentary Assembly on this issue.
However, the ministers go on to say that to achieve these objectives
there must be increased investment in Africa's infrastructures while at
the same time promoting renewable energies and energy efficiency. The
Council notes that Africa has a vast potential in terms of fossil fuels and
renewable energies, but that many remain largely unexploited princi-
pally biofuels, hydroelectric power, geothermal power and solar or
Kenya electricity project
SEIB Photo Librair
Consequently, the Council advocates increased support for the African
energy sector through bilateral cooperation and the assistance of the
European Development Fund. It stresses the need to implement the part-
nership between Europe and Africa in the field of infrastructure with an
allocation of 5.6 billion for the 2008-2013 period as well as by reviving
the ACP-EU energy facility ( 250 million).
But the EU also plans to focus the dialogue on the energy policies of the
African countries themselves and the use of oil and gas revenues for
development purposes. The Commission and Member States have been
asked to assist African partners in increasing the flow of revenue from
extractive industries directly to economic and social projects. The minis-
ters have proposed to create solidarity funds for the oil sector that energy
users and private investors would pay into as well as stabilisation funds
financed with capital originating in the exploitation of energy resources
that would be destined for future generations.
With these initiatives, the EU plans to improve the transparency of
finance originating in the exploitation of natural resources as an essential
precondition for creating an improved business climate. It plans to assist
African governments in strengthening transparency in decision-making
and negotiations with partner countries.
The EU will, for example, promote implementation of the Initiative on
Transparency in Extractive Industries (EITI) and encourage European
multinationals to conform to its standards. At the same time it will encou-
rage European banks to implement the standards of the World Bank
Group's International Finance Corporation in the transparency of pay-
ments and contracts in this sector.
Leading the lesson from the growing presence of emerging players in
Africa -as confirmed by the annual meeting of the African Development
Bank in Shanghai in May -the EU proposes that 'new donors and inves-
tors' should be included in the dialogue. This follows statements made at
the beginning of the year by Development Commissioner Louis Michel
and European Investment Bank (EIB) President Phlippe Maystadt of their
intention to discuss these issues with the Chinese.
The partnership should also put into place a more favourable regulatory
framework for the energy industries in Africa. This is the reason for the
offer of support for African efforts to create a legal, regulatory and fiscal
framework designed to attract investors and venture capital. These mea-
sures must be implemented with the Economic Partnership Agreements
(EPAs), set to be signed at the end of 2007 with the six ACP regions.
The partnership also includes measures that take into account climate
change by supporting the abilities of African countries to adapt to these
changes. For example, by limiting greenhouse gas emissions -specifi-
cally those arising from deforestation -by making a more efficient use of
the biomass. On this, Louis Michel proposed in September that EU
Member States should create an alliance to help developing countries
adapt and prepare for climate change. The Commission has also put for-
ward an initial sum of 300 million for the 2008-2010 period not inclu-
ding additional contributions that individual EU Member States could
provide. In practice, the EU plans go toward supporting efforts to reduce
gas flaring during the oil production.
The political signal given by the EU-27 should encourage cooperation
between the European Development Fund and the Facility for Euro-
Mediterranean Investment and Partnership. Managed by the EIB, this
group makes loans and venture capital available to major industrial infra-
structure projects and has a budget of 8.7 billion for the 2007-2013
period. Major projects such as the Trans-Saharan Nigeria-Algeria gas
pipeline are planned to meet integration expectations on the African
continent and provide supply security for Europe.
In this way the resources of the bilateral banks and agencies combine
with the resources of the EIB for the ACP countries (E 3.7 billion for the
2008-2013 period) to set and meet goals that bring benefit to both
Africa and the EU.
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
f Watershed in
According to its organi-
sers, the EU-Africa Summit
on 8 and 9 December in
Lisbon will mark a turning
point in relations between
the two continents.
A roadmap will be drawn
up at the Summit to jointly
tackle a series of global
its kind following the Cairo
Summit in 2000 where willingness
was shown to extend cooperation
be-tween the two continents in the fields of
economics, the fight against crime and
defence. However, several things have chan-
ged in seven years for both partners. The num-
ber of EU Member States has almost doubled
while the Organisation of African Unity has
been transformed into the African Union and
has incorporated the New Partnership for
Africa's Development (NEPAD). A European
preparatory paper indicates that progress has
been made in the democratisation process on
These developments have made the 2007
Summit a matter of urgency, particularly as the
previous summit, scheduled for 2003, did not
take place because of a disagreement between
the Africans and Europeans over the participa-
tion of Robert Mugabe, President of
Zimbabwe. While the Europeans, led by the
British, pointed to human rights violations and
crimes against the state to justify their posi-
tion, the Africans argued that each party
should have sovereign power to decide who
> nothingg can stop this summit
from going ahead",
says Louis michel
Four years on and positions on Zimbabwe
remain different. However, both sides want to
ensure this delicate issue does not prevent the
Summit from going ahead. While British
Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and other
European leaders have made it i.i. i ii c. may
reconsider their participation if the
Zimbabwean President attends, confidence is
high in diplomatic circles that the Summit
will take place whatever the level of repre-
sentation from certain delegations. This backs
up the view expressed at the end of
September by Louis Michel, European
Commissioner for Development and
Humanitarian Aid, that nothing can stop this
Summit from going ahead. It has been much
anticipated for four years, particularly in view
of the recent summit between Africa and
China. While the prospect of huge Chinese
investment may seem attractive in the short-
term to states struggling financially, a long-
term approach is needed which looks beyond
the exploitation of natural resources.
According to a diplomat involved in the
preparation of the Summit, the relationship
with the EU may be more demanding in the
short-term, but ultimately it promises to
deliver much more.
Luis Amado, the Foreign Affairs Minister for
Portugal the Member State ,,ii c.iill. hold-
ing the EU Presidency -said in October that
it would be a huge strategic mistake to let the
relationship between two such important con-
tinental organizations break down because of
a disagreement over Zimbabwe.
Political pressure is being exerted from all
sides. At the Council of the EU, it was poin-
ted out that Latin America also held a summit
with Africa in 2006 and it is therefore time
for Africa's leaders to meet with their coun-
terparts from Europe -Africa's most impor-
tant partner in all areas. The need for such a
meeting has become even more pressing as
positions have changed dramatically since the
Cairo Summit. The Europeans are now much
more aware that the EU has strategic interests
in Africa, particularly in the energy sector.
> Working together
Key challenges, such as the Millennium
Development Goals, migration and terrorism,
must be tackled together with Africa and in
Africa. In other words, the Lisbon Summit will
provide clear acknowledgement of the fact that
while Africa needs Europe, Europe needs
Africa too. A European diplomat said that the
aid-beneficiary relationship has become a
much more solid interaction in a range of areas
(for example, peace and security, governance,
trade, migration, climate change and energy).
All of these areas are covered by two docu-
ments that will be adopted at the Summit
the Common Strategy and the Action Plan
which aim to build on the Strategy for Africa
approved by the EU in December 2005 with
the participation of the African side. They
will set out a roadmap for a new partnership
which will take account of the diversification
and extension of cooperation between the
The Summit's main objectives include the
strengthening of the partnership with regard to
the Common Strategy. The main aim of this is
to promote peace and security by supporting
African peacekeeping forces, particularly the
African Standby Force. It is also conceded
with sustainable development, human rights,
continental integration, the improvement of the
management of public affairs by supporting
reforms (based on the African Peer Review
Mechanism) and also the fight against illegal
trafficking in natural resources.
The strategy also deals with key development
issues such as increasing the level of aid and
improving the coherence of policies in this
area. It should also provide the means to
ensure that migration contributes towards sus-
tainable development on both continents.
Environmental issues and food safety are also
a key part of this new partnership.
The third priority is to jointly tackle global
challenges such as breaches of human rights,
health, environmental and energy issues,
information technology, terrorism and
weapons of mass destruction. Another key
challenge is the integration of Africa into the
global economy and to improve its competi-
tiveness by means of the Economic
Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the four
African sub-Saharan regions. The Lisbon
Summit will also be a test of the political will
of both sides with respect to the level of
financial commitment to which they are pre-
pared to agree.
Finally, the Common Strategy aims to extend
the partnership to players outside of the state,
such as private companies, unions, civil soci-
ety organizations and parliaments. The
Lisbon Summit will be accompanied by a
series of peripheral events connected to the
main event, which is the summit of the heads
of state and government. These peripheral
events include a meeting of Pan-African and
European parliaments, meetings between
members of civil society, a youth summit and
an Africa Finance Investment Forum to
look at business opportunities in Africa
(www.emrc.be). As The Courier was going to
press, diplomats' only fear was that difficul-
ties in negotiations on the EPAs could throw
a shadow over the Summit.
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
Small businesses showing imagination
A small company running on green fuel
Green Sun, was working with a che-
mist in his small manufacturing firm
operating from the back room of his
home, which backs on to a peristyle and an old
storehouse. We are in the rather chic suburbs
of Santo Domingo.
He has just sat down when a customer arrives
to fill up. In addition to his residence and his
factory, his house is also a service station. His
chemist doubles as the pump attendant. The
manual pump is started up. The large 4WD
fills up. Its owner is clearly delighted to be
driving a vehicle whose exhaust emits clean
fumes. The demonstration speaks for itself.
Rafael Diaz joins in the performance by hold-
ing his hand for a full minute behind the
Clean as a whistle.
The customer leaves after having given a testi-
monial that Green Sun could use as an adver-
tising slogan: "I have been using this fuel for a
month. The engine runs smoother, there is less
pollution and it uses less fuel. In terms of cost
and quality, it really makes sense. Nothing had
to be changed in the engine; I just switched
from one fuel to the other".
Rafael Diaz sits down and tells the story of
Green Sun, and his own story.
> Free raw materials
We use recycled cooking oil that comes
mainly from the hotel industry. It is waste oil
that has been used to fry food. There are
tanks at the hotels to recover it. Once the
tanks are full, they phone us and we collect
them. We don't pay them; the hotels have to
process the oil or they risk a fine, and we
offer them a solution.
> Price of the fuel
We sell by linking the price of the biodiesel to
that of diesel. At present, we charge 85 pesos
per gallon compared with 95 for conventional
diesel. Ninety percent of our customers are
businesses, mainly distribution companies.
Businesses are developing fast now in the
Dominican Republic. I hope that we will soon
be able to benefit from that. It is not difficult
to find customers. Also, the state has been run-
ning a positive education campaign. If we
could produce more, we could sell all our pro-
duction. But my project is only in its first
phase. Economically, we are starting to have
continuous production and sales. This will
enable us to increase our production capacity.
During the first two years were devoted to
market research, setting up the company and
making contacts with government bodies. We
are now stepping up production. Green Sun's
target is to produce 5,000 gallons per day, with
recently developed technology from Europe
and the USA. Our product will be able to be
certified 'Dominican biodiesel' on the market
and have a good competitive position.
> From Wall Street to biodiesel
I became a biofuel entrepreneur after working
in a company at the New York Stock Exchange
as a systems engineer. I worked with alterna-
I looked for a long time for a business I could
run in the Dominican Republic. One day I
saw the statistics for diesel consumption, and
I said, ok: the market in the Dominican
Republic is estimated at 500 million gallons
per year. Just 1% represents a small fortune.
> no pressure from the oil
companies... for the moment
At the beginning, I was worried about having
Shell or Texaco as competitors. I was a small
entrepreneur, and knew the political clout of
those companies in Europe, Asia and Latin
America. Currently they are not putting any
pressure on us. Right now, no country is self-
sufficient because the production of vegetable
oil cannot compete with fossil fuels. The entire
production of one country is too small to worry
Exxon or Texaco. It was not easy to start this
business because a lot of people were sceptical
and didn't understand what we were doing.
Lots of them thought I was mad, that I would
fall fiat on my face. But it happened with a lot
of hard work and mostly my own money, as
there has been only limited investment.
We obtained a credit line of 150,000 from
the European Investment Bank, but the princi-
ple is 1 invested for 1 borrowed. We could
not use it, as we did not have the US$150,000
to invest. And the company's success so far
cannot be used as collateral.
> Ecological benefits
Ecologically it's important. Our country lives
from tourism. Less pollution keeps the rivers,
sea and air cleaner. We have signed the Kyoto
Agreement, which represents an ecological
compromise. Moreover, the country can receive
'green vouchers' for every ton of CO2 it cuts. M
EU ffrica China,
a new triangular relationship?
China, and its capital, is making an
unprecedented impact in Africa.
The European Union, as the continent's
leading partner, has decided cooperation
is a safer response than confrontation.
underscored by a host of recent initiatives that began with
T hat Europe finds it is better to be friends than foes has been
a key event the European Commission held in June, where
representatives from Europe, Africa and China came toge-
ther under the same roof for the first time. This gathering was to set
the stage for discussions during the EU-China Summit in Beijing, 27 .
November and the EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon, 7-9 December.
Brussels was the venue for a 28 June Commission-sponsored get-
together where more than 180 experts were asked to consider the key
question: were the EU, Africa and China able to cooperate as part-
ners? To answer this, political, industrial, scientific and diplomatic
experts from Africa, Europe and Asia were tasked with exploring
opportunities for Sino-European cooperation against a backdrop of
the African continent.
'Triangular' cooperation may have been the watchword, but the aim, in
the final analysis, was to avert a clash between Africa's leading trading
partner and investor and a nation that has become the continent's third
largest trading partner in the period ofjust three years. As Louis Michel,
European Commissioner for Development, stated in his opening speech
to the conference, "we are competitors, but we are also partners and
Africa should benefit rather than suffer from our presence".
> Thriuing trade
That said, the main concern of the Europeans is to preserve the privi-
leged relationship it has enjoyed with Africa for decades, particularly in
"China's inroads to Africa have been so successful that we are com- Seni Awa Camara, tied, 1988. Terracotta, 81 x 27C 3 x 22.5 cm
Courtesy of C.A.A.C.The Pigozzi Collection, Geneva.
pelled to start asking ourselves questions and thinking about the best Photo: Claude Postel
ways of reacting", a European expert acknowledged at the conference.
And indeed the figures speak for themselves: the average rate of eco- Additionally, the soaring prices for raw materials and farm and fish-
nomic growth in Africa in recent years is 6%, with 2% of this directly ery produce can be directly traced to Chinese demand, as it has now
attributable to the 'China effect'. That is thanks to the country's invest- become the world's leading buyer of these types of products. In fact,
ment programme and its 900 or so companies already located in Africa. Beijing is now ranked as Africa's third largest trading partner. These
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
trade activities were worth US$55 billion in
2006 versus US$40 billion 12 months earlier,
and they are expected to double again within
five years. At the same time the share enjoyed
by Europe, ,ii!cii.l the leading partner, is
However, currently relations between China
and the EU are going from strength to
strength. Bilateral trade has increased 40-fold
in the wake of the reforms in China since
1978, and were worth over 174 billion in
2004. Indeed, China is now the EU's second
most important trading partner -behind the
United States -and the EU became Beijing's
top partner in 2004. On the institutional front,
the EU and China have close relations over-
seen by an annual meeting of govemment
leaders. The next summit is scheduled for
November in Beijing.
And while the EU, considering its long associ-
ation with Africa, still struggles to put togeth-
er meetings with its African partners -the first
EU-Africa Summit was in 2000, and a second
is to take place at the end of this year -
Chinese leaders have been pulling out all
the stops. By 2000 they had already set up
the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation
(FOCAC), which was transformed into a sum-
mit conference in 2006 when Hu Jintao,
President of the People's Republic of China,
welcomed 48 African heads of state to Beijing.
Now plans for a trilateral summit must be
> The ffrican experience
Chinese representatives at the Brussels meet-
ing, including ambassador Liu Guijin, the
Chinese Special Representative for African
Affairs, stressed the "solid friendship between
their countries and their African brothers and
sisters", while making a critical passing refer-
ence to Europe's colonial past.
From the African side reaction was more
mixed, with officials underscoring the gen-
uine opportunities opened up by China's com-
mitment while also warming of the equally
genuine and proven risks of dumping and the
plundering of natural resources. At the same
time, the European Commission has taken
care to refrain from criticism of its own, par-
ticularly in the case of China's 'no-ties' aid
policy, showing that Europe has clearly opted
for cooperation rather than confrontation.
One specialist stressed the importance of
reviewing how the Chinese aid system works
in practice. While it is more flexible than the
European model and a;ppiii.n!i. more adapt-
able, the Chinese are sometimes caught by
surprise in spite of their massive commitment
Esther Mahlangu, Untitled, 1991. Acrylic on canvas, 151 x 127 cm.
Courtesy of C.A.A.C. The Pigozzi Collection, Geneva.
Photo: Claude Postel
and turn to the EU for explanations. It is with
this 'African experience' that Europe plans to
discuss and negotiate with China in its
attempt to win Beijing over to a workable tri-
> Practical cooperation
The European Commission has plans to go
much further than that. During his closing
speech at the conference, Berard Petit, the
Commission's Deputy Director-General for
Development, elaborated a list of areas where
China and the EU could cooperate in the
future: reforming the security sector in
Democratic Republic of Congo; the
Kimberley Process and FLEGT -two pro-
grammes aimed at clamping down on the ille-
gal trade in diamonds and timber -and finally
the reform of the continent's infrastructure.
According to the European Commission,
infrastructure in the EU has a huge wealth of
experience that China could enhance with its
own national experiences. As part of this, the
EC invited Chinese authorities to the launch of
the EU-Africa partnership on infrastructures, a
process that kicked off 24-25 October in
Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. China, how-
ever, was not the only guest. Two Chinese
banks, the China Development Bank and the
Exim Bank participated as observers.
Andrea Marchesini Reggiani
cooperation and foundations:
l profitable encounter
E uropean foundations are important
agents on both national and interna-
tional scenes; they have a big respon-
sibility, as they can use their money
to aid local development, research, the social
sector, art and culture, joining political deci-
sion makers and civil society. But what is a
A foundation is a private institution with legal
personality, which owns assets that can be
assigned for specific non-profit purposes.
> Italian bank foundations
Within the panorama of European foundations
Italian bank foundations are an extremely inter-
esting case. Their grant distributions are
extremely important, especially in the social
and cultural fields. This is an auxiliary role to
their respective European, govermental and
local public policies. In certain territories their
contributions are essential.
They were instituted in 1991 with the
Amato/Carli Law that imposed the division
between banks (which had to start a privatisa-
tion process) and foundations in two distinct
legal entities. As a consequence, foundations
with a large dimension have been created.
These were initially identified as holding the
entire stock of former public banks, but have
been subsequently invited to be on the market.
These institutions operate in J.i tie, r modali-
ties with a preference for grant-making in the
classic fields of big foundations: education and
research, art and culture, health and welfare. To
these fields we can add, in certain cases, issues
related to the environment and promotion of
local development. Foundations work on the
borderline between the private, public and civil
sectors (i.e. the non-profit field). In fact, they
generate profit from the first sphere and need to
be able to dialogue and connect policies and
resources with the second. The third sphere is
their main field and in which they fmd their
most important partners.
At least ten of these foundations have assets
that exceed the threshold of 1 billion, while
nearly 30 go beyond 100 million.
Ceilings per year are continuously increasing
and go from 1 million for small foundations
to almost 200 million for the MontePaschi,
Cariplo, and Compagnia di San Paolo founda-
tions, which are in the European top ten for
assets and contributions. C i.... -,,q i, if we
consider the growing amount of money to be
distributed in social, cultural and research proj-
ects with great autonomy and freedom of
j 1j 11
ti '- P E -NO'. ErEIER CEr.1ER 2007
action, we can easily notice the crucial role
played by foundations. They are now develop-
ing into modem organizations with specific
operational strategies, staffed with young, spe-
cialised personnel, with due transparency
(through well managed, updated websites) of
announcements and contributions that have
been implemented. Normally evaluation
methodologies and structures for calls for appli-
cations are based on those used by the European
> 8 European way to philanthropy
Going through programme documents, the
increasing will to create a stronger connection
between the local and the international, global
and European spheres is easily noticeable. The
need to develop a European way for founda-
tions originated at the European Foundations
Centre (EFC), an international association of
foundations and corporate founders, based in
Brussels. It is dedicated to documenting the
foundation landscape, strengthening the infra-
structure of the sector and promoting coopera-
tion at European level and around the world.
Since its foundation in 1989, the EFC's main
goals are to represent the interest of members
(more then 200 foundations), not only donors
and bank foundations but also charitable, sci-
entific and cultural organizations and target
governments, the European Union and interna-
tional bodies. Globalisation is making clear the
necessity to value problems and opportunities
on a supranational level and to organise pro-
grammes and specific processes about global
issues on a local level.
In fact, since 2003 the EFC has promoted
Europe in the World, a programme that aims to
advocate and mobilise more leadership, collab-
oration and efforts for global development
among foundations and in partnership with
govemments, multilateral institutions, business
and NGOs. According to EFC, is important to
persuade the ever growing number of European
foundations to increase current resources -
skills, knowledge, funding for global issues
and development on a sustainable basis.
> 8 more open territory of action
The Cassa di Risparmio Foundation in
Bologna was the first to change its statute in
order to allow funds for actions taking place
out of its territory, especially in the Global
South. This statute modification, in October
2000, was strongly advocated by the vice-pres-
ident at that time, Giovanni Bersani. As a
European Parliamentarian, he participated in
many crucial phases of the Lom Convention
and development policies promoted by the
European Union. Among other functions, he
has been President of the EU-ACP
Parliamentary Assembly, for which he is now
Bersani went beyond the old principle that
funds must be distributed in the foundations'
reference territory and that these subjects may
stretch have responsibilities also towards far
territories and peoples. This would have con-
tributed to a common perspective of a real and
C i. .-..qu i:rI., lf.. ,, i r;..... now have the possi-
bility to operate in the development field and,
especially in the last three to four years, many
NGO programmes from the Global North and
Global South have been promoted.
We have interviewed Gabriello Mancini, presi-
dent of the Monte dei Paschi di Siena
Foundation, who said: "In the last four years
we have worked especially with associations,
depending on projects that have been proposed,
but we have the intention to fund better and
better quality actions. There is a need to target
the real needs of these countries, possibly
working in tune with the local institutions. In
order to improve synergies and coordination,
since 2004 we have approved, together with
the region of Tuscany, a protocol of intentions
to target projects that need funds. Among these
we can remember the realisation of the heart
surgery centre Salam in Sudan realized by
Emergency, the centre Saving the children that
offers medical assistance to more than 1,000
Palestinian children, or the mobile field hospi-
tal realized by the association Fatebenefratelli.
But, as well as big actions, contributions are
also delivered to local associations."
There are more than 160 projects in ACP coun-
tries that have been funded during the last four
years, for a financial commitment that exceeds
20 million. The main issues of these projects
are education, infant vaccinations, attendance
and cure of children with HIV/AIDS, creation
of hospitals, sanitary structures and surgical
specialised centres, and reservoirs for drink-
able water and irrigation.
Some other foundations have realized projects
in this field. Compagnia di San Paolo devoted
attention to advanced training for developing
countries, with courses organised by the ILO,
Hydroaid, the International Water for
Development Management Institute and the
Higher European Cooperation and the
Development School ofthe University ofPavia.
In 2004, the Cariplo Foundation has signed an
action plan approving a new operative line that
has been proposed in order to reduce the gap
between the Global North and South. In 2005,
12 contributions for a total amount of 1l mil-
lion have been allocated and the number of
funded projects increased from 12 to 39 in
2006 with a total contribution of 3 million.
This participation can be increased. Positive
perspectives can be seen in the answer of Mr.
Mancini to our question: "What kind of coor-
dination experiences are there among founda-
tions in order to aid development?" He said:
"We are working according to the explicit aus-
pices of the Associazione delle Casse di
Risparmio Italiane (ACRI) in order to ensure
the possibility of implementing common
actions in the field of international coopera-
tion. Cin' -iri, there are contacts with other
important foundations in order to elaborate
initiatives that I trust will produce positive
We will see what happens. a
Creating a buzz in ffrica
There were just 2 million mobile phone users across African nations back in 1998 when
Celtel was set up, most of whom in South Africa. Today, out of a total of 200 million
mobile users on the continent, 25 million are Celtel customers.
one million new customers every month? "Balancing
the risks and returns and understanding how to do
business in African nations," is part of the explana-
tion, says Terry Rhodes, the company's co-founder and strategy adviser.
Good branding with a vibrant logo, together with being a "principles
based company", including investment in every employee's future, are
all part of the growth, explains Rhodes from the company's office in
Hoopddorf, the Netherlands. The Celtel network now stretches across
15 African countries from the Atlantic to Indian Oceans; Burkina Faso,
Chad, Congo Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, Niger,
Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Sudan (where it operates
as 'Mobitel'), Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
"We had to persuade people that the company was a lower risk than per-
ceived," adds Martin de Koning, Celtel's Communications Director.
Sudanese expatriate, Dr Mo Ibrahim, a former telecommunications
consultant, started Celtel almost a decade ago joining fellow consultant,
Terry Rhodes, in acquiring a single license to operate in Uganda.
Getting the finance together for the huge infrastructural investment
needed was the first step, right down to purchasing of back up genera-
tors so networks could keep on running in the event of power cuts. A
US$1 billion sum was raised from a mixture of private and public cap-
ital. In 2005, Celtel was sold to Kuwait's MTC, a leading Middle
Eastern Telecommunications company for US$3.5 billion dollars. This
sale resulted in windfalls of the equivalent to six-month salary for many
employees. In 2006, the company moved into the huge Nigerian mar-
ket with the US$1 billion acquisition of a controlling stake in
'Vmobile', rebranded as 'Celtel Nigeria'.
> Rural expansion
Celtel either tenders for licenses or acquires local companies. In 2007,
MTC/Celtel's investment in the African continent was expected to be
around US$2 billion, with an onus on expansion in rural areas.
Of the company's 7,500 employees, 99% are from African nations,
explains Rhodes. There are a total of 400,000 points of sale for the pay as
you go cards across all 15 countries.
From a position of importing technology into the continent, the company
is now trailblazing the world's first borderless mobile phone network in
African nations, offering customers across six countries the possibility of
calls without incurring so-called 'roaming' surcharges, explains Rhodes.
You can buy a SIM card in Congo-DRC, Congo-Brazzaville, Tanzania,
Uganda, Kenya and Gabon and be charged the same rate in any ofthe six.
Branded as 'One Network', this product is ahead of anything offered by
EU-based mobile phone companies which levy hefty charges for calls
made and received in any EU country other than where the SIM card was
purchased, says Rhodes.
Koning explains that Celtel offers continual training to its employees,
including a 15-month training graduate programme, 'Headstart'.
Company options and shares are other perks. Celtel is also involved in a
number of voluntary projects to distribute books to schools and school-
It is keen to extend its network to other African nations, notably Ethiopia,
Mozambique and Angola, on its way to becoming a leading pan-African
phone company. D.P. M www.celtel.com
A pastoralist Maasai shows off his mobile phone, Kenya. IRIN / Neil Thomas I
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
of a decisive turning
point in the
approach to EPfs
Council in Funchal
t was on Madeira, that bridge
between the coasts of Africa
and Europe, that EU deve-
lopment ministers gathered
21-22 September for an informal
meeting on key issues regarding
the partnership between the EU
and ACP countries.
The theme of the meeting in
Funchal, Madeira's capital, came
from the desire of Portugal's
Secretary of State for Foreign
Affairs and Cooperation, Joao
Gomes Cravinho, for his EU col-
leagues to consider the three pri-
orities of the Portuguese
Presidency. Cravinho, current
president of the Development
Council, re-emphasised these pri-
* How to improve links between
European security policy and
development in emerging
* How to improve the EU's role in
countries in a 'fragile' situation
by providing more appropriate
responses to the problems they
* How to ensure that the laborious
negotiations for Economic
Partnership Agreements (EPAs)
between the EU and six ACP
sub-regions will conclude by 31
December 2007. How to signal a
new trade regime combining
compatibility with the World
Trade Organisation's (WTO)
rules of free trade and respect
for the development goals of the
The ambition during the
Portuguese presidency has been
to identify ways forward for EU
development policy and to con-
clude agreements prior to the sec-
ond EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon
on 8-9 December. It was an ambi-
tion achieved. The Funchal infor-
mal council will hopefully be
recognized as a decisive turning
point in the European approach to
It will also be remembered for
recommending the application of
a code of conduct on the optimal
breakdown of work between the
Commission and 'fragile' devel-
oping countries and for having
launched high-level discussions
to more precisely trace the limits
of the Common Foreign and
Security Policy (CFSP) and EU
humanitarian policy, avoiding any
confusion between the two.
> Defining when to
marrg defence with
While army intervention in the
humanitarian field can at times be
useful -such as the ARTEMIS
operation in Ituri in the DRC, and
the promising prospect of deploy-
ing EUFOR to Chad/Central
African Republic to protect
refugees of the Darfur crisis and
aid workers -there is general
agreement that the leadership in
any intervention should rest with
humanitarian groups. The experi-
ences of the United Kingdom, the
Netherlands and Denmark, all three
champions of close cooperation
between their development and
defence ministries, should serve as
an example to other Member
States, believes the Council.
Explained Joao Gomes Gravinho,
,.,iii and defence as well as
security and development are two
sides of the same coin. We still
have difficulties of a cultural nature
in determining when to marry
defence with development, but
there is unanimous acceptance of
the need to work hand in hand". He
added, "this is the beginning of
what will be a long process". Louis
Michel, EU Commissioner for
Development and Humanitarian
Aid, concurred, saying that, "we all
agree that there is no security with-
out development, and no develop-
ment without security, but develop-
ment has its own aims". He went
on, "The military are not there to
do humanitarian work. It is there-
fore essential to define precise rules
of engagement for military forces,
without which there is no way of
assuming political responsibility".
Defining these rules is a task that
the European Commission has set
for itself. Itwill soon be presenting
a document for "defining the natu-
ral missions of both humanitarian
and military forces" and setting out
the rules of engagement.
> Towards two-stage
Addressing the Council, Trade
Commissioner Peter Mandelson
gave a sombre assessment of the
state of the EPA negotiations with
the ACP regions. The difficulties,
including that most of them
regard trade liberalisation with
fear, are enormous. West Africa
and Eastern Africa lag furthest
behind and while the Caribbean
and Pacific have made the most
progress. Negotiations have
stalled with Southern Africa. The
end result is that none have yet
submitted a plan for opening up
their markets to EU products. The
commissioner pointed out that in
the absence of an EPA, none of
the 36 most developed ACP coun-
tries will be able to count on any-
thing more than the basic system
of generalised preferences acces-
sible to all developing countries.
That is clearly less advantageous
than duty-free access without
quotas for nearly all products
(with the exception of rice and
sugar) offered from 1 January
2008 to all ACP countries that
sign an EPA.
Mandelson's statement was con-
tested by MEP Glenys Kinnock,
co-president of the ACP-EU Joint
Parliamentary Assembly. She
favours the continuation of nego-
tiations and the application of the
SGP Plus to all ACP States in
trouble until such time as an
agreement is reached on the EPA
content directly in line with a
country's development needs. The
active participation of representa-
tives of the European Parliament
in this exchange is a distinctive
feature of the Development
Council. "The only one of the EU
Council's sectorial bodies to give
a voice to the elected representa-
tives," says Kinnock.
While the ministers gave the
European Commission their sup-
port in helping ACP countries
meet the January deadline set by
the WTO, they also suggested that
it could be rather less ambitious.
As Cravinho explained, "It is not
a question of changing the date
because it is absolutely necessary
to conclude the most comprehen-
sive agreements possible before
the end of the year. However, if
that cannot be done, we must have
a general agreement in principle
with all the regions".
That would mean an agreement
establishing a general framework,
with the details to be finalised in
the first three months of 2008.
This was Cravinho's way of
acknowledging that the EU will
have to accept the impossibility of
concluding EPAs with every ACP
country by the end of 2007, espe-
cially tying up final details on
products as well as so-called 'new
generation' issues (using WTO
jargon) that include services, pub-
lic contracts, competition and
November December 2007
> 1 EU Middle East Africa Energy
Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
> 5-8 Plenary meeting of the Kimberley
> 7-9 European Development Days,
devoted in particular to the study
of the effects of climate change
on developing countries.
> 12-13 High Level Conference on Business
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
> 14-16 10th session of the ACP
> 17-22 14th session of the ACP-EU
Joint Parliamentary Assembly.
> 23-25 Commonwealth
Heads of State Meeting.
I,.., I.-. --. Commonwealth
Societies to achieve political,
economic and human development'
is the theme ofthe meeting
in Kampala ofthe 53 Heads
of State comprising
Includes business, youth
and people 's fora.
> 3-4 Conference:
'Diasporas and transnational
Wilton Park, United Kingdom
In what ways do diaspora
to their host countries
and countries of origin?
> 8-9 EU-Africa Summit.
> 9-13 ACP Ministers responsible
for EPAs meet.
Venue to be confirmed
> To be confirmed
86th Session of the ACP
Council of Ministers.
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
without a Protocol
Recent talks on a successor to the EU's Sugar Protocol, which will replace the existing
set quotas for individual ACP producer countries at a price considerably higher than
the global one, have left a bitter aftertaste for ACP States. We look at how the post-
Protocol market under European Partnership Agreements (EPAs) may pan out for ACP
exporters of raw sugar.
S ugar is just one of two products omitted from the EU's April
2007 duty-free quota-free offer for ACP states under the pro-
posed EPAs for six regions, the other being rice. Sensitivities
were raw at recent ACP high-level talks, 12-14 September, on
how to manage this transition to a free market.
"The Sugar Protocol is par excellence, a model North-South trade
.1 ii il iLe il i! il .1 I 'l i" i !, | iiiL ii i..i I i kI .i I lii 1i l i, hi ilh i i* I'
(il iLJii Ei hi dii i. l i1! i .i 2 A ['-Eli di.lF i C!i!|ii.illl ..i il!cci ic ii l
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ul il ,lll. hic h pi.iicL Ili ( '1 I iiu.ii '., h c i iI I [, 'le -I IIU ]ip' [ Il l'u il
E ,\pl.,in. Blki, n-h.i.,d ,i. iii'' l ul P.iil ( I.ii ll.,lis The iilin .iic .iiin
s Lt, L's.ihlish j fli~ir pi a l. i hi e II.I '.' h i iIh L .ll .111 h. ih l ElU in.I.klet
prices L. o bc dietinui liind h Pi i irLe lreinii n ihe '.' rlJ ii.ir n.ii k l "
1. L m1 JJ'" jj Il VJ
> Price cut
A 36% price cut over four years affecting ACP sugar producers was
already announced in 2005, starting with the 2006-2007 campaign, in
tandem with cuts to the EU's own domestic raw sugar price. ACP
states say this already means annual loses of 250 million for its 18
Pil .ii ii ll i i llii i i i i i l
A ,ii l !ii l !L. rl ,,l l!! I i r .i I .l !"1 IhI E r'A d l i, ., ll
ilnl," !, iiiA !i"i' l l I .i iii.il _U l I r ,in l. lb \\P .,.! l T Ii.,.!.
i |[' .II! Ji.I i Il I\\ T I il i llh l iIn li ii .I !1i. I ..ld .1 n .1!,.1 ih ll I L. 1,2 Il l -
,I.iiih .ill, .11 il id !h .ll!, l r' i F! ." , l 1e .1 i, .il i .1 h! l'!l ,!!.i!i'
1 i I.ili '. I lh il E l i 11F 1. ll 1 iII I I -. Iill l !l i I .111 D C) | ll l l
S n.] i I.L ill.l .Ill i .l .IC I l ih E li .i! hl.r iI I ,I !,iii il, i ,,C l hii ml h l 1I ,
]_ .'. l DL" l, |1l llel'll l"'IIIIl| ~ le all t -l lll[ I i d l i !ce .nl ce s !,,l .d 1
e s'.por I I n 1_[)( I ., I I i U luln i` l.- d )1 i i. .l l uhi E 1I.Ihi hu ll
l inun liil l.li' L'
Already in place are EU-funded so-called
Multi-Annual Strategies to offset price cuts
These are tailor-made packages for individual
ACP sugar producers such as to improve pro-
duction, diversify into other areas like biofuels
and for social schemes to support those leav-
ing the industry. The eight-year (2006-2013)
package totals 1.24 billion.
> EPI access
The EU is in the midst of discussing transi-
tional arrangements for sugar under regional
EPAs. As it stands, its 4 April offer will up the
level market access for all sugar producers up
to 2009, meaning the Dominican Republic
will gain duty-free access to the EU market
for the first time. A second phase from
October 2009 will apply strict safeguards of
up to 3.5 million tonnes from all exporters and
1.3 million tonnes from ACPs over which tar-
iffs must be paid. Up to 2012, the EU has
offered an "attractive and remunerative floor
price". The phased transition will ensure that
change is not at the expense of the poorest,
say EU officials.
Lionel Jeffries, Minister of Foreign Trade and
International Cooperation of Guyana, stated
at a special ACP Sugar Ministerial in
September that ACP states were seeking more
clarity and improvements to the offer such as
a higher level of exports before safeguards are
applied, regional quotas and remunerative
prices to continue until 2015.
In the midst of negotiating, ACP states say
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market access offer for sugar in EPAs coming
into force in October 2009. "The Sugar
Protocol cannot co-exist with these new
arrangements, so the Protocol has to end by
that date," he explained.
"The EU is reneging on its previous commit-
ments to the ACP countries with a pre-emptive
strike at a time when we are still negotiating the
EPAs in good faith. Unless the guarantees of the
Sugar Protocol are transposed into the new
agreements, it will leave us significantly worse
off than we are already; that would be a com-
plete contradiction of the stated goals of the
EPAs," retorted Ambassador Patrick Gomes,
Ambassador of Guyana to the EU and
Chairman of the Consultative Group on Sugar.
Paul Goodison predicts that further rounds of
sugar price cuts in 2013 and 2015 in the wake
of CAP reform and mounting freight and
insurance costs in ACP states will leave just a
handful of southern African nations
Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia
and Zimbabwe -able to make a profit from
sugar exports by 2015.
In this sunset for the Sugar Protocol, he says
onus should be placed on making the most of
market advantages while they're there. "For
every 10,000 tons of sugar exported to the EU
in the 2008/2009 season, rather than the
2009/2010 season, extra revenue would be
nearly 1.14 million," calculates Goodison.
And there must be fast delivery of aid to the
industry so far pledged. Quoting the success
of Plantation Reserve, he says that a lot more
innovative aid and low-cost loans are required
!l ll D llP j' 1!1 lk 1.1 I,, .1l" I 1!' '" ,I0 .!
I! ~ ~I aFIlk
I 11 ri
. 1 -ALJ
for small fCP
The onset of the European Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with
the ACP regions is still an unknown quantity for banana pro-
ducers of the ACP group. We asked those in the industry what's
at stake as the umbrella of the Banana Protocol unfolds.
O n paper, the EU's duty-free, quota-free
offer under an EPA with Cariforum
countries looks generous, says
Renwick Rose, St. Vincent-based coor-
dinator of the Windward Islands' Farmers'
Association (WINFA) representing growers in St
Vincent, Dominica, St. Lucia and Grenada.
On the table and due to come on stream on 1 January
2008, the EU's open market access is for all but the
most sensitive products, sugar and rice. It will
replace the current market arrangements under the
Banana Protocol enshrined in successive EU deve-
lopment accords with the ACP group. This. ,111 iii.
gives duty-free access up to 775,000 tonnes alloca-
ted between ACP countries.
Dig a little deeper and there are jitters about how the
post-protocol market will shape up. It will all come
down to pricing, forecasts Rose, with the most vul-
nerable small farmers of the group; those of the
Windwards, but also small holders in Jamaica,
Belize and in some African nations such as
Cameroon, will be most affected.
Alistair Smith of the UK-based NGO, Bananalink,
which campaigns for a fairly traded, sustainably
farmed banana, explains that big multi-nationals in
ACP States have already become rooted in several
African nations including Cte d'Ivoire and Ghana.
> Price pressure
"The greater volumes in the market will put pres-
sure on prices", explains Rose. He adds: "If the
price is not remunerative then the duty-free, tariff-
free access makes no sense".
Windwards' farmers are no strangers to grasping
the nettle of restructuring that began in the 1990s.
The European Union (EU) has assisted with fund-
ing many projects to improve production methods
such as irrigation, construction of roads, reception
and distribution stations and for certification
schemes. Other EU funds have gone to diversifica-
tion into other farming and social schemes for those
who have left the sector.
There's now a steady core of growers Windwards-
wide selling their fair trade produce to leading UK
supermarkets. The small, creamy, sweet-tasting
Windward banana -perfect for school lunch boxes
-is little known outside the UK.
"Our worry is that when you open the market, the
price differences between the fair trade and regular
banana will get wider and wider", says Rose. "A
managed market is essential to us".
"Whilst Fair Trade is a saving grace, it will not
insulate us from the general pressure of the mar-
ket", warns Rose. He reminds EU-ACP negotiators:
"There is nothing in the EPA text which suggests
that we will be compensated for the banana".
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007 33
rErV.rff1 in Rlium :nlW
Jctor, plC/',wrih, St.r/t.
performer is in Belgium and other
French-speaking countries for his
natural charm (including towards
those he rebukes in his shows), deep voice and
wrestler's build, he is also famously modest. It
is as if he is unaware of his fame and the fond-
ness people feel towards him, even those who
have never met him face-to-face.
For me, a national rail strike wasn't bad news
at all. Instead of meeting Kabongo at the
Thtre du Mange in Mons Belgium, I made
the journey with him by car, giving us anoth-
er hour to talk.
Kabongo's working day is due to begin with a
costume fitting for the show he is rehearsing,
but when we arrive, the director himself is
there. And not just any director but THE mas-
ter, THE magician -Dragone! Dieudonn
Kabongo is working with Franco Dragone, the
Belgian director who has conquered Las Vegas,
Califomia, Montreal and the rest as the creator
of unique, gigantic spectacles.
The Disney Cinema Parade; "The Dream" in
Las Vegas, marking the opening of the Wynn
Hotel; Cline Dion's mega-spectacle, "A New
Day"; the exhibition at the Museum of
Civilisation to mark the 400th anniversary of
the city of Quebec, were all his creative works.
And coming up in autumn 2009, the extrava-
gance of "City of Dreams" in Macao, with a
cast of hundreds if not thousands of gymnasts,
acrobats, synchronised swimmers, tightrope
walkers and visual artists.
Of course, it isn't Kabongo's way to draw
attention to the recognition afforded him in this
production, but while we are in the car he
describes the role he plays in "Othello,
passeur" (Othello the ferryman) -an Othello
created for a contemporary story. In this ver-
sion, Othello is a smuggler bringing illegal
immigrants to Europe. However, he has the
soul of Shakespeare's Othello and renames his
passengers as Shakespeare's characters. Like
the original, he's in love with a girl -
Desdemona and faces and confronts adversi-
ty, and knows what Othello's destiny is. But as
the modem-day tale unfolds, will he follow it
or deviate from it?
And as we drive, he describes his own life.
"For a long time, I was caught in a dilemma:
was I an African and an artist, or an artist and
an African? Trying to reconcile the two was
extremely difficult for me, but little by little
this became less important. Even the huge
amount of effort needed to become recognized
when you first arrive as an immigrant has faded
from my thoughts because you move on. You
just get on with your personal creativity." His
comments clearly sum up someone who is
entranced and consumed by art in many differ-
Although Kabongo is regarded as a national
treasure in Belgium (especially in Brussels),
where he has lived since 1970, he has never
considered taking Belgian nationality. "It's not
for ideological reasons," he says, "but simply
because I've never seen myself as anything but
Congolese." He adds, "Having said that, it
doesn't bother me at all when the local press
adopt me and label me a Belgian".
In the Thtre Le Mange in Mons, after many
try-outs and 'take fives,' the costumes have
been decided upon and rehearsals are finally
beginning. Director Dragone wants to tighten
up a few parts of the show, getting the ambience
and positions right in the rehearsal room before
moving to the full stage.
To begin, Kabongo runs through a dialogue
with one of the actors. They both have trouble
remembering their lines, but the moment they
are on stage in front of Dragone, the words
begin to flow.
Othello and lago are there before us.
Come here lago
Othello, the men are complaining
Only the men?
Don't laugh, Othello, the women too, of course!
What's the matter with you, lago, are you their
I am with them
As they recite their lines Dragone steps in,
cajoling, suggesting and refining his expecta-
tions,stretching the performers, bidding them to
create his vision.
Each break in rehearsal provides further
opportunities to talk with Kabongo on art,
life, the people he's met, his career: a career
that began in 1984 when he was just over 30,
with "Mfiez-vous des ts-ts" ("Don't trust
the tsetse fly"), co-written with Mirko
Popovitch, which won first prize at the
Rochefort Comedy Festival.
My day with Dieudonn I IW UII
Kabongo ends around
2am, many hours after
our return to Brussels.
During that time he has
talked about almost
his talent through his
story-telling uncle "who
did everything that oth-
ers did -like Robert
Lamoureux or Bourvil
but without the great
resources they had at
He also talked about
his self-taught appren-
ticeship in writing and
the theatre after study-
engineering in Virton,
Belgium. At that time
Kabongo and others
wanted learn profes-
sions that would allow
them to help their
country. Although that
is long behind him, he
also talks of his "con-
stant training" -never
ceasing to learn from everyone he meets,
especially young people. As he says, "they
refresh my way of seeing things." At the
beginning of his artistic career, the theatre
taught him to communicate with young peo-
ple; he made them laugh and they remem-
bered his explanations.
Ni aret -
nIe izi w*,tl m .En .
Zone02's cover dedicated to Dieudonn Kabongo. I
But he avoids letting that role take him too far
outside his own area of expertise and interest.
Although he is an extremely well known face
in Brussels he is careful to never get too
involved. Not long ago following a serious
incident in the Congolese quarter of Brussels
where a young Congolese man died, he was
asked to advise the bourgmestre (mayor) of the
community concerned. But he admits to avoid-
ing taking up roles like this because he prefers
to promote culture, not break up fights. He
concluded, "Culture is extraordinary. It is
capable of performing miracles and preventing
damage and destruction. That's why it fills me
For Dieudonn Kabongo's recent Theatre,
Filmography, Discography visit, among oth-
"Othello" Thtre Le Mange (Mons,
Belgium) From 9 to 12 January 2008 at
8.30pm, 13th at 4pm +32-(0)65/39.59.39
Directed by Franco Dragone. Freely adapted
from William Shakespeare by Yves Vasseur
with Vincent Engel
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
l ur Planet
f ossil is missing link
in elephant lineage
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Restoration of A
angustidens and Eritreum--
Reconstruction of th power .
jaw. E. melakeghebrekristosi .
from Dogali, Eritrea. -
C PNAS / Illustration by Gary H
: .: .j
Members of the research group did not want
to credit themselves by naming the finding in
PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences of the United States of America),
named the species as Eritreum melakeghekris-
tosi, after Eritrea, the country where it was
found, and Melake Ghebrekristos, who found
the specimen and recognized it importance.
He said he hoped this would help encourage
the people of Eritrea to assist scientific
To Eritrea, this discovery, is an important one
which complements the already excavated
findings -and many more that are likely to be
hidden somewhere awaiting further excava-
tion and research. Since Eritrea is in the great
African Rift Valley, which is known for its
role as a laboratory in the evolution of mam-
mals, it would not be a surprise to uncover
more discoveries. However, considerable care
should be taken in safeguarding artefacts and
relics that carry invaluable history. Speaking
on this, Dr Seife stresses that everyone should
be aware of the importance of the country's
historical heritage, which is full of untold sto-
ries that cannot be retrieved once destroyed.
The findings in Dogoli, Abdur, and Buya have
placed Eritrea as one of the major repositories
of human evolution and culture. Protecting
the unique natural heritage of Eritrea is an
asset to be promoted through ecotourism for
this and future generations. This report is the
first combined account on the extinct and
extant mammalian fauna of Eritrea. Prior to
1993 all publications concerning faunal
assemblages from Eritrea were under the hea-
ding of Ethiopia, as Eritrea was then a pro-
vince of Ethiopia. Data presented here, it is
hoped, will serve as a basis for future research
on the paleozoogeography and neozoogeogra-
phy of Eritrean mammals.
Private sector inuoluement in Africa
T he American IT and electronics dards and help disadvantaged communities by
giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) laun- promoting skills and creating jobs".
ched a project in September which
aims to reduce the impact of elec- > Pilot project in South ffrica
tronic waste on health and the environment in
developing countries the main recipients of
this kind of waste.
The project, which is being carried out in
partnership with the Global Digital Solidarity
Fund and the Swiss Institute for Materials
Science and Technology, will get underway
in South Africa.
The idea is to reduce the potential impact of
poor handling of electronic waste on health
and the environment, but also to create job
opportunities in the most disadvantaged com-
munities. Kalus Hieronymi, head of HP's
Environment Business Management
Organisation for Europe, the Middle East and
Africa, said: "We see this project as a means to
help develop an infrastructure to safely deal
with electronic waste based on local habits
and structures". He added: "We hope that this
initial analysis will enable us to create a
widespread public-private partnership that
will improve health and environmental stan-
The scheme for managing electronic waste in
Africa will build on existing recycling plans,
with the introduction of the initiative on a
large scale between now and December 2008.
The pilot project will take place in South
Africa followed by Morocco, Kenya and
Tunisia. The company set a target in 2004 of
recycling 500,000 tonnes of electronic mate-
rials on a global scale by the end of 2007.
Having achieved this objective six months
earlier than anticipated, HP is now proposing
the recycling of an additional 500,000 tonnes
between now and 2010.
> flfrica used as a dustbin
The waste produced by electronic and electri-
cal equipment is estimated at millions of ton-
nes a year and, according to the United
Nations, represents more than 5% of all house-
hold waste. The UN has just launched a world-
wide programme called StEP (Solving the E-
Waste Problem). According to the Basel
Action Network (BAN), an international non-
govermental organisation fighting trade and
trafficking in toxic materials, 400,000 used
computers and screens, in varying states and
of all ages, enter Nigeria each month. Franois
Ossama, an electronics specialist from
Cameroon and author of the book, "Les
Nouvelles technologies de l'information.
Enjeux pour l'Afrique Subsaharienne"
(The New Information Technologies. So Much
at Stake for Sub-Saharan Africa) (www.rid-
dac.org/blogs/francoisossama/), said that,
under the pretext of giving gifts, "thousands of
obsolete computers are dumped in countries
that do not have any capability for recycling
which is still complex to master at a technolo-
gical level". He added: "When a friend of
mine who works for a women's association in
Cameroon called me two years ago to help her
install computers that she received as a gift,
we were extremely surprised and disappointed
to find out that, of the eight computers recei-
ved, just one worked and that was an IBM
from the 1980s!". M.M.B. M
,. ._ ii.. r i.i ._.
i; LlIi~E 't: ~~iC*~r~l C
Timor-Leste recently joined the 'concert of nations',
the climax of an epic and heroic story of a people's
struggle to win their sovereignty. A story of men who
became living legends, like Jos Ramos-Horta: revolu-
tionary, man of ideas, winner of the Nobel Peace
Prize; and Xanana Gusmo: revolutionary, poet and
painter, winner of the Sakharov Peace Prize.
Formal independence of this tiny state in South-East
Asia on 20 May 2002 ended one of the cruellest epi-
sodes of a country in recent times, but sadly Timor-
Leste has since suffered further upheavals of a kind
only to be expected after such a long, tormented
history. However, despite all of this, Timor-Leste has
emerged with its democratic principles intact and is
proud to be one of the few countries in the region to
champion the values it shares with the European
Union. Clearly well placed for future development, its
economy is relatively healthy and free of debt and
serious corruption. Moreover, there is the promise of
future exploitation of its oil reserves on a sustainable
basis as well as its upcoming membership of ASEAN.
This is a country rich in natural beauty, ready for
discovery by anyone seeking to venture off mass tou-
rism's well beaten track.
Birth of a nation:
he emergence of Timor-Leste as an independent nation is the
result of a people's epic effort to win their sovereignty. It was
only after the hardest of battles that this small South-East
Asian nation won its formal independence on 20 May 2002.
Prior to this, during the 25 years of Indonesian occupation, there were
an estimated 200,000 deaths in a population of just over 700,000.
Moreover, it was a freedom won almost alone without the help of out-
side assistance and for the most part in the face of complete indifference
by the international community.
The barbarity of the Indonesian occupation caused people to forget the
neglect in which the earlier Portuguese colonisation had left the coun-
try. After five centuries of rule, the Portuguese left the nation in a state
of abject poverty, without infrastructure and virtually without the
human capital to develop a new nation.
A quick history lesson is useful. More than 3,000 years ago the island
was already inhabited by the Atoli, a Melanesian population. About
2,500 years ago successive waves of new immigrants began to arrive
from various tribes.
Colonial adventures began at a time when
Islam was in the process of taking root in the
region. But Portuguese missionaries landed on
the eastern part of the island where they con-
verted the Tetum (Blu) to Catholicism.
During the 16th century the country went to
war against the Muslim kingdom of Sombay,
which was established in the west of the island
and protected by the Dutch.
The Dutch were victorious and established
rule over the greater part of the region. They
held Indonesia and western Timor, while the
Portuguese had to settle for eastern Timor and
the enclave of Oecussi in the north of western
Timor -borders that were not legally recog-
nised by the International Court of Justice in
The Hague until 1914.
By this time, the beginning of the 20th centu-
ry, Portugal had virtually abandoned Timor. Its
interest in the island was only reawakened
with the start of World War II in the heated
context of ideology clashes. However, while
the Portuguese government opted to support
the Allies, eastern Timor soon found itself at
the mercy of Japanese invasion forces. The
small South-East Asian nation put up a heroic
resistance to defend the Allied cause, losing
50,000 lives and suffering total devastation in
When the war was over there was little recog-
nition of Timor's heroism and life simply
returned to 'business as usual'. The Salazarist
military dictatorship was reinstalled in the east.
Eastern Timor's population rose up in revolt
against the fascist regime in 1961, but the dic-
tatorship was not about to loosen its grip on
Portugal's Carnation Revolution overthrew the
extremist Lisbon regime on 25 April 1974, and
the new Portugal quickly recognized the rights
of its colonies to independence.
Political parties began to form in Timor and
three political groups took shape:
* A rightist party, advocating joining with
Indonesia (the Timorese Popular
Democratic Association, Apodeti);
* A conservative group, seeking autonomy
within the framework of a Portuguese
Republic (the Timor Democratic Union,
* A revolutionary and separatist left-wing
organisation (the Revolutionary Front of
Independent East Timor, Fretilin), which
is still a part of the political scene today.
Back in Lisbon, the Portuguese Parliament
organised the election of a popular assembly
on Timor as a prelude to granting the country
its independence in October 1978.
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
Times dedicated to Timor-Leste,
19 June 2000.
But in November 1975, in reaction to Lisbon's
decision, the UDT and Apodeti launched hos-
tilities against Fretilin. The country was
plunged into civil war, finally won by Fretilin
which proclaimed the country's independence
on 28 November. But the victory was to be
short-lived and just 10 days later, on 7
December 1975 Indonesian forces invaded the
country, plunging it into a quarter century of
The first five days of the invasion brought the
deaths of 5,000 Timorese. But the resistance
proved to be more resilient than the invaders
had expected and in retaliation the Indonesians
resorted to the full range of barbaric practices,
including concentration camps, the use of
civilians as human shields, torture, deporta-
tions, summary executions and the burning of
vegetation. In all, there were 200,000 deaths
linked directly to the Indonesian occupation
out of a population of 700,000. Indeed, Timor
was officially annexed as one of its provinces.
The guerrilla war that ensued lasted for almost
a quarter of a century and was very effectively
organised. This despite the almost total lack of
international support, mainly due to Fretelin's
The world left Indonesia to do as it pleased
with Timor. Despite Fretelin's extreme resist-
ance they gradually lost their control. This was
a period that saw a strategy described by the
occupiers as 'surround and annihilate' that was
assisted from 1978 by the use of ground-attack
aircraft supplied by the United States. As part
of their efforts to annihilate Fretelin, the
Indonesians put into place in 1981 a human
barrier that forced 80,000 Timorese men
(including boys) to form a human chain to trap
the Fretelin guerrillas in the centre of the coun-
try. The operation failed.
As the 1980s drew to a close, Frelitin still
didn't give up the struggle. Then on 12
November 1991 came the Santa Cruz mas-
sacre, which proved to be one act of barbari-
ty too far. The Indonesians confessed to 19
dead, but the actual figure was more than 250
and Santa Cruz became a visible symbol of
the real horror of Timor. But with the guerril-
la war virtually at a standstill, it was the peo-
ple themselves who finally took to the streets
for sustained action. Rebel leader and poet,
Xanana Gusmao ( i m !c ii 11. Prime Minister of
Timor), was arrested, but he was far too
famous to be quietly eliminated. As a prison-
er he acquired iconic status at home and
abroad and the international community
could no longer turn a blind eye to the situa-
tion. He and two other symbolic figures of
the struggle for independence, Carlos Belo,
Archbishop of Dili and Jos Ramos-Horta,
the Fretilin representative to the UN, were
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996.
The situation remained a stalemate until presi-
dent Suharto was overthrown in 1998. His suc-
cessor [Rudy] Habibie -despite a display of
strength when he first came to power -decid-
ed a few months later to organise, under UN
supervision, a referendum aimed at granting
autonomy and eventual independence to what
would be Timor-Leste. Pro-integration mili-
tias, whose existence was tolerated by the
army, responded with a wave of violence. Yet
despite all the intimidation, the referendum of
30 August 1999 brought an overwhelming vic-
tory: 78.5% voted 'yes'.
Once again the pro-Indonesian militias, aided
by the army, brought violence and destruction
to the country. Some 200,000 citizens of Dili
and other towns were forced to seek refuge in
the mountains. Among the towns attacked, one
in particular acquired a symbolic value -Suai,
in the south-west of Timor-Leste. Here the
army, surrounding a group who had sought
refuge in a church, murdered three priests who
had come out to negotiate and carried out a
massacre that, according to some estimates,
left 200 dead. This atrocity was witnessed by
the international press and consequently
Indonesia was forced to accept the deployment
of UN forces.
A few weeks later, the final 15,000 men of the
Indonesian army left the country they had dev-
astated. A country that was without water,
electricity supplies, telephones and much of
the infrastructure, including schools, bured to
For the next three years, UN troops supported
by the UN Transitional Administration for
East Timor (UNTAET), headed by the
Brazilian Sergio Vieira de Mello*, worked to
ready the country for independence. Voter
turnout in the free and democratic elections of
30 August, 2001 was 93%, and brought power
to Fretilin, the party that had maintained the
resistance for a quarter of a century. Formal
independence was proclaimed on 20 May
Collection Xanana Gusmao: Sakharov Award.
2002 with the freedom fighter and poet
Xanana Gusmao as President. Prime Minister
was the legendary Fretilin leader, Mari
Alkatiri, who had returned from exile in
Mozambique. For once, David had defeated
* Srgio Vieira de Mello was an experienced
Brazilian United Nations diplomat who was killed
along with 21 other UN staff members in the
Canal Hotel bombing in Iraq whilst serving as the
UN's Secretary General Special Representative to
the country. He was the UN Transitional
Administrator in Timor-Leste, December
-I I I i
Political and economic background
teeped in a serious crisis in 2006, it
has taken the arrival of UN forces and
other foreign troops to return Timor-
Leste to a comparatively peaceful
situation. The crisis claimed scores of lives and
saw nearly 200,000 displaced people end up in
makeshift camps. Although free and fair elec-
tions took place last April they were followed
by a disturbing 'black hole' of inaction. Now,
although most of the key domestic and interna-
tional players appear to think the crisis is over,
it is universally agreed that it is too early to pull
out foreign troops.
The terrible struggles of the Timor nation and
the international iconic stature of its leadership
have tended to overshadow the all too real risks
of upheaval in ; ...ii i iliii is, after all, emerg-
ing from a historic trauma.
The price to pay for the so-called unity of the
population when independence finally arrived
was forgetting, if not actually pardoning, what
may have been seen as collaboration or com-
plicity with crimes against humanity. And cer-
tainly every family is able to recount heart-
Even the charismatic figures who fought for
Timor-Leste and brought leadership during
the early days of a free nation were unable to
stop the riots that developed just a few months
after independence was proclaimed. And that
happened as UN troops looked on. Troops
whose peacekeeping role was extended time
and time again.
Then in March 2006 the country found itself
in another major crisis. Premier Mari Alkatiri
announced that he was dismissing around
one-third of the army, nearly 600 soldiers, for
mutiny. The soldiers had gone on strike in
protest against the army's alleged discrimina-
tion against recruits from the eastern part of
Timor-Leste. The Premier's decision led to
yet another explosion of violence during
April, May and June 2006 that claimed a total
of 46 lives. First there were riots involving
those sympathetic to the soldiers who had
Tens of thousands of people, fearing for their
lives, became refugees in their own country,
ending up living in camps where since the
beginning of the crisis 70,000 have sought shel-
ter in Dili and a similar number in the area
around the capital.
The UN was quick to return to the area, dis-
patching only police officers, most of them
Portuguese. At the same time, Australia, New
Zealand and Malaysia sent large contingents
of troops but didn't place them under UN
The outcome of this crisis was the Prime
Minister's resignation on 25 June 2006, even
though he still had the support of his powerful
political party, Fretilin. This was followed on 10
July with President Xanana Gusmao appointing
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
Jos Ramos-Horta, the former Foreign Minister
in the outgoing government, to take over.
His ability to generate dialogue helped defuse
the tense situation in the country to such
effect that less than 12 months later, he was
able to announce open presidential elections
(9 April 2007) and later legislative elections
(30 June 2007).
Unfortunately, in the wake of these open and
free elections, the newly formed government
was tied down with numerous difficulties.
The appointment of the prime minister suc-
ceeded in lighting a fire of controversy.
Additionally, supporters of the opposition
party Fretilin took the opportunity to voice
their dismay, and once more gangs took to the
streets, creating yet another refugee crisis.
Fretilin won the elections (with 29% of the
votes, giving them a greater majority than any
other party) even though it was predicted they
were heading for disaster. But the appointment
of a new prime minister was hailed by Fretilin
as unconstitutional, as he was the leader of a
coalition formed after the results were
announced. The constitution states that the for-
mation of a coalition must be announced prior
to the elections.
Eventually, the arguments included the sug-
gestion to appointing a Fretilin party member
as Premier, who would have three months to
present a programme of government to MPs
and then -if it was rejected -to present it
again three months later. If defeated both
times, he would have to resign. The idea never
took off as President Ramos-Horta thought
that with the country in crisis he couldn't
afford the luxury of losing six months. A prac-
tical but anti-constitutional decision.
Opinions differ and Alkatiri has spoken to The
Courier about this. He is the head of the current
opposition and the uncontested leader of
Fretilin, which some observers regard as one of
the country's most powerful institutions, along-
side the Catholic Church. Bishop Baucau has
also offered his views on the situation.
Some observers say that the growing pains the
country is experiencing were obviously pre-
dictable. Administrative negligence in the final
years of Portugal's colonial rule plus the disaster
created by the Indonesian occupation prevented
Timor-Leste from having either enough human
resources or an effective infrastructure to help
the country quickly develop.
Equally serious tensions continue to simmer
among the population, owing more to geograph-
ical locations than any ethnic rivalry. For exam-
ple, eastern parts of Timor-Leste were home of
most of the resistance fighters during the war for
independence, while the western areas close to
Indonesian Timor were less involved.
What is more, the country attempted to build
itself around the idea of reconciliation between
the resistance fighters and the collaborators,
without having any real public debate on the
issue. To many of the victims of the atrocities,
justice has not been done.
Also, the courts are under extreme pressure
because of a shortage of judicial experts. The
police force is inexperienced and consequently
there are no systems or controls available to deal
with the violent youth gangs.
Finally, although Timor-Leste may formally
adhere to democratic principles, the lack of an
effective media or other channels of communi-
cation means that there is, in fact, a democratic
deficit. As a result riots and other serious inci-
dents can be quickly sparked by even the flimsi-
est of rumours.
In spite of all that, this young nation's growing
pains are regarded by many as par for the
course. Grounds for some optimism are already
there. The most encouraging sign is that less
than 12 months after the 2006 crisis the coun-
try was able to hold open and free elections.
Another encouraging sign is that Timor's eco-
nomic policy is comparatively sound. While
the country is not rich, it is debt free.
Furthermore, Timor-Leste stands to benefit
from the deal struck with Australia over rev-
enue from oil reserves located in the territorial
waters between the two countries.
Today, the majority of international agencies,
observers and military experts in the country
are relatively upbeat. They believe that the cri-
sis is over and what's needed now is support in
establishing a sustainable development strate-
gy. Yet another asset is the geopolitical impor-
tance of the country. Its bid to join ASEAN
(Association of South East Asian Nations) is
virtually a foregone conclusion. Its internation-
al financial supporters remain optimistic,
reflected in the European Commission's deci-
sion to establish a high-level delegation there
in the immediate future. l
* ASEAN. Set up in 1967, the Association of
South East Asian Nations has a goal of economic
growth, social progress, cultural development and
regional peace and stability amongst its current
10 members: Brunei Darusaalam, Cambodia,
Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines,
Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste,
Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
os Ramos-Horta is a matchmaker, a go-
between, a man of ideas. Even during the
struggle for independence he was able to
smooth things over between the rival natio-
nalist factions, notably between the guer-
rilla leader Xanana Gusmao and the then-exiled,
Mari Alkatiri. This is as true today, and he conti-
nues to be the go-between, the peacemaker for
both individuals and groups on the often fraught
Timorese political scene.
Ramos-Horta has stepped in each time there
was trouble between the church and the pre-
vious government, and during the recent consti-
tutional crisis he sought to promote a reconci-
liation between the 'striking' troops and the
government. Initially Foreign-Minister-in-
exile, he was appointed the country's first
Foreign Minister and served until 2006, when
he resigned to express his disagreement with
[now] Premier Alkatiri over the management of
the crisis. This was a move that only added to
the respect in which he was held in by the islan-
ders. Eventually, the prime minister also had to
resign but doesn't seem to harbour any ill will
towards Ramos-Horta, even though he was cal-
led upon to replace Mari Alkatiri as the head of
government in the countdown to the elections.
The question: is a trouble-shooter of this calibre
too good for a country that still mourns its old
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
ways of relying on amicable settlements and
alliances to iron out any disagreements?
What are the priorities of your presidency and
what are Timor's current priorities?
The all-important issue is the need to combat
poverty. Political stability and building on the
peace process are universally acknowledged
as priorities, but rooting out poverty means the
government has to make a start next year on
channelling major investments into facilities
to create jobs and provide transport systems
for people living in the countryside. Here 70%
of the working population is employed in the
This kind ofprogramme can obviously only be
rolled (.. i ". ,. crisis is over. Do you think that
is the case?
Of course the situation is quite normal. We were
able to hold elections that the international com-
munity recognized as being open and fair and in
a secure environment. Law and order has been
completely restored in Dili. Minor problems do
crop up from time to time, just like in France,
Denmark or the United States, not to mention
countries like Haiti or the Philippines where the
challenges are much more daunting. The prob-
lems you see are only to be expected in a coun-
try faced with unemployment and poverty.
Nonetheless, one lasting sign of the crisis may
be the camps for displacedpeople that we see in
various places around the country.
The UN mission here recently conducted a sur-
vey among the refugees the displaced people.
They concluded that the security situation was-
n't even on anyone's list of concers. That is in
direct contrast to last year, when the security
issue would have appeared high on the list. Let
me also add that a great many of these so-
called refugees are there because they have got
into the bad habit of relying on free humanitar-
ian aid. And unfortunately, the refugee camps
are at the mercy of opportunist groups and
gangs. True, there are some honest people who
have had their homes burned down or
destroyed, but most of the camp inhabitants
the majority -are there to claim the humanitar-
ian aid being distributed by UN agencies, the
Timor-Leste govemment and others.
You outlined the broad themes in your pro-
gramme but now that Timor-Leste is in a posi-
tion to enjoy the i. ... r i, of oil revenues, how
soon do you think this will have an impact on
the people's ii.i,. ,,,
I think it will be next year, as we are going to
start discussing the budget next year. We will be
making a review to find out how we can invest
more at a faster pace to improve living condi-
tions in the countryside. Unfortunately, the gov-
ernment's ability to implement the budget in
full at this time is not easy to achieve. We are
turning to outside consultants via bilateral rela-
tions or via the UN.
The legal system is another priority issue for us.
We have been able to count on the support of
legal experts from Portugal, Brazil and Cape
Verde for a UNDP-coordinated programme of
training for Timorese legal experts.
Maybe we can turn to an issue with wider ram-
ir;...i. '.. .- .'.i, How does this apply to
Timor-Leste? In spite of your geographical sit-
uation, you have decided to join the ACP Group
of States and subscribe to ACP-EU coopera-
tion. How does this cooperation square with
your interests in ASEAN and other groups?
Our relationship with the South Pacific
islands are 'brotherly' based on a bond of sol-
idarity. But, formal diplomatic ties apart, there
is nothing else. Their geographic isolation
puts a limit on trade. Simply put, we do not
have the capability to export to countries such
as Fiji or Vanuatu.
Thanks to the South Pacific Forum we obvious-
ly have very close ties with Australia and New
Zealand. So our relationship is geared more
towards Australia, which is just next door, and
the South-East Asian nations. However, our
country prefers to face west towards Indonesia,
and north towards Malaysia, India, Singapore,
and the Philippines. We belong to the geograph-
ical area of South-East Asia and my hope is that
in a few years' time -maybe before 2012
Timor-Leste will become the Ilth member of
ASEAN. We are already working towards this
goal and all the member countries of ASEAN
have already accepted the idea of Timor-Leste's
membership. Before we can enter, though, we
have to improve our economy and infrastruc-
ture and create development frameworks.
What about your relationship with the
European Union in the light ofyour special ties
We enjoy an excellent relationship with the
European Union as a community and we have
very strong ties with individual countries
Portugal in particular, but also with others such
as Spain, France, Germany, the United
Kingdom, Ireland and Italy. Also, we have
extremely good -and historic relations with
the European Parliament.
During the darkest days of our struggle for
independence when the East Timor issue was
thought to be a lost cause (even the UN was
reluctant to discuss the question although it
was on the General Assembly agenda), it was
the European Parliament that worked the most
for the cause of the Timorese people and their
right to self-determination. Now the European
Commission President is Jos Manuel
Barroso, who is a true friend. In his capacity as
Portugal's State Secretary for Cooperation and
then Foreign Minister that he personally
waged a hugely important diplomatic cam-
paign on our behalf, particularly to the UN.
Owing to his present status as Commission
President, we are sure Timor-Leste continues
to occupy a special place in his affections.
Apart from the historical ties between Timor-
Leste and Portugal, it should be stressed that
since our independence in 2002 we have
always voted with the European Union on all
human rights resolutions. We have done so in
the UN, in the Commission on Human Rights
and nowadays in the Human Rights Council in
Geneva. We share the same key ethical values
as the EU countries and our ties with the
European Union are very special because of
What about your relations with the African
and Caribbean countries?
It is mainly with the African countries that we
have historical ties, particularly with the
PALOP countries (Portuguese-speaking
African countries), Angola, Cape Verde,
Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Sao Tome and
Principe. But we also enjoy a close relation-
ship with South Africa, owing to the historical
contacts with the ANC and with Nelson
Mandela. In the UN Security Council, for
example, South Africa is now arguing the case
for the Timor-Leste support group and acting
as its sponsor. Also, in spite of the geographic
distance between us, history has produced
brotherly relationships with a great many
African countries, including Tanzania whose
President, Julius Nyerere, fought in our corner
at the UN even when the world seemed to have
forgotten Timor-Leste. H.G. 1
Toppling the government
by hook or by crook
Mari Alkatiri, leader of the opposition
ari Alkati, ia head ot the Fretilin
part',', is adamant about nevei letting
hls colleagLJes CLt the government an'; slack.
When his part,' wvon 29%. o th votes in the
latest Plections the other thiee parties weie
stiagglinq fai behind But this tio quickly;
formed an illegal coalition to seize po.-er.
WV\hat tollopved v.as the fir't forceful demon-
station ot Fretilin s resolution to have iL
voice heard during a parliamentary budget
debate and F.1P' were compelled to coniiniue
debating non-stop, day and night, for an
entire week in early October
Alkaliri told The Co:urier Ihl tronm the outset
We will not incite pei:iple a use violence, but
wve vill deploy ail the legal methods and
nieans vwe can lo oppose the inilitlites at
vhat is a de tacto illegal government. We will
to:rc(e il to resign and we are prepared to
vork for two ears if necessary La make this
happen. Right nowv, we are qi' ing il 12
months to show just howi incapable tlher% are
of solving the country's woes.
The .' ernrierlt s the oitcoltrie L tree elections
,711, }'Oti pfcFrt, ia cia riinorit. positin tom-
poreJ ttith th/e rilin c'oaliiIon
I agree Lo that, but the Prime Mlinister's
appl),:intnient is unconstitutional. Under the
ternis cot the constitution the qovernnient
has Ict be headed by the partly that wvn the
elections. That is Fretilin The ciinstititiion
spells (out clearly what to do in such a situa-
tion A coalition has lo be announce d priar to
the election Indeed, the electoral lav; is quite
clear on this point.
In wh/it scenrltJ niLtoJ rv our s'n;t of Jditv to
the Slate lead >itL! toj vote in ait' r ojf a qot rn-
We are not qoing to help this government to
succeed. Let me tell you tlat this qoemin-
ment does t liave a progainiime, just ciigie
declarations of intent Now it has tabled a
imoion for eniptyingi the Sitae's cotteis.
When I handed over the ieigns of powei the
tleasury was full
Sorne siiL owiir dlCcifplindcl mianaimient p lic>
ic'u/tl[d in a pr'iA'rdO<: y rich crinltr> witvih ii
impoi enlIh J po jpiliticn
That s not riqht, it's lust talk In fact, the buLdg-
et situation improved tremendc'usl. during
our time in :ffic e. In Auqust 2u05 the figure
wvas USS85 million, but the oil resources
helped us ct raise this to US$140 million. Bv
Auqust 20u7 it stood at LIS 327 million.
Als:i, there's more tc' a budget than money.
Experience is c:f vital inmplortance and this is
something the present gc:,ernment seems
tc' lack. I think it is wasteful Consider this,
US$4 million has been spent in the las[ tvwo
and a half nic:nths on the to urism industry
And tc:r what'
Remember, the public secticr is the countrys
largest employer: hence the need to boc'st
the sector's capacities. The private sector
must also be assisted to become a true pri-
Vhi) Jjo v' c i) I ru} t pli nta p,\t ;ctor? Do yI. o
ihave sorlre mniliivings about it.
Nilt[ recall but the private sector here is
aliinlst conipletely male up of contractors
inol'.ed in implementing prrocects f'or
UNDP, the Europeani Commissicin or lthe
government. Il is not a real pri.atei sector
and ciis i needs help in de',elopig into cne
During myn time in office, I ,vas responsible
for agreeing a World Bank project to prop-
erly develop the private sector
Indepenient of the oil revenues wvell.'
I'd like to tiink so. When I left office the
country didn't owe one penny to anyoiie.
People talk of poverty, but I have Iived toi
yeais in Atrica. 'o I know wlat po-ei tL really,
is This co untry has the resources to plan its
de',el:.ipment in a co nsidJered fashic.n rather
hani rushing headlionq into wh: knows
what Follovinq independence, I ga.e mvselt
six months to eradicate the malor pockets of
poverty. In late 200i2, 1 7' ot tlhe population
had access to electricity, by the end of 20u4
the figure was 470.. Furthermore, vwe had
400 docti,:rs in 20i04 compared with just 20
As for good g,:o,ernance, here's an eanmple
in 2002 in Dili the eletcrici[v vwas tree The
rate at reco ver was 80. in 2 S00. In light of
the government's outraleouis pronounce-
ments, the collection rate sank again tc. 2u0%
Take anotlier example the government has
decided lo qive churches cumulative sulsi-
dies direct subsidies and other ldonatlicns
so parents do nc't have tc' pa school tees
But in reality, the schocils haf.en't phased
c:ut these fees at all. Surely, il v.,ould ha..e
been wiser tc. pa' the Leachers in the
.So, lihe th o irrot poI'ivrtiil iiinlituti'ons in the
c.oun-lr cire apppcirenitl) the J~hrch anJ Fretilin'
As the gi:.,ernment cannot lend its sipport
tc' Fretliin, il qives il to the church.
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
Listening to Bishop Basilio Nacimento
ot long after the Portuguese arrived in Timor in the 15th
century, the Catholic Church acted as a foundation for a
society built on a complex patchwork of tribal, linguistic
and cultural alliances. And at each tuming point in the
country's history the church tumed out to be the unifying factor, the link
or the power-maker. In the past, clergy support for the guerrilla move-
ment's struggle for independence had a decisive impact, as did its
recent opposition to the previous govemment's plans to regulate reli-
gious instruction in the classroom, marking the beginning of the end for
Fretilin's term in office.
Despite its angry reaction to the current govemment's generosity
towards the Catholic Church, Fretilin's leaders are careful to pay rever-
ential respect towards the clergy, knowing that they are a key link
between the various leading political players as well as offering guid-
ance to the nation.
Here, Bishop Basilio Nacimento, one of the main figureheads of the
church, offers his views about the Timorese people and explains why
their legendary air of serenity sometimes gives way to violent eruption.
The people of Timor had very high hopes. During the struggle the
dream of gaining independence implied that all their needs would be
met and every aspiration realized. However, the focus was on the strug-
gle, not at all on the leadership. Those who stayed behind in Timor may
have placed too much confidence in the diaspora [those in exile], while
those outside the country may have succeeded in honing their diplomat-
ic skills they did not have sufficient practical knowledge of future
human resource requirements.
Independence also arrived very suddenly. There was a wide gulf
between the views of those inside and those who had been outside the
country. The political class was mainly comprised of people who had
left the island and I think they had a poor understanding of what
changes had occurred during their absence. Their strategy was built on
the situation in Timor back in 1975.
Our island's rivers help to depict our national character. Here in Timor,
the rivers are almost dry throughout the year, but when it rains and the
water rushes down from the mountains -pity those poor souls who try
to cross its path. Like our rivers, most of the time we are kind and gen-
tle, but from time our thoughts are seized by something inexplicable
that alters our social behaviour.
Portuguese historians know us the best and their investigations have
mostly focused on tiny kingdoms with an intricate structure of groups;
clans that allowed no extemal interference in each other's affairs.
These clans managed to live together as a result of forging alliances, but
as soon as problems arose, they would rise up against each other. A dis-
pute could flare up over water, cattle, romantic attachments, etc. But in
the end the people could always rely on a conflict resolution system:
each clan's council of elders. There were symbols in which people saw
deep meanings. Ours is a culture in which symbols are highly treasured.
Indonesia succeeded in shattering this symbolic culture of ours. The
checks and balances, wisemen, old people and elders were replaced by
a new system whose rules were a complete mystery to the people. We
had our foundations swept away and we didn't discover any new ones.
The roots of this local, feudal authority still go deep. In Europe the
courts are called upon to resolve disputes, but it is a new development
for the Timorese people. In the event of violence people go to the
police, but the law enforcement officers may refrain from making any
arrests if nobody has been caught red-handed. But, according to local
custom, this kind of dispute was very easily settled. Both sides had a
chance to make their side of the story, and if the guilty party was found,
the individual admitted to the wrongdoing and agreed to be penalised
T rr,,:.,-."CI !- epon
by sacrificing a chicken or a pig. The two groups would eat togeth-
er and the problem was regarded as solved. The victim would feel
recognized and fairly treated.
Since the time of the Portuguese, the Timorese have put up with
what they regard as too many unresolved acts of injustice -too
many unrequited wrongs. Consequently, people have seized upon
the slightest opportunity to take revenge. And violence attracts vio-
lence. And each victim continues to bum with resentment at injus-
tices that have not been put right.
When I offered advice to someone seeking vengeance, perhaps for
an order (under the occupation) for a husband to be executed or a
child to be arrested, I told him or her to lodge a complaint. The
answer was always the same: 'but father, who will believe me?'
The people are frustrated at these obstacles to their aspirations, their
rights and their wellbeing. According to their culture, they will con-
tinue to suffer grief until the wrongdoer has recognized his crime.
The day the wrongdoer acknowledges the victim and the deed his
confession will be enough. The victim cries with the wrongdoer. As
a victim my grief is assuaged.
imor-Leste can boast a truly rich history, a long line of people
who have shaped history, a fully-fledged political democracy
and, most !c. ciil. .i strong female presence in the corridors of
power. Today, more than a quarter of MPs are women. But the
country is a lot more than a socio-political story. It is a country of breath-
taking, lush landscapes and cultural curiosities that need to be discovered
now, before the tourists tum up by the thousands.
Few people know much about Timor. For a start, there is even some con-
fusion about its name. Is it East Timor, Timor-Leste, Timor Lorosae,
Timor Loro'sae? The official title may be the Democratic Republic of East
Timor, but the most commonly used names are the simplified Portuguese
and Tetum ones: Timor-Leste and Timor Lorosae/Timor Loro'sae, the two
written forms in the local language, Tetum. Leste means 'east' while
Lorosae also refers to the 'east' or 'the rising sun.'
And while the country has experienced several painful upheavals since
independence in 2002, the dire wamings against travel to the country post-
ed on the Interet sites of various Western govemments seem to be more
than a bit exaggerated. Admittedly, the civil strife of 2002 caused large
numbers of the population to flee their homes and forced the UN to main-
tain troops in the country to help protect the new govemment. During this
time, though, foreigners have remained relatively safe.
away, but the city is well maintained. There is little evidence of poverty on
the streets and it is the same in the refugee camps where the displaced peo-
ple have settled.
Dili's waterfront offers a range of welcoming restaurants. There, visitors
can watch the sun tuming the waters pink as it slowly sinks into the bay
and you can delight at the view as you wait for the fish and seafood you
have chosen. For the more adventurous, a climb up the steps to the statue
of Christ the King exposes a panorama of mangroves, white sand and
To discover the country's geographical treasures it is necessary to head
north from Dili to the country's second largest city, Baucau, 140 kilome-
tres away. This drive quickly reveals that Timor resembles nothing less
than a large piece of crumpled paper. The southem plains apart, there is
nothing but mountains, split from place to place by valleys. Some of the
mountains rise to a height of over 3,000 metres.
Visitors can break the joumey at Laleia to admire the church and paddy
fields that spread out around the town like a nature park. Manatuto is also
worth a visit again with its paddy fields.
In Baucau there are remnants of the Portuguese colonial era -a town that
still exudes a distinguished air and its pousada [country inn] is worthy of
one in the Portuguese Alentejo. But there is much more for the visitor to
see, including the heights of the Gunung Tatamailu (2,965 metres) in the
centre of the country, the southem plains and the high valleys are just a
sample of its unforgettable geography.
Timor's culture and customs are curiosities in themselves. A country of
barely one million people has 15 language groups and these are further
divided into hundreds of dialects that have little in common.
And although one language, Tetum, might be understood by more than
half the population, Indonesian is probably the most widely spoken.
However, Indonesian is no longer recognized as an official language hav-
ing too many unhappy associations with the past, as it was imposed on the
islanders following the invasion of the country.
The music of Timor is starting be appreciated, a mixture of four and a half
centuries of colonisation and local traditions. There is the Tebe-dai, main-
ly played in church and during official ceremonies in the traditional sacred
houses (uma lulik) as well as during the rice harvest. It is reminiscent of
certain types of Portuguese religious music, ail pomp and ceremony.
But the most popular music is the koremetan. Domingos de Sousa,
Director-General of the Ministry of Education, and an expert on Timorese
culture, explains that in the old days people rarely used musical instru-
ments. The 'music' they produced came from their dancing bodies, feet
tapping the floor providing the rhythm. Today, some koremetan groups,
such as the Smith Brothers, are now known beyond the country's borders.
The younger generation listens to rock music from East Timor, which
draws its inspiration from all covers of the globe. Particularly influenced
by reggae and modem rock bands, a dozen or so performers and groups
such as the New Cinco do Oriente and Jahera, are already national stars.
Many young Timorese are also crazy about the martial arts; however this
often has a negative effect as many of the street gangs use martial arts in
committing crimes and causing problems for the rest of the population.
Despite these negative connotations, the martial arts are still held up as a
basis for artistic and physical expression.
Tais ('weaving' in Tetum). The Timorese tais head-scarf or neck-scarf is
as famous and as representative of the country as the Palestinian keffieh.
During the struggle for independence members of the resistance often
concealed tais headscarves as a symbol of their commitment to action for
Such is their popularity that a virtual museum has been created in
Australia as a showcase for the quality and diversity of tais,
http://www.etimortais.org/. In recent years an increasing number of
Westemers have become avid collectors. Luckily, they are still being sold
at a reasonable price inside the country.
Cock-fighting is also very popular in Timor-Leste and the sport has its
own stadium, betting system and etiquette. Culture expert Domingos de
Sousa explained that, "During the time of the Portuguese the sport was
held in the bazaars and there was an admission charge and official permits.
Today, there are not so many controls, but it is still a passion."
Finally, although only a few remain, the Fataluku houses reflect a once
typical and original form of architecture. With their sculptures of wood or
hom, pottery and woven baskets, they form part of the catalogue of must-
see cultural artifacts in Timor. These cultural pieces, places and practices
have survived in spite of the long dark years that make up the recent his-
tory of this small country.
Perhaps its very survival reflects in the people's will to resist and their
eventual reward of freedom. H.G. l
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
eport Tmr .--L P
quickly to crises
Timor-Leste and the European Union
irmo became a nierlbei of the Africain,
Caribbean and Pacific (ACP CGroup (and a
parlv tb: ACP-EU co opertiicn) in Ma la2u0?.
Since its dce factor independence in 1999 It has
benefited frcmi ELI aid for the countries of Asia
and Latin Amenria (ALAi
Additic:nally, since Tinicmr ratified the Cc:ti:,nou
Agreement which governs relations between
the EU and ACP it has also been eligible for
aid trim the Eurc:pean Deveilopment Fund
(EDFi In tcltal, the EU has allocated mcnre Lhan
-220 million to Timor from 1999 to 2u06
Europe's cttal aid for this peric:l fromn the EU
and indiidlual Nlember Stales.i vas half of all
the aid to Timnir, a tiltal e6u0 milliiin
EU (c ntributions toi the trust funds created Ib'
different dcinors through UN agencies came tIc
E85 5 nmilliin, with humanitarian aid foir emer-
gencies assistance and rehabilitation reaching
56 5 miillic'n. That sum included E-44 million
for the EU's humanitarian aid office (ECHO), E6
millii:n tc:r stc'ckpiling tc:od and the remainder
(e6 5 million, tIc, NGOs Rural development
recei'.ed E?4 5 million the health sector E24S 5
million and a further E2.5 millii:in went Ict the
inprovemnent of ministry operations and tc' bol-
sterinq the education, justice and tourism sec-
toirs as well as support tc:r vromen's leadership
and electicin administration
Between 1999 and Timor's tcrirmal independ-
ence in 20u2, ELI aid concentrated oin three key
issLuec post-emergenLcy action, rliabilitation
Follcw';inq Tincir's invcilvement in the Colc:no u
process, it put into place in assoc(iatii:n with
the European Union a transitio:nal Ipro-
qramme designated tc:r the ALA countries and
tlicise of the ACP countries iEDF). This wvas set
out in a strategy d:icinument presented in lune
2u06 and gi,.en a budget t i'18 million
EU aiid within this fraimevwoirk is concentrated in
tLwo specific seitirs
First, three projects aimed at strengthening
Creating an ciffice i:f the Natiional
Autliorising Officer the local gc:,ern-
ment representative responsible fcor man-
aging Ithe aid.
Suppc:rt in holding presidential, leqisla-
tive and municipal elections. This in asso-
ciati:cn wvillh he Uniled Nations
De',elopmient Programme (iUNDP)
Supp:rl t o assist the coiuntr deli'.er c:n
its budget in association with the World
Second, rural development. The ALA have
completed back-to-back programmes dedicat-
ed to rural development and the EDF v'ill be
running a third, focused rnainly on iitratiluc-
ture creation (roads. bridges, canals) and rmeh-
ods of biingiig agncultLJial products to market
A programme that fits into the finmeewvlk of
the 10th European Development Fund (20n8-
201 3) is currently being prepared with an initial
allocation of 6?. million planned for Tim or
Again thi' will be concenirrated on rural deiel-
opmient and stiengtlieiiig institutional capa-
bilities as well as healtli
In rural developments. empha'is will focus on
the quLlity ot agiicultiral products and servic-
e_, including training. Support toi institutional
capabilities vill once again co cenPitrate on the
ILutice syPemn the w-eakest link in the
Tinmorese administration as well as the
strengthening ot the Timorese Parlinment
EuLope t aid for the health sector will be in con-
lunction with other donor colintiei& sucl as
AuLstialia and support foi budgetary control
may be included at a later date.
Il was dLiing the latter years of the Indonesian
occupation that Eiiope s institutions first showed
an interest in Timor-Leste. This began with the
European Parliiiment's awvard of tie 'Sakhaiov
Pnre' for human nghts Lo Xanana Gusnao, herci
if the Timorese striqqle tor independence now
the co:untr% s Prime Minister.
As for the European Commiissic:n, ils President,
os Mlanuel Barr:os,:, has alwau.s slichwn a partic-
ular interest in this small Asian cc:intry Stressing
this and f llowvinq the rises ot April alay and
lune 2006, Barrc'so sent a special en-,:y, .Miiuel
Amado, tIc e.ailuiate the political economic and
social situations in the country Subsequentl,
the Ci:nmmission decided lo open a delegation in
Dili, where previously it ihad been represented bI'
cnl\% a technical office.
HowevE-er, the EU' activities vwerae alreaid\ con-
siderable and ils head, Guglielmc, Colomibo
played an active rc'le in the inplenmentation :,if
the Commissiin 's aid programmes and coordi-
nation with the representatives cf the EU
,lember States in the Timorese capital. For
those asking vhd' there is a need for an EU del-
eqation in such a small country\ a a time vhen
others are beinq c Iised, Cc:ilombi, stresses the
geopolitical importance of this snimll country
that lies so strategically between Australia and
Indc'nesia. That qgeograplhic accident is attract-
ing the interest of man',, including China, the
United States and japan.
Could it perhaps be a siqn c:f an emerging
geopolitical policy on the part cf the Eiurcopean
MlAY I SSETS
". .. An independent nation forjust 15 years, Slovenia is reli-
shing the prospect of being at the helm of the EU,
January-june 2008. Both the EU and Slovenian flags fly
together on ail public buildings. The period in the EU
Presidency seat will spotlight the country's policies to
attract more foreign investment and to promote inte-
gration into the EU of its Balkan neighbours. It will
showcase the country's natural assets too: forests,
S mountains, lakes and Mediterranean coastline.
lovenia's route to independence after the break-up of the for-
mer Yugoslavia was less troubled then that of its Balkan
.r neighbours (see box). Its current history seems full of firsts;
the first state of the former Yugoslavia to become an EU mem-
lier in May 2004, the first amongst its fellow batch of 10 EU newcom-
crs to join the Euro-zone at the beginning of January 2007, and the first
S,f the same group to take the EU Presidency.
Moving along the integration of its neighbours in the former Yugoslavia
S... .' high on the agenda for the six months. Croatia became an official
S "' candidate in 2004 and the candidacy of the Republic of Macedonia
S-i FYROM) is also under scrutiny in Brussels. All the other former
i republics are potential candidates; Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro
t | .ind Serbia. Slovenia also wants to assist these states in becoming mem-
ers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), which it joined
J ,,n 29 March 2004.
'. .. Slovenia's relations with Croatia are on a better footing since both
` countriess referred a border dispute on the along its 50 km
l. Mediterranean coastline to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in
J There's a newness right from stepping off the plane at the upgraded
ioze Pucnik Airport outside Ljubljana, just one of key projects to pro-
inote economic growth.
Sharing borders with Austria to the north, Hungary to the north-east,
;, I taly to the south-west and Croatia to the south-east, Slovenia is a trans-
ort hub to all EU compass points: north-south, east-west and stands to
.,ain in the freight sector. It is planning a refurbishment of its railways
S.it an estimated cost of 8.9 billion, expected to be backed by govem-
'. :i ., ment and private capital with some funds from the EU which has
pl h 7 edged 450 million to the project to date.
discovering Europe siovenia
Fv,.rs 'i t.:|.i r,:
Size: 20,273 km square
(31 December 2006)
Slovenia 1,631,363, Italy, 2,258,
Hungary 6,243 others 149,259
and unknown 174,913
Estimate 2006 (5.2%)
President of the Republic:
At press time Lojze Peterle was
leader in the first round of
Presidential elections 21
October. A second round was
expected to take place early
janez Jan%oa (Slovenian
Democratic Party). Government
formed in coalition with the
with New Slovenia Christian
People's Party, and the
Democratic party of Pensioners
of Slovenia as coalition partners.
Elections are held every 4 years
National Assembly: 90 deputies
(88 elected representatives of the
parliamentary parties, one each
from Italian, Hungarian national
40 elected representatives of
employers, employees, farmers,
tradesman self-employed and
other interest groups non-eco-
iiil:. ina's rich past seems to stimulate contemporary cre-
ir.-; The Slovenian capital's biennial of graphic arts,
exhibiting printed matter, computer, web-based art, video and
photography, is the biggest such event for reproducible art
internationally and has been held every two years in Ljubljana
And an old military prison of the former Yugoslav republic has
been converted into 'Celica', a youth hostel in Metelkova, a
zone of the city known as a meeting point for artists. Each of
the 20 cells has been originally decorated with the help of 80
Slovenian and foreign artists.
Opened in 2003, you have to book your cells well in advance
since it's extremely popular with foreign tourists drawn by the
romanticism of the more draconian aspects of Eastern Europe -
military gaols. "We can whisper to each other through the
walls," said a fellow hostel inmate looking forward to a night of
Views of Ljubljana.
Towards the capital there are signs of an economy in transition. In the
midst of the patchwork of small holdings of mainly maize and cabbage,
an advertising billboard attached to a redundant feeding frame for cat-
tle seems to symbolise this move from agriculture to services. It's more
glaringly obvious as you get closer to the outskirts of Ljubljana with its
skyline of shiny, reflective glass.
Pharmaceutical and telecommunications companies are amongst the
biggest players of the economy, says the Chamber of Commerce and
Industry including; Lek Pharmaceuticals, Ljubljana; Krka
Pharmaceuticals, Nopvo Mesto; Telecommunications Telekom Slovenije,
Ljubljana and the retail group, Mercator, Ljubljana.
Trade is mostly with other EU countries, 67.9% of exports going to this
market in 2005 with 17.2% to its former Yugoslav neighbours. In the
same year, 80.9% of Slovenia's total imports came from EU countries
and 6.5% from countries of the former Yugoslavia, according to
Government Information Office statistics.
Hikes in consumer prices were a particular worry for government over
the summer months. Column inches in the Slovenian press analyse the
reasons why basics such as milk and vegetables climbed almost
overnight by 20%. Government statistics show that inflation peaked at
3.8% in July 2007, twice the 13-member Eurozone average. Some
blame uncontrollable factors like high fuel prices, others, the rounding
Siovenia discovering Europe
off of prices when the Euro came in. There are questions too about the
pressure of public project spending triggering inflation.
The country has a lot vested in the EU to promote regional economic
integration and pull in more foreign investors. Growing areas of the
economy are technology-related industries, freight and knowledge-
based services such as computing, finance and telecommunications,
insurance and business services. Inward investment is mainly from
Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands in descending order with
most of Slovenian investment going to Croatia, the Netherlands, Serbia
and Montenegro in that order, according to data for the Public Agency
of Slovenia for Entrepreneurship and Foreign Investments (JAPTI).
JAPTI feels tourism harbours a lot of economic potential (see separate
article). Ljubljana's Old Town has jaw dropping architecture. Each cor-
ner rounded is to turn a page of European history. The authorities of the
capital city also have a fresh vision encapsulated in -'Ljubljana' 2025
-promoted by deputy mayor, Janez Koelj. It's a 20-year master plan
for the capital including a nature park, a new railway and bus station,
sports stadium and business and residential areas notably whole new
urban areas such as Tobaana city, to be built on the grounds of an old
The Habsburgs held control over the peoples of Slovenia from the 14th
century right up to the end of the First World War in 1918, although cul-
tural and national identity during this 600-year rule took a foothold. The
enlightenment reformation in Europe was especially important in the
foundations of Slovene Literature.
The enlightenment period speeded up the development Slovenian
national revival with the first detailed grammar of the Slovene language
drawn up by Jemej Kopitar.
The 1848 'Spring of Nations' led to the first Slovenian political pro-
gramme, "Unified Slovenia" with the demand that all the lands inhab-
ited by Slovenes be united into one province, Slovenia, with Slovene as
the official language. The plan was for an autonomous province with its
own provincial assembly within the Habsburg monarchy.
The Slovene representatives received a majority in the provincial elec-
tions. The transformation of the Austrian empire into the Austro-
Hungarian monarchy in the same year resulted in Slovenia remaining
in the Austrian part of the monarchy.
With the threat of a carve-up of Slovene territory towards the end of the
First World War (1914-1918) there were attempts to try form a com-
mon state of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs living in the territory
of the Habsburg Monarchy, embodied in
the so-called May declaration of 1917.
This was rejected by the Habsburgs.
helves in Slovenian supermarkets are not stacked with wines
from the new world but 'Produce of Slovenia' fermented on
home soil. Slovenian shoppers are loyal to wines from the country's
three main growing regions; Podravje in the north-east, Posavje in
the south-east and sunny wines from the hinterland of the
Mediterranean coast in the south-west.
There's a chinking as visitors leave; the sound of bottles of great tast-
ing finds uncorked during their stay. Wine growing has been going
on for 2,000 years in Slovenia. There are ail varieties of wines; dry to
sweet, red to white and some that sparkle. "We have fantastic natu-
ral conditions for wine growing," says Dusan Brejc, Director of the
Commercial Union for Viticulture and Wine of Slovenia, at his office
Brejc says that Slovenian wines are on the wine lists of restaurants of
New York, London and Berlin. So why are they rarely in major outlets
in the EU?
Firstly, Slovenia cannot currently compete with the sought after easy
drinking wines of the new world. "We could probably produce a
blockbuster Chardonnay," says Brecj, but neither the size of Slovenia
nor its topography are in its favour.
Slovenia is a country of small-scale of producers, says Brejc. Some
20,000 wine growers have under 0.7 hectares of land, with only 400
owning over three hectares. "Sixty-six per cent of Slovenian vine-
yards are on steep slopes. It means that everything has to be done
by hand," explains Brejc. This raises the price per bottle above the UK
sterling 4.99 buying barrier (approximately 7), which occupies a
big share of the major UK market.
"State socialism was probably not a positive image for wine," he adds.
He says that wine producers in Slovenia are changing their marketing,
including simple, clutter-free labelling with a more contemporary look.
Brecj adds that the fear of a fall in sales of Slovenian wine by 20% in
the domestic market after EU membership did not happen, proving a
loyal customer base at home. He now thinks the time is ripe to put
Slovenia more firmly on the map as a wine buyer's destination. And
in 10 years time he says, why not a light, easy drinking wine to com-
pete with the new world?
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
discovering Europe siovenia
In the aftermath of the Austro-Hungarian
defeat, the Croatian assembly in Zagreb and a
national gathering in Ljubljana called in
October 1918 for national freedom and the
formation of an independent state of Slovenes,
Croats and Serbs in Zagreb. This State of
Slovenes, Croats and Serbs united with the
Kingdom of Serbia to form the Kingdom of
Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in December 1918,
which was renamed the Kingdom of
Yugoslavia in 1929.
This disintegrated at the onset of the Second
World War and Slovenian territory was divid-
ed between Germany, Italy and Hungary. The
Liberation Front of the Slovenian Nation was
founded in Ljubljana in 1941 presenting
armed resistance to occupying forces and the
Communist party taking a leading role in the
cause. The assembly of representatives of the
Slovenian nation decided to include Slovenia
in the new Yugoslavia and two years later, the
Federal Peoples' Republic of Yugoslavia was
declared, renamed in 1963, the Socialist
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) with
President Josip Broz Tito at its head.
Josip Broz Tito's death in 1980 led to the end
of the SFRY within 10 years. Slovenia called
for independence and in 1988 the first political
opposition parties were created. In May 1989
the declaration of the Sovereign state of
Slovenian nation was followed in April 1990
by the first democratic elections where 88%
voted for independence. There was a subse-
quent declaration on independence 25 June
1991. This prompted Yugoslav army attacks
on the state. A truce followed a 10-day war.
The Yugoslav army left and the EU formally
recognized Slovenia mid-January 1992. UN
membership was gained in May 1992.
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country's leading retailers has plans to put Ljubljana firmly on the EU map.
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discovering Europe siovenia
Drive, passion and ability to work easily
where others cannot; two Slovenian non-
governmental organizations (NGOs) are
now using expertise gained at their own
backdoor on the global stage. Together
this is helping child victims of war regain
normality and ITF is de-contaminating
mines and rehabilitating landmine victims.
together The Regional Center for Psychosocial well-being
of children was founded in 2002 by the Slovenian govern-
ment and philanthropy after following-up the return of
100,000 Bosnian refugees from Slovenia as they sought to
reintegrate back into their own country post-war at the end of the 1990s.
It was children who faced some of the biggest psychological difficulties
The NGO has been able to meet the enormous need for counselling.
"Children do not know how to cope with their own pain," explains the
NGO's Executive Director, Vera Remskar. The outset of every project
is very important, explains Vera Remskar at Together's Ljubljana head-
quaters. The first step is to reach those who need help. This is often
through schools where teachers are the best placed to identify those in
need who often have speech impediments or behavourial difficulties.
The next step is a local partner to train teachers on the spot to give
direct psychological counselling and organise workshops, often in vil-
lages. "Our aim is to strengthen local capacity. We do not move in and
out," says Vera Remskar. Voluntary programmes to involve teenagers
over 15 in assisting disabled or older people in their local communities,
means that there's a change of roles giving a much needed sense of
responsibility to young volunteers.
With its wealth of data and expertise on war-affected children, the NGO
quickly extended its activities to Kosovo and Macedonia. Together is
now using its expertise in other parts of the world, as well as continuing
vital work in the Western Balkans.
It is still hoping to assist children affected by conflict in Darfur and also
continue its work in Iraq where it has been lately difficult to raise funds.
The NGO's expertise will be valuable too in Rwanda, the Democratic
Republic of Congo and Northern Uganda. It does not take sides in any
conflict: "We are extremely careful in this regard," says Vera RemSkar.
She adds: "Our work is to heal inner houses -souls."
The International Trust Fund (ITF) for Demining and Mine Victims
Assistance was similarly set up in March 1998 by Slovenia's Ministries
of Defence, Health and Foreign Affairs to respond to the huge problem of
landmines and unexploded ordnance which still maim and cause fatalities
in the former Yugoslav Republics, says Bostjancic, its Head of
Department for International Relations, at the body's headquarters in Ig,
Starting out to tackle the vast problem of contaminated land in Bosnia
Herzegovnia, its work quickly extended to other parts of the former
Yugoslavia and south-east Europe, notably Croatia and Albania's north-
em border with Kosovo and Serbia. Registered local contractors are hired
through tender to carry out the work. To date, ITF has decontaminated 76
million square metres of land in the Balkans.
Areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina are still very contaminated, explains Bost-
jancic and likewise the Croatia-Serbia border. Croatia itself was declared
mine-free at the end of last year. Macedonia is also now mine free.
Montenegro will be at the end of 2007, she says and Albania too soon
according to ITF's close monitoring.
To date, ITF has worked with 27 donor countries and a large number of
private donors and institutions like the EU which funded several projects
to clear mines from border areas of the Republics of the former
Particularly successful has been cooperation with the United States
'Matching Fund'. Every dollar raised by ITF is matched by the US
Department of State every dollar, contributing over US$100 million so
far for the body's work.
Projects include going into schools to wam children about the dangers of
landmines. The bright yellow, red and blue tops mean that children often
try to pick them up.
Sabina Bostjancic stesses the ITF's 'holistic' approach to defining.
There's a constant need for projects to rehabilitate mine victims. An adult
needs a new prothesis every 2-3 years, a child every 6 months. There's a
specialised Slovenian govemment funded centre in Ljubljana for the pur-
pose, but it's both expensive and destabilising to individuals to go to
Ljubljana for treatment. Now with a wealth of expertise, the NGO is also
working in countries of the South Caucasus, Central Asia, Cyprus and
Lebanon. It also plans to work in Laos, Cambodia and Colombia -the
country that currently registers the most fatalities from landmines. "If
land is mined, nothing happens. If agricultural land is cleared this is a pre-
condition for development," says Sabina Bostjancic.
www.itf-fund.si / www.together-foundation.si
It's Congo 'nouueau' Time!
From mid-September to late November, Belgium played host to the Yambi festival, the
biggest event ever organised to celebrate Congolese culture, an event whose impact is
bound to continue.
M meaning 'welcome' in both Lingala and Swahili, the
word 'yambi' was the title chosen for the festival orga-
nised by the General Commission for International
Relations, the entity in charge of the cultural relations
of the French-speaking Community in Belgium, in cooperation with the
Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) Ministry of Culture.
Mirko Popovic, head of the Africalia association, which has a stake in
the initiative, claims Yambi was the biggest event to showcase Congo's
cultural treasures since independence: no less than 380 activities
involving 160 Congolese artists in 100 or so venues in Belgium, France,
Luxembourg and Switzerland.
> Ueering off the beaten path
All fields of artistic activities were on display: music, theatre, dance, lit-
erature, cinema, comics and the visual arts. Congo's Yambi commission-
er, the writer Andr Lyoka, and his Belgian partners combed every nook
and cranny of Congo to select the participating artists. Most of them were
unknown talents, but this was the purpose of Yambi, to discover new cre-
ative artists. As Popovic points out, well established greats, such as the
rumba or popular painting, the Papa Wemba, the Chri Samba, hardly
need to rely on Yambi to spread the word. The initiative aims to veer off
the beaten path to offer the public the widest range of innovative creative
ideas and to showcase the best creative talent on the Congolese profes-
sional circuit. The aim was to show the unfamiliar: modern African poets
and musicians, singer-songwriters consciously fleeing the rumba to
explore new rhythms, such as ethno jazz, plus choirs and brass bands
which hail back to the police brass bands, are looked at in a wonderfully
fresh light: the people who attended a meeting between a Belgian and a
Congolese brass band on the main square in Brussels (Grand Place) were
nothing if not astounded by the musical experience.
> Beyond hope, Congo on the moue
Yambi was regarded as a major event not just for Brussels but also for the
Congolese artists taking part. "Having a work showcased in Matonge, an
intercultural crossroads, is wonderful!" says Freddy Tsimba, the man
behind the first contemporary African work of art to be put on display in
the capital of Europe. Called Au-del de l'espoir (Beyond hope), Freddy
Tsimba's sculpture is made from bullets the artist collected from the
Kisangani battlefields. It represents a woman carrying a crippled child in
her arms. "A plea for life" is how the artist sums it up.
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
> Rfter Yambi
Yambi is obviously a testament to the fact that
Congo is more than a nation where everybody
is shedding tears in a landscape full of mud
and battlefields. These artists represent 60 mil-
lion Congolese citizens who are anxious to
come through, to stake their claims, stresses
Mirko Popovic. However, the war has made a
serious impact on the country and its inhabi-
tants, so it is no coincidence that the profound
marks left on people's hearts should reappear
in several works in the key exhibition of con-
temporary art "Congo on the move", show-
cased in Brussels Botanique Arts Centre. The
exhibition includes an "installation" by Vitshois
Mwilambwe called Le Congo sous perfusion
(Congo being drip fed): a photograph of a man
riddled with tubes and covered with plasters.
"This is a country that has to have outpatient
care so as be able the cure an illness that has
lasted four decades," explains Alain
Mwilambwe, the main behind the photography.
Alain Mwilambwe claims that Yambi represents
a "way of being projected, being there on the
international stage". Yambi is also a way for
artists to try to emerge from a dire social situa-
tion where they have to struggle for govemment
funding. The social situation is also reflected in
the working conditions. The studios are
cramped for space and the artists have to use
what materials they are lucky to find.
Amongst the forms of expressions highlighted
by Yambi, the comic book was well positioned
with the "Talatala" exhibition by Congolese
authors portraying the diumal round in Kinshasa
in all its epic features, not least the never-ending
police harassment of citizens, the desire for
Europe and the art of resourcefulness. Another
major event was the 12-13 October gathering of
20 or so novelists, poets and short story writers
with the Belgian public and writers as part of a
"major Congolese literary salon". Sponsored by
the Brussels Association for Educational and
Cultural Cooperation, this event was completely
However, Yambi seeks to be more than a one-off
spectacular event. "A meeting between two
nations via artistic activities" aspiring to under-
pin a sense of dignity, creative talent, identity,
while fostering emotional and aesthetic
exchanges between people: Yambi also seeks to
plant the seeds of future cooperation on the basis
of a programme of exchanges and cooperation.
The General Commission for International
Relations has lit the way, according to Popovic.
There will be follow-ups. Africalia has pub-
lished an anthology of the works by 20 or so
photographers. The Commission has produced
a promotional CD, to be available at Midem
2008, and featuring the percussive sounds of
La Sanza, Balladeers Goubald and Lokas, the
Grce Choir and the Confiance Brass Band.
Similarly, a promotional DVD has been pub-
lished with short films by Congolese video
makers. All of these items act as highly valu-
able calling cards for artists who were unheard
of up to now. "Charleroi danse", the contem-
porary dance institute for the French-speaking
Community in Belgium, played host to
Congolese choreographers, while the Mons
Dramatic Centre is planning to embark upon a
two-month tour of Congo.
And last but not least, Mirko Popovic is look-
ing to Yambi to make its mark, the artists' act
of creation itself came face to face for first time
with other forms of expression, was confronted
by criticism. The head of Africalia predicts,
"Some artists will be doing a great deal of soul-
searching, and seeking new ways of asserting
themselves". F.M. M
The Pigozzi collection
F following the new cultural line dedicated to the
collecting issue, the Giovanni and Marella
Agnelli's Picture Gallery, flagship of
the Turin-based family that
founded the FIAT group, has
launched the exhibition "Why
Africa? The Pigozzi collec-
tion", managed by Andr
Magnin, art director of the
Art Collection. For the
first time the Pigozzi
collection, the most
important collection of
artworks, has been
unveiled in Italy.
The collection started in
1989 thanks to Jean Pigozzi ain.I
Andr Magnin, co-curator of thic
exhibition Les Magiciens de i'
Terre, which at that time was hL !d.I
at the Centre Pompidou in PariN
The Turin exhibition, w]i lI
includes 16 artists and about iiii
artworks, showcases very faiiin ii,
artworks and some classics il .,
selection that perfectly reflei i lic
strong identity of Magnin's ci,.,"c, .
taste for self-taught artists operali i-i i hi
cities of sub-Saharan Africa where artists
usually tend to use the same techniques,
styles and topics for which they have been ini-
Romuald Hazoum, Ati, 1994. Plastic, synthetic hair, nylon and rubber,
44 x 45 x 23 cm. Courtesy of C.A.A.C. The Pigozzi collection, Geneva
Photo: Claude Postel
tially appreciated. This also now allows them to
build a strong visibility and enforce their place-
ment in the market. These artworks have a
strong political content clearly visible in figu-
rative representations, sometimes even writ-
ten, as in the paintings by Chri
Samba and in postcards by
Frdric Bruly Bouabr.
Andr Magnin says, "the
most recurrent theme of
the works exposed is
the deep bond with
the territory to
which the artists
direct their attention,
proposing a personal
experience of reality.
This is therefore an
'inclusive' art, rooted
in the present and past
history, counter to each
1, ,i ., racial division. An art that
.. .. from the people, that is
,i:, .o.1..~~~~d to the people and that goes
i..... .. the people". And from our
.,III ., view in this characteristic lies
ilhc ii.il.ct and critics success of the
S i.lc .,! .iiithors as Samba or Bouabr,
i iI.h .di.I Kingelez. These artists are in
!.il !o!!c il. capable of negotiating, in a
profitable way, with art dealers and collectors.
They do not put themselves in an 'artistic van-
guard' a space of conceptual challenge with con-
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
tinuously renewed language -but they have
coherently been able to criticise and express
African typical problems, now broadcasted
thanks to their inclusion in international exhi-
bitions. The statement of the curator, Magnin,
confirms that the question about the identity
of African contemporary art continues to be
the main issue of these 'Pan-African' exhibi-
tions. Therefore, each exhibition seems to
restart every time from the beginning, from
the need to define the legitimacy of its exis-
tence. Are we still obliged to make statement
like "a big continent that has an unexpected
identity and richness" or "what's the meaning
of African art?" Does it make sense, even
after many exhibitions in the best showrooms
all over the world, after biennales and scien-
tific publications, now that various African
artists are extremely powerful within the
Why do we always have to question "Why
Now we can start from the answers, which are
much more interesting. Curators, art histori-
ans, anthropologists and diplomatic represen-
tatives who have worked with African artists
during these years have answered these ques-
tions from time to time, and with their differ-
ent positions contribute to the creation of a
multifaceted and polyphonic image of African
In the presentation texts the promoters claim
that these works show how contemporary
African art goes beyond post-colonial folklore
and decorative art and is in line with western
art, developing a personal and autonomous lan-
guage. Most of their figurative works -inspired
by current events are expression of a reality,
which is local and global at the same time.
Andr Magnin, Seydou Keta and his family, Bamako, 1999.
Courtesy of C.A.A.C. The Pigozzi collection, Geneva.
Actually, it must be said
that the approaches of
American curators have
opposed Magnin's taste
for 'primitive' and 'cari-
cature' styles, for usage
of recycled materials and
references -more or less
ironic to traditional
culture. This is the case
of Clmentine Deliss in
Enwezor in the
1995 and 1997, Salan
Hassan and Olu Oguibe
in Venice Biennale 2001:
exhibitions where more
conceptual languages, as
video, installation and
performance, were used.
However, Andr Magnin
contributed to the inter-
national acknowledge- "-- a "
ment of artists he discovered, inserted in the
collection and promoted internationally.
The stories of the exhibition's artists are suc-
cess stories: the 72 year-old photographer
Malick Sidib won the Golden Lion for his
career at the 52nd Venice Biennale; Romuald
Azoum was awarded at Documenta 12;
Kingelez's works are highly quoted. In African
countries there doesn't exist a normal 'system'
of contemporary art with a certain number of
qualified galleries making a sort of guarantee
both for artists, regarding their promotion and
profits, and for buyers, regarding the original-
ity and value of the works. Within this context,
Magnin has had the merit to discover a cer-
tain number of artists who have seen their
condition changed thanks to their inclusion in
the collection: from artists who operated just
for tourists and a small market within the
NGOs and embassies (a condition in which
other artists still remain), to artists who have
now a powerful position and great impor-
tance due to their presence in museums, inter-
national collections and within the art mar-
ket. The situation of relative anarchy in
which some authors have affirmed their posi-
tion has brought violent disagreement and
legal problems with respect to the authentici-
ty of the works of deceased artists like Seidou
Keyta and Jeorges Lilanga.
After many years of passionate discussion
about the identity of African contemporary
art, it now seems more important to reason
and work on the art system and market and on
the cultural industry. In this context, in fact,
the art collection's theme seems to be crucial.
To do this, the initiative of Giovanni and
Marella Agnelli, which has brought to Italy a
portrait of what it is the most important pri-
vate collection of contemporary African art,
seems to be a good starting point.
WHY AFRICA? The Pigozzi collection
6 October 2007- 3 February 2008
Lingotto Giovanni and Marella Agnelli
TO THE UOVYGE
f it were any
event would pass
unnoticed. But in
Rwanda, a country
still scarred by the
1994 genocide, it
takes on quite
a sign -however
small of recovery
in a country that
wants to live and
prosper again. For
the recent publica-
tion of the first
travel guide since
the holocaust of
the Great Lakes
signals some sort
of return to nor-
As the author of
Le Petit Ft
SThe cover of the Rwanda's guide published by Petit Fut
great singer and
Kayirebwa. At the
same time the guide
doesn't shy away
from looking at
episodes of recent
history. "A difficult
adding "You do not
go to Rwanda on
vacation like you
go to Kenya or
also recommends a
visit to the geno-
cide memorials as a
must, simply as a
matter of respect.
But as the guide
this 'land of a thou-
sand hills' is not
only a trip for the
eller, it is also for
explains, the genocide had such an impact on
the country's image and on people's percep-
tions that the immense beauty of this country
was forgotten: the calm of the lakes, the per-
fume of the eucalyptus, the grace of the
Intore dancers, the majesty of the volcanoes,
the occasional contact with our 'cousins' the
mountain gorillas, the exuberant flora.
True to the genre, Le Petit Ft Rwanda lists
some good addresses for the traveller and
suggests itineraries to suit various types of
tourists, whose preference may be for hiking,
climbing a volcano, watching wildlife or per-
haps just being captivated by the voice of the
N. 3 N.E. NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2007
those who don't
mind paying for the privilege. In other words,
it isn't cheap, especially if your itinerary
plans to take in several of the national parks.
But on the upside, today's Rwanda is one of
the safest countries in Africa. Even culture
buffs have their needs well met with opportu-
nities to explore the many legends of the
region, including those of the secret sects of
the Nyabingi and Lyangombe.
This well detailed and practical guide sets the
record straight about the Rwanda of the 21st
century. A new country has emerged. Le Petit
Ft has found it for us. M
IS noW on0LnE
. ............ ...... ...
rr;;;;; ::'iir':""':" ""'i l'^:rJ.
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