Global Peace Index

Choose Your Language Of Preference Below 

French Version German Version Russian Version Spanish Version 

Well, ladies and gentlemen; the numbers are in and our team has been working hard to be as accurate as possible. The verdict is clear, Levy P Mwanawasa, SC. has posthumously clearly won the Zambian Chronicle “Africa’s President of the Year Award” for 2008.


Most people in our audience know that Zambian Chronicle was started last year as an alternative multi-media private enterprise committed to raising the standard, while increasing awareness not only in Africa but around the world and last year’s award went to Zine El Abidine Ben Ali president of Tunisia.


You can read more about last year’s award and conditions as well as modalities used to reach that consideration by clicking on this link; Zambian Chronicle’s African President of the Year (2007) Award Goes To President Ben Ali of Tunisia …


Last year Levy P Mwanawasa, SC. ended up in the top 7 presidents on the continent in critical areas but had a favorable rating ranking him in the overall top 5% percentile. We expanded this year’s recital parameters because we wanted rankings to include among other things performance based criterion during a president’s tenure apart from national indices only.


GDP per capita growth

Levy scored highest in the criteria because nominal GDP per capita growth is an important aspect of how well the general populace perform in a given economy. It has a direct bearing on how well the citizenry are benefiting from local economic growth.


Nominal GDP figures include less estimation and more accurately reflect the participation of the inhabitants of a country in the global economy as well. These figures are so important that each year three different organizations (IMF, World Bank and CIA) each come up with different ones.


In our analyses we used a grossing method that gave us weighted averages. So from the time he took over office to his death in 2008, LPM presided over a nominal GDP per capita growth that grew a staggering 300% from as low as $360 to $1,400.00. Of course the world best is over $44,000.00 but $1,400.00 was a great start for us.


This did not come by sheer luck, LPM and his team worked so hard that they negotiated outstanding public liabilities with donor nations and other ultra-vires creditors that they managed to wipe out our national debt from a staggering $7 billion to as low as $500 million.


Our own national reserves increased from zero at the time he took over to $1.4 billion. In fact as we report today, Zambia has FX reserves to protect against any outflows, says Central Bank Governor Dr. Caleb Fundanga …  In terms of percentage growth, the number is actually infinity because nothing can be divided into zero.


Gross official reserves include Bank of Zambia’s (BoZ) holdings of foreign cash, foreign exchange and foreign securities, Zambia’s reserve position at the IMF, and SDR holdings. Gross reserves data is compiled on daily basis by adding/subtracting transactions for the day to/from the previous day’s position.


These transactions cover all purchases and sales of foreign exchange, donor inflows, debt service disbursements, government and BoZ uses of foreign exchange, interest receipts and payments, valuation gains and losses and any other inflows and outflows.


There simply is no comparison as to another president’s achievement on the continent of Africa either in terms of tenure or simply duration that even came close to that of LPM in this area at all.


Transparency Index

This was the hardest of all parameter for us because data complied by Transparency International from 2000 to 2008 was different in many aspects. This is because the organization changed their reporting structure and added more variables in their indices that make up what they call Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).


While in 2000 they only reported on 90 nations, for instance; they increased that to almost 180 for 2008. In 2000 Zambia shared the 57th position with Latvia but in 2008 despite being low, some of the variables were due to lack of enough raw data.


So, in certain areas if we used the same string of data from 2000 to 2008 as complied by Transparent International, a lot of flaws would have been discovered because in some instances we would have been comparing apples to oranges and the resultant would not have been either logical or asymmetrical.


So for us at the Zambian Chronicle we looked more at how general business practices improved on the ground within the Zambian Enterprise. We looked at the unprecedented bold decisions LPM took on the continent to an extend of striping of his predecessor immunity due to alleged past corrupt practices.


Never before had this ever happened on the continent of Africa but it showed his commitment to building a different nation that did not do business as usual. This earned him a lot of sway among western nations and increased his capital as a steward of good governance.


We looked at how he let the law take its course without interfering in any way possible despite all kinds of pressure from all avenues and forums … I am proud to report even pressure from us at the Zambian Chronicle at times, for instance.


We looked at how level-headed he was about graft and its other derivatives and found no comparison as to another president’s achievement on the continent of Africa either in terms of tenure or simply duration that even came close to that of LPM in this area as well.


National GDP growth

This is not supposed to be confused with the nominal GDP per capita above. While the earlier has to do with individual(s) income and subsequent participation in a national economy the later has to do with the overall national economic growth.


GDP real growth has to do with the total goods and services produced and or consumed in a given year and it is the best measure of national wealth and a nation’s capacity to compete in terms of movement of goods and services.


Even more what we were interested in was not just GDP real growth but GDP (real) growth rate which shows the increase in value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year. It does not take into account purchasing power parity neither does it account for inflation. It is a measure of economic development.


That real growth rate is extremely important because it is the one that eventually gives a nation the ability to surpass another or be replaced by another in terms of economic development and or ranking. For example, 100 years ago the economy of the United State of America and that of Mexico were the same size numerically.


However, the US economy grew by one more percentage point rate higher than that of Mexico each year for those 100 years and today America has the world’s largest economy while Mexico ranks as the 52nd.


Furthermore, China had been lagging behind most economies all the way through the 90’s until it turned its economic engines to supercharged status. Within 10 years, it surpassed the Italian, French, British and German economies because of having a reasonable real GDP real growth rate. Today it is the world third largest economy.


On the African continent, Angola has enjoyed the status of one of the fastest growing economies not only in Africa but in the world. For instance its growth rate in 2005 was over 19% making it the world’s second fastest growing economy. In 2007 its rate was over 16.30% making it the world’s third fastest growing economy.


But what makes the Zambian Chronicle vouch for Levy (LPM) was the fact that when he inherited the economy of the Zambian Enterprise we were actually experiencing negative growth rates more like Zimbabwe (-6%) this year.


What LPM did was to reverse the trend from such negatives to the extend of almost -7% in the late 90’s to a positive 8% last year. This means that LPM tenure presided over a turn around of almost 15% into positive territory. It is so much easier to keep an economy in positive territory as opposed to moving it from a negative to a positive one but Levy did it.


Somehow he turned non performing assets such as mines, some that were almost flooded because they had been inoperable for a long time into profit making enterprises for the benefit of all within the Zambian Enterprise.


He commissioned new ones such as Lumwana that spurred new economic activities even in forgotten places like North Western Province turning the area in a new Copperbelt with new discoveries ranging from Oil and Gas to Gold and new Uranium deposits.


We began to be a premier tourist attraction again like there was something wrong with us in the first place. He created a conducive environment for commerce to thrive by and for all and all of a sudden commercial flights were being diverted to Lusaka instead of Gaborone, Lubito and Harare.


All of a sudden Lusaka was were it was all at, as we saw Bill Clinton Jets Into Zambia while the Best Ever US Ambassador To Zambia – Carmen M Martinez was busy cozying our relations and Mrs Bush With Zambian Kids – PlayPump™ having fun.


We looked, compared and contrasted with any other president on the continent who turned economic activities around within such a short period and we found none. There simply were no comparisons as to another president’s achievement on the continent of Africa either in terms of tenure or simply duration that even came close to that of LPM in this area as well.


Food security

With Levy at the helm, the Zambian Enterprise moved from being a donor recipient to a donor. Our enterprise moved from food shortages to Zambia to export 150,000 T white maize … as late as December 15, 2007 but today we will need to import a million tones.


Using government subsidies and proper farm produce marking strategies, Levy working in concert with his Minister of Agriculture then Mundia Sikatana created incentives within the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) that spurred agricultural production to unprecedented level on the continent of Africa.


Within his first term we had attained food security as well as sufficiency, were looking at donations and export for white maize a thing that had never happened in Zambian history. There simply were no comparisons as to another president’s achievement on the continent of Africa either in terms of tenure or simply duration that even came close to that of LPM in this area as well.


Peace Index Analysis

For this analysis we used a qualitative assessment of the level of distrust in other citizens, ranked from 1-5 (very low to very high) by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Analysis team.


The lowest score (1) records that the majority of other people can be trusted and that there is an overall positive climate of trust in the country. The highest score (5) indicates that people are extremely cautious in dealing with others.


We found this unit of measure to be the most accurate and espoused it in totality and we were impressed to find that Zambia actually beat a lot of major western nations even when it comes to being a peaceful nation.


For instance, when Levy noticed injustices and what impact they had on peace in neighboring Zimbabwe, he was first to condemn Robert Mugabe calling the situation a “Sinking Titanic”. Never before had this ever happened in Africa where a sitting president openly rebuked another for the sake of world peace.


While Levy may not personally claim that big prize nationally as it had been passed on to him from his two predecessors, the very fact that he kept Zambia even more safe and improved on earlier released figures combined with other factors such as above is reason to give him first place on our continent by Zambian Chronicle.


We looked, compared and contrasted with any other president on the continent who turned economic activities around within such a short period and we found none. There simply were no comparisons as to another president’s achievement on the continent of Africa either in terms of tenure or simply duration that even came close to that of LPM in this area as well.


Other World Social, Economic & Political Indicators

While different social, economic and political contexts were used in comparing crime data from societies that are fundamentally different and may ignore key issues present within the Zambian Enterprise that impact upon levels of reporting some similarities were drawn.


For example, different social norms in some countries may make it difficult for women to report cases of rape or sexual abuse, while in others; women are encouraged to come forward. The level of insurance coverage in a community is also a key indicator of the likelihood of citizens approaching the police as their claim for compensation may require such notification.


In addition, in societies where the police are or have been mistrusted by the population, most specifically during periods of authoritarian rule, reporting levels are likely to be lower than in cases where the police are regarded as important members of the community.


The International Crime Victim Survey (ICVS) is perhaps a more sensitive and accurate measure of crime – and arguably offers a picture of how the public views the criminal justice system – but is currently limited to a few, mainly industrialized, countries so these data are not included.


But what we found was rather shocking for a developing nation that the Zambian Enterprise actually ranked above average on the continent during Levy’s tenure. There simply were no comparisons as to another president’s achievement on the continent of Africa either in terms of tenure or simply duration that even came close to that of LPM in this area as well.


Overall, for us it was not just a question of bias, it was more of logic, data analysis and factual that we were able to crown levy P Mwanawasa, SC with the honorable title of “Africa’s President of the Year Award” for 2008 posthumously.


Long Live Levism, Long Live Levism, May Your Soul Rest In God’s Eternal Peace and congratulations for scooping this year’s Zambian Chronicle “Africa’s President of the Year Award” for 2008.


Compliments of the Season, Live Long & Prosper; that’s this week’s memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion.


Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO  & President – Zambian Chronicle 


Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom. 

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2008 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.

Choose Your Language Of Preference Below

French Version German Version Russian Version Spanish Version

Portuguese Version Chinese Version Arabic Version

b6_edited.jpegNegative Campaign ,Malicious Rumors, Gossip and Hatred on Aspiring presidential candidates are set backs and can bring a Destruction in Voting for a Great President. 

By Belliah K Theise

Having followed USA presidential debates and making comparisons of what is going on in the entire world with politics, we found similar paterns that has made third world countries be the way they are now, in terms of economy.

Here is what we have to say at Zambian chronicle:

As a presidential candidate aspiring for a public office, or you may be a voter. This is a time to revisit your weaknesses and try to improve on them.

Listed below are some of the things future Leaders should avoid in order to maintain peace and trust in people who they lead.

1.      Negative campaigns that may bring damage to the image of  the country and future leaders.

2.      Malicious Rumors, without meaning or basis

3.      Cheap Gossip

4.      Hatred

5.      Tribal 

6.  Racial discrimination 

  By all means, the above six elements  should not be used as a tool to bring down your rival or to pick a right candidate for president. Positive campaign builds and unites nations. Negative campaigns, brings anger, violent and divisions.

As a voter, learn to validate each rumor, do not be a follower.  Learn to use your own discretion, good sense of judgement and common sense, in critical matters like choosing or picking the right candidate as your commander in Chief.  Avoid operating like robots that are programed to perform certain functions.  Operating like a robot, makes both leaders and their voters look like idiots, when things go sour.

Important factor to Remember :

Separate Hollywood gossip of celebrities to  a presidential candidate gossip. We do understand that, there is no smoke without fire , but on the other hand,  Learn to separate facts from gossip,  Every voter should know that, NOT every rumor or gossip comes out to be 100% true. You as voters only  come to realize when it is too late, after you have voted for a wrong person, because you based your judgement on rumors.  People use rumors and gossip  for many reasons. May be for financial gain, hatred or other things.

Always keep in mind that, we humans always enjoy negatives, We all focus on unproductive rumors and gossip, that diverts us from dealing with serious topics that is affecting the country.  If a negative outweighs a positive side of a candidate, it takes away all the good work he/she has done.

Remember, Media and campaigns are there to help voters to pick the best candidate, but at the same time, politicians uses that as a tool to bring down their rival candidates, depending  how strong one has links to the media.  Many great leaders are brought down in no seconds, and voters end up voting for useless candidates.

Again… use your common sense and your good judgement, when you read negatives that comes flying on potential candidates.

Good luck to all the presidential candidates, as they go on the road to lead their nations with a passion at heart for their people. Stay focused on important issues that affects your country. Do not get rapped up in personal issues, that can bring harm to your country and comes back to haunt you.

You all have one purpose:- To save your nation with integrity. The same people you are trying to persuade to vote for you, will be the same people who will vote you out. Voters always keep a record. Campaign with a passion for your people and country at heart.

For voters, validate your candidates with facts, and basing your votes on malicious rumors or unproductive  gossip , that will not do good to your country in the future, will not help.

Thanks a trillion

Belliah K Theise

Copyrights © 2008 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2008 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc   

Choose Your Language Of Preference Below

French Version German Version Russian Version Spanish Version

Portuguese Version Chinese Version Arabic Version 

Mugabe Tantrum at SADC Comes to Light

Business Day (Johannesburg)


Dumisani Muleya

ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe stormed out of the recent Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit after an explosive clash with Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa during a closed session, it has emerged.

Mugabe’s confrontation with Mwanawasa and his subsequent indignant departure from the meeting raised fears that the already divided regional bloc could be further weakened by further infighting and divisions.

The SADC is riddled with geo-political and personal rivalries among leaders which threaten to make it difficult to deal with internal conflicts and rein in rogue states. Mugabe’s fracas with Mwanawasa was reminiscent of his row with former South African president Nelson Mandela during a SADC meeting in Angola in 1997.

Diplomatic sources who attended the summit revealed this week that Mugabe walked out of the meeting after a row with Mwanawasa over Zimbabwe’s political and economic crisis.

The sources said Mugabe went off in a huff after the unprecedented confrontation. Mwanawasa was chairing the meeting, which ended on a sour note.

The wrangle was caused by an attempt by Mwanawasa to table Zimbabwe for discussion, a move which enraged Mugabe.

Mugabe arrived home early looking glum after hurriedly leaving the summit. Upon his return, he said the meeting went well but made it clear his regime would continue with its own programmes, regardless of what the SADC leaders were saying.

The SADC said it was preparing an economic recovery package for Zimbabwe, but Mugabe’s spokesman, George Charamba, said in his anonymous column in the government-controlled daily Herald that Zimbabwe did not need help from the region because “no aid cent will come from SADC countries”, reflecting Mugabe’s attitude after the summit.

This was contrary to President Thabo Mbeki’s claims that there were no divisions over Zimbabwe at the summit and that the SADC was committed to helping Zimbabwe out of its crisis. He had described reports of division as “fictional” and said SADC leaders were not at odds over Zimbabwe.

But information gleaned from senior SADC diplomats indicates there were not just divisions, but a fierce clash between Mugabe and Mwanawasa that left the regional leaders shocked. They say the trouble started after Mbeki del-ivered his report on talks between the Zimbabwean ruling party Zanu (PF) and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Mbeki had earlier given the report to Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, the chairman of the SADC organ on politics, defence and security. Mbeki briefed the summit on Zimbabwe in his capacity as an SADC-appointed mediator .

Mbeki said in his briefing there was progress in the talks, although parties needed to intensify negotiations.

“After Mbeki delivered his report to the summit, Mwanawasa, as the chair of the meeting, said there was an urgent need to discuss Zimbabwe because the situation there had become ‘unacceptable’.

Kikwete said there was no need to discuss it because talks were in progress and Mbeki concurred,” a senior diplomat said. “Kikwete then suggested Mugabe should be asked what he thought about Mwanawasa’s proposal.

When Mugabe was given the platform to speak he launched an angry tirade, attacking Mwanawasa left, right and centre before walking out in protest.”

The diplomat said Mugabe angrily asked: “Who are you, Mwanawasa? Who are you? Who do you think you are?”

“Mugabe also said he was aware of Mwanawasa’s recent meetings with western intelligence agencies on Zimbabwe. He said he would ‘not allow Mwanawasa to sell out Zimbabwe as he has done to Zambia’,” the diplomat said.

“During the process Mwanawasa was shaken and he kept on saying: ‘Mr President I didn’t mean to say that; you misunderstood me. No, Mr President, that was not my intention’ .”

Sources said Mugabe, after blasting Mwanawasa, walked out and did not return.

Efforts by colleagues – including Kikwete and Mbeki – to persuade him to return to the meeting failed.


Picture of Carmen M. Martinez The Zambian Chronicle has recognized the current US Ambassador Carmen M Martinez to Zambia as the best ever. Our commitment to the cause and accession has been based on a matrix of issues among which a few are underpinned here below. 

Ø       In less than two (2) years of her appointment and subsequently being sworn in, Carmen M Martinez has managed to warm the hearts of the people of the Zambian Enterprise thereby creating a sense of partnership in development. Previous ambassadors were seen more as big brothers/big sisters waiting and watching what the next mistake would be before they issued what was perceived to be the way things ought to be run. 

Ø       Carmen M Martinez has participated in a lot more community activities in her 18 months in office than any other ambassador’s complete tenure we could think of … she has not only been that active but also been more of a good voice for and on behalf of the Zambian Enterprise at the State Department. 

Ø       Despite being a recipient of the Presidential Award for Meritorious Service in 2003 among other awards such as being a recipient of Senior Foreign Service Performance Awards in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003 and 2005; Ambassador Martinez comes out as a down to earth ambassador principally focused on representing her great nation. 

Ø       Although she is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, she does not let her seniority come in her way of service of spreading good tidings thereby building the best ever relationship between the United States of America and the Zambian Enterprise. 

Ø       Those close to her office and those who have worked with her have always attested to what a brilliant leader she is and how she is good at taking others point of views before putting a stamp on her own line of thought. 

Ø       Lastly but not the least, Ambassador Martinez was very instrumental in helping shape the negotiations that helped the Zambian Enterprise reach its benchmarks for the completion of the HIPC process. She has been more than supportive in helping direct new inflows always wanting the most benefit for the Zambian Enterprise. 

Ambassdor Martinez holds an MA degree in Medieval History, an MS degree in National Security and Strategic Resources, and speaks Portuguese, Spanish and Thai apart English of course…

Our only worry at the Zambian Chronicle is that the appointing authorities may promote her and send her to another assignment before she does even more good for the Zambian Enterprise as people of her caliber are rare to find … thanks a trillion.


Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle. All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc.

Copyrights © 2007 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc. 



brainwave-sr-001-3.jpgRecent reports in the Zambian media that our own Zambian Enterprise has signed a communiqué with North Korea is not only disturbing but also flabbergasting …


Firstly, North Korea has nothing to offer our beloved enterprise and even if they did, they are not a kind of companion we should be identified with as a nation.

Mr Shakafuswa is quoted as saying … “North Korea was willing to provide technical assistance to Zambia by training Zambians in agriculture, construction, information technology and sports. 

Secondly, North Koreans are starving and are currently asking for food and energy from western countries in exchange for nuclear disarmament, so how are they going to train our own nationals in agriculture?

Thirdly, a visit to Pyongyang shows a great contrast with a visit to SeoulSouth Korea. The two are worlds apart in terms of infrastructure development; so what are the North Koreans going to teach our people in the area of construction?

Fourthly, what information technology would come out of North Korea when they still have not fine-tuned even their short, medium and long range missile technology which expertise seems to be the only viable one they have … and what major sports on a global scale do the North Koreans champion? 

Lastly, the Zambian Enterprise is truly in a hurry to develop but we need to choose our friends wisely using a high level of meritocracy instead of sheer mediocrity … North Korea is a rogue nation with nothing to offer us and the only thing one would ever think of is their interest in our uranium which exists in abundant supply.

This could by far be the greatest driving national interest on their side and Zambia should shun them at all costs. You are measured by what company you keep and we urge the government to reconsider this so-called New Deal.

We would hate to wake up some day and the world has been embroidered in a nuclear holocaust with North Korea at the helm using Zambian uranium … thanks a trillion

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr. 

CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle 

Copyrights © 2007 Zambian Chronicle.  All rights reserved. Zambian Chronicle content may not be stored except for personal, non-commercial use. Republication and redissemination of Zambian Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Zambian Chronicle. Zambian Chronicle shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, interruptions or delays in connection with the Zambian Chronicle content or from any damages arising therefrom.

Zambian Chronicle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microplus Holdings International, Inc. 

Copyrights © 2007 Microplus Holdings Int., Inc.

Mexican ‘world’s richest person’ –

Mexico’s telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim has overtaken Bill Gates to become the world’s richest person, according to a respected Mexican financial website. Mr Slim is now worth $67.8bn (£33.6bn), above Microsoft founder Mr Gates’ $59.2bn, Sentido Comun says.

It said Mr Slim’s wealth has rocketed into top place after the recent 27% surge in the share price of his largest company, America Movil.He has a 33% stake in the firm, Latin America’s largest mobile phone network.

Carlos Slim

Numerous investments

Mr Slim, whose business interests are based in Mexico City, is the 67-year-old son of Lebanese immigrants.

He started his business life in property before moving on to invest in a stock brokerage, a bottling company, and, more recently, the telephone sector.

Mr Slim also owns the Inbursa financial group and the Grupo Carso industrial conglomerate, whose interests range from retail stores to restaurants.

During the Latin American economic crisis of the early 1980s, Mr Slim made a name for himself – and substantial profits – by buying a number of struggling companies at very low prices before transforming their fortunes.

In April, Forbes magazine estimated that Mr Slim was the world’s second-richest person behind Mr Gates and ahead of US billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Like Mr Gates, Mr Slim is well-known for his generous charity donations.

His wealth is in marked contrast to the 53% of Mexico’s population that the World Bank says are living in poverty. 

Africa remains the only continent with the least number of billionaires, in fact only 1 is known to exist on the continent … thanks a trillion 

Reef coast within the Silhouette marine protected area of Seychelles:
«Sylt instead of Seychelles – for the environment.»

© Seychelles govt / afrol News

afrol News In efforts to make quick and symbolic gains in Europe’s otherwise failed policies to curb climate gas emissions, environmental and anti-globalisation politicians are aiming at Africa’s few economic success stories. Campaigns to buy locally produced food and travel to local destinations particularly hit out against African products. Consumers in Europe are again growing more environmentally conscious and are willing to use their purchasing power to assist in what is widely seen as our era’s most pressing problems – the overspending of energy and global warming. Meanwhile, European politicians have been those pressuring strongest to gain support for the Kyoto Protocol while having totally failed to lower emissions of climate gases in their own countries. In every country, emissions have steadily increased.Populist solutions that are to satisfy costumers, politicians and the European industry alike are therefore surfacing all over Africa’s neighbour continent and the main market of its products. And the solutions seem neat and nice – easy to understand and with the potential of creating more work locally. Even the industry starts propagating these solutions.

The victim mainly is Africa, because the message is that, as longer as a product or person is transported, the more energy is wasted unnecessarily. Worst of all is airborne transport, having the highest emissions of climate gases such as CO2. Unluckily, Africa is far away from European markets and poor transcontinental infrastructure puts most products and travellers on an airplane.

All over Europe, therefore, home-grown campaigns are being promoted, attacking Africa’s newest and most successful export products. Anti-globalisation activists, “green” politicians, local industry and even occasional experts and scientists head these “buy local” campaigns.

One of the latest campaigns is being launched in Germany, Europe’s most populous state and biggest single market. The campaign goes “Sylt instead of Seychelles”, referring to a fragile German North Sea island with an overstretched and environmentally damaging tourism industry. Tourism and climate expert Dr Manfred Stock developed the slogan and told the daily newspaper ‘Berliner Zeitung’ that consumers worrying about global warming should avoid intercontinental flights and rather take the train to a German or European destination.

The much-quoted researcher is in line with policies promoted by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency (UBA). UBA President Dr Andreas Troge has made the climate change issue his agency’s foremost focus, and one of the ways consumers could “do something on your own” is by changing their travel behaviour, UBA says. A single traveller flying to an intercontinental destination produces more than five tonnes of CO2, he told the German press, while someone travelling by train within Germany only had the emission of ten of kilograms of CO2 to account for.

Some even go further and have started penalising air travellers. In Norway, flyers have started paying for their CO2 emissions. So far, only domestic flights are penalised to make sure Norwegian airliners are not losing out in competition with other companies on international flights. But Norway is among many countries working for a CO2 tax on world-wide flights, which of course in particular would make long distance flights much more expensive.

This comes as most African states are investing massively in their nascent tourism industry and as Africa is surfacing as a modern and exciting travel destination in most Western markets. Some sub-Saharan states, in particular Seychelles, Mauritius, Cape Verde and The Gambia, already see tourism as their greatest foreign exchange earners. In Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, the travel industry by now is a vibrant success, while newcomers as Mozambique, Ethiopia, Gabon and Burkina Faso pin great investments and development hopes to the industry.

Ironically, much of Africa’s new tourist destinations are focusing on eco-tourism, searching for modes that can guarantee the protection and good management of wildlife and habitats an

Horticultural products from Eritrea being prepared for export markets.

Horticultural products from Eritrea being prepared for export markets:
«Stealing food from starving Africans.»

© R Faidutti/FAO/afrol News

d local community development based on the new tourism revenues. In Gabon and Madagascar, vast landscapes have bee protected to be able to promote eco-tourism. No measure in African history has proven so successful in stopping tree cutting and forest conservation than prospects of tourism revenues.Mature markets like Seychelles, Mauritius and South Africa are already world leaders when it comes to conservation and management, knowing that their tourism industry depends on a sound nature.

At the same time, African destinations like Seychelles are demonised as anti-environmental by European “experts”. If successful, these campaigns could have a severe effect on the European market, which for the first time is experiencing a positive image of Africa as a must-see travel destination.

But also other African success stories are threatened by this new “stay local” trend. During the last decade, African agricultural products are increasingly admitted into the protectionist European market, even when also produced in Europe. This includes beef from Namibia and Botswana, fresh flowers, fruit and vegetables from Kenya and even processed food products from South Africa and Ghana.

None of the few African countries that have managed to enter European markets with agricultural products that compete with local producers have had an easy path reaching their position. Food quality and hygiene standards in Europe are extremely rigid and to a large degree designed to exclude foreign competition. To be able to reach sceptical European consumers, African producers mostly also have been obliged to follow strict environmental and social guidelines.

Also, African food products for years had to fight against false prototypes promoted by seemingly well-meaning anti-globalisation activists that to a great degree were funded by local farmer organisations. Development specialists – who do not get much air-time in European media – had to explain on and on again that European consumers were not “stealing food from starving Africans” when buying their products, but that these imports indeed would promote wealth and empowerment in rural Africa.

But in country after country, also these hard-bought gains are now under attack. Britain is the country where consumers so far have had the strongest focus on how far the food basket has travelled before reaching supermarkets. “Fresh vegetables from Africa” have for several years been one of the main focuses of environmental and anti-globalisation activists. They have even produced research claiming that the further foods have travelled, “the more their vitamin and mineral content deteriorates.”

Already in 2003, airlifted baby carrots and garden peas from South Africa were highlighted in energy budgets of imported foods. For carrots, “it will have taken 68 calories of energy in the form of fuel to air freight each calorie of carrot energy,” while “fresh peas require approximately two and half times the energy to produce, package and distribute as those sourced locally,” the British daily ‘Guardian’ reported. South African wine, which is mostly shipped, however was praised for its “tiny” CO2 emissions. Of all the African products scrutinised, only wine is not produced Britain.

Years of campaigning against African agricultural products in the UK – whose funding has yet to be revealed – has already left its mark on British consumers. The easy-selling “fact” that locally produced vegetables, meat, flowers and fruits are more environmentally fit than African imports has made many consumers look for “low emission products”.

That this trend is significant was demonstrated by a surprise marketing campaign by Britain’s largest supermarket chain, Tesco, in February 2007. The retailer was to introduce “carbon counting” labelling to let

High quality lamb processed for the Norwegian market in Mariental, Namibia

High quality lamb processed for the Norwegian market in Mariental, Namibia:
«Who would start counting CO2 emissions on Europe’s food exports?»

© Ulvar Arnkværn/Norwatch/afrol News

consumers see for themselves how far their food basket had travelled and how much CO2 emissions had been needed.Tesco is one of the main channels for Kenyan products to European consumers – indeed half of Kenya’s agricultural exports go to Britain. Naturally, the surprise marketing stunt caused frustrations at the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK), which had not been consulted on the move. While Tesco promised to keep on importing Kenyan products, “carbon counting” labels on these goods from 2008 will tell a one-sided story to British consumers.

From Britain, this trend is spreading to all over Western Europe. In Sweden, the leading daily ‘Aftonbladet’ attacked local supermarkets for not following Tesco’s example “despite the fact that one fourth of climate gases emitted by Swedes originate from our food.” Ecologist Annika Carlsson-Kanyama enthusiastically helped the Swedish daily to make a parallel guide for consumers, where “airborne tropical fruits” were labelled as no-goes for conscious consumers.

In other countries, old arguments against food imports from Africa are resurfacing. In the programme of Nature and Youth, one of the environment groups gaining most media attention in Norway, new and old “facts” are mixed: “Locally produced food is more environmental, safe and solidary,” it says, claiming solidarity with African producers “for not spending the resources of others.” Norway is a main importer of Namibian beef.

While the great focus on “environmentally damaging” food imports from Africa and flights to Africa is even increasing, less and less attention is given to the positive environmental balance of this trade. Forgotten is the fact that almost 100 percent of input factors in African agriculture are locally made and almost no machinery is used in production, while European farmers import fertilisers, pesticides, seeds, seasonal workers and oil-consuming machineries from all over the world.

Forgotten is also the fact that food exports and tourist destination developments empower Africans to protect and manage their environment and even reduce African-induced CO2 emissions. Eco-tourism has greatly promoted the protection of forests, mangroves, savannas and coral reefs in Africa – which also are key environs when it comes to storing CO2. A larger and more diversified food production in Africa also reduces the dependence on imports to supply African consumers.

And the greatest irony of all is that, while imports from Africa again are demonised, exports from Europe to Africa causing the same CO2 emissions are promoted as ever before. Subsidies are paid to promote the consumption of Spanish biscuits, French dairy products, European wheat instead of local staple foods, European tropical fruit juices, trawler caught fish dishes and, of course, all kind of industrial products.

Even Tesco, being concerned about CO2 emissions of transported foods, shows its real face when it comes to exporting from Europe.

Only two weeks before its much-publicised marketing campaign on “carbon counting” labels, the UK retailer issued a less-publicised statement. It announced the opening of ten supermarkets in China, where it will be selling popular European grocery products. Political support in Beijing was bought by promising to buy Chinese products worth euro 3.3 billion annually for exports.

In China, Tesco meets competition from the giant chains Carrefour of France and Metro of Germany, already assuring a European export of products and lifestyle to the world’s fastest growing market. Who would come up with a silly idea of starting to count CO2 emissions when Europe’s super retailers are taking up competition with America’s Wal-Mart, thus promoting French, German and British products among China’s 1.3 billion inhabitants?

Next Page »