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close this bookThe Courier N° 158 - July - August 1996 - Dossier: Communication and the Media - Country Report: Cape Verde (EC Courier, 1996, 96 p.)
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Communication and the media

Press freedom, regarded as a fundamental human right, is also a key component in the democratization process.

With the help of experts in the field, we look at what various organizations are doing to combat censorship and promote a free press in ACP countries and elsewhere.

We also highlight the new trend of donor support for projects aimed at promoting press freedom. These include, notably, provisions for the training of journalists. And as new means of communication, such as the World Wide Web, develop, we consider what is being done to prevent the opening up of a new divide - this time between the 'information rich' end the 'information poor'.

Country report

Cape Verde

Among the least-developed countries, Cape Verde is seen as a model of good governance and stable democracy. It is also admired for its perseverance in the struggle against the exigencies of history and climate. The country suffers from almost permanent drought and has virtually no regular supplies of fresh water.

Its history has been punctuated by serious famines and while the people are no longer hungry, they still face formidable economic difficulties.

Cape Verde produces just 10% of what it consumes and its exports are one fifteenth of its imports. The one bright spot is in services, where it enjoys a positive trade balance. This sector (in particular, international transport and tourism), together with the country's cultural industries, offer the best hope for future development.

Robert Ménard, Director of 'Reporters sans frontières'

'Combating attacks on press freedom

'Reporters sans frontis' was founded in June 1985 in Montpellier where Robert Mrd was working as a journalist with Radio France. Now based in Paris, RSF has two main policy areas. In the first place it alerts international public opinion and the media to situations involving violations of press freedom (via publications such as 'RSF News letter' the Annual Report and specific books and reports). Secondly, RSF actively intervenes by sending letters of protest to official bodies and assisting victims. Last year RSF dealt with more than 350 cases involving the press throughout the world. The organisation's ambition, according to Mr Mrd, is to be a kind of Amnesty International in the press field. The interview began with Mr Mrd giving a detailed description of RSF's work.

- We do two things - we report violations of press freedom and help journalists who are the victims of such violations. Take the former Yugoslavia, for example. It would have been unthinkable to monitor what was going on in that war-torn country without, at the same time, helping the media who were victims of the repression. So we sent over lawyers to help in trials involving the press, helped the families of imprisoned journalists and gave general assistance to the media. In the case of Oslabodenje, the Sarajevo daily, this went on for four years. We did similar work in Rwanda where RSF helped the media to get back on its feet after the genocide. In Algeria at the moment we are involved in aiding journalists who are obstructed when doing their work. We also give help in Europe - currently to refugee journalists in Belgium, France, Spain, Switzarland and Germany. That's basically what we do; reporting violations of press freedom and helping those who are the victims of it.

· Do you work with other organisations, for example the United Nations?

- We work with various types of organisations. We have daily contact with other NGOs specialising in press freedom, such as Article 19 in London and the Committee for the Protection of Journalists in New York, to give just two examples. We also have contacts with NGOs involved in human rights issues in general and, above all, with Amnesty International.

Then there are our links with international organisations and, first and foremost, with the UN system. RSF has submitted reports in response to requests from various organisations, ranging from the UN Committee for Human Rights to UNESCO. We also work with the Council of Europe and the Organisation of African Unity. But our closest relationship is with the European Union, or two reasons; firstly because it is RSF's main financial backer and secondly Because the EU enables us to do three things. It has helped us set up and has Financed a vast network of correspondents in 130 different countries and, to my mind, this is the most important thing in terms of defending human rights and press freedom. We also publish reports, which we write in response to EU requests, on press freedom in one country or another and which are made available to the EU and European Parliament. Our third ink comes in the form of assistance. We manage an aid fund to help where the press is in difficulties, and the money is provided by the Union.

-You have mentioned a network of correspondents which has been set up. How does it operate?

- It is a network of people who are in daily contact with RSF and who tip us off when a situation requiring our attention arises. Whenever there is a violation of press freedom in a country where the network operates, our correspondent lets us know - that's the first priority. Then, they make enquiries at our request. The third stage is to set up events. For example May 3 was World Press Freedom Day and, on that day, in about 20 countries in Africa, our correspondents organised events on the theme of press freedom. A fourth aspect of our correspondents' work is that they are often responsible on the ground for helping journalists in difficulty. They also help the media in general because we give them documents and supply them with information which they distribute in their particular country. Their task, therefore, is to alert us to a situation, meet our requirements for information and, on our behalf, physically to assist people on the ground, set up events and disseminate information.

-Are the correspondents all nationals of the countries in which they work?

- Yes. Also, about 90% of them are joumalists and they are all paid for what they do. Their relationship with us is clear-cut. It is very important for them to be paid because this means that we can ask certain things of them. If you work as a volunteer no-one can give you a deadline to produce such and such a document. In our case, we pay them to do this work for RSF.

· Do you choose countries where the situation is already problematic?

- Unfortunately, problems exist in many countries. Less than half the countries in the world show any degree of respect for press freedom and that means we have a great deal of work. In addition, information arriving at RSF from the correspondents is distributed to other organisations. We have set up a system called Infex which is an electronic mailbox.

All RSF's information is put on a computerised system and immediately disseminated to all the organisations involved in the defence of human rights, and press freedom in particular.

· So the technological revolution is a positive thing as far as you are concerned?

- Absolutely. Both the Imais and Internet systems are unbelievably useful tools which have completely revolutionised our work. For example, RSF might protest about the situation in some country or other. Take China, for example - we regularly lodge protests against the lack of press freedom there. There are 17 journalists in jail, no freedom for the press and a great many problems. However, people in China are not aware of what we do and in order to get information they have to listen to international radio stations. On the Internet, RSF's services are available in French, English and Spanish and it is consulted by people the world over. It is thus one of their sources of information. Another example would be a case where we set up an operation and inundate a number of people in a particular country with faxes, in order to pass on the information. Modern technology enables us to break down the fortresses which totalitarian or dictatorial regimes attempt to construct around themselves.

- RSF has just published its 1996 Report. What do you have to say regarding the current position of press freedom? Has progress been made?

- I would say two things. In the long term, the situation is improving. If you remember, 25 years ago, the regimes in half the countries in Latin America were dictatorships, communism dominated half of Europe and nearly all of Africa had single-party systems. Even in Europe, there were dictatorships - in Spain, Portugal and Greece. So we cannot deny that there has been progress. The problem is that, for three or four years now, there has been a noticeable rise in new threats to press freedom, and this is a great source of concern to us. Here I am thinking of the rise in power of fundamentalist movements, particularly religious fundamentalism. In a number of countries nowadays - the best example, or perhaps I should say the worst example, is Algeria - journalists are not only threatened by the state but are being killed by armed Islamic groups. The rise in religious fundamentalism is indeed a real danger.

The second type of threat confronting the press is the increased influence of mafia-type criminals. You will, of course, have heard about drug trafficking in places like Colombia or Peru. Nowadays, in some countries where communism has been overthrown, the big threat comes from these criminal gangs. Not so long ago in Russia, the star presenter on the main TV channel was killed because he got in the way of 'Mafia' interests.

The third threat comes from uncontrolled actions by groups fighting for autonomy or independence, like the Kurdish movement in Turkey (the PKK), and a number of separatist groups in India. The EU is no stranger to this either

- ETA poses a continual threat to the press, as do members of the FLNC in Corsica. It is only a few months since members of the latter group machine gunned a journalist's house. A fourth and new kind of threat, particularly in countries with a democratic system, comes from the rise of the extreme right.

Lastly, a point I draw particular attention to in our recent report is, in fact, a dual phenomenon. On the one hand there are states which pass laws under which any criticism is a crime and may lead to prosecution. An example of this is Egypt where the government has enacted a law which has led to charges being brought against some 60 journalists since summer 1995. On the other hand, there are states where justice simply does not operate and there is no will to make it function.

Last year, 51 journalists were killed and a number of others were attacked, but there has not been a single trial or conviction. It is a real culture of impunity. In some countries, the justice system either does not operate, or it is not independent. In such places, the authorities are reluctant to identify and prosecute those responsible for attacks on journalists.

· RSFcurrently has project running in Rwanda, in collaboration with the EU. Could you tell us something about this?

- The EU is helping us to meet a wide range of needs in Rwanda, as well as in Burundi, where sadly, the situation is rather similar. In Rwanda, there are those who governed the country before the genocide and those in power at the moment. There was a specific problem there in that nearly half of Rwanda's journalists were killed during the genocide - 49 out of about 100. We had virtually to reconstruct the press system and the EU gave us the means to do this.The press currently has difficulties vis-is the authorities but it is attempting to do its job. in Burundi, where our work is of a more conventional type, we see continuing attacks on press freedom. There, RSF is trying to resist the pressure, again supported by the EU. In fact, thanks to the EU, we are helping a number of countries' media to survive despite difficult conditions.

Another quite new problem is that before and during the genocide in Rwanda, the media were used as vehicles for disseminating hatred. They issued calls for people to kill their compatriots, in this instance the Tutsis, and the language they used was unbelievably violent. On Radio Mille Collines, presenters would say - and I quote; 'The graves are not full yet'. They would give out the addresses of people who had to be killed and when the murders had been carried out they would actually say, 'You killed them too quickly - you should have killed them more slowly to make them suffer more', or, 'You didn't kill the children, go back and kill the childreni. We actually have recordings of statements like this.

In such a situation, journalists must be made to answer for what they have done and be brought to justice.

The EU has helped us conduct a number of surveys which will enable the international criminal court in The Hague to charge Rwandan journalists with complicity or incitement to genocide. We expect this to take place in the very near future.

Of course in Rwanda, all that is in the past but the same thing is happening today in Burundi where there is a radio station called 'Radio Democracy' - what a joke! A number of journalists there are issuing calls for people to be killed and we have a copy of one of their newspapers whose front page offers a cash reward to anyone who kills such and such a person. This is not journalism. RSF has lodged complaints against these people and one of these 'journalists' has just been charged.

We are doing three things in Rwanda and Burundi: denouncing violations of press freedom by the authorities, helping media victims and - something new - reporting what has come to be known as 'the media of hatred'. Unfortunately, this type of media is not restricted to Rwanda and Burundi. it is a phenomenon that we see in a number of African countries, in the former Yugoslavia, the Caucasus and the

Middle East. Perhaps you are aware that the 50th anniversary of the Nuremberg trials has just passed? But did you know that there were two journalists among the accused? The press has forgotten that journalists played a part in the rise of Nazism. RSF is pointing out that the same thing is happening today in many countries and we have to fight it.

'The EU is a perfect partner

· Given what you have just said, should restrictions be placed on press freedom?

- This is a very complex subject. You have to remember that international texts, particularly the convention on civil and political rights, place restrictions on press freedom. Article 19, which defines press freedom, stipulates that there are certain limits to this and Article 20 forbids any dissemination of racist or antisemitic ideas and any incitements to violence.

RSF has two things to say. First, governments which have signed the agreements must ensure they are observed. These set limits. Journalists are not above the law and they must be punished when they say certain things. So states must face up to their responsibilities and apply the treaties they have signed. Second, I feel that the international community, and Europe in particular - when it signs agreements or gives aid to third countries - should demand that they respect press freedom but clamp down on the media of hatred.

· RSF has just published a draft model legislation governing the press. In preparing this, were you influenced by your experience of the extremist media?

- Perhaps we were influenced too much. I am my own worst critic. We sent a mission to Rwanda before the genocide but did not appreciate the full effects of the evil disseminated by the media of hatred, particularly Radio Mille

Collines. We underestimated the situation and are concerned at what is happening. We believe there must be express limits on press freedom and this draft framework law is one way of formulating such restrictions. It is not necessarily the best way of going about things, but our profession has to ask itself questions regarding the definition of press freedom and the limits we must not exceed.

· Are you satisfied with what the EU is doing in this area?

- The EU is a perfect partner and has never exerted any pressure. With the Union, we are able to do things that would not be possible with individual Member-State government because the latter conduct foreign policy in defence of certain interests. Each country has its own cultural history linguistic links or links arising out of former colonial times which prevent it financing RSF's studies unconditionally. As far as our missions are concerned, RSF decides what it wants to do and we send our reports to the EU. They have also granted us a budget enabling us to give immediate aid to people in difficulty. This is the most positive action possible If the EU were not there, there would unfortunately be no-one else to finance an organisation like ours. 60% of our budget comes from the Union, 20%from various companies. We generate the remaining 20% ourselves through sales of books and contributions. Because the EU is a grouping of governments, the Commission has some room for manoeuvre. This is the only possible kind of support for organisations like RSF and, if it were not there, it would be the end for the people whom RSF supports. interview by Dorothy Morrissey

The economy of Cameroon: Better prospects but still a long way to go

It is an astonishing sight to behold during the rainy season. As you drive along the road from Yaoundo Bamenda, you come to a point where human habitation starts - and it then continues unbroken for more than 100 kiLomes. Just before Bafoussam, and as far as the eye can see, every patch of land is cultivated. Bananas, oranges, mangoes, sugarcane, cassava, palm trees, groundnuts and maize grow luxuriantly in open fields and in the front and back gardens of many houses. This route, of course, takes you mainly through the western part of Cameroon, home to the Bamilelr recognised as one of the country's most enterprising and industrious ethnic groups. The population density here is 200 per km2 as opposed to 1 per km2 in the East.

The impact of this widespread farming, carried out by a large number of smallholders, is visible in the local markets, whether in Bafoussam, Mbouda or Bamenda. There, the stalls overflow with fruits and vegetables and prices are very low - a virtual paradise for the middlemen whose unmistakable presence is signalled by the significant number of trucks loading the produce for distribution throughout the country.

These scenes come as no surprise to the long-time observer of Cameroon's economy. The country achieved virtual self-sufficiency in food over 15 years ago. It is one of the few African countries to have been able to do this, thanks both to its physical endowments and an early recognition of its agricultural vocation.

Cameroon is often described as a microcosm of Africa, not just in terms of its make-up of English- and French speaking communities, but because it enjoys almost all the continent's climatic conditions. The south is equatorial, with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons of equal duration, the centre is Savannah country with one rainy season and one dry season, while the extreme north (part of the Sahel) is hot and dry. The country has a very good supply of rainfall - from 5000 mm annually in the southwest to around 600 mm near Lake Chad.

Such varied climates favour the cultivation of a variety of crops. Timber is produced mainly in the southern provinces while palm oil, tea, cocoa, coffee, rubber, timber and foodcrops are produced in the southwestern and western areas. The central and north provinces specialise in cattle and cotton production.

Concentration on agriculture

Cameroon has, not surprisingly, concentrated on agriculture. Indeed the government has given top priority to the sector in all its development plans since independence in 1960. It has been involved in the marketing of the main export crops and has provided subsidies to farmers in the form of low-priced fertilisers and pesticides for their cocoa, coffee, rubber, palm oil, etc. Almost three-quarters of the working population (the majority of whom are smallholders) are engaged in farming. And despite a low level of mechanisation, they are very efficient. The rate of growth in food outstrips the rate of population growth. Only a few largescale farmers or firms are involved in the production of cash crops.

Until the early 1980s, when oil came into the picture, these large scalefarmers and firms amounted for more than 70% of export earnings, 40% of state revenue and 32% of the Gross Domestic Product. The plan initially was to use oil revenues to further boost and transform agriculture. However, the dramatic increase in the country's oil production, combined with much higher world petroleum prices during the first half of the 1980s, made the sector not only Cameroon's biggest export earner, but also, in a certain sense, a 'spoiler' for agriculture. Increased revenues enabled the government to maintain the level of prices paid to farmers, even though world prices had slumped to disastrous levels. This created distortions in the market. (Later, when the oil price slumped, and revenues dropped sharply, producer prices were also reduced, bringing them closer into line with international prices.)

Agriculture's contribution to GDP declined steadily to around 21 % in 1985, rose to 27% in 1989 and has hovered around 30% ever since. The sector's share of export earnings has also fallen to about 40% of total exports by value.

Despite this, Cameroon's agriculture remains, comparatively, in a much better shape than that of most African countries. Indeed, it contributed in large measure to the country's reputation as one of Africa's economic successes in the 1980s. During that decade, growth averaged 8% per annum. However, the period was also marked by dramatic increases in oil revenues which induced significant policy changes as well as leading to maladministration. The government paid less attention to taxation and customs duties as sources of income and turned a virtual blind eye to smuggling which harmed the manufacturing sector. The civil service, on the other hand, expanded beyond reason, a phenomenon that some have attributed to patronage by the ruling single party.

Boom in public expenditure

Protected somewhat against fluctuations in earnings from export crops, by a strong but overvalued CFA franc, the government embarked on a wide range of capital expenditure and imports. Then, in 1987, international oil prices fell as dramatically as they had risen earlier in the decade. At the time, public spending was running at CFAF 8 billion - well above the CFAF 5.6bn the country actually earned. Revenues from oil continued their downward slide to CFAF4.5 bn in 1988, CFAF 2.8 bn in 1991 and CFAF 2.5 bn in 1994. 1995 saw a modest rise to CFAF 3 bn.

1987 thus marked the beginning of a rapid deterioration in Cameroon's financial situation. In the period which followed, civil servants' salaries were unpaid for months, several of the country's foreign missions were left without resources and both domestic and foreign debts worsened. In 1993, the government owed commercial banks around CFAF 3.3bn. Its external debt stood at around $7.5bn with a service ratio of more than 25% of foreign exchange earnings. The devaluation of the CFA franc in January 1994 improved the internal debt situation significantly. In February, the government signed a letter of intent with the IMF after agreeing to a series of reforms which included, among other things, rationalising the banking and insurance sectors, raising revenue from non-oil sources, bringing inflation down and reducing the budget deficit. In return the IMF provided a stand-by loan equivalent to CFAF 1.4bn. However, the agreement was suspended just a few months later when the Fund reached the conclusion that the government lacked the will to carry the reforms through. The 1994/95 budget foresaw a deficit of 4.5% of GDP - well above the IMF's guideline of 1.5%.

Meanwhile the country's financial situation had become so critical that it could no longer service its debts, most notably, those it owed to the World Bank. France, which had traditionally been ready to come to the rescue, refused to bail Cameroon out and it finally dawned on the authorities that structural adjustment was unavoidable. When, in September 1995, talks resumed with the IMF, the commitment to adjustment was no longer in doubt. The government agreed, in addition to fiscal reforms, to liberalise trade in cocoa, coffee and timber, to prune the civil service and to privatise state enterprises which dominate the industrial sector.

Commitment to reforms

Since then the reform process has been in full swing. The first and most important task has been to improve the government's financial position. The civil service, which employs more than 175000 people, is gradually being reduced and salaries have been cut. Trade is also being liberalised and subsidies are being removed. The 1995/96 budget, unveiled in June last year, was welcomed by the IMF. It included, for the first time in a long while, increases in income tax and a widening of tax bands. A series of measures have also been introduced to combat tax evasion and fraud. External signs of wealth, water and electricity consumption, and telephone bills are now being used as means of assessing income tax.

Responsibility for the collection of customs duties has been removed from the Customs Department which was often accused in the past of corruption and inefficiency. The task has been given instead to a Swiss-based preshipment inspection company.

The donor community has responded positively. With French assistance, the government has been able to clear its outstanding debt to the World Bank. The IMF has provided a stand-by credit facility of $101 million in support of the adjustment programme for 1995/ 96 and debts to the Paris Club covering the same period have been rescheduled. In addition, now that Cameroon has been reclassified as a poor country, it is entitled to benefit from the terms of the Naples Agreement, which allow for up to 67% of debts to western govemments to be written off. A number of creditor nations have either forgiven the country its debts or have reduced them substantially. More loans have come from France and a number of other donors, including the World Bank and the European Community.

The EC is financing a series of projects within the framework of the adjustment programme, including the restructuring of the civil service and preparation of the ground for privatisation.

Lately though, the donor community has been showing signs of disenchantment, following allegations of misuse of funds and perhaps even outright embezzlement. Last March, an IMF mission to Yaoundailed to obtain an adequate explanation concerning the allocation of certain sums. The result, at the time The Courier went to press, was that an IMF loan for settlement of Cameroon's debt to the African Development Bank was being held up.

Dealing with the negative social impact


The sudden devaluation of the CFA franc in January 1994 halved Cameroon's purchasing power overnight. The government has since cut wages twice. The average salary of a top civil servant, which stood at around CFAF 300 000 before devaluation, is now less than CFAF 180 000 while the lowest paid government employees receive just CFAF 30 000. At the same time, prices, particularly of imported manufactured goods and inputs, have risen sharply. Increases of up to 150% have been recorded. By way of example, the price of a baguette (french bread), which was only CFAF 80 in January 1994 had risen to CFAF 130 by March 1996.

Although there is considerable hardship, Cameroonians are a great deal more fortunate than fellow Africans in many other countries undergoing a similar adjustment process. Staple food remains cheap and affordable to the vast majority, thanks to the continuing strength of agriculture. As a result, there are few, if any, cases of malnutrition.

A number of donors, including China, Belgium and the EC, are concentrating on health and education with the specific aim of reducing the negative social impact of adjustment. The EC, for example, has a project designed to strengthen health provision at the grassroots. This entails rehabilitating infrastructures (health centres and district hospitals in particular) and establishing medical supply centres in areas that are not covered by other donors. The project is governed by the principle of cost-recovery to ensure viability and sustainability. But one area where the donors cannot do much is in the field of job creation. There is growing unemployment and job prospects in the formal sector, at least in the short term, are not good.

In macro-economic terms, things are locking up slightly for Cameroon. After recording economic growth of 3% in 1994/95, the hope is for a 5% increase in 1995/96. However, Cameroon's main economic operators, grouped under the umbrella of GICAM (Groupement inter-patronal du Cameroun), expressed fears late last year that the country would not achieve this level of growth.

Cameroon exports a variety of primary commodities, most of whose prices have recovered in recent years, and devaluation has had a positive impact on the country's balance of trade. Specifically, it has helped make exports more competitive and in 1994/ 95 the trade surplus was a healthy CFAF 349bn, almost double the CFAF 128bn recorded in the previous year. There was a noticeable slowdown in the export of timber in the latter half of last year and the qualities of coffee and cocoa being sold were not up to the usual standard, a situation that led to both crops being shunned in the world market. Bananas exported to France were also meeting stiffer competition from French Caribbean bananas. However, the fact that rubber production has risen by more than 10%, while aluminium output and sales have increased, should help Cameroon to record another positive trade balance when the figures are next published.

The forestry sector, which has huge foreign-exchange earning and employment potential, is being rationalised as part of the current structural adjustment programme. The Canadian Agency for International Development

(CAID) has a five-year project to conserve and regenerate some 30 000 hectares. In fact, half of Cameroon is covered by forest and less than 500 000 ha is currently being exploited. The objective is to ensure that forest resources are exploited in the future at a sustainable level.

The private sector

Industry, which is still in its infancy, has been developed by the government since independence largely with a view to import-substitution, although with some gearing towards the regional market. It accounts for about 14% of GDP and is currently dominated by aluminium smelting. Although devaluation has lately improved the competitiveness of those enterprises that add value to locally available raw materials, the manufacturing sector as a whole faces two major challenges now that the government has accepted the idea that the economy is best driven by the private sector.

The first relates to private investments, which have been sluggish over the past ten years; a clear illustration of a lack of confidence in the economy. This was amply demonstrated when Cameroonians with funds abroad failed to repatriate them to take advantage of the CFAF devaluation as was widely expected. This phenomenon puts the whole privatisation exercise in jeopardy as it means that the government is more likely to have to rely on foreign entrepreneurs. The best the authorities can therefore expect in the short term, some observers say, is to convert those state enterprises that are not already joint-ventures into ones where private investors become the majority shareholders. Complete divestment will then take place gradually over a longer timescale. Overall, 150 state enterprises have been earmarked for sale.

According to Andriaka, director of Cameroon's Brewery, who is also Chairman of GICAM, another reason for the lack of investment was high interest rates. These hovered around 20% for many years. Even now, after the reform of the banking sector, interest rates remain very high and there are no borrowers, he told The Courier.

Donors again have been conscious of this and some of their interventions have reflected this concern. For example, Canada is providing funds for the establishment in Douala (the commercial capital) of a centre for the development of private enterprises. Meanwhile, the Chinese have promised to provide CFAF 7bn to enable a line of credit to be opened for small and medium sized enterprises.

The government itself is puting in place a number of incentives, according to Minister of Trade and Industry Eloundou Mani Pierre. The liberalisation of the economy and the reform of the customs regime in collaboration with UDEAC, to which Cameroon belongs, are part of these. Mr Mani told The Courier that with a population of under 12 million, Cameroun's most important market was Central Africa. He also, perhaps surprisingly, has high hopes for the new World Trade Aareement.

Cameroon meanwhile is reviewing its plan for the establishment of export processing zones with the help of its main donors.

It is also looking at other ways of attracting foreign investment, particularly in 'value-added' enterprises involved in the processing of locally available raw materials such as cotton, cocoa, coffee and timber.

Social and political peace

The second, and by far the more serious challenge facing manufacturing, is the problem of large-scale smuggling by petty traders.

Evidence of this abounds in the booming central market of Douala, where goods of all kinds can be found at very reasonable prices. Ironically the measures which were being taken and judged to be relatively effective against smuggling in recent years have had to be abandoned under structural adjustment rules imposed on the government.

As Mr Siaka pointed out, petty traders dealing in smuggled goods put pressure on enterprises, 'because they do not pay tax', and threaten to render domestic manufacturing uncompetitive. It is also widely acknowledged, however, that the small-scale traders, who dominate the informal sector, provide job opportunities to Cameroonians, which is important at a time of economic austerity. Indeed petty trading has arguably been the safety-valve, helping to ease the social pressures brought about by structural adjustment, and thus preventing civil unrest.

But the extent to which that safety-valve can withstand the emerging political pressures is a different matter. Democratisation, understandably, was one of the conditions imposed by donors for assistance to Cameroon. After a series of elections - presidential, legislative and municipal - which were marred by violence and deaths, there are still doubts about the health of democracy in the country. Indeed, there are signs that tension is mounting. And few would dispute that if Cameroon is to succeed economically, it needs both social peace and political stability.
Augustin Oyowe

Jacques Santer commends regional initiative

by Alex Kremer

Commission President's visit to West Africa

The European Union's commitment to regional development in sub-Saharan Africa is as strong as ever, but sustainable development can only come from Africa's own initiative. This was the message delivered by Jacques Santer, President of the European Commission, in his address to African heads of state at the UEMOA (Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa) summit in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on May 10.

'I wish to emphasise from the start,' Mr Santer declared to the Presidents of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cd'lvoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo, 'that the European Commission and the European Parliament are both determined to make our partnership even more dynamic and in tune with today's rapidly changing world.'

The presence of the Commission President at the UEMOA summit marks a milestone in the European Community's support for regional integration in the developing world. With its own Commission, Council of Ministers and Court of Justice, the UEMOA appears to be consciously following the supranational model of regional integration pioneered by the European Union.

The sequencing of UEMOA integration, however, is almost the reverse of the European model. Already linked by a single currency in the CFA franc, the West African Union's member states are now pressing ahead with plans for integration of their 'real' economies. The implementation timetable agreed in Ouagadougou covers freedom of establishment, free movement of capital, mutual macroeconomic monitoring and the first steps to customs union with the harmonisation of external tariffs and the lowering or removal of intra-regional barriers to trade.

President Santer indicated that the European Commission is keen to discuss how the European Development Fund (EDF) can support these initiatives. Such aid could take the form of technical assistance and training as well as direct budgetary support to mitigate the short-term costs of customs union.

UEMOA is not, however, an aid project. Its member states have designed it to stand on its own feet financially from the start. A 'community solidarity levy' was due to come into effect on 1 July 1996. The money will be used for a structural fund programme beginning in late 1997, as well as to finance the Union's operating costs.

Meeting with the President of Burkina Faso, Blaise CompaorMr Santer said that it was particularly significant that his first official visit to Africa as President of the European

Commission was to Ouagadougou. Not only was it a reaffirmation of the partnership between Africa and the EU, and a statement of the EU's willingness to support regional integration in the developing world. It was also a tribute to the determination of the people of Burkina Faso and other African countries to promote their own development.

The European Community is Burkina Faso's second largest donor, contributing 10% of total aid payments in 1994. Since 1991, the EC has committed an average of ECU 45 million each year to development cooperation with this country, rising to a peak of ECU 100m in 1995.

Mr Santer visited the EDF-financed road improvement site at Tougan, close to the frontier with Mali, and noted that intra-regional transport links were an essential complement to the legislative programme of the UEMOA. He concluded his tour of regional cooperation projects with a visit to a photovoltaic pumping system financed by the EC under its West African solar energy programme.

Finally, on a more personal note, the Commission President was able to drop in on a project managed by the charity Chrens pour le Sahel. Mr Santer worked for this Luxembourg-based organisation before starting his career in politics and he was visibly pleased to see that it was still going strong - supporting home-grown African initiatives with a little financial help from the European Community.


CTA - moving with the times

When the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) was inaugurated 11 years ago in Ede, Prince Claus of the Netherlands - whose interest in development issues is well-known - attestded as guest of honour. On 19 April, he returned to take part in the official opening of the CTA's new building in neigh bouring Wageningen in the Dutch province of Gelderland. The siting of the purpose built premises is significant. The town of Wageningen has long been an important European centre for agricultural research and the Dutch, of course, are renowned for their commitment to cooperation with developing countries.

The CTA may only have moved a short distance from its previous headquarters, but the Centre's 38-strong staff are also aware of the need to move with the times when it comes to fulfilling their role in the field of agricultural information. This point was particularly emphasised by CTA Director, Dr. R.D. Cooke in his presentation at the opening ceremony. Recalling the Centre's main tasks (see box) Dr Cooke spoke of the 'changing horizons and challenges' which they faced, and he focused on four specific aspects.

The first of these is the big change taking place in national agricultural systems, with the state withdrawing more and more in favour of the private sector and NGOs. This is being accompanied by a trend towards decentralisation with the result that the CTA has many more potential partners to cater for and work with.

Global liberalisation has also had an effect on the kind of information being sought by the CTA's 'customers'. In the past, demand was almost exclusively for scientific or technical information, notably aimed at increasing productivity. Dr Cooke reported that while this remained important, there was now an increasing interest in marketing and socio-economic aspects to facilitate decision-taking.

It came as no surprise to hear the Director highlight the challenge posed by new technologies such as electronic networking and digital storage. The key point here, he stressed, was to find ways of adapting these to ACP needs and realities. 'In the next century,' he argued, 'the haves and the heve-nots will be defined by their access to information.'

Finally, Dr Cooke referred to the growing significance of regional linkages. He indicated that the CTA was locking at ways in which it could help its partners to devise regional development programmes.

The declaration signalling the official opening of the building was made in the preceding presentation by E.F.C. Niehe who is Deputy DirectorGeneral for European Cooperation at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In his speech, Mr Niehe emphasised the relevance of the CTA, pointing out that while the world food situation had improved, 'we are now on the threshold of structural food insecurity'. He also spoke in more general terms about the future of ACP-EU cooperation and acknowledged that 'partnership, sovereignty and equality had been somewhat neglected' by donors. However, he suggested that these concepts were now 'coming back'.

From the ACP side, the Swaziland ambassador, CS. Mamba,who is co-President of the Committee of Ambassadors, took up the theme of food shortages in sub-Saharan Africa and identified some of the difficulties encountered by African producers, particularly in respect of new technologies and marketing. He also referred to the environmental challenges facing ACP countries, especially in the Caribbean and Pacific. He was keen, however, to stress that the picture was 'not entirely negative'. Thus, for example, new technologies and methods had had a positive impact on grain production in Zimbabwe, horticulture in Kenya, and cocoa and coffee in West Africa. Mr Mamba echoed Dr Cooke in stressing the advantages of regional markets, and concluded with a firm statement of support for continuing ACP-EU cooperation.

'History,' he said, 'will show that the Lomonvention played a central role in the momentum of development.'

The final speaker was Steffen Smidt, Director-General for Development at the European Commission, who suggested that the CTA had played a pioneering role in developing a sectoral approach at a time when the focus of development cooperation tended to be on individual projects. 'The Centre', he said, 'has become a well-respected international institution in the field of agricultural information.' The Director General focused on the need for ACP countries to develop their own capacities and on the gap that exists 'between potential and reality', because of capacity limitations. The Centre, he believed, could 'help bridge this gap.' Mr Smidt also reiterated a point made earlier that the information flow should not just be in one direction. 'Information from South to North is vital,' he argued, to ensure better targeting of programmes in future.

After the speeches, guests had an opportunity to learn more about the CTA's work by speaking to the Centre's personnel and visiting a special exhibition illustrating the nature and purpose of the Centre's activities. _

Simon Homer About the CTA

The CIA's tasks are:

- to develop and provide services which improve access to information for agricultural and rural development ;

- to strengthen the Opacity of ACP countries to produce, acquire, exchange and utilise information in these areas.

Programmes are organised around three principal themes:

Strengthening information centres - designing strategies for improving agricultural information services; - promoting use of new information technologies; - providing training; - donating books.

Promoting contact and exchange of: experience among CTA's partners in rural development - seminars; - study visits.

Providing information on demand - publication s; - radio and audiovisual materials; - literature services for researchers; - Question and answer service.

(The address of the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural cooperation can be found in the CTA section towards the end of the white pages in this issue.)

Bananas, Hamlet and the Windward IsIands

By Martin Dihm

What do the Windward Islands' banana industry and Hamlet have in common? Both are intrigued by the same question: 'To be or not to be.' But unlike Hamlet, whose fete was decided rather quickly and tragically, the future of Windward Canibbean banana production is still open. And what is more, Windward producers have a distinct advantage over Hamlet. They can hire consultants to analyse their problem and come up with fresh solutions. That is what has happened. But before turning to the solutions, what have the problems been?

The four Windward Islands; Dominica, St Lucia, St Vincent and Grenada, have long enjoyed preferential market access to the UK. This first permitted the creation of the industry and then secured its survival, even with production costs that are much higher than those of other producers.

A traumatic moment came when the European Community had to decide on a common market regime for bananas. Coming into effect in mid 1993 the regime maintained the principle of preferential access for traditional ACP producers. Nevertheless, it introduced a move towards greater market liberalisation. Fierce attacks on the regime by certain of the EU's trading partners have raised doubts about its viability. The system is due, in any case, to expire in 2002 when even further liberalisation seems likely.

All this could cause great difficulties for the Windward Islands which still depend substantially on banana exports to the EU. A decline in prices since mid-1993 and the appearance of new competitors in the previously protected UK market have further underlined the need for the Windwards to compete in a more liberal arena. The Islands commissioned a study, funded by the UK and the EC, into the competitiveness of their industry and on ways of improving its position. It was not the first study of this type, but earlier ones had had no real impact on the industry which had always been sufficiently protected to avoid swallowing the bitter pill of adjustment. This time, it was clear from the outset that action would have to be taken if the industry were to master the new situation.

The study provided a wealth of interesting insights and recommendations. The first big surprise - at least for outsiders - was the discovery that the industry was wasting considerable amounts each year through certain deficiencies in governance, management and production methods. The second theme of the study was the poor banana quality resulting from an inappropriate pricing system. In effect, price differences paid to farmers were not sufficient to reward extra attention to quality aspects.

The study's recommendations pertaining to management, production and quality were all agreed in a meeting on 29 September 1995, which brought together the Prime Ministers, the EC and other donors. Prime Minister Mitchell of St Vincent labelled this chance for the industry to get its business right as 'the last train to San Fernando'.

What has happened since then? After some hesitation, the industry has indeed begun to 'take up arms against its sea of troubles' (to return to the Hamlet analogy). The EC, for its part, has taken the part of Horatio, the faithful friend. Its role is a delicate one though - for the EC has a lot of money available. Take, for example, the ECU 25m allocated to St Vincent in the 1994 STABEX exercise (roughly five times that country's national indicative programme). How are such funds to be injected reasonably into the islands without undermining their own strength and sense of purpose in pursuing the right strategy.

To answer this, one has to look at the actual requirements. Streamlining the banana industry is less a question of big infrastructure projects than of providing expertise to guide the necessary structural changes. It also means fewer people will be employed in the sector. Aid should, therefore, focus on technical assistance, promoting diversification, and social 'cushioning'.

The challenge, of course, remains considerable and the outcome will not be known for some time. But it is clear that the Windwards have taken bold steps in the right direction and that further steps are on the agenda. There is also little doubt that the islands small, sweet bananas can only be competitive in their market segment if they are produced and marketed professionally, and with dedication.

So what could Hamlet have learnt from this experience? In short - get sound analysis and fresh advice from outside - and then boldly implement. And stick close to your good old friend, Horatio!

British beef overshadows Development Council

The most recent meeting of the EC´s Development Council was one of the first to be hit by the non-cooperation policy adopted by the UK in protest at the export ban on British beef. The Overseas Development Minister, Linda Chalker, announced at the outset to her fellow ministers: 'I will not be able to agree today to the adoption of those texts... on which unanimity is required'. Britain is seeking agreement 'for a step-by-step lifting of the export ban', which was imposed after scientific evidence suggested a link between Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) - and its human 'equivalent', Creuzfeld Jakob Disease. Cases of BSE have been recorded across Europe, but the vast majority have been in the UK.

Texts which were approved included a regulation on refugees in non-Lomeveloping countries. This makes available ECU 240 million over a four-year period (19961999) for longer term assistance to refugees and displaced persons - mainly in Asia and Latin America. Also agreed were two three-year programmes covering Aids control and environmental projects respectively. They will cover the period 1997-1999, and each has been allocated the sum of ECU 45m. In addition, ministers confirmed a regulation on the criteria for disbursing humanitarian aid.

But the British stance meant that a number of important resolutions were blocked, including a text on mounting projects which link emergency, rehabilitation and longer-term aid. Rino Serri, Italy's Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs who presided the Council meeting, said that once adopted, this approach would represent a 'qualitative leap for the EU's development policy.'

Other resolutions awaiting approval relate to the strengthening of coordination between Member States, evaluation of the environmental impact of development policies, decentralised cooperation, and migration and development. Since good headway was made on these subjects despite the British attitude, the texts are expected to be speedily agreed once the UK lifts its veto. Ministers also had an initial discussion on a paper presented by Commissioner Pinheiro on preventing conflicts in Africa.

As is customary at these biannual meetings, several delegations raised points of particular national concern. Belgium, for example, is worried about the Commission's proposal which would finally establish the single market in chocolate products while leaving Member States the choice of adapting their legislation to allow a vegetable oil content of up to 5% in chocolate. Belgium feels that this approach could ultimately prove harmful to cacoa-producing countries and claims that it will be difficult to control the exact percentage of oil used. Sweden, meanwhile, wants action to reform the UN institutions while Italy is keen to increase public awareness of development policies. Finland emphasised the need for better coordination between the European Community and its Member States on environmentally sustainable projects.

The Great Lakes region

There was backing for the June Round Table meeting on Rwanda organised by the UNDP, as well for the various diplomatic initiatives aimed at bringing stability to the Great Lakes region. On 27 May, the ministers dined with Emma Bonino, the European Commissioner responsible for humanitarian issues, and with former US President, Jimmy Carter, who has played a major role in the search to find a solution to the region's problems. Others active in this effort include South Africa's Archbishop Tutu, and former Presidents Nyerere and Tourf Tanzania and Mali respectively. Ministers also commended the efforts of the UN and the OAU.

Mr Serri said there was a 'desperate need for a ceasefire' in Burundi and called for a 'speeding up of the peace process and full deployment of available humanitarian and development aid.' He told journalists it was vital for the EU to make special efforts to strengthen the judicial systems in Rwanda and Burundi - 'so that the justice system can work properly and identify those responsible for the genocide.' He pledged that 'substantial resources' would be made available once peace is secured. Ministers also called for a control of arms sales to the region, although they have no power to legislate in this area, which remains the preserve of the Member States.

Outside the meeting place, Senegalese fishermen and NGOs joined forces to mount a protests against the effects of traditional EU fisheries agreements. These provide financial compensation to governments in exchange for access to their waters for EU vessels, but the protesters claim that they harm local fishing industries and disrupt food supplies. A significant number of agreements are due to come up for renewal later this year. NGOs are lobbying for a new and 'fairer' type of accord which provides for catch reductions, more selective fishing methods and the employment of locally-hired fishermen on EU boats. These proposals are all set out in a paper entitled 'The Fight for Fish: Towards Fair Fisheries Agreements,' published by Eurostep, a Brussels-based NGO.


Making the best of history

Cape Verde has been shaped by the harmattan, the hot dry wind which blows from Africa, strong ocean currents and five hundred years of Portuguese colonialisation. Portugal has been a constant presence in the archipelago's history since the fifteenth century, when it granted the colonists who were to settle on the islands of Cape Verde a monopoly over the slave trade. The country became an interface between Africa, Europe and the Americas, at the centre of the triangle of trade in slaves, hardware and gold. The intermingling of black populations of every origin who passed through the islands meant that the country was unable to present a united face against the colonialist culture. The colonists were therefore able to impose their own culture, with their fervent and proselytzing Catholicism becoming the principal ingredientin the mixture that is Cape Verde. Strong, scorching winds from the desert have shaped the islands' landscape and inhospitable ocean currents mean that approaches to the islands are difficult, their rocky cliff faces plunging into the sea.

The mythical Portuguese colonial oasis

Up to the eighteenth century, Cape Verde was no more than a commercial centre for Portugal, its population at the end of that century barely exceeding 50,000, to be halved by the great drought between 1773-75. Other periods of drought regularly decimated the population and the arrival of new colonists and slaves did not offset such losses or compensate for the massive exodus which began in the early nineteenth century with the arrival of American whalers in search of crew members for their ships. Seven hundred thousand Cape Verdians currently live abroad, half of these in the United States.

Only four hundred thousand have stayed in their own country.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, a period which signalled a turning point in the country's history, the population still numbered no more than 150 000. At the time, major sea voyages were being undertaken and Cape Verde's geographical location was highly valued. Mindelo, on the island of SVicente in the north of the archipelago, developed as a coal-and-watersupply port for English vessels plying the route between India and the Americas, and England helped construct this port. However, Portugal's policy towards Cape Verde was double-edged. On the one hand, the islands were regarded as a natural extension of the home country, but as a competitor in terms of port activities. This led to Mindelo's slow development, although the trade in skins, fishery produce, coffee and salt could have made it a thriving centre.


The mixing of races in Cape Verde has often been held up as, so-to-speak, 'humane colonisation', but this opinion is not corroborated by the under-developed state of the country at the time of independence and the fact that Portugal implemented food security measures to combat the ravages of catastrophic famines only when under pressure from public opinion, at the end of the first half of the twentieth century. The island's colonists had always used slave labour to produce food or fabrics which enabled them to purchase more slaves and it was only when the slave based economy began to decline, which resulted in the impoverishment of the colonists, that a major grouping of free Blacks and rebel or emancipated slaves came into being. That is when the intermixing of races began. Therefore, before the abolition of slavery (18641869-1878), the vast majority of the black population of the island was free; both unmarried and married colonists would generally emancipate their children born of a secret relationship with female slaves. The aristocracy and white upper-middle classes continued to live a cloistered, aloof life and did not mix with other races. A second factor which would suggest that Portuguese colonisation of Cape Verde was sympathetic in outlook is the reputation of this small country's intellectuals; although colonisation created only a small intellectual elite which was the product of a single institution, the Mindelo College, opened in 1917. In a quote by Michel Lesourd, Deirdre Meintel refers to this phenomenon as the mythical 'cultural oasis'.

A nation born of a middle class in tatters

Through its contradictions, it was this black, mulatto and 'petty white' middle class which was to forge the mixed-race culture and national identity, caught between its own privileges and its aspirations of aristocracy, between its rejection of African culture (they sought a 'lusotropical' culture) and the need to find allies amongst the lower classes who retained African cultural values. In order to acquire the wealth and attributes of power, this middle class was to take over the lands vacated by the decline of the slavebased economy and which were often much improved by the former slaves (renamed 'tenant farmers' without a major change in their living conditions) preventing a major economic upheaval which could have put an end to this iniquitous system. Their wholesale appropriation of land explains why, today, there is a very high proportion of landless farmers in Cape Verde, seasonal agricultural workers who survive only thanks to the State's welfare system.

This petty bourgeoisie was to give birth to growing awareness which would lead to calls for independence. Officially, Cape Verde was not a colony but a province, and its inhabitants in theory had the same rights or lack of rights as Portuguese citizens in Salazar's 'New State', where the right to vote depended on social and cultural status. In other Portuguese territories, members of the petty bourgeoisie held the rank of colonial administrators and, from their ranks, the pro-independence movements emerged. Such was the case of the PAIGC (Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde pro-lndependence Party), created by Amilcar Cabral, a symbolic figure in Africa's striuggles for independence and Cape Verde's national hero. He was assassinated in mysterious circumstances in Guinea-Conakry in 1973. His brother, Luiz Cabral, was to become president of Guinea-Bissau, and Aristides Pereira his successor as Party leader and Cape Verde's first president.

Cape Verde's uneventful transition to independence in July 1975 mirrored Portugalts Carnation Revolution and was quite unlike the fierce war entered into by Portugal in Mozambique and Angola. There was a clandestine struggle during which a number of combatants were imprisoned, but there was never any real guerilla warfare. The Portuguese governor remained at his post until he was replaced by an ambassador. The PAIGC was to govern both Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde until the coup d't against Luiz Cabral in Guinea-Bissau in 1980, when it adopted the name of PAICV in Cape Verde, thereby signalling the end to any dream of a union between the two countries.

Diplomatic ventures

The new state pursued an even-handed diplomatic approach and accomplished the considerable diplomatic feat of remaining equidistant between the Cold wer's principal adversaries, adapting over time to all the changes which occurred on the world scene. Post-independence, embassies were opened by the United States, China and the Soviet Union. Cape Verde, with its marxist leanings, maintained the former links created with apartheid South Africa by Portugal. The arrival in power of a liberal party had no effect on this diplomatic tightrope-walking act. It was South Africa which was to provide aid to build the international airport at Sal. Ironically, after the establishment of democracy in South Africa, it was at this very airport that President Mandela was to stress his desire for strengthened links with the archipelago. Latterly, Cape Verde has demonstrated this flexible in its recent decision to Join the group of, French-speaking countries whilst still regarding itself as a mouthpiece for the Portuguese-speaking world, enjoying a privileged relationship with Portugal, the Azores, Brazil and African countries where the official language is Portuguese. It is also a very active member of the CEDAO (Community of West-African States) and its President is currently chairman of the CILSS (Inter national Commitee to Combat Drought). Cape Verde receives as much aid from China as from the US, from Russia and Sweden as from Cuba and Japan.

This diplomacy is in keeping with the atypical 'Marxist' Party which first initiated it. With its interventionist approach to economics, its highly developed social policy which gives priority to education, health and combating unemployment through public welfare, this party could be regarded as a socialist party, yet it opted decisively for a market economy. Its single-party structure mirrored the example of would-be popular democracies, but it never set up a system of repression and terror: only one opposition member's death is said to have taken place in suspicious circumstances on the island of Santo Antao. The population was able to discuss politics at popular assemblies and held no fear of openly criticising the government and, in the case of the well-off, of displaying its wealth. A mudan(change) was implemented calmly and collectedly by the PAICV when it was in power, sowing the seeds of its own downfall. With no pressure from street demonstrations and no insistent demands from political classes, the government of President Aristides Pereira and Prime Minister Pedro Pires adapted to the new situation created by the fall of the Berlin Wall. In early 1990, the PAICV gave up its privileged position as the single party and, one year later, at the legislative elections in January 1991 and presidential elections in February 1991, Africa witnessed the first democratic overthrow of a single-party government which had achieved independence. After the legislative elections, the PAICV, which had placed too great a reliance on being credited for its good governance, was silenced. The desire for change was too great and the position adopted by the Catholic church, anxious to punish a party which had dared to opt for a referendum on abortion, did the rest. President Aristides Pereira's personal prestige stood for little in the full face of this onslaught.

What change?

Prime Minister Carlos Veiga, who had founded the MPD only eight months before his overwhelming success in the 1991 elections, became the new figurehead in Cape Verde politics. His power sharing with Antonio Mascarenhas Monteiro was again successful at the most recent elections (December 1995 and January 1996). Shortly before the poll, the MPD experienced a near-fatal split, but the new party which emerged, the PCD, had only one representative as against 50 (an absolute majority) for the MPD and 21 for the PAICV, which continued to exist. Three other parties taking part in the elections fell by the wayside and the polarisation of Cape Verde's politics into two camps locks set to continue. This is the second time that the MPD has surprised its opponents - this time, the political adversaries had attacked the MPD's attempt to curry favour, but the majority of the electorate, concentrated on the island of Santiago, continued to show their appreciation of the visible signs of modernisation in their lives and also the government's seductive politics, particularly in the ran-up to the elections. The country had also had a good harvest and, although this was unconnected with the MPD, that party could only benefit from it.

Despite what MPD leaders might say, there has been no real ideological split, any political reorientation having been instigated in 1990 by the previous regime when it threw off its socialist trappings. Diplomacy remains pragmatic and the new government's liberal rhetoric and social policy, particularly in the areas of education and health, has essentially been maintained. Suspension of the State's collective works programme, the symbol of the State's interventionist social policy, is only temporary, according to statements issued by the Prime Minister, counter to several rumours.

More visible changes have taken place in the economy: partial liberalisation of the banking system; legislation relating to foreign investment; suspension of the requirement for preliminary import authorisation; despite the government's backtracking as regards certain basic products; privatisation of State assets, particularly in the hotel business, etc. Here, too, the PAICV government engineered the changes, but it can surely not be criticised for maintaining a delicate balance between the new demands of the global village and the social practices of a country which is very poor, but which is succeeding in putting an end to its poverty and creating a modest quality of life, but a secure one. Given its bleak geographical location, Cape Verde is simply continuing to make the best of history.

Hl Goutier

The economy: too weak to worsen

The arrival in Praia on 30 April of a throng of IMF officials cannot have failed to cause the government some concern, despite its air of calm. Ministers repeated publicly that Cape Verde had already carried out its own programme of structural adjustments, that they were on the same wavelength as the Bretton Woods institutions, and that they could not, therefore, see any reason why any further adjustments should be imposed upon them. Nevertheless, the fact that the Cape Verde escudo has had rather a bumpy ride since last year's elections, trading sometimes by as much as 15% under its official rate on the parallel market, caused a certain degree of anxiety within financial circles, with the banks taking action by freezing certain credit facilities.

The government insists that this situation has by no means arisen because of a sudden anxiety raised by opposition parties as to the effects of possible devaluation The truth is that there is a genuine structural imbalance caused by the trade deficit, a disequilibrium which is only being partially offset by official development assistance and the transfer of currency by Cape Verde emigres. As a percentage of the GDP, the overall budgetary deficit has tripled between 1993 and 1994 (increasing from 3.3% to 13.6%). For a country which could always be relied upon to pay its debts promptly, Cape Verde is now, for the first time, in arrears with its payments (see the 1995 report of the Bank of Portugal). The servicing of external debts represents 25.7% of goods and services exported - although these are relatvely small compared with neighbouring countries - the country's total outstanding debt is now nearing $200 million.

Although Cape Verde is one of the LDCs (least developed countries) with a total GNP of approximately $850 per capita, out of a total of 174 States, it actually ranks 123 in the Human Development Indicator Tables, which take into account various factors such as life expectancy, education, etc. Its position near the middle of these tables clearly shows that, although the country is poor, its affairs are nevertheless being managed fairly efficiently. Boasting an adult literacy rate of 66% and a life expectancy of 64.7 years, Cape Verde is well ahead of those countries at the bottom of the list, which include a number of its Sahelian neighbours. Efficient administration of the State and the absence of rampant corruption are further feathers in the nation's cap. These achievements have earned Cape Verde much esteem from its sponsors, which goes to explain the prudence of the Bretton Woods institutions and their relative sympathies towards the country.

Unkind Mother Nature

Cape Verde's history has been punctuated by great famines. Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries the country suffered no less than 30 famines, with this century seeing some of the cruellest: 16 000 people died in 1903-1904, the death toll in 1921 was 17000, in 1941-43 it was 25000 and between 1946-48 famine claimed 20 000 lives - a figure which at the time represented 20% of the total population of the archipelago. After the last famine, the colonial authorities, under pressure from international opinion, adopted food programmes which made the country more able to cope with the consequences of subsequent droughts. The last great famine ended 50 years ago. The nation may no longer be hungry, but the factors which make its inhabitants' lives so difficult remain. The main reason lies in the country's geography. Cape Verde has virtually no permanent springs and the topography of most of the islands, which are very mountainous, means that heavy rain simply runs down to the sea, the parched soil being unable to absorb it sufficiently. What is more, these downpours simultaneously wash away the little arable land that do" exist, thereby aggravating erosion. The whole situation is further worsened by the fact that the winter in this Sahelian region is very short. Despite huge efforts by successive governments, barely half the population has access to drinking water, with this figure barely reaching 25% in rural areas.

With a population of less than 400 000, there are just not enough people to pull off the miracle of making such an unforgiving soil bear fruit. Hence, although providing 50% of all jobs, agriculture represents only 17% of the nation's gross domestic product and produces only 10% of food consumed locally. The mountainous islands that make up Cape Verde are like teeth jutting out of the sea, and with virtually no continental shelf to speak of, small scale fishing is extremely difficult. Even with industrial equipment such as that installed on board large trawlers, catches are small - so small in fact that the country's fisheries agreement with the European Commission brings it only one million ECU over three years, one tenth of the proportional amount earned by neighbouring Senegal. Fishing thus represents less than 4% of the GDP.

Mere survival - a
Herculean task

Transport difficulties are another handicap for the economy. The sheer force of the harmattan, the strong ocean currents and the fog which often covers the region, make journeying by boat between the islands frequently hazardous. In addition, the volcanic relief of the islands makes them difficult to reach and means that there are very few locations that make suitable har bours. construction is both complex and costly due to the steep rocky barriers that seal off deep valleys. Those roads which have been built under the FAIMO scheme (Highly Labour-lntensive Projects) have sometimes turned into real labours of Hercules, and many areas, especially those on sparsely-populated islands, remain completely cut-off. The use of aeroplanes only partly solves the problem. Although competitive, the prices charged by the national airline, TAICV, are still too high for the average inhabitant.

Not only does the soil on Cape Verde contain very little water, it has virtually no natural resources: a few stones, lime, pozzolana and a little salt. Within the manufacturing sector (which makes up less than 20% of the GDP), only the construction and civil engineering industries, representing more than 10% of the GDP, contribute in any significant way to the economy, thanks partly to the transfer of currency from emigres who invest in the construction sector and works with wide public interest. These works, known as FAIMO schemes, have to some extent given this impoverished country a gloss that masks its poverty. Launched after Cape Verde gained its independence, they employ more than 25 000 people for up to ten months of the year in the construction of paved roads or in reafforestation projects, and ensure the survival of one hundred thousand people - over one quarter of the population. The workers are on the whole recruited from among farm labourers, with another large section of the workforce being made up of 'Solteiras' or 'single women', numerous in a country where the male population is constantly emigrating. Unfortunately, the liberal option adopted by the present government has cast some doubt as to whether these projects will continue and this year, for the first time, work ceased in April - three months ahead of the usual termination date. Yet the poor wages which these seasonal jobs pay (ECU 2 per day) are sometimes the only source of income for some families.

Only the tertiary sector shows a healthy balance of trade, accounting for more than 60% of the country's gross domestic production, with the biggest slice of the sector going to the hotel industry, followed by the transport industry. Although, overall, Cape Verde's balance of trade records a large deficit, the balance of trade for the services sector generally shows a profit, with the transport services provided by the international airport, Amilcar Cabral de Sal, alone accounting for 13% of exports.

Barely 10% of commercial goods are domestically produced and this has at times fallen below 5%. Cape Verde is therefore genuinely dependent upon foreign aid. Official development assistance represents 27.8% of the GNP (1989 figures), having risen from 17.7% to 27.2% of the GNP between 1980 and 1986. Cape Verde also relies on a second source of income - its emigrant population. In 1990 the currency transfers of its emigres represented nearly 20% of the GNP.

The colonial heritage

Contributing too to the country's poverty are relatively low educational standards. In this area too, successive governments have continued their predecessors' efforts to improve standards of education. However, at the time the country achieved independence, it was in a deplorable state. The reputation of a small intellectual elite of Cape Verdians had, over several decades, led the world to believe that Portuguese colonial rule had been 'enlightened'. This was a mere illusion. It was not until 1917, when the Mindelo grammar school was founded, that the country was able to claim an educational establishment of any cultural sophistication. The Mindelo school was the first state school in the country and it was to provide the nation with its first batch of 'home-grown' intellectuals. Until the middle of the nineteenth century, the Church, which was in charge of all matters educational, had provided basic primary education; then, at the end of the last century, it opened two secondary schools with the purpose of training students for positions in government and the civil service.

Even so, the Mindelo school remained an exception until the middle of this century. In 1950, no more than 5000 children received primary education and no more than 400 went to secondary school. Thirty years earlier, the figure was slightly higher, but Salazar, with his retrograde ideologies, saw education as dangerous and threatening and trimmed the number of schools on the islands from 150 to 60. True, Cape Verde was undoubtedly in a better state than other Portuguese colonies, but, with an illiteracy rate of 80% at the beginning of the 1960s, its position was nevertheless far from enviable. It was not until independence that any real progress was made, with 60% of children attending primary school in 1989 (the average for LDCs is 54%). However, this figure is still well below the average for developing countries, which stands at 90%, and even now, only 13 % of children have access to secondary education. As for higher education, this is virtually only available abroad; in Europe, Brazil, USA and Cuba, in particular.

Serious health problems still exist, exacerbated in particular by the scarcity of water. The cholera epidemic which has struck several African countries over the last two years has killed over 150 people in Cape Verde. The prevalence of AIDS exceeds the average for sub-Saharan Africa, with more than 2000 people being HIV positive and with some one hundred having developed the full-blown disease. According to official figures, 70 have died of the disease. The cholera epidemic which, unlike previous epidemics has affected towns much more than rural areas, is a sign of the deterioration of sanitary conditions in towns - particularly in Praia - affected by a lack of water, a dilapidated sewerage system and overcrowding.

Anchoring the country's economy in its culture

Yet, through all the doom and gloom, a small miracle is taking place in Cape Verde. Despite such a heavy burden of poverty, the country has, since gaining independence 20 years ago, managed to clamber up the league tables notably in the essential areas of health and education. Life expectancy at birth, which was only 52 years in 1950, had increased in 1992 to 64.7 years, better than the average for developing countries and 13 years more than the average for sub-Saharan Africa. The infant mortality rate which stood at 110 per thousand in 1960, had dropped drastically to 50 per thousand by 1992, while virtually all children now receive essential vaccinations. Malaria is also now rare. In 1988 the GDP of Cape Verde amounted to only C.V.Esc 20 billion ($289 million), in other words, 6.9% of the GDP of Trinidad and Tobago, and 16.6% of that of Mauritius. But it is growing steadily. From 1980 to 1988, it grew by 6% per annum, compared with 3% per annum for the Sahel, and since 1980 the GDP per capita has doubled.

The solution the nation's leaders should be seeking is greater integration in the global economy context by encouraging foreign investment. They do not need to create free zones but free enterprise, such as the shoe manufacturing concerns which, over the last two years, have contributed to achieving a considerable increase in exports. Various steps have been taken to attract investors, such as the adoption of the principle of tacit acceptance of applications for investment within 30 days. The Prime Minister, Carlos Veiga, and the 'Super-Minister' for Economic Coordination, Antonio Guelberto do Rosario, have highlighted the service, tourism and fishing industries as top government priorities. In order to develop these areas they intend to invest in infrastructures, with the aid, of course, of foreign backers. The modernisation of the port of SVicente and of the international airport of Sal are currently underway, and the telecommunications project to link the islands by cable has also already been launched. The government's short-term plans also include the development of industries connected with the islands' culture. In the words of Mr Veiga: 'We in Cape Verde should develop our culture and use it as our anchor, to prevent our country drifting into oblivion. That way, our tiny country, which is fortunate enough to have a strong cultural identity, will be a Nation rather than a just a State'.


Interview with President Antonio Mascarenhas Monteiro

A wealth of culture and a realistic approach to diplomacy: Cape Verde's two major assets

- How the current government differ from the former administration which had Marxist leanings?

- The two eras are distinct from each other in that, since 1990, the Cape Verde people have been able to choose a life of freedom and democracy. Before that, for the first fifteen years after independence, there was a single-party system. So it is also valid to speak of a break - a break with the way in which institutions used to function at a political level.

-The single-party era does not seem to have been as strict as in other countries and the current regime appears to be continuing along the same lines in some areas. Was the former administration not, to some extent, responsible for initiating the change which has taken place?

- No, that's something else entirely. I often say that we had a civilised single party, and I assume that is what you are referring to. However, it is not possible to speak of continuity when formerly we had a single party and now we have moved on to a system where there is freedom of expression and new parties can be set up.

Admittedly, the single party did initiate a change when it created the conditions necessary for the advent of democracy. It removed the infamous Article 4 from the constitution, which seates that the PAICV was the guiding force of society and the state. In fact, it was the PAICV which drew up the country's first electoral laws whereby we were elected. When I say 'we', I mean the party which is in power and also myself, President of the Republic. The single party thus opened the way to democracy here: that much is undeniable.

-Am I also right in thinking that many of those who are in power today received their training in that single party?

- You are quite correct. When a change such as this comes about, one has to appreciate, and I do not wish to be elitist here, that it is the higher echelons of a party which lead the move towards change. Such people were there, working in the administration.

-Since politics gives direction to economic affairs, has there been a total turnaround in this sector, with a clear decision to opt for liberalisation and privatisation?

- Before 1990, we had a staterun economy. After that, the country's economy was opened up with a number of privatisations, fewer import restrictions, and so on. The word 'break' is also applicable in this area in that we now have a market economy.

-Do you feel that the economy has really shaken off state control given that the govemment still manages important sectors, such as the price of raw materials?

That is necessary a market economy does not mean that the state is entirely absent. I am in favour of a market economy, but with state monitoring. As far as possible, the state has to correct the injustices which are necessarily generated by competition. This is not, as some would have it, ultraliberalism. The government is still entitled to monitor the economy, but the change has been greatest in terms of attitude, in terms of the way things are done.

-Do you, like many leaders of developing countries, believe that the requirements set by international institutions as regards structure/ adjustment are too great?

- We are not subject to compulsory adjustment - it is on a voluntary basis here. However, I do feel that adjustment, as implemented in Africa, sometimes has regrettable aspects. On occasion, it is asking a little too much to impose the same requirements on countries whose actual situations are very different. What is applicable to Nigeria is not necessarily suitable for STome.

-The 1992 constitution switched Cape Verde over from a presidential system to a parliamentary system. As President of the Republic, do you fee/ trapped by this constitution?

- Cape Verde's constitution was never a presidential one. The system under which I was elected is effectively 'semi-presidential'. Admittedly, the constitution which was approved by Parliament in 1992 reduced the powers of the
President, particularly as regards the right to dissolve Parliament - which was unrestricted in the 1980 text. The revision was made to permit democratisation and ensure the proper functioning of the institutions, and it was therefore fairly wide-ranging. Now, in order to dissolve Parliament, the President has to have the support of the Council of the Republic, which means that his hands are tied to some extent. Previously, the President could also dismiss the government, without too many restrictions. I would say that the President's prerogatives have undergone a substantial reduction in comparison with those exceptional powers. As for the rest, things are as they were. In a semi-presidential regime as that envisaged by the 1980 constitution, the President has no executive role.

· You seem to have chosen to play the role of 'wise man' Some observers think you give the Prime Minister too much leeway.

- They are wrong. The Prime Minister's post is conferred on him by the constitution. He is Head of Government and it is he who governs. I cannot govern in his place. What is true is that there is a great deal of ignorance - people do not restrict themselves to their own fields and attempt to teach lessons in subjects they are unfamiliar with. Germany has a parliamentary regime like we do - what is the position of the President of the Republic in Germany? If you were to ask a Cape Verde intellectual for the name of the President of Germany, he would be unable to answer you. The parliamentary regime does not give the President of the Republic any powers to run the country. I do not know what the Prime Minister can have taken away from me because I have no power for him to take over. However, I would say that, here, the President of the Republic does have a fairly high profile, in spite of his reduced powers, because all the country's citizens know him. In terms of foreign policy, he plays a significant role in that he represents the country abroad. I attend international conferences like the Rio Summit, go to meetings of the OAU and sign international undertakings on behalf of my country.

· The President is also the guarantor of the new democracy, which observers seem to regard as well-established. But there still seem to be some bad habits. For instance, I have heard criticism of MPD power and of the fact that state resources are made available to one party at election time.

- Look, this is criticism from the government's opponents - it is a normal state of affairs and happens everywhere. Any party, in any country, which has a parliamentary majority, can govern easily. This is possible, even when the majority is very small - and even in Europe. Look at Portugal when Cavaquo Silva was Prime Minister. There were people who said it was a PSD State. You will be familiar with France when Pompidou and even de Gaulle were in power, and Francis Mitterrand used to speak of a Gaullist state. As far as the election campaign is concerned, I am not aware of the government here having monopolised state resources and I don't believe this has happened.

· Another important factor involved in democracy is the press. Several journalists from the private media sector are awaiting a decision from you on a number of points - for example the lack of pubic support for the private press - in contrast to thestate-run press which has access to all that it needs.

- What decision are they waiting for? Do they want me to decide in favour of resourcess being given to the private media? I have already done that on a number of occasions. Recently, I had a meeting with the Prime Minister and I brought this matter up. He told me that it was something that was currently being considered. Sometimes, however, I get the impression that some of my critics want me to do the work of an opposition leader and to oppose the Government. That is not my job. I think that the President of the Republic, in a regime such as ours, ought to be a unifying force and not someone who foments political tension and instability. That is something I have always tried to avoid, but I do have sufficient courage to tell the government and the Prime Minister exactly what I think and I have actually dared to criticise them publicly several times. I am sole judge of the criticism I make, and I decide if it is appropriate and also when the time is right. Sometimes, people would have me criticise the government according to a timetable.

· A number of journalists in the private sector are currently being prosecuted and these actions nearly all originate from sources close to the government Surely if they were actually acting unprofessionally, we would see legal actions from parts of society, such as business, and not just from the political class.

- The reason for this is very simple. It is the political class that they vilify. I myself have been insulted on a number of occasions and, despite having put up with it for five years, I have not instigated any lawsuits. There was one case which was taken seriously by the Attorney General's office and there were other cases when the Prime Minister was called a thief. I would ask you, is this a normal state of affairs? Does freedom of the press mean that it can call a Minister or the Mayor of Praia a thief? Is that what is meant by democracy? You have to be aware of the background to these court cases - and there are a good many of them, some dating from 1991. They are not designed to 'get at' any particular newspaper. The reason many of these cases have been brought is because serious insults of the kind we are talking about are a crime. That is true of even the most advanced democracies.

· In economic terms, Cape Verde does not appear too badly off. But some economic indicators do give rise to concern, notably the big gap between the export and import figures. How do you see your country's future when it no longer relies so much on international aid? Do you believe in the dream of many of your fellow countrymen, that Cape Verde will be Africa's 'little dragon'?

- Unlike some people, I have never spoken of becoming a dragon. I don't like this expression. I do believe that, despite our enormous problems - Cape Verde has few resources and we have been in the grip of drought for many years - it does have a number of assets. We are capable of making progress and I believe that there are a number of promising areas which have already been identified: for example, fisheries, tourism and even 'foreign' investment. We have to be optimistic about Cape Verde's future. We are in a difficult situation, everyone knows that, but we are a hard-working and courageous people and our prospects are good. The country will be able to forge ahead.

-On the diplomatic front, Cape Verde appears something of an expert at maintaining good relations with different regimes: for instance, with both Israel and the Arab countries, with China, and with South Africa before and after apartheid. How do you manage this?

- There is no magic formula. Since independence, Cape Verde has tried to adopt a realistic and pragmatic foreign policy. We are a small country with no great influence on the international scene and we have to be on good terms with everyone. That is the principle on which we base our foreign policy.

· Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau used to be fairly close - do you foresee any future rapprochement, perhaps in some form of federation?

- It is difficult to say. I feel that there is already a degree of rapprochement in progress, particularly in economic terms. Recently, we signed a civil aviation cooperation agreement, and there are opportunities for similar achievements in the fisheries and shipping sectors as well. Relations between the Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau governments are excellent but, to my mind, the idea of our forming a federation is out of date. It would not be in our interests nor in those of Guinea Bissau. We do, however, intend to develop a closer economic relationship and our political relations are very good indeed. I would wager that our partners in Guinea Bissau would give you a similar analysis of the situation.

-In cultural terms, can it be said that your country has succeeded in becoming a multi-ethnic state?

- The important thing is that the Cape Verde people should have their own identity; that there should be a specific Cape Verde culture. What I would say is that all the citizens of Cape Verde are proud of their culture and citizenship. This constitutes a great source of strength for a country such as ours which has major challenges to overcome. Our culture is also an asset in our country's development.

Interview by Hegel Goutier

Interview with Aristides Lima, leader of the Opposition

'The government owes its victory to abuse of the electoral system'

· As main leader of the Opposition, what are your views on the fact that the governing party has recently been reelected?

- I believe the country's economy is in crisis. Growth rates are not very high, just like in the 1980s, for example, and there is a high level of structural imbalance. Unemployment has increased: in 1990, unemployment stood at approximately 25% and now it is 30%. There used to be 25 000 people who worked in what we call the high intensity labour sector and who had a job for about 10 months of the year. They were recently laid off early. Such jobs were part of a social programme which, amongst other things, enabled us to build roads. The prices of staple products, such as sugar, maize and rice, which were stable, have just gone up, and the price of cement, which was also controlled to promote economic growth, is no longer subject to the same control and I can foresee this giving rise to many problems in areas outside the towns and cities. In Praia, a 50-kg bag of cement used to cost 440 escudos and, although that price will stay more or less the same, on islands like Fogo, it will go up to about 660 escudos. This will generate problems for economic growth and a number of major projects in the tourism sector, for example, will suffer. The balance between exports and imports has also been adversely affected in that the level of coverage of imports by exports has fallen, despite announcements to the contrary made by the government.

· From 1993 to 1995, exports tripled in volume, if the government is to be believed. What are your thoughts on that?

- The problem is that, in this country, some exports rely on the import of considerable amounts of raw materials. For example, in SVicente, there is a shoe-manufacturing plant which gets its supplies of raw materials from abroad. The same applies to fishing and a number of fisheries products, such as anchovies, which are still canned in SVicente but which have to be imported from Chile or elsewhere. This causes great problems when it comes to managing the country's foreign currency reserves, which have fallen markedly. In 1990, reserves provided over 6 months' coverage for imports, but now we have to operate in terms of weeks or even days.

· Nevertheless, the government could say that it is not responsible for the economic picture you have just painted because the world economic situation is hitting all small countries harder.

- No, the government is responsible, because it has been unable to implement the appropriate liberalization policy. For example, this should have been applied gradually to the trade sector, but the government rushed in and has now had to backtrack on goods which needed import authorization. What happened was that it lifted this authorization requirement but has now had to bring it in once again. And another thing, the policy of liberalization has not been accompanied by very high levels of foreign investment and, in addition, the country's skilled workers feel marginalised, all of which goes to make the situation worse. As for structural adjustment, the government has always supported the idea of 'less State equals a better State', but, in practice, we have seen spending on the State's everyday activities go up and up. Civil service staff levels have now risen to about 12 000, compared with the former 10 000. However, increased spending is also a result of a not always equitable wages policy - the difference between the highest and lowest salaries is huge and, in some public bodies, one worker might be earning 15 times as much as another.

· According to the Minister for Economic Coordination, the currency is under pressure as a result of the Opposition's irresponsible scare tactics of announcing a future devaluation, leading to the stock-piling of currency and goods, a kind of artificial speculation.

- That's a very good way of offloading one's responsibilities - the Opposition did no more than criticise the government's policy and point to the facts of the situation. It was members of the government themselves who acknowledged the low levels of currency reserves and the State bank which suspended transfers abroad. The Minister would have people believe that the Opposition lacks any credibility so how could this same Opposition have any influence on peoples' behaviour? The problem is actually extremely basic: economic operators, society and foreigners are not really au fait with the country's real economic situation because the government does not issue information, which is one of our basic criticisms. Parliamentary representatives and political parties no longer receive the figures they need and the latter are sometimes forced to consult foreign sources or to rely on their personal links with people who are close to sources of information. I myself criticised the Prime Minister for adopting this attitude of regarding information as subversive. I asked the Prime Minister for a copy of the study on Cape Verde's economy by a Portuguese professor, which had been paid for with tax payers' money. I never received it. For our part, we hope that Cape Verde's partners will be able to recognise the true situation and persuade the government to act in a more equitable manner.

· Nonetheless the people cannot be too disappointed, because they reelected the government for another term.

- That could be explained in many ways - the government controls information and therefore holds the reins of power. It controls television, radio, part of the print media, and the private-press sector is fairly weak, so it has been able to manipulate information and give people the idea that the country is on the right track. The government did do things to change peoples' lives, but it exaggerated its achievements using the State social communication means available to it. In fact, it did not achieve the major objectives it set itself: firstly its fight against unemployment - a failure. Balancing foreign economic relations - another failure. Balancing the domestic economic situation: differences between our various islands have become more acute. In matters of health, Cape Verde made major advances when our party was in power and, although, to all intents and purposes, the health sector is just as good when compared with other African countries, it has, in fact, deteriorated. Diseases which had been eradicated from the country are returning, like malaria, for example, cholera, etc. Health services are concentrated in the capital city, Praia, and there is no decentralisation, which has negative effects on even links between carers and patients. Humanism shows the effects of a situation such as this, and it applies not only to health: there is an unfair distribution of State financial resources between the central government and local government. The State has been unable to reform local finances and has politicised transfers of funds to those districts which are closest to it. The government has also profited from the structural problems encountered in the working of our democracy. One of these structural problems is Parliament's weakness: it sits only three times a year and the representatives do not work full-time - they are sometimes employed by the administration which they are supposed to monitor. Democracy has a price and although savings can be made in other spheres, when one is seeking good governance, one of the conditions for which is a strong, functional and effective Parliament, this is not possible. The weakness of the private-press sector is yet another problem.

-And are you continuing to work in the administration?

- I am a 'full-time' parliamentary representative. There are now about 10 out of 79 representatives who work on a full-time basis. They are members of Parliament's office, chairmen of committees and parliamentary leaders.

-The government says that it inherited a serious state of affairs when it took over power from the PAICV.

- It is simply not true that the good life began with this government's accession to power. Here's a little history lesson: think back to colonial times. Admittedly, there were negative aspects to our time in power but you must remember that the PAICV did, in fact, leave in place the subjective. physical basis for the new policy direction. When we achieved independence, Cape Verde had no ports or airports, apart from small-scale port facilities at SVicente. We built the port at Praia, the port at Sal, the port at SNicolau and a number of airports. The telecommunications system was also set up by the PAICV government and we implemented the initial educational reforms. In the 1980s, the GDP growth rate was 7%and the per capita income was one of the highest in Africa, more than $820.

· The party in power describes the PAICV as marxist and non-democratic claiming that it was they, not the PAICV, who introduced democracy.

- That is nothing more than rhetoric, because all of the current governing party's members were in the PAICV - they were radicals, more marxist than anyone. Everyone knows that here, in Cape Verde, we had a pragmatic party, not a marxist party, although marxism was a source of ideas for many people. The idea was not to build socialism here. In those days, we had an open, not a centralised economy and all trade was private. We always had a market economy and to describe us as non-democratic is idle rhetoric. The PAICV's ideology has always been one of national liberation based on political and economic independence, with power vested in the people. This was a normal state of affairs during a national liberation struggle and, although it would be true to say that we were influenced by a certain single-party model which had gained widespread acceptance in Africa, the single party here could not be compared with any other. Both the PAIGC and later the PAICV attempted to force people into taking part in citizens' assemblies in order to put forward suggestions to the candidates. The current Prime Minister, Mr Veiga, for example, was put forward by a militants' assembly - he was on the PAICV's lists and they used to sit one beside the other on the benches in Parliament. The regime was, I suppose, slightly paternalistic but it was the people themselves who were really responsible for national liberation, it was they who had an idea of justice, patriotism, of being African, which explains the total commitment of Cape Verde's people to our party in the struggle for independence and also the good results we achieved when in power.

· Why, then, were you not re-elected?

- The party had been in power for a long time, with the same president, the same prime minister, the same president of the national assembly and virtually all the same ministers. People were hungry for change because the ruling elite had been in place for so long. The international scene, also, did not favour the old single-party system. Another element, too, was the Church, which fought us over the question of abortion. Perhaps I should point out that, from the very beginning, a section of the Catholic church was not in favour of independence, but younger members of the clergy, with more sympathetic feelings towards the population, supported us and, thus, we changed peoples' attitudes. The Church in Africa is a phenomenon worthy of greater analysis, particularly in Cape Verde, where, I feel, the current government was able to take advantage of the Cape Verde peoples) essentially religious nature to criticise us and present us as an anticlerical party. In fact, the situation is quite different: most PAICV leaders and militants are Roman Catholics and some church" were damaged by opponents in an attempt to discredit the party. Another example of abuse of the electoral system, apart from taking advantage of the peoples' religious nature, is the country's poverty. During election campaigns, the government make it easier for people to obtain food, and it also creates more jobs, en masse, but these disappear again after the elections - precisely as is happening at the moment.

· As it is governed at the moment, Cape Verde is regarded by other countries as a 'star pupil'. Surely this is another success for the government?

- Cape Verde has always been regarded as a star pupil because, here, our society is fairly homogeneous and there are no major social or ethnic imbalances. However, in my opinion, the future depends on changes at a structural level and such changes cannot take place unless we have a functioning parliament and a strong private press. I cannot deny that the government has had some successes, but I also believe that the people will have an opportunity to judge how it keeps its promises. interview by Hegei Gouger

A portrait of towns and cities with atmosphere

It suffices for an unruly little bird to escape
For, suddenly, Fire to spark, Night to dissolve
The walls of every prison to cave in
From the tidal-wave battering
Amassed, in its untamed heart,
By a tiny breathless bird.
(Mario Fonseca in 'La Mer a tous les coupe')

Most cities in the Third World devote all their energy to mere survival and there are few imbued with the same atmosphere as Mindelo - the very air appears to brim over with art and good taste, beauty and sensuality. Our guide to the city speaks slowly, measuring his words, his delivery not an indication that he is searching for a translation, although it could be interpreted as an affectation, but matching the modulation of the language which is closest to his heart: 'I believe the air in this city is imbued with hedonism. Here, we mix work and pleasure - today is a holiday, but I am working. However, my day is not so rigidly timetabled that I cannot do some work and, since you have invited me out for a drink, take some time off to accept'.

Antonio Firmino, director of the Craft Centre, continues to tell us about his favourite city in the same steady language, a dreamy look in his eyes and wearing a Che Guevara-style beret. The tale he tells is the story of a tiny country which has fallen in love with culture: the actual building housing the Craft Centre used to be a school, the 'Mindelo Technical College', founded in 1917, the first secular educational institution. It was to transform the city into a cultural haven. The story goes that a certain senator named Vera Cruz, who represented the island of SVicente in the Portuguese Senate, wanted to establish Cape Verde's first college. His peers objected, arguing that Mindelo had no building worthy of housing an institution of such a high standing but

Vera Cruz straight away replied: 'So, why not use mine?'. Thus, he casually handed over his private residence.

Art even in the fish market

How many inhabitants are there in Mindelo? According to Antonio Firmino, 'Just me and my friends'. How right he is. It would be impossible not to become part of such a captivating place. And so a long journey began, which included the creation of Claridade, a review (and cultural movement) established in 1938 by Balthasar Lopes, a writer and essayist of world renown who was born in SNicolau but taught in Mindelo, and other great artists who were to make up the country's literary and artistic roll of honour. Claridade was to be followed by Certeza which was also to influence the cultural elite. Although historians and other commentators feel that Claridade did no more than praise Cape Verde's 'latinity', rejecting its African side, artists are unanimous in regarding it as the cradle of Cape Verdian intellectual culture and the soil which was to nurture Mindelo and make it such an extraordinary little town. The impression is that everyone here is interested in art - the local authorities encourage and help sculptors in their creative activities all over the town, making it a living museum: here, there is a painting by Antonio Concei and, over there, a huge flat sculpture of couples in languorous embraces, by Ro and Anildo, an illustration of the marvellous hedonism evoked by our host.

The same assured but delicate touch of these two artists can be seen in the lobby of Fishpackers, an anchovy- and tunapacking company, this time in the form of a celebration of fishermen. One of the finest examples of this type of art, which can be seen everywhere in the streets and public places, is the sequence of four huge decorative-tile frescoes in the fish market. When Bela Duarte showed them to us, it was such a delight to see how much at ease this famous artist was in the company of the staliholders, to whom both she and her work seemed so familiar.

Over and above this hedonistic atmosphere, there is, in Mindelo, an eclecticism which can be detected just as widely in other towns and cities, which means that you can talk about painting with the President of the Republic, dancing with a factory manager and decorative tiles with the man in the street. And the latter is literally 'in the street' - the inhabitants of SVicente, the capital, derive immense pleasure from strolling in its squares and narrow streets, and around the port. A little stall, looking like a sugar loaf in the middle of one of the city's many squares, opposite a grand hotel, opens up in the early evening just like a flower, attracting hundreds of people to it who come to quench their thirst, to converse or woo, and to dance to the music escaping from the terrace of the Porto Grande Hotel, which has just reopened after being privatised and modernised.

It is as if a dress ball were taking place on two different levels, one in front of the other, dancing to the same music and with equal pleasure: above, in an enormous gallery open to the sky, elegant guests (who include a small gathering of government officials and pretty Brazilian actresses who are here to film television soaps) and, down in the square, the dancing promenaders, full of admiration, almost stimulating those above.

Cape Verdian nights

Like all the island's intellectuals, Antonio Firmino has a number of different jobs. In addition to running the

Craft Centre, he teaches 'nautical' English to would-be sailors, is an amateur painter and musician (he plays and composes for his wife, who is a singer). His spare time is devoted to writing a column. The Craft Centre exhibits, amongst other things, a large number of tapestries, an art form much prized in Cape Verde. These admirable examples are by JuFortes, Juamo Pento, and a good many others, in particular Bela Duarte, Tchaligueira, Lucia Queiros and Miguel Figueira, Mindelo's top artistic foursome who appear to be involved in everything, including the frescoes at the fish market. Bela, who showed us her studio, her house and the fish market, does not conceal the joy she derives from colour and allusion in her pictures, tapestries or decorative tiles, ranging from the most distant abstraction to an anecdotal figuration, using her native land with its doleful nuances, soft cries and romantic strength as raw material. Above all, there is convivial artistic writing: 'Resistencia', which is at first sight a tapestry and then a patchwork of colour and sinuous lines. Scarcely has the artist begun to explain her work than everything becomes clear: this is a story, in threads and colours, about drought, representing roots, energy, space and struggle, all part of the Cape Verdian soul. She is also paying homage to those weavers of traditional African loincloth (badiu) from Cape Verde from whom today's artists inherited their technique.

So, where to meet Antonio's friends? To find them, look no further than the Cape Verdian nights (noite caboverdiana), those gatherings which take place everywhere and resemble both a nightclub and an artistic association, all those present sharing a fondness for Cape Verde mingled with nostalgia and yearning. One such place is the Piano Bar, which was closed on account of the departure of its owner Chico Serra, another notable in local society, who was accompanying a friend, Cria Evora, in her attempt to conquer new lands. Mission accomplished, Chico Serra is back and will soon be open for business again, his club's atmosphere just as intimate and warm as before - just enough room for his piano, his musician friends and others who come to sample grog and music.

Africa nonetheless

Mario Fonseca also adores Mindelo but he would not agree that that wind-blown city has a monopoly on art and culture. He is from an island in the lee of the wind, from Praia, capital of the island of Santiago and of the country. In his opinion, it is the whole of Cape Verde which is bubbling with creativity and he will enchant you with his tales of Praia and its old colonial district, the 'Plateau', which still retains much of the nostalgic character to be seen in the now yellowing photographs taken 50 years ago when the city was not so sprawling and the ambience of Sucupira market was almost tangible. He will also tell you everything about the island of Santiago, with Cidade Velha, the ancient capital which was too difficult to defend against repeated pirate attacks. It bowed to Praia's supremacy and, today, has an old-fashioned feeling, nestling within a cove around the ruins of its castle, and dominated by the fort which perches above a cliff face. The architecture owes much of its charm to the predominant Creole style which is vaguely reminiscent of Portugal, in every pastel shade. Cidade Velha's central square is caressed by a gentle breeze and groups of young people can always be seen lazing around the monument to the slaves. Time seems to stand still. The pretty little white church whose walls are decorated with sheaves of bougainvillaea, Santa Maria do Rosario, is the oldest on the island and, indeed, along the entire West African coast. It was built in 1460 and the white marble paving in the central nave conceals the final resting place of grandees from colonial times, their epitaphs erased over five hundred years by the soles and knees of penitents.

The director of the INAC (National Cultural Institute), responsible for Praia National Museum (which is soon to open its doors), is Mario Alberto de Almeida Fonseca, who once taught French in Portugal; he is a former administrator who has worked in Mauritania and Turkey, a translator and also a former regional manager of the national airline. In addition he is a poet whose works have been translated into several languages, including Serbo-Croat and Russian. Above all, he is an amateur connoisseur of the art and artists of his country. As the INAC's director, he is responsible for cultural events, exhibitions, shows, publishing and also the compilation of an oral record of the country's history and the preparation of a Creole dictionary. The INAC's work also involves a major history of Cape Verde, the first volume of which has already been published. He will show you the future National Museum's collection, moving from one painting to another, from an old photograph to an antique cimboa, a type of locally-manufactured violin from the 1 9th century, or to an old Massachusetts galleon, testament to the past explorations of his people. You will first of all discover the works of artists from Praia such as Mito and Kiki Lima, not on account of Fonseca's chauvinism but because he feels he has to 'convert' the visitor who may have left Mindelo with the impression that that city is Cape Verde's premier cultural centre. There is also the music from the island of Santiago - the funana, the batuque, the fina- all more African than the languid style so influenced by the Portuguese fado of this island's musical groups (Fina, Bulimundo, Tuvaroes, Kodi Dona or the great traditional style singer Nha Inacia Gomes). Gomes is a 'women of the people' whose musical heritage consists of no more than local tradition.

It was she who 'reinvented' jazz and whom Alberto Fonseca admires a great deal. Cesaria Evora, moreover, is not the first musician to publicise Cape Verdian music abroad: Fina or Kodi Dona, for example, have captivated many music-lovers, particularly musicians, in Europe and America.

The Chamber and the stage

Daniel Brito is not from Mindelo either. He is from Sal but confesses to having to pay regular visits to Mindelo, to immerse himself in that city's hedonistic atmosphere. For three years he has been director of the National Cinematographic Institute which was established in 1967 and is currently exhibiting newfound dynamism on account of the 'production tax' (4% of the filming budget, paid to the Institute and generally converted into a holding, which the State supplements to make the sum up to slightly more than 10% in co-productions). There is also an agreement with Portugal which encourages co-productions between the two countries, thereby enabling Cape Verdian technicians to receive their training. Brito is working on a local video-film-production project (TV viewers are very fond of such things) and wants to set up a major production centre to be made available to lusophone African countries and, perhaps, others.

Daniel Spencer Brito is also Sal's parliamentary representative (10 000 inhabitants), musician, writer/composer and guitarist in his own group, Madrugada. His talents include the composition of morna and coladeira pieces, as well as jazz-rock. At the end of May, the MP was due to appear in his own production at the Cirque d'Hiver in Paris, as part of the lusophone music festival. You could say that he divides his time between the Institute, the Chamber and the stage; however, he is also involved in research into copyright protection in Cape Verde. Daniel (it would never occur to you to call him anything else, even five minutes after making his acquaintance) always gives the same advice to anyone wishing to discover Cape Verde, namely to get to know the atmosphere of a tocatinha, spontaneous jam sessions which take place at one location or another, usually even more intimate than the 'Cape Verdian nights'. By the way, I almost forgot - by training, Brito is a vet, having studied in Romania.

Hl Goutier

Cape Verd-EU Cooperation

Sponsors are delighted at the full use of aid

Cape Verde's physical characteristics - its small size, the fact that its territory is scattered over a number of islands and islets, its Sahelian climate (continually rendering it vulnerable to drought), the arid nature of the soil and its low population (under five hundred thousand inhabitants) - might explain its high levels of poverty and mean that, in order to survive and develop, it requires considerable amounts of foreign aid. However, it is the effort made by this small country to stabilise its economy and to gain maximum profit from foreign aid which has attracted special attention from sponsors. Last year the European Commission decided to increase its contribution to Cape Verde's National Indicative Programme, within the framework of the Lomonvention (tome IV, first protocol 199-95, seventh EDF) by 7%, i.e. an extra ECU 1.7 million. Cape Verde had already put virtually all the ECU 23 million allocated to it to good use, an indication of the government's desire to use the aid granted to the full.

When realism is a luxury

It is difficult to imagine an island inhabited by 160 000 people - the island of SVicente, where the country's second largest city, Mindelo, with its population of 70 000, is located - having no source of drinking water. In former times, water was shipped in from the neighbouring island of Santo Antao, but Mindelo now has a number of seawater desalination plants, most of these provided by Israel, which meet 100% of its supply needs. The supply of both water and electricity is managed by

Electra, a publicly-owned company, which, within the framework of the EDF (European Development Fund), has received European Commission aid to increase its electricity-generating capacity. It has set up three wind pumps, of Danish manufacture, which alone supply 13% of the island's non-industrial requirements. Elsewhere, such solutions as sea-water desalination and wind pumps might appear to be unrealistic but, for 160 000 people with no indigenous supply, realism is sometimes a luxury.

Although the island of Santiago, which is home to Praia, the capital city, does have some natural water sources, these are far from sufficient for its needs. One of the projects recently financed by the European Union concerned improvements to water-distribution systems, water purity and rainwater drainage. Amongst other things, this work involves the recycling of waste water which the island cannot afford to let drain away. Cape Verde's Achilles' heel is definitely its lack of water, its strong point unquestionably the dynamic outlook of its population.

The Commission has an office on Cape Verde where the work done at Praia (water distribution and purity, support for poorer districts of the capital threatened with overpopulation) is regarded as symbolic of the EU's desire to take account of both weaknesses and strengths and represents the overall intention behind Community aid to this country. Generally speaking, such aid is geared towards infrastructures (water and electricity production and distribution, urban development) on the one hand and education and health on the other.

Praia's historic old town, the 'Plateau', with its wealth of fine colonial and neo-classical architecture, risks losing many of its buildings which have been abandoned by their owners who lack the means to maintain them. Community aid has also been provided to help save this part of the country's heritage. Funds are insufficient to finance a complete restoration of the 'Plateau', but, following the example of the Cape Verde government, which has maintained administrative buildings in good condition, the Commission will probably assume responsibility for renovation of a superb nineteenth-century building, the 'Case Cor-de-Rosa'. The purpose of this project is two-fold; not only will the building be restored, but also it will become the core of a more general project to train professionals in building techniques and restoration and it will serve as an example to motivate future purchasers, institutions, businesses and individuals to preserve the historic old town.

The Community has also funded a study into the preservation of the capital's historic old town, which has been used as a basis by Praia Town Council. A project is currently underway, costing 1 million ECU, to restore an islet. The principal aim of this project is to train Cape Verdian technicians. Other work in the field of training has induded the building of the Praia Technical College. The next phase of this project, worth almost ECU 1 million, will fund the supply of equipment and teacher training.

Still within the context of the overall project to develop Praia city, an EDF programme worth ECU 1.3 million has been created for the development of a designated area as an industrial site. A rural electrification project in the area around Praia was, at the end of 1995, granted a budget of ECU 1.5 million and will benefit a population of 7500 people living in the three most densely populated rural centres on the island of Santiago. The technical side of the works will be entrusted to Electra, with the private sector being responsible for supplying equipment and monitoring the works.

Cape Verde's 'essence' as a resource

Cape Verde's leaders regularly point to the richness, which they term the 'essence', of Cape Verde, contrasting this with the fact that their country is so poor. Indeed, despite limited resources, this country devotes a great deal of energy and ingenuity to 'cultivating' its culture. Two projects, financed within the framework of the National Indicative Programme and amounting to ECU 500 000, concern two feature-length films and will play a part in lessening the island's isolation by publicising its culture and people abroad. The first film, made during 1995 and entitled 'llhde Contenda', is the first fiction-based feature film to be made in Cape Verde and is the work of Leao Lopes, a director who has drawn his inspiration from the work of another Cape Verdian citizen, Teixeira de Sousa, and which centres on the history of Cape Verde and the birth of its national identity. The EDF contribution (approximately ECU 250 thousand) amounts to 14% of the total production cost. The film is currently being shown in a number of European countries. Virtually the same amount of money has been set aside to fund another production, this time by a Portuguese director, Francisco Manso, based on a novel by a Cape Verdian author, Germano de Almeida, and entitled 'O Testamento do Sr. Napuceno', which was being filmed on the island of SVicente at the time of our visit. 50% of the finance for this film comes from Portuguese producers, the other co-producers being French and Belgian.

Others EDF projects recently completed or being completed include one for improving roads on the islands of Santiago, SNicolau and Maio (ECU 3 million) and a micro-project programme (ECU 1 million). In addition to funds from the EDF, Cape Verde has received further finance under the Lomonvention, including ECU 700 000 within the context of the Stabex transfer schemes to offset loses in the banana-production sector during 1994.

Design a micro climate

Extemal food aid is essential in a country which cannot meet its own requirements and the Commission's most recent food-aid-budget contribution amounted to nearly ECU 2 million. Other special budget lines include funds provided under 'Human Rights and Democratisation in Developing Countries'.

To an attentive foreign visitor, one of Cape Verde's most interesting achievements is the progress it has made in reforesting such an infertile soil. One of these reforested areas, covering 5000 hectares (1990-94) forms the basis of a regional project to disseminate knowhow accumulated in this sphere in Cape Verde. Training course. have enabled technicians and others involved in the reformtation of the Sahel countries to gain experience in methods which have proved succesful here. The production and distribution of teaching tools (books, posters, films, etc.) supplement the project. Since independence, Cape Verde has achieved a tenfold increase in the amount of land which is forested - admittedly there was little to start with, but since climatic conditions are so hostile this result can be regarded as a major accomplishment. There is even a hope that a micro-climate might form. On the island of Santiago, in some of these new green areas, wild duck which had long since disappeared have returned. It is nice to dream but the country cannot afford to rest on its laurels.

Hl Goutier


General information

Area: 4 033 km2 Population: 390 000 (1990) Population density: 97 per km2

Population growth rate: 2.8 % (forecast for the period 19922000)

Capital: Praia (pop. 75 000)

Other main town: Mindelo (pop. 65 000)

Languages: Portuguese, Creole

Currency: Cape Verde Escudo (CVE). In May 1996,1 ECU was worth CVE 104 ($1 = CVE 83 approx.)


Government: Mixed presidential/parliamentary system. The President is not the head of the executive but he represents the country and is guarantor of national unity and the Constitution. Unicameral Parliament.

President: Antonio Mascarenhas Monteiro (elected in 1991 and reselected at the beginning of this year)

Prime Minister: Carlos Veiga (since 1991)

Political parties represented in Parliament:

Movimento pare a Democracia (MPD)

Partido Africano pare a Independencia de Cabo Verde (PAICV)

Partido da Convergencia Democratica (PCD) - formed as a result of a break away from the MPD

Party representation in Parliament: MPD 50, PAICV 21, PCD 1


(1992 figures)
GDP: CVE 23.9 billion
GDP per capita: US $840

Origin of GDP by sector: agriculture 13%, industry 17%, services 70%

Real GDP growth (estimate 1995): 4% Balance of payments: deficit of CVE 11.9 billion

Main trade partners: Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, Brazil.

Annual inflation rate: 9.1%

Social indicators

Life expectancy at birth: 64.7

Infant mortality per 1000 live births: 56 Adult literacy: 66.4%

Enrolment in education (primary, secondary and tertiary): 59%

Human Development Index rating: 0.536 (123rd out of 174)

Sources: UNDP Human Development Report, 1995; Economic Intelligence Unit 1995; 'Etat et soci aux iles du Cap Vert, by Michel Lesourd.


The Lomé Convention in focus

Poll results and new brochure launched in Brussels

A new poll of Europeans high lights a deficit of information about the European Community's development policies. A brochure just published on the Lomonvention, available in all EU languages, seeks to fill some of the gaps.

At a press conference on May 21, Development Commissioner, Joso de Deus Pinheiro, unveiled the findings of a survey commissioned from the Brussels consultancy, International Research Associates (INRA). The aim of the exercise was to sound out how Europeans perceive developing countries. The sample was 16 346 people, of 15 years and upwards, who were polled in the 15 Member States during December 1995.

The survey shows that since 1991, helping the poor in the developing countries has slipped in the 'league' of issues of most concern to Europeans. The subject now ranks eighth in a table topped by the fight against unemployment. But the better news is that Europeans believe development of these regions should be the fourth most important priority for joint actions between Member States. This comes just below combating terrorism, environmental questions and defending Europe's economic interests.

While 82% of Europeans are favourable to development cooperation, 12% are against. The degree of support varies, as one would expect, from one EU country to another. Interestingly, the survey shows that Member States facing an economic squeeze are the most reticent, irrespective of their past track record in development aid. In Belgium, only 65% are in favour while in

Austria and France, the figures are 69% and 72% respectively. At the other end of the scale, Greece comes out top with 97% just ahead of Spain on 96% and Ireland on 91%. INRA's explanation for this variation is that it reflects the economic problems which are increasingly being felt in northern states of the Community. It is also worth pointing out that nations on EU's southern flank may be more convinced of the effectiveness of aid since they themselves are recipients of EC structural funds allocated to modernise the Union's disadvantaged regions.

But INRA's report also reveals some misconceptions about European development aid. These, says Commissioner Pinheiro, may be attributed to the lack of visibility of the relevant development policies.

57% of those questioned believe that the bulk of the Community's assistance consists of emergency aid, rather than longer-term project support. The reverse is actually true. More people answer 'no' then 'yes' to the question: 'Does aid contribute to reducing poverty in developing countries'? And most consider that United Nations agencies (UNICEF, UNESCO etc.) do more in the field of helping developing countries than the EC. Non-governmental organisations also have a high profile, with the EU Member States and Bretton Woods institutions (IMF and World Bank) trailing behind.

Other key findings from the poll - which Professor Pinheiro says will provide much food for thought in the coming months as thoughts turn to cooperation after LomV - are highlighted in the box.

Mid-term review and beyond

Professor Pinheiro feels that some of results, which signal the need to tighten up on the management of development aid, have already been addressed in the mid-term review of the Lomonvention which will come on stream from the beginning of 1997. The programming of the eighth European Development Fund (EDF) is already well under way and, with a view to increasing the effectiveness of aid, just 70% of resources earmarked for each ACP state will be allocated at the outset (for a three year period). An analysis of how the remainder should be spent will take place at the end of the three years. In addition, Professor Pinheiro indicated that a 'strategic' document was being drawn up on each of the 70 ACP states prior to allocation of funds. This was being done in 'permanent consultation with Member States and Commission delegations, in the interests of achieving a real synergy between the two.'

More sweeping changes to the relationship are likely after the current

Some key findings from the INRA report

- Aid must reach its intended destination and arrive where it is needed 93.2%

- Aid must meet the needs of the local people

- The beneficiary state must raspect human rights

- Transparency, effective public management and the fight against corruption are essential

- The beneficiary state must respect an overall development plan put forward by an international aid organisation

78.3% plan put forward
by an internati onal aid organisa tion

- Aid must be used to fund action by local NGOs
- The beneficiary state must have a democratic system of government


Convention expires at the turn of the century. Professor Pinheiro indicated that a first draft (green paper) on the possible shape of the ACP-KU relationship after 2000 will be published by the Commission by the end of the year. This, however, is likely to offer more questions than answers about future cooperation. 'I am not sure if we should keep the Lomtructure for every country, in the third millennium,' the Commissioner told the assembled journalists, highlighting the different levels of development now apparent between Lomations. Mauritius, now well on the way to becoming the 'Singapore' of Africa, was a case in point. He also pointed out the small island states of the Caribbean are at a very different stage of development from countries such as the Central African Republic or Burundi. He added that, in deciding what to do in future it would also be necessary to take stock of regional developments.

Questions about Lomnswered

In the meantime, efforts are under way to boost the image of Community aid. With this in mind, the Information Unit of the Development Directorate-General has just published a brochure entitled 20 Questions and Answers about the Lomonvention.

Besides explaining in a nutshell what the Convention is, it answers some of the questions most frequently asked by sceptics about the benefits of development aid and trade preferences, highlighting the positive aspects for developing and developed economies alike. It points out, for example, that for every ECU 100 spent on aid, the Community recovers ECU 48 in the form of projects, supplies and technical assistance purchased from European companies!

The brochure provides a succinct explanation of how the Commission monitors aid to stop embezzlement and corruption. It highlights the right of the European Court of Auditors to check accounts of projects and fund transfers - and to investigate documents in the Lomtates, without the permission of the country concerned. Another precaution is that once a project is under way, financing is by banker's transfer. This involves a paper specifying that the holder of contract X, whose bank account number is Y. should be credited with Z amount of money.

An explanation is given as to why the European Commission is involved in development aid when the Member States have their own bilateral development policies.

The brochure explains the advantages of EC assistance over bilateral arrangements and details how the Lomystem has been evolving in line with the increasing globalisation of the economy, in particular since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It also contains some pocket statistics on official development assistance (ODA) flows which help to underline the message that the European Union (Community plus Member States) digs deeper into its pocket than its industrialised competitors in providing development aid. In 1994, the Community and its then 12 member states (excluding Austria, Sweden and Finland), contributed an average of 0.40% of their gross national product in ODA. The individual percentages varied from 1.03% in the case of Denmark to 0.20% in Italy. This compared with figures of 0.29% and 0.15% for Japan and the United States respectively.

In 1994, total ODA from the Twelve reached $26.59 billion. Of this, $4.83 billion came from the European Community in its own right.


The content of chocolate

Months of heated debate in the EU over the maximum allowable content of vegetable fats in chocolate have culminated in a Commission proposal for a revised Directive which, claim officials, should be to the taste of most interested parties.

The Commission has proposed that the 'subsidiatity' principle should apply to the content of chocolate. This means leaving it to individual Member States to decide whether they will allow the use of vegetable oil - up to a maximum of 5% by weight - in their chocolate-making. The eight EU countries where this practice is currently prohibited are free to modify their laws to take account of this 5% rule. The other cocoa butter and dry cocoa contents specified in the Directive - 18% and 35% respectively - may not be reduced.

The addition of up to 5% vegetable fats was authorised under Directive 73/241 for the UK, Ireland and Denmark when they first joined the EC. Other Member States who acceded later - Austria, Finland, Portugal and Sweden - also use these oils in chocolate production. The remaining EU countries have continued to prohibit the use of vegetable fats - and the sale of chocolate containing such fats. The result has been a partitioning of the EU market, in direct conflict with the Single Market principle.

If the proposal is approved by the Council and the Parliament, all 15 Member States will be free to decide whether vegetable oil can be used in making chocolate. Whatever their individual decisions, however, the barriers will come down, thus opening up the 'pure' chocolate markets to competition from less expensive varieties containing vegetable oil. Stricter labelling rules will also be introduced, with the precise nature of any substitute oils being clearly indicated. The simple mention 'vegetable oil' will no longer suffice. Martin Bangemann, the Commissioner responsible for industry, stressed the significance of revising the Directive in allowing chocolate products to circulate freely throughout the KU. This, he argued, would be in the interests of consumers.

Winners and losers

Traditional cocoa producers such as Cote d'lvoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon are fearful that the proposal may prompt some of Europe's 'pure' chocolate countries to change their laws - and that they will lose trade as a result. On the other hand, sheanut exporters in Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana, Togo and Benin are hoping for higher sales if the 5% rule is adopted by more EU countries. Sheanuts account for 20% of Burkinabe exports and 98% of these are used to make vegetable oil substitute for chocolate products. The sheanut price is just 10% of the cocoa bean price. The Commission calculates that the maximum saving a manufacturer could expect by substituting vegetable fat for cocoa butter is around 1.5% of the ax-factory price.

In weighing up what to do, the Commission also considered the objectives of the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO). These include taking 'all practical measures to increase the cocoa consumption in their countries by eliminating or reducing all obstacles to the growth of consumption in cocoa.' The ICCO estimates that if the 5% rule is applied in the remaining eight states - Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain - it will lead to a reduction in cocoa butter usage of 36 000-50 000 tonnes, which amounts to a drop in demand for cocoa beans of between 88000 and 125000 tonnes. This represents between 9-12% of current consumption.

Some producers suggest that these estimates are too high since they assume that manufacturers will go for almost full substitution, which is not necessarily seen as inevitable. In addition, there is a belief that overall demand for chocolate products may grow as a result of the legal change.

This was not the view taken by NGOs who reacted promptly - and critically - to the Commission text. The Brussels NGO Liaison Committee issued a statement claiming that it would lead to a drop of between 6.25% and 12.5% in the main exporting countries' cocoa receipts - and an additional burden on the European Community's Stabex fund. But chocolate producers and others argue that this is speculative. The impact, they say, will depend on the legal response of the eight Member States, as well as on the reaction of manufacturers. There are signs that the latter may well stick to their traditional and distinctive methods. A spokesperson for the Belgian-based Cote d'Or/ Suchard, pointed out that the proposal had a long way to go before it was approved, and stressed that his company had no intention of changing their 'winning recipes which had served them well since 1883. At the same time, he admitted, vegetable oil could be useful in a more diversified range of chocolate products.

The vegetable oil 'lobby' argues that the addition of vegetable fat makes chocolate easier to mould and less likely to melt in warm climates. And for those who fear the elimination of 'pure' chocolate from the market, they point to manufacturers in Britain, where vegetable oil has traditionally been used, who still exclude such fats from some of their brands.

The proposal must now be debated by the Council and it is clear that the arguing is not over yet. But it is beginning to look as if the consumers may be the final arbiters. Through their purchasing habits, they are likely to be the ones who finally determine the winners and losers in the great chocolate debate.


Minority businesses in the UK

In no country in Europe are ethnic minorities more organised than in the United Kingdom - though they are still not adequately organised, in the opinion of many, to pool their considerable resources together and overcome stereotypes, racism and unenployment. But this may change if the morale engendered by a recent exhibition of minority businesses in the UK is anything to go by.

The statistics speak for themselves. There are 3.3 million Asians, Africans and Afro-Caribbeans in Britain, about 5% of the population (and the figure is projected to double in the next 25 years). They have six elected Members of Parliament - five Labour and one Conservative - as well as numerous personalities in the world of sports and the media. According to the 1994 Labour Force Survey, 48% of ethnic minorities are graduates or are in full time studies and 55% earn salaries well over &15 000 (ECU 18 000) annually. They have a combined gross annual income estimated at f42 billion and an annual spending power of at least f26 ten.

Over the past 15 years, ethnic minority-owned businesses have grown considerably. In the last two years alone, they were responsible for more than 30 000 new business concerns throughout the country, according to the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE). Although many are in the retail trade, the 10% or so involved in production or manufacturing are extremely dynamic, particularly those connected with the clothing industry or operating franchises.

There are considerable differences between Asians on the one hand and Africans and Afro-Caribbeans on the other. The former are more business oriented and account for well over 80% of all ethnic enterprises. This success in business is often attributed to Asians' industriousness, but there is another crucial and often neglected factor: Asians have a stronger sense of group solidarity and patronage than Africans and Afro-Caribbeans. Whereas the former spend virtually all their earnings within their community, the latter (who are mainly Christians and are known to make greater efforts at integration into the British society) spend theirs in the society at large.

Unemployment among the black population in general is 19% compared to 8% for whites (in London it is three times higher). They are much more likely to be turned down by employers even when they have better qualifications than their white counterparts. Often self-employment is the only way out. This explains why there has been a boom in business start-ups by ethnic minorities over the past two years.

Although several black profffsional associations have come into being in recent years, it has been clear for some time to black leaders that the community's energies are dispersed and that these needed to be harnessed for the benefit of ethnic minorities as a whole. Blacks clearly have political and business clout to be exploited.

The idea for an exhibition of black businesses in the United Kingdom was mooted by a black business couple who, were influenced by a similar event held annually in the United States called 'Black Expo USA'. But the impetus came from the 'Race for Opportunity Campaign' launched in October last year by the Conservative Government through the Department of Trade and Industry. The campaign has so far seen more than 20 big British companies pledge to do business with ethnic minority enterprises. These include British Airways, British Gas, British Telecom, British Aerospace and several high-street banks and finance houses.

Held at the Barbican Centre in London on 4 and 5 May, the exhibition was aimed at creating awareness among ethnic minorities of their potentialities, showing the opportunities available to them not only in the UK but also in Europe, and at promoting networking amongst their businessmen and women.

Cross-party support

The exhibition, which had a cross-party support, could not have come at a more favourable time. Both the Tory government and opposition Labour Party have expressed support for policies favourable to small and medium-sized enterprises, which means that there should be continuity in this area if Labour comes to power in the next general election.

This was borne out by the enthusiasm with which the shadow minister for small business, Mrs Barbara Roche greeted the exhibition. To her, the event should be seen in the context of Labour's overall policy on small businesses. Speaking at one of the seminars which was run alongside the exhibition to discuss various aspects of minority business problems, Mrs Roche explained that there were three important reasons why her party was promoting small enterprises, especially those involved in exports.

The first was that large companies were downsizing, and job-creation towards the end of this century and into the next would be largely by small and medium-sized enterprises. The second was that small businesses were efficient distributors of wealth and the third was that they were good at innovation and using new technologies.

Because a large number of small businesses are folding, or are struggling to survive in the UK today (often as a result of late payment of bills by large companies), Mrs Roche said a Labour government would introduce a statutory limit of 30 days for the settlement of bills by large companies. The latter would then have to pay interest to small businesses for any late payments. Ethnic minority businesses, she also said, were part and parcel of Labour's strategy for economic growth and jobs in Britain.

The Barbican exhibition attracted more than 80 exhibitors mainly in retailing, finance, telecommunications, consultancy, arts and crafts, publishing, electronics and education. There were very few exhibitors from the manufacturing sector (a disappointment considering the number of Asians in the clothing industry) and virtually none in engineering. Some of the big companies connected with the 'Race for Opportunity Campaign' like British Airways and British Gas, as well as the newly created government-backed Business Link, the Customs and Excise department, the Inland Revenue, the Army and the Metropolitan Police were there. Also present was Louis Farrakan's 'Nations of Islam', (not necessarily on a recruitment drive, though that must have been part of the game), but as a reminder of its campaign for greater self-reliance by the black community which culminated late last year in the 'Million-Man' march on Washington DC. Video tapes of the march and speeches by Farrakan and other black leaders in the United States were on sale.


The seminar run concurrently with the exhibition attracted many notable speakers, among them Members of Parliament, Keith Vaz, Bernie Grant and Barbara Roche and Commissioner Dr Zaka Khan of the Commission for Racial Equality. Jessie Boseman, vice-president of 'Black Expo USA, who was also scheduled to speak, did not turn up.

There was general agreement on the main factors inhibiting the growth of ethnic minority businesses, the most obvious being racism and discimination. Ethnic businesspeople not only have difficulties obtaining public contracts, but they are often denied access to finance, market and even premises. Furthermore, they suffer from lack of management skills, networks and feedback. Dr Khan of the Commission for Racial Equality highlighted mounting racist attacks, mostly against Asianowned shops, which have claimed a number of lives in recent years.

Integration into mainstream economy

It is no longer a hidden fact that banks discriminate against black businesses. Surveys carried out by the NatWest and Midland banks have confirmed that fact. The latter though, it must be acknowledged, has a laudable Fellowship Programme, designed to encourage ethnic minority university students to take up careers in the Midland Bank on graduation. Lack of access to the market has effectively meant that black businesses have been left out of the mainstream of the British economy. Everyone agreed that it makes good economic sense to see them integrated into it. This was particularly the position of both Barbara Roche and Zaka Khan. The question was: would it be possible?

Some of the issues raised on the floor by businesspeople revealed that many were sceptical that racism and discrimination could be overcome in multiracial Britain. The Commission for Racial Equality symbolises the fight against these two evils and Dr Khan had a hard time defending its role. The CRE was criticised for constantly quoting statistics on improvements in the living conditions of ethnic minorities which, it was argued, were totally removed from reality. Despite this, Dr Khan remained upbeat. To him the future promises great things for ethnic minorities. He promised to look into the grievances aired by some businespeopie during the seminar. Barbara Roche, for her part, promised that a Labour government would encourage the banks to offer packages of assistance to small enterprises, in particular, black-owned ones. They would also ensure that local councils offered minority enterprises a share of local government contracts.

Greater self-reliance and global trade

In view of the problems black businesspeople have had to contend with over the years, Bernie Grant, the Member of Parliament for Tottenham in North London, did not devote much time to the idea of integrating them into mainstream British economy. He felt that racism and discrimination were so prevalent that there was little chance of that happening. For him, the future for black businesspeople in Britain lay in greater self-reliance and entry into international trade.

In a speech entitled 'political responsibility, and black import and export business', the M.P. set the Barbican exhibition in the context of the global economic situation - one where he said, 'the countries of the North are exploiting those of the South, in particular African countries.' Africa's heavy debts to the West should in fact be the other way round. He argued that the new world trade agreement, which opens up the developing countries to competition, was unfair. 'This means that countries where minorities in the UK came from are going to have problems, and it is the duty of thee minorities to ensure that their countries have a fair deal,' he said. Mr Grant cited, by way of example, the EU's banana protocol under the Lomonvention which gives preferential treatment to small Caribbean island producers and which is currently being 'unfairly' challenged by South American producers under the WTO rules. The role of multinationals, which are effectively acting es 'middleman', was, he believed, pernicious for developing countries. There was a need for black businessmen to step in.

Minority enterprises in the UK do not exist in isolation from the rest of the world, he elaborated. They should seek to engage in international trade and take advantage of their connection with their countries of origin. To facilitate this, Mr Grant said that a group under his chairmanship had set up a Global Trade Centre in his constituency in North London with the aim of helping black and minority enterprises establish direct trade links with Africa, the Caribbean and black America. The Centre was already in contact with a number of African countries which have expressed interest in the idea. Such a link would not only ensure a better deal for African producers but also favour the growth of minority businesses across the world. This was, he confessed, 'a political agenda' designed to reduce the excessive profits of multinationals, if not put an end to their 'outright exploitation' of Africa and the Caribbean. Mrs Roche expressed support for the Centre for the role it could play in boosting British exports.

UK minorities and the
European Union

A self-confessed Eurosceptic, who would have preferred the UK to strengthen economic ties with the Commonwealth rather than with Europe, Mr Grant displayed an extraordinary understanding of the European

Union's affairs. What worried him most about greater European integration, he said, was racism and the fact the UK job market, where black and ethnic minorities are already heavily disadvantaged, will be exposed to further competition from other Europeans most of whom speak several languages. However, he had no alternative but to support the Labour Party's line on Europe and work to secure the best advantage of British membership for ethnic minorities. He contrasted Tory 'divisions' on Europe with Labour's 'united' policy and condemned the British Government's attitude generally towards the Union.

The development of the Union, Mr Grant said, was of great significance to black people. He was sure the Government's Immigration and Asylum bill, which had come up against strong opposition in the House of Lords, was aimed at harmonising immigration laws with other countries in the Union. The bill, if passed, will change the UK's visa regime and have serious implications for ethnic minorities and their businesses in Britain. He revealed that, with the support of ethnic minority members of the British Parliament, Bill Morris, the black General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union (the second biggest trade union in the UK) and other European trade union leaders, the Intergovernmental Conference was being lobbied for the inclusion of a stronger clause against racism in the Treaty of Rome. The aim, ultimately, is to see measures in line with the UK's laws against racism and discrimination enacted at the Union level. This would include the establishment of a European equivalent of the Commission for Racial Equality - with similar powers - so as to establish a level-playing field for ethnic minorities in competition for jobs and in business throughout Europe.

Augustin Oyowe


(Dossier coordinated by Debra Percival)

Press freedom is widely acknowledged as the cornerstone of democracy with a clamp-down anywhere in the world frequently interpreted as a sign of government repression. The rash of multi-party elections in African nations at the beginning of the

1990s brought new publications to news-stands. Many of these have since folded - often because of a lack of funds and sometimes because of government censorship.

Many organisations are campaigning vigorously in the public eye for a free press in developing nations. These include Reporters Sans Frontieres, Article 19 and the International Federation of Joumalists - all of which are featured in this Dossier. The US-based Freedom House has also been monitoring the state of press freedom worldwide since 1979. In its recently published 1996 survey, it says that even today, only 22% of the world's population live in countries with a free press. 38% have a press sector that is 'partly free' while the description 'not free' is applied to the remaining 40%.

There are also regional organisations such as The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), which are playing a part in keeping media issues to the fore. David Nthengwe, a researcher with MISA, highlights the fact that democratisation does not necessarily guarantee a free media or free expression more generally. He also draws attention to the difficulties faced by private and community organisations in obtaining adequate finance. These are typical of the problems facing the media in many countries, both in the ACP group and elsewhere in the developing world.

In seeking to tackle these issues, donors are showing increasing interest in backing media programmes with development finance (linked to democratisation and human rights). The European Union, UNESCO and a number of bilateral donors have expanded their activities in this area with a variety of projects.

One big change has been the rapid growth of the 'Information Superhighway'. This has prompted fears that the developing countries may fall further behind, although donors have indicated a willingness to help ensure this does not happen. One NGO closely monitoring the development of the Internet for the South is the PANOS Institute. Meanwhile, multilateral donors (notably the World Bank, through its INFODEV programme) are also becoming involved. A number of EU personalities lent their support to the development of the information society in the developing world, at a major conference staged in South Africa in May on the initiative of the country's Vice President, Thabo Mbeki. A work programme of projects was drawn up with the aim of making sure, in the words of European Commissioner, Martin Bangemann, that there is no divide between the 'information-poor' end the 'information-rich'.

Finally, although the world is undergoing an information revolution, the more traditional media (the press and above all, radio) will, for the foreseeable future, continue to have a central part in informing, educating and entertaining people in many developing countries. It is important that those of us who increasingly communicate via our computer screens do not lose sight of this essential fact.

In this Dossier, we examine a number of the key issues affecting the media and highlight some innovative projects in this area - with the help of a series of experts. The subject has clearly moved higher up the development agenda, but there is still a long way to go, as the figures cited above show.


Aidan White of the IFJ

Confronting the age-old problem

Given the chance, 'governments would like to run and manipulate the media'. This is the view of Aidan White, General Secretary of the Brusselsbased International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), who says it is an 'ageold problem'. And the Federation, which has member organizations in 93 countries, works to prevent it from happening. It also provides a range of services to journalists throughout the world. We recently spoke to Mr White, who used to write for the British daily, The Guardian.

He began by outlining to us the Federation's key areas of activity which include, in particular, the professional conditions in which journalists work and the defence of human rights. On the first of these, Mr White focused on the problem of economic pressures and difficult social conditions. 'We take a strong view that you can't have press freedom if journalists work in conditions of poverty or technical deprivation. It is a nonsense,' he stressed, 'to talk about a free press in a situation where journalists aren't paid, or if they are unable to function properly.' In seeking to tackle this, he spoke, in particular, of the 'need for independent organisations of journalists defending professional and social interests.'

As regards human rights, the IFJ is active in the international community, working with bodies such as UNESCO and the UN Human Rights Commission. 'We are very interested in issues such as the legal environment in which journalists and the media operate, and are extremely active in the defence of physical safety.'

Mr White went on to give more detailed information about the IFJ's work in Algeria, where many journalists have been killed in recent years. This country clearly has a bad international reputation and the General Secretary was anxious to offer a more balanced picture of the situation. 'In my view, there is a real malformation of Alaeria's image in Europe and elsewhere. The view we get is of a paralysed society where nothing can function properly - a kind of international basket case. It is not like that. In Algeria, life continues. There is a form of democracy. There are a dozen newspapers which appear every day. The streets are full of traffic and people walking about. The reality is that there is a particularly horrifying and barbaric form of terrorism which is targeted against intellectuals including journalists. This means that the media has a terrible problem.'

Aidan White explained the strategy of the IFJ in seeking to confront this. 'We began by going to Algeria to investigate what was going on. Then we established an international office on the spot. This is a direct contact point of solidarity for local journalists and the local media. So we don't report Algeria through Paris. We don't see the need to go through some sort of middleman in order to find out what's going on in the country or have contact with Algerian journalists.'

'And then we have two specific programmes which are very important', he continued. One involves providing humanitarian assistance to journalists and their families. The other is a series of practical activities in Algeria. Thus, for example, we are organising a round table on terrorism and information.' He pointed out that the Algerian government had resorted to the traditional method of press censorship in the face of ,the terrorist threat and stressed the 'need to counter this. 'We are also organising a practical seminar on personal safety, as well as one on professional social rights, the need for ethical standards and better social conditions.'

The point, he emphasised was that events were being organised on the spot. Algeria may pose terrible difficulties 'but it doesn't mean we walk away from it.' The IFJ's emphasis was firmly on being a 'functional organisation working directly with the people who need help.'

Funding and the EU link

Tuming to the issue of the IFJ's funding, Mr White explained how the core activities - his own salary and administrative costs - are paid for by the subscriptions of member organisations, which amount to roughly $1 million. On top of that, the Federation carries out projects with the EU and other donors. They also distribute funds, offering their expertise as a representative body to help other organisations that want to undertake work.

Asked in what way the EU could do more, the General Secretary stressed the political dimension. 'It should intervene,' he argued, 'to establish certain standards in international relations. We say, for instance, that political, economic and military cooperation with any state outside the Union should be based on a commitment to and respect for freedom of expression and opinion.' He underlined the 'responsibility' of the EU to take a stand against countries that locked up journalists, implicitly criticising those who argued that freedom of expression was very important but who then shelved the issue when economic relations were involved.

He also urged a more proactive approach 'moving away from the strategy of counting bodies, complaining, and making reports about how bad the situation is' towards one based on comprehensive programmes of assistance. He described the IFJ's Media for Democracy programme in Africa as a 'first attempt' in that direction. Mr

White highlighted what he saw as a difficulty with existing projects. 'The problem is that the EU is confronted by all sorts of different NGOs who come and say: 'we have got this good project - give us support for it'. This is fine but it inevitably means that resources are spread very diffusely and often to no effect.' A lot of activities, he suggested, such as one-off seminars and conferences, were 'like fireworks in the night sky: they glow bright for a brief period and then they disappear.'

He went on to plead for an integrated, comprehensive strategy. 'Until that exists, you will not be able to solve the fundamental problems facing journalists.'

Training and status

The discussion moved on to the subject of training. Perhaps surprisingly, Aidan White did not see this as an important priority in itself. As he explained: 'It's no use training journalists to be very high quality if they go off to work in a country where the legal environment does not allow them to function properly. And it's no use training them to be ethical if they go somewhere that is steeped in political or financial corruption, and where there is no culture which appreciates the media's role in democratic society.'

With this in mind, he believes that training should be directly related to the strategic approach he referred to earlier. 'Yes, we need professional, well trained journalists, but it should be part of a range of programmes. And professional training is not just important for journalists. It should also be provided for managers, editors, advertisers... and perhaps even for politicians!'

The General Secretary noted that the status of journalists in most countries was quite high. They are seen as a filter for information 'coming from the government to the governed'. This was important, he thought, but 'tine real question is how the filter functions. On the one hand journalists have a relatively high status, and what they do is extremely important, but they work close to the political elites, which means they are subject to pressure. They must retain their independent role, scrutinising and investigating what governments are doing.'

On the subject of access to information in developing countries, Aidan White observed that the situation is now better than it was ten years ago but pointed to the 'age-old problem of people in power wanting to control the media.' He gave the example of journalists in Indonesia, 'who really want to speak independently of the government, but who are being killed because they represent independent strands of opinion.' Overall, however, he believes the situation has been improving. 'This is partly due to changes in information technology. A government can no longer simply take a journalist out and beat him up. There are half a dozen press freedom organisations around the world watching for and reporting on such events.'

There is a tendency in Europe to assume that 'everything in the garden is rosy' in terms of press freedom, and we were interested to hear what the Secretary General thought of this proposition. He was quick to offer a less complacent view. 'We have just issued a very strong statement against the EU about their secrecy policy,' he pointed out. 'You cannot claim the moral high ground for democracy in Africa or elsewhere if you have a system of secrecy in Europe which operates at the highest political level and which denies citizens access to information.'

He was also concerned about the concentration of the media in enormous congLomtes. This trend, he argued, 'is actually profoundly damaging to the culture of information.' He cited, in this context, the action of the Murdoch organisation 'in banning all news from his cable channels going into China.' Mr White continued: 'They banned the BBC and they banned news coverage in the Chinese language in order to make a business arrangement with the Beijing government. That sort of activity, in our view, is direct censorship from the heart of western democracy.'

In conclusion, Aidan White gave some more detailed information about the Media for Democracy programme in Africa which he described as 'ground-breaking.' The Federation has used it to develop key themes, including the coverage of elections. 'The real test of press freedom,' he continued, 'is at an election, because that is when the political pressure is toughest and the professional quality of journalism is exposed. For Africa, we developed a manual on election reporting and, interestingly, it has become the source document worldwide for election reporting.' He explained how it formed the basis for developing a text which is universal. This has been translated into various European languages, and Arabic, and has been employed in Poland, Romania, Albania and Latin America.

In the first phase of the Media for Democracy programme, the Federation held a serf. of seminars and conferences on how the media covered elections. As Mr White stressed, this was a crucial time in Africa. Political change was taking place, multi-party democracy was being introduced and there was a need to clarify how elections operated and how they should be reported. 'People didn't have the experience. They wanted the information, and to discuss how things should be done.' The seminars covered aspects such as financial corruption, the organisation of journalists and the role of ethics. And what the IFJ found was that the same kind of things happen in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa - and indeed across the world. In the words of the Secretary General, 'they have an echo everywhere because, at its root, the problem is the same - those in power want to manipulate the media and use whatever pressures they can.' The lesson learnt from the IFJ's experience in Africa is that common solutions are also valid. Or as Aidan White put it, 'there is no part of the world that can't teach the rest of the world something.

D.M. & S.H.

Freedom of expression: the first freedom

by Frances d'Souza

Frances d'Souza who is Executive Director of AROSE 19, a nom governmental organization which campaigns against censorship globally, explains why Freedom of Expression is for her the most important human right

In the absence of freedom of expression, it is almost impossible to protect other rights, including the right to life. Once governments can draw a cloak of secrecy round their actions and remain unaccountable, massive human rights violations can, and do, take place. For this reason alone, the right to free expression, specifically protected in international human rights treaties, must be considered a primary right. It is significant that one of the first indications of a government's intention to depart from democratic principles is when it increases its control over information, usually by gagging the media. At the one end of the spectrum, supposedly minor infringements of this fundamental right occur daily in western democracies; for example the abuse of national security laws to prevent publication of information which might embarrass the authorities. At the other end of the scale are regimes of terror which brutally suppress opposition, information and even the freedom to exercise religious beliefs. Without free speech and an independent media, it is easier for governments to employ propaganda to promote ethnic conflict, war and genocide.

The right to freedom of expression is formally protected in major international treaties including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and

* This text is an abridged version of a submission made by the author to a public hearing hosted by the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence and the Sub-Committee on Human Rights and the Committee on Culture, Youth, Education and the Media, April 25, 1996.

Political Rights (Article 19), and the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 10). It is also enshrined in many national constitutions, although this does not always guarantee its protection. Freedom of expression is something which applies even in countries which have not ratified the relevant international treaties. This is because the Universal Declaration is so widely accepted that its provisions now form part of customary international law.

While it is generally agreed that freedom of expression is the cornerstone of democracy, international treaties permit certain restrictions. Unlike the American First Amendment rights which allow few, if any, checks on free speech, the international treaties aim for a balance between competing rights. Thus, for example, free speech may be limited where it impinges on the individual's right to privacy, or where it involves incitement to violence or hatred. Given that the permitted restrictions are necessarily broad, the limits of free speech are constantly being tested in national courts and in regional tribunals such as the European Commission and Court of Human Rights. In recent years, several landmark cases have helped define what restrictions may be imposed by governments and under what circumstances. In particular, it has been emphasised by the European Court that any restriction should 'pass' a threepart test; it should be prescribed by law (and thus not be arbitrarily imposed), it should be proportionate to the legitimate aims pursued, and it should be demonstrably necessary in a democratic society in order to protect the individual and/or the state.

Who censors what?

Despite the rules governing restrictions on free speech, many justifications are still invoked by governments in suppressing information which may be inimical to their policies or interests. These include arguments in defence of national security or the 'public interest'. The mechanisms used to restrict the free flow of information range from subtle economic pressures, and devious methods of undermining political opponents and the independent media, to the enactment of restrictive press laws and rules for licensing journalists. In extreme cases, they may involve the illegal detention, torture and disappearance of journalists and others associated with the expression of independent views.

The right of free speech may appear less important than, for example, freedom from torture or extrajudicial killing. It is also sometimes difficult to persuade the public that censorship, generally associated with banning obscene materials, is a bad thing! It requires a recognition of some of the fundamental principles of democracy to understand why censorship is so dangerous. Democracy implies that people can make choices about the issues that affect their lives, including what they wish to see, read, hear or discuss. While this may seem a luxurious freedom, mainly preoccupying the wealthy West, it is a comparatively short distance between state censorship of an offensive book to the silencing of political dissidents. And the distance between this and the use of violence to suppress opposition is even shorter. Censorship tends to grow rapidly from small beginnings. Allowing a government the power to deny people information, however trivial, not only leads to laws and procedures which can and will be used by those in authority against those with less authority. It also denies people the information they need to render their governments accountable.

There have been some terrible examples of the role of censorship in recent years. We have seen it in the republics of the former Yugoslavia where the media were manipulated for propaganda purposes. We have seen it in Rwanda where the government associated radio incited citizens to kill each other in the name of ethnic supremacy. And we have seen it in Iran which maintains the threat of murder against a citizen of another country because he wrote a book which displeased the authorities.

There are clear links between access to information (or rather the lack of it), and war. Democracy empowers people by increasing participation in decision-making at all levels. The poor, who are denied access to information on decisions which deeply affect their lives, are powerless and have no voice. They cannot influence the ruling elites whose interest in consolidating their own power and position may be served by initiating conflict.

It is significant that of the 126 developing countries listed in the 1993 Human Development Report, wars were being waged in 30 and a further 33 were suffering severe civil conflicts. 55 of these 63 countries were to be found at the lower end of the Human Development Index which is an indicator of poverty. It is reasonably safe to assume that most people never welcome war. They may be coerced into supporting 'their' side in a conflict by their governments, using propaganda designed to whip up fear and extreme nationalist sentiment. If the majority had a democratic voice, they would undoubtedly object to war. But voices are silenced. Thus, the freedom to express one's views, to challenge government decisions and to insist upon political rather than violent solutions, are necessary aspects of democracy which can, and do, avert war.

State-sponsored propaganda in Rwanda, as in the former Yugoslavia, succeeded because there were no ways of challenging it. One can conclude that it is impossible for a country to wage war in the absence of a compliant media willing to indulge in government propaganda. Governments needs civilians to fight wars for them and the media is needed to reinforce government policies and intentions at every turn. In a totalitarian state where the expression of political views, let alone the possibility of political organisation is suppressed, one has to ask what other possibilities are open to a genuine political movement intent on introducing justice. All too often, terrorism and violence are the only perceived options available to communicate the need for change.

What NGOs can do

The work of human rights organizations has to become much more proactive and should be concerned with providing early warning and preventive action. Monitoring freedom of exprmsion, especially freedom of the press, offers an excellent context because it is widely recognised that would-be dictators always seek to silence people's voices through banning newspapers or other methods of censorship. One has to assume that when censorship begins in earnest, worse human rights abuses will follow and this should be the point for action. Had there been a greater international lobby for an independent media, for access to information and for participation in decision-making in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Nigeria, Burma and many other countries, some of the gross violations which continue to occur, could have been prevented.

Censorship is the first instrument of a government intent on departing from democratic procedures. In this sense it is an early warning signal and at ARTICLE 19, we believe we have a special responsibility to understand better how democracy is destroyed through censorship and how we can alert the international community to act to prevent it.

By way of conclusion, anything which can build strong and sound media infrastructures, at the earliest to pportunity, in transitional democracies, is both a gift and a great investment. A crusading press, prepared to separate fact from opinion and to verify its sources, can create a level playing field in which all sectors of society have a voice. This would preclude political control and manipulation for nationalistic power purposes. There is also a need to strengthen local monitoring groups which have the capacity to verify information. International organisations should amplify the voices of local organisations and bring them to the attention of the international community. It is only where there is a strong human rights culture in a given country, whether it has achieved democracy or not, that political changes can be seized upon and shaped into the democratic process.

To achieve these objectives, NGOS need to work with governments which are obliged by international law to uphold fundamental rights. We need organisations such as the KU, the UN, ASEAN, and others, to insist on respect for human rights in their dealings with third countries. We also need the general public to be aware of what fundamental rights are, what are the consequences of infringement, and how they can, as individuals, successfully challenge restrictionss imposed on them by their governments. Above all, NGOS need to work with multilateral organisations to determine where slender resources can most fruitfully be targeted.


Commission support for democratisation through the media

by Mark Leysen

Amongst the many cooperation activities in which it is involved, the Lomonvention covers cultural cooperation, which includes information and communication, yet European Development Fund support for the media in ACP countries is negligible. Although considerable and increasing amounts of aid are granted for the cinema in such countries, EU support for TV, radio and the printed media is small.

On the other hand, for some years now, the Commission has provided considerable aid to the printed media and radio in ACP countries under its 'Support for democratisation and respect for human rights' budget, which heralds a new approach to media questions. The EDF does not participate in the vast majority of big communications projects in Africa, namely PANA (Panafrican News Agency), URTNA (African National Television and Radio Union, the African equivalent of the European Broadcasting Union), the Programme Exchange Centre, Afrovision, Cierro, etc. The reluctance of EU and ACP partners to embark on such media projects can be explained both by EDF procedures and by the worldwide political context including the situation in most African countries.

Until recently, the media was a matter for the State in Africa. The 'New World Information and Communications Order', announced in the 1 970s, foresaw the participation of not only African citizens, but also of their governments in the world information highway. However, the democratic credentials of such governments were open to question - they controlled the printed media, radio, television and press agencies and any support for such media amounted to a strengthening of the State monopoly and this is why the EDF did not take part.

Moreover, aid to the independent media was impossible because such entities did not exist in most African countries and the authorities were not prepared to back a request for aid to the press which they regarded as contrary to their country's interests. If support for the media did exist, it was indirect and restricted to backing of means of communication servicing development projects: literacy campaigns, the fight against AIDS, increasing awareness of ecological problems, etc.

It was not until the advent of the democratisation movement and the support that Europe decided to grant to it that a media-aid strategy was to take root. As a kind of 'Fourth Estate', the media monitor executive power and report any abuse of it. In parallel, they play a key role in strengthening civil society by providing information (if not objective information, then at least information from many sources) on current political, social, economic and cultural issues and by providing a medium which offers an opportunity to speak out on matters of importance to society.

The European Commission focuses its media support in five areas in agreement with representatives of African press and specialist European . organisations in this area.

Freedom of expression It provides direct aid to national, regional and international organizations to defend freedom of expression, specifically financing monitoring, surveys and the reporting of any violation of press freedom (censorship, intimidation, arrests and arbitrary trials, etc.), and direct assistance to the media and any journalists who are victims of such attacks on press freedom. This direct aid is channelled to, inter alia, the activities of Reporters sans frontieres (see 'Interview with Mr Robert Menard', in this issue), 'Article XIX' and Index on Censorship, all organisations which operate like an Amnesty International for the press.


The new independent press is often run by journalists who have had no journalistic training and the former State media often require being updated after many years of professional 'distortion' responding to 'his master's voice'. The Commission hence finances programmes offering training in basic journalistic techniques, election coverage; professional codes of ethics, etc. In this area, it is working with a number of European and African organizations, giving priority to long-term actions which are likely to spawn others and to programmes aimed at achieving a higher level of professionalism.

Aid for vocational organizations

Vocational organizations for journalists have a role to play in improving the profession's social standing, in strengthening its cohesion in the face of political division, in defending its interests and in coming to the aid of journalists who have been victims of repression. The Commission finances a vast 'Media for Democracy' programme conducted by the International Federation of Journalists and its affiliated regional and national organisations (see interview with Aidan White, in this issue). The programme aims to strengthen or create national and regional associations of journalists, but is also involved in more general actions to increase the professional standing of the media.

Access to sources of information

A credible and responsible press requires sources of information which the new and financially precarious press cannot allow itself. The Commission supports the creation or updating of documentation centres, North/South and South/South exchanges between publications and radio stations, access to international press agencies or photographic libraries, etc., being shared between several media bodies.

Legislative framework and code of ethics

It is not enough merely to guarantee freedom of expression in the constitution. This principle must be embodied in all legislative and regulatory texts to prevent a journalist being prosecuted arbitrarily for 'defamation' or 'a breach of State security'. Moreover, to appear credible, the profession must observe a code of ethics. The Commission backs the drafting of press codes, codes of ethics and regulations to govern the air waves. It also backs the creation of press and air wave regulatory bodies as well as the provision of training in journalistic ethics.

It is obvious that the 'Democracy and Human Rights' budget cannot alone meet the needs of Africa's multi-faceted media scene. Moreover, although the media are a key element in any democratisation process, they are also much more than that - as a means of information and recreation, they have a role to play in the human development of society; as an instrument to create greater awareness, they can contribute to the strengthening of a civil society which is gradually taking charge; and as an economic sector in the full throes of development, they can make a contribution to the GDP and create jobs. All the more reason for national sponsors and the EDF to take more of an interest.

National television, victim of democracy

More than the other media, television in Africa is controlled by the State and serves, first and fore most, to disseminate news about the leader and his government. The state of equipment depends on when it was supplied by a friendly country from the North, and as it was almost certainly offered to the country's leaders 'as a personal gift', it usually consists of oversized equipment which the nation al television station cannot maintain correctly owing to a lack of resources. Whilst Europe is moving over to digital Betacam and 1619 forma t, many Africa n TV stations are still operating with Umatic and with machines that are impossible to maintain.

With such derisory mean s, nation al TV stations have to contend with unfair competition from the international stations which, from their satellites, are inundating the continent with their broad casts . The world broadcasting channels of European stations are received clearly (CFI, TV5 Afrique, BBC World Television, Deutsche Welle, etc.). The number of religious stations (gene rally Islamic) continues to increase and commercial television is developing apace - CN N, MTV, Canal Horizons, M-Net and others can be picked up just about every where and can thus cream off the best of a commercial mark et which is still virtually non-existent and awaiting better days.

The URTNA is unable to defend the interests of its members, properly and its initiatives (which are, nevertheless, laudable) are stagnating: the - programme rexchange centre in Nairobi does not exchange very much at all and Afrovision, the system for exchanging news between nation al TV stations via satellite, is struggling to Get off the around.

Never theless, African TV stations do not lack talent or motivation and many of them are capable of producing more quality programmes . What can be done to help them? Firstly, a decision has to be made regarding who is to be helped. Certainly not international TV stations' be they private or public, which have their own strategy (commercial or politic al and produce television programmes for import which make only a very marginal contribution to the expression of Africa n talent . It would also be wrong to rely or, privatisation and commercial stations in order to obtain quality television - this much has been demonstrated by the European experience . As for direct aid to nation al television, this would merely reinforce the State monopoly over information. What is required is greater support for the transition of State television into a genuine public service with the benefit of an independent statute and also true editorial independence. Consequently, as things currently stand, aid for training television' professionals, support for quality programme production and any aid aimed at drafting a public -service television Statute, are useful forms of support which are neutral with regard to State -media control. Any direct aid to nation al television stations in the form of hardware and equipment should be subject to their conversion into an autonomous public service.


Images of Africa in the Western media

by Geoff Mungham

It seems difficult to find an African leader or African journalist who has not, at some time, been either fiercely critical or quietly despairing of the way in which the continent is depicted by the western media. Their grievances have come to form part of a now familiar litany. Claims are made that the reporting of Africa is now almost entirely in terms of what has been called a'coup, crisis and famine syndrome', and that the western media focus only on 'bad news' out of Africa and ignore the 'positive' achievements of many African countries. These criticisms go hand-in-hand with accusations that Africa cannot ' tell its own story, in its own way', because the global news market is dominated by powerful, westerr-owned corporations, who have their own agenda for reporting Africa. For many Africans, their continent is becoming increasingly invisible in the trade in global news. For them, Rupert Murdoch's cynical remark that 'the Third World sells no newspapers' would appear to have been uttered with Africa specifically in mind. Finally there are those Africans who are concerned about 'western cultural imperialism' undermining traditional African values and culture.

How true are these claims? Is Africa becoming once again a dark continent; one largely excluded from the glare of western media coverage? Are some of the correctives suggested by different African leaders worse than the problems they are complaining about? And if Africa is in danger of becoming a 'disappearing world' for news, to what extent are many African countries themselves to blame?

To begin with, there is no doubt that African critics have a case. First and most obvious, is the undeniable brute fact that global news and information flows are dominated by a small number of multinational operators, nearly all of whom - especially since the end of the Cold War - are western owned and controlled. This is true of the great international news agencies, whether the traditional wire services like Reuters or Agence France-Press, or the newer global television news services represented by WTN and CNN, among others. The major clients for their output are western news organizations.

At the same time, most African countries are in no position to mount a challenge to this world news order. The continent has recently been described as one of the 'least dynamic regions in the global economy, where buying power of consumers is low' and in which many countries are burdened with crippling debt payments. In the same vein, a 1991 World Bank report not only pointed to the increasing 'communications gap' between Africa and the developed world, but went on to suggest that most of the continent offered poor prospects for those wanting to invest in telecommunications projects. These are among the reasons why Africa scores so poorly in terms of putting in place viable national communications infrastructures, let alone being able to take on the global market leaders in securing a higher profile for Africa in the world's news rooms. The same factors also help explain why most African countries remain so dependent on western-controlled news sources.

This dependency is not simply a question of the easy availability of copy or other material from the western news agencies. Puri (a Tanzanian journalist and Managing Editor of Newslink Africa) presents other reasons why African editors are interested in what's happening in the West. These include the links between many African countries and their former colonial rulers, the realities of global and economic relations and his claim that African editors often have little interest in other parts of the continent. As he puts it, '...a newspaper reader in Botswana, for example, is not much interested in reading detailed reports from Morocco.'

At the same time, there is plenty of evidence to support the criticisms of the 'coup, crisis, famine' coverage. Examples are too numerous to cite here, but the following small selection is fairly representative of the broader picture.

Introducing the findings of a 'Global News Agenda Survey', Malik and Anderson noted: 'For the rest of the world, Africa means coupe, and largescale killings (covered usually only in the first few days), almost ritualistic famine relief... and the occasional travelogues in the guise of saving something or other'. Similar claims were made by Okigho when he wrote that while CNN and other satellite organisations have 'revolutionised international news coverage', the most common images of Africa still depict internecine warfare (in Angola, Liberia, Somalia), pogroms in Rwanda, political violence in Sierra Leone and ethnic conflicts in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa. In contrast, says Okigho, the 'many positive developments' are routinely ignored.

A limited review that I made of wire service copy from the main international news agencies during the week of 13-20 May 1996, produced findings that seemed to echo some of these complaints. In this period, hard news stories were concentrated on a handful of the 50 plus countries of Africa; Burundi, the Central African Republic (C.A.R.), Egypt, Liberia, Somalia, Sudan and South Africa - together with stories of alleged financial irregularities in the World Health Organisation in Africa.

Copy about Burundi dealt with ethnic violence and attacks inside Zaire on Burundi by Hutu 'rebels'. Reports from the C.A.R. focused on an army mutiny, street battles and looting, but were angled on the mediating role of French troops (the C.A.R is a former French colony) and the fate of 100 Americans trapped in the capital, Bangui. Egypt was featured after its government accused Sudan of harbouring a 'vipers' nest of terrorists'. Out of Liberia came a torrent of wire copy about fighting in Monrovia along with assorted atrocity stories, but pinning the emphasis on the plight of foreign nationals (especially Britons and Americans) and the role being played by the USS Guam in air-lifting them to safety. Somalia rated a mention because of the release of two foreign aid workers (British and German) held by an unidentified 'rebel faction'. On South Africa, the wire services were fixed on further violence and killings in KwaZuluNatal, the result of ongoing struggles between rival supporters of the A.N.C and the Inkatha Freedom Party.

The 'agenda for Africa' sent out by the wire agencies, was replicated by the menu offered by Reuters TV and APTV. For instance, on one day during the study period, the former was offering ten picture feeds; only one was from Africa (on the C.A.R.) while the rest included such compelling visuals as the British Queen's visit to the Chelsea Flower Show. For the fifteen picture feeds being touted by the APTV on a single day, one featured Africa ('news pictures to offer on the airlift by US marines'), which competed for the attention of western news rooms alongside visuals of a US woman who collected hubcaps (140 000 of them, no less!), Hugh Grant arriving by boat at the Cannes Film Festival, footage of the Monaco Grand Prix and a 'fun run' in Sarajevo (whether or not pictures are available, the idea of a 'fun-run' in Bosnia still seems a difficult concept to grasp) But what these studies show is not the whole picture about Africa which circulates in the West. Nor should they necessarily be used to support the usual criticisms about the performance of the western media in relation to the continent. In the first place, not all news out of Africa fits into the syndrome the critics complain about. For example, a great deal of the coverage of South Africa has been 'positive' (if we trace the reporting of that country's transition to majority rule). So, too, have the moves towards multi-party politics in African states like Zimbabwe. Similarly, there is plenty of reporting of Africa's sporting successes (such as South Africa's Rugby World Cup triumph). Nor is the West unaware of the work of certain African musicians and film makers - indeed, it has been influenced by them.

And even if 'positive' coverage is sometimes hard to find, the critics may still be missing some key points. The first is to do with western 'news values' or rather a failure to appreciate how they work - whether in relation to Africa or anywhere else. The staple diet of much of the global news flow is about 'bad news' and, in this respect, Africa prob ably fares no worse or better than other parts of the developing world.

Second, a more 'systematic' reporting of much of Africa is still difficult. My point here is about a lack of efficient and developed communication infrastructures, but also a reluctance by many African leaders to tolerate - let alone actively encourage - free and honest open reporting. Too many African journalists have been, and are being, harassed, imprisoned or killed by their own governments. Much of the media in Africa - especially the broadcast media - remains under state control. Newspapers that show a 'lack respect' for the ruling party are frequently shut down. These realities help explain why some of the maligned western media are turned to by those Africans who want something more than state propaganda from their newspapers or broadcasters. This is why the BBC World Service has come to enjoy such a high reputation in many parts of Africa.

Third, the attempts made by the African states to try and take on western dominance of global news and information flows, have been misjudged. Two failed initiatives in particular are worth mentioning in this context; the launch in 1983 of the Pan African News Agency (PANA) and the long-time obsession with setting up a 'New World Information Order' (NWIO).

From the start, PANA has been dogged by financial and management problems. African governments owe $18 million, journalists have gone unpaid, lines have been disconnected and in 1992 a UNESCO-funded audit found evidence of financial mismanagement. The main source of information PANA traded in was material from the domestic news agencies of OAU member states. Since most of these are state-controlled, the 'news' they were offering was never likely to attract many western users. To try and give PANA a new lease of life, UNESCO are backing a rescue package, which would allow for private investors to be shareholders along with state-owned African national news agencies. But the pro posed partnership funding is unlikely to work, especially in one-party states where the ruling groups have always been suspicious of any media not under their direct ownership.

The NWIO project has chased even more impossible dreams. Any attempt fundamentally to change the global news order was always going to be beyond countries with severe national communication 'deficits'. Most African countries, with weak and undercapitalised information infrastructures were never in a position to take on the market leaders in the global news business. In pursuit of the NWIO idea, endless international conferences were held, declarations passed and ritual attacks made on ' western media dominance'. Nothing came of it all. If the sense of frustration which kept the concept alive was understandable, less easy to grasp was why African leaders focused on the NWIO idea, while their own grassroots communication systems remained impoverished and under-resourced.

The most recent attempt to develop 'top-down' communications facilities in parts of Africa comes with the attempts to push satellite-delivered payTV on the continent. Among the 'players' here are Multi-Choice (which will be offered to subscribers in over 30 countries in sub-Saharan Africa), Canal Horizons (targeted on North Africa and Francophone West Africa) and Panafnet (also aimed at buyers in Francophone West Africa). Because these enterprises are subscription-based there will be a clear bias in take-up towards upperincome groups; and - certainly in the case of Multi-Choice - the output will have a 'strong UK/USA programming flavour'. It is hard to see how these initiatives will ever meet the real news and information needs of the vast majority of African consumers, who have limited spending power and are often deprived of the most basic communication tools.

As Hans Dieter Klee (former Head of the Africa Service of Deutsche Welle) has rightly argued, what Africa urgently needs is large-scale international media aid to help strengthen its own media. This aid should not be targeted at projects designed somehow to allow Africa to 'compete' with Western media congLomtes. It should, instead, be aimed at building up diverse, viable and professional local and national media enterprises in African countries themselves. In this, the EU can play a leading role, working through the links established under the Lomonvention.

Robust national communication structures in Africa will not, of course, alter the balance of global media power. They will be able to do little to stop the international news agencies reporting Africa in the way they have done in the past. And it will be a long time before most Africans becomes travellers on the 'information superhighway', since this, in essence, is an extension of existing computer and telephonic communications, which the continent lacks. But a vigorous local and national media, Africa-wide, would be good for Africa and the best barrier for resisting outside media influences.



Okigho: 'National Images in the Age of the Information Super Highway

African Perspectives', African Media Review, vol. 9,1995.

R. Malik and K. Anderson: 'TV: The Global New Agenda Survey', intermedia, January-February 1992.

B. Hicks 'North of the Limpopo', Cable and Satellite Europe, April 1996.

A message of hope on the Burundi airwaves

The European Parliament may seem an unlikely launch pad for a radio station, but two members of this elected body, who are committed to a free and fair press as one of the cornerstones of democracy, have set up Radio Espoir (Radio Hope) in Burundi with backing of the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO).

Parliamentarians, Pierre Pradier (ERA-F) and Bernard Kouchner (PSE-F) are co-founders of Radio Espoir (Radio Umwizero, in Kirundi) which brings together a French association and a local Burundi radio station. Three expatriates are working on the Bujumbura-based project; an editor, a radio technician and an administrator. They have teamed up with local journalists who, for the moment, are providing their services free of charge.

The station, which broadcasts in Kirundi, is targeted at an audience in the 15-25 age group. In a country with an 80% illiteracy rate, radio is the only way of reaching the population. 'The idea came to us in 1994, with Rwanda and Radio Libre des Mille Collines' says Pierre Pradier. 'If so much harm could be done with radio, then why equally could good not be achieved.' RLMC was the radio set up in July 1993 on the eve of the genocide in Rwanda. It became a mouthpiece for the Akazu, a clan of Hutu extremists grouped around the then President's wife, Agathe Habyarimana, and it undermined the Arusha agreements by whipping up ethnic conflict in Rwanda.

Mr Pradier explains that Radio Hope journalists intentionally avoid speaking about Hutus and Tutsis. He also highlights the problems encountered in providing news coverage when local conditions are so difficult. As he points out; 'When you speak about the situation of a woman who has lost her husband in Burundi, you are talking politics.' Security considerations are important too while the MEP stresses that a proper analysis of events can only come with time: 'At the moment we are limited to reporting the facts. And it is only when the facts are verified that one can begin to interpret them.' The news items broadcast by the station rely on agency dispatches confirmed by a network of local people who call in.

Because of such sensitivities and in an effort to find as much common ground as possible, the radio station gives music top billing. This has the added advantage of helping to attract listeners. It also offers general programmes on African roots, sport, culture and educational themes, in addition to its news items. It is currently broadcasting for six hours a day.

Pierre Pradier says he would like to see an end to the 'navel gazing' of Burundi's population. 'We want to show that peace is possible, by showing how it is progressing elsewhere: in Haiti, for example, where there is a legitimate President now, and amongst the Chiapas in Mexico.'

But, like many fledgling stations, finding enough funds from donors to guarantee its future is a worry. The station's current ECHO grant runs out in September 1996. Indeed, the project, classified under emergency aid, was atypical for the humanitarian aid office. But Mr Pradier is hoping that continued support will come from one of the EU's budget lines. He believes that the Union is a particularly suitable donor because it tends to be less 'colonialistic' than some others. He also raises the possibility of seeking funds from private donors such as the Fondation de France.

Looking to the future of the station, Pierre Pradier argues that they cannot let the project 'drop' and hopes eventually to see it being handed over to local broadcasters, assuming 'they are people we can depend on'. The signs so far are encouraging. He would also like to see Radio Hope's programme content broadened to include game shows, with radios offered as prizes for the winners. As far as he is concerned, the more people who tune in, the better! _


Joint Assembly resolution

The ACP/Ku Joint Assembly is pushing for EC institutions and Lomignatories to be more supportive of media issues. A resolution on the role of communications media in the development and consolidation of democracy in ACP states. passed by the Assembly in March, contained the following points:

- freedom of expression and free communications and media are vital to the development of a democratic society;

- more ACP countries should give opposition parties access to the media' notably where this is controlled by the state;

- all candidates and political parties should be given access to the media in a 'balanced and fair manner';

- laws which restrict press freedom and the electoral process should be repealed;

- any threat of physical attack against media organisations or their employees should be investigated by the authorities, with those responsible being brought to justice;

- the media should be impartial, providing accurate information during elections, helping to educate the electorate, explaining the importance of elections, giving information on where, when and how to vote, and explaining the secret ballot;

- EU assistance for free and a fair elections - and a free media sector in ACP countries - should be increased.

Catholic radio in Southern Africa

by Antonio Pacheco

In this abridged article, the author, who is a Portuguese journalist, gives details of two church-supported local radio projects in Southern Africa.

At the end of the 1980s, the Social Communication Department of IMBISA, the conference of Catholic bishops in Southern Africa (a kind of SADC for Roman Catholics) embarked on a local radio project. It had a two-pronged approach. First, it involved setting up a network of small community radio stations. The local population were involved, sharing responsibility for making programmes and broadcasting information and news about everyday life in the remotest places. In some cases, the programme content was retransmitted at a provincial or even national level. The second aspect was that it was supplemented by the creation of flexible and independent associations of journalists/presenters. They formed information agencies operating as a network to link up local radio stations.

At that time, the main concern in Southern Africa was to rid South Africa of apartheid. There was also a desire to promote freedom of expression in Angola and Mozambique. Given that radio was (and still is) the most important means of communication in the region, the idea was to set up a regional network capable of overcoming all the constraints ranging from legal bans and restrictions on broadcasting to widespread illiteracy. The ultimate objective was to set up a Catholic radio station based in Swaziland. This project did not go ahead, however, because it was too expensive to finance and, above all, because it was dependent on the regional Catholic hierarchy. It proved difficult to reconcile the various ideological views and sensitivities of bishops in the various countries of the region. There was also a growing feeling amongst the Christian communities that the underlying need was not for a radio station which would be a vehicle for bishops' views, but rather a media system that served the people, offering recreation, training and information.

Radio Pax

Another local radio project of interest, which is now up and running, involved reviving Radio Pax, the private Catholic radio station which made a significant contribution during the 1 960s to the struggle for a free Mozambique. The operation closed down in 1977 but the experience was not forgotten and 16 years later, the decision was made to bring the station back on air. Those behind the new project took advantage of the trend towards greater political openness in the country. Their aim was to offer a credible and informative alternative, which, they hoped, would be up and running in time for the elections scheduled for October 1994. A course was run between July and September 1994 which brought together young presenters chosen by small communities on the outskirts of Beira, Chimoio, Nampula, Quelimane and Maputo. The course involved honing the participants' presentation skills and providing practical training in technical subjects, and programme and information preparation. This was how the first association of young independent Christian journalists came into being.

For various reasons, including red-tape and customs regulations, the new Radio Pax was unable to broadcast in the run-up to the general election. However, the young journalists, who received their training at various locations, were able to act as important independent sources of information. This was channelled to Maputo and used as backup for a number of international press officials and observers. The information relayed by the young presenters in the provinces made it possible to publish a newsletter which was circulated throughout the country, using fax, religious channels and a variety of other means.

Radio Pax is now in operation, although it faces major technical problems. It is based in a community centre in Inhamizua, 20 km from Beira. The station has already done important work in gathering information about local traditions, and has broadcast programmes aimed particularly at women and young people in suburban areas. The network also incorporates Mozambique's Radio Encontro, which broadcasts from Nampula in conjunction with the Anchilo training centre. There are plans for further local radio stations in Maputo in the south, Quelimane and Chimolo in the centre and Pemba in the north.

Radio Pax is managed entirely by the Association of Independent Young Christian Journalists in Beira. In terms of training, the current preoccupation is to teach the young people involved how to manage the small radio stations which have been made available to them, and to set up local self financing systems. Although equipment is important, what really counts in this project is the training of the presenters. Working in close collaboration with the community, it is they who are in the front line-promoting the inalienable right of free expression.

The Voice of the Disabled in Chad!

by Mand Rya Ngarara

The Support Group for the Disabled in Chad (AEHPT) was set up in 1987 with the assistance of the International Christian Service for Peace (EIRENE), which has its headquarters in Germany. By coming together to form a group, disabled people hoped to take charge of their lives and break down the wall of silence that surrounds them. However, despite setting up various workshops (welding workshops, small printing works, musical groups) and publishing an information newsletter, entitled 'Perspectives'. the AEHPT has been unable to improve the image of disabled people within Chad society and has failed to raise awareness that the work done by the disabled is not only of value, but deserves due recognition. From this status quo sprang the idea of broadcasting a national weekly radio programme called 'The Voice of the Disabled'.

There are two reasons why radio was chosen as the communication medium: firstly, the very strong oral tradition of the country, together with the population's weak purchasing power, which make access to newspapers difficult, means that radio remains the most appropriate medium for reaching a wide audience; and secondly, radio programmes are not difficult to produce, since they do not require vast technical, financial or human resources.

Letting the disabled have their say

Initially launched by the AEHPT, The Voice of the Disabled is now jointly produced and broadcast by four associations actively involved in defending the interests of those with disabilities. It is broadcast nationwide every Monday at peak listening times.

The programme is not, however, aimed solely at those with disabilities but, on the contrary, seeks to increase awareness in Chad society as a whole. It also acts as a platform from which to urge the authorities to take concrete measures to help this section of the population.

Today, more than a year after its launch, The Voice of the Disabled is enjoying tremendous success, with ever larger numbers of people, from all walks of life, tuning in. For the disabled themselves it provides a vast source of information, explaining the facts behind the causes of their disabilities and giving advice on how to prevent such disabilities and what can be done to treat them, and it keeps people informed about what is happening within the various associations for the disabled, giving information about the activities, projects and special events that are taking place. As far as the rest of the population is concerned, The Voice of the Disabled has helped to raise the profile of disabled people in Chad. Slowly but surely, people's preconceptions are beginning to change and one of the programme's greatest achievements has been to eradicate gradually the negative image which people used to have of disabilities.

Nevertheless, the lamentable fact remains that this programme is broadcast solely in French, and this is why plans are now in the pipeline to broadcast The Voice of the Disabled in both Arabic and Sara - Chad's two national languages.


TV documentaries and development

The Africa Express experiment

By Richard Synge

The 'Africa Express' documentory series mounted by Channel4, an independent British TV station, has done more than just put a new slant on news provided by state-run African channels. it has also created jobs for African producers and reporters.

Television viewers in Africa will soon get the chance to see documentaries on African current affairs and development topics which have hitherto only been seen on British TV sets.

Channel Four's Africa Express programme has recently concluded its third series to much critical acclaim in Britain. it included items on a surprisingly diverse range of topics. One film showed how a cash-strapped Congolese prison saves money by sending its prisoners home one day in every month, and included lively interviews with the governor and the prisoners themselves as well as footage of the grim prison conditions. Others focused on the flourishing free currency market in Zaire, the spread of South Africa's 'shebeen' culture into the country's upmarket suburbs, political battles in Namibia over the rights to manage historic tourist sites and the Nigerian military government's blatant attempts to censor television reporting.

The latest series supplemented the work of British film crews by incorporating several documentaries that were made entirely by African production teams. Special funding for this element of the Africa Express project came from the environmental television distribution agency TVE. As a result, Africa Express hired four African directors and used African-based crews to film half of the 24 films in the series.

The other innovative part of the project was that the programmes are now becoming available to viewers in Africa at the lowest possible cost. To promote this concept of 'media feedback', TVE has been actively marketing the series to non-governmental organisations and facilitating arrangements for the distribution of the cassettes to African broadcasting stations, both state-owned and private.

'It is a way forward for us, because nothing like this has been done before,' says Raphael Tuju, a Kenyan film producer who runs a video resource centre in Nairobi, marketing documentaries to local broadcasting stations and the educational sector. 'There are too few opportunities for producers in African countries to break into the international networks. The subjects we cover are rarely of interest to the distribution companies, the differences in technology are too wide and getting wider, and there are not enough African producers who have reached the professional level to compete with their counterparts abroad.'

Peter Gill, who edited Africa Express for Channel Four, welcomed the opportunity to help promote the independent film industry in Africa. 'It was thoroughly stimulating,' he says, adding that one of the constant challenges was 'finding ways to bridge the gap between what is technically possible in Africa and the standards required for a European television production.' The four African directors hired for the series were two South Africans, Eddie Mbalo and Teddy Mattera, a Zimbabwean,

Albert Chimedza, and a Namibian, Bridget Pickering. They all worked directly under Peter Gill's management and in contact with a producer in the field. Gill was impressed with the level of journalistic and technical expertise available in Africa and the dedication of the teams working in difficult situations.

Even where the production teams were British, all the 24 films in the latest Africa Express series used African journalists and presenters. They researched and organised most of the films in advance of the actual shoot by the visiting film crews. Cameroonian journalist, Emmanual Wotany, played a prominent role in the films on Congo and Zaire. Kenyan reporter Joseph Warungu proposed and presented a film on the hazards of skin-bleaching in The Gambia. The presenter of the programme on Nigeria, Toyin Fane-Kayode, bravely challenged the censorship of the country's military regime.

An all-African camera and sound team led by Lawrence Mbada and Mandla Mlambo was responsible for the four films in the series that were shot by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). In the extremely difficult conditions of Angola and Namibia, an experienced SABC cameraman was used. Here there was a need to ensure that the less experienced directors were not further challenged by having to work with an inexperienced crew.

For TVE's Robert Lamb, one of the main breakthroughs made by Africa Express was in the agreement of Channel Four to collaborate both with the SABC and with TVE itself, which insisted on the involvement and participation of African journalists, film-makers and technicians. He was impressed by the results and hopes that thee could be 'an even greater African involvement in another series, if one is commissioned.'

The latest series was a success, being regularly watched by up to two million viewers.

Channel Four granted broadcasting rights for the series in lowincome countries to TVE and Worldview International Foundation as well as the non-broadcast rights to TVE and its partners in the third world. These agreements allow TVE to provide the tapes at nominal cost to a network of video resource centres, similar to that run by Raphael Tuju in Nairobi. Such centres seek to get development-oriented documentary films shown by the local broadcasting stations but survive by supplying the needs of schools, colleges, non-governmental organisations and other categories of 'multipliers'.

One of the most successful documentary centres is the Film Resource Unit (FRU) in Johannesburg. From its origins as a way of sharing bootlegged foreign films and TV programmes during the political repression of the 1980s, FRU is now a major distributor of educational and documentary films.

To overcome the inexperience of state-owned African broadcasting networks in showing programmes of developmental relevance to their societies, video resource centres have to provide their own sponsorship. 'It is difficult for us to compete with the likes of Coca Cola, which will sponsor programmes like soap operas,' says Raphael Tuju, 'but one way round this obstacle is to sponsor a programme and at the same time advertise our services. The business we generate this way usually means that we can at least break even.'

Film-making capacity in Africa has been severely limited by most governments' domination of the broadcasting media and a deep and institutional reluctance to encourage independent local productions. The mainly government-owned television stations rarely have a policy to buy in locallymade programmes and tend to look to Britain, France or the US for outside material, which is often dumped on the market at low prices, making it an even harder challenge for local producers to generate the funds to make their own programmes.

The decline of the once-active film industry in Nigeria, in particular, means that in English-speaking Africa, the field is now dominated by South Africa and Zimbabwe. In French-speaking Africa, the continuation of subsidies has kept an 'art house' tradition alive, especially in Senegal and Burkina Faso. In most of the continent, however, the only development-oriented programmes shown to the public tend to be made by the governments' own propaganda departments rather than by independent film-makers.

Where there is a lack of access to local broadcasting media, African film-makers continue to experiment with making their own dramas and documentaries, showing their work on video in village halls and schools. 'At the grassroots, African film-making can be stimulated simply by consumer demand,' says Russel Honeyman, who publishes the African Film and TV Yearbook in Harare. 'But local products do not usually translate into international products. Film and television is a global industry and film-makers should not insist on being too parochial. There is room for greater international collaboration.'

Based on the experience of the latest Africa Express series, TVE now plans to build on its achievements. In May 1996, it exhibited the series to the directors of African television stations at a conference in Windhoek, Namibia, and discussed arrangements for distribution of the cassettes. It is also planning to participate in a workshop for French speaking West African nations in Senegal under a grant from the European Union's human rights division. The consultative process will continue with a meeting of the African video resource centre network at the end of 1996.

TVE's Robert Lamb hopes that the success of Africa Express might encourage international funding agencies in Europe to take up the challenge of funding films made in Africa for African consumption. He doubts that Channel Four on its own would take such a risk. Constraints are, perhaps inevitably, imposed on TVE's concept by the fact that programmes produced for European audiences use a production and editorial structure that requires 'post production' in European capitals. 'Although we came out owning the rights to the programmes in Africa, Channel Four still had 80% of the control over the production and editorial decisions,' he acknowledges.

Robert Lamb is fully aware of the challenges that lie ahead. 'National broadcasters are in a parlous financial position and are still, for the most part, stifled by government controls,' he notes. 'Africans who have received formal training rarely find the funds to apply their newly-acquired skills.' But Mr Lamb and his TVE organisation are convinced that there will be increasing demand for more programmes like Africa Express, as much from Africa itself as from European audiences.

The Internet and the South

by Renaud de la Brosse

The author, who works at the Panos Institute in Paris, reflects on the pros and cons of new information technology for countries in the South and on their chances of success.

The Internet has become such a craze amongst users in Third-World countries (researchers, teachers, businesses,, liberal professions, etc.) that it amply demonstrates that a real and genuine need is being met, despite adverse comments from its detractors. The rapid increase in the number of connections to the network in the North is mirrored by an exponential growth in the South. Africa is a good example of the possibilities offered by access to the global network whilst at the same time revealing the technical and financial restrictions facing countries in the South.

Almost all of Africa's 55 countries are today connected to the network, from South Africa, which has over 800.000 computers, to Uganda, which has just a few thousand. The importance of the Internet in Africa must be viewed less in terms of the number of computers (means of access to the Internet) and more in terms of the constant increase it represents in numbers of subscribers to the network. In the last six months alone, the number of subscribers increased by over 50%, whilst the increase in France, for example, was only 20%. Another telling figure is the number of host computers per 1.000 inhabitants, which rose by 147% in South Africa between 1994 and 1995 whereas the increase for Taiwan and Australia was 83% and 50%, respectively!

Because it is under-supplied in communications equipment, Africa is starting out with a disadvantage compared with other continents. However, the recent G7 Conference on Information and Development, which took place in mid-May in Midrand in South Africa, brought together 40 countries and 18 intergovernmental organizations and made it possible 'to build a bridge between developed countries and developing countries' so that the latter are not excluded from the world of new information technologies. The benefit to be gained from the Net for the Black Continent lies in the fact that African surfers are anxious to break free from their scientific, cultural or economic isolation which comes not only from relationships between Africa and the rest of the world, but often from relationships between regions and countries on the African continent itself.


As in Europe and the United States, scientists and researchers in Africa are the first to have understood the importance of the Net and there are now - in French speaking Africa - networks such as the Intertropical Computer Network, which groups together approximately 3000 surfers in 11 countries. The importance of the Internet for these researchers is manifold; in most countries, the education system is in grave crisis, essentially because of diminishing budget resources which for years, on account of structural adjustment measures, have been melting away. This explains the absence of libraries or documentation centres. The Internet is therefore becoming a stopgap measure, offering access to all current scientific production and giving African researchers the chance to publicise and gain recognition for their work outside their own continent.

Interesting experiments in North/South cooperation are also being set up, with the French-speaking Agency for Higher Education and Research currently establishing what it calls a 'virtual French-speaking campus', a kind of vast library to which affiliated universities will be connected. The project is also justified in economic terms since, through the medium of electronic mail (e-mail), which goes hand in hand with the Internet, exchanges of information will be cheaper than by fax, for example, which costs at least five times as much for the same amount of information transmitted.

Outside the academic community, heads of African businesses are also launching themselves into cyberspace, particularly in the case of several hundred of them who have grouped together within a West-African Business Network. Internet's financial viability in the South is dependent on membership of African businesses and multinational companies established in Africa. The cost of subscription is still beyond the means of private individuals and only 'institutional' subscribers are currently able to guarantee payment in the short term.

A useful tool

Many of the possibilities on offer remain to be explored, so the Internet can therefore be an important medium for promoting African culture - Niger has set up a Web via which it is possible to visit its archaeological sites and Benin has just set up a server dedicated to voodoo. In general terms, there is the challenge of mastering content, in other words the African suffers should not restrict themselves to a passive use (sleeking information from the North) but should, on the contrary, move progressively as players providing content and information. For the countries of the South, it is a matter of mastering information and preserving their culture.

The range of possibilities offered by the Net is limitless. Its development in Africa or in the South in general does, however, run up against a number of obstacles, including those of both a technical and financial nature. The importance of the Internet lies in being able to transmit greater quantities of information more cheaply than by using other communications techniques. However, the required technology is expensive and therein lies the principal difference between the North and the South.

The infrastructure which would permit rapid, longterm expansion of the Internet is nowhere near being installed in Africa, just as in the other developing countries. The continent is still under-equipped in terms of telephone lines; according to a survey by the BDT (Telecommunications Development Office), the number of main telephone lines per 100 inhabitants is less than 0.5 in sub-Saharan Africa, and in terms of equipment providing access to the Net (computer, modem, etc.). In real terms, this makes access to the network much more expensive for a user in the South than for one in the North. All these imported electronic goods are much more expensive than in the West, and this is without taking account of the additional cost, in most African countries, imposed by tariff barriers on IT goods, which are regarded with great suspicion by the authorities who perceive them as a potential danger more than as essential development tools.

The fear is that the remote transmission of data might pose a threat to less than democratic regimes. Under the pretext of 'the control of information-based wealth', a State may decide to interfere with the 'consent' or even 'suppress' a site for producing and exchanging information deemed contrary to its interests. Once more, the question of freedom of expression arises in different terms in the South and North.

The Panos Institute

The Panos Institute is a non-profit-making association set up in 1988. Together with its counterparts in London and Washington, the Paris Panos Institute founded Panos International The Institute's aim is to strengthen, particularly in Africa, local expression and information capabilities. Within the context of sustainable and better-shared development, it aims to promote the emergence of a more democratic culture and of more democratic debate. To this end, the Panos Institute runs two main programmes in west Africa from Paris and its branch offices (Senegal, Mali, Chad and Ghana).

The programme to support pluralism in matters of information, which has four major objectives: - to expand and consolidate the legal, institutional and statutory framework of pluralist-type information - to increase professionalism in the media - to give institutional support to authors in west Africa who promote pluralism in information - to contribute to the production and circulation of more diversified and more qualified information on certain priority topics such as the environment, human rights, management and prevention of conflict, etc.

The migration and cooperation programme seeks to enhance the value of the contribution made by citizens from Third World countries residing in the rich nations to development in their countries of origin.

The European Union, UNESCO and the ACCT, American foundations (Ford, Rockefeller) or German foundations, and bilateral cooperation agreements (Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Germany, France) support the actions of the Panos Institute.

The press in Africa as a tool in the democratic process

by Florence Win

Although radio is 'king of the media' in Africa, the press is increasingly becoming an active player in the democratic process.

This has been seen particularly over the last six years in the French-speaking African states where a burgeoning of political parties has been matched by the appearance of an unusually large number of newspapers. In these countries, the press still requires rudimentary political stability - in contrast to English-speaking countries, where it has a much longer tradition and can nowadays be generally regarded as the 'Fourth Estate'.

Nigeria is a good illustration of this. One need only cite the press campaigns mounted there to protest against the Federation's membership of the Islamic Conference Organisation in 1986, and more recently, the support given to Moshood Abiola. The vitality of the Nigerian press is something that deserves to be emphasised. Despite a series of measures over the years aimed at suppressing it (not exclusively by the military authorities) it is still much in evidence. There are demonstrations to support it, and it has 'gone underground' at times, continuing to publish clandestinely. The journalists' struggle intensified in June 1993, when it was recommended that they should exercise 'discretion and self-regulation'. In spite of the problems, the Nigerian press endeavours to remain a source of pressure in Nigeria's political and social arena.

Returning to the French-speaking media, we see that the pace of expansion varies considerably from one country to another. In Benin, for example, current discussions are centred strongly on opening up the country's airwaves.

Is a private press a partisan press?

It is debatable whether the private press is truly independent. In the political sphere, it is often highly partisan while 'economic' independence - in the sense of access to the materials needed to produce a newspaper - is not always possible. Printing and distribution are often subject to monopolies which may constitute a form of disguised censorship for the publishers.

Initiatives aimed at setting up press associations in one form or another have been launched in an attempt to overcome these problems. This helps explain why the SEP (publishers' Society) was established. This group, which hopes to extend its activities throughout the region, is based in Benin where the democratisation process (and the proliferation of press titles) first begun. In many countries, media associations have already been formed covering specific areas such as radio, the press and publishing. There are plans for similar organisations in the field of television. Sometimes, they have printing facilities which are available to other private publications.

The principal challenge facing a general information-based newspaper is that it should appear regularly and on time. The next stage, ideally, is for it to be able to increase its distribution. Initially, a number of newspapers only came out monthly or even every two months. After appearing regularly for several months - and thereby achieving relative financial stability - they then moved to weekly publication.

In most countries, a new legal framework was also adopted, although the application of the legislation has often proved laborious. This is particularly true of the setting up of regulatory authorities. In Senegal, where the media was previously governed by a law passed in 1979 (and amended in 1986), new legislation was enacted at the beginning of 1996. The measure was prompted by concerns over ethical standards, a demand for a more 'responsible' approach, a desire to prevent monopolies developing, and fears of excessive foreign involvement. This year has also seen the implementation of media law amendments in Cote d'lvoire.

The focus of the work of many newly-formed organisations has been the drawing up of a professional code of ethics, with a view to defining the basis of the journalist's profession. In Cote d'lvoire, the OLPED (Press Freedom and Professional Ethics Monitor) was created in September 1995 in Yamoussoukro at a seminar on journalists' responsibilities during elections. The OLPED is made up of 13 members representing publishers, civil society and the nation's journalists. Although the 'Monitor' has only moral authority, it has had considerable influence on journalists' professional consciences.

The OLPED held weekly working sessions up to March 1996 and now meets every two months. One of its main achievements has been to define the criteria whereby a responsible attitude can be guaranteed.


The press can expect to be subject to rigorous supervision during an election campaign - as happened recently in Benin. Indeed, Benin's press has attracted special attention from various national institutions including, most notably, the NGO community. This interest resulted In the organisation of seminars on journalism during an election period, designed to avoid incitements to violence. The HAAC (Audi ovisual and Communications High Authority), responsible for statutory control of the media in the run-up to and during the campaign, took part in these meetings which were aimed at increasing awareness and highlighting the heavy responsibility carried by the media.

Despite a number of incidents during the campaign (which were immediately reported) and although the situation threatened to get out of hand while the country was obliged to wait for the publication of the results of the second round, the press conducted itself in a fairly moderate manner. It should be recalled that there was a great deal of apprehension in Benin before the results were announced with a widespread fear that violence might break out. These fears were given extensive coverage by the media.

The HAAC proved to be central to the electoral process and, ultimately, the press was congratulated by most political leaders in Benin, and by those from abroad who were involved in organising and observing the poll, for the role that it played in the process. By and large, it concentrated on portraying popular expectations.

During an election period, the print media is an essential vehicle of opinion and power, justifying the creation of special titles.

At present, the private press is playing an increasingly important role in the democratic process and the question of its survival appears to have attracted more serious attention from the authorities. In Senegal, a subsidy has been granted to a number of newspapers, subject to certain conditions, and Mali set an example this year by establishing a private press aid fund, with Cote d'lvoire about to follow suit.

The political context which has favoured this flourishing of the private press has had a marked influence on the way it has developed and on the editorial content of most journals - which is strongly focused on politics and 'national' issues. The press has barely had a chance to find its feet on the media scene and in the political process, and it has had to contend with huge economic constraints. Low circulation figures are one key reason for its precarious position - newspapers are read only by an educated, urban minority. However, the press is now embarking on a new course, attempting to establish a loyal readership with a view to guaranteeing its long-term survival.

Independence and integrity ought, of course, to be the hallmark of journalism, although currently it is not possible to say that the profession is dissociated entirely from political militancy. In the past, the press has played a part in undermining the national consensus by promoting division and, on occasion, fomenting exclusion and confrontation. The issue today is whether the sector can now take its place in states governed by the rule of law, representing public opinion and helping to bring about a rapprochement of ideas.


Benin's press on parole?

by Richard Lawson T

When President Mathieu Kkou of Benin granted permission to set up private newspapers in his country, the result was an upsurge of new titles. The following article is written by a journalist who works on one of these publications ('Tam-Tam Express'). He offers an assessment of the way the private press has developed in Benin, and in particular of the ethical and economic challenges it needs to overcome in the new democratic order.

In 1988, President Kkou's revolutionary regime authorised the setting-up of private newspapers in Benin. At the beginning, only a limited degree of freedom was granted to new publications but things have evolved quickly. 'La Gazette du Golfe' and 'Tam-Tam Express', the first independent weeklies to be set up (two years prior to the 1990 national conference), went beyond what the Marxist regime had in mind and effectively achieved press freedom in the face of opposition from the Ministry of Information and Propaganda.

Journalists took advantage of their initial limited freedom to publish reports about political and financial scandals and this, not surprisingly, gave a new lease of life to the media more generally in Benin. In particular, journalists from the national radio and television channels were quick to switch their style of reporting, dispensing with the stereotyped formal language which had previously characterised the public-service media.

Meanwhile, several politically oriented publications came into being ('L'Opinion', 'La Recade', 'Le Canard du Golfe'). This development gave newfound dynamism to the emergence of a free and independent press in the crucial period prior to Benin's national conference, which was held in February 1990.

To date, 170 titles have been registered with the Ministry of the Interior, although barely half of these have been published more than five times. Some appeared only once and many have existed in name only. Publications which have had only a sporadic existence are legion and, in the years between 1991 and 1996, when political power alternated between Presidents Soglo and Kerekou, independent privatepress titles flourished. Unfortunately, they faced a number of problems - such as prohibitive paper and printing costs and poor distribution networks. The result was that many operators were financially ruined as a result of their decision to venture into this area of publication.

Currently, the Benin market has only 20 or so titles which appear on a reasonably regular basis. For the most part, these are two-weekly and monthly publications which concentrate their activities in Cotonou. The audiovisual media are conspicuous by their absence, despite the provisions of the Constitution adopted in December 1990, which gave special powers to the HAAC (Audiovisual and Communications High Authority), particularly as regards guaranteeing 'press freedom' and 'opening up the audiovisual sector'. No one knows when this law will actually be implemented, but it does appear that the Benin Parliament, which sits in Porto Novo, has been giving more attention to this issue since General Kkou's accession to power.

The relationship between the press and the state

Governmen/press relationships are not particularly healthy at the moment. The usual reflex of authorities in any country is to control or manipulate the press wherever possible. At the ORTB (Benin Broadcasting and Television Office), a branch of the public sector, journalists often complain of the pressures they face in processing information. The same is said at the national daily, 'La Nation'. Fortunately, such pressures have not always shaken the resolve of the professional journalists.

The private press has a different problem. In this case, it is the newspaper proprietors who look to collaborate with the political parties. As one publishing editor has said, 'Our problem is more one of allegiance than of harassment'. Virtually all publications are political vehicles for one or other group - which makes nonsense of the code of ethics that is supposed to govern the profession. This phenomenon was most marked during the election period. All the titles that had been in 'hibernation' came to life again and new titles were born, only to disappear once the poll was over. This is also a reflection of the very meagre resources available to most private publishers. Those who do have sufficient means are usually quick to offer allegiance - for example to particular businesses - in order to position themselves more favourably from an economic standpoint. Thus, some of the press rather overtly promotes particular economic interests. Others assiduously woo politicians and, in some cases, use blatant blackmailing techniques. In the latter situation, the 'market' operates on the basis that a file (sometimes assembled from a number of documents) will not be published if an endorsement is given or - what is worse - in return for hard cash. The justification for this shameful practice is that the market is highly restricted, sales of newspapers bring in very little income and advertising is non-existent but the newspaper has to keep going nonetheless. This situation also explains why defamation actions are frequently settled 'out of court' by the parties to the dispute.

A profession fraught with difficulties

Another explanation for the existence of blackmail is the lack of training. The majority of journalists working for private publications come into the profession for want of something better to do, after they have finished their university courses. One experienced journalist refers to these people as mere 'hirelings'. It is only once they have entered the profession that they learn the basics through joining journalists' associations and by receiving support from some of the bilateral-cooperation missions and foundations that are operating in Benin. The country does not, itself, have any colleges of journalism to speak of. Only recently, the national daily newspaper inaugurated a course for young journalists receiving their training on the country's various publications. This course will be spread over one year.

Young journalists working at the national agency, the Benin Press Agency, are trained by WANAD (the West-African National Agencies Development) centre, under the auspices of UNESCO, which is subregional in vocation. The 20 or so trainees have no clear idea of what awaits them when they finish their course - whether all, or just some of them, will be taken on full-time by the agency. Those who are not kept on at the end of their training period are likely to swell the ranks of the 'hirelings' - who seem fated to remain at that level.

The new administration will have to tackle the more general question of aid to the press in order to give a fresh boost to the private sector. This has been facing a real struggle since the devaluation of the CFA franc. The effect of the devaluation was to increase the cost of all the inputs needed for publishing newspapers. A new initiative of the part of the authorities would make it possible to offer more work to journalists and to improve considerably the quality of work they produce. To quote the publisher of a private newspaper: 'The influence of money must be curbed. To do this, the state must grant genuine aid to the press so that the profession can be genuinely free and objective and thereby fulfil the important role it has to play in the consolidation of democracy'. R.L.T.

Current media in the English-speaking Caribbean

by Dr Marjan de Bruin

The author of this abridged article, who leaches et the Caribbean institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) at the Mona (Jamaica) Campus of the University of the West Indies, focuses on some of the peculiarities of press and media development in small island Caribbean states.

The English-speaking

Caribbean comprises thirteen independent nations that are members of Caricom (the Caribbean Community) and a few remaining small dependent territories. The total population is about six million. In most of these countries, the majority of the population is of African descent although in Trinidad and Guyana, about half the people are of Asian (Indian) origin.

The sea, whose name unites the islands, is a serious barrier to communication and social interchange between them. it takes as long to go by plane from Barbados to Jamaica (1200 miles direct, but 2000 miles via Miami) as it takes to cross the Atlantic from Paris to New York (3600 miles) - and the latter journey is usually cheaper! And until fairly recently, telephone calls from neighbouring Caribbean countries without a common language were routed through London, Paris or Miami.

The distances make communications difficult. Mail can take weeks, telephone circuits are often overloaded and, in some countries, unscheduled power cuts often disrupt computer systems at the most inopportune moments.

Communication and the media

The Caribbean has a strong oral tradition. This, together with poverty and an estimated general literacy rate of about 80%, makes radio the most popular medium. Recent studies show, for instance, that 99% of Jamaican households reported having at least one radio at home. In Jamaica alone, three large national radio stations between them broadcast nine hours of prime time call-in radio.

In all Caribbean countries, alongside the mass media, 'alternative' medias play an important role in communication for social change. In some countries, the term simply connotes non mainstream operations. In others it refers to alternative formats which are found in the mainstream media. The term also represents the use of other communication behaviour - popular theatre, dance, music, oral history, story telling. It has been suggested that the increased use of alternative media and alternative uses of mainstream media are an indication of the audience's dissatisfaction with the mainstream mass media.

In most English-speaking Caribbean countries, the government owns some of the major mass media, especially electronic. Only recently has the private sector developed its own strongholds in radio and television. Print has always been an area of mainly private ownership. Only the larger countries have daily newspapers; morning or evening papers - although usually not more than two or three. In the smaller countries the press consists of weeklies, or bi-weeklies.

Government ownership

Ownership or control of media houses by governments is recognised as a serious obstacle to true investigative journalism.The economies of all Caribbean countries are heavily dependent on tourism. Stories on environmental hazards and crises which might affect this essential source of income are subject to explicit or implicit (selfl censorship.

Government ownership in some instances means policy discontinuity over time; each new regime imports its own set of administrators and sometimes even entire newsroom staffs. In other instances, where the same party has ruled for a long time, positions within the media are very stable because they are tied to political loyalty.

Private ownership, however, does not mean an absence of potential pressure or political influences. In Trinidad & Tobago, the country's oldest daily - The Trinidad Guardian - recently lost its Managing Director, its editor and six of its top editorial executives, after the owners - a supermarket chain - pressurised the editor to moderate criticisms of the country's new administration. The owners also tried to convince the managing director and editor to dismiss a columnist who was a disaffected and now hostile former member of the new ruling party. In apparent justification, the owners produced a document which suggested that it was the policy of the Guardian not to endanger the commercial prospects of its owners by injudicious criticism of the powers that be. Caribbean journalists attacked the Guardian ownership for what some saw as an attempt to turn a respected newspaper into the public relations arm of a commercial congLomte. Despite the protests, the Guardian's new editor, a veteran of forty years in journalism, argued that the proprietors had good reason to interfere with his predecessors.

The region's oldest daily, The Jamaica Gleaner (established in 1834) went even further. In an editorial it said: 'In our view the owners have a right to oppose the way in which the judgment of the Editor and others is exercised. The right of the Guardian Board to query content cannot be questioned. It is impossible for a newspaper to be run without the input of the Board of Governors.'

Small markets

Most English-speaking Caribbean countries are relatively small in population as well as area. The number of media organizations is limited. The limited size of the market has important implications for the financial basis of the media, especially the part that is privately-owned. It limits the horizontal mobility of media workers - there are simply not that many options - and it makes the relationship between media and sources extremely vulnerable. There are not that many sources either. It also means that most Caribbean media houses have very limited resources. Many reporters have to cover a wide range of topics. Specialised reporting for instance on the environment, or health, is usually not feasible.

One of the major problems in the Caribbean media is the high proportion of imported television programming. The region is geographically close to the United States and satellite broad casting makes access to the Northern networks even easier. In the ten years from 1976 to 1986, the imported content of four large television stations in the region moved from an average of 78.5% to 87%. When the amount of imported content carried by the smaller stations was included, the average increased to 90% of all material televised.

Privatisation and new technologies

Several of the larger Caribbean countries have seen an explosive growth in the electronic media. Jamaica, which has a population of about 2.5 million living in some 620 000 households, and per capita GDP of $1563, has seen the number of radio stations grow from three to nine and TV stations from one two, in a period of just five years.

Trinidad & Tobago, with 1.2 million inhabitants in 300 000 households, and per capita GDP of $4049, went through a similar process, with seven new radio stations and two new, privately-owned TV stations being set up over the last five years.

Barbados, with a population of 260000 living in about 50000 households has long supported two daily newspapers. There are also two TV stations on the island, while viewers can receive television signals from neighbouring islands. This country has the highest per capita GDP in the region ($5562) after The Bahamas ($10,308).

One positive effect of this intensive growth is certainly to be found in the increased employment opportunities for broadcasters. In the past, journalists risked their careers if they disagreed with their employers. Now people have more options. However, increased competition in a relatively small market also enlarges the risk of commercialisation and a lowering of standards. One does not need to undertake in-depth research to discover that locally-produced television is scarce and not always of the highest standard. It is cheaper to buy foreign programming than to produce original content. Some of the graduates of the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication, who performed above average during their training and education in print journalism, can be seen sliding down the standards scale once they enter the mass media as working journalists. Similarly, the standards of newsrooms are not always high. In fairness to the professionals, it must be said that the decline in standards is partly due to the lack of resources in editorial departments. The major newsrooms in radio and television in Jamaica, still depend on typewriters.

Development of new technologies has contributed to two almost opposite movements. On the one hand, greater access to worldwide networks has widened horizons. On the other, the introduction of cable TV offers, at least in principle, the possibility for small-scale communication initiatives, such as community radio stations either for geographical communities or communities of interest (for example, people or groups interested in the environment).

Satellite dishes, VCRs and computers are breaking down traditional communication borders. In the Jamaican capital, Kingston, 28% of households have a dish and 21% a computer. The picture is very different just 20 miles away, in the neighbouring but rural parish of St Thomas, where the figures are just 1% and 2% respectively. New technologies are affordable for the happy few and are increasing the gap between the 'haves' and 'have-nots' of information.

In all of these societies, computers sit uneasily in otherwise nondigital environments. The information that one works with is usually not computerised. Many records are still handwritten, with data kept on index cards. Computerisation is a costly process for which there is rarely a budget.

Once the hardware is available, it is easy to retrieve data from non Caribbean sources. At the same time, it is barely possible - at least at the moment - to tap into Caribbean data sources. There is no commercial Caribbean software. Page make-up and layout programmes, for instance, rely on non-Caribbean electronic clip-art-images and symbols. It may simply be a matter of time before local products develop, but currently, the main constraints are to do with lack of funds.


How is journalism faring in this environment? The Caribbean context gives journalism a special professional profile. The small size of Caribbean societies has implications for the use of sources. Access is easier, but it also creates sharper dilemmas where loyalty is concerned: most sources are people you know personally and who know you. Anonymity is almost impossible.

Because the societies are so small, you will meet many of the same people in different roles on different occasions. The small scale of the market makes all enterprises in media and journalism very vulnerable to market forces: the withdrawal of one or two major advertisers would endanger the chances of survival of some media houses.

The situation of the press is most marginal in the smaller countries. In Antigua (population 66000), radio and television are controlled either by the Government or by people with close links to those in power. One opposition paper, a trade union publication, has survived several legal assaults by the authorities over the years. The other, little more than a newsletter, has managed to survive into its second year.

In Grenada (population 91000), journalists complain about police harassment of reporters on duty, and in most of the smaller countries, journalists are uneasily aware of the continuing hostility of long-ruling political parties.

The working environment of journalists in Caribbean media organisations is usually more modest compared to that of journalists in rich countries. There is less technology, smaller staffs and lower salaries. In the smaller Caribbean countries, it is not unusual for journalists to have to combine two jobs. Journalism alone cannot pay the bills.

There is a sharp difference between rich and poor in most developing countries. For large sections of the population, the big decisions will have nothing to do with buying a second or a third television set.

It is more likely to be a simple matter of whether there is food on the table tonight. These different priorities obviously influence a journalist's agenda.

In developing economies, this can create serious dilemmas for the journalists: if you know your story is likely to hurt the tourist industry - which happens to be the main national income earner of your country - will pursuing it be a waste of valuable time? And how do you decide on the relevance of a scoop when people - some of whom are your friends - could lose their jobs?



Hilary Brown (1995): American Media Impact on Jamaican Youth: The Cultural Dependency Thesis in 'Globalization, Communications and Caribbean identity', Edited by Hopeton S. Dunn, Kingston, Jamaica, lan Randle Publishers.

Aggrey Brown and Roderick Sanatan !1987). Talking With Whom? A Report a the State of the Media in the Caribbean. Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (Carimac), Kingston, Jamaica.

Aggrey Brown (1995). Caribbean Cultures and Mass Communication Technology: Re-examining the Cultural/ Dependency Thesis, in 'Globalization, Communications and Caribbean Identity'.

'Doctoring' the image

With modern computer technology, it is now very easy for publishers (and film-makers) to dabble with reality. Whereas in the past, you could be reasonably sure that what you saw was a fair representation of what actually happened, today there is no such guarantee.

Recently in the United Kingdom, one of the country's regional newspapers came in for criticism when it published a 'doctored' photograph of a well-known opposition politician. He was captured on film at a social function sitting at a table with a glass of beer in front of him. By the time the paper's computer experts had finished with the photo, it looked as if he was drinking champagne ! When the story broke, the journal thought it expedient to issue an immediate apology. For while this kind of misrepresentation may appear trivial, in the modern age, image is crucial for those who are involved in public life. Put simply, voters' are more likely to look kindly on beer-drinking politicians than on those whose favourite tipple is champagne.

There was a similar case involving an advertisement issued by a well-known car manufacturer. For their publicity in Britain, the company used a landscape photo portraying a selection of their employees. In Poland, the same picture was used but black and Asian workers were no longer to be seen. Their places in the line-up were miraculously taken by people of Caucasian appearance. The advertisers' rather surprising explanation was that this had been a 'mistake'!

Other recent victims of 'doctored' pictures or socalled 'photo collages' have included members of the European Parliament and a senior EC official, although these particular misrepresentations received very little publicity.

Should consumers of printed or broadcast material be entitled to assume that images are never tampered with? And if some doctoring is acceptable, where do you draw the line? The answer to the first question is clearly no. There are certain situations where photo or film enhancement techniques are unobjectionable. We sometimes use them on The Courier cover pages to remove blemishes or fill in gaps which may detract from the main image. In fashion advertising, it is common for the 'look' of the model to be altered. The aim here is to draw the reader's eye to the page so that their attention can then be focused on the product. More dramatic alterations may even be acceptable if it is evident to the reader that a change has been made. Satirical articles, for example, can sometimes be amusingly illustrated with obviously altered images.

Where the practice is reprehensible is where the picture has been changed in a way that leads the reader to draw false conclusions about what he or she is observing. The classic example of this is where the image of a person captured in one setting is placed against a different backdrop, without the reader being informed. This may be done to give either a more positive or a more negative impression (the latter approach is more usual) but in either case, it is dishonest. If a politician allows himself to be photographed on a Caribbean beach while on mission at the taxpayers' expense, even if he was only there during the lunch break for a quick dip, then he can't really complain. But if the picture was actually taken when he was on holiday in Majorca, and superimposed against a more exotic back ground, then both the 'victim' and the reader are being cheated.

There will always be borderline cases, but in principle, it ought to be possible to draw a reasonably clear distinction between 'right' and 'wrong' in this area.

Nonetheless, it is likely that distorted images will continue to be presented to us in the future. In pluralist societies, newspapers and broadcasters operate in a fiercely competitive environment and in theory, this should provide a deterrent. If one media organisation is found to have doctored images in a dishonest way, there will always be plenty of others willing to expose the misbehaviour.

In practice, however, the only real deterrent is the likelihood of a drop in circulation, or lower viewing figures. And while consumers may say they disapprove of journalistic dishonesty (whether in photographs or the written word), there is little evidence to suggest that they react by taking their custom elsewhere. Indeed, in some developed countries, the closer a journal sails to the wind, the more likely it is to enjoy a high circulation!

It used to be said that 'the camera never lies'.

Nowadays, we can't be so certain.


Broadening the debate

In issue 156 of The Courier, we announced the launch of a programme by the European Centre for Development Policy Management on the future of KU-ACP relations beyond LomV. Here, we publish an abridged text supplied by the ECDPM reporting on progress.

After 20 years, the Lomonvention is thought by some not to have lived up to expectations and now that East West rivalry is no longer an issue, many doubt its continued relevance. Questioning, as such, is no bad thing, provided it takes place in a fair and unbiased manner and is not used as a pretext to abandon the acquis of more than 20 years of cooperation. This is the rationale behind a number of private and official initiatives to redefine KU-ACP cooperation.


The ECDPM's post-tome IV exercise has now been up and running for more than a year. Consultations have been held in more than 20 ACP countries, involving representatives from the private and non-governmental sectors, officials in the National Authorising Offices, EC delegations, regional organisations and research centres. A number of strong impressions have emerged from these interviews. In the first place, the initial comment of many NGOs and private sector representativ was essentially 'what is in it for us?'. This points to a lack of knowledge of the Convention in non-governmental circles and suggests that this complicated instrument is not entirely 'user-friendly'. Its government to government character was also criticised. There were calls for ACP-KU relations to be opened up to the private sector and civil society. In this context, experience with decentralised cooperation was seen as encouraging.

Second, the benefits of the Lomrade provisions were highlighted with fears being expressed about what would happen after the year 2000. It was felt that at a time when many ACPs are undergoing structural adjustment, and the private sector is getting its act together, a clearer European commitment in this area would benefit both sides.

Various actors from the private, NGO and research communities indicated a willingness to engage in debate on redefining mutual ACP-KU interests and on the design of a new cooperation contract. Some of them had an opportunity to present their views at an ECDPM conference on the future of KU-ACP relations held on 12-14 June.

It is clear that the process of reflection is now firmly under way. At the institutional level, the Joint Assembly began as far back as February 1995, when it launched an action plan to revitalise KU-ACP cooperation. This year, it asked Senator Jean-Louis Firmin of Haiti to draw up a report on the future of the Lomonvention. It also requested the Social Partners to tackle the issue at their next annual meeting in November 1996. On the European side, the Commission will present a Green Paper later this year while the ACPs are also studying the question. Last November, the ACP Council resolved that Heads of State should meet before the end of 1997 to agree on a joint position.


All this activity suggests a real awareness of what is at stake. Many obstacles have to be overcome, however, if a new type of partnership is to emerge. The main pillars of Europe's commitment to the ACP countries - aid and trade - both appear under threat. It will be necessary to redefine mutual interests - beyond the negative interdependencies - so that they can serve as a basis for a more modern and effective partnership. Greater creativity will also be required to find new forms of EU support on ACP trade issues that are compatible with World Trade Organisation obligations.

An in-depth rethink of ACP-KU cooperation will significantly benefit from inputs by actors traditionally excluded from the discussions - who are anxious to participate in redefining cooperation ties. For instance, in Namibia, NGOs called for formal consultation mechanisms for non-governmental actors. Similarly, economic operators meeting in Trinidad in November called for a new Europe-Caribbean partnership. There should also be a role for applied research conducted in ACP centres. There is already a joint research project on the future of West Africa Europe relations and similar initiatives are being formulated elsewhere.

The plea for a debate that is open to the key ACP actors should be taken on board by decision-makers and negotiators - and thus far, they have proved receptive. However, two conditions are needed to maintain this fruitful exchange. First, ACP stakeholders need to be able to base their views on full knowledge of the facts and issues. It is essential that the Convention's authors make a major effort to provide more and better information. The ECDPM is willing to play a part in this. Initiatives already under way include the development of EUFORIC - a Forum on the Internet for specialised information on European development cooperation - and the preparation of practical guides to the Lomonvention. Enhanced access to information can help all partners move towards a real dialogue. Second, forms and channels for dialogue. need to be devised to ensure that an open debate is sustained beyond the initial reflections taking place within the EU and ACP groups.


'Re-compromising' development aid for the future

by Jos Jonckers

The author of this article offers an academy critique of *e challenges facing the global system of development cooperation in the post-cold War era. He argues that the old compromises that have shaped development assistance since the Second World War have broken down and pleads for a radical re-think of the strategy in order to 'enable' fess affluent societies to gain from the advent of global 'free market democracy'

Let us face it. International development early 50 years, the developed world has taken aid for granted. It no longer does. In real terms, it has started to give less. The expected 'peace dividend' has not materialised and scepticism is rising. Aid and solidarity are considered old-fashioned concepts. Progress and development, it is increasingly argued, must come from cooperation based on mutual interest and a businesslike approach.

Aid scepticism is at its highest in the USA. A conservative majority in Congress promotes radical 'winner' recipes and aid has been slashed. Slowly but surely, America is getting out of the development business. Lacking domestic support, the Clinton administration seeks to 'rescue' the country's aid programme by seeking more cooperation with other donors - particularly the KU, whose solidarity horizons do not yet stop at its own borders. But even here, horizons are shrinking. European aid to its immediate neighbours in the East and the southern Mediterranean basin has risen. Happy and prosperous neighbours suddenly seem more important than distant friends in need.

Has the end of the cold war marked the beginning of a cold world - where international solidarity is being dismantled together with the nuclear warheads? Or could we be experiencing the beginning of a fundamental reshaping of international solidarity and aid between nations?

Beyond altruism - self interest

International aid has always involved a compromise within affluent society. People and nations are not normally disposed to give something away unless they receive something in return. Any attempt at understanding and reshaping the future of development aid must therefore start from the premise that those providing development aid do so as a result of a complex and evolving compromise between altruism and self-interest.

Affluent countries are usually only interested in assisting poorer ones when the effect is to strengthen their international leadership, and in some way to enhance their security and material wellbeing. Looked at in this context, we must recognise that development aid, whatever its altruistic aims, will only exist if it also serves the legitimate, albeit more selfish agenda of the donor. It also means that the compromise which gives aid its rationale in affluent society changes over time: aid is regularly 'recompromised'. In secure and prosperous times, donors are more inclined to forego self-interest and to cooperate in the interest of less affluent countries. In times of insecurity, the altruistic dimension is likely to diminish in importance.

In colonial times, systematic aid flows first emerged as a result of a compromise between expansionist Northern governments and Christian society with its own 'colonizing' clergy. Decolonisation had the effect of increasing insecurity in most former colonial powers. In an attempt to safeguard the capital they had 'invested' in their overseas territories, following the latter's independence, they increasingly shaped aid with a view to 'buying' goodwill from the new rulers. This process, which 'recompromised' aid from a colonial into a neocolonial form, resulted in the secular, institutionalised arrangement now known as 'bilateral aid'. In addition, during the Cold War, Western aid was used increasingly as a device to stop the Third World joining the Second World (the communist bloc). The result was an aid system which was both more internationalised and more politicised.

The next stage came with the end of the Cold War. Communism had joined colonialism and fascism in the dustbin of history. Affluent Western society had emerged as the winner. With it came the Western vision for stability, peace and progress: a world of sovereign nations, organised on the basis of democratic and capitalist market principles and committed to respect for each other's territory and for basic human rights. Today, capitalism has become the norm in most nation states. Long-time sceptics such as India, and even convinced opponents such as China and Vietnam, have embraced it. Democracy has not yet achieved the same coverage, but it is sailing forward under favourable conditions. Political pluralism is steadily being consolidated in much of East and Central Europe, while dictatorial regimes in Africa, Asia and Latin America are now the exception.

The effect of all of this has been a speedy erosion of the terms of the compromise on which development aid thrived for so long. In a rapidly globalis ing,multi-polar world, the old approaches appear increasingly redundant. From this perspective, the current aid crisis is not surprising and is not necesarily a bad thing. Western affluent society is essentially trying to come to terms with the demystification of its development aid, as part of a process of reshaping it for the future.

Three 'recompromising' strategies

As in the past, the recompromising process is influenced by both self-interest and altruism in affluent society. Three trends can be identified.. The first, which is the most idealistic, involves restoring altruism. This approach seeks to 'purge' aid of the perverse political and economic compromises and contradictions caused by decades of neocolonial and Cold-War self-interest. It has impacted on aid in several ways. First, it has given a significant boost to humanitarian aid - the most altruistic form - at the expense of development assistance. Second, it has led to a 'decentralisation' of aid - with more assistance being channelled through organisations such as NGOs, that have an 'uncompromised' altruistic profile. Third, it has led to a 'deconstruction' of development aid along idealistic-altruistic lines. 'Women in development', 'child health', 'environment'and 'poverty alleviation' are all examples of deconstructed labels around which aid is increasingly being structured and justified. Finally, it has prompted an 'intellectualisation' of development aid with the particular purpose of tightening its altruistic aims. For example, the Logical Framework Approach, the concept of 'sustainable development', the UNDP's Human Development Index and various experiments with more 'accountable' project management systems, have all essentially been devised as ways of encapsulating and supporting the altruistic intentions that lie behind aid.

The second recompromising strategy, which may be summed up in the expression be businesslike, approaches development cooperation much more skeptically. Aid, it is argued, only makes sense if it leads to real progress and development - and the prevailing view is that this is not happening. The approach is fueled by the obsession of trying to measure progress with the help of business tools such as 'output', 'impact', 'efficiency', 'rates of return' and so on. This has led to burgeoning aid 'evaluation'. It has also probably contributed to the discovery of aid failures which, in turn, has prompted growing criticism of aid agencies and operators. The businesslike strategy has gained further ground because of the failure of many countries to achieve any real progress in recent decades. Its advocates argue that the compromises which undermined aid's development impact in the past are inherently linked with its altruistic nature. The conclusion is that altruistic aid will seldom or never work. The strategy has impacted on aid in a number of ways being, for example, the major cause of so-called 'aid fatigue'. It has also prompted a search for ways to enhance cooperation for mutual benefit, indeed transforming the narrow, pre Cold War trade cooperation link with developing countries into a much broader and rapidly growing economic cooperation approach. Finally, it has sought to enhance aid's impact on the economic conditions and growth prospects of developing countries through more ambitious, structural-oriented forms of aid.

Regionalism, the third major strategy, is linked to globalisation. Rooted in human survival psychology, this approach prompts nations in close proximity to form 'strategic' coalitions. In the post-Cold War era, development aid is one of the instruments used by affluent regions to strengthen their position in a 'globalising' environment. The strategy entails promoting 'open' regionalism elsewhere in the world and capitalising on this to create linkages and interactions which enhance their own influence or hegemony. From the point of view of the international political economy, this makes perfect sense. Having succeeded in making the 'world of nations' accept capitalism and democracy, it is through the consolidation process of free market democracy in other countries and regions that powerful affluent nations will seek to gain maximum advantage.

Need for a vision

With this improved insight into the dynamics that have been reshaping development aid, is it now possible to go further and develop a more political vision of relations between affluent and less affluent nations in future?

Free market democracy, having endured the 'crises' of decolonisation, fascism and communism, has succeeded in promoting stability and peace within and between nations. Its main strength has probably been its crucial enabling function, with an increasing number of people and nations now in a position to 'earn' a better future. It appears that the model has the capacity to generate fairly equitable growth and progress, which is presumably why more and more countries are turning to it. As is so often the case, however, the strength of the system also contains the seeds of its weakness. Conceived as an 'enabling' mechanism, it results in the categorisation of those who fail to 'be enabled' as 'unable'. Marginalised because they cannot participate and perform in the system, the excluded (whether individuals or states) are dubbed 'losers'.

They are seen as a burden and a threat by the 'winners'.

The result is disparity in society.

Experience in most affluent nations suggests that despite the enabling environment created by free market democracy, up to a quarter of the population finds itself unable to perform effectively, and is marginalised as a result. Moreover, there seems to be an upward trend in the numbers affected by unemployment, underemployment and poverty. Disparity never occurs without some cost to society, which is a good reason why it ought to be minimised. The costs come mainly in the form of internal transfers earned (but foregone) by the active, 'winning' section of society. In more sociallyinspired, free market democracies, it is accepted that marginalisation resulting from the model's shortcomings must be minimised and/or adequately compensated for. In more conservative free market democracies, exclusion is seen more as a weakness of individuals than of the system. Compensatory transfers are generally kept to a minimum to induce people to 'break out' of their situation. But while such societies may save on 'empathetic' transfers, they will generally need to spend much more of their wealth defending against threats posed by growing disparity, such as crime, drug-trafficking and political extremism.

The costs of disparity are political as well as financial. Genuine democracy is based on the participation of a representative majority of citizens. In affluent societies, however, a growing minority no longer participates. The real danger stems from the fact that this is highly skewed. It is the same, growing, marginalised minority that is 'unable' to participate which is also withdrawing from democratic involvement. The result is alienation from the political system and an erosion of democracy to the extent that its very survival may be threatened.

What is really at stake

Having conquered most of the world's nations, free market capitalism is now set to conquer the world of nations, helped by technological advances in communications, transport and computer technology. Economists have amply shown that the interdependence resulting from free international competition need not be detrimental. Indeed, because global capitalism ensures that ideas, initiatives and resources can be 'put to work' anywhere in the world - wherever they generate most profit - interdependence is usually seen as mutually beneficial. In essence, it confirms what might be called the global enabling effect of free-market capitalism. The basic thesis is that the adoption by less affluent nations of free market democracy should 'enable' many more of them to improve the lives of their people in the coming decades. The boost engendered by this 'enabling effect' will, in turn, help to sustain progress in the more affluent countries.

If this is the aim, then a new vision should progressively inspire future cooperation between the affluent and less affluent countries. The first concern should be to define 'purpose' and 'interest' much more in terms of system and process, than of output. What really matters is the 'enabling potential' of free market democracy in the specific context of the less affluent countries. How something is achieved and by whom should take precedence over what is achieved. The ultimate aim must be to ensure that free-market democracy 'takes root' in less affluent nations and is able to determine who does what and how.

A second major concern should be to maximise the 'enabling potential' of free market democracy for the most vulnerable sections of individual populations. As mentioned earlier, up to a quarter of the people in affluent societies are excluded. In poorer countries, the figure is much higher. If free market democracy fails to enable a significant proportion of this marginalised group, then it will not take root. And if the poor cannot be mobilised, the growth that does occur will be highly skewed, leading to growing disparity.

A third point is to ensure that the 'global enabling' effect of free market capitalism does not become the exclusive preserve of deregulated capital and the 'winners' who control it, leading to new forms of exploitation and disparity. The concern must be to find a way of directing the combined forces of 'capitalism without borders' and 'democracy within borders' in such a way that it leads to a genuinely better world in which the number of 'losers' is dropping and disparities are diminishing.

A historic perspective

It is useful at this stage to take a look at the history of capitalism. Freemarket democracy delivered affluence to about a third of the global population over the last century mainly because of the 'accommodation' between labour and capital in an enabling environment created by 'Fordist' mass-production and consumption. A similar accommodation is now needed to enable global free market democracy to extend material wellbeing to the remaining two thirds of the (continually growing) world population, while at the same time sustaining it among the existing affluent third. It is no longer an accommodation between capitalists and workers that is required, however, but one between the affluent and the less affluent.

Fordism basically transformed the 'interdependent' stake of capital and labour in the economic pie, into a 'joint stake' - leading to the production of a larger pie. By analogy, what is needed today is to ensure that affluent and less affluent societies develop a joint stake in the production of a larger 'global pie' as a result of new technologies and more efficient, globalised modes of production. Attracting and sustaining capitalist investment in such modes will increasingly depend on demand and consumption structures which guarantee that poorer societies share with affluent ones the benefits of such global production systems. In the same way that a larger 'mess-produced pie' was dependent on higher and more equitable mass consumption, so will a larger 'globally-produced pie' depend increasingly on higher and more equitable global consumption. In this context, the principal policy aim of development cooperation should be to ensure that growth resulting from globalisationis both enabling and disparity-reducing.

The disabling effect of 'poor' competition

Driven by the powerful motive of capital accumulation, globalisation has the tendency to promote competition. In principle, this should be a good thing, but left unchanneled, it can have negative effects. One might draw an analogy between the conquering of the global market and the spread of water during a flood. The water always takes the easiest route, entering the most vulnerable areas first where it causes the most damage. Likewise, globalization, fueled by 'deregulated' capital, often tends to promote competition where it is easiest, but where it is not necessarily beneficial. This is the case, for example, in less affluent countries, where poverty is exploited to achieve what might be dubbed a 'poor' competitive advantage - in the sense that it is based on disparity, but also in that, far from 'enabling', it may actually have the opposite effect. Child labour, sex tourism, environmentally destructive tourism, tropical forms logging, the export of industrial pollution and misuse of intellectual property are all examples of 'disabling' competition resulting from global disparity. In a rapidly globalising world this is ultimately damaging to all concerned, which is why both affluent and less affluent nations have an interest in reducing the gap.

All of this points to the need for a major redefinition of society's role in general and of aid in particular. During the colonial and Cold War periods, development cooperation was progressively uprooted and alienated from society. Serving an increasingly complex and non-transparent agenda, it became more and more a 'cockpit' affair, piloted by a small specialised crew - and it found itself flying higher and higher above society. In short, affluent society lost touch with development cooperation and aid. Occasionally, the media intervened to 're-establish contact' but the result was that development aid usually only attracted mainstream public attention when things had gone terribly wrong.

Turning vision into action

If the aim is to have affluent and less affluent society working together to ensure that the latter adopts 'free market democracy'- and can adapt it in a way which benefits both - it is vital that the former be reconnected to the business of development cooperation. The affluent must be challenged to help transform their less affluent partners, in the interested and creative manner of a minority stakeholder. They must be ready to share the wealth of knowledge and experience generated in their own process of development. Representatives of all walks of affluent life should therefore be provided with greater opportunity for dialogue and cooperation with their less affluent counterparts. Increasingly easy and cheap communications and transport should facilitate this. This new form of stakeholdership will not happen, however, unless affluent society can be imbued with the new vision.

Donors should actively support the process. Instead of spending most of their time and resources determining the scope and content of development cooperation, they should step down from their cockpit. Their new role should be as brokers and facilitators of cooperation. An initial priority must be to extol the vision itself. As this gathers momentum, they should then turn to 'brokering' it in practice - acting as a catalyst between the affluent and less affluent in order to facilitate 'enabling' cooperation between them. The development of an effective brokerage profile and methodology will probably entail important changes in the way that donors work. They need to move much closer to their constituency, and to be made democratically accountable again.

As mentioned earlier, the concept of enabling cooperation concentrates on who does what, and how. Essentially, therefore, it should be seeking to mobilise democratic and free market forces in less affluent societies. The advantage of working this way is that change and progress will be determined primarily from within the society in question - with cooperation as a source of encouragement. Such an approach also entails acceptance of the fact that the pace of progrms must be left much more to the enabling forces of the maturing democracies and free markets, however weak and imperfect these may still appear. Indeed, the central purpose of cooperation should be to help these fore" become stronger. To achieve this, cooperation will need to move away from an emphasis on engineering outputs to one which involves 'messaging' the system and process. And it is not just methodologies that need to be altered; there must also be a radical change in cooperation mentality. Thus, for example, donors should attempt to broker cooperation which is 'small but smart'. Advancing 'best practice' might be another creative way to pursue cooperation which is enabling. And while some output-related decision techniques can still be used, these must be creatively reshaped to support a more 'enabling' approach.

In conclusion, this enabling vision entails an awareness of the imperfections of free-market democracy, combined with a conviction that it offers enormous potential for the less affluent countries of the world. 'Recompromising' development aid for the future will mean reshaping it to support a process of adoption and adaptation of free market democracy in less affluent countries which is highly 'enabling'. The result should be a system of international solidarity which is working for free-market democracy, rather than as a substitute for it.


The effects of corruption on development

by Dieter Frisch

Corruption - defined as 'the abuse of public power for personal ends' - has always existed. During recent decades, however, it has grown both in terms of geographic extent and intensity. Since the mid 1970s, it has infiltrated virtually every country in the world.

It was hoped that the easing of political and economic restrictions that characterised the 1990s after the end of the Cold War would have gone some way to reducing this phenomenon. Through increased openness resulting from political pluralism and the freedom of the press, the process of democratisation should, under normal circumstances, mobilise efforts to overcome corruption. However, emergent democracies are still fragile and seem to find the task of tackling established self interests a formidable one.

By reducing state intervention and therefore the opportunities for corruption, economic liberalisation should improve matters. In the short term, however, the opposite would appear to be true. Weakened state structures, a lack of appropriate legislation, powerlessness on the part of the judicial system to combat corruption, the pursuit of easy money - mistakenly perceived by some as being equivalent to a market economy - all these factors together contribute to aggravating the phenomenon, at least in the transitional stages. Such a state of affairs cannot fail to have some effect on those who are involved in and concerned by development issues.

Needless to say, corruption and its effects can be seen from a multitude of viewpoints. There is always the ethical angle - but how can we possibly presume to preach to countries of the South and East when bribery is just as rife in the North and when, as far as corruption within international economic relations is concerned, it is in fact, virtually by definition, the North who is the corrupter and the South and East who are the corrupted? The only possible reply to such an argument - and one which is morally disputable even though economically valid - would be that the rich North can afford the luxury of wasting some of its wealth whereas in the case of developing countries, their sparse financial resources need to be used in the best way possible! Other lines of reasoning emphasise the distortions that corruption causes in the fair application of conditions of competition by penalising successful, yet honest, undertakings.

A major obstacle in the path of development

In my opinion, corruption should be approached from the point of view of the effects it has on development. I say this because long professional experience has taught me that corruption is one of the major obstacles to progress, and that its effects on development are disastrous.

Some people would no doubt counter this assertion with the 'cultural' argument whereby they would have us believe that, in certain cultures, corruption is quite normal and morally acceptable. Well I do not know of a single place on earth where growing rich through taking bribes is considered lawful or morally acceptable! I should like to quote Olusegun Obansanjo, former President of Nigeria, on the subject: 'In the African concept of appreciation and hospitality, a gift is a token. It is not demanded. The value is in the spirit of the giving, not the material worth. The gift is made in the open for all to see, never in secret. Where the gift is excessive, it becomes an embarrassment, and is returned. If anything, corruption has perverted the positive aspects of this age-old tradition'.

Then there are the cynics - including renowned professors - who claim that corruption oils the wheels of progress and enables development to take place. In this respect again, and putting all ethical aspects aside, it would be worthwhile distinguishing between the small baksheesh which 'helps' certain administrative procedures along ('acceleration fees') and large-scale corruption which perverts the course of de velopment. This does not of course mean that we should underestimate the destructive effects that even small-scale corruption can have on society!

Yet others have simply resigned themselves to the situation. For them, corruption is intrinsically linked to underdevelopment. As long as a person's normal income does not provide him with a decent living, the door will always be open to bribes. It is, therefore, through development that we should be attempting to eradicate corruption. Yet this argument is reminiscent of the debate on the population explosion. It is only through development, some say, that the problems of population growth will be resolved. But by then, the planet will be inexorably overpopulated! In my opinion, the same argument is just as valid as far as corruption is concerned. We simply cannot wait for it to be stamped out through development. (In any case, development is hardly a miracle cure: true, we have the examples of Singapore and Hong Kong where corruption is extremely uncommon, but we could also mention Italy, where it was precisely at the height of the country's development that corruption became the norm). We must act therefore, and without delay, focusing our efforts on eradicating large-scale corruption.

If we analyse some of the effects that corruption has on development, the first thing we notice is that it increases the cost of goods and services, and not insignificantly either. Although a 5% reduction in the profit margin might, at a pinch, be absorbed by the supplier, corruption levels of 10% to 20%, which have become commonplace, will inevitably be reflected in the price and will, consequently, be paid for through the national or foreign (in the case of foreign aid) resources of a country. It is therefore the national economy that ultimately suffers the consequences of an unjustified surcharge on the goods or services, with the difference being pocketed by some government official or politician who has abused his power for his own personal gain. Given that such operations are generally financed by bank loans or, in the case of foreign aid, by concessional loans, these surcharges inevitably bring about a proportionate increase in that country's debts. In fact it is now assumed that the exchange value of sums paid out in backhanders makes up a considerable proportion of the foreign debts of developing countries.

However, the damaging effects of such practices do not stop there. The corrupt decision-maker may well be tempted to accept a substandard quality of service which will make his personal profit all the greater. Thus, with a road building project for example, complicity between government departments and contractors may result in corner-cutting with regard to agreed standards of quality so that the savings made may be shared out between the two parties.

At their very worst, the disastrous effects of corruption mean that the conception of a project, and ultimately its very choice, are determined by corruption. As far as conception is concerned, a good example would be the purchase of a technology which is wholly unsuited to the particular needs of a country or the choice of a capital intensive project - more lucrative in terms of corruption - rather than a labour-intensive one which would nevertheless be far more beneficial to that nation's development.

The absolute peak of perversion, however, is when the very choice of priorities - and therefore of projects - is determined by corruption. What we are referring to here are those situations in which the real development priorities of a country are neglected in favour of operations which generate the greatest personal gain for the decision-makers. At this point I would like to quote R Godeau, writing in Jeune Afrique: 'These currency-guzzling abortive projects have become a graveyard of white elephants. Africa is littered with vast deserted motorways which are being eroded by the Savannah, with fully functional but empty factories which have been left to fall into ruin only a few years after they were opened, with railway lines which are now impassable through a lack of maintenance, and with hydroelectric dams abandoned because they cost too much to run'. Let us pick up on the point about empty factories. These 'follies of development' are to be found in many developing countries and in Africa in particular. Some have never produced, others have failed to reach full production capacity while others still face such prohibitive costs that big state subsidies are needed to keep them going. If we follow the thread right back to the beginning we find, more often than not, that factories have been sold without ensuring real competition between suppliers. Admittedly, such projects usually have only private-sector backing (they are rarely financed through official aid), but the funding is nonetheless backed by state-controlled bodies. The existence of corruption in such cases must be more than mere presumption - what other reason could there be for making decisions which run so counter to the interests of development? In his work 'Grand Corruption in Third World Development', George Moody-Stuart identified those areas which are especially vulnerable to corruption. These are most notably, the procurement of military and other technically sophisticated equipment, and large-scale works (in other words, any major, capital-intensive project and any scheme where objective valuation and comparison is hampered because of the technical sophistication involved).

It is worthwhile mentioning at this point that a country which borrows money to finance projects that do not satisfy its real needs, and which may indeed be considered economically futile or absurd, will see its debt burden increase - and not simply by the 10% to 20% that is used to fund 'backhanders'. The loss will ultimately be 100% if one views it in terms of the cost of the unproductive investment to the national economy. Discussions about the debts of developing countries rarely focus on the mechanisms which have produced these debts. Yet in most cases, they have become unserviceable on account of the ineffective use of overseas aid - the sort of bad management to which corruption contributes considerably.

What is more, by deflecting the sparse resources which do exist towards non-priority or low-priority areas, corruption contributes to a large extent to ensuring that fundamental needs such as food, health and education, are not met. It is therefore one of the causes of under development and of poverty in general. Needless to say, official aid is often called upon to make good the deficit left by the irresponsible management of otherwise available resources. Is it any surprise if, in the long run, public opinion in the countries of the North begins to grow weary of bridging gaps which efficient management of resources should never have allowed to appear in the first place? How are we to convince European taxpayers that it is they who need to provide the money to fund bush clinics in countries which put their funds in prestige projects, if not directly into Swiss bank accounts?

A vicious circle that must be broken

Effectively, we find ourselves in a 'catch-22'situation. Corruption is one of the causes of under development and poverty, yet poverty is in part responsible for its continuation. If a person cannot earn an honest living for himself and his family, then he is more or less forced into earning it by less honest means. Hence corruption is both the cause and the consequence of under development. In order to break the pattern we must therefore combat large-scale corruption inasmuch as it is a significant cause of underdevelopment and we must work gradually to eradicate the reasons for its propagation in society, and in particular to remedy the notorious lack of adequate income to ensure a decent standard of living.

In general terms, we can say that corruption also kills off the spirit of development. Nothing is more destructive to a society than the pursuit of 'a fast and easy buck' which makes honest people who work hard appear naive or foolish. That is why, in the context of economic reforms under the heading of 'structural adjustment', it is vital that the model advocated be one of a market economy based on a sound framework of legislation and on an efficient state. It should not allow free rein to the sort of ruthless capitalism which is aimed at immediate profit at all costs. The example of certain transition countries in the East, where a market economy has become synonymous with the law of the jungle, the Mafia and corruption, really should make us stop and think.

In the final analysis, an economy undermined by corruption has the effect of discouraging potential foreign investors and public donors. Yet if development is to succeed, countries have to be able to attract a flow of capital. As Serge Michailof put it: 'Success attracts money. Waste, failure and chaos drive it away'. And although investors are very keen to do business, with the exception of a few opportunists, they all look for host countries that have a stable and predictable climate. Entrepreneurs have been known to withdraw from certain African countries - which are nevertheless rich in resources - because of the constraints imposed on them by corruption on a scale which they considered to be unacceptable. As for public donors, they are increasingly reluctant to offer financial aid to those countries that manage their own resources poorly. It is precisely this failing which is one of the causes of what we now refer to as 'aid fatigue'. Financial aid institutions should go as far as suspending their cooperation in blatant cases of corruption and bad management, just as they do in cases of serious violation of human rights. Conversely, 'good governance' should be the determining factor when allocating aid, and it would appear that Article 5 of the revised LomV Convention does in fact foresee such an approach.

In conclusion, far from reserving the foregoing criticisms for countries of the South, I believe that the partners of the North have their part to play in the ravages wrought by corruption, be it only as a result of the inconsistencies between their development cooperation policies and their export promotion policies. Basing our assumptions on the principle that cooperation efforts are genuinely motivated by concerns for development - and I can attest that this is precisely the motivation behind the policies of the European Union, which I have served for a great many years - we should not forget that Western countries have a tendency to promote exports, by other means, without any consideration for the effects this has in terms of development. They thus contribute to the dishonest practices which we have been discussing. The fact that they tolerate, or even go as far as to encourage corruption as a means of promoting exports - restricting the application of the criminal law to acts committed on their own territory and allowing corruption to be taxdeductible under the heading of 'necessary expenses' - seems to me to be absolutely scandalous. In the AlortR too, the battle against the canker of international corruption is a formidable one. But it is a fight to which we are committed in the context of 'Transparency International' This NGO, which was created in 1993, makes its services available to any country which genuinely wishes to eradicate the scourge of corruption.


National park restoration in Chad: luxury or necessity?

by Phllippe Dejace

Terms like 'democracy' and 'sustainable development' are increasingly used to keep donors happy, and to present new development projects in the most favourable possible light. With this in mind, it is interesting to look at an example from 'the field' to see how genuine the commitment actually is. Adherence to these concepts has undoubtedly made a positive contribution to environmental protection, but there is also a negative side

Since 1989, the Zakouma National Park in south-east Chad has been undergoing restoration in a programme supported by the KU. Devastated by a decade of conflict, this wildlife sanctuary of nearly 3000 square kiLomes was little more than a huge graveyard in 1986 when Pierre Pfeffer of the Paris Natural History Museum visited it and decided to campaign for its restoration. Today, this is recognised to have been a sensible decision. It is acknowledged that wildlife are better off when they have a reasonably large area in which to live, away from human activity. Aerial counts made in 1986, 1991 and 1995 confirm that animal numbers are on the increase in the park and that irreversible destruction has been averted. Currently, Zakouma is the only area effectively being protected in Chad. The other designated sites (one park and seven reservations) remain impoverished and in a state of near devastation.

Recognising the challenge

One should not be lulled into complacency. Even when a process involving local village communities is initiated, the low standard of living of the inhabitants, their educational level, and the progressive deterioration of vegetation around protected areas in variably make the latter a tempting 'target'. In these circumstances, it is very hard to preserve their integrity. At Zakouma, a busy time lies ahead. The local people must be educated and informed as quickly as possible. This presents us with the first hurdle given the inadequacy of the education sector. The Ministry of Education is underfunded and with growing numbers of pupils in the system, it is virtually impossible to plan special programmes aimed at increasing awareness of this particular problem.

There are other reasons why there should be short-term investment in this sector. There are good arguments for preserving a few control sites while the awareness programme is under way, since these will one day serve to illustrate what can be achieved. It is also much less difficult to preserve an area than to try to reconstitute it, once desertification has set in. The site is part of the national heritage whose value can only increase. Moreover, in most cases, the protected areas ensure the survival of fish stocks in lakes and rivers downstream and act as a reservoir for game: many of the animals which breed there provide food for the people living at the zone's edges. Even frequent wholesale slaughter of wildlife, as happens during a war, is reversible if the vegetation remains intact.

Although the park is cut off from human activity (the area is flooded and therefore closed, to all intents and purpose, for four months of the year), it has an uncertain future. It faces pressure from itinerant herdsmen and poachers, the latter tracking giraffe right up to the outskirts of Zakouma village, which is in the middle of the park. Although located in a wildlife reserve of 20 000 km2 - which is supposed to be a buffer zone - the park is not truly protected because human activity inside the reserve is not controlled. In the dry season, the park teems with wildlife. A clear density gradient has been identified with the animal population dropping as you move from the centre to the periphery. Indeed, only about a third of the 3000 km2 is intensively exploited by the wildlife which lives there - and even this area is relatively insecure.

Enclosure would give those who are keen to defend the park a grace period in which to set up long-term awareness strategies. Ironically, one danger results from the striking democratisation that has taken place in Chad. To win votes, some politicians have called for the bans applying to the park to be lifted. This approach has the potential to succeed because, owing to shortfalls in the education system, the electorate is insufficiently mature in political terms. Another factor is that traditional leaders, seeing their power progressively diminish, are inclined to 'revolt'. Thus, they may fail to intervene when stockmen deliberately invade the park, encouraged by demagogues in search of votes. When the grasslands are invaded by cattle, few wild animals can compete and they are forced to retreat to the central area of the park. Against this background of a need for urgent action, the Zakouma Park team is concentrating its awareness-raising efforts on traditional leaders and the administrative authorities - rather than on teaching schoolchildren about environmental protection (although such a campaign is also envisaged).


Some argue that setting up a 'sustainable and participation-based development' strategy would make it possible to avoid the situation that now exists in Zakouma. The idea behind such a strategy - which clearly has its attractions - is that man is perfectly capable of managing his native territory. All that is needed is for him to be granted land and to receive support for his initiatives. Many who espouse this approach continue to despatch teams to demonstrate that this is the ideal response. Unfortunately, in the particularly complicated case of managing the environment on the fringes of a national park, the local people are usually reluctant to make the investment. The more normal inclination is to reap a short-term profit from resources that are within reach. The inhabitants are also tired of the lectures they get from specialists who visit for just a few hours. The scope of the problem is such that expertise needs to be available on an ongoing basis. Considerable resources are also needed to ensure.that the effort is sustained.

It is not easy to halt environmental destruction in a market economy which has overturned traditional values and gives priority to increasing personal wealth and consumption. A natural environment's potential for exploitation is always limited. Yet stock-rearing involves the use of animals 'selected' over thousands of years to take maximum advantage of the least scrap of vegetation. By contrast, a wild animal is much more selective and never ruins the environment it exploits. It may even be able to adapt its reproductive cycle to the available food resources! We are nowhere near this situation in domestic stockbreeding!

This is where 'sustainable development', which sounds highly reassuring, appears at odds with reality. Beyond a certain threshold, one cannot avoid depleting the resource. If one is to adopt an approach that involves the population actively, one must acknowledge that their response may fall short of what is needed. Indeed, they may do things which provoke migration, and are thus damaging. Thus, for example, the opening-up of a water source may attract more nomadic herdsman, thereby undermining rather than enhancing the surrounding area.

Awareness programme

The single most significant step towards protecting the park would be to ease population pressure, but progress in this area is very limited. We can only wait for the birthrate to decrease; something which invariably happens as a country develops. But what will become of the national parks in the meantime? In Zakouma, an eco-development team is currently listening to the villagers' claims. As elsewhere, an attempt is being made to gain time. Unfortunately, the current climate of transparency in Chad, which is one of the positive aspects of democratisation and should be a major asset, has not had much impact in this area. The awareness programme suffers from a serious lack of trained workers and when meetings are held, they usually turn into interminable discussions, simply increasing the level of frustration. On the other hand, a convincing discussion-leader can advance matters considerably and discussion is surely the right approach to adopt. Furthermore, the process must lead to concrete results. Otherwise, decisions taken may end up being postponed indefinitely because they conflict with the interests of political decision-makers.

Despite the difficulties, the Zakouma team is placing heavy reliance on this desire for transparency. Although the project's initial aims have essentially been to restore infrastructures and thereby promote an increase in wildlife, the addition of an ecodevelopment aspect and ecological monitoring has made it possible to create an important 'reservoir' of knowledge. A computerized map of the vegetation has been produced with the help of a microlight equipped with a GPS (satellite positioning) system. There have also been aerial inventories tracking the seasonal density and distribution of wildlife, as well as in-depth sociological surveys in the villages most hostile to the park's existence. This major database makes it possible to organise meetings, conferences and discussions to demonstrate that the park's contribution is greater than it seems. One big frustration for local people living on the park's fringes concerns the redistribution of the income it generates. Looking first at tourism, Chad hardly qualifies as a major holiday destination and those who do visit the park are too few to make a significant contribution (the income raised barely covers the cost of replacing their bedlinen !)

One interesting conclusion has been drawn from studies of the animal distribution in the different seasons. It appears that when pressure from nomadic herdsman is at its strongest, during the dry season, the wildlife take refuge in the park and numbers multiply in safety. When the stockmen return northward, the wild animals then go beyond the park boundaries where they are hunted and eaten by villagers. This is surely a form of income redistribution! Moreover, many young fish in the park's only river (the bahr Salamat), take advantage of the flooding of the area during the rains. This releases huge volumes of nutrients back into the ecosystem. In the park, the fish are safe from the fishermen who work downstream and they can swim back to their spawning grounds. This guarantees the renewal of stocks depleted during the dry season. The level of fish stocks in Lake Iro - and probably in the River Chari as well - is thus linked to the existence of the Zakouma Park! When this version of income redistribution is explained, it often helps to convince traditional leaders who then use their influence to limit incursions by stockmen or poachers. However, a lot remains to be done because demographic pressure and standards of living both make it more difficult to get the message across.

We know that excessive human activity always results in environmental deterioration. Zakouma, although under pressure, has been 'spared' to some extent, and as such, it represents an important resource. But some see it as a luxury and it faces a suspended death sentence. If people stop regarding its conservation as something that is necessary, the sentence will end up being carried out. In my opinion, the most reliable way of guaranteeing its preservation would be to enclose it completely.


European NGOs look ahead at annual meeting in Brussels

by Agostino Ambrogetti

The 22nd annual General Assembly of European Development Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and a thematic conference entitled 'A Europe open to the world', were held in Brussels from 18 - 20 April. Representatives of more than 800 NGOs attended, with the Assembly adopting 14 resolutions as well as issuing specific appeals on the European Union's Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) and on Lebanon. The Assembly renewed its approval of the development NGOs' 'Strategic Priorities', adopted the Work Plan for the 1996-98 period, and looked at the overall impact of the Lomonvention with an eye to likely future developments. The subsequent Conference focused, among other things, on the issue of coherence between the EU's development cooperation and its other policies (notably trade and agriculture).

A general impression that emerged from the two events was that the NGO movement was attaching increasing importance to its role as advocate for the developing countries. A fundamental aspect of this is the ongoing dialogue that NGOs have with the European institutions, and the lobbying they carry out on policy issues. Commission representatives who spoke at the Assembly indicated their understanding and appreciation of this. For example, Development Commissioner, Jao de Deus Pinheiro, referred warmly to 'the very active role played by the NGO community in the debate on the mid-term revision of the Lomonvention,' and acknowledged that the NGOs had mounted an 'important political lobby' in favour of increased funding for the next five-year period.

The Commissioner was keen to emphasise the complementarily that existed between the European Commission and the NGO movement in support of emerging societies in the South. He also urged his audience to continue in their task of challenging the general apathy towards development cooperation. This, he said, entailed appealing directly to public opinion in order to influence political leaders.

A similar tone was adopted by Bernard Ryelandt, who heads the unit responsible for cofinancing NGO projects in the Commission's development directorate-general (DG VIII) He spoke of the 'decisive' action of European NGOs in balancing other lobbies such as the agricultural one. This, he believed, had the effect of improving the coherence of EU policies.

Delegates from a number of countries set out their views on the advocacy issue, and what they saw as the growing NGO role in this area. Andy Rutherford from the United Kingdom said that he saw increased lobbying as necessary, complementing the work carried out in the field through development projects. He pointed out that Southern NGOs had themselves requested their Northern partners to pressurise European governments in the hope that the latter would adopt external policies more favourable to the developing world. Mr Rutherford also raised the thorny question of structural adjustment. The view that adjustment policies were not succeeding in eradicating poverty, had, he said, been acknowledged by the EU's Development Council in its resolution adopted in June 1995. With this in mind, the NGOs would be raising the issue with the World Bank and the IMF - where the EU Member States are among the most substantial contributors.

Guido Barbera, who headed the Italian delegation to the Assembly, took up this point, calling for more pressure to be exerted on the Bretton Woods institutions by European NGOs and indeed, by the European Commission itself. This was necessary, he believed, to promote coherent macroeconomic policies favouring the development of economic relationships with the less-developed countries. In more general terms, Mr Barbera applauded the growing NGO participation in the political arena, stating that this was both 'positive' and fundamental'.

Evaluation of the Liaison

Committee's work

A document was presented to the Conference by the NGDO-EU Liaison Committee containing an evaluation of its activities. The aim, in drawing up the document, was to 'review and critically assess the work and organization of the Committee, and evaluate whether it meets the expectations of its stake holders.' In order to do this, NGO members were consulted through questionnaires.

The evaluation revealed that support for the Liaison Committee as the representative umbrella organization of European NGOs remains strong, although there is widespread uncertainty about the future. This is reflected in the perception that the Committee has gradually been losing momentum. There were also some doubts expressed about its representativeness. Large NGOs, it was noted, were able to spread their efforts across different networks. The fact that small NGOs tended not to be involved in the Committee emerged as one of the critical issues for discussion.

Attention was also focused on the alleged weakness of many national platforms (the documents containing proposals drawn up by the various national NGO assemblies) in representing the aspirations of their member organizations. This issue, and the question of voting on resolutions without debating the documents in question gave rise to controversy. Some delegates boycotted the vote while others submitted a written protest and there is clearly some demand for reforms designed to make the Assembly's procedures more democratic.

General conditions of cm financing

Another highly topical subject on the Assembly's agenda was the proposed revision of the General Conditions for the Co-financing of NGO

Projects in Developing Countries. Commission speakers who touched on this subject included Professor Pinheiro and Jacob Houtman who is a Director in DG VIII Both referred to the revision process that was currently under way, and emphasised the higher priority that would be attached to capacity building for Southern NGOs. This involves providing support to strengthen the organisational structure of the bodies in question, and to improve the skills of their staff in managing and implementing projects. Such an approach is now recognised as essential for the long-term sustainability of NGO activities. As Mr Houtman was keen to stress, the principles underpinning the KU-NGO relationship (recognition of NGO independence and specificity, freedom of initiative for European NGOs in cooperation with their Southern partners) would be safeguarded in the revised conditions. Other priorities to be set out in the conditions would include the promotion

Notice at the site of a non governmental organisation in
Zimbabwe devoted to improving agricultural productivity
'Crucial to provide more institutional support for Southem
NGOs' of democracy and human rights through reinforced structures of civil society, and a greater emphasis on the fight against poverty, income-generating activities and social development programmes. With these objectives in mind, it was all the more crucial to provide more institutional support for Southern NGOs. They, unlike their Northern partners, had a permanent presence in society in the developing countries.

The revised general conditions would also reflect the new orientation which favours a long-term programme approach over the traditional project by-project method. This should lead to a reduced administrative burden, and benefit long-standing NGO partners who have demonstrated viable approaches in working with their Southern counterparts, as well as good management and accountability.

'A Europe open to the world'

The Conference which took place following the NGO General Assembly focused on assessing the coherence of different EU policies and on ways of achieving coherence where it might be lacking. As the title of the Conference suggests, the question which was never far from participants' minds was 'what sort of Europe is being created.' Is it a Europe which stands in solidarity with the South (and East), or is it one which retreats into its fortress, concerned only with its own prosperity?

At the outset, EU policy - or rather its mode of implementation - came in for criticism. It was claimed, on the bask of the experience of both European and Southern NGOs, that the principles of development cooperation set out in the Maastricht Treaty (Title XVII) were not being applied universally and consistently. These principles include the sustainable economic and social development of developing countries, their integration into the world economy, the fight against poverty, and the development and consolidation of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

In this connection, three specific discussion topics were selected: the EU's common foreign and security policy (CFSP), its common commercial and agriculture policies (CCP and CAP) and its immigration and asylum policy.

Regarding the first of these, it was suggested that the EU's definition of 'security' tended to be viewed solely in terms of common defence, and that the concept of 'human security' drawn up by the UNDP had been neglected. The latter seeks to define the concept on a broader basis including aspects such as equitable and sustainable development, as well as human rights and democracy. The view was also expressed that a more firm and coordinated CFSP was needed.

On the second topic - trade and agriculture - there was a strong feeling that the policies of the EU (and the USA) were heavily weighted in favour of 'home' producers and that this had the effect of undermining local production and food security in the

Developing countries. The Union was urged to remove the policy 'contradictions' that allowed this situation to arise bearing in mind the specificity and sensitivity of the food trade.

Finally, several speakers were highly critical of what they viewed as negative trends in the approach to immigration and asylum adopted by the EU and its Member States, with increasingly strict rules being implemented. There were also calls for measures designed to integrate resident migrants into society.

Indeed, integration may well be seen as the key message to have emerged from the NGOs' gathering. The call was for the people and governments of the European Union, acting in the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), to integrate the needs of the rest of the world's people into their actions and programmes. The talk was of common values of human rights and solidarity, in both internal and external polices. And it was clear from the commitment of those who attended that the NGOs are determined to maintain and strengthen their role - as active partners in the development of the South, as advocates for the developing countries and perhaps indeed as keepers of the European conscience.



As part of the proceedings of the NGO General Assembly, three workshops were organised dealing with specific themes.

Workshop 1 was entitled Beyond LomV. There was a general consensus among those taking part that the Convention's underlying philosophy helped to protect developing countries in today's global commercial environment. Without the Lomystem, it was felt that the ACP countries would have suffered even more from the deterioration in their terms of trade. With this in mind, the World Trade Organisation came in for criticism for its stance against regional preferential agreements (even if this does not apply to the least developed countries).

The major finding of Workshop 2, which dealt with Poverty in the North and the South, was that poverty is the result of interactions at a global level - and is not 'nation specific'. It was therefore important to adopt a global approach in seeking to tackle the causes of poverty, and to develop further North-South exchanges of experience for the benefit of both sides.

The third workshop was devoted to making the most of EU Presidencies. Here, the aim was to evaluate past experience of lobbying undertaken by the NGO community in those countries holding the EC Council Presidency, during the six-month period in question. The main recommendation to emerge was that more needed to be done in establishing contacts and exchanging information between the relevant national NGO communities. Such exchanges, it was felt, were needed before, during and after the six month Presidency period, in order to facilitate continuity of lobbying on key themes.


In the Resolutions adopted by the NGO General Assembly, considerable emphasis was placed on human rights

issues, with texts being agreed on Nigeria, the peoples of the Western

Sahara and the child sex 'industry'.

Trade (in the widest sense of the word) also featured prominently. In addition to a general resolution on world trade, representatives passed motions on the arms trade, traffic in landmines and the production of the drug coca.

Also adopted were resolutions on preventive diplomacy, cooperation with Cuba, the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and the 'deterioration' of the situation in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

Africans seek bigger share of tourist dollar

by Godfrey Karoro

Zimbabwe's government is under pressure to encourage greater African involvement in the predominantly white-run tourism industry, which is facing intense competition from neighbouring South Africa. 'Black participation in all sectors of tourism is a priority,' says Environment and Tourism Minister Chen Chimutengwende. 'Blacks have waited in the wings long enough,' he adds, 'and their entry on to centre stage is inevitable. The solution lies in nurturing black entrepreneurship and giving it the material and technical backup to ensure its growth.'

Only 38 of the country's 436 tour operators are indigenous, and most focus on provision of goods and services, particularly transport. African interest in the business was kindled last year when the government identified tourism as one of the sectors which could benefit from an international $74 million credit facility. This prompted enquiries from about 500 potential entrepreneurs. Interest was heightened during the election campaign earlier this year, when President Mugabe's government made an issue of the continuing economic domination of the white community which constitutes less than 1% of the country's 11 million population.

Mr Chimutengwende pledged support for greater black participation, but the government itself is under fire for not doing enough. 'We have a time-bomb and the government should do something about it quickly before it explodes,' says Colin Blythe-Wood, managing director of a tour company and chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Tour and Safari Operators (ZATSO), referring to the black-white imbalance in the whole economy. 'We are indeed fortunate that this industry, which has perhaps the greatest potential in our economy, is still in its infancy,' he says. He argues that the government holds the trump card, through its ownership of vast tracts of land in national parks, forests and communal areas.

A 1994 Zatso report identified more than 100 sites on state-owned land suitable for development by African tourism ventures. At least half, says Mr Blythe-Wood, were in areas of abundant wildlife, including the 'big five' - elephant, lion, rhinoceros, hippopotamus and buffalo. Other opportunities could be provided he suggests, if the National Park service got out of the accommodation business and concentrated on flora and fauna conservation. 'The government cannot be a referee and a player at the same time. It should sell off its shares in the Rainbow Tourism Group' - a wholly-owned government company which is the third largest operator in the tourism sector.

One of the industry's problems is that South Africa, too, has found tourism to be an unexpectedly good economic performer. Arrivals there rose by 50% in 1995, and a new government discussion document suggests that tourism could double its foreign exchange earnings by the year 2000 and triple its contribution to national income. South Africa's parks and beaches are well developed, but entrepreneurs are also fostering attractions such as Boer War battle sites and 'Road to Freedom' tours in which visitors have breakfast with former freedom fighters.

The fear is that South Africa will be the regional hub for visitors, siphonino off most of the earnings, with

Zimbabwe merely getting the overspill from short side-trips.
Zatso chief executive, Elias Nyakuni, points out that South
Africa is already using Zimbabwe's top attraction to lure visitors, urging them 'to come to South Africa to see the
Victoria Falls'! Efficient train, luxury bus and air services connect several South African cities to the Falls, which are on the Zimbabwe-Zambia border. Mr Nyakuni says that Zimbabwe could also lose out if things go wrong in their southern neighbour. 'Violence in South Africa could deter people from coming to Zimbabwe.' He accuses the government of not taking marketing in Europe and North America sufficiently seriously. 'The 4-5% annual growth is, in essence, through word of mouth. We need to investt more in marketing.' He says that the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism is underfunded and that it operates 'without brochures or pamphlets.' Neverthelms, with 1.25 million visitors last year spending $252m (up from 1.04m spending $203m in 1994) - tourism is a growth area in which black people could take a bigger share - and not just, as at present, as guides, drivers, mechanics and cooks.
Lovemore Chihota, who runs a booming Victoria Falls safari business, has shown the way. He admits that there is a lot of money to be made from tourism, but warns that careful preparation is needed, as well as determination, commitment and, a realisation that there are no quick returns. He also points to the need to have some equity. 'The promoter,' he stresses, 'must put his money where his mouth is.'

Dak'Art 96

One of the most important exhibitions of African art, the Biennial Festival of Conternporary African Art, opened its doors to the public in Dakar, Senegal, on 8 May 1996. The 'Pan-African Art Exhibition', as it is still called, was being staged for the third time although it almost failed to take place at all, having been postponed several times over the last four years. All those who participated - from the artists who exhibited to the directors of art galleries and cultural institions - were pleasantly surprised. The next edition of me Courier will include a more comprehensive account of the exhibition.

President Abdou Diouf of Senegal inaugurated the event at the Daniel Sorano National Theatre in the company of a number of VlPs, including BartoLommat Armengol who represented the European Commission. The Commission was Dak'Art 96's main financial partner providing support to the tune of CFAF 200 million (ECU 300 000 approx). The Biennial Festival aims to be a showcase for African artists allowing them to break into the international plastic arts market. Hitherto, this has remained relatively closed to them despite the general recognition that Africa has a contribution to make to the art world in this area. Mr Ousmane Sow Huchard, chairman of the Festival's scientific board, stressed that success lay first in stimulating the art market in Africa itself. He gave the example of his own country which had voted the so-called '1 % law', which stipulated the proportion of works of art that should be used to decorate all new public buildings.

The Festival's main exhibition, at the Ifan Museum of African Arts, was devoted to major trends in African sculpture. 42 artists selected by an international panel took part and, despite some criticism, their choice was a judicious one. The same cannot be said, unfortunately, of the second major exhibition, at the National Art Gallery. This was devoted to contemporary Senegalese art and the skill involved in producing the exhibits was not of a consistently high standard.

There were also five individual exhibitions featuring artists chosen by internationally famous judges. These might be expected to have a dynamic effect in setting standards on the market. Zeribun Yempeta of Ethiopia offered a quite original style, working on a support of leather straps fastened to a trellis of fine strips of wood. He draws his inspiration from a combination of African design, Coptic and Greek influences, and ancient Egyptian art. Ethiopian painting was one of the major revelations of the 'Africa 95' exhibition in London last year and the Festival gave a further opportunity for such art to be displayed. Another display presented work by the Moroccan painter, Mohamed Kacimi, whose pictures have been hung in various exhibitions - although the term 'pictures' is not always appropriate to this artist's work. It is perhaps more fitting to say that he 'occupies space'. In Dakar, he covered three walls of a large room with 'rolling art'. His skill, particularly in monumental works, is to offer excitement and calm simultaneously, through the use of animated forms and soft, rhythmic harmonies. Ezrom Legae of South Africa, Moustapha Dime of Senegal and Pascale Martine Tayou of Cameroon were the three other artists granted individual exhibitions.

One of the trends which came to the fore at Dak'Art was the use of alternative media and recycled material. The latter, in a sense, is the man in the street's legacy to art. Initially, recycling was used predominantly in the informal sector to produce utilitarian objects. The 'Biennial Festival Village' was set aside for informal sculptors, and in an open area beside the Village, both inside a marquee and outdoors, one of the most individually striking exhibitions was presented. This combined a variety of artistic forms ranging from painting to video, not to mention Adeagbo's unusual montages, including 'African artists and AIDS'. This had already been exhibited in a number of countries and was staged by the Revue Noire team in parallel with its 'AIDS' issue.

The Festival included dozens of on-site exhibitions as well as all the 'fringe' presentations. The AIDS exhibition was one of the boldest but the display entitled 'Love' offered the greatest degree of unity and uniformity of design. Dak'Art 96 also made an attempt to integrate other forms of creativity such as dance, design and fashion. The latter two, for example, were presented at the Espace Vema, a fine metal structure where the creations of the Senegalese designer Claire Kane were in perfect harmony with the highly original furnishings. The European Union's prize for creativity, one of the Festival's four major prizes, was awarded to Vincent Namien, a designer from Cote d'lvoire.


On creativity... in Africa and elsewhere

by Alain Nicolas

The author of this article is head curator and director of the Museum of African, Oceanic and Amerindian Arts in Marseilles. Here he offers his thoughts on the (partially unconscious) reluctance of the 'official' art world in the West - museums, critics and art historians - to accept contemporary African artists. Even now, they tend to be relegated to the sphere of 'alternative' art. However, he believes that the abundance of creative Africans, and the pressure they are exerting on the art world and market will, sooner or later, generate a 'new revolution' in the museums. This iswhat happened in the early20th century when traditional African art first arrived in the West. This article is linked to the dossier on African creativity published in our previous issue.

When I was asked to make this small contribution on African creativity, I was happy to oblige since, as a non-specialist, I am able to content myself with a few generalisations. I believe that there are still barriers, sometime not very visible, but nonetheless real, which have to be broken down.

Unfortunately, writing just a few lines on creativity is a difficult exercise given the amount of literature on the subject and so many divergent opinions. So, what line should I adopt? About 15 years ago - in the wake of hordes of specialists in the humanities from sociology, psychology, ethnology, anthropology and so on - a rational approach, known as 'the anthropology of art', was at last proposed. The term 'rational' should be seen here in the context of the distinction between exact or 'hard' sciences such as mathematics, physics and astronomy, and the humanities, which are essentially inexact or 'soft' disciplines. And in brief, the West tends to take a scientific approach, relying on empirical evidence, even when it seeks to study such subjects as human creativity.

Creativity obviously is to be found in many different spheres. It is needed in technology, it is fundamental to story-telling, it underpins all forms of social organisation and has a part to play in religion. Similarly, what we term 'art' is one of the spheres of creative endeavour. The anthropology of art seeks to document artistic creativity and to analyse the conditions surrounding its expression in various cultures. This is a laudable enterprise insofar as art is regarded as another means of expression, used in one form or another by all human groups.

The creative function is universal

The basic postulate is that any society - and any individual - possesses creative potential which may be expressed in any way. The first thing to examine, therefore, is the context of choice. There are various modes of artistic expression ranging from music, poetry, prose and dance to architecture, painting and fashion. Some individuals or societies may have no choice, perhaps because of socio-economic constraints. Others may favour a particular mode of expression while nonetheless dabbling in more than one area. The expression of creativity is, therefore, like an identifying mark, claimed by the group or by the individual. The concept of 'style' now comes into play. The expression of one group is different from that of another and no two can ever be the same. Fundamental elements are at work in this materialisation of creativity. Some are due to the natural environment. Thus, for example, a society located in a place where wood is abundant may favour sculpture. Others come from the group or individual themselves. And in the final analysis, it is the groups or individuals that decide what to portray (or not) on the basis of their own social norms and what they want to express.

These few limited thoughts should be supplemented by the observation that sculpture or the plastic arts more generally can also be examined from at least two angles: as a means of conveying information, and as a form of linguistic expression.

As regards the former, some have proposed analysing any work of art, from whatever culture, as a message. Analysis of the work therefore includes an examination of the conditions surrounding the production and transmission of the message. What message is broadcast? How does it function? What does the addressee gain from it? This approach is fine in hypothetical terms but does not allow one to go beyond theoretical and formal data, teaching us nothing about the content of the message under study. It refers back to the originator who holds the keys to the way in which it was sent and thus to its form and meaning.

Linguistically speaking, we assume that all expression through sculpture is a language and that the techniques for studying language can therefore be applied to the work of art. This approach is more rewarding because it brings us closer both to the sources and to the function of communication.

Be that as it may, all methods involve knowledge of the group or of the individual (but also of the relationships between them) and thus of any organised knowledge. Art cannot be separated from perception. This is the position of the majority of scientists. Yet we are not completely certain of this. Briefly, we are led to imagine that art could be irreducible at a certain level. When we look at a sculpture or listen to a piece of music, aside from the emotional content which is at least partly quantifiable, what are we able to understand about the culture which produced them?

Having travelled widely throughout the world and kept my eyes open, without having become the 'observer-participant' which the ethnologist should be, I am certain that the same creative function can be seen everywhere, and it is not difficult to identify.

Frequent visits to the world's museums and, perhaps above all, to their vaults, further reinforces the impression that constants do exist and are worthy of more and better investigation. Art, and more particularly the art of others, from other continents, is still the domain of a happy few.

They are usually highly literate people, and are seldom activists expounding a cause.

Contemporary African art must find its niche

The above statements relate as much to contemporary art as to what we term 'traditional' art. How many of the world's museums really show contemporary art from Africa? It is as if this sector were cut off from current cultural reality. This is despite the fact that each week, new artists, musicians, designers, painters, sculptors, dancers, film-makers, stylists and photographers emerge from Africa, to be 'recognised' in the West (if anyone knows what 'recognition' really means!). The museums are, in fact, confused by this burgeoning of talent because they have no idea how to manage it.

It has been said that contemporary African art is an urban phenomenon aimed at those living in towns and cities - and that it rebels against essentially rural, traditional art.

The argument is that the usual methods for analysing traditional art cannot be fully mobilised because 'urban civilisation' conforms to a set of universal norms (more or less), which are distinct from those studied by ethnologists. It would, therefore, be more appropriate to consider contemporary art in the context of sociology and aesthetics. This may be true, but it still comes down to a matter of observation. Confusion reigns.

When we staged an exhibition in Marseilles by the Senegalese sculptor, Ousmane Sow, the first individual showing of his works came as a major shock to many people, including the specialists. I can remember the reactions of at least two colleagues from museums of contemporary art. What they said was almost identical, and was along the following lines:

· What's the name of this sculptor? I am not familiar with him...

A N. Do you like his work?

· Yes, I do, but what's his name?

A.N. Ousmane Sow

· I don't know him. Astonishing! Where's he from?

A N. Senegal - he lives in Dakar. Are you interested in his sculptures?

· Yes, but..

A N. You can buy one of his works - he's not very expensive yet and it would be good for your museum.

· The problem is he's African.

AN. I see...

· His works are more your sphere.

A.N. But they don't have anything to do with traditional art which is what I have in my museum. Ousmane Sow is a contemporary artist, isn't he?

· Yes, but he's African, and your museum is a museum of African art.

A N. You're correct, I would love to buy one of his works. But it would be the only example of contemporary art in my museum and would represent a change of policy for me. You wouldn't have anything by Ousmane Sow. And we would then be rivals!

Critics, artists and art historians have begun discussing contemporary African art, more and more good reviews of it are being published, talks are being given and some major exhibitions have been mounted. There are pioneers and supporters in France, Germany and elsewhere, and there is even a great museum - Washington's Smithsonian - which took it on board several years ago - but we still seem to be a long way from a commitment from most institutions.

I hope this statement will soon be proved wrong. Institutions do not like taking risks. Either they create 'ghettos' ('let's set up a museum of contemporary African art'), or they set up committees to consider the subject. It is up to us to set our houses in order, but we must not be too naive. This is the art market, after

Although we tend to cling to this somewhat short-sighted administrative view that there should be different institutions depending on whether we are dealing with heritage or contemporary creativity, museums of contemporary art must integrate all the world's sculptural expression. If not, they will be in conflict with the above; postulate which claims that creative potential is the same everywhere.

As for so-called museums of anthropology and also a few rare museums such as the Museum of African, Oceanic and Amerindian Art in Marseilles, the systematic exhibition of contemporary art does generate a number of problems.

When I have wanted to do this in the past, I have been reminded of the 'museographic landscape' and advised to consult the authorities, to organise a major debate on the topic: who, what, where? That is the rational approach, we are told. There is no great hurry!

In fact, the recent arrival of African artists comes at a moment in our history when we are questioning the existence of our museums. When I say 'we', I mean the West in general.

So, what might happen? Traditional African art caused an explosion in Western art and traditional art history at the very beginning of the 20th century, with the cubists and their research which led them to develop a passion for African sculpture. We are all aware of what we owe to Africa and its traditional artists.

Contemporary art from Africa is knocking on the closed door of Western museums, but the arrival of contemporary African artists and the pressure they exert on the art world and market might trigger a new revolution in the museums, which are also the archives. Certainly, all the usual followers are ready to take up the cause, and that is how it should be. Let's be optimistic.


The works of Ainsley Yearwood: Bombarded with colour

by Claude Smets

Ainsley Yearwood is a Trinity dadian artist based in London. me Courier had the opportunity to meet him recently when an exhibition of his works was staged at his country's embassy in Brussels. Brought up in Trinidad, he moved to London to study fine arts at the Chelsea Art School. Feeling unable to express himself fully in this discipline, he ended up taking a degree in graphic design. Mr Yearwood is still based in the UK capital where, in addition to his work as a painter, he also designs costumes for the Notting Hill Carnival, a cousin of the famous Trinidad Carnival.

The artist is fortunate to be able to live from his work. Besides the present exhibition which is touring Europe (Manchester, Brussels, Geneva and London), he has other works currently on show at three galleries in the US. He finds that the reaction of the American public is different from the European one. Americans, he believes, are more spontaneous and openminded. 'Europeans tend to stick more to things they already know; to which they are more accustomed.' The titles he gives to his art pieces are for him 'a basis for artistic conversation' with his audience. They express his emotions, feelings, and thoughts, but do not try to impose a specific interpretation of the painting on the viewer. Ainslie Yearwood dislikes the idea of being labelled or categorised - or as he describes it, 'to be put into a box'. As such, he rebels against people who try to make him conform.

A world citizen

Although Ainsley Yearwood recognises his African roots within Trinidadian society, he sees himself as 'a world citizen'. The influences in his paintings are many and varied - deriving from the multicultural background of Trinidad and Tobago, European art and graphic design, the memories of his own childhood and his recent experiences. 'I am like a sponge', he says. 'Everything influences me in my work... people, places and all that I see around me. They help me to view things from a different perspective.' These all then flow together to be visualised through his 'inner eye' (expressed, for example, by two blue dots in his work In the Company of Nature which represents the Grand Canyon). By paying particular attention to what he sees, his 'visual view' is transformed into an 'emotional view'. Thus, for example, his painting Evolution appears to be a landscape. A :loser look reveals that the rocks are in the shape of hands.

The artist also uses symbols in dome of his work, as a personal means 'or him to express life. The butterfly :rapped in a jar, for example, in Love lost, is a symbol of the fragility of life. The glass of water in Soul of a Mother symbolises the way a child looks at the world as something exciting and new. he also draws strongly on the imagery of candles, inner eyes and doorways.

Strong colours, strong emotions

What unifies Mr. Yearwood's work, is his use of colours. As he says, they are 'strong colours to express strong emotions'. In this, he has been inspired by his childhood in Trinidad which, in his own words, 'was an environment that constantly bombarded you with colour - from crystal to aquamarine, sapphire and emerald - a perpetual rainbow of red, yellow, green and blue'. One painting where colour is used to striking effect is Carnival Bacchanal. This depicts Trinidad's Carnival and reflects both the island's multicultural society and its vividness.

Ainsley Yearwood has also produced more surrealist and psycho-biographical works, under the influence of artists such as Salvador Dali and Francis Bacon. Emotions are revealed through the use of darker though still vivid colours. These works (such as Evolution,
Translucent State and Suspended in Limbo) show a fragmented self, stuck between past, present and future, looking for a way forward. They come in stark contrast to the brighter mood of paintings of island scenes - which are in a more African style - or of jazz musicians (such as Soul of a City or The Musician). According to the artist, this is being realistic. If he wants to paint life, he must show the different and contrasting emotions a human being experiences. 'You get up in the morning and you are feeling a little bit happy. You come home in the evening and you are feeling a little bit down. So emotions are continuously changing. If I said that I was always happy, that wouldn't be true.'

As mentioned above, a number of Ainsley Yearwood's pieces portray jazz players. He enjoys going to New Orleans to listen to jazz bands and in Soul of a City he portrays one of the musicians. The title underlaines the importance of performers in a place like New Orleans - where indeed, they form an integral part of city life. In A Musical Love affair, the painter uses techniques learned as a graphic designer to help him express his feelings. By drawing graphic lines, the cello player and the instrument flow into one another. He explains: 'The cello player was not just playing the instrument. She was actually part of it. It is as if she were making love to the cello.'

It is clear from the foregoing that Mr. Yearwood's art is primarily visual. The onlooker is bombarded with strong colours - which are used, together with abstraction and symbolism, to express both optimistic and pessimistic feelings. The artist uses his multicultural background to great effect, drawing on influences from Trinidad, Africa and Europe, to create different modes of expression. These are the essential factors which make his paintings interesting and refreshing to look at. c.s.

Fairness on the livestock field of play

by Sarah Reynolds

In the town of Thies one of Senegal's regional capitals, there is an abattoir where nothing goes to waste. Even the horns of cattle are sold for making carvings for sale to tourists while the tips of the horns are exported to Japan. In a rural area of Chad, small-scale livestock farmers are preserving meat by the age-old process of cutting it into strips and drying it in the sun. Careful attention to hygiene and quality control has resulted in a product so consistently good that it has found an export market as far away as Gabon. Livestock producers in sub-Saharan Africa are responding to market opportunities, not because they recognise the need to improve national food requirements, but in pursuit of profit. Therein lies the best chance for stimulating the livestock sector's production capacity. The challenge is to design policies that protect consumers without crushing entrepreneurial potential for producers.

More than half the population of sub-Saharan Africa is likely to be living in a town or city within the next 30 years. These city dwellers will have neither the skill, the time nor the space to raise livestock. There are indications on present trends that their demand for food of animal origin will increase. Where will they get it from? Imported meat is more expensive than it used to be, largely as a result of the change in policies of the European Union. These have also affected the supply of low-cost milk powder and butter oil. Imports from countries outside the continent will undoubtedly continue but intra-African trade and local production will become far more significant.

It has been estimated that the production of animal products in sub-Saharan Africa would have to increase by 4% per year to ensure an adequate supply of animal protein for the region's growing population, and to end the need for imports. This presents a major challenge to policy-makers. Already, the current pressure on land resources is causing conflict in some areas and the prospect of more people, more animals, and more strain on already inadequate resources, is perturbing.

Information vacuum in developing countries.

The concept of value

Decisions on how to achieve sustainable and yet more productive land-use, while at the same time ensuring fair access to resources for other interested users, cannot be soundly based if made in an information vacuum. It was in recognition of the lack of information about the livestock sector that the CTA organised and sponsored a seminar on Livestock development policies in the humid and sub-humid zones of sub-Saharan Africa. This was held in Abidjan, Cote d'lvoire on 5-9 February 1996. It was attended by participants from 17 countries within the region and by representatives from international institutions and from Europe. The objective was to contribute to the ongoing debate on policies aimed at bringing about sustainable livestock development while respecting natural resources in developing countries.

The concept of value

Effective planning of government action on issues such as import policy, provision of inputs and services, marketing and research priorities requires quantitative information on livestock production systems. Why is this information lacking when it is estimated that livestock products contribute about 25% of total agricultural GDP in subSaharan Africa? The livestock sector is too important to ignore and yet it is consistently undervalued. The reason is that economists and statisticians like to deal with a tangible unit that can be counted. Ideally, this should be a monetary unit but, failing that, it should at least be a unit that can be easily converted to money, such as the number of animals potentially available to the market. But if animals are used to sustain a traditional way of life, for people who do not have to pay before they can eat, it is difficult to put a monetary value on the food they consume. Similarly, if a herd of animals is sustained by forage that has no other use, on land that can be used for no other purpose, the cost of feeding cannot easily be measured in financial terms. Indeed producers have little to gain from allowing government departments to acquire information about their assets.

Livestock owners have their own objectives when deciding whether and how to increase production. Livestock provide energy in the form of draught power, and dung for fuel or biogas. Their manure restores structure and fertility to the soil. Social prestige may be measured in the quantity and quality of the animals one possesses. For some livestock owners, their animals are their 'barking' system. They represent a deposit account for accumulated wealth and a current account when an animal is sold to raise cash. Indeed it may be impossible to obtain credit from an orthodox bank. There is an added advantage in that there are no interest charges to pay when you raise cash by selling your own animals as opposed to taking out a loan from a bank. It may be difficult to measure real production when animals are treated as a capital reserve. For example, an increase in meat prices, perhaps as a response to a change in economic policy, may result in a short-term reduction rather than increase, in the number of animals being marketed. This is because producers are able to maintain their income by selling fewer animals and can simultaneously increase their breeding herds. Alternatively, there may be little incentive to producers to sell more animals if they have no use for the extra money they earn. It is of course true that more people are joining the cash economy as they become aware of the desirability of consumer goods, or of services such as schooling. Governments may aspire to design policies which will develop the livestock sector for the economic welfare of society as a whole, but if these policies ignore the objectives of livestock owners, they will fail.

Fair play

In a football match, the referee is there to see fair play. In the livestock sector, governments have to ensure fair play between the 'demand team' and the 'supply team', in other words the -consumers and the producers. Governments often make two mistakes. Either they help one team at the expense of the other, or else they join in the game themselves. The role of the authorities should be to make the rules that protect both teams from unfair or unsafe practices. For example, health and hygiene regulations must be in place, and enforced, but not be so onerous that illegal and totally unregulated marketing channels are established.

Private traders have considerable power to manipulate markets if they collude to form cartels and prevent outsiders from entering their ring. Governments should ensure that this is not allowed to happen, that markets are open and that traders are free to operate provided that they observe health and hygiene regulations.

Veterinary services

Most countries are no longer able to supply even minimum standards of veterinary support to their livestock producers. The efforts that have been made in recent years have been largely in the form of donor-funded projects where continuity is rarely guaranteed. The only viable alternative seems to be to transfer activities of this kind to service providers in the private sector.

The work that they do under contract to the government, for example relating to the control of epidemic diseases, must be funded by government or other central agencies since cost-recovery from individual livestock owners is not feasible when participation has to be compulsory. The work that they do on behalf of individuals, or associations of livestock owners, should, however, be paid for by those who benefit directly from the increased productivity that should result - the farmers. The greatest difficulty lies in managing what will be a long and difficult transition period. The success of ventures to privatise veterinary services depends on whether the profession can deliver a decent living in the private sector, particularly in rural areas where the need is undoubtedly greatest.

Rural development

It is in the rural areas that livestock production needs to be intensified. On the outskirts of Africa's major cities, intensive pig and poultry production is already being supported by commercial, joint venture capital. Dairy units, in which exotic, high performance cattle breeds are managed in a controlled environment, are producing fresh milk for cash-paying consumers in nearby towns and cities. Urban areas create the demand but it is the rural areas that need the development.

Animal products are seasonal and prices fluctuate accordingly. However, consumers are more likely to develop the habit of using products that are consistently available at stable prices. Government intervention to stabilise prices risks favouring the consumer at the expense of the producer. For example, if imports are used to counter temporarily high prices during periods of drought, then producers will receive less for their reduced output at the very time when they need support. The most effective policy of price stabilization is to encourage the adoption of production systems that are less vulnerable to seasonal changes. Processing achieves this to some degree and brings benefits to both producers and consumers. Furthermore, because animal products are perishable, and dangerous to human health when they deteriorate, processing extends storage life, and may even have an effect in improving food security.

In most countries, the time of greatest food shortage is at the beginning of the rainy season. This is also the time when milk production soars because cattle have good feed; and yet much of that milk is wasted because there is more than required for home consumption. If that surplus milk can be fumed into cheese, potential customers in more distant markets may be reached. Provided that the product is acceptable to the consumer, cheese-making reduces wastage, diversifies the producer's source of income and may also provide employment, and therefore income, to those brought in to help with the production.

A technology that has been exhaustively tested by FAO for its suitability for use in Africa is lactoperoxydase. This is an enzyme which extends by three hours the length of time before milk begins to curdle and clot. This effectively doubles the time available for milk to reach the cooling centre, and thereby extends the catchment areas for producers wishing to supply fresh milk to urban markets. The trials that have been conducted show that it is entirely safe. When milk is brought to rural collecting points, it is the responsibility of the cooling centre employee, not the farmer, to add the enzyme at the prescribed rate as the milk is transferred into cans.

On current trends, it seems probable that there will be more than 20 capital cities in Africa that have a population of 10 million people by the year 2010. How many other cities and towns will have developed by that time? There are so many people migrating to the urban areas, and they are doing so because the type of activities that ought to be taking place in the countryside do not exist. If the livestock industry, both primary production and processing, can be encouraged in rural areas, and if the infrastructure is in place to ensure that animal products, in whatever form, can reach urban markets, rural dwellers will find it more comfortable to stay where they are rather than going to the cities to look for jobs that do not exist.

The challenge for policy-makers is to deal even-handedly, not only in the interests of the livestock sector, but in the interests of other farmers, consumers, the national economy and the long-term sustainability of the nation's natural resources. For this task, reliable information, which is accessible to all countries within the region, is essential. The database structure of this information should be standardised so that it can form the basis of regional cooperation on trade and the sustainable use of land resources.


The Courier’s Mailbag

WCL seeks a wider expression views

We refer to the article published by The Courier in issue no 156 (March-April 1996) entitled The changing face of trade unionism in Africa, which reflects the views of the ICFTU (AFRO) and OATUU.

We are surprised that you have not taken pains to solicit the views of the World Confederation of Labour (WCL) and its regional organisation, the Democratic Organisation of African Workers Trade Unions (DOAWTU) - which participated on the same footing as the two other trade union organisations at the ACP-KU Social Partners meeting in December last year. We strongly believe this omission on your part should be corrected in future in order to allow a wider expression of the views and stands of all representative trade unions in Africa on such important issues as structural adjustment programmes, the social clause, labour standards and working conditions.

Carlos L. Custer, Secretary-General, World Confederation of Labour, Brussels, Belgium

Linked destinies

The continuing dialogue between the ACP and EC Groups has exposed many mutual concerns about world affairs and has promoted a more complete understanding of the problems of both advanced and developing nations. I am confident that in the future, we shall see further progress in our efforts to create a favourable financial climate for the resolution of our economic problems.

Global political and economic events have brought home to all of us how inextricably our social and economic destinies are linked. This is true of a whole range of subjects from human rights and political reform to economic development, conservation, health education and industrial promotion. None of these subjects can be put into independent boxes. We must seek more effective integration of our social and economic policies - both internally and internationally - if we are to serve the welfare of the people.

I rejoice in your initiative in publishing The Courier.

Teddyiniovo, International institute for Global Cooperation, Benin City, Nigeria

Scope for energy selfsufficiency

May I congratulate you on the new layout of The Courier, which is a great deal clearer and which you have instituted as a result of comments made by a number of your readers.

I am surprised to discover that you have not said anything about the question of energy dependence in the Lomonvention countries. Energy self sufficiency is an extremely important issue. ACP countries face a famine in this area which is rarely mentioned. Most are majors exporters of petroleum, which is costly and absorbs a significant proportion of their foreign exchange earnings.

Practically all the Lomountries are in a position to produce alcohol from crops such as sugar cane and manioc without any negative impact on their food resources. These crops could be distilled to produce big-ethanol which is an excellent fuel. All that is needed - and it is a major challenge admittedly - is for production to be organised in each country, and for the required national and international financing to be set up.

Also required is the political will in these countries to overcome the various obstacles, including those lobbies who oppose this kind of production because they want petrol imports to be maintained.

Pierre Mariotte Consultant, Paris, France


Jean Monnet - 1888-1979

by Eric Roussel. Published by Fayard, Paris. 1996. 1004 pages. FFR 198.

Jean Monnet was almost 91 years old when he died and, despite the fact that he had no higher education qualifications and at times did not hold any official post, his public role was legendary. From the very first page of his book, Eric Roussel stresses the fact that, from the moment Jean Monnet met the Prime Minister, Rene Viviani, in September 1914 until 9 May 1975, the day the Action Committee for a United States of Europe was dissolved, he worked constantly for the European cause.

He applied the same tireless enthusiasm to all his duties, in whatever sphere of activity he was involved - and these were many and varied. Despite his provincial origins, Jean Monnet was, among other things, a cognac merchant, an advocate of the Allied coordination effort during the First World War, Deputy Secretary General of the League of Nations (for a short time), a banker in America and China during the 1930s and in charge of the Victory Program in the USA in 1941. From 1947 to 1952, he was the first Commissioner-General of the Economic Plan in France. He and Robert Schuman were the architects of the famous Declaration of 9 May 1950 which was to form the basis of European construction. He went on to become the first President of the ECSC's High Authority and, until 1975, he was the driving force behind the Action Committee for a United States of Europe. And that is just to highlight his renowned roles.

In addition, Jean Monnet was both a visionary and a pragmatist, who was to become adviser to some of the greatest names of his day. General de Gaulle, another great visionary, albeit with a very different ideology, called him 'the inspiration' behind European integration, although such an accolade was not completely devoid of irony given that the two men could hardly be said to see eye to eye.

Jean Monnet was a purveyor of new ideas, but also an eternal realist who never failed to recognise the importance of the status quo. Indeed, he could have stepped right out of the pages of a Paul Morand novel. And yet, despite the fact that he was held in the highest esteem by world political heavyweights (Clemenceau, Roosevelt, Churchill, Adenauer, de Gasperi, Brandt, Pompidou, John Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, Heath and Giscard d'Estaing, to name but a few), in his private life he was a simple man, of modest disposition - in fact a bourgeois in the best sense of the word.

A 'workaholic', like many great men, Jean Monnet defied categorization. He has recently been described as 'a man of fringe ideologies who was nevertheless always at the centre of things'. During the latter part of his life, he settled comfortably into his role as 'rather' of Europe. His fundamental thoughts on that topic could be summed up in one line from the Declaration of 9 May 1950, (now a public holiday in the European institutions). 'Europe will not be built in a day, nor as a single structure, but will come about through concrete actions which, first and foremost, create a de facto solidarity'.

For Monnet, nationalism meant only war and, from 1942 onwards, he set his sights on preparing for the future, surrounding himself with a team of extraordinary talent - people such as Etienne Hirsch, Herve Alphand, Rene Mayer and Robert Marjolin. These men strove to find ways to avoid war between the countries of Western Europe, to define the objectives of European unification and to establish European institutions which would be equal to such a task.

Eric Roussel is a journalist with an arts degree and a doctorate in law, and this is an outstanding work on the 'pragmatic visionary' that was Jean

Monnet. The book is comprehensive, extremely well-written and impressively documented. Most notably, the author had access, for the first time, to the famous journal kept by Jean Monnet in which he recorded his countlles conversations with the key players and set out his own thoughts. Today, his dream of 'a united Europe complemented by a partnership with the United States' is still one of the big issues. And as the arguments rage, we should perhaps recall some other famous words from Jean Monnet's Memoires: 'We do not seek to form a coalition of States, we seek to unite men .

Alain Lacroix

Le Choix de l'Europe

(Opting for Europe) by Laurent Cohen-Tanugi. Pub/ished by Fayard, Paris. 225 pages. FFR 110 - BFR 748.

'Laurent Cohen-Tanugi successfully reminds us of the modernity of the European project; that there are aspects of it that are essential to our independence and our prosperity, to preserving our model of society and maintaining our influence on the international stage. By urging Europeans and European leaders to look to the future so as to be better able to manage the risks and seize the opportunities that it offers and, ultimately, to be in a better position to change things, he brings us all hope'.

This was how Jacques Delors described this book, and, basically, there you have it in a nutshell. It would, however, be worthwhile adding that 'opting for Europe' is not quite as simple as it sounds - a fact which has not escaped the attention of the author, who is a graduate of France's elite Ecole normale superieure and of the Harvard Law School. He is also a barrister and member of a renowned firm of international lawyers.

Since the Treaty of Rome, European progress has very often come about because Member States have set themselves deadlines for achieving particular objectives. 1996 sees the opening of the Intergovernmental Conference, an event of major importance, which is expected to continue at least until the spring of 1997 (with parliamentary elections planned in several Member States in 1997 and 1998). Among the items on the agenda for the IGC is the need to adapt the European institutions - which in essence have hardly changed since 1958 - and to open up the way for the third phase of Economic and Monetary Union in 1999 for those States which have fulfilled the economic convergence criteria set out in the Maastricht Treaty.

However, besides the technical and financial problems involved, there are also differences between certain Member States about the political future of Europe. The author rightly stresses, in this respect, that the situation has become even more complex since the demise of the Soviet Union. In particular, some politicians support an expansion of the EU towards Central and Eastern Europe, so as to avoid strengthening European integration. The author believes that, broadly speaking, there are two distinct positions. On the one hand, there is the United Kingdom, which would be happy with a large free trade area guided by a 'Secretariat-Commission'and with flexible and relatively loose inter-State cooperation structures at a political level. On the other hand, there is Germany, which wants expansion of the Union towards the East as well, but also wants a swift and concrete consolidation of a common monetary and political 'hard core'.

In his book, the author expresses his view that France will play a vital role in maintaining and advancing the essential elements that form the basis of the European enterprise. And he nails his own colours firmly to the mast as someone who hopes to see the continent moving towards some form of federal structure. As one observer commenting on the work has noted, 'This little Bible, brimming with faith in the concept of a unified Europe, will be invaluable - even to the doubting Thomases among us'.

Publications received

Et.... qu'en pensent les villageois? Projets de developpement durable et be veins de base bficiaires

(But... what do the villagers think about it? Sustainable development projects and basic needs of aid recipients) by Myriam Bacquelaine. Published by Ured (Research, Education and Development Unit) of the K.U. Brussels (17, avenue de la Liberte, B- 1080 Brussels). 1995. 3Z2 pages.

Les problemes du monde rural vus par les habitants - Portraits de villages de Haute-Guinee

(me problems of rural life as seen by the inhabitants - Profiles of villages in Upper Guinea) by Myriam Bacquelaine. Published by Ured (Research, Education and Development Unit) of the KU. Brussels (17, avenue de la Liberte, B- 1080 Brussels). 1995. 222 pages.

The author, who has a PhD in educational sciences and is a researcher at Ured, has written these two works on the basis of a study she carried out on behalf of the European Commission in Guinea (Conakr,v). This aimed at identifying the most urgent priorities of village communities within the context of an environment restoration project.

The conclusion of the first book underlines research results which point to the adoption of a different approach to development at local level: one which respects the wishes of the recipients and which finally breaks free from western ethnocentrism.

In the second volume, the author presents the results of the survey conducted in the villages of Upper Guinea. Six villages with varying characteristics in terms of size, geographical location and administrative status are featured in more detail.

Informations pour le Developpement: Agriculture

(Information on development: Agriculture)

Published by Ibiscus (ibis, rue du Havre, F-75008 Paris) and by the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation. 1995. 271 pages. FFR 150.

More than just an index, this publication is a useful working tool for anyone seeking reliable information about development in the agricultural sector. It includes a list of the main organisations specialising in agriculture in 40 French-speaking countries and a list of the principal places and means from which to obtain information (documentation centres, data banks, optical discs, CDs and on-line data services). There is also a selection of periodicals, a bibliographic section (with more than 300 references, including abstracts) and contributions by specialists relating to major topics connected with rural development: landownership systems, links between cash crops and food crops, agricultural funding, etc.

Rwanda - Trois jour qui ont fait basculer l'histoire

(Rwanda - Three days that shook history) by Filip Reyntjens. Published by L'Harmattan (5-7, rue de l'Ecole-Polytechnique, F75005 Paris). Cahiers africains no. /6! 1995. 148 pages FFR 9O. ISBN 2-738437044.

Although much has been written about the tragic events in Rwanda, this work examines an aspect of the story which is still largely a mystery: the brief period which began on 6 April with the missile attack on the presidential jet and ended on 9 April, when the 'caretaker government' was swam into office. According to the author, these 72 hours were of critical importance since it was during this time that the country's killing machine was set in motion.

Essentially based on eye-witnffs accounts, it is a tale which is far from complete. The book, however, does provide some hitherto undocumented information which allow us to delve deeper in search of the truth behind one of the darkest pages of recent human history.

Les refugies rwandais a Bukavu au Zaire - De nouveaux Palestiniens?

(The Rwandan refugees in Bukavu, Zaire - the new Palestinians?) by Philippe de Dorlodot Published by L'Harmattan (5-7, rue de l'Ecole-Polytechnique, F-75005 Paris) and by the Jeremie Group. 1995. 253 pages. FM 150. ISBN 2-7384-3698-6.

The author has brought together various stories, appeals, communiques, analyses and thoughts to write this book about the crisis facing the Rwandan refugees. The accounts cover the period from April 1994 to October 1995 and relate to the situation in South Kivu, Zaire, where an already volatile position has been greatly exacerbated by the arrival of the refugees. The people living in the regional centres of Goma and Bukavu are having to live with the tragedy of gross overcrowding and all its consequences - environmental deterioration, price increases, general insecurity and the threat of war on the border between Rwanda and Burundi.

Zaire now wants the refugees to leave as quickly as possible, but their return to Rwanda is still problematic. Rejected at every turn, are these Rwandan refugees set to become the new Palestinians? In the postscript to the work, Filip Reyntjens (the author of the book reviewed previously) states that 'These new refugees will not accept eternal exile. H voluntary repatriation is not possible, and if forced repatriation is unacceptable, the only way left open to them may be armed repatriation... The civil society of South Kivu... is well aware of this, and the international community would do well to listen to their cries of alarm... If it does not, the tragic events of the past year will have been merely a prelude, with the worst still to come'.

La tragedie rwandaise - Historique et Perspectives

(The Rwandan tragedy - historical background and future prospects) by Emmanuel Nkunzumwami. Published by L'Harmaffan (5-7, rue de l'Ecole Polytechnique, F-75005 Paris). 1995. 480 pages. FFR 250. ISBN 2-7384-3697-8.

The author, a teiecommunications engineer and economist, was born and raised in Rwanda. He now lives in France and has had several articles about the situation in his country published. In this work, he seeks to Reconstruct the machine of central Rwandan power which first appeared in the eleventh century, seeking answers to questions such as: Who ruled the country and how? What alliances were forged and according to what criteria? What kinds of social structure existed and what forms did conflict take? He then goes on to describe the trauma of colonial rule which 'deliberately' fanned the flames of socio-ethnic conflict so that the people could be more easily controlled. From there, he takes us through the era of an 'independent' Rwanda under a dictatorial regime. Its power was progressively stripped away, initially under the pressure of internal calls for democracy, and then by the demands of Western aid donors. Finally, he recounts the events since April 1994.

Having given the historical background, the author examines the country's future prospects. He believes that the 'siege mentality' of the new government does nothing to induce the return of the 2 million refugees who shuffle back and forth across the border and who find themselves stuck between a 'rock and a hard place'. Finally, the author poses a straightforward question - but one which has yet to be answered: How can we rebuild a country that has witnessed genocide on such a scale?

News round-up

In brief

UNCTAD Report on the least-developed countries (LDCs)

According to the annual report of UNCTAD (The UN Conference on Trade and Development), the 48 least developed countries of the planet, after several years of stagnation - and indeed, decline in some cases - enjoyed an average growth rate of 3% in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1994-95. The figure was 4.6% for LDCs in Asia and 2.2% for those in Africa (33 out 48).

UNCTAD says that the renewed grovvth rate for Africa's least developed nations is due to an increase in commodity prices, to improved political and social stability in certain countries and to economic reforms which have been implemented. If these favourable conditions are maintained, further modest progress can be anticipated for 1996.

Despite the positive impact of these factors on the development of countries, notably in Asia, UNCTAD believes that there is still a short-term danger that the world's weakest economies will suffer further marginalisation. It is pointed out, in this context, that the LDCs' share of total world trade - which stood at 1.7% in 1970 - had fallen to 0.4% for exports and 0.7% for imports, by 1994.

In the longer term it is thought that the LDCs, with their reliance on basic commodities for export receipts, may benefit from the globalization of their economies. This should happen notably through the regional trade agreements to which they are parties, alongside other developing countries. These regional markets, which are more attractive for investors, offer an opportunity for LDCs to try out their products and can, in time, help improve their competitiveness. In the meantime, however, UNCTAD has noted that the immediate effects of the Uruguay Round have tended to be more negative, with reductions in the preferences enjoyed by LDCs in export markets and increases in the price of foodstuffs.

In addition, because they are dependent on official development aid (ODA) to finance investment, and even for their national budgets, LDCs are faced with possible further marginalisation as such aid flows are reduced. The figures show that, in terms of total resource flows, the amount of ODA provided by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD fell to 23% in 1994 from a figure of 27% a decade previously.

Likewise, the amount of aid, expressed as a proportion of the GDP of the donor countries, has been falling.

UNCTAD suggests a bolder policy as regards external debt - which, in 1994, amounted to 73% of the entire Gross Domestic Product of the LDCs. The organisation believes that the establishment of a new mechanism with sufficient resources to reduce multilateral indebtedness, combined with the expansion of existing mechanisms, could have the effect of reducing the overall debt burden to a more reasonable level.

On the subject of globalisation, UNCTAD argues that the international community should work to ensure that the LDCs' export markets do not become blocked by protectionist measures. It also believes that extensions to regional trade agreements, taking in the main industrialised countries, should not be allowed to have a damaging effect on the commercial interests of the LDCs. It points out that these countries have only limited scope for pursuing independent, national economic policies and that

No agreement over banning landmines

Humanitarian organisations have expressed disappointment over the outcome of a recent United Nations conference, convened in Geneva to draw up a convention on 'Inhumane weapons). Both NGOs, and public agencies such as UNICEF, are particularly unhappy that state representatives at the meeting were unable to agree to an immediate and comprehensive ban on anti-personnel mines. These devices, which often lie hidden in the soil for many years, kill and maim thousands of civilians in current (and former) conflict areas across the globe

Diplomats attending the Geneva conference were keen to emphasise what had been achieved. So-called 'dumb' mines, which do not self-destruct after a certain time will eventually be phased out.

Seif-destructing devices, which are still permitted under international law, will be subject to strict new standards, designed notably to ensure that they can be detected. And there will be new rules to ensure that minefieids are properly marked.

Critics point out that signatories to the Convention will not be obliged to phase out 'dumb' mines immediately and that their use will remain legal for a further nine years after the agreement enters into force.

There is also an exception to the rule about marking the location of mines, 'where direct military action makes its impossible to comply' - a not uncommon circumstance in conflict situations.

Since the Geneva Conference, a number of countries, including the United States, have announced their intention to reduce their stockpiles of mines. Few nations, however, seem willing to renounce their use altogether.

S.H. their governments have little choice but to adopt the prevailing market oriented approach.

Long-term food security

A seminar on 'Long-Term Food Security Policies' was held in Brussels on 1-3 April at the initiative of the European Commission. The meeting, which was opened by Professor Pinheiro, Commissioner with responsibility for relations with the ACP countries, brought together about a hundred participants representing Member States, third countries, international organisations and major cooperation agencies. It was also attended by experts and researchers in the field of food security.

Fulfilling a promise made by the Commission, the aim of the seminar was to clarify the long term strategic issues and take a closer look at food security policies with a view to preparing a European position for the World Food Summit scheduled for Rome in November under the auspices of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The European Community and its Member States are the world's main donors of food aid having spent ECU 1.089 billion on this in 1994. This amounted to 53% of the global total with the United States providing 44% and Japan 3%. Despite the large amounts being given, the FAO, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the World Bank are all predicting that unless global food donations are boosted significantly, certain Asian and African countries will face an alarming food deficit by the beginning of the next century.

Between 600 million and 800 million people are likely to be facing hunger by the year 2010 and the cereal needs of the developing countries could well double between now and then.

This projected scenario coincides with a period of market difficulty. World stocks are low and grain prices have risen by 40% in just one year. Whether or not this is a portent of future food shortage, it has given rise to renewed debate on the ability of certain countries and regions of the world to supply themselves and the extent to which they will have to have recourse to the international markets. Closer attention is also being paid to the wider strategies that need to be implemented to ensure food security in the future.

If one looks at the issue solely in terms of increasing supply, the projections are gloomy. Experience shows that the 'right' of access to a sufficient food supply for each of the planet's inhabitants cannot be guaranteed whether through world economic growth, food self-sufficiency at the national level, or the international markets and trade liberalisation. There is, therefore, a need for food security policies, in the developing countries in particular, which act on the conditions of demand as well as supply.

In his presentation opening the seminar, Commissioner Pinheiro stressed the fact that of the ECU 7 billion allocated by the EU for development cooperation last year, ECU 1 billion was in the form of food aid. He also noted that this aid 'category' had evolved over the last decade in the context of the search for food security and explained how the Commission, in revising the policy towards the end of 1994, had set out three essential aspects:

- the use of food aid as a policy instrument designed to achieve longterm food security with the emphasis on local purchases and 'triangular' operations - thereby encouraging the growth of the agricultural sector in the developing countries: this entailed developing a new aid instrument in which funds are available to import basic food products (as a way of encouraging the private sector to take a more active part in the economic life of those countries facing a structural food deficit);

- the integration of aid instruments into the actual development efforts of the beneficiary countries;

- improved access for the people who suffer most from food shortages.

Professor Pinheiro indicated that the Commission would shortly be presenting a communication on the strengthening of the link between development aid on the one hand and emergency, rehabilitation and food aid on the other.

He stressed the important role that food aid operations could play in preventing conflicts and easing social tensions.

According to the Commissioner, the challenge in this area have been clearly identified but he believes that additional thinking is needed, notably on the impact of events in China and the countries of the former Soviet Union, and on the effect of US and EC agricultural policies on the world markets.

In conclusion, Professor Pinheiro expressed the view that food security was, above all, a national responsibility with all civil society actors having a role to play.

Citing the rise in the price of cereals during the second half of 1995 - which had prompted concerns about the availability of food aid and its impact on the balance of payments (notably in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian sub-continent) - he gave an assurance that the Commission would remain vigilant about this. At the same time, he was concerned not to see a return to situations where aid in the form of straightforward transfers of food increased. These, he observed,

· had at least partly contributed to food costs, the destabilisation of local production and constraints on intra-regional trade. As such, they had set back or undermined the reforms in this sector in the countries concerned.

Caribbean rice exporters fear changes in OCT . rules

Guyana and Suriname, together with a number of Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs), have expressed concern over the European Commission's recently announced intention to change the shape of its relations with the OCTs. In particular, they are worried that proposed new rules could harm their rice sales to the 15 European Union nations.

Guyana currently exports 180 000 tonnes of rice (80% of its exports) to the KU. This is shipped initially to the Netherlands Antilles (Cura, Aruba and Bonaire) to be partially milled. It then enters the EU market duty-free by virtue of the Union's existing trade rules with the OCTs. But Caribbean exporters fear that this 'OCT route' could soon be blocked by changes currently being considered in Brussels.

As already announced in issue no 157 of The Courier (May-June 1996), in the context of the mid-term review of the association with the OCTs, the Commission published a text on February 14 proposing some fine tuning to the trade preferences it grants to these territories. This has now gone forward to the Council of Ministers for decision. The Commission proposal is that while agricultural produce may continue being processed in the OCTs - and hence still benefit from the more relaxed rules - this should happen in future on a case-by-case basis, and only if priority is given to the least developed OCTs and the operations are economically justified.

In fact, preferential arrangements do apply to direct rice exports from Guyana and Suriname to the KU, but it is argued that the levies are still too high to make the trade viable.

According to Yesu Persaud, who is Chairman of Guyana's Institute of Private Enterprise; 'it is only via the OCTs that we can export to the European Union.' Mr Persaud was speaking to journalists during a lobby visit to Brussels on April 16. He was accompanied by Charles P Kennard, Chairman of the Guyana Rice Development Board and David Jessop, director of the London-based Caribbean Council for Europe.

Justifying the need for derange, some EU officials point to evidence that non-tome developing countries are 'abusing' the OCT rice route. Rice is a sensitive product for some EU nations such as Spain and Italy, who grow their own.

Mr Persaud said that Guyana and Suriname were lobbying either for their own duty-free quota under the Lomrade rules, or for 'a more reasonable levy'. At the same time, however, he indicated that the Caribbean rice growers were keen on keeping the route open via the Dutch and other OCTs (such as Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos) where major investments have been made on the strength of the existing arrangements. A representative of the Turks and Caicos told reporters that his country earned half a million dollars a year from the trade, and that a new jetty had been built with British government support.

Guyana's rice exports have climbed from less than 39 000 tonnes in 1986 to more than 200 000 tonnes in 1995. And as Mr Persaud also stressed, the trade has done so well that Guyana is now investing in high-yielding varieties.

Fight against locusts

Fipronil, a recently developed pesticide, is said to be 10 times more effective than other products on the market in the control of locusts, according to representatives of the pharmaceutical giant, Rhone-Poulenc who organised a seminar on locust control

Links between emergency, rehabilitation and development aid

The European commission has recently approved a communication

(COM(96) 153) which was due to be presented to the Development Council on 28 May. The document seeks to respond tO the challenge of I maintaining and improving the effectiveness of emergency aid rehabilitation assistance and development cooperation with third countries - in the face of a wide variety of political, economic and social circumstances.

The Communication suggests ways of strengthening the links between the three types of aid within a strategic planning framework which includes intensified dialogue and political cooperation.

This initiative follows extensive consultations, both within the Commission (i_ service groups) and with representatives of numerous outside bodies (Member State experts, USAID, UN agencies, NGOs, academic institutions etc.).

While the key phrase in the Communication may be 'strategy and global planning', emphasis is also placed on 'coordination' end 'opportunity'. This underlines a commitment to adapting procedures, where necessary, so that measures can be taken at the right time and the transition from emergency aid, to rehabilitation and subsequently to development cooperation can take place in the best possible conditions. with the 70-member African, Caribbean and Pacific group. The event took place in Brussels in April.

The new product, claims the company, fills a big gap that was left in the war against locust infestation when DDT was banned in 1986 (toxic residues from the chemical having been found to enter the food chain and damage the ecosystem).

It is stated that Fipronil causes 99% mortality among locusts and gives complete protection for up to three weeks when applied in doses of six grammes per hectare.

Its developers claim that it is three times cheaper than any other form of anti-locust pesticide used between 1987-1995, a calculation which includes the logistical costs involved in distributing the pesticide. It is said to be very effective in preventing locust infestations in countries in the Sahel that are particularly at risk.

The Sahel has some 250 acridian species. Of these, about 15, are known regularly to attack crops in large numbers, according to Michel Launois, who heads the French agricultural research body, CIRAD-GERDAT-PRIFAS.

At the Brussels seminar, emphasis was placed on the need for donors to set aside more funds for the prevention of locust infestations. It was also stressed that locust control must be at a regional level because of the migratory nature of the species, and the link between locust control and food security was underlined.

CIRAD-GERDAT-PRIFAS has just published an educational cartoon strip entitled 'Les Dents du Ciel 11' (available from Cirad-Gerdat-Prifas, B.P. 5035, F34032 Montpellier Cedex 1). This is intended to explain to a wide audience the need for an integrated approach to locust control.

I New fishing agreement between Angola and the EU

A new fisheries agreement between Angola and the EU was initialled on 2 May. It is due to run for three years (as opposed to two years for the previous one) and should ensure greater stability and better programming of the Community fleet's fishing activities in Angolan waters. The EU will pay Angola the sum of ECU 13.35 million per annum in exchange for improved fishing rights for European fishermen.

It is worth noting that the agreement contains certain innovations. These concern, for example, the legal status of catches (which are given Community origin). This should help to avoid the kind of dispute that has arisen in the recent past. There is also the possibility of imposing an annual biological 'rest-period' for shrimp fishing.

I African conference on consumer protection

The first African conference on consumer protection was held in Harare, Zimbabwe from 28 April to 2 May. This resulted from a joint initiative by the organization Consumers international and the United Nations, and it was supported financially by the European Commission. The latter was represented at the event by Mrs Emma Bonino, the Commissioner responsible for Consumer Policy.

The aim of the conference was to lay down the basis for a genuine consumer policy in Africa. Representatives of 45 African governments attended, together with officials from various regional and sub-regional organizations and delegates from a large number of African consumer bodies. Coinciding with the tenth anniversary of the adoption by the UN of the guiding principles for the protection of consumers, the Conference offered an opportunity to track progress on the application of these principles in African countries. It also saw the adoption of 'model' legislation setting out the essential rights which should be guaranteed to consumers.

In her speech, Mrs Bonino stressed the Commission's commitment to supporting the efforts of African governments and consumer organisations in seeking to establish, in a clear and pragmatic way, the link between consumption and development. Evidence of this commitment, she pointed out, was to be seen in her very presence at the conference. She also lent her support to the broad application of the UN's guiding principles in Africa. This would ensure that the health, security and economic rights of African consumers could be protected.

But the European Commissioner stressed that legislation, while important, was not enough in itself to tackle the fundamental problem - which was the satisfaction of basic needs. She appealed for global action in Africa deigned to break the vicious circle of poverty - based on voluntary action at all levels.

Mrs Bonino added that the Commission would seek ways of supporting projects, in particular in the fields of food and health. This should assist citizens to meet their essential needs - with the opportunity to consume products which were different, 'local' and of better quality, and with risks to health and security minimised. The approach should avoid the exhaustion of scarce resources and respect nature. She indicated that an action plan would be drawn up by the Commission in collaboration with Consumers International. This, it was hoped, would allow financing of pilot programmes under a separate budget line which would be sought from the European Parliament for 1997.



Within the framework of its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), the European Union has recently issued a number of statements, details of which are set out below:

Towards national reconciliation in Angola

Declaration of 4 April 1996

The Troika of the European Union Ambassadors in Luanda made a formal demarche with both the Government of Angola and UNITA in order to welcome the positive outcome of the Libreville Summit between the President of Angola, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, and the President of UNITA, Jonas Savimbi, and in particular their commitment to establish an integrated national army by June and the creation of an appropriate institutional structure, including the formation of a government of unity and national reconciliation by June/July. The Government and UNITA were encouraged to continue to refrain from military activity and hostile propaganda and to provide for free circulation of persons and goods as soon as possible. The EU Ambassadors underlined also the importance of securing human rights as well as transparency in financial management, economic stabilisation and reforms. Having recalled the terms of reference of the EU Joint Position adopted on 2 October, 1995, the Ambassadors underlined that the Union will continue to monitor, with the greatest attention, the development of the situation particularly as regards respect for the implementation of the calendar agreed in Libreville. Welcoming the recent steps taken by UNITA, the EU expressed concern at the slow pace of the quartering and disarming of UNITA troops and urged UNITA to proceed with its commitments, in full cooperation with UNAVEM ill. The EU encouraged the Government to continue the quartering of the rapid intervention police and the disengagement and pulling back of the FAA to the nearest barracks. The importance of disarming the civilian population was also emphasised. The EU also reiterated their call to the Government and UNITA to refrain from acquiring lethal material and to cooperate fully with the de-mining process.

The EU has reiterated its full support to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Maitre Blondin Beye, to the Joint Commission and to the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM).

Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia and Malta align themselves with this declaration.

Free elections in Sierra Leone

Declaration of 4 April 1996

The European Union welcomes the fact that presidential and parliamentary elections took place in Sierra Leone in a free and fair atmosphere and in fulfilment of the established timetable for the return to democracy.

The results reflect the will of the people of Sierra Leone to achieve a democratically elected civilian government despite attempts at intimidation by armed elements and the ongoing fighting in various parts of the country.

The EU welcomes the peace talks between the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the Freetown authorities as well as the intention expressed by President Kabbah to meet Mr Sankoh at the earliest possible opportunity. The EU calls on all the parties to work for peace and national reconciliation.

Serious threat to peace process in Liberia

Declaration of 11 April 1996

The European Union expresses its deep concern at the outbreak of fighting in Monrovia, which represents a serious threat to the peace process in Liberia. The EU is firmly convinced that the AbuJa agreement provides the right framework for resolving the crisis and calls upon the Council of State, the Liberian national transitional government and the Liberian factions to implement it, and to put the peace process back on track, in order to avoid further deterioration of the situation, and the violation of human rights. The EU condemns the loss of human life and the harassment of the civilian population and humanitarian workers. All parties concerned should prove their willingness to re-establish and maintain the ceasefire which represents the necessary prerequisite to disarmament and demobilization. The relevant measures and the necessary preparations can no longer be delayed. The EU asks the factions to return all weapons seized during the fighting to ECOMOG. The EU will base its attitude to Liberia on the concrete steps taken by all parties concerned to implement the Abuja agreement and bring the conflict to an end.

Treaty of Pelindaba on a nuclear weapon-free zone in Africa

Declaration of 12 April 1996

The European Union welcomes the signature in Cairo on 11 April 1996 of the Pelindaba Treaty establishing the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone. The Treaty is in line with the Decision on Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament issued by the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference which recognised that the creation of Nuclear Weapon Free Zones enhances global and regional peace and security.

The EU considers that Nuclear Weapon Free Zones are welcome complementary instruments to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the universality of which the EU continues to promote.

The Central and Eastern European countries associated with the EU and the associated countries Cyprus and Malta align themselves with this declaration.

Appeal for the 'boat people' of Liberia

Declaration of 14 May 1996

The European Union expresses its deep concern at the grave humanitarian situation caused by the ongoing fighting in Monrovia and condemns the violence against the civilian population and the harassment of aid operations.

While recognising the enormous efforts already made by neighbouring countries to assist the hundreds of thousands of existing Liberian refugees, the Council deplores the fact that the thousands of people crammed in precarious conditions on ships in the area are still in search of a friendly port.

It appeals on humanitarian grounds to the neighbouring countries to give at least temporary shelter to these victims of the fighting and affirms its own willingness to give humanitarian aid to cover their most urgent needs.

The Council calls on all the Liberian factions to stop the fighting immediately and put the peace process back on track in order to avoid further suffering.


The Prime Minister of Rwanda

The Prime Minister of Rwanda, Pierre Celestin Rwigema, visited Brussels from 26 to 29 March in the course of a tour aimed at informing the main donors about the work undertaken by his government in recent months and about the policies which would be implemented in the future. He was accompanied by the Minister of Planning and the Minister for Rehabilitation. The Prime Minister was received by Commissioner Pinheiro, who is responsible for relations with the ACP countries and by Mrs Bonino, the Commission member in charge of humanitarian actions. He also spoke at meetings of the External Relations and Development Committees of the European Parliament. Professor Pinheiro took the opportunity to highlight to the Prime Minister his concerns about the current situation in Rwanda, reiterating the Commission's commitment to the country and its people. He also spoke of the need for the authorities to pursue policies and implement measures leading to the restoration of normality. He said it was essential to have a dialogue with the Rwandan refugees in neighbouring countries (there are now about 1.7 million) and to pursue the pacification process under the auspices of the United Nations and the Organisation of African Unity, with the involvement of all the heads of government in the Great Lakes region. Mr Rwigema's visit came at a crucial time for Rwanda. Even if the immediate crisis had passed, there was still a dire need for rehabilitation and development assistance, on top of the existing emergency aid programmes. The political situation remained delicate and the future was by no means secure, notwithstanding some encouraging signs of a progressive improvement as exemplified by the Tunis summit. The recent nomination of

Aldo Ajello as the EU's special envoy to the Great Lakes region underlined the political and moral dimension of the EU's commitment to the peace process in this troubled part of Africa.


The Commission has recently decided to provide the following financing for projects under the budget line 'Support for. democratisation and human rights'. Non-ACP countries

Central America: ECU 180.000 to support seven national and one regional fore aimed at providing training in the field of human rights for instructors.

Central America: ECU 100.000 for a democracy consolidation training programme for 30 teams from various organisations in Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Central America/Colombia: ECU 263.000 for a series of actions, notably in Colombia, involving the provision of information on human and citizens' rights.

Brazil: ECU 190.000 for a project designed to boost the civil rights of black people in the country, through the training of judicial personnel and the strengthening of legislation against race discrimination.

Brazil: ECU 145.000 for a training programme for magistrates, prosecutors and the police aimed at facilitating the uniform application of the law in the State of SPaulo.

Brazil: ECU 290.000 for a training programme in the sphere of democratic municipal management, in the cities of Recife, Porto Alegre, Santos and Fortaleza.

Guatemala: ECU 308.000 for a project to collect and make available the case law of the Constitutional Court, and to train officials and members of civil society.

Honduras: ECU 326.000 to support the National Human Rights Commission with a view to promoting such rights in the Departments of Comayagua and Olancho.

Honduras: ECU 131.000 for an education programme dealing with civic and electoral issues and the rights of children.

Mexico: ECU 20.000 to support an initial Latin-American colloquium on the subject of the Ombudsman (in the face of the objectives and challenges of the region).

Nicaragua: ECU 285.000 to support the social rehabilitation of minors in custody.

Panama: ECU 125.000 for a training action in the field of the defence of human rights.

Panama: ECU 250.000 to support a communication campaign designed to strengthen the image of the 'people's ombudsman'.

Venezuela: ECU 160.000 to strengthen the institution of Justices of the Peace in the country's municipalities.

Venezuela: ECU 100.000 ECU for a training and promotion action in the field of human rights and the strengthening of civil society.



Following, where required, favourable opinions from the EDF Committee, the Commission has decided to provide grants and special loans from the 5th, 6th and 7th EDFs to finance the following operations (grants unless otherwise stated). Major projects and programmes are highlighted.

Economic and social infrastructure

Cameroon: ECU 7.3 million for a programme aimed at protecting the urban boundary of the city of Kousseri from the encroachments of the Logone river, to improve sanitation and for the upgrading of an urban access route towards Chad.

Ghana: ECU 54 million for a transport infrastructure programme aimed at facilitating the social and economic development of the people living in the recisions in question (Western region, Brong Afaho, the Ashanti region).

Ghana: ECU 3.8 million for a human resource development programme designed to achieve better planning, management and implementation of development projects.

Kenya: ECU 1.9 million for a project to support the development of tourism.

Mozambique: ECU 385 000 to extend the water supply system in the town of Mantola

Chad: ECU 13.5 million to upgrade the Ere-Kelo road

Trade promotion/ structural adjustment

Benin-Cameroon Cd'lvoire-GhanaGuinea-Togo: ECU 1.99 million for a regional programme of trade activities and training with a view to relaunching the pineapple business in West and Central Africa.

Burkina Faso: ECU 180 000 for the construction of an 'export and creativity' pavilion at the Salon international de l'artisanat in Ouagadougou.

Papua-New Guinea: ECU 5.3 million for the fourth structural adjustment support programme.


Madagascar: ECU 1.9 million for a rice irrigation project.


Botswana: ECU 33.7 million from the Sysmin fund, to support the work of the BCL, Tati and FEB mining companies in the SelebiPhikwe region.


Dominican Republic: ECU 1.3 million to support the STD-HIV-AIDS prevention programme.


Madagascar: ECU 1.9 million for a decentralised training project in favour of regional tourism operators.

Tuvalu: ECU 300 000 for the rehabilitation of primary schools on the islands of Nukutetau and Nanumea.


Central Africa (Cameroon-Central African Republic-Congo-GabonEquatorial Guinea): ECU 16 million for phase 2 of the ECOFAC project (Conservation and rational utilisation of forest ecosystems in Central Africa).

Institutional support

Malawi: ECU 1 million towards a study aimed at allowing the government to implement its land reform policy.

Eritrea: ECU 4.5 million for a study aimed at allowing the government to undertake proper planning in the area of water resources and irrigation.

Pacific region: ECU 4.9 million for a project designed to improve the efficiency and security at certain airports.


ACP countries

Mali: ECU 1 million towards the reintegration of some 200 000 Malians who fled to Algeria and Mauritania during the rebellions of the 1980s.

Mozambique: ECU 317 000 for victims of the severe floods that struck the centre and south of the country recently.

Nigeria: ECU 850 000 to help fight the meningitis epidemic affecting seven provinces of the country.

Sierra Leone: ECU 700 000 in urgent food and medical assistance for some 250 000 refugees who fled to the areas around the towns of Bo and Kemena following the fighting.

Chad: ECU 200 000 to help fight the meningitis epidemic.

Zaire: ECU 145 000 to help victims of the cholera epidemic and to assist in preventing its further spread (following the course of the Zaire river).

Non-ACP countries

Colombia: ECU 60 000 to help fight cholera in the municipality of Silvia, where some 40 000 are under threat due to a lack of drinking water and deficiencies in basic hygiene.

Guatemala: ECU 1.52 million to provide food aid and basic essentials to returnees from other parts of the country, and from Mexico, following years of civil war.

Armenia/Azerbaijan: ECU 11.57 million (ECU 4.07m for Armenia and ECU 7.5m for Azerbaijan), for food and medical assistance, targeted at the most vulnerable sections of the population, and for the provision of agricultural materials with a view to reducing progressively the dependence of the refugees, who are victims of the conflict in Nagomo-Karabakh.

Caucasus-Georgia-Tadilkistan: ECU 3.2 million for food aid to be targeted at the most vulnerable sections of the population.

Georgia: ECU 7.43 million for victims of the internal conflict in this country where the loss of the Russian market has seriously undermined the rural economy.

Lebanon: ECU 600 000 for displaced people, to allow for the purchase of basic essentials including food, medicines, shelter and blankets.

Afghanistan: ECU 600 000 for health infrastructures in the refugee camps around Jalalabad, and for medical aid to refugees in the town of Herat. Indonesia: ECU 120 000 for toots and materials to construct shelters for the victims of the earthquake that struck in February. China (Tibetan nomads): ECU 550 000 for food aid, medicines and blankets for some 72 000 people living in the mountainous regions who have been badly hit by severe weather and a food shortage.


The Commission has recently taken decisions to finance food aid as set out in the chart which follows:


The Courier
Africa - Caribbean - Pacific - European Union

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