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Many African and Nollywood actors are living in Houston

Ben Affleck - Hollywood actor, writer, director and now an advocate for Democratic Republic of Cong wants to make a movie about Congo. Ben Affleck is the founder of the advocacy group, Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), has just returned back from his recent trip to the eastern African country of Congo that has been bedeviled with instability since the era of cold war. Ben Affleck an actor, writer and director is asking Hollywood to finance a movie on Congo but he has received rejection letters from Hollywood moguls, movie financial houses and financiers.

"I would love to make a movie about Congo, but unfortunately I've asked Hollywood folks and they always say, ah, nobody wants to see a movie about Africa," said Affleck. "I think that points to this general sense that people sort of tune out, that it doesn't matter," he said in an interview.

"It's also a function of trends and conventional wisdom: if it comes down to a movie with fighting robots or a movie on what's happening in eastern Congo, you're not going to win."

Speaking and sounding like an expert on a panel at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on U.S. foreign policy in Washington D.C: “In eastern Congo, conflict and insecurity continue while the guns have fallen silent in other parts," claiming some 3.5 million lives. Ben Affleck emphasis further from the prepared report by the Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), “The international community -- and the US in particular -- must do more to address the challenges in eastern Congo if another failure of humanity is to be averted in central Africa.”

Two short documentaries about eastern Congo have already been made last year by Affleck that was shot at Nord-Kivu region Of Congo. The 23-minute video called "Gimme Shelter,” featuring Rolling Stones' hit song was collaborated with Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger.

Affleck said that making a movie on Africa has its problems, “But the other problem with movies about Africa is that there are no African movie stars in the United States. So the lead has to be someone who's American, and you have to figure out how to get an American person wedged into a story about Africa."

But maybe Ben Affleck has not heard about Nigeria’s Nollywood actors in America and Nigeria. Many experienced African actors and directors are living and working in Houston, Texas.

More on Democratic Republic of Congo

Affleck in Congo &  tragedy in DRC

From Mobutu Dictatorship to Kabila Disintegration

“Laurent-Desire Kabila marched into Kinshasa on May 17, 1997 and declared himself president. He consolidated power around himself and the AFDL and renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.). Kabila's Army Chief and the Secretary General of the AFDL were Rwandan, and RPA units continued to operate tangentially with the D.R.C.'s military, which was renamed the Forces Armees Congolaises (FAC).

Over the next year, relations between Kabila and his foreign backers deteriorated. In July 1998, Kabila ordered all foreign troops to leave the D.R.C. Most refused to leave. On August 2, nationwide fighting erupted as Rwandan troops in the D.R.C. "mutinied," and fresh Rwandan and Ugandan troops entered the country. Two days later, Rwandan troops flew to Bas-Congo, with the intention of marching on Kinshasa, ousting Kabila, and replacing him with the newly formed Rwandan-backed rebel group called the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie (RCD). The Rwandan campaign was thwarted at the last minute when Angolan, Zimbabwean, and Namibian troops intervened on behalf of the D.R.C. Government. The Rwandans and the RCD withdrew to eastern D.R.C., where they established de facto control over portions of eastern D.R.C. and continued to fight the Congolese army and its foreign allies.

In February 1999, Uganda backed the formation of a rebel group called the Mouvement pour la Liberation du Congo (MLC), which drew support from among ex-Mobutuists and ex-Zairian soldiers in Equateur province (Mobutu's home province). Together, Uganda and the MLC established control over the northern third of the D.R.C.

At this stage, the D.R.C. was divided de facto into three segments--one controlled by Laurent Kabila, one controlled by Rwanda, and one controlled by Uganda--and the parties had reached military deadlock. In July 1999, a cease-fire was proposed in Lusaka, Zambia, which all parties signed by the end of August. The Lusaka Accord called for a cease-fire, the deployment of a UN peacekeeping operation, the withdrawal of foreign troops, and the launching of an "Inter-Congolese Dialogue" to form a transitional government leading to elections. The parties to the Lusaka Accord failed to fully implement its provisions in 1999 and 2000. Laurent Kabila drew increasing international criticism for blocking full deployment of UN troops, hindering progress toward an Inter-Congolese Dialogue, and suppressing internal political activity.

On January 16, 2001, Laurent Kabila was assassinated, allegedly by a member of his personal bodyguard corps who was in turn killed by an aide-de-camp. Kabila was succeeded by his son Joseph, who reversed many of his father's negative policies. Over the next year, the UN peacekeeping mission in the D.R.C. (United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, known by its French acronym MONUC) deployed throughout the country, and the Inter-Congolese Dialogue proceeded. By the end of 2002, all Angolan, Namibian, and Zimbabwean troops had withdrawn from the D.R.C. Following D.R.C.-Rwanda talks in South Africa that culminated in the Pretoria Accord in July 2002, Rwandan troops officially withdrew from the D.R.C. in October 2002. However, there were continued, unconfirmed reports that Rwandan soldiers and military advisers remained integrated with the forces of an RCD splinter group (RCD/G) in eastern D.R.C. Ugandan troops officially withdrew from the D.R.C. in May 2003.”    (US State Dept.)

 

 

Running for mayor this time maybe a different story

Former US Senator Carol Moseley Braun who lost her re-election due to her visit to former Nigerian dictator Gen. Sani Abacha, is running for a new position. Carol Moseley Braun, the first black female US senator is gearing and getting ready for Chicago mayoral bid."The 63-year-old former U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand said that she hopes to raise $2 million for her mayoral campaign. She recently hired Mike Noonan, a former political aide to powerful Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), as her campaign manager and appointed Victor Reyes, a co-founder of the city’s Hispanic Democratic organization and close ally of Mayor Richard Daley, as a senior adviser."

Carol Moseley Braun, the only and first black elected senator in America "may try to recapture the breath-of-fresh-air enthusiasm that carried her to the Senate in 1992. But if she hopes to succeed retiring Mayor Richard M. Daley, who has led the country's third largest city for more than two decades, Braun will have to explain the miscues and embarrassing revelations that limited her to a single term — including a visit with a brutal Nigerian dictator — and overcome her years-long absence from public service."

"A former assistant U.S. attorney and state lawmaker, Braun was a relatively anonymous figure holding a relatively anonymous job — Cook County recorder of deeds — when she won a stunning Democratic primary victory over U.S. Sen. Alan Dixon in 1992. She went on to best little-known Republican Rich Williamson in the general election. Within months, Braun had a Mr. Smith-Goes-To-Washington moment: She stared down conservative North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms, angrily promising to stand on the floor of the Senate "until this room freezes over" to stop the chamber from granting a patent on the United Daughters of the Confederacy insignia, which featured a Confederate flag. When it was over, 23 senators who'd voted in favor of the patent changed their votes, and the patent — routinely approved in the past — was denied.

That victory, however, was eventually overshadowed by criticism of Braun. She was excoriated by human rights activists when she met Nigerian dictator Gen. Sani Abacha, who'd been accused of human rights abuses, during a 1996 trip to Africa with her then-boyfriend. To make matters worse, Braun did not alert the State Department to her visit Braun explained she was traveling to Nigeria for a friend's funeral, and simply did not think to contact the State Department or tell the media, suggesting that she was the victim of a double standard."

The former Senator Braun did eventually lost her relection bid and Nigerian community in Chicago did not support her for relection. Many in Nigerian community in Chicago even supported her opponent and campaign against her on the ground that she was not supporting democracy in Nigeria. This time around everybody will be keen to see how she go about getting back her lost momentum of the past years before she was stopped by her controversial visit to Nigeria's dictator.

 

 

Mr. Blair in Aso Rock, Nigeria

The former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was quoted recently on the concern of world community on the forthcoming Nigerian 2011 election. Mr. Tony Blair the former British prime minister and a clever politican is no stranger to African politics and Nigerian politics in particular. He said that the international community is expecting a lot from Nigeria’s general 2011elections.

Tony Blair was in Nigeria visiting President Goodluck Jonathan at Presidential Aso Villa:“Everyone, including the international community, is expressing a great deal of interest, a great deal of excitement for the elections and everyone is anxious for the elections to be conducted in the best possible way, “I think the preparations are going on and expectations are high around Nigeria, which is a great thing. Back in the West, things are pretty difficult politically, difficult economically. There is a hugely enhanced interest in Africa and in Nigeria. There is a lot of hope and excitement.”

Former U.S. President George Bush (L-R), Chairman of Nigeria's THISDAY Newspapers Nduka Obaigbena, Britain's former Prime Minister Tony Blair and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pose for a photograph during the "Nigeria at 50 Awards", organised by Nigeria's THISDAY Newspapers, in the capital territory of Abuja February 21, 2010. Picture taken February 21, 2010. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde (NIGERIA - Tags: POLITICS MEDIA)

During his tenure in Britain he organized many out reach programs for African including the formation of task force on African debt problem. He promoted the idea of debt forgiveness and increase in foreign aid for Africa during his leadership and as a head of G8. But his initiates failed because the group of G8 responed lukewarm to the program of debt forgiveness and increased in foreign aid to Africa. Moreover, the opposing voice was that Africa needs more trade and trade concession, not more foreign aid. Many view foreign aid as corrupt -  a threat to engine of development and economic progress.

 

500 Million users of mobile phones in Africa

The second largest continent Africa with underdeveloped infrastructures has made a tremendous gain in the usage of mobile phones with more than half-billion subscribers. This was revealed at the yearly AfricaCom conference by Informa Telecoms & Media in South Africa which coincided with the 25th anniversary of mobile telephone usage in Africa.

“At the end of the third quarter of this year, according to Informa, African mobile users accounted for 10% of the global mobile subscriber base. It had seen 18% growth in the 12 months up to the end of September. While several African countries have passed 100% penetration in terms of number of subscriptions, the continent as a whole is now at 48.35%.”

africa Africa now has over half a billion mobile subscribers [Thats a lot of phones]South Africans using their phones

Thecla Mbongue, Johannesburg based Senior Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, said, “Although the rate of growth in mobile subscriptions in Africa will slow as markets mature, the continent continues to offer great opportunities for investors in the voice segment in under-penetrated markets and also in the non-voice segments with mobile broadband and mobile-money services taking off,”

“By 2015, there will be 265 million mobile broadband subscriptions in Africa, a huge increase from the current figure of about 12 million, and accounting for 31.5% of the total of 842 million mobile subscriptions that the continent will have in five years’ time, according to forecasts by Informa Telecoms & Media. There will be almost 360 million users of mobile-money services on the continent by 2014.”

“Africa, a continent that’s highly diverse with nations that are well off while others maintain the same living standards that people had several centuries ago, has just crossed an impressive threshold. There are now over half a billion mobile subscriptions, giving people such rich services as mobile banking, reminders to take medication to treat AIDS and malaria, and so much more. Africa accounts for 10% of all mobile subscriptions and the amount of users they have grew 18% year over year. All of this is thanks to companies like Nokia who build handsets like the 1280, one of the cheapest mobile phones on the market, as well as Vodafone with their 150 and 250 models that can be had for less than $20.”

Africa is progressing gradually in areas of innovations and technology inspite of all the existential problems confronting the continent. The acceptance and quick growth of mobile phone business buttress that Africa is poise for technological renaissance.  Even with the paucity of energy to power phone installments and technology, Africans turn to plant generators, batteries and solar panels to ease the inadequacy of electricity.

The introduction of mobile phone has come with tremendous advantages. It has helped to promote energy conservation and management of time. A farmer and trader do not have to undertake an unnecessary journey without first making a phone call thus saving time and money. Without doubt, mobile phone promotes commerce but at same time it makes life easier because one can reach out and touch.

 

Africa needs food security and preservation

Reuters has reported that US and India are making plan and  arrangement to work with Africa for food security and preservation. Many African countries could be food sufficient if they can solve the problem of food preservation and security. The remaing food products after consumption were not preserved in Africa and that has become a major problem in the continent. Food are exposed to seasonal pests, toxins, global warming and droughts, therefore any scientific endavor and techical know-how generated can go long way in solving those problems.

The planned project will primarily focused and streamlined on scientific research and development on some chosen crops inorder to reduce insufficiency and increase preservation. India and United States are not strangers on this propose project in Africa, already China has lunched food production project and security in Africa.

USAID Administrator Raj Shah spoke to Reuters in an interview: "India probably has the most dynamic, innovative public partnership-orientated approach to agriculture in terms of the incorporation of technology,We see great potential in bringing a lot of that technology, know-how, expertise and commitment to improving small-holder agriculture to sub-Saharan Africa."

The major obstacle that will propabaly  hinder the project is inadequate supply of electric energy. In case of food preservation electricity is a significant component needed and many African countries are found wanting in energy abudance for this necessary project.

Farmers in Sudan  photo: USAID

Chinese Intervention

China is in partnerships with African countries principally Mozambique to introduce modern farming grounded in innovation, research and development. This is good news for Africa for lately China is venturing into agricultural investments in Africa not just in Mozambique but in Nigeria, Angola, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Poverty and hunger are the greatest twin challenges that are facing the present day Africa. Due to poverty the underclass Africans are poorly feed and in some cases cannot afford a well balanced three square meals. With bulging African population which is fast approaching a billion people in nearest future, the problem will not improve until agricultural innovations and modern technology are deployed to ameliorate the problem and better the lives of the people of the continent.

China has a better understanding and appreciation of the need in Africa for she is feeding a mammoth population of over 1.2 billion mouths. Africa can learn a whole lot from China and take the necessary steps to feed its people.  The Chinese agricultural investment in Africa is not a charity work nor is it altruistic. China is the position to gain heavily. The joint venture between governments of Mozambique and china is a prudent investment opportunity for the both parties: “The Chinese Agricultural Technology Research and Transfer Centre is being built on a 52-hectare plot near the Umbeluzi Agricultural Station, close to the capital Maputo. It will open in early 2010.”

China is opening the door for a great business venture and benefit. According to  “Chris Alden, a China-Africa relations expert from the South African Institute of International Affairs, says the new centre will ultimately help China meet its domestic food demands by buying some of the produce while raising incomes in Mozambique and providing the country with a source of foreign currency.” Therefore China is also investing in her people and future. The opportunity is limitless in Africa with vast fertile land waiting to be cultivated.

For sometime Nigeria is improving its agricultural sector and producing higher yields in rice, yams and millet. But Nigeria has not met its domestic rice consumption and continues to spend over $300 million to import rice annually. So with China investment in Nigeria’s agricultural sector it will enable the improvement to continue especially in rice cultivation. The greatest barrier to Nigeria’s farming is the inability to preserve the excessive crops and lack of electric energy is a major problem. Nigeria must improve her electric power to gain a sustainable agricultural industry.

The case of Zimbabwe is a sad story. Zimbabwe used to be the bread basket of southern Africa and enjoying a vibrant agricultural export industry. But President Robert Mugabe has destroyed the industry with his misplaced agricultural reform which has turned the country to a starving nation. Now Zimbabwe has become a recipient of food relief from African Union and United Nations.

Mozambique, a Southern African country has a GDP of about $10 billion with almost 22 million people. A poor and struggling country like Mozambique can utilize this investment to enhance her wellbeing and increase her GDP.

Although China’s investment in agriculture in Africa is of mutual benefit still China must be praised for this commendable venture in Africa. China’s understanding of Africa’s need is quite encouraging and boosts for a better tomorrow especially in realizing that exporting of finished goods to Africa is limited economic advancement and investment. The flooding of Africa with Chinese finished products may not be a meaningful business arrangement for Africa.  But investing in agriculture will fulfill a core African need.

“The centre, funded with US$55 million, is the first of ten Africa-based agricultural technology centres promised in 2007 by Chinese president Hu Jintao. China has pledged to help modernise the Mozambican agricultural sector and aims to increase rice production five-fold, from 100,000 to 500,000 tonnes a year.

Patricio Sande, president of the Scientific Research Association of Mozambique, says the centre will use scientific research to speed up agricultural development in Mozambique. It will complement the government's vision to transform agriculture into a productive, high-value market-oriented sector, he adds. Many of Mozambique's exports are agricultural products. “

The project is a breakthrough and it can become the most innovative leap forward to come along in the troubled continent. At the completion of the project there must an accessible and open channel to exchange technically know-how among African countries so that the issue of hunger in Africa can be finally arrested.

 

Friday, 05 November 2010 16:48

Ghana a rising land to do Business

Moving from 67 to 10

 

International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of   World Bank  had ranked Ghana higher as a country to do business. Ghana was ranked the  ten place from 67  of doing business in the world and this was attributed to the new reforms that resulted to more credit liquidity and availability.

"Ghana ranks topmost in registering property access to credit and is among the first 10 economies by reform pace, the IFC said in a new report for 2011 launched simultaneously globally. Overall, the country ranks fourth in Africa in improving general business environment after Mauritius, Rwanda and Tunisia.

The findings are contained in Doing Business 2011: Making a Difference for Entrepreneurs, the eighth in a series of the flagship annual reports published by IFC and the World Bank benchmarking the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it."

IFC in released statement: "Ghana has established Africa's newest centralised Collateral Registry and by improving credit information and legal rights through granting an operating license to a private credit bureau, the West African country led the world in making it easier for business to obtain credit" and this had aided Ghana to move up to the higher ranking.

Ghana with its oil discovery and production later this year will help the country to increase avaliability of credits and resources for business dealings.

 

 

 

Friday, 05 November 2010 16:30

President Kikwete is re-elected in Tanzania

Tanzania’s Willibrod Slaa and opposition party rejects poll results

Tanzania's incumbent President Jakaya Kikwete has been re-elected to another term according to statement by  Tananzania Electoral  Commission. According to the electoral commission  President  Kikwete of  Chama cha Mapinduzi party gathered over 61% of the votes to defeat other five candidates of the  opposition political parties.

Tanzanian economy is growing progressively in which the "domestic product was $21.6 billion with a gross national income per capita of $500 in 2009 for a population of 43.7 million, according to World Bank data. That compares with an average of $1,096 for sub-Saharan Africa. The total size of the economy is second only to Kenya in the East African region.” According to IMF, "Tanzania boasts east Africa's second-biggest economy, although more than 50% of Tanzanians still live below the poverty line"

The 60 year economist by training President  Kikwete “increased spending on roads and energy projects, using higher tax revenue and donor funding, while keeping government borrowing in check. Kikwete has pledged to maintain fiscal policies that are expected to drive the economic growth rate to 6.5 percent this year and 6.7 percent in 2011, the IMF said on Oct. 6. That compares with average growth rates of 5 percent and 5.5 percent expected in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa in the same periods.”

President Kikwete’s transparency did not help in his fight against corruption. Tanzania was rated low in the index of the world’s most corrupt countries from previously 93rd t0 116th position by Transparency International.

Tanzanian opposition party Chama Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) and its presidential candidate Dr. Willibrod Slaa have called on Tananzania Electoral Commission to cancel the concluded presidential election results. The Electoral  Commission  was instructed by the opposition party to organize a  new election because as they claimed the concluded election was allegedly flawed due to riggings and irregularities.

Dr. Willibrod Slaa pic credit: Daily News

The popular President Jakaya Kikwete re-election has been  predicted from the returning votes according  to "the provisional results released yesterday by the commission indicated that the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi’s Jakaya Kikwete was far ahead of his six competitors, polling 3,316,130 votes from 147 constituencies tabulated. President Kikwete was leading in 144 constituencies followed by the Civic United Front’s Prof. Ibrahim Lipumba who was leading in 20 constituencies. Dr Slaa had taken eight constituencies. Tanzania has a total of 239 constituencies."

Dr Slaa, his words as he addressed a press conference at the party's headquarter:  “We cannot accept such results simply because the army, police and the NEC are trying to manipulate us to do so.”  He further accused the electrocal commission and intelligence operatives for “expertly steal opposition votes” for the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi’s Jakaya Kikwete party.

Lewis Makame, a retired judge who is the head of Tanzania national electoral commission claimed that allegation has not been formally been made, therefore no action will be taken until the opposition party makes its  complain official.

Economy of Tanzania

"GDP (2009 est.): $22.4 billion.

Average growth rate (2009 est.): 4.9%.

Per capita income (2008): $440.

Natural resources: Hydroelectric potential, coal, iron, gemstones, gold, natural gas, nickel, diamonds, crude oil potential, forest products, wildlife, fisheries.

Agriculture (2009 est.): 26.6% of GDP. Products--coffee, cotton, tea, tobacco, cloves, sisal, cashew nuts, maize, livestock, sugar cane, paddy, wheat, pyrethrum.

Industry/manufacturing (2009 est.): 22.6% of GDP. Types--textiles, agro-processing, light manufacturing, construction, steel, aluminum, paints, cement, cooking oil, beer, mineral water and soft drinks.

Trade (2009 est.): Exports--$2.74 billion (merchandise exports): coffee, cotton, tea, sisal, cashew nuts, tobacco, cut flowers, seaweed, cloves, fish and fish products, minerals (diamonds, gold, and gemstones), manufactured goods, horticultural products; services (tourism services, communication, construction, insurance, financial, computer, information, government, royalties, personal and other businesses). Major markets--U.K., Germany, India, Japan, Italy, China, Bahrain, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, Pakistan, Indonesia. Primary imports--petroleum, consumer goods, machinery and transport equipment, used clothing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals. Major suppliers--U.K., Germany, Japan, India, Italy, U.S., United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, Kenya.

PEOPLE

Tanzania’s population is concentrated along the coast and isles, the fertile northern and southern highlands, and the lands bordering Lake Victoria. The relatively arid and less fertile central region is sparsely inhabited. So too is much of the fertile and well watered far west, including the shores of Lake Tanganyika and Lake Nyasa (Malawi). About 80% of Tanzanians live in rural communities.

Zanzibar, population about one million (3% of Tanzania’s population), consists of two main islands and several small ones just off the Tanzanian coast. The two largest islands are Unguja (often referred to simply as Zanzibar) and Pemba. Zanzibaris, together with their socio-linguistic cousins in the Comoros Islands and the East Africa coast from modern-day southern Somalia to northern Mozambique, created Swahili culture and language, which reflect long and close associations with other parts of Africa and with the Arab world, Persia, and South Asia.

Tanzanians are proud of their strong sense of national identity and commitment to Swahili as the national language. There are roughly 120 ethnic communities in the country representing several of Africa’s main socio-linguistic groups."  (Information:US State Dept.)

 

 

 

A reconstruction plan and massive aid for Africa

The one-time US presidential candidate and civil right leader Rev. Jesse Jackson was in Nigeria and called for African version of the Marshall plan, a reconstruction plan and aid given to Europe at the end of Second World War. Rev. Jackson said that Africa deserves a massive assistance as a result of damage done by colonialism and naked aggression that has left the continent poor and downgraded.

Jackson was in Nigeria to address Kuramo biennial conference, a dialogue on law and developmen in lagos state, Nigeria. His words, “In order for countries to overcome disparities, they need to get fair trade and favored-nation trade status to cover the ravages of war and occupation and colonization. The formula was good for European reconstruction - it should apply to Africa."

“The Marshall Plan, put forward by the U.S. to rebuild Europe after the war with the Axis Powers, cost roughly $13 billion at the time. Jackson offered no estimate on what a similar program aimed at road, sewer and building construction would cost across the continent, but said Western nations had an obligation to the countries they once occupied.”

Associated Press reported that,“Jackson acknowledged that he once benefited from Nigeria's largesse: he toured South Africa to protest apartheid in the 1980s with the financial backing of then-military dictator and current presidential aspirant Ibrahim Babangida. Babangida left power in 1993 as a reported $12 billion in oil revenues went missing.”

Rev. Jesse Jackson is not a stranger to issues affecting Africa and he has been a vocal supporter of Africa. In the era of his presidential candidacy he did call for debt cancellation and lower interest rates on the loans given to African nations.

 

 

The east African country of Tanzania held an orderly and peaceful presidential election. The popular President Jakaya Kikwete is positioned to win the re-election according to opinion poll conducted by University of Dar es Salaam before the election earlier in October.

According to the poll Presidential candidate Kikwete of Chama cha Mapinduzi party enjoyed an ebullient support of about 71.2 percent of the votes. This put President Kikwete ahead of the other five candidates including the strongest rival Wilbrod Slaa of the Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo party.

Tanzanian economy is growing progressively in which the "domestic product was $21.6 billion with a gross national income per capita of $500 in 2009 for a population of 43.7 million, according to World Bank data. That compares with an average of $1,096 for sub-Saharan Africa. The total size of the economy is second only to Kenya in the East African region.”

The 60 year economist by training President  Kikwete “increased spending on roads and energy projects, using higher tax revenue and donor funding, while keeping government borrowing in check. Kikwete has pledged to maintain fiscal policies that are expected to drive the economic growth rate to 6.5 percent this year and 6.7 percent in 2011, the IMF said on Oct. 6. That compares with average growth rates of 5 percent and 5.5 percent expected in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa in the same periods.”

President Kikwete’s transparency did not help in his fight against corruption. Tanzania was rated low in the index of the world’s most corrupt countries from previously 93rd t0 116th position by Transparency International.

 

Private Car plant opens in Nigeria

Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited (IVM) based in Nnewi, Nigeria has been  opened for operation and president of Nigeria was present to cut the tape. The first of its kind in Nigeria, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company is a privately owned company and the CEO Innocent Chukwuma is the principal investor. Many important government and business individuals garthered at the opening ceremony including the governor of Anambra state and some of its cabinet members.

There was a huge satisfaction from the guests and mood was festive, as the whole ceremony proceeded. This is a booast for private industry in Nigeria especially in the Auto industry where Nigeria is badly lagging behind when compared to other emerging nations. This is not the only car plant in Nigeria, there was already french based peugeot car plant but it was wholly controlled by the government of Nigeria with its foreign joint partner. Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company do not have a partner with the government rather an independent company that is 100% owned by private individual.

 

President Jonathan said,  “I am indeed happy that Innoson is not just assembling parts that are imported from  other countries. From all indications, it is only the engine that is imported. Apart  from that, every other thing is manufactured in Nigeria,”  and stressed that it will help to lessen unemployment and trigger economic growth in the state. He further stressed that government economic policy was in line with development of private industry and private enterprise.

According to the CEO of the motor industry, Mr. Innocent Chukwuma said that  the car plant employed almost 1,600 Nigerians together with some expatriates while the operation sister company at Enugu employed 1800 Nigerians.

pic: Innoson Motors

He said, “Mr President, with adequate encouragement, we can go beyond our present level of  operation, and when we operate fully, the auto plant alone can employ as many as  3,200. We want to appreciate the example of the Enugu State Governor, Mr. Sullivan  Chime (who has placed an order for hundreds of buses and refuse disposal vans from  Innoson) and pray that every tier of government from Federal to Local Government and  government parastatals, should emulate this patriotic act,” he pleaded to President  Jonathan.

Most of the raw materials were raised in Nigeria and all the car parts were made in Nigeria except the imported engine blocks. Innonson car plant makes seater- buses, double cabin pick up  vans and SUVs which were on displayed on the opening day.

Nigerian government needs to make a serious decision on moving forward with its iron and steel industry by privatization and giving chance to superior technical and management expertise from the private industry. To improve automobile industry in the country engine blocks must be manufactured in the country. With improvement in the electric power sector and iron-steel industry, Nigeria will join the rest of the productive vehicle manufacturing countries.

 

 

 

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