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Arabica Robusta

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  • I then analyse the stylized facts of the African crisis to show that the years around 1980 constitute a major turning point in Sub-Saharan fortunes in the global political economy; and offer a first-cut explanation of it focusing on the radical change in the overall context of Third World development that occurred between 1979 and 1982
  • By introducing historical and social-structural considerations—the powerful instruments of domination that African elites inherited from colonial rule; conflicts among ethnic, regional and economic groups and classes for power—the ‘new’ political economy (henceforth NPE) was far more sceptical than the World Bank about the likelihood that African governments could be persuaded to switch from ‘bad’ to ‘good’ policies and that they would stick to ‘good’ policies after the switch.  [7
  • The greatest challenge came from the African governments themselves. In a document published the same year as the Berg Report, but signed in 1980 at a meeting in Lagos, the heads of state of the OAU traced the crisis to a series of external shocks. These included deteriorating terms of trade for primary products, growing protectionism of wealthy countries, soaring interest rates and growing debt service commitments.

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  • There are two ways of picturing Africa in the context of global capitalism. One is from the point of view of the people living and hoping to improve their lot in sub-Saharan Africa’s forty-eight nation-states with a considerable variety of kinds of “insertion” into the global capitalist economy, and a corresponding range of experiences of development (or the lack of it).6 The other is from the point of view of capital, for which Africa is not so much a system of states, still less a continent of people in need of a better life, as simply a geographic—or geological—terrain, offering this or that opportunity to make money.
  • Growing pressure of population means a constantly expanding landless labor force, partly working for subsistence wages on other people’s land, partly unemployed or underemployed in the cities, sometimes migrating to neighboring countries (e.g., from Burkina Faso to Cote d’Ivoire), living on marginal incomes and with minimal state services, including education and health.
  • The “investment climate” has been made easier, thanks, as we will see, to a decade and a half of aid “conditionality,” and the returns can be spectacular; the rates of return on U.S. direct investments in Africa are, for example, the highest of any region in the world (25.3 percent in 1997).9

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  • Students tended to come out of universities, often European ones he said, with top marks and then come home “to rest.” He said their role was to share their knowledge and expertise with the “popular masses.” He also expected them to contribute like everyone else to grassroots construction projects and tree-planting exercises.
  • He told me that US President Ronald Reagan had pulled him out of retirement to “straighten out” Thomas Sankara. Then he admitted that he was surprised that he truly “liked the guy,” and he also truly believed that Sankara’s revolution was sincere in that he was overturning the “feudal system” and making real change in the country.
  • After dinner, after he told me that he viewed Sankara almost as a son, the American ambassador pounded his fist on my table and proclaimed, “But we are not going to allow another Cuba in Africa!” These were exactly the same words used in cables from the CIA Kinshasa bureau to its Virginia headquarters in 1960, as plans were made to eliminate Congo’s nationalist prime minister, Patrice Lumumba.[xi]

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Did Quantitative Easing Increase Income Inequality?

  • Burkina Faso retains its image as a small island of stability in a region plagued by drought and war. “People blame the government,” a second Western diplomat told me, “but they do not blame Blaise Compaore.”
  • Nonetheless, Compaore has built a reputation as a steady, low profile leader, not given to displays of wealth or violence.
  • It’s not hard to see why his legacy might worry him. Compaore is, after all, the man who, with the help of Moammar Qaddafi, fueled civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone in order to strengthen his own country’s regional clout and access to the seacoast. It was Compaore who brought together two of Africa’s most notorious figures, Qaddafi and Liberia’s former warlord president, Charles Taylor, opening the flow of Libyan arms to Taylor and pushing Liberia into brutal civil war. Then there is his connection to coups in Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso’s biggest trading partner with which it shares a 363-mile border. Meddling in the affairs of wealthier nations has been Compaore’s strategy for busting his tiny, landlocked and desperately poor country out of the Sahel.

  • Despite the period of peace that Burkina experienced during this time, and a comparatively generous 13 Billion US Dollars in international development assistance, the country still ranks only 181st out of 187 countries in terms of human development. All of the other bottom ten countries in the HDI ranking experienced devastating civil wars during this time – except Guinea, which instead had to put up with a brutal military dictatorship. To put it bluntly: Blaise Compaoré is the only African head of state who managed to dramatically limit the development of his country without declaring outright war on it.*
  • Instead, Compaoré is obviously more concerned with developing his own personal fortune and that of his entourage.

     

    This can be observed clearly by visiting Ouaga2000, a newly built, extravagant part of the capital, where one can indeed find the “˜wide and well maintained’ roads that Keating and Nadoun mention in their article. While the rest of the city (not to speak of the rest of the country) has only a handful of surfaced roads, in Ouaga2000 new SUVs glide over a pristine tarmac in front of lavish villas and luxury hotels.

  • His predecessor Thomas Sankara (killed during a coup led by Compaoré) attempted to limit the power of traditional rulers and emancipate the country from conservative and authoritarian rule. Compaoré by contrast embraced the conservative elements of society, securing their privileges and making them the foundation of his power.

     

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  • We’ve received evidence in this trial, both from the UN panel of experts, I believe that’s P-18, about that March 1999 shipment, which was Ukrainian arms routed through Burkina Faso.
  • The brief cites Daf as the source of the testimony and then it cites Abu Keita. But Daf actually testified that going on this trip - he testified that going on this trip and he says that the material was originally supposed to be obtained from Libya and that this was changed to Burkina Faso. It is clear that none of the witnesses cited purportedly give different accounts at all.
  • Recalling, of course, that golden thread, fashioned in Libya, including among its operatives, Gaddafi, a person who will have to loosen the purse strings for this one and a half million, and Burkina Faso. So why no mention of the other pillar of that triumvirate, Charles Taylor, why not?

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  • Even though this news has generated controversy within Chile, it is perhaps important to remember that just one year ago Spain said goodbye to philosophy in their schools. This could suggest that the spaces for teaching humanities and critical thinking as we know them are experiencing radical changes.

  • In Chile, social networks, academia, and the general public have been abuzz with the news that philosophy might be removed from the list of required subjects for high school juniors and seniors.

      

  • In an endless stream of messages, Chileans have been expressing their opinion on what some consider a step that is consistent with the state of education in the country, with its high costs and its structure devoted to satisfying only economic requirements.
  • Even though this piece of news has generated a great deal of controversy in Chile, it is important to remember that just one year ago Spain said goodbye to philosophy in their schools, highlighting the fact that the spaces for teaching humanities and critical thinking as we know them are experiencing radical changes globally.

  • Mining related revenue reported as received by Burkina Faso’s treasury in 2013 appears to significantly exceed debt service: 290 million euros (364 million $) mining revenue to the treasury in 2013 compared to service of the debt at 141 million euros in 2012. 149 million euros (187 million US dollars) difference or enough to give every man, woman and child in Burkina Faso eleven dollars. This is for many mines, not just these two.
  • Probably most important is the suggestion that in the post-Compaoré period there would be an audit of mining revenues. In this context the recent (Aug. 6) suspicious looking bankruptcy-liquidation of the UK’s Amara, formerly Cluff, Gold’s Burkina Faso subsidiary (Seguénéga Mining SA (“SMSA”) appears interesting. Additionally declaring Force Majeure due to a coup would allow other, perhaps failing, mining companies to receive insurance monies.
  • Probable Amara Sega extension to Kalsaka Mine, zoom of upper left corner.
     The biggest institutional investor of Amara is (or was) reportedly the rather mysterious Franklin Advisers, Inc. which is a privately owned investment manager in San Mateo, California. The biggest fund investor is (or was) reportedly Franklin Gold and Precious Metals Fund.

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  • For mineral-rich Burkina Faso, a west African gold producer, 100 percent of its exports to Switzerland over this period, accounting for 15 percent of all exports, also "vanished".

    This all adds to the levels of opacity associated with Switzerland, and the companies involved have not come under the kind of international pressure for disclosure that has been exerted on the country's famously secretive banks.

  • The purchasing of military equipment contributes to the debt.  Debt, of course, encourages the siphoning off of resources, such as gold. Additionally, it appears that Burkina is also being used as a base for both French and US Special Ops.  Nonetheless, the departure of Compaoré in Burkina Faso is a historic moment.  Unfortunately, Plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose.
  • Strange thing is that around half of the people are in poverty and around half of its exports is gold. But, the World Bank, when speaking of Burkina’s “Debt Performance”, talks of cotton, and not a word is found about gold: “May 2008, GOVERNMENT DEBT MANAGEMENT PERFORMANCE REPORT – BURKINA FASO“.
  • Last June Reuters informed us that from 2007 to 2010, “For mineral-rich Burkina Faso, a west African gold producer, 100 percent of its exports to Switzerland over this period, accounting for 15 percent of all exports, also ‘vanished“. “AFRICA INVESTMENT-The Swiss commodities connection in African poverty,” Fri, 27 Jun 20, 2014, (Reuters)

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  • His government spurned foreign aid and tried to stamp out the influence of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in the country by adopting debt reduction policies and nationalising all land and mineral wealth.
  • Compaore, though, has had some success. The mining industry has seen a boost in recent years, with the copper, iron and manganese markets all improving. Gold production shot up by 32 percent in 2011 at six sites, according to figures from the mines ministry, making Burkina Faso the fourth-largest gold producer in Africa.
  • "Sankara had many enemies because he wrested privileges from looters in favour of the poor," Yabré said. "Maybe he did this too radically and within too short a time."

  • “I think the impact of international arbitration,” Khalil said, was that Egyptians “started knowing that, ‘Oops, if we try to expose corruption, then those investors will take us to court internationally, and we will lose the case. Which means we had better just shut up and let the wrongs of Mubarak continue the way they are.’”

  • dinaglobalchallengetotheestablishedorder.Whatwerethesemovementsfor?Wherehavetheygone?Whathavebeentheireffects?Toanswerthesequestionsisthepurposeofthisbook.
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