News and Comment: the G20 and Africa Part 2

The G20 has a lot of issues on its plate and at the top of the list, obviously, is the on-going financial crisis.  I have already commented on the problems African countries face in getting their voices heard. On that point, Africa may have an ally in Pope Benedict who, recently returned from his Africa travels, noted the problems of adequate representation from those “who suffer most from the harmful effects of a crisis for which they do not bear responsibility”. The Pope suggests states rely on the UN and associated institutions. Jeffrey Sachs has also jumped on this bandwagon, noting that while South Africa will be present “South Africa by itself represents South Africa”.  And we all know that South Africa is not a “typical” African country (if there is such a thing).

On the point of South Africa, it might be useful to remember that President Motlanthe himself may not be in the strongest position to represent his country’s interests, given all the recent upheaval within the South African political system and the temporary nature of his position as President.

NGOs, such as Oxfam, are trying to use their influence to encourage the G20 to commit to aiding Africa as it deals with the crisis. Duncan Green, head of research for Oxfam, highlights their main requests of the G20 in a recent blog post. He comments as well on a leaked copy of a G20 communique, obtained by the Financial Times.  Indeed, the way these conferences usually go, it is likely that at least some of the major decisions have already been negotiated ahead of time. Which leaves one to wonder whether adding an African voice at this point could make a difference.

The World Bank has published figures (reported on BBC News) that somewhat echo the gloomy global economic forecasts of the IMF and OECD.

The forecast predicts that developing countries will need $1.3tn in external financing to repay debt and cover balance of payments problems, and may fall short.

The idea that African countries, in particular, could be major losers in this crisis has been underscored by a number of analysts and commentators including Egypt’s finance minister, Oxfam’s Duncan Green (commenting on the case of Zambia), and Kofi Anan (who argues that the crisis “hits Africa twice”).

Other G20 news:

Apparently, protestors see the G20 meeting as an opportunity to demonstrate their unhappiness with a wide range of global issues, from the financial crisis to the “siege of Gaza” to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  While I understand their frustrations with global leadership on these matters, I don’t think it helps their cause to get into fights with the British police.  Apparently, these frustrations are being vented worldwide.

China is trying to exhibit its leadership potential as well.  This has included lobbying for a new “super-sovereign reserve currency to replace the U.S. dollar”, the provision of advice to rich countries, and lobbying to stop states from moving towards trade and investment protectionism.

The Chinese are not the only ones worried about protectionism. Pascal Lamy, head of the WTO, has warned that moves towards protectionism may further impact the already troubled Doha round of trade negotiations.

  1 comment for “News and Comment: the G20 and Africa Part 2

  1. May 16, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Citing the importance for the newly-created International Criminal Court (ICC) to remain an impeccably impartial institution, the MJPC reiterated its call on the ICC to refer the DR Congo to the Security Council for possible sanctions.

    The MJPC (Mobilization for Justice and Peace in the Congo) warned that in the Congo as elsewhere, the ICC as a new international instrument to promote the rule of law and ensure that the gravest international crimes do not go unpunished could quickly lose its moral value if it does not take concrete steps to start enforcing its own issued arrest warrants.

    “Frankly the ICC cannot put off forever bringing the DR Congo before the Security Council for its continuing refusal to execute the outstanding ICC arrest warrant against Ntaganda,” said Makuba Sekombo, Director of Community Affairs of the MJPC, an organization that strongly denounces defying ICC arrest warrants in Congo. “There are serious dangers in continuing to allow Congo defy this arrest warrant, its sends a wrong message and could have disastrous effects in other countries,” added Sekombo.

    Ntaganda is accused of several war crimes and crimes against humanity including: the massacres of 150 people in the town of Kiwanja in 2008 in his duties as military chief of staff of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), torturing and killing of hundreds of civilians of Lendu and Ngiti ethnicity between August 2002 and March 2003 when he was chief of military operations of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), slaughtering of at least 800 civilians on ethnic grounds at Mongbwalu, including the first priest killed in the Ituri conflict, Abbe Boniface Bwanalonga, killing of a Kenyan UN peacekeeper in January 2004 and kidnapping a Moroccan peacekeeper later that year, and recruiting child soldiers in the eastern region of Ituri. The MJPC is strongly urging the Congolese Government and MONUC to execute the arrest warrant issued by the ICC against Ntaganda.

    According to Mr. Sekombo, the failure in the arrest of Bosco Ntaganda to date highlights the lack of seriousness in enforcing arrest warrants issued by the ICC and strongly urges the ICC to refer the case of Ntaganda to the UN Security Council to find solutions in accordance with Article 87, paragraph 7 of the Treaty of Rome.

    The MJPC is calling for Congo to be taken to the Security Council, as it claims Kinshasa is in clear violation of the ICC treaty which Congo ratified in 2002. The ICC cannot afford to ignore its statutory responsibility to report this matter” to the Security Council,” he said, adding that the Security Council would have the authority to require Congo to take all necessary corrective measures to enforce all ICC arrest warrants immediately.

    An online petition has been set up asking concerned citizens around the world to demand the UN Mission in Congo known as MONUC and the Congolese Government to act decisively to enforce the ICC outstanding arrest warrants against Ntaganda. The petition can be signed at http://www.gopetition.com.au/online/24459.html

    Click here http://www.arrestntagandanow.org/may112009.aspx to read a full article on referring Congo to the UN Security Council if it continues to defy the execution of the Arrest Warrant of the ICC Against Ntaganda by Makuba Sekombo

    About MJPC
    MJPC is a non-profit organization working to add a voice in advocating for justice and peace in the DRC particulary in the east of DRC where thousands innocent civilian including children and women continue to suffer massive human rights violations while armed groups responsible for these crimes go unpunished.

    For more information about the MJPC and its activities, visit http://www.mjpcongo.org . or call Makuba Sekembo @ 1 408 806 3644 or e-mail: info@mjpcongo.org . The online petition calling on the Congolese Government and MONUC to act decisively in enforcing the outstanding ICC arrest warrant against Bosco Ntaganda can be signed at http://www.gopetition.com.au/online/24459.html

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