Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wassuup 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New African trading bloc

Three regional African blocs merge for a trade free zone from Cape to Darfur with 26 countries this might at last be the basis of a surge in Intra-Africa trade. here is the link :

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

From the pages of the Sowetan to Gods ears

Why breakaway party has appeal

22 October 2008
Zoleka Ndayi
The ANC being dominated by leftists will not sit well with foreign investors and the international community at large

The “anger”, “dented egos” and “selfish political ambitions” of the “disgruntled” versus the “arrogance” and “limited intellectual capacities” of the new ANC leadership and the PAC split from the ANC could not be used as the only points of reference in testing the viability of a breakaway party in the current scenario.
The policy and principle informing the split as well as the era during which the breakaway occurs are equally if not more important than the widely publicised personality elements.
Domestically, white conservative nationalism that informed the National Party and the resultant intensification of discrimination, segregation and repression led to the split of the ANC. The split was a response to white conservatism or dominance.
The radical elements within the ANC were to respond by espousing black conservative nationalism in the form of the PAC on the one hand, while the ANC, on the other hand, took a soft approach and embraced multiculturalism, hence the Freedom Charter with emphasis on equality.
But the current breakaway from the ANC is informed not by policy but principle. It is wildly held that the ANC under former president Thabo Mbeki excluded those who had alternative views. The centralisation of power meant the marginalisation of the lower party structures.
In a bid to change the status quo the Polokwane conference saw the excluded and marginalised becoming the centre of power.
But the new centre now tries to maintain the status quo by excluding and marginalising the former centre through “purging” them from the party and government structures.
In response, the former centre breaks away from the mainstream party by openly calling for the observation and restoration of the principles of the Freedom Charter, some of which the former centre itself did not respect during its tenure.
In tackling this challenge, the new leadership hides behind the “ANC culture”, the “ANC traditions” of internal debate, forgetting that political stability is a question of national interest and not necessarily party interest.
This stance was clearly demonstrated by ANC president Jacob Zuma on national TV when he objected to Mbeki’s challenge to a public debate about the reasons for his sacking from the highest job in the country.
This objection has the potential to strengthen the support of the breakaway party not only from within the ANC but among the citizens at large.
From an international perspective, the era of globalisation means that any political and economic agenda that seeks to attract the attention of the international community should embrace liberal principles. It seems then the breakaway party could be more appealing than the ANC.
The current leadership of the party includes such leftists as the South African Communist Party’s Blade Nzimande.
Though Zuma constantly assures the business and international community that there will be no policy changes under his government, it remains to be seen how the left will lead or live with neo-liberal ideologies.
This doubt is further supported by the feeling that the party is “dominated” by the SACP. On the other hand, the pioneers of the breakaway group are members of the middle class that espouses neo-liberalism, the principles of which dwell well with foreign investors and the international community at large.
Three main actors in the transition period, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Allan Boesak and Mosiuoa Lekota, played an influential role in attaining a democratic South Africa.
In the eyes of the international community and South African citizens this could add a score on the credibility of this trio’s venture outside the ANC.
This means those who hold on to the ANC through sentimental attachments, despite their lack of trust on the capabilities of the new ANC leadership, and those who are skeptical about its arrogance, might soon follow the three aforementioned leaders.
Mbhazima Shilowa on his own is an asset to this “outside-the-ANC” venture. Besides his struggle credentials and having been part of the mass democratic movement, he has a wider network in business domestically and internationally. He has a good track record of delivery during his tenure as Gauteng premier.
In addition to being appealing to the middle class, all these factors are in line with the interests of foreign investors, and add weight to the credibility of the breakaway party.
lThe writer is a lecturer in the department of international relations at Wits.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The House Thabo built

Something to make you think about how truly we never have proper standards to judge good leaders. Our love for populists in Africa and our addiction to instant gratification makes us very vulnerable to demagogues. Black Diamonds well Mbeki shaped the market and nurtured them with his policies here is their success so far. The desire for all or nothing makes Good the enemy of better and Better hate best. To Thabo Mbeki a true son of Africa and a true hero of every true African thinker.

Black diamonds sparkle on
Article By: Marcia Klein
Mon, 13 Oct 2008 12:36
SA's new middle class is still growing despite economic slowdown, writes Marcia Klein.

For the first time, the spending power of the three-million people that make up South Africa's black middle class has matched the spending power of the country's white population.
The latest Black Diamonds research by UCT Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing and TNS Research Surveys shows that the black middle class has grown by 15 percent to three-million people over the past year, while their annual spending power has mushroomed nearly 40 percent to a massive R250-billion.
Black Diamonds are still growing in number, despite the economic woes that surround them.
Resilient to rates

A surprising finding of the research is that the black middle class has remained fairly resilient to the interest rate and inflation hikes that have put pressure on many South Africans.

Professor John Simpson, director of the UCT Unilever Institute, said that despite predictions of the black middle class reeling under debt pressure, the opposite is true.
"The most astounding evidence of their financial resilience can be seen in a 39 percent increase in spending power — from R180-billion in 2007 to R250-billion this year."
Rudo Maponga, Black Diamond research manager at TNS Research Surveys, said that, despite perceptions, the black middle class is not highly indebted. Almost half of them have a debt to income ratio of less than 50 percent.
Maponga said if economic conditions had been more favourable Black Diamonds numbers would have seen greater growth. The sector grew 15 percent in the year, but by 30 percent the year before.
She said growth had also slowed because the base was getting bigger, "which means growth will inevitably slow in percentage terms. What's also significant is that, despite the downturn, their spending power continues to grow, which suggests that this segment is also becoming wealthier."
Simpson said interest rate and inflation hikes had affected Black Diamonds, as they had everyone, but the effect had been patchy.
"But one thing is clear: they are less indebted than people thought they were."
Black Diamonds are managing their finances better and are far more financially astute than they once were, Simpson said.
The fact that the number of people has not increased as much as their spending power has suggests that people established in the middle class are getting better jobs, and that companies are attracting people of colour.
The study showed appreciation within the sector of the difference between good debt (like a home and investments) and bad debt (buying chocolates with a credit card), Simpson said.
Less than 10 percent of Black Diamonds have had anything repossessed.
"Life stages"

Paul Egan, managing consultant to UCT/Unilever, said the Black Diamond group is not homogenous, and includes people at different "life stages" — those with children who have been working for longer and are fairly established, and those who are still playing catch up, using income and, perhaps credit, to acquire assets.

He said the 2007 study had shown a huge migration from townships to suburbs, averaging about 1200 families, or 60 000 people, a month.
This slowed in 2008. This could be partly because of the increasing cost of housing and the high cost of borrowing, but could also be due to the densification of townships and investment within them, such as the construction of shopping malls.
Egan noted that there is a high percentage of black middle-class families with two earners, and a significant percentage with more than that.
The change to democracy and enabling legislation have enabled black women to move swiftly into the middle class.
Black Diamond women

Black Diamond women represent more than 40 percent of the R120-billion in female consumer spending.

"Many women respondents revealed that their earning power had a significant impact on decision-making when it comes to making purchases — not only for grocery shopping, but with regard to larger purchases such as household appliances, investments and cars," Simpson said.
Maponga said almost half of the women interviewed said they earned more than 50 percent of the household income and more than 80 percent said they were the main household decision-maker.
She said women's aspirations are higher than their mothers and grandmothers, and women are far more ambitious since 1994.
Sunday Times

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Obasanjo Legacy ignored

As the world goes through the death throes of the debt purge many people will forget who the authority was that strengthened Nigerian Macro-economic fundamentals to the extent that there is such negligible impact so far from the credit crunch, bank failures and the falling oil prices all within the context of drastic erosion in production. Here are some things to chew on:

- World bank confirms that Nigeria will only be minimally affected by this global turbulence because of the limited role of foriegn investment in the banking system about 5% compared to the 40% in many other developing economies.

- The same consolidation that was attacked as overreach by Obasanjo administration has also shored up the independence and institutional fortitude of the Banks against this turbulence.

- Less than 1 % dependence on International aid is quite an helpful factor

- The $60 billion in foreign reserve surplus as against the the sea of National deficits is a bonus

- An economy that grew from 5.5% circa to 6.9% in the last quarter mostly from non-oil sector especially banking is exquisite

The naysayers cannot see any of these they are addicted to a sense and notion of failure. The other usual pains are there for them to celebrate , roads, power , education amongst all. The economy is alive and growing and that rocks

Lagos boat markets

Lagos Islands

The first set of pictures are Lagos from the Atlantic Ocean side, industrialised, turbulent and urban on the other set his agos from the lagoon and how I imagine Lekki was not too long ago, tranquil, rural and green. There are many aspects to Lagos that is unexplored and even unrecognisable from the caricature of chaos and urban decay. The recent article in Time magazine and the hatchet job that is regularly done in CNN always tallies with the cynicism of elite Nigerians. I celebrate this great city and its possibilities. There is a lot more photographs to share enjoy.

More Lagos Islands

Lagos from the Sea eye

Comments from Mzansi

Here is a truly refreshing article in the Times in South Africa it captures more eloquently the spirit and rationale for the split in the ANC.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Now Mzansi, It is time.

Talk of a split in the broad church that is the ANC is long overdue. This is not a Zuma versus Mbeki discuss but a allowing the two forces that underpin the future direction of South Africa's black majority to emerge. One force I identify with Mbeki and my younger brother Siphiwe Mpye is quite an open Africanisation that seeks dignity and a common humanity grounded in intellectual curiosity. They see South Africa as one of the forces for an African Renaissance as well as challenging western hegemony. They identify that there is a nuanced evolution required for change and they are willing to adapt their positions so long as the vision is not lost. They do not necessarily seek popular acclamation and do not suffer fools gladly. They recognise that not everyone will move at the same speed. On the other hand there is the Jacob Zuma exemplified and reflected in my brother Pious Kasolo who express an African stereotype of populist and traditional expression of power in which authority is by position not ideas and have an Mzansi exceptionalism couched in superior infrastructure and fear of mass migration or swamping. They project an activism of the lowest common denominator seeing the Anti-apartheid struggle as an insular battle won by the good over the bad. Their lessons from that is that Mzansi is got theirs and the rest of Africa well they should get on their bikes. They fight a class war that suggest that the poor are entitled to a good life rather than they should be given the opportunity to work for a good living.

For the sake of Mzansi and those who love it the ANC must split there has to be the competitive and co-operative dynamic equilibrium that is the basis of evolution. It is time for new possibilities and this is not only true in Mzansi but the same is true of the Power Dinosaur that is the PDP in Nigeria. It seems now the purpose of this massive parties is just the accumulation of power rather than the generation of a framework of ideas and ideals. Lets have a new dawn in Africa lets have truly competitive parties in fact we need a space where people with ideas can run as independents. We need to open this stuff up especially the ANC.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Intra Africa trade

Apparently the figure for Intra Africa trade as percentage of exports for 2007/2008 is 8 %. I wrote an academic analysis of this in 1999 and then it was 9 %. This is a very scary figure it means self loathing trumps the drive for economic growth. I have included a link to the bulletin below

Greatly loved but often misunderstood.

Paul Coehlo published a book called the Valkyries to explore why we kill what we love. So it is with Nigeria and Nigerians. We argue and discuss it till blue in the face, most of us cynical at its prospects but secretly rooting for its success but quite unwilling to sacrifice our comfort for its success. Yesterday night was not different and as usual or discuss was ably lubricated by the best of Cognacs, beers and wines. Happy birthday old lady we all truly wish you well at 48 for many you are on the way to hell in a bread basket but don't sweat it. Let me remind you of the words of one of your true lovers wrote this in 1952 in the hope that you would be set free in 1956 , he never saw either but he said

" It is here in West Africa, the black man's paradise, here in Nigeria, the heaven of the negro race, here in Western region, the chosen land for a modern Shongay, here in big, lucky, vigorous Ibadan, that apartheid, the moral enemy of our race , must be grabbed, must be fought, must be vanquished and annihilated; so that our descendants may live in peace, prosperity and freedom. Nigeria must be free, completely free, independent, independent without any reservations before or in the year of our Lord, one thousand, nine hundred and fifty six."

Honourable Adegoke Adelabu , Africa in Ebullition

The greatest gift for your birthday is to rekindle the spirit, thoughts and letters of this Great Lover of your possibilities what he lost in his prediction was more than provided for in his ideas and eloquent pursuit of the realisation of a great Nation nicely cradled between the gushing Niger and the sedate Benue. Happy Birthday Old girl.