Month: August 2011

British and French special operatives fighting along Libyan rebels

French President Nicolas Sarkozy left and British Prime Minister David Cameron right

British and French special operatives have been fighting along side Libyan rebels.

French and British operatives have been working with Libyan rebels on their eastern front, where the insurgents scored strategic blows against Moamer Kadhafi’s forces, an AFP journalist discovered on Thursday. The operatives are installed at the rebel command for the eastern front, at the dysfunctional oil refinery in Zuwaytina, about 150 kilometres (93 miles) southwest of the opposition capital Benghazi. They are equipped with telecommunications equipment and housed in two shipping containers, within walking distance of the headquarters of Fawzi Bukatif, commander of the eastern front. He has been working out of a large office with walls covered in maps and satellite photos. There are at least two Frenchmen, and several Britons in mismatched camouflage outfits. In late April, Britain, France, Italy, Egypt and the United States announced that they had sent military advisers to the National Transitional Council, the rebels’ de facto government. Britain’s Defence Minister Liam Fox said Thursday that NATO is contributing intelligence and reconnaissance equipment to the search for Kadhafi but he refused to confirm reports that Britain’s SAS special forces were working with the Libyan rebels to track down Kadhafi. “I can confirm that NATO is providing intelligence and reconnaissance assets to the NTC (National Transitional Council) to help them track down Colonel Kadhafi and other remnants of the regime,” who fled before advancing rebel forces on Tuesday, he told Sky News. The Ministry of Defence said Fox was referring to “various assets such as military planes.” The Daily Telegraph newspaper, quoting defence sources, said SAS members were sent to Libya several weeks ago and played a key role in coordinating the battle for Tripoli. With the majority of the capital now in rebel hands, the SAS had been ordered to switch their focus to hunting down Kadhafi, the Telegraph said. They were wearing civilian clothes and armed with the same type of weapons used by the rebel forces, the paper said. “We never comment about special forces,” Fox said in a separate interview with BBC radio. Asked what role Britain was playing on the ground in Libya, Fox told the BBC: “We have always had some advisors to the NTC (as) we have made clear from the outset, helping them with communications, helping them with logistics, the chain of command and so on. “And we would of course want to continue with those relationships.”

As previously reported before here, U.S., British, Egyptian, French and Italian special operatives have been on the ground in Libya helping the rebels fight against Gadaffi. None of what is reported is new, just a confirmation of actions that were logical from the start of the NATO enforcing the no-fly-zone over Libya.

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Iran secretly aided Libyan rebels

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi

Iran has been secretly helping the Libyan rebels in the fight against Gaddafi in and around Tripoli.

Iran “discreetly” provided humanitarian aid to Libyan rebels before the fall of Tripoli, Jam-e-Jam newspaper quoted Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday as saying.

“We were in touch with many of the rebel groups in Libya before the fall of (Moamer) Kadhafi, and discreetly dispatched three or four food and medical consignments to Benghazi,” Salehi told the daily.

“The head of the National Transitional Council (NTC), Mustafa Abdel Jalil, sent a letter of thanks to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for having been on their side and helping,” he added.

Since the Libyan uprising erupted in mid-February, Iran has adopted a dual approach — criticising the Kadhafi regime for its violent assaults on the rebels while at the same time condemning NATO’s military intervention.

On Tuesday, Iran “congratulated the Muslim people of Libya” after rebels overran the capital Tripoli, but it has so far distanced itself from officially recognising the NTC.

This is not at all surprising to people who know the politics of the Middle East. Iran and Gadaffi have been at odds with each other for a long time. Gadaffi had blamed numerous uprisings in Libya on Iran. It would be just as unsurprising to learn that the Iranians had been discreetly helping Gaddafi, too. They’re probably playing both sides so they can gain a foothold no matter who wins.

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Royal Moroccan Air Force gets first delivery of advanced F-16’s

F-16 Fighting Falcon

Lockheed Martin has delivered its first pair of F-16’s to the Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF).

The Royal Moroccan Air Force (RMAF) unveiled the first four of 24 Lockheed Martin F-16 aircraft in a ceremony at Ben Guerrir Air Base in Morocco. Senior representatives from the Moroccan and U.S.governments and air forces were present for the historic event.

This is Morocco’s first experience with the F-16 so the package being provided by the U.S. government is comprehensive. Morocco will acquire a Block 52 configuration of the F-16C/D aircraft tailored to meet the specific requirements of the RMAF.

The sale includes the aircraft, mission equipment and a support package provided by Lockheed Martin and other U.S. and international contractors. The new aircraft will supplement the RMAF’s existing fleet of fighter aircraft and will contribute to the upgrade and modernization of the RMAF.

“The delivery of these aircraft places Morocco among the very elite group of air forces of the world who operate the advanced multirole F-16,” said Ralph D. Heath, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Aeronautics business area.

The F-16 is the choice of 25 nations. More than 4,400 aircraft have been delivered worldwide from assembly lines in five countries. The F-16 program has been characterized by unprecedented international cooperation among governments, air forces and aerospace industries. Major upgrades to all F-16 versions are being incorporated to keep the fleet modern and fully supportable over the aircraft’s long service life.

The F-16 was designed as a highly maneuvarable, reliable and lower cost alternative to the very expensive and complex but capable F-15 and Mig 29.
Here is a promotional video of the F-16 by Lockheed Martin.

Though this is part of Morocco’s arms build up, it is also strategic. This investment and purchase of US military equipment is a continuation of relations between Morocco and the U.S.. This past June military exercise Africa Lion took place, Morocco participated in the NATO no-fly-zone over Libya and trade is increasing between both sides. The U.S. and Morocco have had a long and historic relationship. The Kingdom of Morocco was among the first outside powers to recognize America as a state. In fact, the 1787 Treaty of Peace and Friendship is the longest-standing U.S. treaty still in force today. Expect good relations between both nations to continue.

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Namibia orders EC-145 helicopter


Namibia’s safety and security has ordered a EC-145 helicopter from Eurocopter.

Namibia’s Ministry of Safety and Security has ordered a Eurocopter EC145 to expand the capabilities and reach of the Namibia police’s air wing, the company announced.

The new twin-engine helicopter will complement Namibia’s existing fleet of Eurocopter Ecureuil AS350 B3s in providing comprehensive multi-mission civil protection capabilities.

Manufacture of the rotary-wing aircraft will begin at Eurocopter’s Donauworth facility in Germany, where it will be fitted with airborne law enforcement and rescue equipment for the aircraft’s delivery in September 2012.

“The EC145’s acquisition is part of an evolving modernization program that enables NAMPOL to fulfill its duty in providing civil protection and law enforcement to all Namibians,” said Lt. Gen. Sebastian Haitota Ndeitunga, inspector general of NAMPOL.

NAMPOL will be the first sub-Saharan police force to operate the Eurocopter EC145, which is a top performer in law enforcement and homeland security missions around the globe. Other EC145 operators include London’s Metropolitan Police Authority, the French Gendarmerie and numerous European and U.S. state police forces.

The U.S. Army has ordered 345 EC145s as its new-generation Light Utility Helicopter requirement, which carry the UH-72A designation in its operation with the military service.

“Deployment of the newly acquired EC145 will also grow NAMPOL’s capability and capacity to provide emergency search and rescue, life-saving and vital humanitarian relief support,” said Namibian Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Safety and Security Samuel H. Goagoseb.

The multi-mission EC145 can be flown by one or two pilots and carries up to nine passengers. It is powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 engines, enabling it to achieve a fast cruise speed of 135 knots and an endurance of up to 3.5 flight hours.

Featuring an advanced night vision goggle-compatible glass cockpit, the EC145 is able to operate in poor visibility conditions, while its digital autopilot allows for either single or dual pilot missions.

The helicopter’s unrefueled range is approximately 422 miles and it operates with a low noise level that is 6.7dB below the international standard for similarly sized helicopters.

“These features, together with its simplified maintenance, make the EC145 the natural choice to augment NAMPOL’s pair of single-engine AS350B3 helicopters, the first of which has been in service since 2009,” said Fabrice Cagnat, chief executive officer of Eurocopter Southern Africa Ltd.

“Together, the EC145 and AS350B3 will provide NAMPOL with unparalleled performance in Namibia — a country that is typified by extreme conditions, including the very hot, dry and dusty conditions in the central plateau and desert regions.”

NAMPOL has contracted with Eurocopter Southern Africa Ltd. to provide EC145 type conversion training for pilots and engineers. This activity will take place at Eurocopter in Germany and at ESAL’s base near Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Nigeria Receive’s First C-130 after PDM

LISBON, Portugal - The ceremonial key to the first of five refurbished C-130H aircraft is handed back to the Nigerian Air Force January 26, 2011 after more than a year in depot maintenance. Seventeenth Air Force (Air Forces Africa) is orchestrating the capacity-building activity with its partner nation, which includes an extensive maintenance process to upgrade their fleet.

Nigeria has received its first C-130 after PDM.

After more than a year of major repairs and maintenance, the U.S. Air Force helped return to operational service the first of five C-130 Hercules aircraft to Nigeria January 21, 2011. Seventeenth Air Force (Air Forces Africa) is orchestrating the capacity-building activity with its partner nation, which includes an extensive maintenance process to reconstitute their fleet. In February 2009, the Nigerian government requested assistance from the U.S. to reconstitute five of their eight C-130H aircraft to support peacekeeping operations on the continent, said Lieutenant Colonel David Mackenzie, 17th AF’s deputy director of the Strategy, Plans, and Programs directorate. The first aircraft then went through an extensive process called Programmed Depot Maintenance (PDM), and was readied to be accepted back into the Nigerian fleet. To help with the process, 17th Airmen joined with a team from the 118th Air National Guard Unit, Tenn, and Warner-Robins Air Logistics Center C-130 Program Office. Together, they partnered with their Nigerian counterparts. “The Nigerians and U.S. military members were very eager to partner up to improve their Air Force, and specifically their C-130s and training aircraft,” Colonel Mackenzie said. “The U.S. crew flew to the depot facility in Lisbon, Portugal, and went over the process to reintegrate the aircraft back in Nigeria’s hands after being gone for more than a year.” The process, he explained, included $9.2 million of periodic depot maintenance, engine overhauls, propeller overhauls, and cockpit and avionics refurbishments. U.S. Air Force members provided the Nigerians a breakdown of what went on during the maintenance process and how to maintain the aircraft afterward. This included upcoming maintenance requirements, preventative maintenance and scheduling, and bookkeeping. “We’re just helping them out with the whole acceptance of an aircraft from PDM, and then how to maintain it once they get home,” said Lieutenant Colonel John Sapp, 118th ANG Stand Evaluations pilot. “We also showed them how to go through a [Functional Check Flight] to make sure that everything is working properly.” U.S. military C-130s go through an extensive PDM process every five years, and with the Nigerians becoming well versed with the practice for their own aircraft, the West African nation gained valuable experience for future PDM deliveries, Colonel Mackenzie explained. Ultimately, a healthy, well-maintained C-130 fleet means increased capacity for Nigeria to take part in peacekeeping operations, humanitarian relief and increased security. “Both sides learned a great deal through this partnership which will help make the following three PDM efforts smoother, more productive and hopefully quicker,” he said. “As a result of this effort, 17th AF and US Africa Command will move forward with plans to help continue the partnership and ensure the Nigerians are able to logistically support their fleet in the years to come.”

The C-130 is a very versatile aircraft capable of a range of missions in both peace time and war. A2A refuelling tanker, gunship, airborne assault, research, aerial firefighting, humanitarian aid, modified bomber and a lot more. Its rugged, capable of landing on short unprepared runway and it fact it has the record for being the largest aircraft to land on an aircraft carrier. There is just about everything the Hercules could do, except air combat. Its used by about 70 nations worldwide. Propellers are more efficient thrust devices and serves the operational profile of the C-130 better. Comparing with the 747, we can say that the Hercules is about half the size. The “new” one must the be the J model, called the Super Hercules, has a newer engine, six bladed propellers, 40% more range, about 20% faster and a shorter take of distance.

Here is a video about the C-130 and its capabilities.

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APS-11 Marines Move from Jungle to Senegal Grasslands

TOUBAKOUTA, Senegal-Corporal Brandon Blackmon of second platoon, Ground Combat Element, Security Cooperation Task Force, Africa Partnership Station 2011, provides front security for the Marines and Senegalese Commandos of a combat rubber raiding craft as they conduct a beach assault training exercise, recently. The inter-military assault teams were created during the APS 2011 security cooperation partnership, in which U.S. Marines, Senegal Commandos and Nigerian Special Service Group troops train alongside one another to compare military and cultural perspectives.

APS-11 Marines Move from Jungle to Senegal Grasslands.

The Marines of second platoon, Ground Combat Element, Security Cooperation Task Force (SCTF), Africa Partnership Station 2011 recently kicked off the Senegal chapter of APS-11’s military-to-military exchanges along the west African coast. Africa Partnership Station 2011 is a U.S. Africa Command maritime security assistance program that is designed to strengthen participating nations’ maritime security capacity through multilateral collaboration and cross-border cooperation. Marine Corps Forces, Africa is supporting APS-11 with a SCTF based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. Amid countless miles of cashew trees, savannah brush and barren Senegal desert, and together with about 100 Senegalese Commandos and Nigerian Navy Special Boat Service troops, the 45-man platoon is welcoming the close of a rigorous first week of training just outside of town here. As the training regimen picks up pace, it’s apparent to the Marines that cooperation is imperative to the success of the partnership, and is easily achieved even in a culture as different as Senegal’s. “It’s interesting to see how quickly the Senegalese learn the material despite a language barrier,” said Corporal Steven Bray, an armorer attached to second platoon. “It also helps that when we’re not training, we’re still together. We’re trying their food and they’re trying ours, we talk to each other in the evenings and we train with one another all day. It makes for a great partnership,” he added. For the Marines of second platoon, who are mostly combat veterans from Iraq or Afghanistan, a deployment founded on partnership and the exchange of ideas is a welcomed reprieve from previous combat deployments. “On a combat deployment, Marines are often patrolling and engaging in firefights,” said Corporal Brandon Blackmon, an Afghanistan campaign veteran and fire team leader for first squad, second platoon. “It’s exciting to have the opportunity to take what we have learned from those experiences and bring them to the Senegalese and Nigerian military to better serve them when they go to combat.” So far, the Marines have provided periods of instruction that included fundamentals of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, intelligence gathering and analysis, foot patrolling, military operations in urban terrain, and maneuver warfare. Primarily focused on land warfare tactics, further classes will include combat marksmanship fundamentals, pistol marksmanship and static target engagement. Likewise, Senegalese and Nigerian troops are bringing forth their knowledge of combat from what they have learned from conflict in areas like the Casamance, the Congo, Darfur, and Cote D’Ivoire. ‘Riverine’ warfare is an amphibious maneuver taught by the Nigerian Navy Special Boat Service that encompasses river movement in small craft, embankment landings, shore assaults, withdrawals to the river, and standard operating procedure when receiving enemy contact from shorelines. After only one week, the three nations’ militaries have come together in fostering a dynamic partnership in which Senegalese, Nigerian and Marine forces transition in leading classes and physical training. The underlying interaction between militaries, cultures and allies is what makes partnerships like these worthwhile because it promotes interoperability and fosters regional stability. “This deployment is less about the actual training [tactics, techniques, and procedures] and more about building the relationships between our militaries and between our nations,” said 1st Lieutenant Michael J. Thomas, platoon commander for second platoon and executive officer for the GCE. “The information being exchanged is helping us build a foundation that helps us understand how one another operate. New and innovative ideas are being brought up every day and the sharing of those ideas will help us all grow together,” he added. The SCTF began its deployment in Ghana in March and is slated to continue its follow-on mission at Gabon in June.

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Microsoft to invest $475 million in African software development companies

Microsoft, one of the worlds most known and respected companies is planning on invest in 10 black-owned software development companies throughout South Africa.
Microsoft Corp.’s South African unit will invest R475 million in up to 10 black-owned software development companies as part of its agreement with the government to increase the country’s black majority.Managing Director of the unit, Mteto Nyati, said “We will support these companies over a period of seven years. Our consultants will work with them to put together a package and a business plan.“We will fund whatever is relevant for that particular company to meet its own stated objectives of growth,” he added. This is a big step for the technology giant as it has a global policy of not selling stakes in its units. Since the end of apartheid 17 years ago, the South African government has heavily encouraged companies to sell stakes to black investors to address racial imbalances in the country. As part of Microsoft’s broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) programme, the company was granted permission to put in place alternative empowerment plans. As a result, Microsoft agreed to invest the equivalent of 4 percent of its sales in black-owned enterprises over seven years. Bill Gates’ organisation, which introduced the Windows operating system to the world, will sign deals with four software developers later today – Chillisoft, a developer of software used in the healthcare and manufacturing industries; BUI, a computer-security company; Home Grown Business Integrations, which develops electricity management systems and Maxxor, a producer of mobile phone and web-based applications.
Positive development for the African software development community.  Software development is an extremely important feature which helps a business to work finely with minimum energy. The various business processes in modern times require software development in the best of form. It is software development which allows you to automate your business and increase your efficiency and productivity with less labor. There are a wide range of other benefits which a business process can enjoy with software development in proper place.
Resource requirements for your business are significantly reduced with the help of software development which in turn reduces the cost of running your business. Software development also helps in running your business at the full throttle. It permits you to improve your performance, thereby maximizing your profits. It also works in differentiating your business from your competitors and providing it with greater value.
Although this is a move to counter Google’s expanding plans in Africa, the winners are clearly not just the South African software development community but software developers throughout Africa.
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Burger King looking to expand presence in Africa

Following the lead of it’s competitors Like McDonalds, KFC, Burger King will try to set up shop in throughout Africa.
South Africans could soon be snacking on a Big Whopper. Burger King said yesterday it was assessing opportunities in SA as sluggish economic growth in its US home market continues to hamper sales, making emerging markets look more attractive.Yum Brands, which owns Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, have also been enthusiastic about SA, New York- based Sanford C Bernstein analyst Sara Senatore said yesterday. “We are currently assessing the opportunity in SA for the Burger King brand,” the Florida- based company said. Burger King said it continuously reviews its “worldwide restaurant portfolio in the course of business. We make strategic decisions based on many factors, including development opportunities, market conditions and restaurant profitability.” Ms Senatore said growth in emerging markets had outpaced growth in developed markets. “There are difficulties when entering developing markets such as infrastructure and regulatory differences, but what any company is looking for is market depth and market growth and SA has that. They are looking for markets which will provide fast growth and are rapidly developing. Any company that can partake in these types of economies will want to, despite these challenges.” Founded in 1954, Burger King is the second-largest fast-food hamburger chain in the world, after McDonald’s, with about 12000 outlets in 73 countries. About 90% of Burger King restaurants are owned and operated by independent franchisees with 665 of these outlets based in the US. How the company licenses its franchisees varies depending on the region, with some regional franchises, known as master franchises, responsible for selling franchise sub-licences on the company’s behalf. Absa Securities analyst Chris Gilmour said the burger market in SA was saturated. “I am very surprised they would consider this, unless they are using SA as a springboard into Africa.” But Vestact fund manager Sasha Naryshkine said there was room for a new competitor in SA. “The fast-food sector has done astonishingly well over the past few years, and there is still potential for growth. Burger King is a well- known international brand and could compete with Famous Brands ’ Steers division. “But its fame would not guarantee its success. Subway is a well- recognised brand and it has not managed to capture the imagination of South Africans.” Famous Brands would be a formidable competitor with its 520 Steers outlets across the country. Steers grew sales 6,5% in the year to February, and said it planned to open a further 20 stores this year. McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in SA in November 1995 and operates 132 restaurants around the country. Justin Divaris, CEO of the Daytona Group that brought the Aston Martin brand to SA, is rumoured to be involved in the deal. He declined to comment.
Investing in Africa and opening up franchises will help drive growth for Burger King. When one looks at the demographics and growing middle class, the opportunity to invest ,establish a customer base would be a worthwhile investment. Pepsi, and KFC have clearly seen the great opportunity of doing business in Africa, it would be wise for Burger King to follow suit.
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Canada’s Next Military Deployment Will Likely Be in Sudan?

Canadian military likely headed to Sudan according to Canadian diplomat.

KINGSTON, Ont. – A former Canadian diplomat to Africa said Canada’s next military deployment will likely be in war-torn Sudan. John Schram — who was Canada’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Sudan from 1998 to 2002 — said now that Sudan has completed a referendum, big issues are being raised, and the fractured country will need international support to bring some measure of calm. Those issues include negotiations on frontiers and oil rights and revenues between country’s north and south, a second referendum in the oil-rich Abyei region and the ongoing peacekeeping/peacemaking effort to support the emerging state. The Canadian military’s presence in Afghanistan has prepared it for such a mission, he said. “We’re going to come under pressure from the Americans who have been in the lead all along,” said Schram, who is a senior fellow in international relations at Queen’s University and who spent almost four decades on the Africa file for the federal department of external affairs. “However, we also have a skeptical public and a non-interventionist government and there’s a sense of weariness and reluctance to do what the Americans want us to do,” he said. “After Afghanistan, do Canadians have the stomach for another nation-building program?” Schram thinks Canada’s soldiers do. He believes that among the rank and file, although their equipment has been chewed up in the harsh Afghan climate and they are tired and overstretched, there is a belief that Task Force Afghanistan is not a single mission, but the establishment of a permanent expeditionary force always on a mission overseas. There is already a contingent of nearly 40 military officers in the Sudan monitoring the situation and reporting back to the Canadian government. Such contingents nearly always precede a military intervention to provide intelligence and logistics support. Even top-level military officers will quietly admit the era of traditional blue-helmet United Nations peacekeeping is over, and never really worked that well, anyhow, Schram said. Sudan, or any future deployment, will likely be by troops who are armed and with rules of engagement, allowing them to engage the enemy, not stand between warring factions with good intentions and no ammunition, Schram said. He said a Sudan mission would likely look like Afghanistan, where the military supports and protects vulnerable towns and areas while assisting in reconstruction and negotiations. Schram said Canada cannot ignore an international effort in Sudan if it wants to maintain its role on the international stage. But he laments that Sudan, from the genocide in Darfur to the border skirmishes and ineffective national government, is often ignored in Canada. “With Sudan, we don’t really talk about it all that much. You don’t really hear about what Canada has done there, yet it has been one of our major foreign-aid efforts over the years,” he said. Canada has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, trade and technical expertise to Sudan, putting it just behind Norway when it comes to helping the African nation. “We’re still included at the table with countries such as Norway because Canada has done so much there, and you never hear about the Canadian contribution,” he said.

Given that the Canadian military has been deployed in Afghanistan for the past decade or so, the obvious question is how real might this be? With Canada being led by Prime Minister Harper, who believes Canada being active in global affairs,  the chances of this happening are very high. Another factor to ponder about the deployment in Sudan is the appetite of the Canadian public about another humanitarian mission. Though Canada has one of the world’s most effective military, it is historically a pacifist nation. The stationing of military officers might seem like mission creep to the average Canadian after being part of ISAF-NATO forces in Afghanistan for 10 years. On the other hand having Canadian security personnel will improve the situation in Sudan, especially since they are more competent than U.N. peacekeepers. Just look where U.N. troops have been stationed in countries like Ivory Coast and Democratic Republic of Congo and the continuation of disarray in those locations.

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Malaysia seeks to tap African market

Malaysia following the foot steps of other Asian nations, seeks to increase its economic presence in Africa.

Malaysia is the latest nation seeking to tap into the African continent’s massive economic potential – following the success of countries such as China and India. Speaking prior to the launch of the Langkawi International Dialogue (LID) on 19th June 2011, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, described Malaysia and Africa as “natural partners” due to their abundance of natural resources and their relatively young population. “It is thus only natural that we work together to build on the opportunities and potential available,” he said. In 2010, trade between Malaysia and Africa stood at US$8.2 billion, a 39 percent increase from the previous year. However, trade and investment levels between the two regions remain relatively “untapped” with further partnerships and bilateral cooperation required. “There are tremendous opportunities for Malaysia. We need to explore the various opportunities” said Malaysia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Kohilan Pillay. Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin also expressed his disappointment at the present lack of economic activity between Malaysia and Africa while emphasising the enormous potential that Malaysia could potentially tap into with the African market, “Contrast this with the US$12 billion trade Malaysia had with Germany last year, a country one per cent the size of Africa. These figures speak for themselves. As such I urge you (Malaysian investors) to be proactive.” Former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahatir Mohamad believes that the LID will open up new avenues for Malaysia in Africa. “After the dialogue, Malaysia would have a higher visibility in the African market and Malaysian businesses could expect to do better there.” The LID was the brainchild of Dr. Mahatir and aims to bring together leaders of developing economies from Africa and the Caribbean in order to discuss and promote economic collaboration. More than 500 delegates from 15 African and Caribbean countries are attending the event that is seen as an important outreach program for Malaysia to Africa. According to Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the move would help build sustainable economic prosperity by synergising Malaysia-Africa business partnerships. However, the event has also met up with criticism over the attendance of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as well as Malaysia’s invitations to other controversial African leaders such as Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir. Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has deflected the criticism by citing that Malaysia was not yet a member of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and therefore did not break any international laws by inviting Omar Al-Bashir.

Africa is prime opportunity for Malaysia to look for growth. South Korea, India, Japan and of course China have made moves to tap the growing and expanding African market.

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