Ethiopia

China and Ethiopia sign deals

China’s premier Li Keqiang and Ethiopia’s prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn at a treaty signing ceremony in Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Ethiopia Sunday for the start of a four nation Africa tour (Nigeria, Angola and Kenya), his first visit to the continent since assuming his position a little over a year ago. Both nations signed 16 deals total which included legal accords covering diplomatic visa exemptions, cultural corporation and extradition, agreements on economic, trade and technical cooperation, loans and cooperation agreements for the construction of roads and industrial zones.

Chinese firms have invested heavily in Ethiopia in recent years with their worth swelling well over $1 billion in 2014, according to official figures.

Beijing is also a key partner in Ethiopia’s bid to expand infrastructure such as roads, railways and telecom services.

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd – the world’s second largest telecom equipment maker – and ZTE Corp are working to introduce a high-speed 4G broadband network in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and a 3G service throughout the country.

Officials said both firms have now signed an $80 million deal to lay optical ground cables to form a nationwide network.

This is the second major high level visit to Ethiopia after last years visit by President Xi Jinping.

South Korea eyes Africa to increase export led growth

South Korea is seeking to boost its business presence in Africa by establishing three new business centres to support South Korean businesses and African importers following in China’s foot steps.

South Korea’s state-run trade agency said Wednesday it will open a new business center in Ethiopia this week, the first of three business-trade support centers to be set up in Africa this year.

The Korea Business Center (KBC) in Ethiopia will be opened Thursday (local time) in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, according to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).
KOTRA will also open a KBC in Accra, the capital of Ghana, on Friday, followed by one in Douala, the largest city in Cameroon, in September.

The total number of South Korean business support centers in Africa will be brought to seven this year after the opening of the three KBCs.

“Africa had long been regarded as a subject of one-sided assistance and not a business partner due to years of civil wars, famine and diseases, but with a reduction of armed conflicts and strong economic growth that has stayed above an annual average of 5 percent since 2004 the region is now becoming a new trade partner,” KOTRA said.

KOTRA noted the African continent may become one of the world’s largest markets in the future with over 800 million people living in the 48 countries south of the Sahara Desert.

Africa’s imports jumped more than two-fold from US$154 billion in 2004 to $324 billion in 2008, recording annual growth of over 20 percent, it said.

In 2009, South Korea shipped $9.62 billion worth of products to African countries, only about 2 percent of its annual exports.

“Africa is also becoming very important as a future source of energy for our country as the region has the world’s third largest reserves of oil and the world’s fourth largest reserves of natural gas,” KOTRA said.

After seeing the growth and progress that China has made in Africa, South Korea is following in the same footsteps as its Asian neighbor by increasing its economic footprint on the continent.  This is mainly due for a need for new markets as demographically, growth at home and in Asia will slow down as more and more people age faster than anywhere else in the world, except for Europe.  Targeting a region that has economic upside, a growing middle class and young workers is the right recipe for South Korea to maintain stable growth.

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Turkey seeks to increase presence in Africa

Turkey's total trade with African countries is growing rapidly, says Turkish State Minister Zafer Çağlayan

Turkey has embarked on a plan to increase its presence and interaction with Africa.

Turkish State Minister Zafer Çağlayan has urged Turkish businesspeople to consider Ethiopia as a gateway to African countries as well as called on Ethiopian businesspeople to use Turkey as a base to open up to markets in Europe and Asia.

Speaking at the opening of the Turkey-Ethiopia Trade and Investment Forum in Addis Ababa, Çağlayan said: “We have come here with a loan agreement in hand. The Turkish Eximbank will sign a $100 million loan agreement to support Turkish businesspeople investing in Ethiopia.”

Çağlayan said his visit aimed at developing relations further between Turkey and Ethiopia as well as boosting trade volume and encouraging Turkish and Ethiopian businesspeople to work together in third countries.

“Total trade of Turkey with whole African continent was $5 billion in 2003. This figure amounted to $17 billion in the past 7 years. Turkey’s exports to Africa increased to between $9 billion and $10 billion in the recent years,” he said.

“Turkey’s AYKA company in Ethiopia has the biggest textile factory in Africa,” he said.

The Turkish minister said Turkey’s prospective investments in Ethiopia would amount to some $1.4 billion, employing nearly 30,000 Ethiopian people.

According to the foreign trade minister, Turkey’s exports to Ethiopia are around $170 million annually, while it imports up to $45 million. “The African country’s total imports are $7 billion per year. If we show more of an effort, Turkey’s exports to Ethiopia will easily reach into the billions,” Çağlayan said.

Turkey has one of the fastest growing economies in the Middle East and is looking to expand business and investment ties to new regions other than Asia and the Middle East. This also highlights a growing importance of Turkey trying to spread its reach and influence which falls in line with Turkey’s current leadership whom are interested in raising Turkey’s global stature.

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Democracy on the March in Africa

From Economist story that declares, “The democracy bug is fitfully catching on“.

BURUNDI has just had one, as has Guinea. That came hot on the heels of the semi-autonomous region of Somaliland’s, which followed Ethiopia’s. Rwanda is bracing itself for one at the beginning of next month, and after that Tanzania, Chad and several others are due to follow. By the end of December a score of sub-Saharan Africa’s 48 countries should have gone to the polls for an assortment of local, regional and national elections. Kenya is also holding a vital constitutional referendum on August 4th. This is a big year for African voters. The electoral calendar has never been so crowded.

Indeed, elections have become a normal occurrence on a continent once better known for the frequency and violence of its coups and civil wars. Since the late 1990s the number of coups has fallen sharply , whereas the number of elections has increased, sometimes in the unlikeliest of places.

The west African country of Guinea is an encouraging example of a possible new trend. After two decades of dictatorial rule by Lansana Conté, the army seized power after his death two years ago. So far, so predictable. But the story took a new twist. The coup leader was attacked and injured by one of his aides, enabling other members of the junta to promise a return to civilian rule after elections they vowed not to contest. The first round of a presidential poll was held peacefully on June 27th; a run-off is expected soon.

Several factors explain this surge in enthusiasm for the ballot box. Would-be voters, anxious to make their often corrupt and arrogant politicians more accountable, are exerting fiercer pressure. For example, Nigerians expressed fury at the way the ruling People’s Democratic Party conducted the charade of an election in 2007. As a result, the government has had to make concessions over the running of the election due next year. The recent appointment of Professor Attahiru Jega as head of the Independent National Electoral Commission has raised hopes that his organisation will be truly independent of political control, rather than just a cog in the ruling party’s re-election machine. Nigeria’s coming election will be scrutinised across the continent.

Pressure for improvement comes from beyond the continent, too. Gone are the days of the cold war when West and East propped up their favoured dictators for geostrategic reasons. Nowadays a lot of aid money and diplomatic support are tied to progress in governance and democracy. Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, for example, held the country’s recent election as part of a peace deal with the country’s southern rebels, brokered largely by the United States in 2005. Countries such as Ghana and Mali have every incentive to stay democratic to get billions of dollars of aid from America’s Millennium Challenge Account, started in 2002. This requires countries to prove a commitment to good governance and elections if they are to get the money. Africa’s own regional groupings, notably the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), have also started punishing member states that fall prey to coups.

The commentary isn’t a puff piece. There is some criticism.

But the news is by no means all good. A cursory look at several recent polls shows that too often they are travesties. In Burundi the incumbent, Pierre Nkurunziza, won unopposed with 92% of the vote (see article). In Ethiopia those opposed to Meles Zenawi’s ruling party won just two of parliament’s 547 seats. And in Sudan’s election Mr Bashir won against an opposition that had largely boycotted the event.

In the language of international election observers, many of these elections fall “below international standards”; in plain English, they are rigged to ensure that the incumbent or his ruling party cannot be ejected by the voters. Moreover, though even the nastiest leaders now feel obliged to hold elections, they are also getting more adept at fixing them. In Sudan, for instance, the regime manipulated every stage of the electoral process long before the actual voting, from the census in 2008 to keeping the opposition off the television screens just before the vote. Mr Zenawi has become similarly expert, passing laws before the poll to muzzle dissenting voices and hamper opposition.

This is part of an older problem: the refusal of a defeated incumbent to accept defeat and bow out. Refreshingly, it does sometimes happen, as in Somaliland earlier this month and in Ghana in the past decade. But President Robert Mugabe refused to go in Zimbabwe after a clear verdict in an election in 2008 and President Mwai Kibaki refused to go after the elections in Kenya in 2007. Both leaders sparked widespread violence in their countries, thanks to their determination to cling to office; both eventually had to accept power-sharing agreements with the opposition.

Moreover, elections are often a poor guide to a country’s overall state of democracy and civil liberties. The mere number of elections can be deceptive. Our accompanying map of Africa shows how countries rank in terms of democracy, initially measured in 2008 on a broad range of criteria by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a sister organisation of The Economist, but updated to include more recent data from a variety of sources. The number of coming elections is cause for hope. But the advance of African democracy remains patchy. Too often the big men still find a way to stay put, whatever the voters may want.

Two observations come to mind:  First, the impact of South Africa is crucial and can’t be underestimated what it has done for the continent. It has been a beachhead for democracy on the continent. Second, America has had some role in enabling the weaker beachhead in the West.

It is true that conducting elections does not add up to democracy, when such elections are often flawed. But the heartening thing about the new trend is that the state of technology, cell phones and internet have made it possible for the countries of Africa to be part of the global village. And in the not too distant future, voters can and will be able to enforce their rights to vote. The sit tight leaders do not know it, but their days are numbered. Africa will join the league of nations where elections mean democracy.

Here is video report about the long and tough journey for Independence in Africa.

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With new found optimism, will Africa stumble from new expectations ?

With the recent successful hosting of the 2010 World Cup and withstanding the financial crisis better than many predicted, will Africa as a whole crack under the pressure of new found expectations or perform beyond any doubts ?  Looks more like the latter.  Africa seems ready to shine with this increased scrutiny.

Africa offers among the world’s best investment prospects as emerging markets grow ever more important, although its economies risk being destabilized by the slew of capital they stand to attract in coming years.  Energy-producing continental giant Nigeria was identified as a top pick by some of the most influential figures in emerging markets finance who spoke to the Reuters Emerging Markets Summit in Sao Paulo last week.

Africa withstood the financial crisis better than many predicted, and the region’s economic growth is forecast at 4.75 percent in 2010. Next year, half of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies are expected to be in Africa, and it is now attracting more than just the most intrepid investors.

“The latent interest in Africa is enormous,” said Stephen Jennings, chief executive of Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital, speaking to the Reuters meeting by video link from Moscow.

“Before the crisis there were probably 40 people or groups establishing Africa funds. In 3-4 years you’ll have 100 Africa funds and the biggest one won’t be $2 billion, it’ll be $20 billion.”

Fund tracker EPFR reports 43 consecutive weeks of net inflows to Africa equities funds, reaching $484 million in the first half of 2010 — nearly double those to India over the same period.

Africa’s advocates say the inflows stand to accelerate rapidly as a dearth of attractive returns in the developed world pulls investors in while a more stable political and economic environment indicates diminishing risks.

MSCI’s index of Africa countries outside South Africa .dMI8600000P, though well off its year highs, is still up nearly 8 percent in 2010. The S&P 500 .SPX is more than 8 percent down.

BRIC LINKS

A shift of global economic power to emerging giants such as Brazil, Russia, India and China — known collectively as the BRICs — benefits Africa as surging economies seek its resources and push up commodity prices and investment.

Brazil, Russia and India still trail China, which last year became Africa’s biggest trade partner, but they have been rapidly expanding trade and putting more money into Africa.

“What’s absolutely striking is how much change there’s been between the BRIC countries and Africa,” said Jacko Maree, chief executive of South Africa’s Standard Bank, which is Africa’s biggest. “We like to think that the whole story has only just begun.”

Brazilian firms with a large African presence may soon issue bonds in South African rand to seize on growing interest, said Standard Bank’s chief executive in the Americas, Eduardo Centola.

NIGERIA TOP PICK

Nigeria’s market of about 140 million people — nearly three times bigger than South Africa’s — as well as its energy resources and bigger, more liquid markets, makes it the top choice for many eyeing Africa.

On the Goldman Sachs’ growth-environment index, which measures a mixture of economic and social development indicators, Nigeria’s score has nearly doubled over the past decade.

“If it were to show the same increase in its growth-environment score over the next decade, many investors will look back and say why the hell didn’t I invest in Nigeria,” said Goldman Sachs’ global head of economic research Jim O’Neill, who coined the term BRICs.

Ethiopia and Rwanda are among the smaller African economies seen as promising. They show how previously ignored countries scarred by war are emerging as possible investment magnets alongside those such as Ghana, a relatively stable democracy which is soon to become an oil producer.

There is a new sense and feeling of dynamism in Africa. A feeling that now Africa can show the world that its more than just about poverty, disease and military coups.

Africa is now on par with the rest of the world in hosting global events and being taken serious on the international political scale, especially by countries like China.

Lets hope with all this new found positive attention that hubris doesn’t develop as well.

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Arms race in Africa

Like most regions of the world, Africa is not immune to defense spending. The region seems to be in a low level arms build up. Defense spending world wide actually Increased, and Africa was no exception.

For the peoples of East Africa and the Horn of Africa long accustomed to living with armed conflict as a feature of everyday life, these are indeed uncertain times. During the seven month period between September 2009 and April 2010, reports gleaned from local and international media alike portend an ongoing or impending arms race in the region, as national armed forces within the region ramp up firepower.

SU-27 Fighter bomber

The region itself can best be described as a historically volatile one with most national armies engaged in fighting either full-fledged civil wars or low intensity armed insurrections. Since the formal separation of Eritrea from Ethiopia in 1994 following the successful overthrow of the Marxist dictatorship of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam in May 1991 and the subsequent rise to power in Asmara(Eritrea) and Addis Ababa(Ethiopia), tensions have simmered between the two neighboring countries.

Both nations have twice, in the late 1990s and in the early 2000s, fought all-out wars in which hundreds of thousands of soldiers battled against each other and for which hundreds of surplus Soviet-era tanks, field and self-propelled artillery, as well as Mi-24 and Mi-35 helicopter gunships were acquired from nations of the defunct soviet bloc, mainly Russia and Ukraine. While Eritrea acquired a mix of SU-27 and MiG-29 jets Ethiopia responded by purchasing advanced SU-27 jet fighters.

With increased oil profits, Sudan felt that it had to establish military equilibrium among its neighbors, Eritrea and Ethiopia.  Sudan has since then acquired a squadron of MiG-29 jet fighters and with technical assistance from China with which she maintains a strategic military, economic and diplomatic partnership, has gone into the local assembly of Chinese military hardware ranging from mortars to towed and self-propelled artillery, T59 and Type 96 battle tanks. The Chinese have also supplied Sudan with WS-2 ballistic missiles.

Between the years 2001 and 2009, Sudan placed orders for and took delivery of a vast arsenal of everything including:
In preparation for a possible return to hostilities, the semi-autonomous government of South Sudan has thus far used the Government of Kenya as proxy in its military procurement drive and has been acquiring surplus heavy weaponry from The Ukraine in 2008 and 2009. This has seen the acquisition of 110 units of T72 battle tanks, 122mm rocket artillery and ZU-series 14.5mm and 23mm anti-aircraft machine guns.
T-72 tanks were part of three weapons shipments from Ukraine “ostensibly consigned to the Kenyan Ministry of Defence” but that were in fact under contract to the Government of Southern Sudan, according to the Small Arms Survey. In addition to tanks, the three shipments in 2007 and 2008 are said to include 122 mm vehicle-mounted rocket launchers, 14.5 mm machine guns, 23 mm anti-aircraft cannon, RPG-7 rocket launchers and AKM assault rifles.
Of course this is increasing insecurity in the region.
The United States is meanwhile warning that shipments of arms into Southern Sudan are heightening insecurity there in the run-up to a referendum that could result in the region’s secession…..

Ms Rice spoke with reporters following a January 26 UN Security Council meeting on developments in Sudan. She said UN officials had indicated that heavier weapons now appear to be reaching the South. Specific information on the shipments has not been provided, Ms Rice added.

Violence is escalating in Southern Sudan, which had been at war with Khartoum for 20 years. The UN reports that more than 2000 people were killed in clashes among tribal militias last year. Some of the incidents involved thousands of heavily armed attackers, the UN says.

International monitors worry that the 2005 peace agreement could break down in the coming months, leading to a resumption of the war that killed an estimated two million Sudanese. Tensions are growing as the antagonists prepare for a scheduled 2011 referendum in the South on the question of whether the region should claim independence. “The international community appears completely unprepared to put out the fire that is likely to start in the event of a [peace treaty] breakdown,” the Small Arms Survey says. “It has singularly failed to prevent ongoing weapons flows into this highly volatile environment to date.”

The US government under George W Bush invested considerable diplomatic effort to bring about the peace agreement. And the Obama administration appears determined to prevent that achievement from coming undone.

The State Department has meanwhile contracted with private companies to help train South Sudan’s armed forces. The US says that arrangement does not contravene the peace treaty, which forbids arms shipments to the South without the joint approval of its government and the Khartoum government.

Kenya has also increased its defense spending spree. Since 2007, Kenya have received 32 units of Chinese-built armored personnel carriers, anti-aircraft machine guns and Z9-WA attack helicopters from China. Queries have been raised due to the fact the helicopters haven’t flown since January.

The Kenyans have also taken delivery of a squadron of fifteen jet fighters which were acquired from Jordan, even though they are obsolete fighter jets to revamp its fleet.

Kenya’s neighbor, Uganda  which according to statistics available from the UN Register of Conventional Arms Transfers acquired 100 units of surplus T55 tanks from Bulgaria in 1998, the Kampala authorities have since 2003 received 31 units of BMP-2 armored vehicles from Russia, South African-made armored vehicles, Israeli-made Soltam 155mm field artillery guns and Mi-24 helicopter gunships.
Tellingly, Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency on April 5, 2010 carried a report about a deal between the Russian state arms exporter (Rosoboronexport) and the Ugandans for the supply of six units of state-of-the-art SU-30MK2 jet fighter bombers could just be the tonic needed to push the arms race to new heights, as wealthier neighbors such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan will most certainly be taking notes of developments. Uganda though denied reports that it had bought the jets.

The question is how smaller and poorer countries of Rwanda, Burundi and Djibouti will react in the face of the ever-changing military realities in the region remains to be seen. It is however almost certain that with civil wars or insurrection or both so rife across the region – in Somalia, the Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and elsewhere, the rush to acquire arsenals of heavy weaponry does not seem likely to abate anytime soon.

Up north on the continent, the rivalry continues between Morocco and Algeria. Libya is also getting in the game as well.  According to SIPRI data, Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia accounted for around three per cent of global arms imports for the period 2005-2009, but the volume of major conventional arms delivered to North Africa in 2005-2009 has increased by 62 per cent in comparison with 2000-2004. Algeria accounted for around 89 per cent of transfers to North Africa during this period, rising from 18th to 9th largest recipient of major conventional weapons globally. However, Morocco has placed significant orders in 2008 and 2009, leading to concerns that Algeria and Morocco are entering into what is regarded as an ‘arms race’.
Like Algeria, Libya has enjoyed increased revenues from natural resources and has enjoyed being courted by major arms suppliers in recent years. It was expected that after the lifting of the UN arms embargo in 2003 Libya would seek to modernize, upgrade and replace some of the significant quantity of major conventional weapons that had been acquired in the 1970s and 1980s.
However, for the period 2005-2009, Libya was the 110th largest arms importer in the world, according to SIPRI data.  Libya is not expected to lag behind its neighbours with regard to holdings of modern military equipment for long. Ghaddafi has enjoyed the attention lavished upon him by visiting heads of state from France, Italy, Russia and the UK in recent years, and each head of states has been accompanied by arms company representatives and rumours of multi-billion dollar deals for arms and military equipment.
Early this year in February, Libya signed an arms deal with Russia.
The most contentious weapons system that Moammar Gadhafi’s regime will acquire in the deal announced in Moscow Saturday is the S-300PMU2 air-defense missile, one of the most advanced in the world….

According to Russia’s Interfax news agency, Libya is to get two batteries of the S-300.

It will also receive 20 military aircraft — 12-15 Sukhoi Su-35 multirole fighters, four Su-30s and six Yakovlev Yak-130 combat training aircraft — according to Russian sources.

At a cost of $1 billion, the jets account for the bulk of the Libyan purchase.

Tripoli will also get several dozen T-90 main battle tanks and upgrades for more than 140 Soviet-era T-72 tanks, which are almost obsolescent now, and other weapons systems.

In March 2008, Morocco  purchased of 24 F-16 Block 52+ fighter jets from Lockheed Martin at a cost of $2.4 billion dollars. The purchase was in response to Algeria’s March 2006 $8 billion military-technical cooperation agreement with Russia $1.3 billion of which was allotted for the purchase of 29 single-seater MiG-29SMT fighters and six two-seater MiG-29UB fighters.
Algeria terminated the contract in 2007 upon receipt of the first batch of MiG-29s which, after a technical inspection, were deemed defective and of inferior quality than stipulated.  To redeem itself, Russia renegotiated the contract and offered Algeria new MiG-35 Fulcrum fighter aircraft and 16 Su-30 Flanker fighters.   The Russian government also approved a $2.5 billion contract between Irkut Corporation and the Algerian government to supply the latter with 28 Su-30MKA fighters by 2010.
In June 2009, The Algerian ministry of defense signed a contract with Agusta Westland, an Italian company of the Finmeccanica Group, to purchase 100 helicopters of various nomenclatures for its gendarmerie, police, and civil protection agency. The Finmeccanica Group is already committed to equip the Algerian navy with 6 AW101s helicopters and 4 Super Lynx 300 MK 130.
In October 2008, Morocco ordered 4C-27J tactical transport aircraft from Italy.

On September 9, 2009, Morocco was able to secure congressional approval for the purchase of support equipment and weapons for the F-16C/D Block 50/52 in conjunction with its F-16 contract with Lockheed Martin. The package is valued at $187 million and includes 28 AGM-65D Maverick missile, a tactical, air-to-surface guided missile designed for close air support, interdiction, and defense suppression mission against a variety of tactical targets. It is developed by Hughes Aircraft and Raytheon.

An F-16 can carry up to 6 Mavericks. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, a government entity that promotes military-to-military contacts in support of U.S. foreign policy and national security interests, has indicated that Morocco was also approved for the purchase of 60 enhanced Guided Bomb Unit-12 (GBU-12) Paveway II, a laser guided bomb (LGB) that utilized a Mk82 500-pound general purpose warhead and 28 M-61 vulcan cannons, a Gatling-style rotary gun produced by General Dynamics.

Additionally, Morocco requested the installation of communications, air combat pods, targeting pods, ground stations, night vision goggles (NVGs), joint mission planning systems, and radar warning receivers. This latest procurement will increase the interoperability between the U.S. and Morocco and enhance asset capabilities in bi-lateral terrorism prevention operations in the region.

Morocco then in October of that year, signed a contract to buy three CH-47D Chinook helicopters and associated parts, equipment and logistical support for an estimated cost of $134 million.

Earlier this year, a Moroccan air force delegation led by Colonel M’hamed Saufi toured Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. Personnel from Morocco’s Royal Air Force are currently being trained at Luke’s and 162nd Fighter Wing airbase in Tucson, Arizona on the mission support, maintenance of F-16 and the organizational elements involved in the base operations of a fighter wing, i.e., civil engineers and fire department, communications, logistics readiness, security forces, and base services. Morocco is currently building an air force base specifically designed to support F-16 operations.

It is worth noting that, with $5.4 billion worth of arms contracts, Morocco is the third top-buyer of military hardware and weaponry in the developing world in 2008, surpassed only by United Arab Emirates, with $9.7 billion in arms deals, and Saudi Arabia, with $8.7 billion.  The United States holds 70.1 percent of the arms market; its arms sales in 2008 totaled $29.6 billion. Russia comes in a far second with $3.3 billion.

Considering that Morocco and Algeria are embroiled in a diplomatic dispute over “Western Sahara,” analysts are voicing serious concerns that the two countries are gearing up for an arms race that will upset the delicate status quo balance of the increasingly
bifurcated Maghreb.

The sad news is that neither, Algeria, nor Morocco, will get to use those expensive jet fighters. Both countries are neither in peace, nor war. It’s a waste of money and resources. For the both countries who suffer major unemployment crisis, a poor infrastructure (Algeria), and foreign exchange reserves (Morocco), they better focus their resources on what matters most: fighting corruption, promoting small business, and increasing trade between them.

Libya on the other hand is just trying to increase its prestige and lets not forget khadafi is sometimes……well not the most rational leader.

Egypt is also upgrading its fleet of F-16 fighter jets.  The Egyptian Air Force is the 4th largest F-16 operator in the world, mustering about 195 aircraft of 220 ordered.

Video report on the arms race.


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Ethiopia wows investment from Indian Hospitals as healthcare hub for Africa

Ethiopia wants Indian hospitals as healthcare hub for Africa.

New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) Impressed with some of India’s private hospitals and the quality of healthcare they provide, Ethiopia wants them to open branches in that country so that they become a medical hub for entire Africa.
An Ethiopian delegation was in India this week with the twin aim of learning from India’s health sector and small and medium enterprises.

“We felt that it will mutually benefit Ethiopians and the Indian private sector if they come to Ethiopia, especially Addis Ababa, and open branches, so that they attract not only Ethiopians but also other Africans,” Redwan Hussien, head of the delegation, told IANS.

The delegation, which included the health minister of the Addis Ababa city administration, met representatives of private hospital chains like Fortis Healthcare and Moolchand Healthcare.

“In the last seven-eight years, we have been growing at double digits and the middle class has been booming, so people can afford to go out of the country for medical treatment,” said Hussien, a senior official in the city administration.

Addis Ababa, a city of 3.3 million, is also home to a substantial number of foreigners. It is the headquarters of the African Union and other international institutions. “Since Ethiopian Airlines is a major African airways, Addis Ababa is also a major transit point for Africans from other countries,” said Hussien.

But there is no equivalent level of specialized medical treatment available inside the country. “Most people travel to South Africa, or Bangkok or come all the way to India,” he said.

After discussions with private health providers, Hussien said that “Fortis Bangalore were really interested in going to Addis Ababa.”

A memorandum of understanding is being drafted and may be signed soon.

Hussien said space will be given in an existing Ethiopian hospital to set up a specialized treatment unit. Also, Indian doctors will be teaching their Ethiopian counterparts as part of the transfer of technology.

On the small and medium enterprises sector, Ethiopia is also looking towards Indian trainers to come to Africa. “We want Indian experts to come and teach in about 4-5 areas that we have drawn up,” he said.

The delegation also met with the Mayor of Delhi Prithviraj Sawhney and invited him to visit Ethiopia.

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