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The Responsibilities of Political Parties : Observations From ASARPI In Mauritius

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To the President of China and to the Communist Party of China, honored global guests and F.A L.C.O.N guests here in Mauritius, Greetings. I am Professor John H. Stanfield, founding Director of the non-aligned primarily virtual online think tank ASARPI: Advanced Study of African Renaissance Policies Ideas which is also registered in South Africa as The Institute for Advanced Study of African Renaissance Policies Ideas.  As ASAPRI Director, I joint ventured with the University of Mauritius as their 2019-2020 SSR Chair of African Studies meant to raise the profile of UoM as an African University. 

It is an honor to have been invited to be a guest of F.A.L.C.O.N.: Farmers in Agriculture, Livestock, Cooperative, Organic Network;an  invited Mauritius delegation to this commemoration of the Centennial Anniversary of the Communist Party of China. As mass  media and scholarly  sources indicate, Westerners with their  not too uncommon historical misreadings of the  evolving CPC and  about China  as a now super power Nationale,are reluctant to give due praise to the remarkable feats of the CPC while pointing out flaws and throwing jealous stones  with the rotten  smell of White Supremacy  going out the global door; and pointing out clay feet issues that even their own democratic nations fail to address and even deny such as about internal human rights violations , inequalities, and the complexities  and paradoxes of governance leadership.

As the former UoM SSR Chair as well as ASARPI Director, I continue to probe into the extraordinary life and global leadership of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam. SSR as the first Prime Minister of Mauritius was a remarkably gifted head of state leader who as a deep believer in multilateralism as well as non-alignment, managed to be friends with Western and Non-Western heads of states of varied political persuasions in the highly polarized post- World War II decades. Specifically, SSR was an incredibly skilled non-alignment political party leader and head of state leader rare in 20th century international affairs especially in the era of the Cold War and decolonialism of Africa and Asia and other areas of the late 1940s through 1980s world.

Though nonaligned, SSR was not wishy washy; when it came to taking strong stands against apartheid, colonialism, and mistreatment of Indians in Africa he stood up firmly. He was a Pan Africanist as seen as his unprecedented and yet to be repeated election as President of the Organization of African Unity in the mid-1970s as an Indian Ocean Island Head of State. Some of his greatest friends were found not only among famous African Pan Africanists with their great differences in personalities and opinions but also among the leadership of India and more importantly for here, with the leaders of the People Republic of China Taiwan, and Hong Kong; all   with strong differences of opinions about sovereignty issues through which SSR garnered the best economic development ideas for his newly independent nation. Before, during, and after SSR’s head of state leadership Chinese from the PRC and throughout Asia and the rest of the world have been welcomed to Mauritius with their diversity of cultural background, political persuasions, and economic development contributions as innovative and productive citizens, putting their shoulders to the wheel of multicultural nation building. 

As Africans and Asians and those of the Middle East become increasingly centered in global affairs it is the vision of ASARPI to become the most provocative non-aligned think tank in African Asian, and Middle Eastern Affairs. We of ASARPI are confident that as the Communist Party of China, begins its second century, its leadership will be searching for somewhere in the world to impartially discuss and act collaboratively with other nations on pressing quality of life human challenges as the world increases the demand for countries leading the world to be internal and international peace makers as well as leading in the production of technologies and consumer goods and services. As the CPC looks around for such emerging and future global places in this crystallizing age of the moral reckoning of nations, we hope their eyes will settle on ASARPI in Mauritius the premier thinking and action think tank for present  and future times where collaboration must overtake paternalistic and imperialistic hierarchy and where competency must over run prejudices in determining  who we are and how far we can go and where people put down their guns and pick up genuine care and love for everyone since we human beings we are one. So like all other nations of the world be they South or North or East or West or single Party or multiple parties, super powers and no powers, we of ASARPI beacon the Communist Party of China to consider coming virtually and face to face to ASARPI global headquarters in Quatre Bornes, Mauritius  to come to engage as a global super power with others on same or other sides of the table to address major policy  issues such as global restorative justice and peace making; climate control, preventing gender violence; and  socially responsible public -private enterprises for  vital quality of life issues  for the non-affluent such as entrepreneurship, education, and food security.

The role of ASARPI as a non-aligned think tank with political parties is to assure the free flow of best quality of life Ideas and Policy practices and the sustainability of best ideas and policies when administrations change and are not lost in the cracks. We are the place to air out civil differing and engage in consensus building in pursuit to sustain human rights and the rule of law for all no matter which parties are in and out of power. 

There is also the role of a non-partisan think tank to identify and cultivate future political party leaders from diverse constructive perspectives to further development and sustainability of human rights and other attributes of an authentic democracy…who may have different perspectives but the same goal of democracy for all.

Every political party and every celebration of its history, even with extraordinary achievements, shows its limitations and future challenges to resolve which can also be seen as nonpartisan think tank work in developing healthy singular and multiple political party environments which are responsible in preserving rules of law and justice for everyone. The lack of demographic diversity in the party and state leader well-wishers in this summit let us know we must do much better in including those too often excluded in political party leadership especially those parties which tend to win, there were no women, and no one under 30 I believe. As well, the Communist parties in the top Western countries were not represented so there was not the opportunity to illustrate the important contributions such parties to human rights movements such as Black civil rights in  my homeland, the United States  of America and the historical roles of Black intellectuals in Soviet and Chinese Communist Political parties such as Esther Cooper, Claude McCay, William E. B. DuBois, and Paul Robeson, ignored and persecuted  even within these leftist parties as was and still is  the stigmatized American Communist and Socialist Parties. As well is the understandable predominance of the issue of virus vaccination in the well-wisher commentaries. It showed how much this tragic biodiversity disaster has distracted too much attention from other pertinent quality of life issues and has stalled needed attention to new biodiversity normals and needed more realistic responses. 

Lastly how do we develop a global space as ASARPI strides to be to do transparent and accountability moral conviction work, holding feet to fires that is for superpowers and not too superpower leaders and parties to come and be honest about their denials and gaps between their rosy words and what is really going on in empirical realities. People will not progress and be empowered unless their leaders are held accountable and get the dirt out of who they are and what they do or do not do.

This has much to do with the need for ASARPI to provide the non- partisan think tank space where the CPC leadership and African leaders convene to hash out honestly about the good, beautiful, bad, and evil. In this sense, the CPC leadership in this crystallizing era of the moral reckoning of nations should not make the same mistake Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, United States continue to make as non-repent nations for past horrible societal transgressions while a few such as France and Germany are doing overdue apologies and reparations for the victims of past horrors and ongoing moral wrongs. Countries with non-repentant societal moral wrongs will in coming decades experience deepening problems in legitimating global leadership claims. 

At any rate, we of ASARPI are here. We are here waiting and running at the same time. Again, hearty congratulations to CPC for the remarkable work done and leadership for the work to be done in collaboration with all of us. Congratulations from ASARPI.  

Director ASARPI: The Institute for Advanced Study of African Renaissance Policies Ideas Mauritius and South Africa former University of Mauritius SSR Chair of African Studies

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West Africa: Extreme poverty rises nearly 3 per cent due to COVID-19

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Food insecurity is affecting millions of people in Burkina Faso. © UNICEF/Vincent Treameau

Extreme poverty in West Africa rose by nearly three per cent in 2020, another fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, a UN-backed report launched on Thursday that looks at the socio-impact of the crisis has revealed. 

The proportion of people living on less than $1.90 a day jumped from 2.3 per cent last year to 2.9 per cent in 2021, while the debt burden of countries increased amid slow economic recovery, shrinking fiscal space and weak resource mobilization. 

More than 25 million across the region are struggling to meet their basic food needs. 

Gains annihilated 

The study was published by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in partnership with the West Africa Sub-Regional Office for the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the World Food Programme (WFP). 

Sekou Sangare, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water resources, said the pandemic has, in particular, annihilated benefits gained in fighting food insecurity and malnutrition. 

“Even if we are happy with the governments’ response through the mitigation actions they have taken, we have to worry about the residual effects of the health and economic crisis as they are likely to continue disturbing our food systems for a long time while compromising populations access to food, due to multiple factors,” he said

The report highlights the effects of measures aimed at preventing coronavirus spread, such as border closures, movement restrictions and disruption of supply chains. 

Forced to sell 

These measures had an impact on income-generating activities, and on food prices in markets, with small traders, street vendors and casual workers most affected. 

The deteriorating economic situation has adversely affected food security and nutrition in West Africa.  

More than 25 million people are unable to meet their basic food needs, a nearly 35 per cent increase compared to 2020. People have been forced to sell their assets and livelihoods in order to get enough to eat. 

The situation is most severe in those areas affected by conflict, such as the Lake Chad Basin region, the Sahel, and the Liptako-Gourma region, which borders Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. 

Strengthen social protection 

The partners hope the report will encourage public and private response to address the pandemic’s negative impacts on the people of West Africa. 

Chris Nikoi, WFP’s Regional Director for West Africa, underscored the need for immediate and concerted action. 

“This report clearly shows the urgent need for Governments and partners to deliberately increase investments to strengthen and increase social protection programs, social safety-nets such as school meals, and other livelihoods-enhancing programs with particular emphasis on women and youth,” he said. 

The Director of the ECA’s Sub-Regional Office, Ngone Diop, pointed to one of the strengths of the partnership, namely the ability to carry out an online survey which mobilized nearly 8,000 respondents. 

Moreover, she said “basing our analyses on primary, first-hand data from households directly impacted by the health crisis makes it possible to offer decision-makers at the regional and national levels with relevant and better-targeted policy options.” 

Responding to needs 

Since the outbreak of the pandemic nearly three years ago, ECOWAS and its partners have implemented several economic and financial measures to respond to the increasing needs in the region.  

ECOWAS Member States, with support from WFP and other technical partners, have also expanded social protection programmes, as well as food distributions, for the most vulnerable communities.  

For example, In Mali and Niger, they are supporting some 1.4 million people and helping to strengthen national social protection systems. 

“WFP is committed to engage more with ECOWAS in enhancing coordination and facilitating experience sharing among countries, with the aim to ensure social protection systems in the region support food security and nutrition and provide resilience to shocks,” said Mr. Nikoi. 

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Pragmatic Proposals to Optimize Russia’s Pledged Rehabilitation of Ethiopia

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A girl stands outside her home in the Tigray Region, Ethiopia. © UNICEF/Tanya Bindra

Russian Ambassador to Ethiopia Evgeny Terekhin pledged that his homeland will help rehabilitate his hosts after getting a clearer understanding of the full extent of the damage that the terrorist-designated Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) inflicted on the northern part of the country throughout the course of its approximately half-year-long occupation of the Afar and Amhara Regions. China’s Xinhua recently cited official Ethiopian government statistics about this which claim that the Amhara Region suffered damages upwards of approximately $5.7 billion.

According to their data, the TPLF partially or fully damaged 1,466 health facilities and vandalized water, electricity, and transport infrastructure. 1.9 million children are out of school in that region after more than 4,000 schools were damaged by the group. Over 1.8 million people were displaced from the Afar and Amhara Regions while 8.3 million there are suffering from food insecurity. The scale of this humanitarian crisis is massive and the direct result of the US-led West’s Hybrid War on Ethiopia that was waged to punish the country for its balanced foreign policy between the US and China.

It’s here where Russia can rely on its recent experiences in helping to rehabilitate Syria and the Central African Republic (CAR) in order to optimize its pledged rehabilitation of Ethiopian. Those two countries are much more war-torn than Ethiopia is, the latter of which only saw fighting in its northern regions instead of the entirety of its territory like the prior two did. The most urgent task is to ensure security in the liberated areas, which can be advanced by summer 2021’s military cooperation agreement between Russia and Ethiopia.

This pact could potentially see Russia sharing more details of its earlier mentioned experiences in order to enhance the Ethiopian National Defense Force’s (ENDF) security and stabilization operations in the northern part of the country. Syria and the CAR survived very intense Hybrid Wars that utilized cutting-edge military tactics and strategies against them similar to those that were subsequently directed against Ethiopia by the TPLF. It would help the ENDF to learn more about the challenges connected to ensuring security in areas that have been liberated from such contemporary Hybrid War forces.

The next order of business is to help the many victims of that country’s humanitarian crisis. Russia’s experience with assisting Syria in this respect, which suffered one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises in decades, can be of use to Ethiopia. This is especially the case when it comes to aiding its internally displaced people. Their immediate needs must be met and maintained, which might require urgent support from that country’s trusted partners such as Russia. Provisioning such in an effective and timely manner can also improve Russia’s international reputation too, especially among Africans.

Northern Ethiopia’s post-war rehabilitation must be comprehensive and sustainable. The country’s Medemer philosophy — which has been translated as “coming together” – will form the basis of these efforts. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed touched upon this in his 2019 Nobel Peace Prize speech and his book of the same name that was released earlier that year. Its English translation hasn’t yet been published but Medemer was explained at length by high-level Ethiopian officials during an early 2020 US Institute of Peace panel talk and in Ethiopian writer Linda Yohannes’ insightful book review.

An oversimplification of it in the economic context is that Medemer preaches the need for comprehensive, inclusive, and sustainable growth through public-private and other partnerships that bring prosperity to all of its people, which in turn strengthens socio-political relations between them. It seeks to apply positive aspects of foreign models while avoiding the bad ones. The Medemer mentality aspires to balance cooperation with competition, constantly improving itself as needed, in order to synchronize and synergize Ethiopia’s natural economic advantages in people, location, and resources.

In practice, this could see Russian public and private companies partnering with Ethiopia’s primarily public ones to rehabilitate the northern regions’ damaged infrastructure. Since sustainable growth is one of Medemer’s key concepts, the country’s Russian partners could also train more laborers, social workers, teachers, and doctors throughout the course of these projects while offering scholarships to some internally displaced youth for example. In that way, Russia and Ethiopia could truly embody the Medemer spirit by literally bringing their people closer together as a result of these noble efforts.

All the while, Russia’s international media flagships of RT and Sputnik should be active on the ground documenting the entire experience. The immense influence that Moscow has in shaping global perceptions can be put to positive use in exposing the foreign-backed TPLF’s countless crimes against humanity in northern Ethiopia. This can powerfully counteract the US-led West’s information warfare campaign against its government, which misportrays the TPLF as innocent victims of the “genocidal” ENDF, exactly as similar Russian media efforts have done in debunking Western lies against Syria.

The world wouldn’t only benefit by learning more about the US-led West’s lies against Ethiopia, but also in seeing how effectively Russia is working to reverse the damage that their TPLF proxies inflicted in the northern part of that country. Russia is also a victim of their information warfare campaign, which misportrays the Kremlin as a dangerous and irresponsible international actor. The truth, however, is that Russia is a peaceful and responsible international actor that has a documented track record of cleaning up the West’s Hybrid War messes in Syria, the CAR, and prospectively soon even Ethiopia too.

Upon taking the lead in rehabilitating northern Ethiopia, Russia should diversify the stakeholders in that country’s prosperity in coordination with its hosts. It’s in Ethiopia’s interests as well to receive assistance from as many responsible and trusted partners as possible. Russia can help by requesting that relevant aid and multilateral rehabilitation efforts be placed on the agenda of the proposed heads of state meeting between the Russian, Indian, and Chinese (RIC) leaders that presidential aide Yury Ushakov said was discussed for early 2022 during President Putin’s latest video call with President Xi in December.

The RIC countries stood with in solidarity with Ethiopia at the United Nations in the face of the US-led West’s subversive attempts to weaponize international law against it. They’re strong economies in their own right, not to mention through their cooperation via BRICS and the SCO, the latter organization of which also has anti-terrorist and other security dimensions. These two multipolar platforms could potentially be used to extend economic, financial, humanitarian, and security cooperation to their Ethiopian partner to complement bilateral and trilateral efforts in this respect.

Russia’s increasingly strategic ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) could also lead to Moscow working more closely with Abu Dhabi on related rehabilitation matters with their shared partners in Addis Ababa. Observers shouldn’t forget that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ) played a crucial role in brokering peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea in 2018. He even awarded their leaders his country’s highest civil honor when they both visited the UAE that summer. Furthermore, Al Jazeera alleges that the UAE has maintained a humanitarian (and possibly even military) air bridge to Ethiopia.

Regardless of whether or not the military aspect of this reported bridge is true or not, there’s no denying that the UAE has emerged as a major stakeholder in Ethiopia’s success. It deposited $1 billion in Ethiopia’s central bank in summer 2018 as part of its $3 billion aid and investment pledge at the time. The UAE also plans to build an Eritrean-Ethiopian oil pipeline in order to help the latter export its newly tapped reserves in the southeast. Additionally, DP World signed a memorandum with Ethiopia in May 2021 to build a $1 billion trade and logistics corridor to separatist Somaliland’s Berbera port.

Considering the closeness of Emirati-Ethiopian relations, it would therefore be fitting for RIC to incorporate the UAE as an equal partner into any potential multilateral plan that those countries might come up with during their proposed heads of state summit sometime in early 2022. It enjoys excellent relations with all three of them so it’s a perfect fit for complementing their shared efforts. Plus, the UAE has the available capital needed to invest in high-quality, long-term, but sometimes very expensive infrastructure projects, which can ensure northern Ethiopia’s sustainable rehabilitation.

It’s pivotal for Russia to prioritize its pledged rehabilitation of Ethiopia ahead of the second triennial Russia-Africa Summit that’s expected to take place in October or November after fall 2019’s first-ever summit saw Russia return to Africa following a nearly three-decade-long hiatus. Coincidentally, Ethiopia requested last April to hold the next event in Addis Ababa. That would be a sensible choice since its capital city hosts the African Union headquarters, has sufficient infrastructure, and can serve most of the continent through its Ethiopian Airlines, which regularly wins awards as Africa’s best airline.

The interest that Ethiopian Ambassador to Russia Alemayehu Tegunu recently expressed in courting more Russian investment ahead of the next summit goes perfectly well with Russian Ambassador to Ethiopia Terekhin’s vow to heighten cooperation between those countries’ ruling parties. This in turn raises the chances that the present piece’s proposals could hopefully serve as the blueprint for beginning relevant discussions as soon as possible on Russia’s pledged rehabilitation of Ethiopia with a view towards achieving tangible successes ahead of the next Russia-Africa Summit.

That timing is so important since Russia mustn’t miss the opportunity to showcase its bespoke “Democratic Security” model in Ethiopia. This emerging concept refers to the comprehensive thwarting of Hybrid War threats through economic, informational, military, and other tactics and strategies such as the action plan that was proposed in the present piece. “Democratic Security” approaches vary by country as evidenced from the differing ones that Russia’s practicing in Syria and the CAR, but the concept could attract many more African partners if it’s successful in Ethiopia by next fall’s summit.

Russia must therefore do everything in its power to bring this best-case scenario about. Rehabilitating Ethiopia won’t just improve millions of lives, expose the war crimes committed by the US-led West’s TPLF proxies, and enable Russia to showcase its “Democratic Security” model to other African countries, but ensure that the continent’s historical fountainhead of anti-imperialism and pan-Africanism survives its existential struggle. Upon that happening, Ethiopia can then serve to inspire a revival of these ideas all across Africa through its complementary Medemer concept and thus strengthen multipolarity.

From our partner RIAC

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Decade of Sahel conflict leaves 2.5 million people displaced

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Two displaced women sit at a camp in Awaradi, Niger. © UNOCHA/Eve Sabbagh

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) called on Friday for concerted international action to end armed conflict in Africa’s central Sahel region, which has forced more than 2.5 million people to flee their homes in the last decade.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva, the agency’s spokesperson, Boris Cheshirkov, informed that internal displacement has increased tenfold since 2013, going from 217,000 to a staggering 2.1 million by late last year.

The number of refugees in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger now stands at 410,000, and the majority comes from Mali, where major civil conflict erupted in 2012, leading to a failed coup and an on-going extremist insurgency.

Increase in one year

Just last year, a surge in violent attacks across the region displaced nearly 500,000 people (figures for December still pending).

According to estimates from UN partners, armed groups carried out more than 800 deadly attacks in 2021. 

This violence uprooted some 450,000 people within their countries and forced a further 36,000 to flee into a neighbouring country.

In Burkina Faso alone, the total number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) rose to more than 1.5 million by the end of the year. Six in ten of the Sahel’s displaced are now from this country.

In Niger, the number of IDPs in the regions of Tillabéri and Tahoua has increased by 53 per cent in the last 12 months. In Mali, more than 400,000 people are displaced internally, representing a 30 per cent increase from the previous year.

Climate, humanitarian crisis

Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating with crises on multiple fronts.

Insecurity is the main driver, made worse by extreme poverty, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The effects of the climate crisis are also felt more strongly in the region, with temperatures rising 1.5 times faster than the global average.

Women and children are often the worst affected and disproportionately exposed to extreme vulnerability and the threat of gender-based violence.

According to the UNHCR spokesperson, “host communities have continued to show resilience and solidarity in welcoming displaced families, despite their own scant resources.”

He also said that Government authorities have demonstrated “unwavering commitment” to assisting the displaced, but they are now “buckling under increasing pressure.”

Bold response

UNHCR and humanitarian partners face mounting challenges to deliver assistance, and continue to be the target of road attacks, ambushes, and carjacking.

In this context, the agency is calling on the international community to take “bold action and spare no effort” in supporting these countries.

UNHCR is also leading the joint efforts of UN agencies and NGOs to provide emergency shelter, manage displacement sites and deliver vital protection services, including combating gender-based violence and improving access to civil documentation.

In 2021, more than a third of the agency’s Central Sahel funding needs were unmet.

This year, to mount an effective response in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali, the agency needs $307 million.

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