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.
Reducing industrial pollution in the Niger River Basin
The Niger River is the third-longest river in Africa, running for 4,180 km (2,600 miles) from its source in south-eastern Guinea, through Mali, Niger and Nigeria, before discharging via the Niger Delta into the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. Tributaries that run through a further five countries feed into the mighty Niger.
Hundreds of millions of people in West Africa depend on the river and its tributaries, for drinking water, for fish to eat, for irrigation to grow crops, for use in productive processes, and for hydroelectric power.
The health of the Niger River Basin is vitally important for the people and for the environment of West Africa. But this health is endangered by land degradation, pollution, loss of biodiversity, invading aquatic vegetal species and climate change.
To both assess and address these environmental issues, a Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded project has brought together international, regional and national entities to work on integrated water resources management for the benefit of communities and the resilience of ecosystems. (Project details can be found here.)
One part of the early project research found that as the Niger River passes through Tembakounda, Bamako, Gao, Niamey, Lokoja and Onithsa – major trading, agro-processing and industrial cities – wastewater and other polluting substances are discharged directly into the river, often without consideration for the environment. National governments of the countries which the river runs through are either unable to deal with the accumulated environmental problems and/or are ineffective at preventing, regulating, reducing and managing pollution from industrial activities.
For this reason, one component of the GEF project, implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), will facilitate the Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology (TEST) to reduce wastewater discharges and pollution loads into the Niger River.
Despite the limitations on travel resulting from measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus, in August this year, UNIDO successfully identified and engaged with 19 pilot enterprises in various sectors, including pharmaceuticals, mining and agribusiness, operating in ‘pollution hotspots’ in the countries of the Niger River Basin. This number exceeds the original target of one enterprise per country.
UNIDO experts are now introducing and sharing the Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology (TEST) methodology with the pilot enterprises. In essence, this will mean the application of a set of tools including Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production, Environmental Management Systems, and Environmental Management Accounting, which will lead to the adoption of best practices, new skills and a new management culture.
Armed with these tools, the enterprises will be able to reduce product costs and increase productivity, while reducing the adverse environmental consequences of their operations. An awareness-raising campaign will be carried out so that the demonstration effect resonates across the Niger River Basin, prompting other enterprises to follow suit.
Wagner: Putin’s secret weapon on the way to Mali?
France is outraged at the prospect of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group arriving in Mali. However, Paris is seeking a way out of an unwinnable conflict.
On September 13, a Reuters news agency article citing unnamed sources and reporting advanced negotiations between Mali and the Russian mercenary company Wagner sparked a firestorm of reactions. The United States, Germany, and the United Nations have all warned Bamako’s military against such collaboration. According to them, the arrival of Russian mercenaries – a thousand have been estimated – would jeopardize the West’s commitment to fighting the jihadists who control a large portion of Malian territory.
But France, understandably, is the most vocal against such a move. The former colonial power has maintained a military presence in the country since 2013, when it halted the jihadists’ advance on the capital. Florence Parly, the French Minister of the Armed Forces, visited Bamako on September 20th to warn Malian colonels in power following two coups in August 2020 and May 2021. Wagner’s choice, she said, would be that of “isolation” at a time when “the international community has never been so numerous in fighting jihadists in the Sahel”.
What the minister does not mention is that France’s commitment to Mali is waning. Emmanuel Macron used the second Malian coup d’état last June, less than a year before the French presidential election, to announce a “redeployment” of French forces in Mali. Although Paris refuses to discuss a de facto withdrawal, even if it is partial, the truth is that the tricolored soldiers will abandon the isolated bases of Kidal, Timbuktu, and Tessalit in the country’s north by next year, concentrating on the area further south of the three borders with Niger and Burkina Faso.
Europeans, who are expected to be more supportive of France, are also perplexed. The humiliation of the Western withdrawal from Afghanistan has served as a wake-up call. The Afghan government’s sudden collapse in the face of the Taliban has demonstrated how difficult it is to build a strong army and institutions. This scenario appears to be repeating itself in Mali.
The possibility of a rapprochement between Bamako and Moscow is taken seriously because Putschists in Mali have always been sensitive to Russian offerings. Colonel Sadio Camara, Mali’s Defense Minister, visited Russia on September 4. Disagreements over a reversal of Mali’s alliances are said to have been one of the causes of the Malian colonels’ second coup, which ousted the civilian transitional government last May.
Russia also acts as a boogeyman for the Malian military. According to a Daily Beast investigation, the Malian army organized a supposedly spontaneous demonstration last May demanding Russian intervention. This was also a warning to the international community, which is growing weary of the country’s poor governance and repeated coups.
Is Mali transitioning from the French to the Russian spheres of influence? Since Moscow gained a foothold in the Central African Republic, the scenario is not a figment of the imagination. Russian instructors and Wagner’s mercenaries have proven their worth in this former French backyard. Even though the UN condemns Russia’s atrocities in this conflict, the Russians were able to push back the rebels who were threatening the capital Bangui last December with the help of UN peacekeepers and Rwandan reinforcements.
The Kremlin denies any involvement with the Wagner group. However, the company is actually run by a close associate of Vladimir Putin. The use of private mercenaries allows Moscow to avoid military commitments abroad, as it did previously in Ukraine and Libya. “Russia is not negotiating a military presence in Mali,” said a Kremlin spokesman in mid-September. When questioned by the magazine Jeune Afrique on September 20th, Central African President Faustin-Archange Touadéra swore that he had “not signed anything with Wagner.” “In the Central African Republic, we have companies that were established in accordance with the law and operate on liberalized markets,” he explained.
Nothing has been decided on Wagner, it is repeated in Bamako. According to the military, the selection of foreign “partners” is a matter of Mali’s “sovereignty.” They regard these “rumors” as an attempt to “discredit the country.” The Malian junta is under siege, not only from jihadists but also from the international community. The latter is calling for elections to be held in February to return power to civilians, as stipulated in the military-agreed transition charter. Electoral reform must come before the election. However, Colonel Assimi Gota, the transitional president, has shown little interest in preparing for these elections. The Malian junta may also be hoping that Russia’s partners will be less stringent on democratic requirements.
Google Drives Deeper into Africa
As the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the new initiative that places emphasis on intra-African trade – including free movement of goods, capital and people – foreign players have accordingly raising eyes on using the new opportunity to expand their operations in Africa.
Foreign enterprises are gearing up to localize production in industrial hubs and distribute their products across the borderless territory considered as a single market in Africa. Thus, by its description, Africa’s estimated population of 1.3 billion presents itself a huge market – from baby products through automobiles and to anything consumable.
Google LLC, the U.S. Global Technology Gaint, has primarily set its eyes on business, with a comprehensive plan to expand its operations into Africa. Google made known its plans to commit US$1 billion over the next five years in tech-led initiatives in Africa. It is investing this US$ 1 billion in Nigeria and African countries to support and transform the digital market over the next five years.
In its media release, it said the investment would include landing a subsea cable into the continent to enable faster internet speeds, low-interest loans for small businesses, equity investments into African startups, skills training and many more directions determined in future.
This is in a bid to enable fast, affordable internet access for more Africans, building helpful products, supporting entrepreneurship and small business, and helping nonprofits to improve lives across Africa.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Google and Alphabet, Sundar Pichai, noted that the company was building global infrastructure to help bring faster internet to more people and lower connectivity costs. Through the Black Founders Fund, Google will invest in Black-led startups in Africa by providing cash awards and hands-on support.
The developing world represents the best chance of growth for large internet companies, and today, one of the very biggest set out its strategy for how it plans to tackle that.
“We’ve made huge strides together over the past decade – but there’s more work to do to make the internet accessible, affordable and useful for every African. Today, I’m excited to reaffirm our commitment to the continent through an investment of US$1 billion over five years to support Africa’s digital transformation, to cover a range of initiatives from improved connectivity to investment in startups,” said Pichai.
According to him, this is in addition to Google’s existing support through the Google for Startups Accelerator Africa, which has helped more than 80 African startups with equity-free finance, working space and access to expert advisors over the last three years. The subsea cable is set to cut across South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and St Helena, connecting Africa and Europe.
According to Managing Director for Google in Africa, Nitin Gajria, it will provide approximately 20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve Africa. It is projected to create about 1.7 million jobs in Nigeria and South Africa by 2025 as the digital economy grows.
Google further announced the launch of the Africa Investment Fund, where it will invest US$50 million in start-ups across the continent providing them with access to Google’s employees, network, and technologies to help them build meaningful products for their communities.
It will additionally disburse US$10 million in low-interest loans to small businesses in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa in order to alleviate hardships brought about by the Covid pandemic.
Google is bringing venture capital into the continent. The fund might work in a similar fashion as the Google for Startups Accelerator programme.
Although Africa has a Big Four (Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt) in terms of startup and venture capital activity on the continent, the accelerator has made sure to accept applications from startups in less-funded and overlooked regions. These countries include Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Founded in September 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google is considered as one of the Big Five information technology companies alongside Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. Google specializes in internet cloud services, software and hardware as well as online advertising technologies.
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