Categories
Security Conflict

Did NATO Intervene in Libya Just to Get Rid of Gaddafi?

Gaddafi Mural
Gaddafi mural. Photo: Internews Network/flickr.

Libyans do not want revenge; they want justice to be done, former prisoner Ali Elakermi tells the BCC in a moving interview as he walks through the prison in Libya where he was held during the regime of former leader Muammar Gaddafi. He shows journalist Jeremy Bowen the corner of a cell where he spent 11 years of his life. ‘Revenge engenders revenge,’ says Elakermi, close to tears in a report screened last week.

As Libya lurches from one crisis to the next, with increasing uncertainty about who is in charge in Tripoli following Gaddafi’s toppling in 2011, many feel the need for a reminder of the horrors of the Gaddafi regime. Because it was horrible. The former ‘Guide of the Revolution’, as Gaddafi liked to be called, sponsored terrorism worldwide; in Africa and as far away as Indonesia. There are consistent reports that he financed and supported warlords like Charles Taylor in Liberia and rebel movements in Chad and elsewhere in the Sahel. Political opponents like Elakermi were summarily thrown into jail, often tortured and sometimes killed.

Categories
International Relations Economy

Realising the Dream of Greater Intra-African Trade

Border ferry between Zambia and Botswana.
Border ferry between Zambia and Botswana. Photo: Jack Zalium/flickr.

How to break the colonial legacy of exporting goods ‘overseas’ and raise the level of trade between African countries? This has been an issue the African Union (AU) has grappled with since it devoted its January 2012 summit to the issue of ‘Intra-African trade’. The annual Economic Development in Africa report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) launched in Ethiopia last Friday, 11 July 2013, gives interesting answers to some of the questions African governments and the AU have been asking.

Categories
International Relations Foreign policy

Obama (Finally) Comes to Africa

U.S. President Barack Obama
U.S. President Barack Obama. Photo: The White House/flickr.

‘China 1, US 0.’ This is how the United States (US) news website Globalpost titled its comment on US President Barack Obama’s long-awaited trip to Africa. The visit, which also took him to Senegal and South Africa, ended in Tanzania on 2 July. Clearly, a trip that cost US taxpayers $100m was a way for the US to counter the huge amount of trade China has been conducting with Africa over the last few years.

Chinese trade with the continent reached close to $200 billion in 2012, while US trade was less than half that, at $95 billion, according to the US trade office.