What We’re Reading 7/31/09


Reuters: Clinton Must Strike the Right Tone in Africa
Reuters writes that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faces a delicate job striking the right tone on her seven-nation trip to Africa next week if she wants to compete against China’s growing influence. Pressing for good governance is seen as important in Africa, but experts said Clinton must calibrate that message with investment opportunities and follow through on promises. Clinton’s first stop will be Kenya for a trade meeting between the US and sub-Saharan African countries where she will discuss new approaches to investment and broad-based economic growth.

Reuters: Clinton Will Push South Africa to Pressure Zimbabwe
In another story previewing the trip, Reuters reports that Sec. Clinton will press South Africa to use its influence with Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe when she is in Pretoria next week, according to a senior American official. She will urge the regional diplomatic heavyweight to get Mugabe to fully implement a power-sharing deal with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai so that Zimbabwe can return to democratic rule. South African President Jacob Zuma has taken a harder line on Zimbabwe than his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, but the United States would like Zuma to do more to quicken the country’s pace of reform.

All Africa: South Africa: Country to Participate in 2010 Doha Round of Negotiations
South Africa will participate in the next Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations to ensure developing nations have a voice, the government confirmed yesterday. A South African minister said that the country would work to see that a proper balance between the demand for industrial tariff reduction and agricultural negotiations is reached at the talks. Leaders of the G8 and the five major developing nations have agreed to meet to discuss trade before the G20 in Pittsburgh.

New York Times: Nigeria Confirms Death of Islamic Sect’s Leader
Nigerian security forces on Thursday confirmed the death of the leader of a fundamentalist Islamic sect, apparently ending a fierce five-day campaign that may have left hundreds dead. News agencies report that the leader was killed while in police custody. Nigeria is frequently troubled with conflict, but this latest violence has been surprising because of the intensity of the military response. Human rights groups have expressed concern over civilian casualties from the armed operation in a densely populated area.

Reuters: Striking South Africa Union Workers Reach Wage Deal
South Africa’s council workers’ union said today that it has agreed with the government on a pay increase almost twice the rate of inflation, ending a five-day strike that challenged President Jacob Zuma’s economic policies. The settlement could put added strain on the economy, which has fallen into South Africa’s first recession since 1992. And though the raise is a gain for unions, investors are keen for the government to stick to what they see as the sound economic policies that have helped shield South Africa from the worst of the global downturn.

Houston Chronicle: Bill Frist: Improve World Health Care by Increasing Prosperity
Bill Frist writes that “as the health care reform debate unfolds domestically, we face an opportune moment to recalculate for the better how we maximize the success of our efforts abroad to strengthen global health.” He says good health support for developing countries is as much about putting health infrastructure in place as it is improving their physical state (in terms of roads and water) and institutional capacity. He cites the Millenium Challenge Corporation as an example of such an approach to global health.

-Grace Lamb-Atkinson


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