Sunday, 22 February 2009

Lack of political will impoverishes South African fishermen

"When my belly is crying I must fill it. I can sit on the side of the road and beg for bread, but there is the bread right there," says Hahn Goliath, a fisherman in the small village of Doring Bay on South Africa's West Coast, as he points furiously at the Atlantic Ocean. [Full Story at]

A summary of the situation is that the allocation of fishing licenses allocated by the South African government does not include the subsistence fishing community, who have to try and eek out a leaving on the recreational fishing rights which are inadequate. For the details please refer to the main article.

While the problem is clear and alternative solutions and recommendations are available, there is a lack of urgency and political will to make things right. Is there an epidemic of indifference among African politicians or has there been an “explosion of bozos” among the ruling class? (For more about “explosion of bozos”)

In harmony with the poverty inflicted on our South African brothers and sisters, I am reminded of this impassioned plea made by Sylvia Earle to protect the world’s oceans. In the middle of our crises and struggle for development there is an opportunity for us on the continent not to fall into the same pillaging practices that are plaguing our Western and Eastern cousins, and which have and will continue to affect all of us – directly or indirectly. How? I am not too sure but I can ask the questions and hope that you might have the answers.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

“Sweden finances war in Africa”

Is the stunning title of a book written by a Swedish journalist, Bengt Nilsson and reviewed by New African magazine. Read it here.

The author makes the case that the money to finance the wars in Africa has to come from somewhere and so goes about following the paper trail which leads him back to his own country. Using sources such as Oxfam, Economist Paul Collier (who’s book “The Bottom Billion” seeks to address aid and other issues) and local accounts he shows how aid can easily be diverted from its intended goals and worst still, condoned by the inaction of the donor country – in this case, Sweden.

I hoped that this blog would not turn into a summary bashing of the aid agenda but what can I say now? Hopefully, these revelations can lead to a better measure of transparency and debate of the aid dogma. Aid has it’s place but ineptitude mixed with good intentions is a 4 lane superhighway to hell. If your friend is an alcoholic do not give him whisky when he says he’s thirsty.