The Panama Papers – African Summary

Over 214,000 offshore entities are involved in financial transactions in more than 200 countries and territories around the world, according to the consortium. The use of offshore companies, the key tools of tax evasion, is a practice allowed in most countries.

Among those mentioned in the millions of documents including listed associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who embezzled up to $ 2 billion with the help of banks and shell companies, according to ICIJ. The king of Saudi Arabia, Salman of Saudi Arabia, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the former emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and cousins ​​of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are also mentioned.

African leaders are also mentioned, although no head of state in the exercise personally. Only the former Sudanese President al-Amad Ali Mirghani, who died in 2008, had assets in a tax haven.

Relatives of the president are however. Among them include Clive Khulubuse Zuma, nephew of South African President Jacob Zuma, Mamadie Touré, the fourth wife of former Head of State of Guinea Lansana Conté (which is already widely cited in a mining bribery case in Simandou), Mounir Majidi, private secretary of the king of Morocco, Alaa Mubarak, the eldest son of former Egyptian president, but John Addo Kufuor, the eldest son of former Ghanaian President John Kufuour. Finally, the Ivorian banker Jean-Claude N’Da Ametchi, former member of President Laurent Gbagbo and today close to Charles Konan Banny, has, according to documents of the ICIJ, assets in an offshore company and an account in Monaco.

Among the mentioned African political leaders appear Jaynet Désirée Kabila Kyungu (MP and twin sister of DRC President Joseph Kabila), Abdeslam Bouchouareb (MP and Algerian Minister of Industry and Mines), José Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos (Angolan minister Oil), Kalpana Rawal (Vice-President of the Supreme Court of Kenya), Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua (former Minister of Energy and Water and current Minister of scientific Research and technical Innovation of Congo -Brazzaville), Brigadier General Emmanuel Ndahiro (director of the Rwandan intelligence agency from 2004 to 2011) and the Senegalese Pape Mamadou Pouye. Arrested in April 2013 with Karim Wade, he was sentenced to five years for illegal enrichment complicity.

 

Source: Jeune Afrique

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From The Conversation:

While the Grand-Bassam attack took many people by surprise, such an event was predictable. Warnings had been issued, as they had been in Dakar, Senegal too. Reinforcements had been called on over the previous weeks.

The events come at a time when speculation has been rife about the uncontrolled proliferation in the Northern part of the country of Salafist mosques which might be used to stash weapons. These rumours have not been thoroughly verified. It is reasonable to assume that the Bassam attack was carried out using an organisational structure located outside of Côte d’Ivoire. The noms de guerre of the three terrorists, released by AQIM, suggest only one was Ivoirian (“Al Ansari”), while the two others come from a known pool of very young AQIM recruits from the Sahel region.
[…]
Clues as to how the situation will evolve can be found by examining the political class. The shock wave from the attacks seems to have bridged, however temporarily, the deep schisms of a country freshly emerged from a lengthy internal crisis. The trial of ex-President Gbagbo, accused by the International Criminal Court of crimes against humanity, began in late January. It has revived strong socio-political tensions and awakened painful memories of a lingering crisis, because of the bungled national reconciliation process.

[…]
Nevertheless, the attack benefited some on the national political scene. It diverted attention away from the bad press the government had been getting because of the trial of Gbagbo and his co-defendant, Charlé Blé Goudé. It allowed for the sudden resurgence of Bakayoko following the reasonably effective management of the attack by Ivorian security forces.

Read the full article here

What’s next for Cote d’Ivoire after the Bassam attacks?

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Black in France – the full 3 part documentary

If you missed this Al-Jazeera documentary when it came out a few months ago, it is now fully available to stream on their website.

Between one and five million French citizens claim African or Caribbean heritage. These numbers are, however, estimates, as population censuses do not recognise race.

For over a century, black immigrants, though never officially identified as different, were treated as ‘others’.

Even today, of France’s 577 members of parliament, only five are black.

This three-part series tells the story of blacks in France – a long history of segregation, racism, protest, violence, culture and community building – from the turn of the 20th century until the present day.

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&isUI=1

Catch the rest of the documentary on AJE’s website: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2013/08/201382894144265709.html

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3 questions following the terrorist attacks in Bassam

Fourteen civilians and two soldiers have been killed in the Ivory Coast beach resort of Grand Bassam following an attack on the popular weekend retreat, officials say.

Sunday’s attack targeted three hotels in the southeastern town which is located about 40km east of the country’s economic capital, Abidjan.

“Six attackers came to the beach in Bassam this afternoon,” President Alassane Ouattara said during a visit to the site.

“We have 14 civilians and two special forces soldiers who were unfortunately killed.”

The terrorist threat had been hovering over Cote d’Ivoire for a few months now. Risk levels were even increased after the Mali and Burkina Faso attacks, that resulted in the tragic death of both local and foreigners. Although the security measures had been increased in Abidjan, few anticipated the attack to happen in Grand Bassam.

More details are coming from the investigation, but here are a few analysis points:

1. These small-scale terrorist attacks just became the biggest security threat in Cote d’Ivoire.
After the Mali and Burkina Faso attacks, and to some extent Westgate in Kenya and the countless Boko Haram crimes, Ivorians are now falling victim to terrorism.
By the nature of these events (light automatic weaponry, limited logistics, low profile target locations), localised precautionary measures can only go so far in protecting civilians. African countries have to work together to address the root causes of the rise of extremism, and provide a comprehensive African solution to stop terrorism.

2. These events will call for a re-organisation of the security apparel to face a different kind of threat.
This is a different of challenge that the government is facing. The relatively high volume of light weapons circulating in the country had created a climate of insecurity, that has been lingering for the past decades in Cote d’Ivoire. But with the new terror threat, and attackers willing to die, the security forces have to change their approach and get used to this new situation.

3. Beyond the human toll, the attacks will have a long-lasting impact on the economy.
With the improvements in stability and infrastructure, the hospitality and tourism sectors had experienced a strong growth, leading to significant investments. But as we have seen in Egypt, Tunisia and Kenya, we can also expect repercussions in the sector. The response from the government, and the efficiency of the security measures will be crucial for the industry.

Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of this tragic event.

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Slow end for the socialist dream in Latin America

The article from FP highlights the end of a new (geo) political order in South America, under the leadership of Hugo Chavez and Luiz Inacio da Silva.

The analysis is pretty spot on. Both men had huge personalities, and started a project that at the time, seemed realistic to them. But the strong US backed opposition (in the case of Venezuela), corruption, drop in commodity prices dwarted the legacy of the work they started.

In the end, despite their divergent strategies, both Venezuela and Brazil have wound up in the same humbled place, their earlier international dreams in tatters.

These outsized dreams were fueled by the outsized personalities of Lula and Chávez. But they were also enabled by an economic boom that couldn’t last — and, indeed, hasn’t. Their hand-picked, charisma-challenged successors have been forced to trim their ambitions amid a collapse in the price of global commodities. Rousseff — the dry, technocratic former chairman of Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras and former guerrilla leader — has struggled to recover from China’s reduced hunger for Brazilian iron ore and agricultural products, just as Nicolás Maduro has had no answer for the steep drop in the price of oil.

To be sure, Chavismo’s damage is real, and deeply felt. But the government of Chávez and Maduro and the Bolivarian project have been marked more by incompetence, corruption, and criminality, than by ideological coherence. Today, the Venezuelan economy is the worst-performing in the world, with a GDP expected to contract by around 10 percent. Its people suffer from massive shortages of basic goods like corn meal and toilet paper, inflation rates that are expected to reach 200 percent this year, and the second-highest murder rate in the world.

Read more here.

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Diendere charged for Sankara assassination

Authorities in Burkina Faso have charged a general who led a failed coup in September with complicity in the 1987 assassination of President Thomas Sankara, senior security sources have told the Reuters news agency.

“General Gilbert Diendere is formally charged in the Thomas Sankara case,” a senior security source with direct knowledge of the case told Reuters, adding Diendere had been charged last month.

Mathieu Some, Diendere’s lawyer, told Reuters on Sunday that his client had been charged over Sankara’s death and he would prepare his legal defence. The charges are yet to be made public.

Ten others, less senior than Diendere, have already been charged, Reuters reported. The senior security official said most were soldiers in the elite presidential guard of former President Blaise Compaore, who was ousted in October 2014.

Source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/12/burkina-faso-coup-leader-charged-sankara-murder-151206161901202.html

Interesting to see this coming through now, a few weeks only after Diendere’s failed coup attempt. No doubt Compaore also played a key role in the October 1987 events, but we’ll leave this to the Burkinabe justice to have the final say.

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The Revolution in Burkina Faso

In late October, the landlocked African nation of Burkina Faso saw the end of its president’s 27-year-long reign. A popular revolution terminated Blaise Compaoré’s term after he tried to change the constitution so that he could run for a fifth consecutive term.

Cornered by an angry mob in his presidential palace, “Beau Blaise” fled the country along with his entourage as protesters torched the National Assembly and other symbols of the old regime.

Now in exile, Compaoré is rumored to be living in luxury on the Ivory Coast. In Burkina Faso, a new transitional government has emerged, led by President Michel Kafando and his prime minister, Lieutenant-Colonel Yacouba Isaac Zida.

VICE News went to the streets of Burkina Faso’s capital of Ouagadougou in the midst of the revolution to document the final hours of Compaoré’s reign.

In 1983, Thomas Sankara, known as the Che Guevara of Africa, took power in Burkina Faso. But a few years later, he was overthrown in a French-backed coup. In his place, the French installed, Blaise Compoare. Many years have passed and he is still in power. However, it seems that his days are numbered. There is a revolution happening in Burkina Faso. Protest has been stirring for weeks as President Blaise Compoare has been trying to extend his term limits. The people won’t allow it and have taken over the TV centre and Parliament. 19 people have already been killed and an army coup is brewing. A key Western ally in the region, is the government about to fall?

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