Monday Briefing – Sudan, Guinea, remittances, election spending …

Note: Every Monday I usually compile press reviews with some of the most interesting / relevant news from the past week, and send it to some colleagues at FRIDE. Now I have thought I may also share some of these with you readers. Hope you find them interesting! And please feel free to comment on any of these below!

SUDAN

Kerry sees potential for progress in Sudan talks
Reuters 11 Nov. 10
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sudan’s government is looking at a new offer by U.S. President Barack Obama and would prefer to find a negotiated settlement to a dispute over a key oil-producing region, Senator John Kerry said on Wednesday.

South Sudan starts registration for independence vote
Reuters 15 Nove. 10
JUBA/KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Thousands of south Sudanese started registering for their long-awaited independence referendum on Monday, the first concrete step towards a vote that could split Africa’s largest country in two.

IVORY COAST


Ivory Coast postpones presidential run-off

Reuters 10 Nov. 10
ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Ivory Coast will hold the decisive second round of its long-delayed presidential election on November 28, a week later than previously announced, prime minister Guillaume Soro announced on Tuesday.
Results of an October 31 first round put incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo on 38 percent and challenger Alsassane Ouattara on 32 percent with a voter turnout of about 80 percent, one of the highest seen in a genuinely multi-party African election.
“For practical, technical and equipment reasons, the independent electoral commission has asked for an extra week to prepare the election in the best possible conditions,” Soro told a news conference.
The postponement puts the election back to the initial date proposed for the vote before the constitutional council at the weekend surprised observers by naming November 21 for the vote.

GUINEA

Race tightens in Guinea presidential run-off
Reuters 15 Nov. 10
CONAKRY (Reuters) – Guinea’s former Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo held a small lead on Saturday in the West African state’s presidential election, but results so far showed his rival making gains in key constituencies
Guinea misses deadline for poll result
Reuters 15 Nov. 10
CONAKRY (Reuters) – Security forces in Guinea clashed with several hundred youths protesting in the capital Conakry on Monday as tensions mounted before the deadline for the announcement of presidential poll results.

DEVELOPMENT

Migrants send home three times more money than countries receive in development aid, says World Bank
Poverty matters blog | guardian.co.uk – Claire Provost 11 Nov. 10
Research into remittances shows that migrant workers and diaspora make significant contribution to the poorest countries
More than 200 million people live outside the country of their birth, and according to recent research from the World Bank, the money that these migrants send home is a significant yet often over-looked source of development funding. The Bank’s new Migration and Remittances Factbook 2011, launched this Monday, puts the overall value of remittances at three times the amount of development aid.
Cotton subsidies costing west African farmers £155m a year, report reveals
guardian.co.uk Africa roundup | Juliette Jowit 15 nov. 10
Cotton farmers in west Africa are losing out on vital income because of subsidies paid to rival growers in the EU, US, China and India, Fairtrade Foundation says
The continuing struggle of cotton growers in the poorest region of the world is highlighted today by a report which reveals the many billions of dollars paid to rival farmers in the biggest economies since international talks began to make trade more fair.
As the Doha trade talks enter their tenth year this week, the Fairtrade Foundation calculates that the US, the European Union, China and India have in that time paid their cotton farmers $47bn (£29bn) in subsidies in total – flooding the international market and pushing down the global price for competitors, especially in west Africa, says the charity.

POLICY

African spending ignores election cycles-for now
Reuters: Top News 15 nov. 10
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – With up to 17 African countries facing national elections next year, politics will loom large in the minds of investors but the risk of pre-poll fiscal blow-outs may not be the big threat many imagine.
Ahead of the busiest African political calendar since the end of the Cold War, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has dusted off the history books to analyse electoral cycles and government spending across the continent to see how they relate.
After crunching the numbers from 150 elections in 44 African countries from 1988 to 2009, the surprising results are that, unlike many democracies elsewhere, African governments are not inclined to spend their way to re-election.

As such, the emergence of a discernible electoral-fiscal cycle may be a useful measure of the evolution of functional African democracy — albeit with the cynical, self-serving traits common to established democracies of the West.

There is also the risk that imminent elections will not mean greater spending so much as a delay in tightening the super-loose fiscal policies introduced since late 2008 to offset the effects of the global economic crisis.

OTHER

Israel to allow in 8,000 Falash Mura from Ethiopia
BBC 14 Nov. 10
Israel’s cabinet has approved a scheme to allow into the country nearly 8,000 Ethiopians of Jewish descent.
Many members of the Falash Mura community are living in poor conditions in transit camps in northern Ethiopia.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israelis had a moral duty to resolve the “complex humanitarian crisis”.
The Falash Mura’s ancestors converted to Christianity under pressure in the 19th Century and so are not eligible to emigrate under Israel’s Law of Return.
Thousands who were deemed eligible by Israel have arrived in smaller groups in recent years, but the flow was largely halted in 2008.
Senegal eyes first sukuk as Africa looks to Islamic finance
Reuters: Top News 15 Nov. 10
DUBAI (Reuters) – Senegal is the latest African nation looking to tap the growing Islamic finance market by issuing its first sovereign Islamic bond in 2011, three sources familiar with the matter, including an official at Senegal’s Ministry of Finance, told Reuters.
Madagascar to vote on new constitution
Reuters: Top News 15 Nov. 10
ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) – Madagascar will vote in a long-awaited referendum on a new constitution on Wednesday, a vote seen as a crucial step towards restoring political order on the Indian Ocean island and ending an almost two-year crisis.

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