Wednesday, October 30, 2013

AFRICAN RENAISSANCE AND THE HOLY GRAIL FOR POWER: South Africa Signs Grand Inga Power Project Treaty With Congo - The World's Biggest Hydropower Project, When Completed Will Provide More Than 500 Million People With Renewable Energy!

October 30, 2013 - SOUTH AFRICA - South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo signed a treaty to jointly develop a hydropower project that will eventually provide about 40,000 megawatts of electricity to the continent.

The Grand Inga project on the Congo River will cost as much as $100 billion, President Jacob Zuma said in a speech, a copy of which was e-mailed yesterday.

“The Grand Inga project has the potential to ‘light up’ the region and further boost economic growth of the surrounding countries,” Zuma said in Kinshasa, Congo’s capital. “This will also provide South African companies with further investment opportunities including in other areas of infrastructure.”

Grand Inga will be built in six phases before reaching full capacity, according to Congo’s Energy Ministry. One megawatt is enough to supply 2,000 average European homes.

Congo will choose a developer from three groups of companies, the ministry has said previously. The groups are made up of China Three Gorges Corp. and Sinohydro Corp. (601669); Posco (005490) and Daewoo Corp. (047050) of South Korea in partnership with Canada’s SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (SNC); and Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA, based in Madrid, and Spain’s Eurofinsa Group have submitted a third bid.

Congo currently has about 2,400 megawatts of installed capacity, about half of which is available because of mismanagement, the World Bank said last year. Only about 10 percent of the country’s 70 million people have electricity, according to the Energy Ministry. South Africa, the continent’s biggest economy, has installed capacity of about 40,000 megawatts.

The treaty provides for the power to be shared between Congo, South Africa and other nations in the region. - Business Week.

Grand Inga Power Project - The Holy Grail For Power.
It is being hailed as the holy grail for power, the biggest hydroelectric project ever built that would harness sub-Saharan Africa’s greatest river and light up half of the continent.

But will the ambitious plan to tame the mighty Congo River, a mega-project first conceived in the 1970s, finally get going and what will be its actual impact?

Last month, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo announced in Paris that the construction of the first phase of a new set of energy projects at the country’s Inga Falls would begin in October 2015. The new $12 billion development, dubbed Inga 3, is expected to have a power output of nearly 4,800 megawatts (MW), with South Africa agreeing to buy half of the electricity generated.

But the DRC government’s bold vision ultimately involves five further stages that would complete the “Grand Inga” mega-project, giving it an astonishing capacity of 40,000 MW — that’s twice as much as the Three Gorges dam in China, currently the world’s largest hydro project.

When completed, Grand Inga could provide more than 500 million people with renewable energy, say its proponents.

“A myth dreamed of for 40 years, Grand Inga is becoming a reality with an action plan spread over several plants which will be added in stages,” the DRC government said in a statement after the Paris meeting.

Powerful river

With a length of 4,700 kilometers, the Congo is Africa’s second biggest river, after the Nile, and the world’s second largest river in terms of flow, after the Amazon. At the Grand Inga site, some 1.5 million cubic feet of water flow steadily through a network of cataracts every second, dropping about 100 meters to form the world’s biggest waterfall by volume.

Yet the power potential from the river’s rapids has largely gone unexploited in a country plagued by violence and corruption for decades — just 11.1% of the DRC’s population has access to electricity, according to the World Bank.

So far, the only two projects built to tap Congo’s potential are two smaller dams — Inga 1, commissioned in 1972, and Inga 2, a decade later. Both of them are almost exclusively used to provide energy for the mining companies in the southern DRC’s copper belt but are currently undergoing extensive rehabilitation as they perform far below capacity.

Seeking funds

The DRC government hasn’t yet decided on the developer of Inga 3, but three consortia from China, Spain and Korea/Canada are the frontrunners in the competitive selection process. The financing will come from both public and private sources: the Africa Development Bank, the World Bank, the French Development Agency, the European Investment Bank and the Development Bank of Southern Africa have all been named as potential contributors.

But will the DRC, a country with a risky investor profile, be able to raise enough money to build the mammoth project? Some say that with $12 billion required just for Inga 3 — the entire project has an estimated cost of $80 billion — it’s going to be an extremely tough and complex task to find the huge sums needed.

“It almost defies imagination that this kind of money is going to be available,” says James Leigland, technical adviser to the Private Infrastructure Development Group. He notes that several different players will “have to come to the party with equity,” from multilaterals, commercial and national development banks to the DRC government and the developer of the project.

“It is hard to imagine how all of this is going to fall into place,” says Leigland. “They’ve started, they’ve made a commitment to proceed on the basis that South Africa will take a huge amount of the power, but getting from here to there it’s just a very long road,” he adds.

Transferring power

Indeed, the pledge by energy-hungry South Africa to purchase about half of Inga 3′s future power production is essential for the project to attract finance and get going.

The two countries are currently negotiating a treaty to finalize the details of a power purchasing agreement, including the construction of transmission lines to transfer 2,500 MW of Inga 3′s production to South Africa. The exact routing of the energy corridor is not yet defined, but it is expected to be over land, through different countries in the southern part of the continent.

A World Bank spokesperson told CNN that such power exports could potentially raise considerable revenues for the DRC. “With energy resources on this scale, DRC can play a pivotal role in meeting not only its future domestic energy needs for poverty reduction and economic development, but also the energy needs at regional and continental levels,” said the spokesperson.

“With only one in 10 Congolese households having access to electricity, development of projects like Inga 3 and subsequent Grand Inga is essential for growth, more jobs and improved well-being in Africa.”

Power to the people?

Yet, not everyone agrees. With half of Inga 3′s power traveling south, and nearly all of Inga 1 and 2′s energy bypassing the DRC’s rural communities to be consumed by the mining industry, critics say the country’s poor will see no benefits from the project.

“All the electricity that will be generated from Inga 3 is for commercial purposes and nothing is going to supply the communities,” says Rudo Sanyanga of International Rivers, an NGO working against destructive riverside projects.

“The assumption being promoted is that by developing Grand Inga and exporting, or supplying the mines, will then create jobs in the mining industry and it will trickle down to the community — but it has never worked,” adds Sanyanga.

Instead of pouring billions into mega-schemes, the group argues there are less costly and more effective solutions that can be deployed to tackle the continent’s energy poverty, especially wind, solar and micro hydropower projects.

“They should prioritize decentralized energy and have a combination of grid and off-grid planning,” says Sanyanga. “If they really want to get electricity to the people, not only in the rural areas but as well as in the cities, they have to have another plan which is cheaper than grid development.” - Green Business Guide.

RISE OF THE MOORS: Africa's Baby Boom - Population To Double To 2.4 Billion, By The Year 2050!

October 30, 2013 - AFRICA - Africa’s population is predicted to more than double to 2.4 billion people by 2050 according to a new study.

The 10 countries with the world’s highest fertility rates are all in Africa, where mothers have an average of 5.2 children, according to a report released recently from the Washington DC-based Population Reference Bureau.

Africa’s rapid population growth offers huge economic and development opportunities.

In Niger, which has the world’s fastest population growth rate, women give birth to an average of 7.6 children, four times the US figure of 1.9.

“Rapid population growth makes it difficult for economies to create enough jobs to lift large numbers of people out of poverty,” said Wendy Baldwin, the organization’s president.

Seven of the 10 countries with the highest fertility rates also appear among the bottom 10 on the United Nations’ Human Development Index.

But Africa is also home to seven of the world’s fastest growing economies, points out Julia Schünemann, director of the Africa Futures Project at the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa.

“Rapid population growth is clearly going to increase pressure on Africa’s governments to deliver education, health care, security and, most importantly jobs,” she says.

“But it should be seen as an opportunity, too,” Ms. Schünemann adds. “African countries also have the world’s fastest economic growth rates. The question is, can those economies grow quickly enough to offset the demands of population growth. In general, I don’t think we should be too pessimistic.”

Western aid agencies are increasingly focusing efforts in Africa on “family planning” by advising governments how to increase access to contraceptives and helping women choose when to have children.

But this is unpopular in some countries, especially where religious doctrines that frown on contraception hold sway with government leaders.

Projections in the Population Reference Bureau study assume that “family planning will become widespread” in Africa, says Carl Haub, co-author of the report.

“If not, Africa’s population will grow more rapidly, further constraining efforts to address poverty, create jobs, and protect the environment,” he says.

By 2050, many African states will likely more than double in population. Kenya will rise from 44 million to 97 million people, and Nigeria from 174 million to 440 million.

Some nations will nearly triple their growth, the reports finds. Somalia will have 27 million people in 2050, up from an estimated 10 million today; the Democratic Republic of Congo’s 71 million population is predicted to rise to 182 million.

The total number of people on the continent is predicted to rise from 1.1 billion to 2.4 billion.

The report gave 20 different indicators for more than 200 countries. It found that US mothers give birth to an average of 1.9 children. Bosnia-Herzegovina has the world’s lowest birth rate of 1.2 children.

The world’s population is forecast to increase from roughly 7.1 billion today to more than 9.7 billion in 2050, the report calculated.

India, currently the second most populous country in the world, will overtake China to become the most populous by 2030, it was estimated. By 2050, India’s population will be 1.6 billion and China’s 1.3 billion.

The US population was estimated to rise from 316 million to 400 million over the same period. - African Globe.

COSMIC MELANIN: The Waters Of NU - The Search For A Massive Photon May Reveal Dark Matter And Nix The Standard Scientific Model?!

October 30, 2013 - SPACE - “We’re looking for a massive photon,” explains MIT physics professor Richard Milner. That may seem like a contradiction in terms: Photons, or particles of light, are known to be massless. If it does exist, that would represent a major discovery, Milner says. “It’s totally beyond anything we understand about the physical world. A massive photon would be totally different” from anything allowed by the Standard Model, the bedrock of modern particle physics. "It’s a tiny effect,” Milner adds, but “it can have enormous consequences for our theories and our understanding. It would be absolutely groundbreaking in physics.” Scientists have been trying to puzzle out for decades why the universe seems to weigh more than it should, and so far the answer points to dark matter—an invisible substance that they still don’t clearly understand and is thought to exist in clumps throughout the universe.Dark matter, believed by physicists to outweigh all the normal matter in the universe by more than five to one, is by definition invisible. But, scientists at MIT and elsewhere have developed a new tool that could test to see if dark matter is detectable.

However, an exotic particle that resembles a photon, but with mass, has been proposed by some theorists to explain dark matter — whose nature is unknown but whose existence can be inferred from the gravitational attraction it exerts on ordinary matter, such as in the way galaxies rotate and clump together.

Now, an experiment known as DarkLight, developed by MIT physics professpr Peter Fisher and Milner in collaboration with researchers at the Jefferson National Accelerator Laboratory in Virginia and others, will look for a massive photon with a specific energy postulated in one particular theory about dark matter, Milner says. If the planned experiment detects the A’ particle, says Roy Holt, a distinguished fellow in the physics division at Argonne National Laboratory says, “it would signal that dark matter could actually be studied in a laboratory setting.”

To prove the existence of the theorized particle, dubbed A’ (“A prime”), the new experiment will use a particle accelerator at the Jefferson Lab that has been tuned to produce a very narrow beam of electrons with a megawatt of power. That’s a lot of power, Milner says: “You could not put any material in that path,” he says, without having it obliterated by the beam. For comparison, he explains that a hot oven represents a kilowatt of power. “This is a thousand times that,” he says, concentrated into mere millionths of a meter.

The new paper confirms that the new facility’s beam meets the characteristics needed to definitively detect the hypothetical particle — or rather, to detect the two particles that it decays into, in precise proportions that would reveal its existence. Doing so, however, will require up to two years of further preparations and testing of the equipment, followed by another two years to collect data on millions of electron collisions in the search for a tiny statistical anomaly.

While DarkLight’s main purpose is to search for the A’ particle, it also happens to be well suited to addressing other major puzzles in physics, Milner says. It can probe the nature of a reaction, inside stars, in which carbon and helium fuse to form oxygen — a process that accounts for all of the oxygen that now exists in the universe.

“This is the stuff we’re all made of,” Milner says, and the rate of this reaction determines how much oxygen exists. While that reaction rate is very hard to measure, Milner says, the DarkLight experiment could illuminate the process in a novel way: “The idea is to do the inverse.” Instead of fusing atoms to form oxygen, the experiment would direct the powerful beam at an oxygen target, causing it to split into carbon and helium. That, Milner says, would provide an indirect way of determining the stellar production rate.

In 2012, Simona Vegetti, a physics fellow at MIT, discovered an entire galaxy made of dark matter just outside the Milky Way. The dark galaxy may host a luminous galaxy made invisible by the dark matter. “The thing people like about dark matter is that it’s been able to explain so many observations,” Vegetti said.

Because dark matter reflects no light, the galaxy is elusive. Vegetti worked with an international team of scientists including three from the U.S. and two from the Netherlands. Using the Keck Telescope in Hawaii, they detected the galaxy by studying ripples in the patterns of light rays from the Milky Way, a method known as gravitational lensing.

“It’s a dark matter-dominated object,” Vegetti said, “So there might be stars but very little.”

There are thought to be more than 10,000 satellite galaxies attached to our Milky Way galaxy, but only 30 of them are visible, she said. The image at the top of the page shows the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy, named for the constellation in which it is seen from the earth, in the process of colliding and merging with our own Milky Way.

“The question becomes are these satellites missing because they don’t exist or because they are purely dark? And that’s one question we’re trying to answer,” she said. - Daily Galaxy.

MARKETPLACE AFRICA: Zimbabwe's Mineral Exports Bring In US$1.38 Billion - Mining Sector Forecast To Grow 17.1 Percent This Year!

October 30, 2013 - ZIMBABWE - The Chamber of mines Zimbabwe has revealed that mineral production over the nine months to September declined marginally to US $1,38 billion from about US$1,4 billion during the same period last year.

Gold was the biggest contributor during the period reaching US$483.03 million after 10 468,46 kg of the precious metal was produced.

Government believes that small scale miners can produce upwards of 40% of national production if proper funding is availed to them. Last year small scale miners contributed 30 percent.

The mining sector is forecast to grow 17,1 percent this year from the 10,1 percent achieved last year, according to the chamber. Platinum output is expected grow to 12,500kg from 10 525kg while in the four month period platinum production was at 4,727kg.

However, analysts say the sector might not achieve the 17 percent growth target due to softer international commodity prices and local systemic factors such as inadequate energy and suboptimal cost structures.

The sector has been dogged by a cocktail of charges which include royalties, corporate income tax, value added tax, capital gains tax, local authority charges, Environmental Management Agency charges, licence and registration fees, among others.

The value of mineral production tumbled 17,8 percent to US$930,9 million in the first half of 2013 compared to US$1,133 billion in the previous comparative period owing to softening international prices and an unstable operating environment.

The Chamber’s statistics for the period to June 2013 show the country’s aggregated mineral value shed US$202 million after underperformance of the gold and platinum sector.

According the figures, gold production for the period dipped 21,7 percent to 6,727,36kg compared to 8 593,3kg in the first half of 2012. In value terms, gold production fetched US$325,8 million compared to US$448,9 million prior year.

Zimbabwe has been struggling to go back to its 1999 peak annual gold production of 27 tonnes with President Robert Mugabe last year announcing steps were underway to decriminalise activities of illegal panners, who are mostly active in the gold sector.

The move allows the players, now recognised as artisans, to operate in a legal and properly managed manner as the country seeks to boost mineral production. - New Zimbabwe.

BLACK ACHIEVEMENTS: Dangote, Ovia, Adesina Top The Forbes’ African Person Of The Year Shortlist - Awards Will Take Place In Nairobi, Kenya In December!

October 30, 2013 - AFRICA - Nigerians have dominated this year’s Forbes Africa Person of the Year shortlist, the US-based business website has announced Monday.

In its Forbes Africa page, Forbes announced that it had narrowed down its shortlist, dominated by Nigerians, for the 2013 Person of the Year awards.

The awards will take place in Nairobi, Kenya at the beginning of December this year.
An official voting is also open to the public who can make their selection of the individual they deem most worthy of the Person of the Year title.

The Person of the Year awards celebrate ‘the individual who, for better or worse, has had the most influence on events of the year gone by’ and Forbes Africa has welcomed the participation of the public in what is fast becoming one of the most momentous and anticipated annual events in Africa.

“Every year, we are excited to decide the Forbes Africa Person of the Year. We want to honour the big hitters of the continent who are making a difference in people’s lives and we hope that in doing so, it will inspire others,” commented Chris Bishop, the managing editor of Forbes Africa magazine.

The shortlist, comprising three Nigerians, one South African and one Zimbabwean, is as follows:

• South African mining magnate, Patrice Motsepe, plans on giving away more than half his fortune over the next five years.

• Akinwunmi Adesina is Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and his vision is to make Nigeria a self-sustaining, food-producing nation and register 20 million farmers by 2015.

• Aliko Dangote is Africa’s richest man and his net worth has significantly increased on the back of his continued business success, allowing him to better the lives of millions.

• Strive Masiyiwa is the founder of global telecoms group, Econet Wireless, and through Capernaum Trust he educates tens of thousands of Zimbabwean orphans.

• Jim Ovia established Zenith Bank Group in 1990 – now West Africa’s second largest financial services provider. His focus has turned to helping grow Africa’s budding ‘techpreneurs.

Click HERE for more on the award.

- This Day Live.

INSIDE AFRICA: Regional Integration Drives Inclusive Growth In Africa, According To Experts - A Move That May Bring Greater Prosperity To The Continent!

October 30, 2013 - AFRICA - Regional integration is still the driver of inclusive growth in Africa. This was the opinion of the panellists during the session on "Leveraging regional integration for inclusive and sustainable growth in Africa". It was organized on Monday, October 28 in Johannesburg as part of the eighth African Economic Conference (AEC).

A woman sells vegetables at a food market in Harare, Zimbabwe. Photo: Antony Kaminju/IRIN

The low level of intra-regional trade, shortage of good quality infrastructure and lack of qualified workers are among the obstacles cited by the panelists to explain the difficulties that the continent is experiencing in accelerating integration.

Africa has a huge market for all kinds of products. However, the panelists regretted the fact that the continent is still having difficulty in using that opportunity to consolidate its growth for the benefit of its populations.

Abebe Shimeles, Division Manager at the African Development Bank (AfDB), particularly stressed that, in his opinion, developing infrastructure in Africa was a prerequisite to full integration of the continent.

Shimeles said that many African agricultural producers still have difficulty selling their products on account of the desperate shortage of means of access to sub-regional markets.

He believed that this situation exacerbated exclusion and poverty at different social levels.

Speaking during the plenary, Paulina Elago, Country Director for Trade Mark East Africa (Tanzania), drew particular attention to the problems of the free movement of qualified workers. In her opinion, this obstacle had a negative impact on accelerating regional integration in the continent.

Elago regretted that "in recent years, East Africa has experienced rapid economic growth that has had an impact on its integration. However it is still facing the problem of free movement for its executives and skilled workers."

She hailed the example of Rwanda in this area, saying that the country had "made efforts to attract skills from other East African countries in order to boost various sectors of its economy."

Referring to the case of teaching the Swahili language, she said that the countries of East Africa, particularly Burundi and Rwanda, were able to make use of large numbers of Tanzanian teachers. They assisted in developing the language in the countries' education systems.

The successful achievement of monetary and customs union in the West African currency area was also praised by the panelists.

Jean-Gustave Sanon, Technical Adviser to the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), acknowledged that the successful economic integration of the eight West African countries comprising the organization could not hide the low economic growth. This had occurred year after year, with unpredictable rates of progress largely due to fluctuations in world markets, and to the socio-political problems that occur frequently in that part of the continent.

Delphin Rwegasira, lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), believes that economic and monetary union in West Africa could serve as an example. Nevertheless, he suggests caution on the issue of creating a single currency.

Rwegasira warned that, above all, African States must not rush into creating a single currency. The example of Europe is very telling on that subject. He also stressed that African countries must, as a prerequisite, undertake to respect the economic convergence criteria set out in the different currency areas.

The African Economic Conference was organized jointly by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It continues until 30 October.

The conference brings together heads of State and experts in business and development from all over the world. They are discussing "Regional Integration in Africa", and its role in strengthening the economic growth and well-being of the continent's populations.

The conference will also provide the opportunity to reflect on the efforts being made in various sectors and fields. These include finance, road transport, power pools, management of water resources, tax convergence and the free movement of workers. - All Africa.

EUROPEAN RACISM: Boeremag Group Of White Supremacists In South Africa Sentenced From 5 To 35 Years - They Plotted For Years To Assassinate Nelson Mandela! UPDATE: Apartheid Attitudes - Afrikaneer Extremists Now Fear Genocide When Mandela Dies!

October 30, 2013 - SOUTH AFRICA - A South African judge has sentenced 20 members of the Afrikaner white supremacist group Boeremag after being found guilty last year of high treason and plotting to kill Nelson Mandela, among other charges.

Members of the White supremacist group were given sentences ranging from five to thirty-five years

The state media reported that Judge Eben Jordaan handed the sentences out on Tuesday to end the decade-long trial.

The sentences ranged from five to 35 years in the country’s first post-apartheid treason trial after members of Boeremag, or White farmer force, were found guilty last year of plotting to overthrow the country’s government in the late 1990s and early 2000. Some sentences were suspended due to time served, according to reports by South African TV channel EnCA.

The leader of the group and four members of its bomb squad were given some of the longest sentences, having been convicted of culpable homicide and conspiring to murder Nelson Mandela.

 WATCH:  White Supremacist Training Camp In south Africa.

The members planted a bomb on a road Mandela was scheduled to take for a visit to a school in Limpopo Province, but failed when the anti-apartheid leader changed plans to take a helicopter to the school.

According to South African media reports, the Boermag planned to exploit the destablisation the assassination would unleash to then stage a coup and recreate a Whites-only Afrikaaner state.

The group, which includes former engineers, medical doctors and military officers, also claimed responsibility for a series of bombs that killed a woman and caused damage throughout the South African township of Soweto in 2002.

WATCH:  Apartheid Attitudes - Afrikaaner extremists now fear 'genocide' when Nelson Mandela dies.

This was one of South Africa’s longest running trials and it was one of the most expensive costing the country abou $3.6mn, according to the non-governmental group, Legal Aid.

Boeremag is an extreme group of Afrikaners, the White South Africans of Dutch, French and German descent who ruled the country under the racist White apartheid regime that ended in 1994. - African Globe.

AFRICAN RENAISSANCE: Fast-Food Giants Want Pizza The Action In Africa - Sub-Saharan Africa's Economic Revival Is Fueling An Unprecedented Investment Drive!

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  I do not condone the eating of what is called "fast foods," or for that matter advocate the expansion of the enterprises behind. However, the following report lends more credence, in the form of economic evidence, of Africa's renaissance, and should be seen  purely in that context. - Andre Heath.

October 30, 2013 - AFRICA - Sub-Saharan Africa's economic renaissance is fueling an investment drive by fast food joints looking to tap the continent's growing middle class.

The likes of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Domino's pizza are opening up in African growth markets from Nigeria to Angola to give consumers a taste of U.S. cuisine.

 Fast-food fans taste their first Burger King meal from the newly opened Cape Town restaurant, in May 2013.

Elias Schulze, managing partner of The Africa Group, a boutique Africa-focused investment consultancy, said U.S. takeout stores are rapidly becoming "aspirational brands" for cosmopolitan Africans with disposable income.

He said: "An upwardly mobile, confident, Western-leaning and young consumer class bodes well for an American burger boom."

And the battle for the African market is well underway. This year, Yum! Brands -- owner of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut -- is expanding into Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The Louisville-based restaurant giant already has outlets in 14 African countries, with more than 700 KFCs in South Africa and plans to open a further 45 stores in 2013.

And with growing political and economic stability, Western fast food brands are approaching the region with a renewed sense of optimism, according to Schulze.

African franchises often introduce new dishes to cater to local tastes. Domino's Chicken
Jollof Pizza is inspired by a rice-based dish popular in West Africa.

He said KFC is an established brand on the continent today, adding: "My general sense is that markets beyond South Africa in sub-Saharan Africa are in the investing phase given their level of infancy and may not have reached a payback point quite yet."

And more big players are beginning to follow suit. In May, Burger King opened for business in South Africa and last year Domino's -- the U.S. pizza chain -- opened its first African store in Nigeria, the continent's most populous nation.

With two stores already, Domino's is planning to launch three more African branches by the end of this year.

To cater to local tastes, the pizza chain launched a Chicken Jollof pizza -- a rice-based dish popular to West Africa -- and a Suya special, consisting of spicy marinated meat.

The Hero Chicken Suya pizza was also created specially for Nigerian customers.

Charbel Antoun, partner at Eat N Go, which helped launch Domino's in Nigeria, said that adapting the menu to the local culture and food was crucial to the brand's success.

He added: "To compete in the market we have very competitive prices. Ninety-five percent of our customers are Nigerian ... and these are the consumers we're looking to attract."

Price competitive
However, the cost of Western fast food brands in many parts of Africa relative to wages remains high, excluding many people, who simply cannot afford it.

While sub-Saharan Africa is home to some of the world's fastest-growing economies, millions of people are still languishing in extreme poverty.

Domino's Pizza opens its first store in Nigeria's largest city, Lagos, in 2012.

For example, the cost of a KFC meal in Malawi -- including a burger, fries and drink -- is more than $9 but with 50% of the country's population below the World Bank's poverty line, fast food is an unaffordable luxury for most.

Across the continent Western brands remain high compared to other parts of the world, according to Schulze. He said the average cost of a KFC meal in Africa is roughly 40% higher compared to a branch in Brooklyn and 80% more than a similar meal in Shanghai.

Still, the future looks bright for sub-Saharan Africa.

KFC in Accra, Ghana. The chain has more than 700 restaurants in Africa.

On average, the region is set to grow at more than 5% between 2013-15 as millions of new consumers emerge from poverty and commodity prices continue to rise, according to data from the World Bank.

A McKinsey & Company 2012 report on African consumers projects $410 billion in growth for consumer-facing industries across Africa by 2020; of this roughly 45% or $185 billion will flow from apparel, consumer goods and food businesses.

The report also found Africans remain "exceptionally optimistic about their economic future" and very brand conscious in purchasing decisions. - CNN.

EUROPEAN RACISM: Institutional Racial Discrimination Policy - Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's Mother, States Must Clarify 'Stand Your Ground' Laws!

October 30, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, is telling a Senate panel Tuesday that states must clarify their "stand your ground" self-defense laws.

The laws, adopted in some form by at least 22 states, generally cancel a person's duty to retreat in the face of a serious physical threat. But the 2012 shooting of Fulton's unarmed son, Trayvon Martin, 17, and the acquittal of George Zimmerman this year provided evidence that "stand your ground" laws can be confusing and applied inconsistently, she said.

The mother of Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton, listens to a question during a news conference at the National
Association of Black Journalists national convention, in Orlando, Florida, Friday, August 2, 2013.
(Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images) | Getty

"By being unclear in when and how it is applied, stand your ground in its current form is far to open to abuse," Fulton said in prepared testimony for the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Democratic-led Senate was holding the hearing even though no congressional action is expected on the state policies. Even in the states, Martin's killing, Zimmerman's politically charged acquittal on manslaughter charges and encouragement from the Obama administration seem unlikely to spur changes in "stand your ground" laws. Most states with such laws are conservative and lean toward policies that defend gun owners' rights.

In the shadow of the 2014 midterm elections, Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin called two panels of witnesses to the hearing room Tuesday to air the issue. Also testifying were Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican and a staunch supporter of stand-your-ground laws, and Lucia Holman McBath.

McBath is the mother of Jordan Russell Davis, the 17-year old killed nearly a year ago when Michael David Dunn, 46, allegedly opened fire on a Dodge Durango with four teenagers inside after complaining of their loud music and saying he saw a gun. Authorities never found a gun in the vehicle, the Florida Times-Union reported.

"That man was empowered by the 'stand your ground' statute," McBath said in prepared testimony. "I am here to tell you there was no ground to stand. There was no threat. No one was trying to invade his home, his vehicle, nor threatened him or his family." Dunn's trial has been delayed until next year, according to the newspaper.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 22 states have laws that allow that "there is no duty to retreat (from) an attacker in any place in which one is lawfully present." The states are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia, according to the NCSL.

At least nine of those state laws include language stating one may "stand his or her ground": Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, according to the NCSL.

Gun rights groups such as the National Rifle Association say "stand your ground" laws are about self-defense.

"Self-defense is not a concept, it's a fundamental human right," said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. - Huffington Post.

BLACK ACHIEVEMENTS: World Number One Serena Williams Wins WTA Championships In Istanbul, Turkey - 11th Title This Year, 57th Career Singles Title!

October 30, 2013 - TURKEY - An exhausted but elated Serena Williams was left celebrating her 11th title of the season to round off 2013 by claiming the WTA Championships in Istanbul Sunday.

The World No.1 dug deep from a set down and three all in the second against China's Li Na to reel off nine straight games to clinch the prestigious title, 2-6 6-3 6-0.

A relieved Serena Williams lifts the WTA Championship title aloft after beating Li Na in a three set final.

"I can't believe I won. I was so tired. Honestly, did I really win? Because she played so well," Williams said in her post match interview.

"I'm just overjoyed, to be honest," Williams added. "It's really awesome. It's such a special moment. To finish the year No.1 in the world and win this title after 40 years of the WTA, it means even more."

Williams had to grind out a three set semifinal win over Jelena Jankovic Saturday and fell a set down to her fourth seeded Chinese opponent in the final as the tiredness set in.

Williams pulled 3-0 ahead in the second set, only for Li to win three straight games to level.

A lesser player might have crumbled, but the 17-time grand slam champion took her game to another level and finished it off with her 30th winner of the match.

 WATCH:  Final Highlights - 2013 TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul.

   WATCH:  Day 6 FINALS Backstage: TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul.

Victory took her prize money for the season to a record $12,385, 572 and at 32 years and one month she is the oldest winner at the end of season championship.

It was her 78th WTA career title and she shows no sign of letting up in her pursuit of records with the first grand slam of the 2014 season in Australia next January firmly in her sights

Li has also finished the season strongly, the first Chinese player to make the WTA Championships final.

She is set to move to her hightest ranking of World No.3 in the new list and showed enough in the opening set and a half to give her hope of further grand slam success to add to her 2011 French Open triumph. - CNN.

Monday, October 28, 2013

AFRICAN RENAISSANCE: Accelerated Development In Africa, Through Sustainable Energy Supply - Ethiopia Building Largest Geothermal Power Plant!

October 28, 2013 - ETHIOPIA - "Africa needs to open up to bring in the benefits of accelerated development to its peoples through availing sustainable energy supply," says Alemayehu Tegenu, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy as he addresses the Great Rift Valley Energy Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

A geothermal energy source in Kenya. Photo: Seth G

He reminds the energy summit Africa has to choose "appropriate strategies to build climate resilient economy in the face of uncompromising facts of declining resource base to support economic growth and livelihood".

His country set out, according to the Minister, a climate resilient green economy strategy to achieve middle income economy with low carbon emission until 2025.

The green strategy considers pillars like improving crop and livestock production practices, and protecting and re-establishing forests for their economic and eco-system services while it expands electric generation of renewable sources for domestic and regional markets.

He told the summit, that attracts businesses in the energy sector from around the world, Ethiopia has huge renewable energy wealth; an estimated hydro power at 45,000MW, geothermal energy estimated at 10,000MW, wind potential estimated at 1.3 million MW.

Figures also show Ethiopia provides an estimated average energy yield from solar power at about 1.992MW per square meter per annum indicating abundant solar energy sources in the country.

Reports say the Ethiopian Energy Ministry has already launched sector reform program to effectively implement energy policy objectives that favour green development.

Ethiopian government investment in the green energy sector has increased in number and size. Currently there are power plants under construction with a total estimated generation capacity of 8000MW. One such project is the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam with a generation capacity of 6,000MW.

According to recent reports the construction of the largest dam in Africa is complete by 25 per cent. Minister Alemayehu Tegenu said Ethiopia has been doing the construction of this great dam in a way it ensures mutual benefits among Nile Riparian countries.

He asserted upper stream countries have a lot to benefit once the construction of the dam comes to successful end.

Another renewable energy developing in Ethiopia is wind power; Ashegoda and Adama 1 projects are two such projects. There are more wind plants to come to increase the country's renewable energy generation capacity.

Adama 2 Wind Power Project is under construction and has a capacity to generate 153MW. According to data from the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, geothermal power plant field exploration is at an advanced stage in two places: Aluto and Tendaho Geothermal sites.

Reports suggest "at Aluto Langano there is a pilot plant already in operation. Recently Ethiopia Reykjavik Geothermal, a US-Icelandic company, has made a historic agreement to develop 1,000MW of geothermal energy in Ethiopia.

This geothermal plant in Ethiopia is going to be the largest single such plant ever built in the continent. The summit brings together global and regional companies from around the world. - All Africa.

ANCIENT ADVANCED BLACK CIVILIZATIONS: Lost City Of Pyramids Discovered In The Ecuador Jungle - Predates The Emergence Of The Inca Civilizations And The Arrival Of Europeans!

October 28, 2013 - ECUADOR - According to the Earth4All website, a previously unknown pyramid complex located in a remote area of the Ecuador Amazonian jungles has been discovered.

View of the Pyramid of the Moon. Teotihuacán Pyramids in the Valley of Mexico. Photo by:marycarmenm

At the discovered site there is one extremely large pyramidal type structure of approximately 80 metres square base and 80 metres height, with steeply inclined walls. This structure is made up of irregular shaped large cut stone blocks, each is currently calculated to be approximately 2 tonne of weight, many hundreds of such blocks make up the walls of the building.

Scattered around the area are a great many artefacts of stone and of pottery. Many of these objects appear to be stone tools that could have been used either in mining or refining some kind of metal ore. Amongst these tools are some that would be extremely difficult for a normal size human being to use in any practical fashion.

Perhaps most mind blowing of all is the size of the stone hammer heads found around the area.

This lends more credence and empirical evidence to the sequestered history of the great and ancient advanced black civilizations that existed thousands of years prior to the emergence of the Inca and the subsequent arrival of the Europeans.

The revelations continue as we further explore the information coming out of the Ecuador jungles. What you see here is soil being cleared from the side of a large hill to reveal cut and dressed stone blocks. These appear quite smooth surfaced, barely aged thanks to the protective layer of earth. Between the blocks there appears to be a hard bonding substance like cement, or actually more like concrete. Just how long ago this structure was built and how many centuries passed before it was abandoned and then eventually swallowed completely by the local environment, this all remains a mystery. Some evidence is emerging from the site that can help us theorise on timing. The different look of the hidden blocks and those exposed are one of the first clues, it takes time to really weather a stone, to have it eaten away by the acidity of the rain for example.

In this second image we observe the stark difference between the newly uncovered stonework and that of the already exposed wall. The working hypothesis at present is that either an earthquake or a tropical rainstorm induced land slide caused the soil and plants of one wall to come sliding down. This is most likely the case. What we can see by comparison of the two walls is that the event that caused the wall to become exposed must have happened centuries ago, the stonework is extremely eroded on the visible wall. I am not qualified to give an accurate projection of how many centuries it would take to turn the wall in our first image into that seen in the second image – my guess is several at least. This certainly helps to reinforce the suspicion that this is a truly ancient site, much older than others already known in Ecuador, built by the native Inca , Canari or Cara peoples for examples.

The blocks range in shape and size across the pyramid wall, it appears highly chaotic in style and would pose interesting construction problems for the engineers and builders of the time it was built. We see similar stone-working at ancient sites in Peru, for example the fort at Sacsayhuaman which although attributed to the Inca is actually claimed by local Indians to have been built by a giant bird that came from the sky with the ability to melt rocks. How can a supposed primitive technology with easily working with gigantic blocks, that even today would be almost impossible to work with for a building construction?

One of the most captivating features of the pyramid wall seen at the jungle site here, has to be the evidence of some kind of strange mortar between stones. It is generally held that the Inca did not use mortar but rather made blocks that would fit perfectly together. Yet in this case we see what certainly appears to be a bonding material remaining between some of the large cut stone blocks. A closer look leaves us scratching our heads as it now seems to perhaps we are looking not at a cement, but some kind of vitrified material, was the stone itself melted by some advanced technology, whether heat inducing or chemical? Though many blocks seem free of this substance we can again attribute that to a very long period of rainfall – the substance looks tough and I imagine a great deal of time passed before it was eroded away. Evidence for other examples of vitrified stone has been seen elsewhere at ancient sites in Latin America.

Yet none of what we have already discussed is really good evidence for my stating in places that this is a lost pyramid city of giant people. Yes there are legends in the area of giants, and at other sites in Ecuador remains or artefacts have been found that do seem to prove a presence of incredibly large people. What really strongly points towards this habitation having housed the same race of giants is the presence of extremely oversized hammers, or at least the stone hammerheads. Assuming these were attached to hard wood handles they would be of both incredible size and weight, making their use as tools impractical for a typical Inca or indigenous Indian, these being generally slight built people of around  five foot or so. Who on Earth would make a hammer like this as a real tool? Remember also that any work would be done in the incredible heat and humidity of the Amazon jungle, how long could anyone swing such a thing before collapsing from heat exhaustion? I have been unable to match this object to anything known in Inca archaeology, and in fact there is simply nothing like it in the Ecuadorian museum of cultural history, located in Quito, that would suggest any of the known civilizations of this region.

The location from which these objects came was said by the local Shuar tribe to be a cave system known as the Tayos Caves, which contained not only these relics in precious metals, but also supposedly a hall of records made up of engraved gold sheets called the metal libary

In the video below is some of the most incredible footage of the never before seen large pyramid located here in the jungles of Central Ecuador. We provide some background information to the investigation and also a helpful narrative for the captured film itself. We  also call for your support in ensuring the site is mapped properly, preserved adequately and made fully public. To begin with we need you to help us fund the proper equipment and costs of the next expedition, any amount helps as we are unable to fund this ourselves at present due to circumstances beyond our control. The crowd funding campaign can be found at this link - Earth4All.

This is the first footage from the ancient Ecuadorian Pyramid site being explored for the first time in perhaps millennia. Filmed in Spring of 2013, it shows the incredible stone work and immense size of this mysterious megalithic pyramid structure.

WATCH: Lost City of Pyramids Discovered in Ecuador.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

AFRICAN VOICES: Vibrancy, Beauty, Vision And Diversity - Ghana's "Black Stars" Putting African Art On The Map!

October 27, 2013 - GHANA - When art expert Safia Dickersbach cast a dart at a map of Africa, she had no idea it would spark an eight-year love affair with a country she had never seen before.

"It landed in Ghana," Dickersbach recalled, "it was just a playful planning method." After taking aim at the world's second-largest continent, the dart randomly struck Ghana's Volta Region, in the east of the country bordering neighboring Togo.

"The Black Stars of Ghana -- Art District" is a project by Safia Dickersbach. It'spart of her efforts
to push Africa on the global art scene.

The exercise was the beginning of Dickersbach's extensive research into Ghana's contemporary art culture and her mission to push Africa onto the global art scene.

She launched a project called "The Black Stars of Ghana -- Art District," (named for the black star in the center of the Ghanaian flag, and the nickname of Ghana's national football team) in which she interviews some of the country's eminent visual artists and gauges their views on social issues as well as the inspiration behind their work.

"Between 2005 and 2011 I went to Ghana three times," she said, "visiting 45 artists in that period. I went to major cities like Accra, Kumasi and Shama."
Safia Dickersbach, the project's creator.

Dickersbach -- originally from the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam -- is now based in Berlin and works as a public relations director for Artfacts.Net

CNN's African Voices spoke to Dickersbach about her vision of African art and its place on the global stage.

CNN: You've visited 45 artists over the course of your research, what is the objective behind it?

Safia Dickersbach: Contemporary art is dominated by a Eurocentric attitude today and it is that attitude that decides what is relevant and what isn't. This prevents artists from regions of the world that are not located in Europe or North America from getting the attention they deserve.

It is called the "international art scene" but where is Africa on this stage?

I hope "The Black Stars of Ghana -- Art District" gives viewers a taste of the depth, vibrancy, beauty, vision and diversity of contemporary art produced on the African continent.

CNN: Who did you interview for the "The Black Stars of Ghana - Art District" project and why?

SD: The project includes research and film material about many different artists like Professor Ablade Glover, Kwadwo Ani, Kofi Setordji, Wiz Kudowor and Marigold Akufo-Addo, among others. These are prominent artists in Ghana.

Gabriel Eklou: "Baobab in the Wind." Eklou's work often features tall figures walking through an African landscape.

Eklou worked as a qualified accountant before becoming a full-time painter.

Kobina Nyarko: "Spread," 2007. Nyarko has become well known for his paintings of countless tiny fish on large
canvasses, which are reminiscent of abstract expressionism.

Marigold Akufo-Addo: "The last dance at Bobodiallasso Dalabani." Akufo-Addo is probably
the best-known female contemporary painter in Ghana, says Dickersbach.

Hopefully, a resource like this will provide art professionals, scholars and practitioners as well as art lovers from all over the world the chance to get to know the different artists and protagonists of the Ghanaian contemporary art scene through the Internet.

CNN: What inspired you to pursue such a project?

This project was inspired by a couple of disappointing events and stories which I observed in my professional career regarding how great and talented artists from outside of Europe were treated by the Western art establishment.

It is very important that artists who are based and work in Africa determine and define for themselves the narrative about contemporary African art.

In my view, even highly educated intellectuals and experts (in the West) let themselves be influenced by prejudices and stereotypes of the continent such as images of hunger and war in Africa. (They) treat African countries with a mixture of patronizing empathy and intellectual loftiness, and definitely not on a par with themselves.

Akufo-Addo has an unusual painting technique, using tiny squares to form the structural basis of her paintings

Kofi Setordji: "Brain Drain." Setordji is Ghana's foremost contemporary
sculptor, says Dickersbach. He works with materials including wood,
metal, bronze, stone, terracotta and paint to create sculptures
commenting on historical, social and political issues.

Kwadwo Ani is known for painting wide-eyed characters in everyday situations, contrasting
social problems with apparent childlike simplicity.

Ani's unusual painting style is reminiscent of the style known as "naive art."

CNN: Why do you believe this is so?

Too often artists from the African continent have been confronted with ignorance or condescending attitudes in the West and this is definitely some kind of intellectual conflict caused by a lack of multicultural competence and in some cases just plain arrogance.

A simple example is the fact that art from African countries is usually shunted to the anthropological department whereas art from Europe and North America will be dealt with in the "Arts and Culture Section."

CNN: You're from Tanzania in East Africa and you live in Germany, why was Ghana the best place for your research?

I have an African heritage and I specifically chose a country that I didn't know because I wanted to look at that country and its art from an objective perspective.

I didn't want to be influenced by friends and relatives who are members of the art scene so I wanted to go somewhere where I didn't know anyone.

CNN: What makes your research different from other art research and documentary projects related to Africa?

I think the project explores and reveals the contemporary art scene in Ghana as viewed by local artists and protagonists.

This is important because it is independent of what European or American art experts, critics and historians have to say about that scene, while also reiterating the message that Africa is not a country.

Larry Otoo: "Swagger," 2010. Otoo, who once described himself a "contemporary
traditionalist," uses paintings to document contemporary social life in West Africa.

Professor Ablade Glover: "Red Forest II," 2008.Glover combines a long career in art education with an even more
successful career as a visual artist, which has made him an "elder statesman" of the contemporary
Ghanaian art scene, according to Dickersbach.

Wiz Kudowor: "Anatomy and a Fabric," 2005.  While drawing upon Ghana's artistic tradition and cultural symbols,
Kudowor has developed a style reminiscent of cubism and futurism.

There are thousands of cultures, sub-cultures and histories in Africa and it is about being sensitive to that. I think the interviews highlight the individual and not the collective.

CNN: What is it about Africa that fascinates you?

I think the attitude of the people is more dramatic and expressive than we're used to in the developed world. For instance, the market stalls in Lagos, when they barter it looks like they're fighting but that's just how they communicate passionately.

There's a fear of Africa, a fascination fear. When western photographers and artists go to Africa, they are mesmerized by the amount of light and shadows in the sky and the atmosphere is very different.

But at the same time, I think a colonial attitude exists still, that need to control a fear of the unknowing in Africa. It's very much a love-fear relationship and that's what fascinates us. - CNN.

BLACK ACTIVISM: Jay Z, Barneys & The Time To Say Something - The Role Of African-American Entertainers In The Black Freedom Struggle!

October 27, 2013 - UNITED STATES - "No Vietcong ever called me n*gger." When Muhammad Ali spoke those words in 1966, he was at the height of his boxing career. Ali's refusal to fight in Vietnam cost him the heavyweight championship and could have sent him to prison. However, Ali could not remain silent as young black men were being drafted to slaughter another people of color in Southeast Asia. Two years later at the Olympic Games in Mexico City, John Carlos and Tommie Smith made the decision to protest racism in the U.S. by donning black gloves and raising their fists as the National Anthem played throughout the Olympic stadium. For this action, Carlos and Smith were expelled from the Olympics and faced numerous threats when they returned to the United States.

Jay Z.

Since the early 20th century, leaders within the black community have debated the role of African American entertainers in the fight for racial equality. For some, black athletes, artists, actors, and musicians do not have a moral obligation to fight racism. However, for those like W.E.B. Du Bois, all art was propaganda and should further the cause of racial justice. While we have witnessed over the years many who adhered to Du Bois' advice and risked their fame, fortune, and at times, lives for the sake of civil rights, their have also been many others who refused to take a stand against racism for fear of losing money or status.

There is clearly a financial risk for black entertainers in taking up the banner of civil rights. Indeed, one only needs to look at Nasir "Nas" Jones to see what can happen when an artist becomes socially conscious. Once Nas shifted from releasing songs such as "Oochie Wally" to those like "Sly Fox," he was marginalized and rarely heard on mainstream radio. This should not come as a surprise considering the amount of white corporate ownership of record labels and media outlets. Nas' career clearly shows how much African Americans continue to struggle to be successful if they speak out against racism. However, does the chance of losing financial gain and endorsement deals excuse black artists from staying silent in the midst of racial injustice?

If you have watched any late night talk show or cable news channel in the last few years, there is good chance you have heard Bill Cosby blaming the black poor for their lot in life. However, as Michael Eric Dyson points out, Cosby avoided racial issues when he was known for Fat Albert and had endorsement deals with Coca-Cola and Jell-O. In short, it is easy to speak about race when it is politically convenient and you do not have as much to lose. Perhaps no other black entertainer has learned this lesson better than Michael Jordan. As has been reported numerous times, in 1990 Jordan refused to endorse African American Harvey Gantt in the North Carolina Senate race against Jesse Helms because "Republicans buy shoes too." Now, with his playing career over, Jordan is comfortable entering the political fray, hosting million dollar fundraisers for President Obama.

The issue of whether African American entertainers should be active in the black freedom struggle is again at the forefront with Jay Z and Barneys. The hip-hop mogul is poised to begin his partnership with Barneys, which has been accused twice for racial profiling its customers. With the deal, Barneys will sell items inspired by Jay Z and he will assist in creating a holiday window display with some of his proceeds going to charity. In response to the alleged racial profiling, thousands of individuals have signed a petition urging Jay Z to drop Barneys.

Perhaps Jay Z could learn a lesson from his friend, Kanye West. While West is no Chuck D in terms of political activism, he is also no Michael Jordan. A week after West was on the cover of Time magazine as the smartest man in popular music, he appeared on national television and declared, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." West knew he could lose endorsement deals for the statement, but could not stay silent as nearly 2,000, mostly poor African Americans, drowned on national television while the Bush administration did next to nothing.

So the question becomes: Will Jay Z follow in the path of Paul Robeson, The Last Poets, Gil Scott Heron, and others who used their gifts and fame to fight racism while paving the way for his success? Or will Jay Z remain silent and make millions off of a corporation who, it appears, practices racial profiling? Jay Z deserves his success, but with that success comes an obligation. Jay Z is one of the few individuals who has the influence and power to send a clear message to corporate America that racial equality, not the dollar is the real Holy Grail. As a Jay Z fan and a civil rights activist, I truly hope he does the right thing. - Huffington Post.

EUROPEAN RACISM & VAMPIRISM: The Legacy Of Slavery Is Still Monumental - The Reparations Movement In The Caribbean Has Lessons For Blacks In The United States!

October 27, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Last month, representatives from member states of CARICOM (the Caribbean Community and Common Market) and half a dozen other nations gathered in tiny St. Vincent and the Grenadines to discuss an idea regarded by some in the United States as radical, fringe, even nuts: reparations for "native genocide and slavery."

Such a high-level, official conclave could happen in the Caribbean for one obvious reason: People of African descent are in the majority.

Of the 12.5 million captive Africans shipped to the New World during the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, most wound up laboring in the Caribbean and South America, not the United States, as The Root's own Henry Louis Gates Jr. reminded us last year. Although nearly 500,000 Africans were off-loaded in the British colonies of North America (later the U.S.), more than a million enslaved people were shipped to the island of Jamaica alone, and more than 600,000 to Barbados.

"The legacy of slavery and colonialism in the Caribbean has severely impaired our development options," said Dorbrene E. O'Marde in his address to the First Regional Reparations Conference, held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines' capital city of Kingstown. O'Marde is chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission. "These nations that have been the major producers of wealth for the European slave-owning economies entered independence with dependency straddling their economic, cultural, social and even political lives."

CARICOM's September conference wasn't a one-off. It's part of a formal, multinational program both to raise the issue of reparations in international forums and to seek redress from European nations -- England, the Netherlands and France -- for the Atlantic slave trade and its enduring effects.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves invited United Kingdom law firm Leigh Day to advise his government and then to present at the conference. The firm has a history of taking on cases rooted in history. In June, Leigh Day won a $30.8 million settlement on behalf of elderly Kenyans tortured by officers of the British colonial government in the 1950s and '60s -- along with an expression of regret from Foreign Minister William Hague.

"Our advice to the Caribbean states is to bring a claim related to the impact of slavery on the Caribbean today," Leigh Day partner Martyn Day told The Root via email. "That fits within the framework of the International Convention [on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination] and is likely to resonate far better than a historic claim relating to the treatment of the slaves."

Day says that cases would be brought against individual governments. If no settlement can be reached through that method, then the matter would move to the U.N.'s International Court of Justice. "There is a strong feeling of injustice that still rankles in the Caribbean. It is an issue that will not go away until it is addressed," Day wrote. "Being addressed means a combination of a proper formal apology and compensation."

All of this activity by CARICOM doesn't mean that there's universal support across the Caribbean for reparations. There are plenty of voices against the idea. Before, during and after the conference, they were heating up the letters and comments sections of major news outlets like Jamaica's Gleaner. Some regard the call for reparations as a straight-up shakedown of Europeans and a canny way to divert attention from Caribbean politicians' own poor leadership. But the pro-reparations folks, led by actual heads of state, clearly run the show. (Jamaica's prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller, called for "an international discussion in a nonconfrontational manner on the question of reparations" at the United Nations General Assembly.)

Things are a bit different here in the U.S. Over the years, there have been sporadic, reasoned and publicized debates among scholars, and even in Congress. Prominent African-American opponents such as Roger Clegg and Armstrong Williams from the right, and Paul Gilroy (an Afro-Brit who taught at Yale for a time) from the left, have weighed in. But the debate always stops at a certain level of officialdom before it can become part of the national agenda.

Since 1989 Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) has been trying to move House Resolution 40, a bill that proposes a seven-member commission to study reparations. This is not a cabal of bureaucrats preparing to toss taxpayer dollars at every black person they can find, but a half-dozen-plus-one people sitting around a table with only the power to talk and write reports. H.R. 40 dies in committee every time, even with backing from the likes of the American Bar Association and the Episcopal Church.

Folks like Iowa's Republican Rep. Steve King deploy arguments popular among people who wish to undermine any broader, governmental examination of government redress for slavery and the Atlantic slave trade. At a 2007 hearing of a subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, King (no relation to Martin Luther King Jr.!) equated the sacrifice of his Yankee relatives in the Civil War with that of the enslaved -- people who endured centuries of legal, state-sanctioned bondage -- and their descendants, who lived under American apartheid for another century and a half because of their skin color.

I asked Verene A. Shepherd, keynote speaker at the Kingstown reparations conference, a crude but obvious question: How much of this is about money, and how much of it is symbolism? Her reply was succinct: "Reparation is about repairing the damage done because of a crime committed." Shepherd, who is director of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies, chairs Jamaica's National Commission on Reparations. "People will always argue about financial versus symbolic settlements. We will see."

We in the States should keep an eye on the reparations movement in the Caribbean, whether we are in favor or opposed. There may be no resolution soon -- or ever -- but if CARICOM and its legal partners launch serious litigation, buried information about the slave trade will come to light. That benefits all of us. - The Root.

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