martes, 5 de abril de 2011

Artículo No. 44 Scramble for Africa, Part II March 29, 2011 TFT by Akanksha Awal

While China has made headlines  – and generated controversy in the west – with its push into Africa, India has quietly been developing a big business presence on the continent in everything from gold to pharmaceuticals.
Topping the trade charts, India has emerged as Africa’s fourth largest trading partners, behind the EU, China and the US. 
Trade between Asia’s third largest economy and Africa is booming at $45bn in 2010-11 and is set to exceed $75bn by 2015, Anand Sharma, India’s trade minister, said on Monday.
India-Africa trade grew four-fold from $9.6bn in 2004-5 to $35bn in 2009-10 while Indian exports to Africa rose from $ 5.6bn in 2004-05 to $ 13.5bn in 2009-10, with South Africa, the newly ascended BRIC nation, as its largest trading partner on the continent.
India continues to be the continent’s pharmacy with pharmaceuticals products making up an 11.1 per cent share of the exported items from India followed by machinery exports which make up at 10.8 per cent share of the total. By contrast, petroleum products and gold, the two prized commodities, form the bulk of India’s imports from the continent accounting for 63.5 and 13.1 per cent share of the total imports respectively.
The continent has benefitted from high commodity prices since 2008, while investments in infrastructure have helped fuel domestic growth. The continent is set to grow at 5.5 per cent in 2011, according to the IMF. Its GDP set to exceed $2.6tn by 2020, according to McKinsey, a global consultancy.
The continent presents lucrative opportunities for Indian investors, squeezed out of the domestic market by the tough competition. Seeking business in a less-crowded market, Indian business people have been snapping up deals in telecoms and consumer products to agriculture, vying for a share of the African pie.
“Indian entrepreneurs have created products for the bottom of the pyramid. There are more than 700m people with mobile phones today,” said Hari Bhartia, the President of Confederation of Indian Industries.
While India might be losing the African resource race to China, Indian investor confidence inAfrica may provide a new way forward for the country to extend its influence.
Related reading:
Fund file: Out of Africa, beyondbrics
Africa file, beyondbrics
Artículo No. 44
Pakistan's secret dirty war
·                                 In Balochistan, mutilated corpses bearing the signs of torture keep turning up, among them lawyers, students and farm workers. Why is no one investigating and what have they got to do with the bloody battle for Pakistan's largest
o                                                        Declan Walsh
o                                              , Tuesday 29 March 2011 
The bodies surface quietly, like corks bobbing up in the dark. They come in twos and threes, a few times a week, dumped on desolate mountains or empty city roads, bearing the scars of great cruelty. Arms and legs are snapped; faces are bruised and swollen. Flesh is sliced with knives or punctured with drills; genitals are singed with electric prods. In some cases the bodies are unrecognisable, sprinkled with lime or chewed by wild animals. All have a gunshot wound in the head.
This gruesome parade of corpses has been surfacing in Balochistan,Pakistan's largest province, since last July. Several human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have accounted for more than 100 bodies – lawyers, students, taxi drivers, farm workers. Most have been tortured. The last three were discovered on Sunday.
If you have not heard of this epic killing spree, though, don't worry: neither have most Pakistanis. Newspaper reports from Balochistan are buried quietly on the inside pages, cloaked in euphemisms or, quite often, not published at all.
The forces of law and order also seem to be curiously indifferent to the plight of the dead men. Not a single person has been arrested or prosecuted; in fact, police investigators openly admit they are not even looking for anyone. The stunning lack of interest in Pakistan's greatest murder mystery in decades becomes more understandable, however, when it emerges that the prime suspect is not some shady gang of sadistic serial killers, but the country's powerful military and its unaccountable intelligence men.
This is Pakistan's dirty little war. While foreign attention is focused on theTaliban
, a deadly secondary conflict is bubbling in Balochistan, a sprawling, mineral-rich province along the western borders withAfghanistan
 and Iran. On one side is a scrappy coalition of guerrillas fighting for independence fromPakistan; on the other is a powerful army that seeks to quash their insurgency with maximum prejudice. The revolt, which has been rumbling for more than six years, is spiced by foreign interests and intrigues – US spy bases, Chinese business, vast underground reserves of copper, oil and gold.
The US spies appreciate the lack of neighbours  Balochistan covers 44% of Pakistan yet has half the population of Karachi. The province's other big draw is its natural wealth. AtReko Diq, 70 miles from the Afghan border, a Canadian-Chilean mining consortium has struck gold, big-time. The Tethyan company has discovered 4bn tonnes of mineable ore that will produce an estimated 200,000 tonnes of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold per year, making it one of the largest such mines in the world. The project is currently stalled by a tangled legal dispute, but offers a tantalising taste of Balochistan's vast mineral riches, which also includes oil, gas, platinum and coal. So far it is largely untapped, though, and what mining exists is scrappy and dangerous. On 21 March,50 coal workers perished in horrific circumstances when methane gas flooded their mine near Quetta, then catastrophically exploded.
However, gross human rights abuses are not limited to the army. As the conflict drags on, the insurgents have become increasingly brutal and ruthless. In the past two years, militants have kidnapped aid workers, killed at least four journalists and, most disturbingly, started to target "settlers" – unarmed civilians, mostly from neighbouring Punjab, many of whom have lived in Balochistan for decades. Some 113 settlers were killed in cold blood last year, according to government figures – civil servants, shopkeepers, miners. On 21 March, militants riding motorbikes sprayed gunfire into a camp of construction workers nearGwadar, killing 11; the Baloch Liberation Front claimed responsibility. Most grotesque, perhaps, are the attacks on education: 22 school teachers, university lecturers and education officials have been assassinated since January 2008, causing another 200 to flee their jobs.

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