Insight News

Feb 13th

Kenya: US-Africa trade bill comes up short

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us-trade-secy-ron-kirk(GIN) – A highly-touted U.S.-Africa trade bill comes up for renewal in 2015 and some Kenyans are demanding to see better results for Africa.

The Kenyan officials were speaking at the close of the African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum in Lusaka, Zambia, this week. AGOA, as the bill is known, was designed to provide preferential access to Africa’s products in U.S. markets.

In the spirit of “trade not aid,” Kenyan Trade Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere criticized foreign countries for showering African countries with aid. "If you look at the amount of money [given as Aid] that has been pumped into Kenya and Africa, it has not been effective,” he said. “If you give money to people there is no sustainability. But if you have a business, it is a bit more dignified. It is good for employees, but also the business and the economy."

He faulted strict U.S. rules that limit the export sector in Kenya. "(Our farm) products are accepted in Europe but not in the U.S. If they are accepted in Europe, where they are consumed by Americans, why not in the U.S.?" Mwakwere asked.
U.S. Trade Secretary Ron Kirk opened the AGOA meeting in Zambia, saying: "The United States is committed to promoting Africa’s economic growth through trade, and AGOA is a critical pillar in growing the U.S. economic relationship with sub-Saharan nations."

While agriculture remains the pillar of Africa’s economy, trade data shows that agro-related exports from sub-Saharan Africa to the U.S. under AGOA account for only one percent. The most common export is still a barrel of oil.

farah-mohamed-belediSomali Prime Minister tells government to ‘go ahead and fire me!’
(GIN) - Somalia's prime minister is refusing to sign off on a deal made by the president and parliamentary speaker to resign and let a new government take over.

Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed pledged to stay in office after an outpouring of public support for him that included demonstrations in Mogadishu.

Mohamed, a graduate of the University of Buffalo, NY, said he will step down only if parliament fires him.

The mandate of Somalia's transitional government runs out in August, and Somali leaders remain at odds over how to proceed beyond then.

Chronic infighting has prevented successive governments from stabilizing the country. Parts of the capital and southern Somalia are held by the Islamist insurgent group al-Shabab.

The president and the parliament speaker have two reasons for wanting to oust the prime minister. Abdullahi Mohamed is an ethnic Ogadeni and they are under pressure from the Puntland region to replace him with an ethnic Darod. Moreover he has gained a degree of popularity and this has riled them.

prime-minister-mohamedMeanwhile, a 27-year old Minnesotan of Somali descent was reported killed in Mogadishu where he had reportedly turned up on a suicide mission. African peacekeepers say Farah Mohamed Beledi was killed before he could activate his bombs.

A shocked family member, Hassan Mohamed Beledi, said it's still a mystery why his younger brother, with whom he lost touch over the years, could get caught up with radical ideology.

"Whatever he was thinking - he's my brother - but he was wrong," said Hassan Beledi.

For the past three years, the FBI has been tracking the departures of young men from Minnesota who have allegedly joined the terror group in their homeland.


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