BANK FOR INTERNATIONAL SETTLEMENTS AUGUST 5 2011: ZAMBIA

August 5, 2011 on 3:18 pm | In Africa, Development, Economics, Financial, Globalization, History, Research | Comments Off

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Central bankers’ speeches for 5 August now available‏

Press, Service (press@bis.org)

Fri 8/05/11

Central bankers’ speeches for 5 August 2011

now available on the BIS website

All speeches from 1997 onwards are available from the BIS website at:

http://www.bis.org/list/cbspeeches/index.htm.

Communications

Bank for International Settlements

E-mail: press@bis.org

Website: www.bis.org

Phone: +41 61 280 8188

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

Central bankers’ speeches for 5 August now available‏

http://www.bis.org/list/cbspeeches/index.htm

Press, Service (press@bis.org)

Fri 8/05/11

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GLOBAL CONDITIONS: CLIMATE CHANGE

June 13, 2011 on 5:42 pm | In Africa, Development, Earth, Ecology, Economics, Financial, Globalization, Research, World-System | Comments Off

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CLIMATE CHANGE-RELATED WATER SCARCITY TO AFFECT GLOBAL FOOD PRODUCTION – UN

New York, Jun 9 2011

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Thu, 9 Jun 2011

CLIMATE CHANGE-RELATED WATER SCARCITY TO AFFECT GLOBAL FOOD PRODUCTION – UN

The world will increasingly experience water scarcity for agriculture as a result of climate change, a phenomenon that will affect the livelihoods of rural communities and the food security of urban dwellers, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a survey released today.

The impact of climate change on the availability of water include reduction in river run-off and aquifer recharges in the Mediterranean and the semi-arid areas of the Americas, Australia and Southern Africa, regions that are already showing signs of water stress, according to the FAO survey entitled “Climate Change, Water, and Food Security.”

In Asia, large areas of irrigated land that rely on snowmelt and mountain glaciers for water will also be affected, while heavily populated river deltas are at risk from a combination of reduced water flows, increased salinity, and rising sea levels.

The findings of the survey also show that an acceleration of the world’s hydrological cycle is anticipated as rising temperatures increase the rate of evaporation from land and sea. Rainfall will increase in the tropics and higher latitudes, but decrease in already dry semi-arid to mid-arid latitudes and in the interior of large continents.

A greater frequency in droughts and floods will need to be planned for, but already water scarce areas of the world are expected to become drier and hotter.

The report points out that even though estimates of groundwater recharge under climate change cannot be made with any certainty, the increasing frequency of droughts is expected to encourage further exploitation of available groundwater to boost production for farmers.

Loss of glaciers, which support around 40 per cent of the world’s irrigation, will eventually have an impact on the amount of surface water available for agriculture in key producing basins.

Rising temperatures will lengthen the growing season in northern temperate zones, but reduce the length almost everywhere else. Increased rates of crop moisture loss will also result in reduced yields.

“Both the livelihoods of rural communities as well as the food security of city populations are at risk,” “http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/79964/icode/ said Alexander Mueller, the FAO Assistant Director General for Natural Resources. “But the rural poor, who are the most vulnerable, are likely to be disproportionately affected.”

The FAO report recommends that countries implement effective systems for “water accounting” thorough measurement of water supplies, transfers, and transactions to inform decisions about how water resources can be managed and used under increasing variability.

“Water accounting in most developing countries is very limited, and allocation procedures are non-existent, ad hoc, or poorly developed,” according to the survey. “Helping developing countries acquire good water accounting practices and developing robust and flexible water allocations systems will be a first priority.”

At the farm level, growers can change their cropping patterns to allow earlier or later planting, reducing their water use and optimizing irrigation. Yields and productivity can be improved by shifting to soil moisture conservation practices, including zero- and minimum tillage. Planting deep-rooted crops would allow farmers to better exploit available soil moisture, FAO recommends.

Mixed agro-forestry systems also hold promise. The systems both sequester carbon and also offer additional benefits such as shade that reduces ground temperatures and evaporation, added wind protection, and improved soil conservation and water retention.

Jun 9 2011

UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

CLIMATE CHANGE-RELATED WATER SCARCITY TO AFFECT GLOBAL FOOD PRODUCTION – UN

http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/79964/icode/

New York, Jun 9 2011

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Thu, 9 Jun 2011

AFRICAN TRADE DIVERSIFICATION SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED – UN-BACKED REPORT

New York, Jun 6 2011

African countries should develop closer ties with both traditional and emerging partners, to boost sustainable and inclusive growth, according to a United Nations-backed report released today.

The report, African Economic Outlook 2011, said that “Africa is becoming more integrated in the world economy and its partnerships are diversifying, revealing unprecedented economic opportunities.”

The report, co-authored by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), also said that governments’ efforts need to include measures to create jobs, invest in basic social services and promote gender equality.

“New partners bring new opportunities for African countries. Defining national development priorities, trade, aid and investment is key to reaping the benefits of this new configuration,” said Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre.

In 2009, China surpassed the United States and became Africa’s main trading partner, while the share of trade conducted by Africa with emerging partners has grown from approximately 23 per cent to 39 per cent in the last 10 years, the report said.

While traditional partners, as a whole, still account for the largest proportion of Africa’s trade, investment and official development assistance, the report said that emerging economies can provide “additional know-how, technology and development experiences required to raise the standard of living for millions of people on the continent.”

Africa’s economies have weathered the global crisis relatively well and have rebounded in 2010. Recent political events in North Africa and high food and fuel prices are likely to slow the continent’s growth down to 3.7 per cent in 2011. During this year, sub-Saharan Africa will grow faster than North Africa.

“Africa is growing but there are risks. Urgent attention is needed to foster inclusive growth, to improve political accountability, and address the youth bulge,” said Mthuli Ncube, chief economist and Vice-President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

“Putting people first must go hand in hand with efforts to accelerate regional coordination and integration. Trade agreements that benefit the continent as a whole, unleash the full potential of the private sector and develop regional investment opportunities are the way forward,” the report said.
Jun 6 2011

UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

AFRICAN TRADE DIVERSIFICATION SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED – UN-BACKED REPORT

New York, Jun 6 2011
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GLOBAL CONDITIONS: WORLD INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

June 13, 2011 on 5:06 pm | In Africa, Asia, Development, Earth, Ecology, Economics, Financial, Globalization, History, Research, Third World, World-System | Comments Off

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WORLD INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION ON THE RISE, UN REPORT FINDS

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New York, Jun 1 2011

World manufacturing output has grown by 6.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same period last year, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) reported today.

“The figure clearly indicates the progress of the recovery of world industrial production from the recent financial crisis,” UNIDO “http://www.unis.unvienna.org/unis/pressrels/2011/unisous085.html said, in the first edition of its new plan to report industrial statistics quarterly. Formerly the presentations were annual.
The report, based on an analysis of quarterly production data, said developing countries were in the lead with their manufacturing production increasing by 11.5 per cent. The major contribution to this growth was by China, with its output growing by 15 per cent.

Newly industrialized countries also performed well, with Turkey displaying a growth rate of 13.8 per cent, while Mexico’s was estimated at 7.4 per cent and India’s at 5.1 per cent.

The manufacturing output of industrialized countries increased by 4.4 per cent during the named period, with strong growth of 7.1 per cent observed in the United States, the world’s largest manufacturer.

Major European economies, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom, also demonstrated significant growth in manufacturing output. But other European countries, such as Greece, witnessed a 6.9 per cent drop, while Portugal and Spain maintained a marginal growth of less than one per cent.

Japan’s figures fell by 2.4 per cent. The full impact of the March Tsunami disaster was not yet reflected in manufacturing production data for the first quarter.

Negative growth was observed in North Africa, where the manufacturing output of Egypt and Tunisia fell by 8.9 per cent and 7.4 per cent respectively.

The UNIDO report also contains the growth estimates for the first quarter by major manufacturing sectors. It suggests that production of general machinery has increased by more than 15 per cent, electrical machinery and apparatus by 12 per cent, and medical and precision equipment by 11 per cent.

While industrialized countries performed well in high-tech sectors, their growth in traditional manufacturing areas such as food and beverages, textile and wearing apparel was quite low. Developing countries maintained higher growth across all sectors.

Jun 1 2011

UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

WORLD INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION ON THE RISE, UN REPORT FINDS

UNNews UNNews@un.org

New York, Jun 1 2011

GLOBAL RECOVERY MUST START WITH THE POOR – UN HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERT

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Wed, 1 Jun 2011

New York, Jun 1 2011

GLOBAL RECOVERY MUST START WITH THE POOR – UN HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERT

Unjustified cuts in aid to the poor during a financial crisis could violate human rights standards, and economic recovery must start with the most vulnerable, according to a United Nations human rights expert.

Magdalena Sepúlveda, the UN Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty, “http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=11095&LangID=E told a Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva that “unjustified reductions in expenditures devoted to implementing public services that are critical to the realization of economic, social and cultural rights will be in violation of human rights standards.

“There is no space in human rights for a trickle-down approach,” she said on Monday. “From a human rights perspective, recovery must start with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.”

“Human rights are not expendable during times of crises and recovery. Even when resources are limited, States are legally bound to respect, protect and fulfil international human rights obligations,” Ms. Sepúlveda said. “The challenge of recovering from the global economic and financial crises is an opportunity to embrace a vision for the future aimed at the full realization of human rights.”

The independent expert said that several recovery measures adopted by States in the aftermath of the crises seriously jeopardize the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights by the poorest and most vulnerable groups.

“Austerity measures such as cuts to social protection systems, regressive taxation measures, and elimination of food subsidies are proving detrimental to the poorest of the poor, exacerbating their already precarious situation,” Ms. Sepúlveda said.

Increasing inequalities and food insecurity, the declining availability of natural resources and unpredictable changes to climate patterns are likely to increase the potential for social unrest throughout the world, she said.

“Any recovery plan must anticipate these challenges and assume that there will be many more crises to recover from,” she said. “Only human rights-based change can directly address the long-term structural barriers to equality and set the foundations for a sustainable, socially inclusive society.”

Ms. Sepúlveda urged States to view the challenge of recovery as a unique opportunity to aim towards the full realization of all economic, social and cultural rights for all individuals.

“Through a human rights-based recovery, States have the chance to embrace new and ambitious approaches to reducing inequality, eliminating poverty and creating stable societies that will withstand future shocks.”

The expert’s report outlines a number of innovative measures to which States should lend serious consideration when formulating their economic recovery, including implementing a comprehensive social protection floor, adopting socially responsible taxation policies, and enhancing regulation that protects individuals from abuse.

Ms Sepúlveda, who serves in an unpaid and independent capacity, reports to the Human Rights Council. She has been in the current post since May 2008.
Jun 1 2011

UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

GLOBAL RECOVERY MUST START WITH THE POOR – UN HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERT

UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=11095&LangID=E

UNNews UNNews@un.org

Wed, 1 Jun 2011

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE KEY TO GREEN GROWTH, POVERTY REDUCTION – UN OFFICIALS

New York, Jun 1 2011

United Nations officials today called for boosting support for sustainable agriculture, including smallholder farmers, as a way to drive green growth and reduce poverty.

According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the challenge of feeding more than nine billion people by 2050, along with tackling climate change and maintaining productive land and sufficient water resources require a “more intelligent pathway” for managing the world’s agricultural systems.

“Agriculture is at the centre of a transition to a resource-efficient, low-carbon Green Economy,” “http://www.ifad.org/media/press/advisory/2011/6.htm said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. “The challenge is to feed a growing global population without pushing humanity’s footprint beyond planetary boundaries.”

Mr. Steiner called for galvanizing support for smallholder farmers, who are an “untapped resource” in addressing food security and today’s environmental challenges.

Investments through official development assistance (ODA) are one way of stepping up support for this important group, as is scaling-up and accelerating government policies for unleashing investment flows from the private sector, he noted.

“Well-managed, sustainable agriculture can not only overcome hunger and poverty, but can address other challenges from climate change to the loss of biodiversity,” said the UNEP chief.

“Its value and its contribution to multiple economic, environmental and societal goals needs to be recognized in the income and employment prospects for the half a million smallholdings across the globe,” he added.

The world’s rural poor and especially farmers of the 500 million smallholdings in developing countries feed one-third of the global population and account for 60 per cent of global agriculture.

Smallholder farmers also provide up to 80 per cent of the food consumed in Asia and in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Smallholders in developing countries – the majority of them women – manage to feed 2 billion people, despite working on ecologically and climatically precarious land, with difficult or no access to infrastructure and institutional services, and often lacking land tenure rights that farmers in developed countries take for granted,” said Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.

“Right now, we are squandering the potential of rural poor people to contribute to global prosperity. Investing in sustainable smallholder agriculture is a smart way to right this wrong,” he stated.

IFAD also stressed that investments in sustainable smallholder agriculture must go hand-in-hand with policy and institutional reforms, investments in infrastructure and improvements in market access. They must also be informed by the knowledge and needs of the rural poor.

On 5 June, UNEP will celebrate World Environment Day (WED) in India with one of the fastest growing economies in the world and whose 1.2 billion people continue to put pressure on land and forests, especially in densely populated areas where people are cultivating on marginal lands and where overgrazing is contributing to desertification.

This year’s theme – ‘Forests: Nature at Your Service’ – underscores the intrinsic link between quality of life and the health of forests and forest ecosystems.

Jun 1 2011

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE KEY TO GREEN GROWTH, POVERTY REDUCTION – UN OFFICIALS

New York, Jun 1 2011

UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

http://www.ifad.org/media/press/advisory/2011/6.htm

UNNews UNNews@un.org

New York, Jun 1 2011

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“NATURAL EXPERIMENTS OF HISTORY”: DIAMOND AND ROBINSON BOOK

June 11, 2011 on 2:23 am | In Africa, Asia, Books, History, India, Latin America | Comments Off

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Natural Experiments of History

Jared Diamond (Editor), James A. Robinson (Editor)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A superb collection of eminently teachable essays bound together by a common methodological framework that connects it directly to cutting-edge theoretical and empirical research across the disciplines of anthropology, archeology, history, political science, and sociology.
–John Coatsworth, Columbia University

Natural Experiments of History reaches across a wide variety of disciplines, in ways that should be accessible to just about every educated reader. It is tied together not by topic or region but by the idea that we can make useful and insightful comparisons in ways that are not casual or sloppy, but actually contribute to our understanding of human life.
–Jeffrey Frieden, Harvard University

Natural Experiments of History is a short book packed with huge ideas. Its collected essays advocate how controlled experiments can be applied to the messy realities of human history, politics, culture, economics and the environment. It demonstrates productive interdisciplinary collaborations but also reveals gulfs between different cultures of academia…All of the essays in Natural Experiments of History will trigger debate.
–Jon Christensen (Nature )

This ambitious, at times challenging, book aspires to contribute new ways of historical thinking and historical research by drawing attention, on the one hand, to the similarities between science (including social sciences) and history, and on the other, by using social sciences methods, especially statistical analysis, to study history. The editors argue that though the difference between studies of nature and human history is obvious, there are clear overlaps. They can be viewed through studying comparative history or by conducting “natural experiments of history” and analyzing the “perturbations” and their causes (exogenous or endogenous) in the involved cases. The book offers a broad array of case studies to illustrate and explain the argument, ranging from nonliterate to contemporary societies and from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to Brazil, India, and tropical Africa. The comparative methods showcased are quite versatile, from two-way to multiple-way comparisons. All the case studies are interesting and help demonstrate how, via comparative study, one society’s, region’s, or country’s situation is better displayed and explained by juxtaposing it with other, similar ones. A useful read in macro, global history.
–Q. E. Wang (Choice )

Natural Experiments of History is a thought-provoking collection of essays that covers an impressive array of topics and would make an excellent text for a course on comparative studies of human history.”
–Thomas E. Currie (Cliodynamics )

Product Description

Some central questions in the natural and social sciences can’t be answered by controlled laboratory experiments, often considered to be the hallmark of the scientific method. This impossibility holds for any science concerned with the past. In addition, many manipulative experiments, while possible, would be considered immoral or illegal. One has to devise other methods of observing, describing, and explaining the world.

In the historical disciplines, a fruitful approach has been to use natural experiments or the comparative method. This book consists of eight comparative studies drawn from history, archeology, economics, economic history, geography, and political science. The studies cover a spectrum of approaches, ranging from a non-quantitative narrative style in the early chapters to quantitative statistical analyses in the later chapters. The studies range from a simple two-way comparison of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which share the island of Hispaniola, to comparisons of 81 Pacific islands and 233 areas of India. The societies discussed are contemporary ones, literate societies of recent centuries, and non-literate past societies. Geographically, they include the United States, Mexico, Brazil, western Europe, tropical Africa, India, Siberia, Australia, New Zealand, and other Pacific islands.

In an Afterword, the editors discuss how to cope with methodological problems common to these and other natural experiments of history.

Product Details:

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press; Reprint edition
  • April 15, 2011
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674060199
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674060197

This book is a collection of 7 essays, most of which are quite dry and academic.

Diamond co-wrote the prologue (which is mostly a summary of the book’s contents) and afterword. He also authored (alone) one chapter, which is a comparison of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Specifically, he examines why Haiti and the DR have turned out so differently, despite the fact that they share the same island. Much of this is discussed also in his book Collapse, but the chapter is still very interesting.

Another chapter (by Kirch) compares a few different Polynesian islands, to try and discover which variables led to different political histories. Some areas of the world discussed in other chapters are: West Africa, India, and the western US, among a couple of others.

Natural experiments in history is a fascinating set of essays looking at seven historical “experiments”. Each chapter has a different author who presents the reader with a wealth of information of their subject of expertise. The writing styles vary, as expected, from author to author. Jared Diamond’s chapter on the origin of the differences between Haiti and the Dominican republic, and on different Pacific Islands is the highlight of the book.

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BANK FOR INTERNATIONAL SETTLEMENTS APRIL 28 2011: SOUTH AFRICA FINANCIAL STABILITY

April 28, 2011 on 2:42 pm | In Africa, Development, Economics, Financial, Globalization, Research | Comments Off

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Central bankers’ speeches for 28 April now available‏

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Publications, Service (Publications@bis.org)

Thu 4/28/11

Central bankers’ speeches for 28 April 2011

now available on the BIS website

Barry Whiteside: Development of micro-insurance in Fiji

Xolile P Guma: South Africa’s Financial Stability Review – key issues in March 2011

Brian Wynter: Jamaica’s recent economic path and prospects – the view from the Bank

All speeches from 1997 onwards are available from the BIS website at:

http://www.bis.org/list/cbspeeches/index.htm.

Communications

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E-mail: press@bis.org

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Phone: +41 61 280 8188

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

Central bankers’ speeches for 28 April now available‏

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Thu 4/28/11

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ISLAMIC FINANCE IN AFRICA

April 15, 2011 on 3:06 pm | In Africa, Development, Financial, Globalization, History, Islam, Research | Comments Off

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3rd Gulf African Bank Annual East & Central Africa Islamic Finance Conference, Nairobi, 28 March 2011.

Njuguna Ndung’u: Islamic finance – a paradigm shift in Africa

Remarks by Prof Njuguna Ndung’u, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, at the 3rd Gulf African Bank Annual East & Central Africa Islamic Finance Conference, Nairobi, 28 March 2011.

Mr. Suleiman Shahbal, Chairman, Gulf African Bank Ltd;

Mr. Najmul Hassan, Chief Executive Officer, Gulf African Bank Ltd;

Board Members of Gulf African Bank Ltd here present;

Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am delighted and honoured to have been invited to preside over the opening ceremony of this important conference. At the onset, let me extend a warm welcome to all participants attending the 3rd Gulf African Bank Annual East and Central Africa Islamic Finance Conference, with the theme: “Islamic Finance: A Paradigm Shift in Africa”

Allow me to compliment Gulf African Bank for organising this Islamic Finance Conference. Indeed, this landmark conference brings together financial experts, central bankers, financial regulators, lawyers, financial institutions and Islamic banking consumers from Kenya and beyond. To all international participants, let me extend a particularly hearty welcome, “Karibuni Kenya”.

This conference gives participants the opportunity to discuss emerging industry developments as well as reflect on the gains and challenges since the last Islamic Finance Conference held in May last year.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Sharia compliant banking is viewed by many as the fastest growing segment of the banking sector in the world. In Africa, Islamic banking is a fast growing financial sector attracting all customers even of different religious orientation.

The uptake of Islamic banking is projected to grow exponentially in sub-Saharan Africa. Kenya is among other African countries, that are taking up the lead in Sharia compliant banking services.

Today, Sharia compliant banking services in Kenya have made huge strides since its introduction in 2007. The banking sector boasts of two exclusively Sharia compliant banks. As at the financial year ended December 31, 2010 the two banks collectively commanded a market share of 0.9% of the banking sector with gross assets of Ksh.16.54bn, net loans and advances of Ksh.9.23bn and deposits of Ksh.13.76bn. The two banks had 58,101 deposit accounts and 2,609 loan accounts as at the end of December 2010 – in less than 4 years of operation.

In addition, several conventional banks now offer Sharia compliant products as part of their product range through specifically created Islamic banking divisions or windows. Other conventional banks have also expressed interest in providing Sharia compliant products to an increasing customer base.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Among the challenges facing Kenya’s ambition to be a hub of Sharia compliant investment products to compliment the Islamic banking in the country are lack of; Shariah compliant investment vehicles, an enabling legal and regulatory framework and awareness by majority of the populace that hinder the uptake of these investments.

For the country to fully embrace Islamic Finance, there is need to extend beyond the offering of Sharia compliant products by introducing such investment vehicles like unit trusts, corporate bonds (sukuks) and insurance (takaful) products and Sharia compliant treasury bills and bonds (government Sukuk).

BIS central bankers’ speeches 12 BIS central bankers’ speeches

It is encouraging to note the ongoing efforts by the Government and other players especially the Capital Markets Authority and Insurance Regulatory Authority to come up with a range of shariah compliant financial products. Already there are positive signals of these efforts with the introduction of Shariah compliant investments and Insurance Products.

It is in this spirit that the Kenyan government through the Finance Act 2010, amended Section 45 of the Central Bank of Kenya Act, to allow the Central Bank as the Government’s fiscal agent to recognize the payment of a “return” rather than “interest” on government securities. This amendment opens up the spectrum of Sharia compliant investments in the country.

Ladies and Gentlemen: The future of Islamic finance in Kenya and in the region remains bright. On its part, the Government of Kenya will continue to pursue policies that create an enabling environment that will eventually culminate in Kenya establishing itself as a regional financial hub as envisaged in Vision 2030. In addition, the Central Bank will continue to partner with the sector to promote financial inclusion by supporting innovation in the Sharia compliant banking sector.

With these few remarks, let me wish all participants to this conference, fruitful deliberations over the next two days and declare the 3rd Gulf African Bank Annual East and Central African Islamic Conference officially opened.

Thank You.
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DE GAULLE’S “HOMME DE CONFIANCE”: GASTON PALEWSKI

April 13, 2011 on 9:26 am | In Africa, Financial, History | Comments Off

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Gaston Palewski (20 March 1901 – 3 September 1984)

Gaston Palewski (20 March 1901 – 3 September 1984), French politician, was a close associate of Charles de Gaulle during and after World War II.

He is also remembered as the lover of the English novelist Nancy Mitford, and appears in a fictionalized form in two of her novels.

Biography

Palewski was born in Paris, the son of an industrialist. His family was of Polish origin and had lived in France since the 19th century. He was educated at the Sorbonne, at the Ecole des Sciences Politiques and at Oxford University – he spoke excellent English and was a convinced Anglophile. Using family connections, he obtained a post with Marshal Hubert Lyautey, the French Resident-General in Morocco. In 1928 he became principal private secretary to Paul Reynaud, a leading politician who was then Minister for Finances and who became Prime Minister of France in March 1940. Through Reynaud, in 1934, he first met Charles de Gaulle, and became a supporter of his political and military views.

On the outbreak of war in 1939 Palewski was commissioned as a lieutenant in the French Air Force, and saw action following the German invasion of France in May 1940. He was in French North Africa at the time of the armistice of June 1940. Refusing to accept France’s defeat, he reached London at the end of August and joined de Gaulle’s Free French Forces. De Gaulle appointed him Director of Political Affairs of the Free French movement, and he played a leading role in negotiations between de Gaulle and the British government, which at first regarded de Gaulle with scepticism. In March 1941 he was given the rank of lieutenant-colonel and command of the Free French Army in East Africa, leading it against the Italian forces during the recapture of French Somaliland (now Djibouti).

In September 1942, he was recalled to London to become de Gaulle’s “Directeur du Cabinet,” a post in which he followed de Gaulle from London to Algiers in 1943 and then in August 1944 to liberated Paris.

He became known as de Gaulle’s “homme de confiance” (right-hand man), and his diplomatic skills and knowledge of the English made him invaluable to de Gaulle, who neither understood nor trusted them.

Palewski remained director of the de Gaulle’s cabinet (that is, his private office) until de Gaulle’s resignation as head of the Provisional Government in January 1946.

He then became a leading proponent of Gaullism and one of the founders of the first Gaullist party, the Rassemblement du Peuple Français (Rally of the French People, or RPF) in 1947. In 1951 he was elected to the National Assembly as an RPF deputy for the Department of the Seine (Paris). From 1953 to 1955 he was vice-president of the National Assembly. Following the failure of the RPF, however, he withdrew from politics. In 1957, at de Gaulle’s request, he was appointed Ambassador to Italy, a post he held until 1962. In 1962 Palewski was appointed by Prime Minister George Pompidou as Minister of State in charge of Scientific Research, Atomic Energy and Space Questions, the first French minister with specific responsibility for such matters. On 1 May 1962 Palewski witnessed the French underground nuclear test codenamed “Beryl” in Algeria. The test shaft failed to contain the blast and he was exposed to radiation as result of a leak of radioactive lava and dust into the atmosphere. He believed that the leukemia which he contracted later in life was caused by this accident.[1] From 1965 to 1974 he was President of the Constitutional Council of France. Palewski died of leukaemia in 1984, aged 83.

Decorations and honorary positions

After 1974 he held a number of honorary posts. An amateur painter of some talent, he was a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts.

Because of his high office and his record in the war Palewski was awarded several French decorations. After his term as an ambassador to the Italian government, not to the Holy See, he was awarded an Italian Grand Cross.

Character

In his personal life, Palewski was a notorious and reckless womaniser, and this earned him a reputation for frivolity that damaged his prospects for a serious political career. Only his standing with de Gaulle, to whom he was devoted and totally loyal, enabled him to hold high office. During the war in London he met the English writer and society figure Nancy Mitford, and began with her a long, passionate but intermittent affair. They were separated during the latter part of the war, but in 1946 she moved permanently to Paris, and their relationship, though never public, lasted until her death in 1973. This did not prevent him becoming involved with many other women. In 1969, without formally ending his affair with Mitford – he was with her when she died – he married Helen-Violette de Talleyrand-Périgord (1915–2003), duchesse de Sagan, the daughter of the seventh duc de Talleyrand and his wife Anna Gould. The two had been having a long affair prior to the duchesse’s divorce from her first husband and had had a son out of wedlock.

In the English-speaking world Palewski is known chiefly through his appearance as Fabrice, duc de Sauveterre, in two of Nancy Mitford’s novels, The Pursuit of Love (1945) and Love in a Cold Climate (1949). The first of these contains a fairly accurate portrayal of their relationship, although it is moved from postwar to prewar Paris. Despite Mitford’s love for Palewski, she depicted him in a very clear-eyed way in these novels, with no attempt to disguise his many infidelities. He took no offence at this, and when Mitford proposed to dedicate The Pursuit of Love to “The Colonel,” he insisted on his real name being used.

Notes

  1. 1. http://www.lefigaro.fr/sciences/20070320.FIG000000056_le_bilan_des_essais_nucleaires_francais_en_algerie.html

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BANK FOR INTERNATIONAL SETTLEMENTS MARCH 23 2011: NIGERIAN BANKS

March 24, 2011 on 8:16 pm | In Africa, Development, Economics, Financial, Globalization, History, Research | Comments Off

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Central bankers’ speeches for 23 March now available‏

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Wed 3/23/11

Central bankers’ speeches for 23 March 2011

now available on the BIS website

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi: Banks in Nigeria and national economic development – a critical review

Benny Popoitai: The National Informal Economy Policy

Andrew Sentance: Let it grow – how monetary policy can support sustainable economic growth

Michael Mambo Mukete: Role of the Bank of Namibia in consumer protection issues

All speeches from 1997 onwards are available from the BIS website at http://www.bis.org/list/cbspeeches/index.htm.

Communications

Bank for International Settlements

E-mail: press@bis.org

Website: www.bis.org

Phone: +41 61 280 8188

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

Central bankers’ speeches for 23 March now available‏

http://www.bis.org/list/cbspeeches/index.htm

Press, Service (press@bis.org)

Publications, Service (Publications@bis.org)

Wed 3/23/11

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LIBYA AS ITALIAN COLONY: GRAZIANI VERSUS OMAR MUKHTAR

March 12, 2011 on 8:49 pm | In Africa, Arabs, History, Islam, Middle East | Comments Off

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Rodolfo Graziani

(August 11, 1882 – January 11, 1955)

Rodolfo Graziani, 1st Marquess of Neghelli (August 11, 1882 – January 11, 1955), was an officer in the Italian Royal Army (Regio Esercito) who led military expeditions in Africa before and during World War II.

Rise to prominence

Rodolfo Graziani was born in Filettino in the province of Frosinone. In 1903, he decided to pursue a military career. He served in World War I and became the youngest colonel in the Italian Royal Army.

In Libya

In the 1920s, Graziani commanded the Italian forces in Libya. He was responsible for pacifying the Senussi rebels. During this so-called “pacification“, he was responsible for the construction of several concentration camps and labor camps, where tens of thousands Libyan prisoners died, if not killed[1] directly by hanging, like Omar Mukhtar, or bullets, then indirectly by starvation or disease. His deeds earned him the nickname “the Butcher of Fezzan[2] among the Arabs, but was called by the Italians the Pacifier of Libya (Pacificatore della Libia).

From 1926 to 1930, Graziani was the Vice Governor of Italian Cyrenaica in Libya. In 1930, he became Governor of Cyrenaica and held this position until 1934 when it was determined that he was needed elsewhere. In 1935, Graziani was made the Governor of Italian Somaliland.

In Ethiopia

From 1935 to 1936 during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, Graziani was the commander of the southern front. His army invaded Ethiopia from Italian Somaliland and he commanded Italian forces in the Battle of Genale Doria and the Battle of the Ogaden. However, Graziani’s efforts in the south were secondary to the main invasion launched from Eritrea by General Emilio De Bono and continued by Marshal of Italy Pietro Badoglio. It was Badoglio and not Graziani who entered Addis Ababa in triumph after his “March of the Iron Will“. But it was Graziani who said: “The Duce will have Ethiopia, with or without the Ethiopians.”

Addis Ababa fell to Badoglio on May 5, 1936. Graziani had wanted to reach Harar before Badoglio reached Addis Ababa, but failed to do so. Even so, on May 9, Graziani was awarded for his role as commander of the southern front with a promotion to the rank of Marshal of Italy. During his tour of an Ethiopian Orthodox church in Dire Dawa, Graziani fell into a pit covered by an ornate carpet, a trap that he believed had been set by the Ethiopian priests to injure or kill him. As a result he held Ethiopian clerics in deep suspicion.

After the war, Graziani was made Viceroy of Italian East Africa and Governor-General of Shewa/Addis Ababa. After an unsuccessful attempt to kill him by two Eritreans on 19 February 1937, Graziani ordered a bloody and indiscriminate reprisal upon the conquered country, later remembered by Ethiopians as Yekatit 12: thousands of civilian inhabitants of Addis Ababa were killed indiscriminately, another 1,469 were summarily executed by the end of the next month, and over one thousand Ethiopian notables were imprisoned then exiled from Ethiopia. He became known as “the Butcher of Ethiopia“.[3] Also in connection with the attempt on his life, Graziani authorized the massacre of the monks of the ancient monastery of Debre Libanos and the large number of pilgrims who had traveled there to celebrate the feast day of the founding saint of the monastery. Graziani’s suspicion of the Ethiopian Orthodox clergy (and the fact that the wife of one of the assassins had briefly taken sanctuary at the monastery) had convinced him of the complicity of the monks in the attempt on his life.

From 1939 to 1941, Graziani was the Commander-in-Chief of the Italian Royal Army’s General Staff.

In World War II

At the start of World War II, Graziani was still the Commander-in-Chief of the Italian Royal Army’s General Staff. After the death of Marshal Italo Balbo in a friendly fire incident on 28 June 1940, Graziani took his place as the Commander-in-Chief of Italian North Africa and as the Governor General of Libya.

Initially giving Graziani a deadline of 8 August, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini ordered Graziani to invade Egypt with the Tenth Army. Graziani expressed doubts about the ability of his largely un-mechanized force to defeat the British and put off the invasion for as long as he could. However, faced with demotion, Graziani ultimately followed orders and elements of the Tenth Army invaded Egypt on 9 September. The Italians made modest gains into Egypt and then prepared a series of fortified camps to defend their positions. In 1941, Graziani resigned his commission after the British counterattacked and the Tenth Army was completely defeated by them during Operation Compass.

On 25 March 1941, Graziani was replaced by General Italo Gariboldi.

Graziani was the only Italian marshal to remain loyal to Mussolini after Dino Grandi‘s Grand Council of Fascism coup. He was appointed Minister of Defence of the Italian Social Republic and oversaw the mixed Italo-German LXXXXVII “Liguria” Army (Armee Ligurien) commanded by General Alfredo Guzzoni.

At the end of the war, Graziani spent a few days in San Vittore prison in Milan before being transferred to Allied control. He was brought back to Africa in Anglo-American custody, staying there until February 1946. Allied forces then felt the danger of assassination or lynching had passed, and returned him to Procida prison in Italy.

In 1950, a military tribunal sentenced Graziani to a further 19 years’ jail for high treason, as punishment for his collaboration with the Nazis; but he was released after serving only a few months of the sentence. He was never prosecuted for specific war crimes. Unlike the Germans and Japanese, Italians were not subjected to prosecutions. In 1955 he died of natural causes.

Military career

Trivia

Notes

1. Italian atrocities in world war two | Education | The Guardian:# Rory Carroll # The Guardian, # Monday June 25 2001

2. Hart, David M.: Muslim Tribesmen and the Colonial Encounter in Fiction and on Film: The Image of the Muslim Tribes in Film and Fiction. Het Spinhuis, 2001. Page 121. ISBN 90-5589-205-X

3. An account of this event, known in Ethiopia as “Yekatit 12″, is chapter 14 of Anthony Mockler’s Haile Selassie’s War (New York: Olive Branch, 2003).

Place of birth Filettino, Italy

Place of death Rome, Italy (aged 72)

Allegiance

Kingdom of Italy (1915–1943)

Italian Social Republic (1943–1945)

(Royal Italian Army) (1914–1943)
Esercito Nazionale Repubblicano (1943–1945)

Service/branch Regio Esercito

Years of service 1903–1945

Rank General

Vice Governor of Italian Cyrenaica
Governor of Italian Cyrenaica
Governor of Italian Somaliland
Marshal of Italy
Governor of Italian East Africa
Viceroy of Italian East Africa

Governor of Italian Libya
Minister of Defense (RSI)

Unit Italian Tenth Army

Battles/wars

Second Italo-Abyssinian War
World War II

North African Campaign

Senussi

The Senussi or Sanussi refers to a Muslim political-religious order in Libya and the Sudan region founded in Mecca in 1837 by the Grand Senussi, Sayyid Muhammad ibn Ali as-Senussi. Senussi was concerned with both the decline of Islamic thought and spirituality and the weakening of Muslim political integrity. He was influenced by the Salafi movement, to which he added teachings from various Sufi orders. From 1902 to 1913 the Senussi fought French expansion in the Sahara, and the Italian colonisation of Libya beginning in 1911. The Grand Senussi’s grandson became King Idris I of Libya in 1951. In 1969, King Idris I was overthrown by a military coup led by Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi. A third of the population in Libya continue to be affiliated with the Senussi movement.

Beginnings 1787–1860

The Senussi order has been historically closed to Europeans and outsiders, leading reports of their beliefs and practices to vary immensely. Though it is possible to gain some insight from the lives of the Senussi sheikhs further details are difficult to obtain.

Sayyid Muhammad ibn Ali as-Senussi (1787–1860), the founder of the order, was born near Mostaganem, Algeria, and was named al-Senussi after a venerated Muslim teacher. He was a member of the Walad Sidi Abdalla tribe, and was a sharif tracing his descent from Fatimah, the daughter of Mohammed. He studied at a madrassa in Fez, then traveled in the Sahara preaching a purifying reform of the faith in Tunisia and Tripoli, gaining many adherents, and then moved to Cairo to study at Al-Azhar University. The pious scholar was forceful in his criticism of the Egyptian ulema for what he perceived as their timid compliance with the Ottoman authorities and their spiritual conservatism. He also argued that learned Muslims should not blindly follow the four classical schools of Islamic law but instead engage in ijtihad themselves. Not surprisingly, he was opposed by the ulema as unorthodox and they issued a fatwa against him. Senussi went to Mecca, where he joined Ahmad Ibn Idris al-Fasi, the head of the Khadirites, a religious fraternity of Moroccan origin. On the death of Al-Fasi, Senussi became head of one of the two branches into which the Khadirites divided, and in 1835 he founded his first monastery or zawia, at Abu Kobeis near Mecca. While in Arabia, Senussi’s connections with the Salafi movement caused him to be looked upon with suspicion by the ulema of Mecca and the Ottoman authorities. Finding the opposition in Mecca too powerful Senussi settled in Cyrenaica, Libya in 1843, where in the mountains near Sidi Rafaa’ (Al Bayda) he built the Zawia Baida (“White Monastery”). There he was supported by the local tribes and the Sultan of Wadai and his connections extended across the Maghreb.

The Grand Senussi did not tolerate fanaticism and forbade the use of stimulants as well as voluntary poverty. Lodge members were to eat and dress within the limits of Islamic law and, instead of depending on charity, were required to earn their living through work. No aids to contemplation, such as the processions, gyrations, and mutilations employed by Sufi dervishes, were permitted. He accepted neither the wholly intuitive ways described by Sufi mystics nor the rationality of the orthodox ulema; rather, he attempted to achieve a middle path. The Bedouin tribes had shown no interest in the ecstatic practices of the Sufis that were gaining adherents in the towns, but they were attracted in great numbers to the Senussis. The relative austerity of the Senussi message was particularly suited to the character of the Cyrenaican Bedouins, whose way of life had not changed much in the centuries since the Arabs had first accepted the Prophet Mohammad’s teachings.[1]

In 1855 Senussi moved farther from direct Ottoman surveillance to Al-Jaghbub, a small oasis some 30 miles northwest of Siwa. He died in 1860, leaving two sons, Mahommed Sherif (1844–95) and Mohammed al-Mahdi, who succeded him.

Developments since 1860

Sayyid Muhammad al-Mahdi bin Sayyid Muhammad as-Senussi (1845 – May 30, 1902) was fourteen when his father died, after which he was placed under the care of his father’s friends.

The successors to the Sultan of Wadai, Sultan Ali (1858–74) and the Sultan Yusef (1874–98) continued to support the Senussi. Under al-Mahdi the zawias of the order extended to Fez, Damascus, Constantinople and India. In the Hejaz members of the order were numerous. In most of these countries the Senussites wielded no more political power than other Muslim fraternities, but in the eastern Sahara and central Sudan things were different. Mohammed al-Mahdi had the authority of a sovereign in a vast but almost empty desert. The string of oases leading from Siwa to Kufra, and Borku were cultivated by the Senussites and trade with Tripoli and Benghazi was encouraged.

Although named Al Mahdi by his father, Mohammed never claimed to be the Mahdi (the Promised One), although he was regarded as such by some of his followers. When Muhammad Ahmad proclaimed himself al-Mahdi al-Muntazar or ‘the Expected Saviour’ in 1881 Mohammed al-Mahdi decided to have nothing to do with him. Although Muhammad Ahmed wrote twice asking him to become one of his four great khalifs, he received no reply. In 1890 Mahdists advancing from Darfur were stopped on the frontier of Wadai, the sultan Yusef proving firm in his adherence to the Senussi teachings.

Mohammed al-Mahdi’s growing fame made the Ottoman regime uneasy and drew unwelcome attention. In most of Tripoli and Benghazi his authority was greater than that of the Ottoman governors. In 1889 the sheik was visited at Al-Jaghbub by the pasha of Benghazi accompanied by Ottoman troops. This event showed the sheik the possibility of danger and led him to move his headquarters to Jof in the oases of Kufra in 1894, a place sufficiently remote to secure him from a sudden attack.

By this time a new danger to Senussi territories had arisen from the colonial French, who were advancing from the Congo towards the western and southern borders of Wadai. The Senussi kept them from advancing north of Chad.

In 1902, Mohammed al-Mahdi died and was succeeded by his nephew Ahmed Sharif es Senussi, but his adherents in the deserts bordering Egypt maintained for years that he was not dead. The new head of the Senussites maintained the friendly relations of his predecessors with Wadai, governing the order as regent for his young cousin, Mohammed Idris (King Idris I of Libya), who was named Emir of Cyrenaica by the British in 1917.

The Senussi, encouraged by the Germans and the Ottoman Empire, played a minor part in the First World War, fighting a guerrilla war against the British and Italians in Libya and Egypt from November 1915 until February 1917, led by Sayyid Ahmed and in the Sudan from March to December 1916, led by Ali Dinar, the Sultan of Darfur.[2][3] In 1916, the British sent an expeditionary force against them, led by Major General William Peyton.[4] According to Wavell and McGuirk, Western Force was first led by General Wallace and later by General Hodgson.[5][6]

Libya was taken from the Ottomans by Italy in the Italo-Turkish War of 1911. In 1922, Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini launched his infamous “Riconquista” of Libya — the Roman Empire having done the original conquering 2000 years before. The Senussi led the resistance and Italians closed Senussi lodges, arrested sheikhs, and confiscated mosque land. Libyans fought the Italians until 1943, with between 250,000 and 300,000 of them dying in the process.[7]

Chiefs of the Senussi Order

Sayyid Idris bin Sayyid Abdullah al-Senussi also claims the leadership of the Senussi.

Sources

1. Metz, Helen Chapin. “The Sanusi Order”. Libya: A Country Study. GPO for the Library of Congress. http://countrystudies.us/libya/18.htm. Retrieved 28 February 2011.

2. Field Marshal Earl Wavell, The Palestine Campaigns 3rd Edition thirteenth Printing; Series: A Short History of the British Army 4th Edition by Major E.W. Sheppard (London: Constable & Co., 1968) pp. 35–6

3. M.G.E. Bowman–Manifold, An Outline of the Egyptian and Palestine Campaigns, 1914 to 1918 2nd Edition (Chatham: The Institution of Royal Engineers, W. & J. Mackay & Co Ltd, 1923), p. 23.

4. William Eliot Peyton, Centre for First World War Studies, bham.ac.uk (accessed 19 January 2008)

5. Wavell pp. 37–8.

6. Russell McGuirk The Sanusi’s Little War: The Amazing Story of a Forgotten Conflict in the Western Desert, 1915–1917 (London: Arabian Publishing, 2007) pp. 263–4.

7. John L. Wright, Libya, a Modern History, Johns Hopkins University Press, p. 42.

  • Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911
  • E. E. Evans-Pritchard, The Sanusi of Cyrenaica (1949, repr. 1963)
  • N. A. Ziadeh, Sanusiyah (1958, repr. 1983).
  • Bianci, Steven, ”Libya: Current Issues and Historical Background New York: Nova Science Publishers, INc, 2003
  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  • L. Rinn, Marabouts et Khouan, a good historical account up to the year 1884
  • 0. Depont and X. Coppolani, Les Confrèries religieuses musulmanes (Algiers, 1897)
  • Si Mohammed el Hechaish, Chez les Senoussia et les Touareg, in “L’Expansion cot. française” for 1900 and the “Revue de Paris” for 1901. These are translations from the Arabic of an educated Mahommedan who visited the chief Senussite centres. An obituary notice of Senussi el Mahdi by the same writer appeared in the Arab journal El Iladira of Tunis, Sept. 2, 1902; a condensation of this article appears in the “Bull. du Corn. de l’Afriue française” for 5902; Les Senoussia, an anonymous contribution to the April supplement of the same volume, is a judicious summary of events, a short bibliography being added; Capt. Julien, in “Le Dar Ouadai” published in the same Bulletin (vol. for 1904), traces the connection between Wadai and the Senussi
  • L. G. Binger, in Le Peril de l’Islam in the 1906 volume of the Bulletin, discusses the position and prospects of the Senussite and other Islamic sects in North Africa. Von Grunau, in “Verhandlungen der Gesellschaft für Erdkunde” for 1899, gives an account of his visit to Siwa
  • M.G.E. Bowman–Manifold, An Outline of the Egyptian and Palestine Campaigns, 1914 to 1918 2nd Edition (Chatham: The Institution of Royal Engineers, W. & J. Mackay & Co Ltd, 1923)
  • Russell McGuirk The Sanusi’s Little War The Amazing Story of a Forgotten Conflict in the Western Desert, 1915–1917 (London, Arabian Publishing: 2007)
  • Field Marshal Earl Wavell, The Palestine Campaigns 3rd Edition thirteenth Printing; Series: A Short History of the British Army 4th Edition by Major E.W. Sheppard (London: Constable & Co., 1968)
  • Sir F. R. Wingate, in Mahdiism and the Egyptian Sudan (London, 1891), narrates the efforts made by the Mahdi Mahommed Ahmed to obtain the support of the Senussi
  • Sir W. Wallace, in his report to the Colonial Office on Northern Nigeria for 1906-1907, deals with Senussiism in that country.
  • H. Duveyrier, La Confrèrie musulmane de Sidi Mohammed ben Au es Senoussi (Paris, 1884), a book containing much exaggeration, and A. Silva White, From Sphinx to Oracle (London, 1898), which, while repeating the extreme views of Duveyrier, contains useful information.

Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, Libya

Titles Emir of Cyrenaica, Emir of Tripolitania, King of Libya

Founder Muhammad ibn Ali as-Senussi

Final sovereign Idris of Libya

Current head Crown Prince Muhammad as-Senussi
(Idris al-Senussi also claims the headship)

Deposition 1 September 1969

Omar Mukhtar (Arabic Umar Al-Mukhtār) (1862 – September 16, 1931), of the Mnifa,[1] was born in the small village of Janzour, near Tobruk in eastern Barqa (Cyrenaica) in Libya. Beginning in 1912, he organized and, for nearly twenty years, led native resistance to Italian colonization of Libya. The Italians captured and hanged him in 1931.

Early life

Omar Mukhtar was born in eastern Cyrenaica, Al Butnan District, in the village of East Janzur east of Tobruk. He was orphaned early and was adopted by Sharif El Gariani nephew of Hussein Ghariani, a political-religious leader in Cyrenaica. He received his early education at the local mosque and then studied for eight years at the Senussi university at Al-Jaghbub, which was also the headquarters of the Senussi Movement. In 1899 he was sent with other Senussi to assist Rabih az-Zubayr in the resistance in Chad against the French.

Italian invasion

In October 1911, during the Italo-Turkish War, an Italian naval contingent under the command of Admiral Luigi Faravelli reached the shores of Libya, then a territory subject to Ottoman Turkish control. The admiral demanded that the Libyans surrender their territory to the Italians or incur the immediate destruction of the city of Tripoli. The Libyans fled instead of surrendering, and the Italians bombarded the city for three days, then proclaimed the Tripolitanians to be “committed and strongly bound to Italy.” This marked the beginning of a series of battles between the Italian colonial forces and the Libyan armed opposition under Omar Mukhtar.

Guerrilla warfare

Libyan resistance movement and History of Libya as Italian colony

A teacher of the Qur’an by profession, Mukhtar was also skilled in the strategies and tactics of desert warfare. He knew local geography well and used that knowledge to advantage in battles against the Italians, who were unaccustomed to desert warfare. Mukhtar repeatedly led his small, highly alert groups in successful attacks against the Italians, after which they would fade back into the desert terrain. Mukhtar’s men skillfully attacked outposts, ambushed troops, and cut lines of supply and communication. The Italian army was left astonished and embarrassed by his guerrilla tactics.

In the mountainous region of Ghebel Akhdar (“Green Mountain”) in 1924, Italian Governor Ernesto Bombelli created a counter-guerrilla force that inflicted a severe setback to rebel forces in April, 1925. Mukhtar then quickly modified his own tactics and was able to count on continued help from Egypt. In March, 1927, despite occupation of Giarabub from February 1926 and increasingly stringent rule under Governor Attilio Teruzzi, Mukhtar surprised Italian troops at Raheiba. Between 1927 and 1928, Mukhtar fully reorganized the Senusite forces, who were being hunted constantly by the Italians. Even General Teruzzi recognized Omar’s qualities of “exceptional perseverance and strong will power.”

Pietro Badoglio, governor of Libya from January 1929, after extensive negotiations concluded a compromise with Mukhtar (described by the Italians as his complete submission) similar to previous Italo-Senusite accords. At the end of October, 1929, Mukhtar denounced the compromise and reëstablished a unity of action among Libyan forces, preparing himself for the ultimate confrontation with General Rodolfo Graziani, Italian military commander from March 1930.

A massive offensive in June against Mukhtar’s forces having failed, Graziani, in full accord with Badoglio, Emilio De Bono (minister of the colonies), and Benito Mussolini, initiated a plan to break Cyrenian resistance: the hundred-thousand population of Gebel would be moved to concentration camps on the coast and the Libyan-Egyptian border from the coast at Giarabub would be closed, preventing any foreign help to the fighters and depriving them of support from the native population. These measures, which Graziani initiated early in 1931, took their toll on the Senusite resistance. The rebels were deprived of help and reinforcements, spied upon, hit by Italian aircraft, and pursued on the ground by the Italian forces aided by local informers and collaborators. Mukhtar continued to struggle despite increased hardships and risks, but on September 11, 1931, he was ambushed near Zonta.

Mukhtar’s final adversary, Italian General Rodolfo Graziani, has given a description of the Senusite leader that is not lacking in respect: “Of medium height, stout, with white hair, beard and mustache. Omar was endowed with a quick and lively intelligence; was knowledgeable in religious matters, and revealed an energetic and impetuous character, unselfish and uncompromising; ultimately, he remained very religious and poor, even though he had been one of the most important Senusist figures.” Today Mukhtar is a famous man in Libya.

Capture and execution

Mukhtar’s struggle of nearly twenty years came to an end on September 11, 1931, when he was wounded in battle near Slonta, then captured by the Italian army.[2][3] The Italians treated the native leader hero as a prize catch. His resilience had an impact on his jailers, who later remarked upon his steadfastness. His interrogators stated that Mukhtar recited verses of peace from the Qur’an.

In three days, Mukhtar was tried, convicted, and, on September 14, 1931, sentenced to be hanged publicly (historians and scholars have questioned whether his trial was fair or impartial[4]). When asked if he wished to say any last words, Mukhtar replied with a Qur’anic phrase: “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.” (“To God we belong and to Him we shall return.”). On September 16, 1931, on the orders of the Italian court and with Italian hopes that Libyan resistance would die with him, Mukhtar was hanged before his followers in the concentration camp of Solluqon at the age of 70 years.[5]

Aftermath

Today, Mukhtar’s face appears shown on the Libyan ten-dinar

bill.

His final years were depicted in the movie Lion of the Desert (1981), starring Anthony Quinn, Oliver Reed, and Irene Papas. It was based on the struggles of Mukhtar against Rodolfo Graziani‘s forces.

References

1. Mnifa is “a generic name for many groups of ‘Clients of the Fee’ (Marabtin al-sadqan).” These are client tribes having no sacred associations and are known as Marabtin al-sadqan because they pay sadaqa, a fee paid to a free tribe for protection. Peters, Emrys L. (1998) “Divine goodness: the concept of Baraka as used by the Bedouin of Cyrenaica”, page 104, In Shah, A. M.; Baviskar, Baburao Shravan and Ramaswamy, E. A. (editors) (1998) Social Structure and Change: Religion and Kinship (Volume 5 of Social Structure and Change) Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California, ISBN 0-7619-9255-3; Sage Publications, New Delhi, India, ISBN 81-7036-713-1

2. Simons, geoffrey Leslie (1993) Libya: the struggle for survival St. Martin’s Press, New York, page 131, ISBN 0-312-08997-X

3. Map showing the disposition of forces in the capture of Mukhtar, in Arabic.

4. Secret Proceedings in the Italians Trial

5. Libya History britannica.com [1]

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AFRICA: GLOBAL FLOW OF TECHNOLOGY

January 24, 2011 on 11:37 pm | In Africa, Development, Economics, Globalization, History, Research, Technology | Comments Off

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AFRICA’S RAPID TECHNOLOGICAL ACQUISITION INDICATES EMERGING

INDUSTRIAL BASE – UN

UNNews UNNews@un.org

Fri, 21 Jan 2011

New York, Jan 21 2011

AFRICA’S RAPID TECHNOLOGICAL ACQUISITION INDICATES EMERGING

INDUSTRIAL BASE – UN

Africa’s rapid acquisition of industrial technologies is an indication that the continent is joining other developing regions in building a sound manufacturing base likely to support the production of value-added goods and services, including high-tech products, according to a study released today by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

The findings reveal an impressive turnaround from the slow growth in Africa’s share of the number of patents, peer-reviewed scientific publications and technology exports and imports which grew very slowly in the 1980s to 1990s, said Abdoulie Janneh, the Commission’s Executive Secretary, referring to the study entitled A technological resurgence: Africa in the global flow of technology.

The research provides evidence of a rapid growth rate in Africa’s industrial technology acquisition, Mr. Janneh added.

He pointed out that inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI), one of the main channels of technology transfer, into Africa soared by over 800 per cent between 2000 and 2008.

Some of the investment has gone into the production of drugs, steel, automobiles and electronics, among others areas that require the use of technology owned by others, said Mr. Janneh.

The research is the first ever comprehensive study that tracks flows of investment and knowledge mainly by developing regions and developed country groupings and specifically looks at technology transfer trends in areas such as royalties and licensing fees, capital goods, business, professional and technical services, research and development, as well as intellectual property rights.

It stresses the need to prioritize technology development and transfer through four core areas, including the promotion of university-industry-government partnership, where existing research centres can be used to acquire, adapt and diffuse emerging technology and serve as technology incubators.

The study also recommends the strategic use of government contracts to encourage technology upgrading of domestic firms and joint ventures with foreign suppliers; promotion of industrial alliances to enable African firms to access emerging and existing knowledge and skills at home and abroad; and entry into international research and development agreements between African countries and leading technology-exporting countries.

None of the measures entail a significant investment in or creation of new institutions and bodies, but rather they constitute innovative ways of using existing mechanisms to promote technology transfer, according to the study.

In addition, the measures would support the current drive to promote investment in research and development and higher education.

The study indicates that in the not-too-distant future, the rise in industrial technology acquisition may diversify African exports from coffee, cocoa, copper, tea, diamonds and petroleum, according to UNECA.
Jan 21 2011

UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

AFRICA’S RAPID TECHNOLOGICAL ACQUISITION INDICATES EMERGING

INDUSTRIAL BASE – UN

UNNews UNNews@un.org

UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

Fri, 21 Jan 2011

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