Rolex, Pandora, Cartier … Valentine’s approaches. This year, if you’re basically a moral and just person, you might want to stick with chocolates.
Those are just some of the companies that Human Rights Watch (HRW) says may be obtaining their gold and diamonds from the use of more than a million child workers, most abused in Africa.
There’s a lot in common between South Africa and the U.S. Among the very most important and very least spoken is their shared agricultural power.
South Africa outperforms the U.S. producing oranges and performs about two-thirds as well for barley. South Africa outperforms China and India in corn, barley, oranges and fresh milk as well.
So agricultural companies pay a lot of attention to South Africa, and especially after last weekend’s seed conference at the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) which focused on defeating a proposed South African law heavily favoring GM seed companies like Monsanto.
Anything happen this year?
Sorry. Perhaps a poor attempt for just a bit of relief. End-of-the-year analyses are coming out. I sit in a little world of Africa news and things, but I expect all the little worlds feel the same thing I do: the universe is tanking. Now if you’re sitting at a big desk on Wall Street you see it otherwise, because the rich world is doing just fine. But time’s have changed. The world is starting to move as one, and how Africa or Taipei or the Ukraine or Latvia goes, so eventually does the whole world, even eventually the rich.
“The West’s loss of moral authority… has created a vacuum,” says Nairobi’s Daily Nation today. “The rise of far-right movements… and the election of President Donald Trump… has buoyed the anti-democratic forces in Africa.”
Digital and financial connections were developed in the west. Free speech and aggressive, daringly imaginative entrepreneurship was born here. Emerging nations were attracted by these bold opportunities. Africans especially loved everything western. Now that’s changing.
The best taxi service is still Uber… in Nairobi, Joburg, Cape Town, Lagos, Kampala, Cairo, Dar… but … not in London or Amsterdam. Uber lost its license in London and its customers in Amsterdam.
The Uber controversy is fascinating, and a perfect example of what’s to come in a better world. (You’ll be surprised what I mean.)
The lofty positions held by a number of Africans in both government and business is jeopardized by the Paradise Papers expose, and for exactly the same reason that Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, is on the way out.
Nothing illegal is alleged in the Paradise Papers’ leaked business deals, mostly with Cayman Island banks. Nothing illegal is alleged in the Times’ expose of Apple’s tax havens in Britain and Ireland.
But legality isn’t the issue. Morality is. Wealth of this magnitude should not be held by so few.
Democracy isn’t working, anywhere. South African Richard Pithouse predicted all of this in his summary of Trump’s election: “The Donalds are Everywhere.” Since that analysis nearly a year ago, Kenya, Spain, Italy, South Africa, the U.S., France, Britain and probably to some degree every democratic nation on earth has grown increasingly tumultuous.
Be prepared, folks. If you think the hurricane season is just about wind and rain, you’ve got another thing coming.
Tourists are going to be floored this season by how expensive Tanzanite has become.
The Tanzanian president’s sweeping dictatorial attempts to reduce corruption are currently focused on the country’s precious minerals. The fight is far from over, but so far he’s struck out with the biggest player, Acacia [Gold] Mining, so he’s set his sites on Tanzania’s small Tanzanite industry.
Yesterday Kenya joined 40 other countries doing something the whole world — except Michigan — will likely soon be doing: ban plastic bags.
Significantly, Kenya’s law is the most wide-ranging and punitive of them all. Violators can be fined up to $38,000 and jailed for four years. Visitors to emerging nations are not surprised at the move, but they are often surprised when they understand the reasons.
So simple it’s embarrassing: why didn’t Horton’s America think of this: make a solar panel and a roof one and the same. A wholly Kenyan company now does.
Uninhibited by aging conglomerates Africa is streaking past the western world: iPhone clones at $100 each, bricks manufactured at a thousandth of the cost in Tennessee, and now self-contained energy homes. And it’s not just because labor is less expensive. It’s because imaginations aren’t tethered to the Big and Mighty.
African governments thumb their noses at tourists and tourists flounder in the irony of their wealth. What a story!
Safari fees are increasing fast and furiously, and the blame has begun to fly. Following Rwanda’s decision to double a mountain gorilla fee from $750 to $1500 per hour, Tanzania nearly doubled tourist fees Friday night.
Social media is aghast. Tourist platforms like TripAdvisor are fanning the flames as distorted facts are amplified. Let’s try to sort it all out:
Only the rich can see wild animals. That’s the message – indeed, the policy – of Rwanda’s decision over the weekend to raise the permit fee for an hour with mountain gorillas to a staggering $1500 per person.
It’s really more profound. Not just seeing, but helping, conserving, understanding … all the components of saving our earth now become the purvey of the rich and the rich alone. Other implications are equally staggering.
Much of the world takes a holiday, today. All of Africa’s largest and most powerful countries are on holiday. May Day carries a morbid tradition of celebrating the horrible mental and physical tolls on workers in the second millennium.
So who isn’t a worker? Is Trump a worker? Is Nigerian Aliko Dangote a worker? Is the poor Joe who was once a miner in Appalachia still a worker? Everyone and no one is a worker, today. This is a false moniker for the modern age and it leads us into a sort of dangerous nostalgia.
Except for bribes, dirty deals and billionaire arrogance, Guinea would be one of the most prosperous places on earth.
Any steel around you? Driving a car? Probably wouldn’t without Guinea. How about aluminum? Do you use aluminum foil after dinner? Not without Guinea! So how come Guinea is the ninth poorest country in the world? Too many Piggly-Wiggly sales?
‘Laikipia’ runs off the tongue into conversation exactly like the beautiful waterfalls that burst out of the high jungles over the dramatic cactus landscapes of deep canyons and endless vistas in north central Kenya.
Laikipia was a beautiful story in the 1970s, still compelling two decades later in “I Dream of Africa,” but it’s a grim and dark tale, now.