Skip to main content /TRANSCRIPTS



Angolans Hope Savimbi's Death Brings Peace; How Much Progress Has Been Made in Battle Against Poverty?

Aired February 23, 2002 - 12:30:00   ET


TUMI MAKGABO, HOST: On this edition of INSIDE AFRICA: jubilation in Angola as the government announces the death of rebel leader Jonas Savimbi. A report card, how far have we come in the battle against poverty? We'll get an update from two African leaders and the World Bank. And thousands welcome the return of a national treasure more than a century after it was stolen.

Hello, I'm Tumi Makgabo. Welcome to INSIDE AFRICA as we take a look at news and life on the continent. A major development this week in one of Africa's longest running civil wars, the Angolan government scored its biggest victory ever against the UNITA rebels, killing UNITA leader Dr. Jonas Savimbi.

The news brought hundreds onto the streets. People celebrated, hoping Savimbi's demise would mark the end of the war. Angolan journalist Ernesto Bartholomeu was among the journalists who saw Savimbi's body at a local hospital. We hope to speak with him a little bit later in the program.

Jonas Savimbi was 67. He was one of three people who vied for power and independence in 1975. In 1992, he was a candidate for the presidency and returned to guerrilla warfare after losing that election.

Now, moving on, we turn our attention to an issue that's now at the top of the agenda of some African leaders, poverty reduction. The United Nations aims to reduce the number of poor people by half by the year 2015, but is that possible? Well, that question was tackled at a development forum in the U.S. city of Atlanta during the week and African leaders attending, measured their progress.


MAKGABO (voice-over): After decades of debate, the aid organizations have come up with what they believe is a winning recipe for development in Africa. They've fine-tuned a formula, they say, helps the poorest nations ultimately help themselves. And what's most incredible, even some African leaders think the development community may be on to something and there's a feeling that donors are offering a listening hear.

JOAQUIM CHISSANO, MOZAMBICAN PRESIDENT: The first deal is that they listened a bit more to us and they are started doing so, that we -- if we plan -- at least, we plan together so that they understand what we want and that they extradite the disbursement of the funds, which are promised and that they decrease the conditionalities and they -- if there are any conditionalities, they must be based on a clear understanding of the aims, which we want to achieve and not diversion of -- from those aims.

MAKGABO: This new approach was unveiled in September of 1999 when the World Bank introduced the Poverty Reduction Strategy papers. In it, each country draws up its own individual strategy for development based on consultations with all levels of society and submits it to the World Bank as an application for assistance.

The concept recognizes that while honest and capable governments is essential to development, each country's needs are different. It's also a recognition that there are indeed leaders in Africa who are eager to take responsible for the development of their own countries.

JAMES WOLFENSOHN, PRESIDENT, WORLD BANK: That is a wholly positive development and allows the international community to have a very serious partnership with the African leadership where the African leadership is saying we want to run our own ship, but when we do it well, we would expect support from the donor countries. And so, what we're trying to do is to make that marriage happen. It is a very, very positive development.

MAKGABO: Many of the current initiatives in place began in the early 1990s. At the United Nations' Millennium Conference two years ago, they were made into a cohesive list of eight goals for global development by the year 2015, topping the list, eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. The goal is to cut by half the number of people in the world who are hungry and those who earn less than a $1 a day.

It's no easy task. Even countries hailed as African success stories warn their development goals are lagging. The presidents of both Mali and Mozambique have implemented democratic and economic reforms that international agencies heralded as examples to others. Both countries posted growth between five and seven percent during the 1990s, but both say despite these successes, poverty reduction remains close to unchanged and they agree, it could be as many as 25 years before their countries are free of dependency on international aid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (through translator): Despite political progress and bold economic reforms, our economic and social indicators remain unacceptable.

MAKGABO: For Mozambique, the biggest concern is the slow pace of success. President Chissano says the international community must open its markets to African goods and he urges even greater donor assistance in the short run. So he's encouraged by what he sees as a new awakening in the donor community to development needs.

ALPHA KONARE, MALIAN PRESIDENT: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a wave of recovery of poverty rose suddenly. I think we have to ensure that this not a wave of passion.

MAKGABO: African leaders have formulated a continent-wide plan to reduce poverty called the New Partnership for Africa's Development or NPAD. It aims to place the continent on the path of sustainable economic development. And after a hard sell, the plan is winning the support of the international community. Both British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac have pledged their cooperation.

For NPAD and the World Bank initiatives, an unprecedented number of African leaders are looking at developments in a new way. They're compiling a list of needs beginning at the grassroots, setting democratic principals as a priority and forming partnerships both inside Africa and with the international community to make development a realistic part of the foreseeable future.


MAKGABO: Returning now to our top story and the death of Angolan rebel leader, Jonas Savimbi. Joining us now on the line is journalist Ernesto Bartholmeu who is an Angolan journalist and one of the first to view the body of Jonas Savimbi.

Thank you very much for joining us. Perhaps, if you can give us a sense of what is going on in Angola at the moment.

ERNESTO BARTOLOMEU, ANGOLAN JOURNALIST: I -- Tumi, well, the people here are celebrating because they think that the suffering is finished in Angola. Well, this afternoon, the state television issued the picture of the body of Dr. Savimbi and I think that the people now believe that the leader of UNITA rebel is dead.

MAKGABO: That has been the reaction of the people in Angola, but what about those who are members of UNITA, those who fought with UNITA, those who are still in the jungles of Angola? Are they indeed thinking that the war is over?

BARTOLOMEU: Well, I've been this afternoon at a meeting between the Angolan foreign minister and the Tricor (ph) -- is a body, which contain Russia, United States and Portugal. And the minister of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) minister, Angola said, be sure a segment to the guys who still in the jungle. He said that this is the time to shut down the dance and to come because there is no way -- if somebody want to still fight against the government, still fighting against the Angolan people, they can take the same way that -- like Dr. Savimbi take now.

MAKGABO: One of the things that has been mentioned though is that indeed there may be somebody waiting in the wings to pick up where Jonas Savimbi left off. Is that indeed the case in your view?

BARTOLOMEU: Well, I don't think so because here, we got -- since September '98, there is another UNITA said -- and other people from UNITA all said, "We need to stop fighting against the government. If we want to be in a country where we work -- we work, where we can do whatever we want, we must come to Rwanda and we must speak to the government and we must discuss the future of the country not in the jungle, not anywhere. We must fight against government not with guns. We must come here and fight in a parliament to discuss the problems of the country not in jungle."

That -- I think that there is no people who can now -- that said, we need to fight, we need to do whatever we want with the gun because there is no space in Angola for the people who want to come or want to fight. And this is also the -- what the community, the international community, want for Angola.

MAKGABO: Ernest Bartolomeu, once again, thank you very much for joining us.

And as we take a break, INSIDE AFRICA continues in just a moment with the Moroccan city of Fez and its efforts to preserve its rich heritage. Don't go away.


MAKGABO: Welcome back. Time now for a business update, for that we join Valerie Morris who's in New York -Valerie.

VALERIE MORRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks Tumi. Rwanda is struggling to rebuild its economy after years of internal conflict. The government is looking for ways to simulate growth and improve living conditions. They've turned to what some are calling are a veritable gold mine. David Compton reports.


DAVID COMPTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On Rwanda's border with the Democratic Republic of Congo lies a natural treasure, Lake Kivu. Buried deep at the bottom is an estimated 55 billion cubic meters of methane gas. But up to now, the resource has remained largely untapped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The quantity that we extract and produce is insufficient given the capacity of our plant. The containers of the equipment is our main problem.

COMPTON: The equipment has spent over 30 years under water and the plant breaks down often. Divers frequently search Kivu's depths for potential leaks. Today, only a fraction of the gas is extracted to help a Rwanda brewery, but the government is taking steps to better utilize the resource.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe that methane exploitation will contribute greatly to our development, to the fight against poverty and to environmental protection.

COMPTON: The United States Agency for International Development or USAID, along with the Rwandan private sector is currently implementing a plan to increase the plant's capacity. USAID says the benefits could be numerous, from stemming the tide of deforestation to providing a cheap, low-cost source of energy.

David Compton for INSIDE AFRICA.


MORRIS: Time now for a quick wrap-up of some stock market performances across the continent.

In Ghana, the Databanks Stock Index posted a gain of .024. The countries currency weakened during the week, losing ground against the British pound and the U.S. dollar.

In Egypt, the market closed early on Wednesday for the Muslim holiday, Eid. The benchmark, Hermes Index, ended the week up 14 points, recovering from its eight-point loss last week.

There were also gains in the mobile phone industry and the banking sector.

Here's a look at some of the other closing market numbers.

That's our business update. I'm Valerie Morris in New York. Tumi, back to you.

MAKGABO: Valerie, thank you very much.

And Morocco attracts hundreds of visitors each year. In a country with many historic sites, there is a lot to be seen, but some of the cities that pull the most crowds are showing signs or rather just shadows of their former selves as some of the elements that made them famous now simply fading away. Sylvia Smith takes a look at efforts to rebuild one such city.


SYLVIA SMITH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The fabled imperial city of Fez has an atmosphere that's unrivaled. Founded in 808 A.D., it's one of the most ancient in Morocco.

In 1981, the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, declared it a world heritage site. The old city is renowned for its religious scholarship in architecture. But the centuries have taken their toll on the elaborate craftsmanship and now, a project to restore the city's ancient architecture is underway. In specialists' workshops, carpenters are hard at work recreating the originals where time and the elements have all but worn away the designs.

Owners of private homes across the city are also busy with renovation work. One of the more eye-catching is this one, referred to as the Riad (ph) or city mansion owned by Marco Mazzochi Alemanni.

MARCO MAZZOCHI ALEMANNI, HOMEOWNER: I bought a house, one of these grand houses here in the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Fez in 1993 and I was actually the first foreigner to ever buy a house in (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Fez. Actually, people have been moving out of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for the previous decades either to the capital of Morocco or to the industrial capital of Morocco or to the new town of Fez.

SMITH: Not far away, a new hotel is opening. This is just one of the many homes being turned into small hotels in the city. Another is the home of Mohammed Alami. He's a radiologist who recently returned to Fez and bought the house where he was born.

MOHAMMED ALAMI, HOMEOWNER: Every house is sold -- is micro product and at the same time, keeps the work for people here because most of the people here, especially young people, as you notice, will have something around 60, 50- 70 persons of people that are less than 40 years old and not -- most of them have no children.

SMITH: All around Fez, the message is clear -- brining life back to this venerable, old city is as much the responsibility of the residents as it is of the authorities. And many here say, if the two can work in harmony, Fez can face its future with optimism.

For CNN's INSIDE AFRICA, I'm Sylvia Smith in Fez, Morocco.


MAKGABO: Now, this unique story out of West Africa is a tale of voodoo politics. It's happening in Togo where parliamentary elections are scheduled for next month and some powerful men in the country are turning to magic or voodoo to predict the outcome of the vote. Alphonso Van Marsh reports.


ALPHONSO VAN MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chants and blessings to the spirits, voodoo traditions at the Guin (UNINTELLIGIBLE) New Year's festival held outside Togo's capital city. Ethnic Guin come from West Africa, Europe and the United States to their tribal homeland for the celebration. They're wishing these men with white body paint luck as they prepare to enter (UNINTELLIGIBLE) outlying forest. The men are looking for sacred painted rocks the Guin chief has hidden there. According to tradition, the rock they find is an indicator of things to come.

(on-camera): Behind me, villagers are waiting for the men to return from the bush with one of four painted rocks. If the rock is white, it means good times and good politics. If the rock is blue, it means good crops. If the rock is yellow, things will be just all right. But if the rock is painted red, people here start praying.

(voice-over): The rock hunt has added significance this year. Togo's political season begins with parliamentary elections.

"Some people might think the voodoo might have some influence on elections because it's so much a part of our culture," this man says. "Some people look for the white stone to indicate how elections will be."

The last time there were multiparty elections, there was also widespread violence, a government crackdown on opposition supporters so severe that the European Union stopped sending aid to protest what it called Togo's lack of pure democracy.

According to the United Nations agency tracking refugees, some 300,00 Togolese fled to neighboring Ghana and other countries. It's estimated less than half have come back.

The voodoo festival is an opportunity for many believers to test the waters for a safe return. The parliamentary vote is a run-run. Earlier elections were protested internationally after opposition party's (UNINTELLIGIBLE) or said they were rigged. Opposition leaders hope this political season is the beginning of the end of Togolese President Gnassingbe Eyadema's 34- year grip on power. Africa's longest serving ruler in the blue suit says he'll step down for 2003 presidential election, unless, he says, the people want him to stay.

In February, Togo's parliament voted to change election guidelines, critics say, making it harder to challenge the ruling party. The change has already drawn street protests, concern from the U.N. and another E.U. funding suspension.

ABOU MOUSSA, LINHCR, WEST AFRICA: People are only waiting for all these elections to be over and they can settle down for their normal life.

VAN MARSH: If there's such a thing as voodoo politics, the president's guarantee of free and fair elections this season should ring true. The men searching the forest return with the sacred white rock, but that much-anticipated event too wasn't without its chaos.

Alphonso Van Marsh, CNN, Gudji, Togo.


MAKGABO: And our look INSIDE AFRICA continues in just a moment.


MAKGABO: Welcome back. You're watching INSIDE AFRICA. Time now to join Feme Oke.

Femi, where are you taking us off to today?

FEMI OKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm taking you off to East Africa, but I'm going to take you back in time. It's an age when Ethiopia was once known as Abyssinia. Here's the story.


CINDY STRAND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dimitri Slavis' (ph) world champion trapeze artists have come home to the Cape Flats to offer a helping hand. Dimitri left behind big money under the big top in Europe to run this circus school. He is an instructor, social worker, father and friend to about 15 core students who jumped at the chance to hang upside down rather than hang out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Usually, we had nothing to do. We just had to sit there, look at each other, sit in the corners, do this, do that. When I first came here, it all changed. Just before, I saw only the ways of life.

STRAND: Gangs ruled their streets. About the only choice for recreation is alcohol and drugs. For some, just getting to the practices of a death-defying act.

DIMITRI SLAVIS: When they see me coming with the white van, it's like -- it's not got a red sticker on it, but it's like the Red Cross saving you and getting you out of that area now.

STRAND: For most of the students, Dimitri and his wife, Nikki (ph), provide the only safety net they have every known.

NIKKI SLAVIS (ph): Some of their families don't really bothered with them. But they come to us and it's like one big happy family base actually.

STRAND: The Slavis' (ph) charge no tuition and are always walking a financial tightrope.

A top a truck that's hardly road worthy, they put their show on the road.

D. SLAVIS: The Dimitri Slavis (ph) Entertainers.

STRAND: On this day, lots of laughs in the roughest neighborhood of the Cape Flats.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's nothing better than a feeling when people are clapping for you and just seeing the people's faces and they're enjoying themselves watching us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One moment, I was like this kid. I wanted to do nothing and other. And I was lazy and all that stuff. I'm still lazy, but when I work, I like to work.

STRAND: Dimitri and Nikki teach something not even the tough, most elite schools can guarantee, self-respect.

D. SLAVIS: The first time they had to give autographs, they couldn't believe it themselves, that people thought that much of them. You can see that in all the (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It's not being like us before.

STRAND: Teamwork, discipline, and dedication, if teaching those skills count then this is the greatest show on earth.

Cindy Strand, CNN for INSIDE AFRICA in the Cape Flats, South Africa.


OKE: Well, that report was about a recreational school offering opportunities for children in Cape Flats of South Africa. And now, we really are going to Ethiopia.


OKE: A colorful celebration in the Ethiopian capitol, Addis Ababa. Thousands crowd the streets to welcome the 400-year-old artifact. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Tablet is an ancient replica of the Ark of the Covenant, used by the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to carry the Ten Commandments from Egypt to the Promised Land. Stolen 134 years ago, the tablet was recently found in a cupboard at St. John's Episcopal Church in Edinburgh, Scotland.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) object have been taken away for about 400 years ago. Now, after 200 years, the people who are (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this holy, sacred object were (UNINTELLIGIBLE). They have returned it to us.

OKE: The tablet was seized by British troops in 1868 after a battle with the Abyssinia Empire, today's Ethiopia. When the battle ended, the Abyssinian emperor committed suicide. British troops then moved into the ancient capital of Magdilla (ph) and plundered the royal fortress.

Hundreds of ancient artifacts were stolen, including manuscripts, gold crowns, crosses and chaises. The Ethiopian Association, for the return of the Magdilla (ph) treasures, says the artifacts could be worth more than $1 billion.

Today, the remaining treasures are held in a British museum, the Victorian Albert Museum and the Queen's Royal Library at the Windsor Castle. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church says it is now time for all of the artifacts to come home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please, will you decide enough to indicate your home governments to convince some of your outstanding scholars that they have to go to whoever they belong to and they could come in the same manner we have (UNINTELLIGIBLE), with a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) manner with what have been done (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Today, what we have brought them here because they will always remain Ethiopian.

OKE: The British Museum has rejected the church's appeal. They site a 1753 law that prohibits museums from repatriating any item that lacks a duplicate.

The Ethiopians hope the arrival of tablet will open the floodgates and lead to the return of all the Magdilla (ph) treasures.


OKE: So that newsreel was a nice close up view of that tablet. That's a wrap for me. Here's Tumi.

MAKGABO: Feme, thank you very much and that's our show for this week. I'm Tumi Makgabo.





Back to the top