From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Tue Feb 03 2009 - 08:23:21 EST
Ethiopia's Meles Warns Crisis May Cause African States to Fail
By Jason McLure
February 3, 2009 06:33 EST
Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Half of Africa's nations may become failed or failing
states over the next decade if their governments don't address the global
financial crisis and climate change, Ethiopian Prime Minister
wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1> Meles Zenawi said.
African leaders should unite to demand a financial recovery package for the
continent, Meles said in a speech at the
<http://www.africa-union.org/root/au/index/index.htm> African Union
heads-of-state summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, today.
Compensation should also be sought from industrialized nations for the
effects of global warming.
"It's likely that the coming decade or so will be very dark indeed for
Africa," Meles said. "Our prospects are not bright at all."
Economic growth in Africa may slow to 3.4 percent this year, from 5.2
percent last year, amid expectations that economies such as the U.S., Japan
and the U.K. will suffer their deepest recessions since World War II,
according to the
International Monetary Fund.
Rising global temperatures have intensified the effects of droughts, floods
and storms in Africa, scientists say. Soil damage partly caused by climate
change may plunge the continent, home to 1 billion people, into chaos as
food production declines, according to the <http://www.ciat.cgiar.org>
International Center for Tropical Agriculture.
"We have to recognize the dire consequences of what is unfolding before our
eyes," said Meles. "Our continental organizations should be seized with this
matter in a much more effective and serious matter."
Meles said that Africa should take a more aggressive stance in seeking
compensation from rich countries that have spent billions of dollars bailing
out their financial systems. The world's biggest financial companies have
suffered losses of more than $1 trillion since the outbreak of the U.S.
subprime mortgage crisis in 2007.
"A bank in these countries which is deemed too important to fail is getting
more assistance, more bailout money than the whole continent of Africa,"
said Meles. "We have to insist that Africa is at least as important in the
global economy as the individual banks that are getting the bailouts."
Meles also urged fellow African leaders to nominate a single representative
to lead negotiations at the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen in
December to present a united front on behalf of all 53 countries on the
"The coming decade is likely to be a period of structural transformation and
the associated pain of transition," he said. "The fate of countries and
continents is likely to be determined by how well and how fast they adjust
to the transition. Those who lack these resources and capabilities are
likely to suffer and may even fail."
To contact the reporter on this story:
wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1> Jason McLure in Addis Ababa via Johannesburg at
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