IRIN Update 447 for 27-29 June 1998.3.29

IRIN Update 447 for 27-29 June 1998.3.29

U N I T E D N A T I O N S Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa

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IRIN Update No. 447 for Central and Eastern Africa (Saturday-Monday 27-29 June 1998)


Six African heads of state have arrived in Kinshasa for the opening today (Monday) of the annual conference of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). The meeting takes place under a cloud of debt and lack of investment in the region. Reuters reported state radio as saying the main focus of the summit would likely be on free trade, transport, communications and investment. It added that President Frederick Chiluba of Zambia, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, President Sam Njoma of Namibia, President Pierre Buyoya of Burundi, President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi and Kenya's President Daniel arap Moi would all attend the meeting. A first deputy prime minister from Uganda and a senior minister from Swaziland were also due to take part in the one-day conference.

Burundi appeals for summit support on ending sanctions

Burundi radio reported yesterday (Sunday) that Bujumbura had appealed to countries attending the COMESA summit to work for the lifting of sanctions imposed by regional states following the coup that brought Buyoya to power. "The Burundian people have suffered long enough from the consequences of the embargo. Moreover the Burundian government believes it has done everything in its power to bring about the lifting of the embargo and urges the COMESA summit to bear witness to this," the radio quoted a government statement as saying. On Saturday, Buyoya launched a book entitled "Mission Possible", arguing that reconciliation between Burundians was a "difficult but possible task".

Meanwhile, Tanzania says it is losing more than US $7 million a year due to the economic sanctions imposed on neighbouring Burundi. Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Emmanuel Mwambulukutu told parliament last week that the loss was due to suspension of trade between landlocked Burundi and a number of government agencies, state-owned Radio Tanzania reported. But Mwambulukutu ruled out unilateral lifting of the sanctions by Tanzania.

Publication of UN rights report delayed by one day

The official publication of a UN report into human rights violations in the former Zaire has been delayed one day until tomorrow (Tuesday), a UN spokesman told IRIN. The report, which was originally scheduled to be released today, was compiled by a team of human rights experts who visited DRC earlier this year. After spending many fruitless months in the country, the investigative team was finally pulled out last April with the UN alleging numerous obstacles had been placed in its way and prevented it from properly fulfilling its mandate.

RWANDA: IMF approves three-year ESAF credit for Rwanda

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a three-year loan for Rwanda amounting to US $95 million under the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF). The IMF said in a statement released last week that the money was in support of the government's economic programme which began in April this year and runs to March 2001. The first annual loan of US $32 million is available in two equal semi-annual installments.

The multilateral lending agency said since the end of the country's civil war in 1994, Rwanda has made substantial progress in rebuilding its severely-damaged infrastructure. It added that most of the internally-displaced people have been settled, the country has made progress in rebuilding its capacity for management, restored macroeconomic stability and initiated key structural reforms. But the IMF said Rwanda's administrative and institutional capacity in the public sector remained weak. It said to ensure sustained human resource development, higher social expenditure would be needed, and increased amounts of concessional external assistance and more flexible donor commitments would be required over the long term.

OAU names chairman of genocide panel

The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) has named former Botswanan President HE Sir Ketumile Masire as chairman of a seven-person panel to investigate the causes of the 1994 genocide. OAU Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim rejected suggestions the OAU probe was too late, saying the aim was to draw lessons from the tragedy, not to apportion blame and ensure no such thing ever happened again.

Meanwhile, Radio Rwanda reported on Saturday that two former soldiers accused of genocide had appeared in court. It said Peter Bizimana and Alois Mazimpaka, were are accused of having killed several people in Butare, appeared on Friday in Butare court. The prosecution requested the death penalty. The case was adjourned until 27 July.

CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: ADB gives US $500,000 for health services

The African Development Bank (ADB) has announced it was giving Congo Republic US $500,000 in emergency aid to improve health facilities in the war-ruined capital Brazzaville. The money will be used for basic health care, to renovate and equip health centres and support vaccination programmes.

Four killed in explosion

Three children and one adult were killed last week while handling explosive devices in Brazzaville, local media reported on Saturday. The children were playing with an unspecified device when it blew up early in the week in Quenze district, Radio Congo said in a report monitored by AFP in Kinshasa. Meanwhile, Radio Liberte said one person was killed and three others were seriously injured in another explosion in Poto-Poto when they were trying to disarm an explosive device.

UGANDA: South Africans urged to invest

South African Democratic Party leader Tony Leon has urged his country's business community to invest in Uganda, which he said had a tax policy favourable to foreign investors. "I would certainly encourage people to come here ... I would say come and see a country which is trying to implement the one economic system which, warts and all, has been proven to encourage economic growth," Leon was quoted as saying by AFP on Saturday at the end of a three-day visit to Uganda. Leon said low corporate tax, the absence of foreign exchange controls and an "extremely flexible" labour market made Uganda a viable investment destination.

US $70 million lost in graft - report

The latest annual report of the auditor general says Uganda "lost" about US $69.6 million or 7.6 percent of Ugandan public expenditure from the treasury, the weekly 'EastAfrican' reported today. The paper quoted the report as saying the funds were lost through unauthorised cash withdrawals and unaccounted for and incorrect expenditures. Total government expenditure in the year ending June last year was US $913.4 million. The auditor general's annual report is considered the best indicator of corruption in government departments, the weekly newspaper said. Meanwhile, donor countries have resolved to take a firmer stand on accountability for all funds disbursed after the Japanese government demanded a refund of US $2 million allegedly stolen by Ugandan government officials.

AFRICA: Some parts of Africa show one in four people infected with AIDS virus

In certain areas of Africa, one in four adults are now infected with the virus which causes full-blooded AIDS, according to a UN report issued in Geneva. It said individual country analysis showed that out of the 30 million people infected worldwide, 21 million were in Africa.

The UNAIDS report, released ahead of the 12th International AIDS Conference which started yesterday in Geneva, said there was however a slowing of infection rates in Uganda, Tanzania, Senegal and Thailand as a result of strong prevention programmes adopted by those countries.

But the report warned that South Africa, Namibia and other African countries could soon reach a 25 percent adult infection rate unless leaders undertook similar measures. It said the majority of infected Africans would die from AIDS because their countries could not afford the costly combination of drugs that have helped keep the virus in check among infected people in developed countries.

Nairobi, Monday 29 June 1998 14:00 GMT


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Date: Mon, 29 Jun 1998 17:50:46 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Central and Eastern Africa: IRIN Update 447 for 27-29 June 1998.3.29 Message-ID: <>

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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