The International Decade for People of African Descent

B4hNNVRCEAAPbBV

Appiah – This decade 2015-2014 has been declared the International Decade for People of African Descent. It’s laudable initiative but not a strong enough denunciation and rejection of the atrocities perpetrated against people of African descent. When one reads the full background of this proclamation,  we cannot help but feel this resolution was birthed in part as a result of recent police brutalities against people of colour in the United States of America with the Justice Department seemingly looking the other way. If this was the case, it should have been stated as such. If these atrocities happened anywhere else, chances are the resolution would have been more straight to the point calling out names and demanding justice. But the nation committing these atrocities is not just any other nation. Its the United States of America- the lone standing hegemon in the international system.

Not only is the United States of America the sole hegemon in the international system, it also picks up a sizable portion of the bills at the United Nations and its agencies. Since the United Nations depends to an extent on United States of America’s financial support, it seems it is ‘wary’ of directly reprimanding or rebuking the United States of America forthright. Instead it has chosen a round about approach, making use of blanket statements that point no fingers at the United States of America.

The above notwithstanding, the following background information is quite informative.


United Nations – There are around 200 million people identifying themselves as being of African descent live in the Americas. Many millions more live in other parts of the world, outside of the African continent.

Whether as descendants of the victims of the transatlantic slave trade or as more recent migrants, they constitute some of the poorest and most marginalized groups. Studies and findings by international and national bodies demonstrate that people of African descent still have limited access to quality education, health services, housing and social security.

In many cases, their situation remains largely invisible, and insufficient recognition and respect has been given to the efforts of people of African descent to seek redress for their present condition. They all too often experience discrimination in their access to justice, and face alarmingly high rates of police violence, together with racial profiling.

Furthermore, their degree of political participation is often low, both in voting and in occupying political positions.

In addition, people of African descent can suffer from multiple, aggravated or intersecting forms of discrimination based on other related grounds, such as age, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, social origin, property, disability, birth, or other status.

The promotion and protection of human rights of people of African descent has been a priority concern for the United Nations. The Durban Declaration and Programme of Action acknowledged that people of African descent were victims of slavery, the slave trade and colonialism, and continue to be victims of their consequences.

The Durban process raised the visibility of people of African descent and contributed to a substantive advancement in the promotion and protection of their rights as a result of concrete actions taken by States, the United Nations, other international and regional bodies and civil society.

Still, despite these advances, racism and racial discrimination, both direct and indirect, de facto and de jure, continue to manifest themselves in inequality and disadvantage.

The International Decade for People of African Descent, proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 68/237 and to be observed from 2015 to 2024, provides a solid framework for the United Nations, Member States, civil society and all other relevant actors to join together with people of African descent and take effective measures for the implementation of the programme of activities in the spirit of recognition, justice and development.

It is also a unique opportunity to build on the International Year for People of African Descent, which was observed by the international community in 2011, and to further underline the important contribution made by people of African descent to our societies and to propose concrete measures to promote their full inclusion and to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

Source: UN Web Services Section, Department of Public Information

INVITATION: 2014 State of the Nation Summit

GLY
Click to enlarge image

You are cordially invited to participate in the 2014 STATE OF THE NATION SUMMIT, being held October 25, 2014, at the Sam Jonah Hall at the African University College of Communication, Accra, Ghana. The theme under consideration is: National Transformation: Role of the Youth.

The organizers would be delighted to have you join in the State of the Nation Summit. Personal invitations are not necessary to attend. This is an open event, and we welcome everyone who is interested in increasing their knowledge about the current state of the nation and what they can personally do to contribute to a positive transformational process.

The organizers are Team One CaaT GH—transforming one community at a time.

Rawlings, Restoring Morality To Global Affairs: When the right of might supersedes the sacred might of right

Solomon Appiah:

Below is a part of a speech by Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings on 12 September 2014 at a seminar attended by Namibian Prime Minister, leading Pan Africanists and other political figures. The Ex-Prez made some relevant observations about the global order. Here is one:

“In one fell swoop, the right of might was made to supersede and almost destroy the sacred might of right.”

This was the case with U.S. interventions in Afghanistan, Libya and the Ukraine. I like the United States of America. It is a great country with some amazing history and people.

Morality is not an easy subject to broach in our day—not by even the most ‘moral’ voices of our times. A man with alleged blood on his hands (by way of the coup d’état) might be deemed by some unfit to give such a public address on morality.

But with such an opinion, I’d beg to differ. Truth is Truth regardless of the mouth from which it ushers. President Rawlings has a somewhat blemished record tied to the military government he headed. Agreed! But to his credit, unlike some of SSA’s military rulers, he eventually returned Ghana to democratic rule despite the huge support he still enjoys from the Ghana Armed Forces. Do read his remarks with an unbiased lens if possible.

For the full speech read the shared blog below

Originally posted on J.J. Rawlings:

President Pohamba welcomes President RawlingsGhana’s former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, has in an address in Windhoek, Namibia, challenged the United States and other Western powers to restore morality into the manner they manage global affairs.

View original 5,105 more words

What are Illicit Financial Flows?

GFI Graph
GFI Graph

The Global financial Integrity disclosed that, “As a percent of GDP, Sub-Saharan Africa suffers more from illicit financial outflows than any other region in the world”. The gravity of this statement is better appreciated when one considers that this part of the globe constitutes a huge percentage of the world’s youthful populations—many of which are poor, live on less than a dollar a day and suffer from low human development with poor access to healthcare, education and security. In effect, the region that needs help the most suffers the most from Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) which if rightfully curbed could aid development.

In the past I have written about Illicit Financial Flows in my article entitled “Africa: Tackling Illicit Outflows” but I have not really taken the time to define what they are. So what are they?

Illicit flows are all unrecorded private financial outflows involving capital that is illegally earned, transferred, or utilized, generally used by residents to accumulate foreign assets in contravention of applicable capital controls and regulatory frameworks. Thus, even if the funds earned are legitimate, such as the profits of a legitimate business, their transfer abroad in violation of exchange control regulations or corporate tax laws would render the capital illicit.

This definition was taken from the Global Financial Integrity Report dubbed, “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2002-2011“.

Illicit Money & Flight Capital

Further deepening our understanding, below is an excerpt from another report which defines some more terms for the uninitiated titled, “Illicit Financial Flows From Africa: Hidden Resource For Development“:

Illicit money is money that is illegally earned, transferred, or utilized. If it breaks laws in its origin, movement, or use it merits the label.

Flight capital takes two forms. The legal component stays on the books of the entity or individual making the outward transfer. The illegal component is intended to disappear from records in the country from which it comes.

By far the greatest part of unrecorded flows are indeed illicit, violating the national criminal and civil codes, tax laws, customs regulations, VAT assessments, exchange control requirements, or banking regulations of the countries out of which the unrecorded/illicit flows occur.

There are two main channels through which illicit capital, unrecorded in official statistics, can leave a country.

The World Bank Residual model captures the first channel through which illicit capital leaves a country through its external accounts. The second type of illicit flows, generated through the mispricing of trade transactions, is captured by the Trade Misinvoicing model which uses IMF Direction of Trade Statistics.

Mohamed Sultan, an economic governance program officer at the Open Society Initiative for West Africa offers yet another explanation of IFFs as follows:

When money is moved secretly and illegally from one jurisdiction to another, this constitutes an illegal financial flow. For developing countries, the term refers to money that leaves the continent instead of being used to finance development.

Such funds may be proceeds from organized crime, smuggling, corruption, money laundering, tax evasion, or international trade manipulations.

He adds:

While concentrated in a few countries such as Nigeria and Ghana, and essentially stemming from extractive and mining industries, IFFs are a burden for nearly all West African countries. Across the continent, only 3 percent of IFFs are derived from government corruption, while 33 percent comes from organized criminal activity and 64 percent from trade manipulations.

African economies have lost between $597 billion and $1.4 trillion in illicit financial flows in the past three decades. That’s nearly equal to the entire continent’s current gross domestic product. This plunder results in missed development opportunities, increased poverty, and continued injustice.

While many African nations are experiencing unprecedented economic growth, illicit financial flows (IFFs) prevent this growth from translating into better overall living conditions for Africans.

For more on measurements and the impact of IFFs on the human family and specifically sub-Saharan Africa, read the hyperlinked reports.


Africa Tells EU to Back Off Uganda, Nigeria

African,_Caribbean_and_Pacific_Group_of_States_member_nations_map

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article titled Africa and the West: Revising the Rules of Engagement. It tackled what in my opinion was uncivil and derogatory treatment of Uganda and Nigeria (and by extension the entire sub-Saharan African people) by some developed countries. These countries attempted to use development assistance as a control mechanism to force these states to abrogate an anti-gay bill arrived at democratically through parliamentary and executive arms of governments.

I wondered why African leaders had not yet spoken up for their citizens and beliefs. In addition to withdrawing aid, the European Union had gone as far as tabling the EU Parliament resolution of 13 March 2014 on launching consultations to suspend Uganda and Nigeria from the Cotonou Agreement in view of recent legislation further criminalising homosexuality (2014/2634(RSP)).

Today I was very pleased to chance upon a response to the EU Parliament from the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP)—79 member nations, all signatories to the Cotonou Agreement save Cuba. .

The Parliamentary Assembly of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States answered the West by issuing the following DECLARATION OF THE ACP PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY on recent proposals adopted by the EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT with regard to UGANDA and NIGERIA.

It is good to see Africans and other developing nations speaking up for what they believe in and not cowering at intimidatory control measures from the West. Hopefully this is a sign that Africans, Caribbeans and the people of the pacific are ready to take up the mantle of responsible [independent vis-à-vis controlled] leadership required to forge a better future for their peoples.

-

Solomon Appiah
Twitter: @s_apiah
Email: connect@solomonappiah.com

 

Africa: Tackling Illicit Outflows

Flickr/Enough Food IF
Flickr/Enough Food IF

The Global Financial Integrity (GFI) report estimates that sub-Saharan Africa loses more than twice as much in illicit financial outflows than it receives in aid. According to Kevin Watkins, executive director of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), transfer or trade mispricing is a practice that facilitates the shifting of profits to low-tax jurisdictions. He explains this practice costs less-developed countries “in excess of $550 billion annually: more than five times annual aid flows.” The lack of transparency in the global financial system facilitates such behavior among multi- and transnational corporations. Tax havens are the favorite destinations for such illicit transfers, which otherwise could have been used to boost economic and industrial development.

According to another GFI report, a conservative estimate for overall illicit outflows from Africa, exempting all other flows in illegal activities from 1970 to 2008, total $1.8 trillion. The 2013 Africa Progress Report, citing the GFI investigation, also puts the average annual loss to Africa from 2008 to 2010 at $38 billion — higher than development aid to this region in the same timeframe. Furthermore…

For more, do read this article titled Africa: Tackling Illicit Outflows on the Fair Observer° platform filed in the Economics section.

Competing Interests: The Ukrainian Crisis

Flickr/mac_ivan
Flickr/mac_ivan

Ukraine’s former president Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych was removed from office on 22 February 2014. Since then, U.S., E.U. and Russian diplomats have been working to influence the future of Ukraine.

After Yanukovych’s removal, Ukraine’s parliament took the decision to cancel a law that gives legal status to the Russian language in Ukraine. This would have potentially disadvantaged the Russian speaking population in Ukraine. Additionally, Russia recognizes the removal of Yanukovych as illegal and unconstitutional making some arguments based on Ukrainian law during a press conference with Putin.

With the escalation of Western efforts in Ukraine, Russia deployed troops to the Crimea region. The West demanded Russia to pull its troops out under the threat of sanctions which the West imposed on 6 March. The U.S. expanded visa bans on Russian officials and hopes to get E.U. support in imposing further sanctions aimed at Russia’s financial infrastructure and foreign property holdings.

For the FULL article please click this link…

Equity and Justice form the foundation of enlightened ethical leadership—Solomon Appiah

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 39 other followers