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...a sweatshop of moxie

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Question Of Guinea

President Lansana Conté's death was announced on Tuesday in Conakry, Guinea, aged 74. The cause was said to be diabetes.

The last of the so-called "African Big Men" (which included Nkrumah of Ghana, Moi of Kenya, Senghor of Senegal, Kaunda of Zambia), he had held on to power for 24 years, before his death. NGO "Transparency International" had once declared Guinea to be the most corrupt nation on earth, right next to Haiti...

Here is he is, next to then French President Jacques Chirac, in happier times in 1999.

Conté had had Islamic schooling before attending French military boarding schools in Senegal and in the Côte d'Ivoire. Having come to power in a military coup, it comes as no surprise to find out that upon his death, the military have stepped in and declared the government, null and void.

It will be interesting to see how the half-Kenyan US President 'attacks' the continent of Africa. Though unwieldy, and the problem child of the world's continents, I have to say many African countries like Botswana have loads of upside potential. I personally am excited to see how they embrace democracy, and flourish because of it.

You know, President GW Bush, even by Bono's own admission, has been the most generous US President in the history of Africa. His administration sent billions upon billions of dollars of aid to the continent, especially in attempts to curtail the AIDS epidemic -- meeting with some success in such previously hopeless places like Uganda.

Yet I predict here and now that even if Obama does half this, he will reap the rewards in publicity and goodwill far and beyond anything accorded to the departing George Bush.

But then that's not really a prediction, so much as pragmatic reasoning.

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