Cameroon- NigeriaThe International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 10 october ruled in favour of Cameroon in a territorial dispute with Nigeria over the Bakassi Peninsula. In its ruling made at The Hague, Netherlands, the court decided that on the basis of an Anglo-German agreement dating back to 1913 "sovereignty over Bakassi lies with Cameroon".
Consequently the court requested that Nigeria expeditiously and without condition withdraw its administration and military or police forces from the peninsula. The court however adopted solutions favorable to Nigeria with regards to the land boundary adjacent to Lake Chad. Cameroon was also asked to withdraw its authority along the "land boundary from Lake Chad to the Bakassi Peninsula on territories which, pursuant to the judgment, fall within the sovereignty of Nigeria".
The peninsula, rich in oil and fisheries, had been a subject of a dispute between the two neighbour countries dating to the first military skirmishes in 1981. In 1994 after Nigeria sent troops to occupy most of the peninsula, Cameroon filed a case before the ICJ for a ruling on the peninsula's ownership.
A statement from Nigeria's Justice Ministry said the judgment doesn't require Nigerian nationals currently residing on the peninsula to leave nor will it affect Nigeria's oil and natural gas reserves.
Any adjustments to both countries' borders in line with the ICJ judgment would make inhabitants of the peninsula Cameroonians and result in the loss of some key oilfields by Nigeria. International oil companies whose concessions are likely to be affected by such an adjustment include US-based Exxon Mobil and Baker Hughes Corporation, Swiss-based Addax Oil, and French company TotalFinaElf - which has oil interests on both sides. In a meeting held in Paris last month, Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Paul Biya of Cameroon pledged to respect the court's ruling.
The Nigerian government statement indicated a readiness to undertake consultations on the ICJ ruling. "It is apparent that there have been both gains and losses for each side. That is natural in a case as large and complex as this," it said.
GabonThe African Development Bank has approved the disbursement of US $500,000 to the Government of Gabon for a national surveillance programme against Ebola, a deadly haemorrhagic fever which has been recurrent in the Central African sub-region since 1972. The grant will, among other things, finance data and information gathering, staff training, procurement of medicine and specialized equipment and monitoring equipment, the Bank said in a news release on 9 October in Abidjan.
Ebola, which is contracted through contact with infected body fluids broke out this year in the northeastern Ogooue-Ivindo region of Gabon and in near-by Congo. The outbreak, which ended May, killed several dozens of people. Ebola is an incurable disease and between 50-90 percent of victims die.
GambiaThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 5 October said that The Gambia's economic performance in 2001 had been mixed. However, significant progress was made in structural reforms.
Positive developments, an IMF press statement said, included continued robust real growth, moderate inflation, preparation of a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy and settlement of property dispute. Progress was also made in implementing the HIPC Initiative completion point triggers, notably on education and health.
There were however fiscal slippages that undermined earlier progress toward fiscal consolidation leading to a sizeable increase in the overall budget deficit, the IMF said.
The statement was issued following the conclusion of consultations between the IMF Board of Directors and The Gambia in July.
It said The Gambia should aim at a sustained improvement in the institutional capacity of tax administration, including the customs administration, appoint an Auditor General, collaborate effectively with donors in improving and broadening public expenditure reviews and enact an anti-money laundering bill. (Source: IRIN)
BeninBenin has intensified a national campaign against child labour, which has attracted at least 600,000 children in a population of 6.7 million people, the InterPress Agency reported on 10 October.
Most child workers, IPS said, come from economically deprived families, work at least ten hours a day, six days a week and are poorly fed.
In the northern cotton growing fields, two-thirds of all cotton labourers are at times children with no protection against the dangerous chemicals they handle, such as pesticides.
Other children, IPS said, work on construction sites, in the fishing industry, in apprenticeship centers, buying and selling; or in homes as domestics especially in the south of the country.
Among other activities, the Confederation of the Beninese Workers conducted a two-week media campaign in September to highlight the plight of child labourers.
A former child labourer, Antonin Hounga, 21, and now President of the Association of Child and Youth Workers of Benin, was quoted as saying: “The issue is not fighting child labour but fighting those things that harm children while they work."
The association is a member of the African Movement of Child and Youth Workers, which was formed in Dakar, Senegal in 1993. The movement fights for better living and working conditions for children and exploitation, saying "Children are not items to be bought and sold".(Source: IRIN)
UgandaWorld Food Programme director Ken Noah Davies told reporters in Kampala that relief food deliveries to Pader district, Kitgum and Gulu had resumed following reports that Pres. Yoweri Museveni has directed the 4th and 5th divisions of a Battalion of UPDF (Uganda People’s Defence Forces) soldiers to escort distribution of relief food. WFP suspended food aid after an ambush of its food convoy by suspected LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) rebels on the Kitgum - Lira road in which a driver was killed.
The Kony (LRA) rebels have been fighting the Uganda government for 16 years from their bases in Southern Sudan (Source: New Vision)
MozambiqueGeorge Gelber, CAFOD’s (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) Head of Public Policy said on 2 October: “If labour wants to be bold in the area of development the government should use its influence in global institutions to secure 100% debt relief for the world’s poorest countries …”
This appeal was made after Prime Minister Tony Blair’s speech at a Labour Party Conference recounting his observations during a visit to Mozambique. “I visited Beira District Hospital …” with very few doctors “four children to a bed, sick with malaria. Nurses dying of AIDS … thousands of children dying in the country needlessly every year.”
CAFOD also called the government to use its influence in global institutions to … stop dumping of food produced under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which is destroying the livelihood of millions of families in developing countries.
CAP is a post World War II agricultural policy in Europe to encourage the farmer to produce more by protection against cheaper food imports. (Source: Independent Catholic News)