Top stories from the Development and Aid World News Service — DAWNS Digest.
Coup in Mali: The Fallout
We are learning a bit more about the mutineers: They were a group of mostly junior officers, more hardline than the deposed president, and wanted greater resources to fight the Tuareg rebels. But why depose the president when elections were only one month away with the president not seeking re-election? “In a televised statement, the military officers representing the country’s new rulers said they were “putting an end to the incompetent regime of Amadou Toumani Toure.” The U.S. and the pan-continental African Union immediately condemned the move, which robbed the West of a rare example of a democratic transfer of power in Africa. Toure, who is believed to be alive and in hiding, was finishing his second term as president. The constitution did not allow him to run for a third term, but unlike some of his peers, the Malian leader never attempted to rewrite the books to hang onto power. The U.S. stands “with the legitimately elected government,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement, while Jean Ping, the commission chair of the African Union, said the military takeover “constitutes a significant setback for Mali.” The timing also raises questions about the motives of the coup leaders and whether they intend to return power to civilians after elections, as they claimed. “It is quite surprising to have a military coup just before an election in which the president was stepping down,” said Gilles Yabi, an analyst for the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based group that studies conflicts around the world. “I understand the mutineers have no clear plan on what to do with power now.” (Miami Herald http://bit.ly/GHzvcc)
African Ministers Want Their Nigerian Counterpart to Lead the World Bank
World Bank election intrigue! “South Africa has called a news conference for Friday to announce an African candidate for the World Bank presidency, widely expected to be Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, sources familiar with the discussions said on Thursday…A statement from South Africa’s Treasury said the Finance Ministers of Angola, Nigeria and South Africa would hold a news conference in Pretoria on Friday, although it did not disclose details of the agenda. Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo are set to make the first concerted challenge to the U.S. grip on the top job at the World Bank, sources told Reuters this week. Brazil said this week that both Okonjo-Iweala and Ocampo would be “great” candidates to replace Robert Zoellick as head of the Washington-based development institution, the latest sign of emerging nations wanting more say in how it is run.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/GRX2SX)
NGOs Warn of Huge TB Funding Shortfall
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria estimates a $1.7 billion funding shortfall over the next five years in its efforts against Tuberculosis. Further, 3.4 million patients will go untreated and the world could take some backwards steps in the effort to control TB. “The three NGOs who issued their statement ahead of World TB Day on March 24, called on governments to scale up funding of TB, HIV and malaria programs at a G20 meeting in Mexico in June in an effort to replenish the Global Fund with $2 billion. The public-private Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the world’s largest financial backer of the fight against the three infectious diseases, said in November it had been forced to cancel new grants and would make no new funding available until 2014. Oxley said the effect of that decision was to create a funding shortfall of $1.7 billion for work on treating TB over the next five years. Since it was founded in 2002, the Global Fund says it has helped detect and treat 8.6 million cases of TB. The international medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said the lack of Global Fund money put the fight against TB at risk and would leave countries “unable to aggressively tackle their TB epidemics.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/GJRhEI)