Politics

Fri,14Dec2018

Politics

Richard Dowden and Parselelo Kantai debate African 'deal democracy'

Gemma Ware

 

Last year’s disastrous elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe raised new questions about what kind of democratic practice works best in Africa. Here our East Africa correspondent Parselelo Kantai challenges the case for “more inclusive systems of democracy” which was put forward by Richard Dowden in an article in Prospect magazine, the main points of which we reproduce here:

 

Richard Dowden?

 

?Can electoral democracy work in Africa? After catastrophically bad elections in Nigeria, Kenya and Zimbabwe, many people, both inside and outside the continent, are starting to have doubts.?

 

There is certainly no lack of elections – almost all the continent’s 53 countries are multiparty democracies, and since the beginning of 2007, they have held 35 presidential or parliamentary elections – just not very much real democracy.

 

?Western governments point to the rising number of elections in Africa and claim that their flaws are merely teething problems. The assumption is that electorates will force governments to behave better and deliver development for their citizens. But this is not the case. Many African rulers have neither the will nor the capacity to improve the lives of their people, and the people do not, at this stage, have the political power to force change through democratic mechanisms. Vote-rigging and election-related violence are getting worse, not better.?

 

Behind the façade of African nation states lie networks of political and business elites. These may be family, ethnic, regional, religious or social in basis, but no one can escape them. Power and influence in Africa is exercised mainly through such connections. It is very hard for people like judges and civil servants to operate independently of them. Those who try to uphold the rules are often overruled by other, more powerful players whose commitment to national development depends on their own interests.?

 

From the late 1980s into the 21st century, the Western agenda – ‘open your markets, allow multi-party politics and respect human rights’ – was written across Africa. But that period came to an end on 12 July 2008 with the Chinese and Russian veto of the UN resolution calling for sanctions on Zimbabwe. Now African governments have other allies, who ask no questions.?

 

Those used to Western multiparty democracy may see a government of national unity – outside a national emergency – as a form of authoritarianism. But looked at from Africa, governments of national unity may be the best way of holding these countries together, as long as they are constrained by accountability and the rule of law. Elections would not bestow absolute power but serve to determine the share of power.

 

?Politically and culturally, Africa needs more inclusive systems – an African form of proportional representation. The trick is to combine this with the rule of law, checks and balances, and the right to dissent. A better system might be for electoral support to determine not only how many seats in parliament a party gets, but how many positions in government. It could hardly be worse.

 

??Parselelo Kantai??

 

There are many problems with this argument. By privileging the West it hints, once again, at a new set of experimental solutions either promoted or supported by the West. More worrying is its prescriptive one-size-fits-all approach. While Richard’s Prospect piece is a cautionary tale of how disastrous Western intervention has been for Africa, he cannot help doing the same. Even as he rightly identifies the fragmentary nature of African states – the states within states bound by the colonial project – his proposed solutions fail to see beyond the elite competition for power. Power-sharing at the top does not necessarily translate into consensus at the bottom.?

 

The true meaning of power-sharing in Kenya – a re-orientation of power at the centre among rival political elites, but elites nonetheless – has become clearer with every passing day. Sold to the Kenyan public as a means of fixing deep-seated ethnic and resource-distribution problems as well as a real attempt at creating national cohesion, attempts at deepening power-sharing have been half-hearted and vague. Political deal-making and the noisy re-alignment of the politics around President Mwai Kibaki’s succession suggest that real political intentions lie elsewhere.?

 

He fails to mention the enduring struggles within African countries for a new constitutional order. In multiethnic republics such as Kenya, power-sharing remains a fiction without the establishment of a constitutional infrastructure that first acknowledges historical contradictions – that we were thrown together by a colonial enterprise but have always, to paraphrase Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, been held together by geography. Building such infrastructure is perhaps the first step to solving the riddle of governance. ??

 

Richard Dowden

 

??Parselelo has misunderstood what I am saying and where I am coming from on the issue of first-past-the-post, winner-takes-all multiparty democracy in Africa. He accuses me of “privileging the West”, whereas I am doing the exact opposite. I am complaining that this ‘Western’ model of democracy has been imposed on Africa by outsiders and Africa’s ruling elites. It does not appear to be producing stable, effective states, and the reason may be that it does not suit the multiethnic make-up of Africa’s artificially-created states. As used, most blatantly in Kenya, by ruling elites to secure power through ethnic chauvinism, it will always leave a group of losers excluded by government.?

 

Nor was I calling for a single ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer. I drew attention to this problem with the suggestion that Africans should develop new constitutional systems of their own, more suitable to their circumstances. Western democratic systems grew out of European and American history, and I do not believe that they are either universal or the best forms of democracy for all nation states. Africans must develop their own. But which Africans? I would like to hear more about these “enduring struggles within African countries for a new constitutional order”.

 

?Parselelo Kantai

 

??I find Richard’s arguments both over-determined and reductive. As far as he is concerned, Africa is Europe’s fault. Europeans created those arbitrary colonial boundaries and gave us Westminster-style governments. The former ignores the fact that Africans, for good or ill, consciously retained those colonial borders on the premise that, having been dealt a bad card, they were determined nevertheless to begin forging new realities. That was the meaning of independence. Whether they failed or succeeded, they had, by the act of taking power, now become solely responsible for their destiny. The blame-the-West game is, therefore, dead. Blame the Africans.?

 

Most worrying is his power-sharing idea. By portraying it as a kind of affirmative-action argument in the negative, a cry of surrender for a continent chronically unable to play by the rules of normal democratic competition, Dowden (inadvertently, one hopes) endorses criminal behaviour. The trigger for the violence in Kenya last year was that President Kibaki stole the election, as did Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. Power-sharing was introduced as a stop-gap measure. Nobody recognises it as a permanent solution. In Kenya, it will soon cannibalise itself as rival factions of the corrupt coalition turn against each other in a bid to protect themselves from rising public anger.

 

?Dowden’s power-sharing argument only holds in a context of failure. It is designed with the idea of impending doom in mind. Coming in the immediate aftermath of the Kenyan and Zimbabwean debacles, I dare say that this theorising would have been considerably less bold if the outcome of the Ghanaian elections had been known.

Profile: John Githongo, Kenyan anti-corruption fighter

Gemma Ware

 

Githongo has announced he will work at the grass-roots level from now on, rather than in Kenya’s central government offices, to eliminate the scourge of corruption which continues ?to infect the two parties involved in the current government of national unity

 

“The next phase of the battle against corruption will be at the grass roots,” says Kenya’s leading anti-graft activist, John Githongo. “We all got it wrong,” he told a gathering of business people, diplomats and journalists at London’s Commonwealth Club in March. Dressed in jeans and a batik shirt, Githongo explained to them that his new strategy was to work with the people from the bottom up, on a national campaign for more honest and effective government. ?Relieved to be out of government, Githongo refers to the coalition formed last year between President Mwai Kibaki and prime minister Raila Odinga as a “government held together by the glue of corruption”. ?

 

Setting up state-financed anti-corruption agencies in Africa has been an expensive mistake, said Githongo. Years earlier, a friend had warned Githongo that his campaigns for governments to police their own corrupt officials would be fruitless: “You don’t expect these politicians to throw themselves in jail, do you?”?

 

Githongo graduated from investigative journalist to civic activist and then to his appointment as anti-corruption czar in the government under President Kibaki in January 2003. Days earlier, then a new president, Kibaki had proclaimed to cheers from jubilant supporters: “Corruption would now cease to be a way of life in Kenya.” ?

Githongo biograpy
1965 Born in the UK
1994-2002 Columnist
for The East African
1999-2002 Executive director
for Transparency International-Kenya
2003 Appointed presidential advisor
on governance and anti-corruption
May 2004 Justice minister Murungi
urges Githongo to ‘go slow’ on investigations
Jan. 2005 Githongo resigns during
a visit to the UK??
Sept. 2008 Returns to Kenya

 

The problems started with Githongo’s investigations into several corrupt deals, known as the Anglo-Leasing scandal, which implicated people in Kibaki’s government. “These ministers, my closest colleagues, sat there and told me to my face that they were the ones doing the stealing,” Githongo told his friend, the writer Michela Wrong. “Once they said that, I knew I had to go.”?

 

In fact, Githongo lasted just two years as anti-corruption czar before he turned up on Wrong’s London doorstep with a load of suitcases and a quartet of trilling cellphones. He had decided on self-imposed exile after ministers had sabotaged his investigations and Kibaki had declined to back him.

 

T?he Githongo dossier?

 

Friends advised him to keep quiet for his safety, but he wanted to go public. Having secured a fellowship at St Antony’s College at Oxford University, he invited journalists from Kenya’s Daily Nation for a briefing. The result was the ‘Githongo dossier’ – two weeks of headlining stories which left the Kenyan government’s reputation in tatters.?

 

Kibaki reluctantly sacked three of his ministers, although he reinstated two of them later.

 

The Githongo affair points to the weakness of Western and international financial institutions working in Kenya, most of which averted their gaze from the evidence of corruption. At the time, the World Bank saw no conflict of interest in its resident representative renting a house owned by Kibaki. Only a few rocked the boat, such as Britain’s dissident former high commissioner, Sir Edward Clay, much to the embarrassment of the British government, which wanted to open the aid taps wider.

 

?Just before Githongo swept through Europe on his latest trip in February 2009, Nairobi was grinding to a halt because of a chronic fuel shortage following the diversion of $100m of fuel from the state pipeline company. And there was an uproar in parliament about the involvement of senior figures in the Kibaki government in gross profiteering on the distribution of maize meal while hundreds of thousands of Kenyans were going hungry.?

 

Githongo returned to Kenya last September like an old warrior from a forgotten war. There was drama at Jomo Kenyatta airport, with TV cameras trained on his hulking figure as he strode into the arrivals hall. The newspapers documented his return – he had been invited to speak at a forum on corruption – but it seemed the media’s appetite for Githongo’s graft-busting activities was fading.?

 

Kibaki’s allies suppressed their feelings, with the exception of Chris Murungaru, the former interior minister whom Githongo had implicated in the Anglo-Leasing saga. Murungaru served notice that Githongo would be sued for defamation.?

 

Murungaru and colleagues pushed the idea that he was a traitor, passing government secrets to Clay, an accusation both denied. An espionage conspiracy was manufactured, linking Githongo’s birth in the UK, his university education in Wales, his international contacts and his self-imposed exile. The charge took on an ethnic significance. His family background – his father had been Jomo Kenyatta’s auditor – placed him inside the Kikuyu elite that had been the beneficiaries of Kenyatta’s largesse.

 

Growth from the roots

 

?Githongo always struck me as a very driven personality, first and foremost a person who wanted to change things. Recruiting people from across the country for the anti-corruption campaign, he resolutely opposed the idea of “ethnic entitlement”. He expected everyone to work as hard as he had.

 

Passing through London in April 2005, I visited him a few months into his exile. I sat talking with him and Mwalimu Mati, then deputy director of Transparency International-Kenya (TI-Kenya). A crisis was brewing in Nairobi. Gladwell Otieno, who had replaced Githongo as head of TI-Kenya, was under pressure from the directors to resign after she condemned the Kibaki government’s corruption. The board of directors was chaired by Joe Wanjui, who had founded TI-Kenya with support from Githongo’s father Joseph. Wanjui was one of a group of Kikuyu elders who had proposed Githongo for his appointment as anti-corruption czar in 2003. ?

 

Eventually, Otieno was forced to resign. With her departure and with Githongo in exile, the Kibaki government had cleared the decks. After our meeting, Githongo called me several times. He would usually be on a noisy street and out of breath. “I think there’s a guy following me, a Kenyan. Let’s keep talking. I’m trying to shake him off.”?

 

It was not clear who was following Githongo. He suspected the intelligence services, but there were others. He had spotted an Asian man with a video camera trained on his flat, a man he suspected had been hired by a businessmen implicated in Anglo-Leasing. Rather than intending to harm him, it appeared that they were letting him know that they knew where he was.

 

?The cloak-and-dagger era may be over, but Githongo still has enemies. He seems philosophical about that. More than ever, he says, a popular campaign is necessary to unite Kenya. “The violence of 2007-2008 shook the entire country. There is a widespread awareness that we are at a pivotal moment – the moment is pregnant with both hope and dangerous possibilities.”

Interview: Dambisa Moyo, author of Dead Aid

 

The Africa Report: You talk about the vicious cycle of aid. How has it damaged Africa?

 

Dambisa Moyo: There are four big problems that emerge from aid. One is the obvious one: the corruption, the fact that you’re giving somebody something for free, no strings attached.

The second problem is aid dependency, which is the whole notion that you create a society heavily burdened and laden with bureaucracy, which is very inefficient and essentially kills off the entrepreneurial culture.

The third problem has to do with this economic term called ‘Dutch disease’, although they usually call it the oil curse. It actually applies to aid as well, where you have these large inflows of capital which really kill off the export sector.

Then finally, disenfranchising the middle class; governments become beholden or responsible to report to donors and they don’t have any obligation to report to the domestic citizenry.

 

Do you think charitable aid causes the same problems?

 

To me, the current situation in Africa should not be, and is not, the model under which I think anybody wants a continent to survive.

Do we want 25,000 NGOs running around a continent? If the aspiration is to ensure economic growth in these countries and reduce poverty, then the ultimate goal should be [for NGOs] to say that we want to ensure that at some point in the future we no longer exist because we would have attained those goals.

The question then becomes, are these NGOs doing what will ensure they cease to exist? It’s not obvious that they are.?

 

How responsible is the aid industry for continuing the open-ended aid cycle?

 

We know that countries that have relied on aid have consistently done worse than countries that don’t. We know that countries that have used the capital markets have much more transparency, they often attract more foreign direct investment than countries who do not.

Why are we focusing on an interventionist model when we know that this is not the model that has delivered growth?

 

Should some government-to-government aid strengthen civil society in Africa?

 

What you should be looking to do is to ensure that you have the growth of a middle class – which is what happens in the rest of the world – a middle class that has economic power and therefore starts to push on certain civil society reforms or requirements, things like property rights and so on.

From my perspective it seems very short-sighted and almost naïve to continue to rely on aid.

  

Dambisa Moyo is a former banker with Goldman Sachs and author of Dead Aid: Why aid is not working and how there is a better way for Africa

  

Back to Aid in Crisis, Who is helping whom? 

New reality for the world's heavyweight financiers

Gemma Ware

 

The ‘philanthrocapitalism’ of rich financiers in New York and London could soon fade. Eager to put the rigours of the boardroom to work solving the world’s problems, these ‘new philanthropists’ started their own foundations and played by their own rules. Inspired by the philanthropy of Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Scottish tycoon Sir Tom Hunter pledged to give £1bn to charity over his lifetime. Hedge-fund billionaire Arpad Busson founded Absolute Return for Kids to work on HIV/AIDS prevention in Southern Africa, and regularly raises upwards of £25m pounds from wealthy friends at an annual gala dinner. ?

 

Some just pushed their way in. One charity, started in 2002 by Irish property-developer Niall Mellon, built 11,000 homes in South African townships by flying in groups of international volunteers to do the work, but had to be told to slow down by the municipalities, which struggled to keep up building new drains and roads.?

 

According to a survey by the New York-based Foundation Centre, giving by 80 of the largest US foundations totalled $5.4bn in 2007, a 70% increase from 2002, with Sub-Saharan Africa receiving more than 40% of international spending. But with investments crippled, nearly half of these foundations admitted the current financial crisis would focus their minds on domestic issues. Though bruised – Busson’s investments, for example, suffered from Bernard Madoff’s ponzi-scheme fraud – the financial turmoil is unlikely to be the death-knell of the philanthrocapitalists. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation lost 20% of the value of its assets in 2008, but it still plans to increase spending from $3.3bn in 2008, to $3.8bn in 2009. 

 

Back to Aid in Crisis, Who is helping whom? 

AU Commissioner for Infrastructure: Infrastructure is a building block for unity

 

At a continental level, the African Union Commission’s priorities for infrastructure development include transportation, water, communications, ICT and energy. The most recent AU Summit was dedicated to transport and energy, but the previous summit’s theme was water and sanitation. The next will focus on ICT.?

 

Naturally, the AU is mainly concentrating on continental and regional programmes, but that does not mean that we are not also taking care of national ones. If you think about it, any continental plan consists of regional projects. And what are regional projects? They are composed of schemes which are implemented at a national level. There is, therefore, no contradiction between the national and the continental. We want to ensure that when our member states are putting together their national plans that they consider how these will fit into regional and continental strategies. It is here that the AU has a big role to play.?

 

In order to implement successfully any regional or continental project, policies, strategies, regulations and standards should be harmonised. This is one of the major tasks of the African Union Commission. We can also help to coordinate the different initiatives. An important part of this is the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), the objective of which is to work out a plan of action for improving infrastructure on the continent, with a view to having a single African vision.

 

??At the moment each of the regional economic communities (RECs) has its own plans and projects. And yes, some of them are doing well, but they are doing it separately. Through PIDA, we are looking to integrate all their efforts and put them together in one programme: a master plan for Africa. ?

 

PIDA will harmonise work, preventing any duplication of effort and any wasting of money. PIDA will set policies, strategies and priorities, and it will establish a mechanism which will monitor and guarantee the implementation of infrastructure programmes. We have to do this in conjunction with our development partners. There is also a role to be played by the RECs. There is also a role for the African Development Bank and for the Economic Commission for Africa. We need to work together hand in hand to implement this continental programme.?

 

We also need to recognise that the current global financial crisis is having an impact on infrastructure development and that we will have to look for the appropriate solutions in order to overcome these difficulties. Currently, funding for infrastructure programmes comes from a mix of public and private sources, but given what is happening in the world today we should be looking for alternatives. We should open our doors to trade between African countries and strengthen cooperation between the regions. In this way we can anchor the financing of some of our projects. ?

 

We should also allow the private sector to be more involved in these projects. This implies that we need to establish favourable conditions for investment. We should give the private sector the confidence and the assurance that will allow it to contribute and to be involved. It is true that the private sector is doing well in some regions, but we cannot rely only on private investment. We also need to strengthen public-private partnerships. ?

 

All the regions have made a start and the AU should help to coordinate their efforts. There is no discrimination between the regions: all of them are African regions. But we are looking to those regions which are doing well to help and support the others. ?

 

To have a ‘United States of Africa’ means to have an integrated infrastructure. What we are doing to integrate infrastructure development is a basic element of building integration in other areas. The physical integration of the continent by roads and through energy is the engine for the development of Africa as a whole. We would hope that by 2020 we would have hydropower resources economically exploited, electrical networks, gas and oil pipelines regionally and inter-regionally connected, and to have roads linking African capitals. So we are working together, developing our continent and building our infrastructure which will support our United States of Africa.

Green and Gold Standards

 

Carbon in Numbers
$330.8m size of voluntary
carbon credit market
$63.7bn size of regulatory
market
2% Africa's share of the
global carbon market

Accusations of illegitimacy are one of the biggest challenges to Africa’s voluntary carbon market. Nhambita, a project in Mozambique run by Envirotrade, a British company owned by socialite Robin Birley, came under scrutiny this year for selling offsets before they were verified. But John Grace, professor of environmental biology at the University of Edinburgh and the project’s scientific advisor, explained that getting money up-front – selling emissions before they have gone through lengthy certification processes – is the only way to get projects started. In fact, Nhambita is certified by Plan Vivo – the oldest carbon-offset scheme – and verification is scheduled from another scheme, SmartWood.?

 

Part of the problem is the variety of voluntary standards, each with a different structure, methodology and focus. They include the Voluntary Carbon Standard, the Climate, Community and Biodversity Standard, and the Gold Standard, which, as its name suggests, is considered the industry’s best. ?

 

Stepping up confidence could help smaller projects access carbon markets. A new initiative in Kenya plans to sell carbon microcredits, whereby people are rewarded for using a Gold Standard-certified stove through a weekly payment sent to their mobile phones. 

 

Back to Carbon Credits, Voluntary solutions for climate change

Carbon Credits: Voluntary solutions for climate change

 

There is growing momentum to involve Africa in the carbon-credit trade, now worth some $64bn a year, but strict regulations may keep it away from certified global markets

 

Anew project to protect some 425,000 hectares of rainforest in Madagascar’s Andasibe-Mantadia corridor might seem a win-win proposition for the local population – which can benefit by selling non-timber products like fruits, vegetables and fibres – as well as for the rare lemurs that live there. But many African projects like this one have been left out of the lucrative regulated market in carbon credits that has been growing rapidly worldwide.?

 

Africa is now taking the matter into its own hands and developing the conditions for more carbon-credit trade and for more direct benefits on the ground. Last December saw the launch of the Africa Climate Solution, an initiative led by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), which is also lobbying for the inclusion of projects such as ‘avoided deforestation’, the ‘re-vegetation’ of degraded land, as well as agro-forestry and sustainable agriculture schemes that can operate within regulated global carbon markets. “If they are included, we can take the pressure off our existing forests and use the carbon market to help lift poor farmers out of poverty,” said Sindiso Ngwenya, COMESA’s general secretary.?

Green and gold standards

 

There is a wide variety of
voluntary carbon schemes.
Read more. 

 

Africa still only makes up only 2% of the world carbon-credit market, whether of the regulatory kind – through the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), whereby industrialised countries can offset their own emissions by investing in low-carbon projects in developing countries – or in the sprawling voluntary market, which is certified mainly by independent alliances or NGOs. ?

 

The CDM market for certified emission reductions (CERs) has complex and rigid regulation mechanisms. Only projects from a number of pre-selected (mostly heavy, polluting and large-scale) industries qualify. Those industries get carbon credits through adopting new, more environmentally-friendly technology.

 

?In Africa, 46% of the current carbon projects are forestry-based, but forestry has so far been largely excluded from the regulatory market. Only one out of the 1,383 registered CDM projects worldwide is forestry-related, and it is in China.?

 

Take-off will be delayed?

 

Because CDM registration can take several years, there are long time-lags between initial investment and the first revenue from a project. Green Resources, a Norwegian forestry company that has been planting trees in East Africa since 1997, has yet to sell emission reductions, which is a “terrible frustration”, according to its managing director Mads Asprem. The company’s first project in Tanzania fell foul of CDM criteria because it began before the CDM starting point in 2000. Other, more recent, projects in Tanzania and Uganda have been in the pipeline for months and are still not registered.?

 

The chairman of the Uganda Carbon Bureau, Bill Farmer, who advises entrepreneurs interested in venturing into the carbon market, warns of the difficulties for companies with little financial clout operating in African economies that lack the infrastructure and business environment to facilitate project development. ?

 

The alternative for the smaller projects is the voluntary market. Although the lack of regulation and liability to scams have given the market a bad name, a number of new voluntary standards have emerged, and some of these are backed by methodologies just as rigorous as the CDM process.?

 Registered CDM projects

The result is a new-found legitimacy. The voluntary market is “more adapted to our project types and sizes”, says Farmer. “It’s also, in many cases, a learning experience before coming head-on with the CDM.”?

 

The price of voluntary credits, unlike the market-driven CERs, can vary hugely depending on the size of the project and the type of verification. Forestry and renewable offsets tend to be the dearest on the market, with Africa proving the most expensive at $13.70 per credit, compared to $5.80 in Asia.?

 

Still, while the price of CERs has gone down, the price of Voluntary Emission Reductions (VERs) has gone up. “The price difference between CERs and VERs is much smaller – €10 for CER, €7-8 for VER – and for the extra inconvenience the CDM involves, project developers may well be more inclined to opt for VER,” said Edward Hanrahan, head of voluntary sales at J.P. Morgan, which last year acquired Climate Care, one of the UK’s biggest sellers of carbon offsets.?

 

Baby steps?

 

The Uganda Carbon Bureau’s Bill Farmer points out that conventional financial institutions are not flexible enough for a market that is still in its infancy, which is why he has been trying to create a local carbon market of companies keen to become carbon neutral, a market that is less risk-averse and more tolerant of relaxed standards.?

 

Information provider Ecosystem Marketplace produces an annual “State of the Carbon Markets” report. Its managing director, Katherine Hamilton, says new standards have raised the bar and many projects that would have started trading credits during the CDM-registration phase are now waiting for the standard’s approval.?

 

Such was the experience of Norway’s Green Resources. The company estimates it has produced 500,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent carbon credits since it began operating – half of which has been independently verified by the Swiss company SGS – but refuses to sell them until they are certified to the highest standards available. “If we sold them now, they wouldn’t have the same value,” says Green Resources’ Asprem.?

 

Despite these different approaches, experts agree that Africa has huge potential in trading carbon credits, particularly if ‘avoided deforestation’ and land-use projects are included in climate-change-mitigation efforts. Asprem says that such projects would also help the most destitute in Africa: “If you plant trees where there is no economic activity, with no other employment, it makes a huge difference, socially and economically.”

 

?The World Bank is investing actively in Africa’s fledgling carbon market: 22% of its carbon projects are in Africa, and the continent accounts for a third of projects from its BioCarbon Fund, a $91m facility dedicated to ‘carbon sequestration’ initiatives through forests and agro-ecosystems. It has also helped fund Madgascar’s Andasibe-Mantadia project, which is now well under way.

 

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which runs the CDM and is organising a major conference in Copenhagen in December 2009 that will draw a post-Kyoto road-map, accepts that Africa has mostly missed out on the regulatory market. But this is slowly beginning to change. While there are currently only 29 registered projects in Africa, mainly in Northern and Southern Africa, 94 more are in the pipeline. 

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