The Great Lakes Research Journal

In-depth reviews of issues and challenges facing Central Africa – ISSN: 1554-0391

Sierra Leone’s forestry director believes that if action isn’t taken that its mangrove ecosystem is in danger of being wiped out.

“There is (a) need to formulate and implement a sustainable policy… and a need for an integrated approach for the safeguard of the environmental and economic benefits of mangrove resources,” said Ahmed Mansaray.

It’s because of this that the country along with several other western African nations have signed on for a plan that would lead to sustainable mangrove management in the township of Freetown.

Mangroves are incredibly important to the ecosystem, and this is an important issue not only for Sierra Leone but for the rest of the world as well. It’s good to see that the country is taking serious steps to protect this part of the environment.

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President Robert Mugabe defended the policy move designed to help the ailing nation recover from 10 years of economic crisis. The new rule states that locals must own at least 51% of big corporations, while foreigners can own the rest.

“Our indigenisation policy, like the land reform programme, is meant to correct historical imbalances in the ownership of our resources,” said Mugabe.

This isn’t the first time the Zimbabwe government led by Mugabe has enacted radical reforms. Ten years ago they put in place land reforms that seized nearly 4,000 white owned farms and handed them out to beneficiaries. Ever since then, the nation has endured a massive slump in food production because of this haphazard attempt at reform.

Judging by its past attempts at “reform,” it’s doubtful that this new rule of corporate ownership will prove to be fruitful and help the country develop its economy.

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A deal was signed Saturday between the government of Sudan and the Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) in the capital of Chad, N’Djamena. Unfortunately, it’s not a permanent peace deal.

The details of the accord include the cancellation of death sentences for rebel fighters, an immediate ceasefire, and also includes the framework for future peace talks.

While this is a big development in the stabilization of the Darfur conflict, the fact that it isn’t a permanent deal somewhat tempers the hope that it will end soon. Also, the important Sudan Liberation Army-AbdulWahid faction has refused to speak with the government. Nothing of any real significance can really happen without this faction coming to the bargaining table.

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Dr. Brian Williams, who works at the South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (Sacema) in Stellenbosch, believes that the spread of Aids in South Africa could be stopped by using Anti-retroviral treatments (ARVs) and universal testing.

According to Dr. Williams, “The tragedy is that the disease continues unabated. The only real success story is the development of these extremely effective drugs that keep people alive and reduce their viral load by up to 2,000 times. They become close to non-infectious.”

Dr. Williams stated that everyone in South Africa who is HIV positive could receive the ARV treatment within five years if clinical trials began immediately.

“We could break the back of the epidemic. If we can do it, I’m confident it will work.”

Since it has taken so long to develop a vaccine against the HIV virus, and there doesn’t seem to be one coming any time soon, then it seems prudent to give Dr. Williams’ idea a chance. Especially if it can lessen the suffering of millions of people and stop the spread of the disease.

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