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Africa Watch

By Jehron Muhammad -Contributing Writer- | Last updated: Dec 20, 2016 - 1:25:16 PM

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Racism alive and well in South Africa

The ugly truth about the former apartheid state of South Africa is racial incidents against Blacks are on the increase. 

As Frans Cringe, chief executive of the South African Institute of Race Relations said recently, that many assume that two decades after Nelson Mandela was elected president, the racial animus should have subsided. Instead the country is more polarized than ever, as the economy continues to falter with Black unemployment on the increase. Note: Whites per capita income is roughly $10,000 compared to Black income of nearly $1,300.  

According to the LA Times, “racism (against Blacks) has increased at universities, schools, parking lots, restaurants and office blocks, and on Facebook and Twitter, according to the South African Human Rights Commission. Some Black South Africans, frustrated by overt racism, question Mandela’s soft vision of reconciliation.”

In addition, in the majority Black country, it surfaced that a school in Pretoria is segregating classes based on race; an office building in Limpopo province has a Whites-Only toilet; and a fancy Cape Town restaurant refuses reservations when callers give African names that signify they are Black.

After 32-year absence, Morocco seeks to rejoin African Union

The North African country of Morocco has accused African Union (AU) Commission head NKosazan Dlamina-Zuma of blocking its efforts to rejoin the organization it left 32 years ago, the country’s foreign minister said recently.

At issue, is the much-disputed claim over Western Sahara, which has been occupied by Morocco since 1975. The holdup comes from powerful AU members like South Africa, which supports holding a referendum by the people of Western Sahara to determine their sovereignty.

At issue for Morocco is Western Sahara’s mineral wealth. According to the most recent U.S. Geological Survey study, Western Sahara holds more that 72 percent of all phosphate-rock reserves in the world. Rock phosphate is mined from clay deposits that contain phosphorus and used to make organic phosphate fertilizers.

The real reason Morocco wants back in the AU, according to the editor of the Paris-based African Business mag is, “Morocco realizes that its economic expansion needs to be backed up by political links. It has to be at the center of where political discussions are taking place: the African Union.” The AU is expected to discuss the Moroccan request in its January 2017 summit in Addis Ababa.

Nigeria looks to untapped mineral riches to revive economy

Nigeria’s Mining Association, in late October, held its first Mining summit as part of the country’s effort to jump start its much neglected mining industry.

 According to the World Political Review, Nigeria’s “expansive,” but seriously neglected mineral wealth is an open secret. During British colonial rule, the country was among the world’s top producers of tin. Later vast reserves of over 40 solid minerals, precious metals, stones and industrial minerals, including gold, iron ore, lithium, limestone, barite and columbite were discovered. However, the discovery of crude oil in the Niger Delta and the disastrous civil war in the Biafra region, all but ended the once growing mining sector.

Africa’s most populous country generates roughly 13 percent of its GDP from crude oil production, its most lucrative sector that in 2014 helped the country become Africa’s largest economy. In contrast, Nigeria’s mining sector contributed in 2015 just 0.3 percent of its GDP. 

Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council also recently approved a long-awaited plan to reform its mining sector. Nigerian President Mohammud Bahari and his administration projects the plan will add, by 2025, billions to Nigeria’s struggling economy. 

In August, Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council, the government’s executive branch, approved a long-awaited and ambitious roadmap to reform the mining sector, which the Buhari administration hopes could add $25 billion to Nigeria’s GDP by 2025 and create over 300,000 jobs before the end of 2016.

Follow Jehron Muhammad on Twitter: @jehronmuhammad.