''All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'' - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol 9 No 7

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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BBC Africa Debate asks whether Africa will ever benefit from its natural riches


22 October 2012. The BBC’s monthly global debate programme, BBC Africa Debate, will spearhead special programming across the BBC Africa output on BBC World Service, asking whether Africa will ever fully benefit from its vast natural resources. The Friday 26 October edition of BBC Africa Debate is organised in partnership with the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) and will feature its chairman, the former president of Botswana, Festus Mogae, as a key speaker. Audrey Brown is in Ethiopia for the BBC Africa DebateJustin Rowlatt will be co-hosting the debate with Audrey in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa

Presented by the BBC’s Audrey Brown and Justin Rowlatt from Addis Ababa, the programme will set the agenda for other BBC Africa flagship programmes – such as Focus on Africa on radio and TV, and Newsday – which will explore the subject as well. BBC Swahili will also debate the subject in Addis Ababa.

Africa is endowed with natural wealth, and the past year has seen major new discoveries of resources in several African countries: coal, oil and gas in, among others, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Uganda. This year has seen violent clashes between Sudan and South Sudan over oil, and Malawi and Tanzania have yet to resolve their dispute over who owns the oil and gas in Lake Malawi. From Algeria to Angola and from petroleum to platinum, the scramble for Africa’s resources has often caused problems rather than created prosperity.

Audrey Brown says: ‘African resources were largely unacknowledged as wealth but treated as just raw material and used to build wealth elsewhere. I think it’s only when we connect the wellbeing of African people to the extraction of their countries’ resources that we start asking the right questions – and perhaps start finding the right solutions. So for me the question at the heart of this is: why is it that Africa is so rich yet so many Africans are so poor? Will Africans ever benefit from their natural riches?’

As they lead the discussion, Audrey Brown and Justin Rowlatt will also engage their audiences in a quest for possible solutions – from renegotiation of contracts to better transparency mechanisms, higher taxation, to resource nationalism.

CoDA is an organisation supported by the United Nations, African Union, African Development Bank and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, and BBC Africa Debate will engage with the participants of CoDA’s forum on Africa’s natural resources taking place in Addis Ababa, as well as the delegates of the Africa Development Forum held in the Ethiopian capital on the issue of governing and harnessing natural resources for Africa’s development. Politicians, activists, industry experts, business people and lawyers from across the continent and beyond, attending these conventions, will be part of the programme’s live audience – as well as ordinary Ethiopians.

This edition of BBC Africa Debate will be recorded on Thursday 25 October between 18.00 and 20.00 local time at Africa Hall, Menelik II Ave, Addis Ababa. It will be broadcast by BBC World Service at 19.00 GMT on Friday 26 October, and repeated at 13.00 GMT on Sunday 28 October. The debate will also be online at bbcafrica.com, on Twitter #bbcafricadebate and #resourceafrica, @bbcafrica on Facebook and Google+ on the BBCAfrica page. The BBC Swahili debate from Addis Ababa will be broadcast at 15.30 GMT on Friday 26 October.

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