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INSIDE AFRICA

INSIDE AFRICA

Aired February 22, 2003 - 12:30:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUMI MAKGABO, CNNI ANCHOR: Rising expectations in Kenya, as President Mwai Kibaki outlines his plans for the country. But how far can he go in cleaning up the public sector and making Kenya a corruption-free society?

The Franco African Summit, a diplomatic coup for France, but what's in it for African leaders?

In our business spotlight this week, surviving troubled economic times in Egypt, Cairo's NSGB Bank stands out amongst its competitors.

And turning tragedy into triumph, Zambian football years after some of the country's best were lost in a plane crash.

These and other stories ahead on INSIDE AFRICA.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MAKGABO: Hello, and welcome to the program. I'm Tumi Makgabo.

The euphoria that greeted new Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki back in December was quite expected. For years, the country was led by one political party, which was often accused of mismanaging the economy and abusing the rights of citizens. So, the change in government brought hope that finally Kenya was on the right path, and that the people would get a chance at a better life. And when President Kibaki opened parliament this week, he may have further raised the hopes of the nation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAKGABO (voice-over): The 71-year-old president still needs the aid of a walking stick as he recovers from injuries sustained in a car accident during last year's election campaign. But his strong words belie his physical frailty. Mr. Kibaki reaffirmed his commitment to rid Kenya of corruption and repeated his pledge to raise Kenya's growth rate to 7 percent. The Central Bank's growth forecast for this year is just 2.5 percent.

Another ambitious promise: to create 500,000 new jobs, which would give the struggling Kenyan economy a much needed boost. Some investors say Kibaki's program is cheering the market.

ERIK MAKABUTI, STOCK BROKER, NSE: Most investors are really positive about it, and they came to the market knowing that the economy was much improved because of the president's speech.

MAKGABO: International donors suspended most credit to Kenya in the year 2000 in the absence of anti-corruption measures. Now, they've indicated that lending could resume by July if the new government proves it is committed to ending corruption.

And it's not just on the economy that Kenya's new leaders are making promises. They're promising to improve Kenya's record on human rights, often criticized by groups like Amnesty International. It has urged President Kibaki to launch an investigation into alleged human rights abuses committed in the past.

Recently, the new justice minister led a group of former inmates on a tour of a secret torture chamber. From the mid-'80s to 1996, opponents of former President Daniel Arap Moi's government were interrogated in the basement of Nairobi's Nyayo House.

This alleged victim tells how he was treated.

JOE NJOROGE, ALLEGED VICTIM: I've been beaten. And when I was stark naked, I would be electrocuted (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and it was just horrible even to remember (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MAKGABO: Justice Minister Kiraitu Murungi says the new government will make a symbolic example of the place.

KIRAITU MURUNGI, KENYAN JUSTICE MINISTER: We have agreed we are going to convert the general torture chambers into a national monument of shame. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) will participate, and so that we create a monument which our children will see what they've done, to see where we have come from and to where we don't want to go back to.

MAKGABO: The Kibaki government is full of promises and good intentions, and for now, the mood among Kenyans seems optimistic. But satisfying their raised expectations will be the great test of this administration.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

While the government is wasting no time in trying to prove that it is serious about cracking down on corruption, even before the president's address to parliament, it launched one of the biggest corruption probes ever.

Our Nairobi bureau chief Catherine Bond reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CATHERINE BOND, CNN NAIROBI BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): What do this parking lot, this luxury hotel, this city street, this high court judge and Nairobi City Council all have in common? The answer: corruption, or allegations of it.

Justice Samuel Oguk now earning the dubious distinction of becoming the first sitting judge in Kenya to be charged with fraud.

JUSTICE SAMUEL OGUK, HIGH COURT JUDGE: What I'm saying is this: Judge Oguk or Mr. Oguk is not afraid of anything.

BOND: Oguk was in charge of a case regarding the disputed ownership of one of Nairobi's top hotels. Prosecutors say he accepted about $7,000 from an interested party. Oguk says if he goes down, he's taking others with him.

OGUK: This is going to be one of the big fights ever seen in this country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A big war.

OGUK: A big war. I'm saying so. And big names are going to be mentioned here.

BOND: Big names, he says, like a former governor of Kenya's Central Bank, former President Daniel Arap Moi's business manager, and one of Mr. Moi's sons. Oguk says he's the victim of the new government's efforts to persuade donors that it's cracking down on corruption.

OGUK: It is politics being played at a high level to win donor funding (UNINTELLIGIBLE) local here.

BOND: It's skeptical that the new government will be squeaky clean. Kenyans are seeing it pushed for greater efficiency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where do you get this money? Who is in charge of this new revenue?

BOND: The new minister in charge of local government, Cari Samisa (ph), chastising city officials of their apparent failure to collect parking fees that would enhance the city's revenue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What can you explain to us?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, we have a lot of problems regarding enforcement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Enforcement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see what happens, for those -- we have a program, we don't have enough currency.

BOND: But the minister is having none of it. "Excuses, excuses," he says.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just because the (UNINTELLIGIBLE), you have (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you can't use it, and everybody is sitting down.

BOND: He wants money in the city coffers to pay public employees, like these nurses, on time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) money, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) money.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we have two months in pay and still waiting.

BOND: The anti-corruption group, Transparency International, has surveyed more than 2,000 Kenyans. On average, they claimed to be paying $60 a month to get access to government services, with peace officers the most frequent beneficiaries.

But that's petty corruption. How about the big guys? Where's the real money in Kenya to be found? In construction, of course, which is why the new government has suspended payments to some construction companies until it's established whether they've inflated their costs.

RAILA ODINGA, MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS: What is the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is that there have been verifications of variations ranging from 17 percent to 241 percent, far in excess of what is allowable with these kinds of contracts.

BOND: Kenya's new government claims members of the previous administration used construction companies for political fund raising.

(on camera): From 1990 to 1997, corruption is estimated to have cost Kenya almost $1 billion a year, and almost invariably the largest sums lost involved contractors competing for money from Western donors.

(voice-over): Take this segment of the $140 million World Bank-funded project to improve Kenya's road network. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) 18 miles of pavement in this urban wasteland, nor the dual carriageway linking Nairobi to the suburb of Karin (ph). No? Well, that's not surprising. Just recently, the World Bank permanently barred an American contractor from working on World Bank-funded projects. The bank said the contractor has paid kickbacks to one of its officials and to a Kenyan government official to win a contract that included road work here, work that was obviously never carried out.

Catherine Bond, CNN, Nairobi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MAKGABO: And if you'd like to read a little bit more about Kenya, visit our Web site at cnn.com/insideafrica. And while you're there, remember to take part in our quick vote on the subject. The address again for you, cnn.com/insideafrica.

And when the program continues, the Egypt's NSGB Bank, a shining star amongst its competitors. Then, a look at this week's Franco-African Summit. So don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MAKGABO: Welcome back.

And now let's join Brenda Bernard for the latest African business news.

BRENDA BERNARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Tumi.

We begin in Ghana where the market responded this week to the recent upward trend in gold prices. Gold prices are now at a six-year high, and that boosted trading on the Ghanaian market at the start of the week.

Ashanti Goldfields was one of the big winners, ending the week at more than 28,000 cedis. That's up by 10 cedis from the previous week.

The bullish trade also pushed the All Share Index up by 0.48 points.

Moving now to Mauritius, where the Semdex closed at 431 points. Shell came out on top, up just over 1 percent, but insurance stocks lost ground. British American Insurance and Mauritius Union Assurance both down just under 1.5 percent.

Shifting focus now to banking. The former head of the Mauritius Central Bank has been arrested on corruption charges. According to state television, Robert LeSage (ph) was under investigation over the disappearance of more than $29 million from the bank's national pension fund. The stock exchange suspended trading of MCB shares on Monday on the bank's request. It will resume on February 24.

Well, we stay in the banking sector for our business spotlight.

Despite Egypt's ongoing deep recession, one bank continues to report positive growth. Shahira Amin (ph) has more on the National Societe General Bank.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the heart of downtown Cairo, it is here that the new headquarters of the National Societe General Bank, NSGB, proudly stands, a multi-story, eight-million pound structure, symbolic of the bank's aggressive investment policy.

The third largest bank in the country, NSGB is the only private bank in Egypt reporting positive growth and net profit for 2002, a remarkable achievement given the economic slowdown and the looming threat of war in the region.

JEROME GIRAUD, GENERAL MANAGER, NSGB: We have reached a net result of 165 million pounds, which is an increase compared to the previous year of 16.4 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: While banks in the country has been confronted by a bad debt crisis and many posted losses in 2002, NSGB has continued to expand its branch network, adding 13 more branches within the last 18 months.

General Manager Giraud attributes the bank's positive performance to sustainability and investment, and a global strategy adapted to suit local needs.

GIRAUD: We are very much perceived and acting locally as an Egyptian bank, whilst our strategy is benefiting from (UNINTELLIGIBLE) inputs and experience.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Despite anticipating short-term difficulties in view of the recession, Giraud is optimistic that the bank can continue its success pattern in the future. Staff training, being selective about projects and avoiding bad loans are the keys to moving forward, he says.

For INSIDE AFRICA, Shahira Amin (ph), Cairo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERNARD: Turning to currency news, Zimbabwe has adjusted its currency exchange rate, fixing the rate for exporters at 800 Zim dollars to the U.S. dollar. The move brings the rate closer to black market prices. The Zimbabwe dollar finished trade at nearly 55 to the U.S. dollar, and just over 87 to the British pound.

That's on your money for this week. I'm Brenda Bernard.

Tumi -- back to you.

MAKGABO: Brenda, thank you very much.

And from the world of business to some of the other stories making news around Africa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAKGABO (voice-over): A guilty verdict was handed down this week in the international criminal tribunal for Rwanda. Guilty, a pastor and his son sentenced to 10 and 25 years in prison, respectively. Elizaphan Ntakirutimana and his son, Gerard, were accused of luring Tutsis refugees into a church and then personally leading Hutu militias in to slaughter them.

The once sterling reputation of a former president was tarnished this week. Zambia's former President Frederick Chiluba was held for questioning Thursday as part a national anti-corruption drive by his hand-picked successor. Last year, Mr. Chiluba's immunity from prosecution was lifted by parliament. This, after current President Levy Mwanawasa claimed to have evidence that Mr. Chiluba was involved with dealings that may have cost the country millions of dollars.

And the Franco-African Summit in Paris ended Friday with efforts by France to defend its vision of the new role in Africa. The gathering brought together 52 of Africa's leaders to look at issues affecting the continent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MAKGABO: Now, the Franco-African Summit is an annual event that gives African leaders the chance to consult with France, one of the former colonial powers on the continent. But just how relevant is such a gathering, and what has it offered both France and African nations?

CNN's Gaven Morris covered this year's summit.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GAVEN MORRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The agenda for this summit was deadly serious, endemic poverty in Africa and the HIV/AIDS pandemic, but it was accompanied by all of the pomp and grandeur France could muster.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE) embraces from the host revealing diplomatic subtleties: three kisses for most, four for the favored, but for Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, just a frosty handshake and then on your way. Under pressure from several African states, France invited Mugabe, even though he is accused of human rights violations and violent suppression of opposition groups. The invitation extended, despite objections from Britain and EU travel sanctions against Mugabe that had to be suspended.

For his part, President Chirac was quick to look to the values leaders shared.

JACQUES CHIRAC, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): Africa is at the very heart of France's priorities. To me, it's obvious why. Because it is the same as our shared diplomacy, promoting peace and security, reinforcing our links, prioritizing both social and cultural exchanges between us.

MORRIS: And quickly, that united purpose gained France a political coup. All 52 nations signed on to President Chirac's opposition to war in Iraq.

But it came just as violence was erupting again in Ivory Coast. France's efforts to end the civil war in its former colony looked shaky. There is still strong opposition to last month's French-brokered peace deal.

The Ivory Coast conflict did get a mention in official speeches, but it was largely overshadowed by Mugabe and Iraq.

And what of those pressing issues: poverty, education, human rights and health? Well, some tried. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan sought to focus attention on the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS as the most urgent priority for Africa.

KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: Peace and security is increasingly in jeopardy. Sector by sector, the loss of human resources is ushering in a government and development crisis of catastrophic dimensions.

MORRIS: But most of the attention was elsewhere, and observers felt the summit had made few advances.

ROLAND MARCHAL, CENTER FOR INTL. RELATIONS: On the issue of security, the issue of AIDS/HIV has been raised a number of times, and when you see the weakness of the regional reaction in front of the Ivory Coast crisis, you just feel that that has been basically useless.

MORRIS: For France, at least, these forums continue to provide an opportunity to renew relationships it maintains fondly.

(on camera): France continues to host these summits as a mark of its long involvement in Africa, but also as a reminder to other countries that it is still a serious player in international affairs. That so many African leaders still come suggests, partly at least, that those ambitions are served. But some observers here, and delegates too, wonder whether any tangible progress is taken back to the people of Africa.

Gaven Morris, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MAKGABO: And still ahead on the program, taking their country to the world. This Ghanaian group dances its way into the hearts of fans in the United States. Don't miss that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MAKGABO: Hello again.

In 1993, Zambia's national football team was on a mission to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, but tragedy struck as the team made its way to Senegal. In this week's installment of our sport hero series, Graham Joffe (ph) tells us how Zambians are honoring their fallen heroes.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): April 28, 1993, a Zambian air force plane carrying the Zambian national football team to the World Cup qualifying game in Senegal goes down shortly after takeoff from Libreville in Gabon. No survivors among the 30 players, officials, technical staff and crew on board.

Nobody in Zambia wanted to believe what had just happened. Thousands of people waited at the airport for the plane that brought back the remains, and thousands more lined the streets on the 25 kilometer route to the Independent Stadium. The lights had gone out on Zambian football, and the stadium was later filled with 30,000 fans, family and loved ones for a night of mourning.

DENNIS LIWEWE, SOCCER COMMENTATOR: Out of that sad story came out a new spirit of never say die. Those lives are the greatest of the greatest. At present time, the good news is that the government of President Levy Munawasa has agreed to compensate the families.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of Zambia's greatest footballers Kalusha Bwalya had been making his way to Senegal directly from his club in Europe for that fateful World Cup qualifier, and he survived the tragedy. And it was Bwalya who led an inspirational Zambian (UNINTELLIGIBLE) back into action two months later. And against all odds, they qualified for the 1994 African Nations Cup, but they lost to Nigeria in the finals.

Bwalya and his troops also managed to somehow continue Zambia's World Cup qualifying campaign, only for a late call from Morocco to deny them a place in the finals in the United States.

Since 1994, though, the fight seems to have gone out of Zambian football, the reasons not unlike the rest of Africa: lack of facilities and finance contributing to the downslide, some of the top clubs even unable to afford (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for their players.

Zambian football has always ranked among the continent's best, and there's more than enough passion in the country for the glory days to return.

PAUL SIMUKOKO, ZAMBIAN FOOTBALL ASSOC.: Football is a passion here, and the majority of Zambians love it. But we can also quite confidently say that we're not at a level in terms of marketing football in this part of the world to where Europe is, for instance, is where it's big business. We're not yet there. I hope that one day we'll be able to get there. So, we still need the understanding of the business houses to help us (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to get our team to where it used to be before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can only hope and pray that the line of Zambian football will roar again. They may have lost a generation of heroes in the tragedy of '93, but they haven't lost the heart and passion for the world's most popular sport.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MAKGABO: That was Graham Joffe (ph) reporting.

And finally, something to lift your mood somewhat, a ballet performance in the U.S. city of Atlanta. A group of master drummers and dancers from the West African nation of Guinea are touring the U.S. Their mission: portraying Guinean culture and history through their performance.

INSIDE AFRICA's Sally Graham (ph) caught up with them in Atlanta.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Guinea, the paradise of jembe drum. That's what Mamoudou Conde calls his West African (UNINTELLIGIBLE). He directs the national group called Les Percussions de Guinee, a drum and dance ensemble.

MAMOUDOU CONDE, LES PERCUSSIONS DE GUINEE: The real name of jembe is unity, and that's why anywhere in Guinea, whether in the village or in the city, if (UNINTELLIGIBLE), everyone together, the female, the younger -- everybody. You just get three drummers and get them standing there and play, and you will have thousands of people coming without sending any phone call or mail.

Master performers are selected from Guinea's four geographic regions - - the coast, midland, highlands and forest regions.

Lamine Soumah is an award-winning master drummer from the coast, and is a founding member of the group.

LAMINE SOUMAH, MASTER DRUMMER (through translator): When I'm on stage, I feel very -- you know, very good and free on stage, because he knows he is there to send the message to the people of the world. That's what really inspires him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This freedom of expression is improvisational in style and spirit.

By playing jembe, you have to use a dundun drum, which is a very heavy base, and then you use another tone -- another instrument called a samba (ph), which is used to harmonize the music with it. It's like kind of mixing. So, you mix the sound to get the performance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The griot, or community elders, come see the show and offer their blessings.

The women in the ensemble are a cultural breakthrough of sorts. Artistic director Conde hopes they become the forerunners of Guinea's first all-female percussion group next year.

By showing the language of the jembe, the drummers of Guinea are cultural ambassadors on the world stage.

Sally Graham (ph), CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MAKGABO: And that was this week's look at INSIDE AFRICA. Thanks for joining us.

I'm Tumi Makgabo.

END

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