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Zambia’s Sata scraps key food subsidy

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A decision by Zambia's president to slash a key food subsidy threatens to hit the poor, stoke inflation and spark a popular revolt against his government. Earlier this week, President Michael Sata tore up his own populist political playbook, stamped on it and set it on fire by announcing weighty maize subsidies will be scrapped. Reversing a policy he introduced on coming to power in 2011, Sata said stopping government subsidies for the staple food would lead to “real economic and well distributed growth”. Read more.


BRICS profile continues to rise

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This is the first time since the creation of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995 that a member of BRICS will be leading the organization. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff welcomed the development and stated, “For Brazil it is clear that, given his commitment and experience, he would be able to lead the organization toward a path of a fairer and more dynamic global economic order.” Azevedo has represented Brazil at the WTO since 2008. He will succeed the current French head of the body, Pascal Lamy from September this year. He defeated the rival candidate, former Mexican Trade Minister Herminio Blanco. Read more.


Zimbabwe launches food security policy

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The Zimbabwe government has launched a food and nutrition security policy to address challenges brought by recurrent droughts experienced in the country. The food and nutrition security policy is also accompanied by an implementation plan, which highlights strategic objectives, key actions, outputs, outcomes and time frames. Speaking at the official launch of the document in Harare yesterday, Vice President Joice Mujuru, who is also the chairperson of the National Food and Nutrition task force, said the policy, whose origins date back to the 1993 drought, would guide the nation's response to the country's food and nutrition challenges in both good and bad seasons. Read more.
Source: The Herald


Illegal logging robbing people in Africa of livelihoods

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Collusion between political elites, civil servants and logging companies is systematically robbing people of their livelihoods, says a report (pdf) into corrupt forestry practices in Africa.

The extensive granting of "shadow permits" for small-scale logging in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia, Ghana and Cameroon bypasses new laws and environmental safeguards, and is forcing communities to meet their timber needs illegally, says NGO Global Witness.

The report, Logging in the shadows, identifies a "hidden" pattern of abuse in which hundreds of permits intended to promote small businesses and meet local needs are being allocated to large, often foreign, logging companies. These "shadow permits" open the door to lucrative, large-scale logging operations, which bypass the oversight of the authorities, it says.


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Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work. - Mother Teresa