News / Africa

Ahmadinejad Trip Tempts African Trade Hopes

Multimedia

Audio

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s two-day visit to Zimbabwe last week has stirred up dissension within Zimbabwe’s unity government. Members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), including Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, stayed away from official welcoming ceremonies, as they assailed the Iranian leader’s stand on human rights and other issues.  The MDC argued that Mr. Ahmadinejad’s visit would send a wrong message about Zimbabwe, which is trying to restore democracy and revive a shattered economy with western aid.

Journalist Sanday Chongo Kabange covered the Ahmadinejad visit for the online media outlet Africa News.  He says that in contrast, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has offered support for Iran’s nuclear program and generally has been trying to strengthen ties among countries at odds with the west.

“Mugabe has gone to his so-called ‘look East policy,’ where he’s seeking a lot of support from Asian countries after the United States and Great Britain, and especially the European Union, imposed travel restrictions on his government.  So he’s looking out to Asia for support, especially when it comes to finance and technical support to develop his country,” he said.

Iran has been actively seeking suppliers for the development of its nuclear program. After refusing to share data with international inspectors of its uranium enrichment program and making threats against the state of Israel, Tehran has drawn several rounds of sanctions from the United Nations.

As a resource-rich southern African country, Zimbabwe is believed to have available uranium deposits to sell.  On Monday, Zimbabwe Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube denied reports that Iran had won permission to extract uranium with Zimbabwe receiving oil  from Iran in exchange.  Journalist Kabange says that despite no mention of nuclear issues on the public agenda during last week’s talks, the subject may very likely have been raised, not only because of Iran’s needs, but also due to Harare’s interests.

“Africa is at the moment certainly experiencing a critical shortage of energy, and maybe nuclear energy will be one area that Robert Mugabe and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might have discussed,” said Kabange.

He said Zimbabwe’s motivation for selling may also stem from both dire economic need and eager advances from rapidly expanding countries in Asia.

“When somebody’s desperate and has a lot of resources, they can do anything.  Uranium is actually being explored in most African countries, and Zimbabwe has quite sufficient deposits of uranium.  Probably, that is one thing that might have triggered Ahmadinejad’s visit.  While trading with countries like China, for example, that are heading towards Africa to get a lot of raw materials to use it in their industries, probably the visit by Mr. Ahmadinejad would be one that’s trying to look for resources and then penetrate Africa for more uranium,” he noted.

On Friday, Mr. Ahmadinejad headed from Zimbabwe to Uganda, where he signed several cooperation agreements  and sought support against a fourth round of U.N. sanctions against his nuclear expansion.  Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni did not indicate whether Kampala will back new sanctions.  But with leverage as a rotating member of the U.N. Security Council, Kabange says that Presidents Museveni and Ahmadinejad had a lot to talk about over the weekend.

“Iran has seen that there are a lot of raw materials in Africa.  I’m sure it is trying to get as much as it can, win the support of African countries, get the raw materials, and take it back, probably to its nuclear program.  It might have these enormous nuclear plans within its country and is trying to enrich itself with a lot of nuclear energy, so it wants to get as many resources from different sources in Africa,” he suggested.

President Museveni has not yet disclosed whether Uganda will back sanctions against Iran.  Uganda is reportedly also interested in acquiring, perhaps from Iran, the capability to develop and refine its own oil resources in northwestern Uganda around Lake Albert, which is believed to hold approximately 2 billion barrels worth of oil.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid