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

    US Watching as North Korea Holds Biggest Political Meeting in 36 Years

    Workers' Party Congress set for Friday; Washington anticipating possibility of another missile launch or nuclear test as top officials gather

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora