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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.