The Africa Report: 26 August

EWN’s Africa correspondent Jean-Jacques Cornish reports on the day’s top African news

Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak sits inside a cage in a courtroom during his verdict hearing in Cairo. Picture: AFP

OECD GOES 'DOWN UNDER' TO DISCUSS AFRICA

A senior official of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will head two discussions in Perth, Australia this week, highlighting the roles of agriculture and mining as a means to improve Africa's wealth.

Mario Pezzini, Director at the OECD's Development Centre, will discuss the role of agriculture and mining in Africa and the risks these sectors face.

Growth in Africa is projected to grow by 4.8% this year and 5.3% in 2014.

However, Pezzini said growth is not enough as the continent needs the right conditions and appropriate policies to optimise the extent of Africa's natural resources for job creation.

Pezzini will be discussing this with Australian investors, many of whom have stakes in Africa.

One of the conferences is entitled, "Development: Bread from Stones?" and the other, "Africa Down Under".

OECD was founded in 1960 with the aim of global development. It is made up of some of the world's richest nations including Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

MUBARAK BACK IN THE DOCK

Egypt's former president, Hosni Mubarak, has appeared in court for a retrial on charges of complicity, three days after being released from prison and put under house arrest.

Mubarak was initially held on charges of corruption, but was then released and put under military-monitored house arrest for three days.

The 85-year-old former leader now faces a retrial for his alleged complicity in the killings of hundreds of protestors during the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.

The case has since been adjourned until 14 September.

Prior to Mubarak's court appearance, the trial of Muslim Brotherhood leaders commenced, with members of the ousted regime hearing the charges that have been brought against them.

Charges include the incitement of the murder of protestors who called for the resignation of Mubarak's predecessor, Mohamed Morsi.

The two trials, which Egyptians are calling the "Trial of Two Regimes", along with the overthrow of a democratically elected leader, sets a dangerous precedent for the rest of the Arab World, specifically Tunisia and Turkey.

On Monday, Tunisians will take to the streets in protest against their government, and in Turkey, the situation in Egypt is making life uncomfortable for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

AFRICA'S RESPONSE TO SYRIA

Whilst the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) have both threatened a "serious response" to allegations of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Africa, at large, has taken a very circumspect approach to the civil war.

1500 people have died in what is believed to have been caused by Sarin gas, which has extreme potency as a nerve agent.

A United Nations (UN) investigation into the death of the 1500 people is underway, but as it is five days later, it is likely evidence will not be found, weakening the US and UK's case.

Russia has responded to the West's threats, warning that if they intervene militarily, they will cross the Eastern European nation's red tape.

Although African UN member-states have, in the past, condemned Syria's state violence against its citizens, these responses are out-dated.

Countries like Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, Gabon, and South Africa all issued statements condemning the violence in Syria and many had previously asked for intervention to avoid the spillover effects onto the continent.

The lack of response from African nations is arguably as a result of what happened in Libya whereby countries claim to have been duped by the West and are now hesitant to take action against Syria.