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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Delivering on Africa’s Promise will be the theme of the World Economic Forum on Africa 2013 which will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, 8-10 May, with the participation of more than 1,000 leaders from business, government, civil society and academia.
The meeting, which convenes against a backdrop of significant economic growth and progress in reducing poverty in most parts of sub-Saharan Africa, features a programme built around three pillars: Accelerating Economic Diversification; Boosting Strategic Infrastructure; and Unlocking Africa’s Talent.
Led by President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and representatives from his government, other leaders that have confirmed their participation are: Benin, President Thomas Yayi Boni; Ethiopia, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn; Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta; Malawi, President Joyce Banda; Nigeria, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan; Seychelles, President James Alix Michel; Swaziland, King Mswati III; Tanzania, President Jakaya M. Kikwete; Togo, President Faure Gnassingbé; Uganda, Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi; and Zimbabwe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
“Africa has an historic opportunity to take advantage of recent improvements in governance, as well as its massive youth bulge, to transform its economy and society. The World Economic Forum on Africa presents Africa’s leaders with a platform to build on these encouraging signs and work together to create innovative models, solutions and outcomes to tackle the region’s challenges and harness its great potential,” said Elsie Kanza, Director, Head of Africa, World Economic Forum.
In addition to a two-day public programme, there will also be a number of significant meetings on the fringes of the World Economic Forum on Africa. The Grow Africa Investment Forum, on 8-9 May, will attempt to build on its successes in 2012 by underscoring further commitment from both the public and private sectors. Another meeting is Shape Africa, organized by the Cape Town hub of the Global Shapers Community, a worldwide network of young leaders between the ages of 20 and 30, which takes place in the city on 6-7 May.
The Co-Chairs of the World Economic Forum on Africa are Frans van Houten, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Management and the Executive Committee, Royal Philips Electronics, Netherland; Mo Ibrahim, Chairman, Mo Ibrahim Foundation, United Kingdom; Mustafa Vehbi Koç, Chairman of the Board, Koç Holding, Turkey; Frannie Léautier, Executive Secretary, The African Capacity Building Foundation, Zimbabwe; and Arif M. Naqvi, Founder and Group Chief Executive, Abraaj Group, United Arab Emirates.
The global spread of coffee growing and drinking began in the Horn of Africa, where, according to legend, coffee trees originated in the Ethiopian province of Kaffa. It is recorded that the fruit of the plant, known as coffee cherries, was eaten by slaves taken from present day Sudan into Yemen and Arabia through the great port of its day, Mocha. Coffee was certainly being cultivated in Yemen by the 15th century and probably much earlier. In an attempt to prevent its cultivation elsewhere, the Arabs imposed a ban on the export of fertile coffee beans, a restriction that was eventually circumvented in 1616 by the Dutch, who brought live coffee plants back to the Netherlands to be grown in greenhouses.
Initially, the authorities in Yemen actively encouraged coffee drinking. The first coffeehouses or kaveh kanes opened in Mecca and quickly spread throughout the Arab world, thriving as places where chess was played, gossip was exchanged and singing, dancing and music were enjoyed. Nothing quite like this had existed before: a place where social and business life could be conducted in comfortable surroundings and where – for the price of a cup of coffee – anyone could venture. Perhaps predictably, the Arabian coffeehouse soon became a centre of political activity and was suppressed. Over the next few decades coffee and coffeehouses were banned numerous times but kept reappearing until eventually an acceptable way out was found when a tax was introduced on both.
By the late 1600’s the Dutch were growing coffee at Malabar in India and in 1699 took some plants to Batavia in Java, in what is now Indonesia. Within a few years the Dutch colonies had become the main suppliers of coffee to Europe, where coffee had first been brought by Venetian traders in 1615. This was a period when the two other globally significant hot beverages also appeared in Europe. Hot chocolate was the first, brought by the Spanish from the Americas to Spain in 1528; and tea, which was first sold in Europe in 1610. At first coffee was mainly sold by lemonade vendors and was believed to have medicinal qualities. The first European coffeehouse opened in Venice in 1683, with the most famous, Caffe Florian in Piazza San Marco, opening in 1720. It is still open for business today. The largest insurance market in the world, Lloyd’s of London, began life as a coffeehouse. It was started in 1688 by Edward Lloyd, who prepared lists of the ships that his customers had insured.
The first literary reference to coffee being drunk in North America is from 1668 and, soon after, coffee houses were established in New York, Philadelphia, Boston and other towns. The Boston Tea Party Of 1773 was planned in a coffee house, the Green Dragon. Both the New York Stock Exchange and the Bank of New York started in coffeehouses in what is today known as Wall Street.
In 1720 a French naval officer named Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu, while on leave in Paris from his post in Martinique, acquired a coffee tree with the intention of taking it with him on the return voyage. With the plant secured in a glass case on deck to keep it warm and prevent damage from salt water, the journey proved eventful. As recorded in de Clieu’s own journal, the ship was threatened by Tunisian pirates. There was a violent storm, during which the plant had to be tied down. A jealous fellow officer tried to sabotage the plant, resulting in a branch being torn off. When the ship was becalmed and drinking water rationed, De Clieu ensured the plant’s survival by giving it most of his precious water. Finally, the ship arrived in Martinique and the coffee tree was re-planted at Preebear. It grew, and multiplied, and by 1726 the first harvest was ready. It is recorded that, by 1777, there were between 18 and 19 million coffee trees on Martinique, and the model for a new cash crop that could be grown in the New World was in place.
But it was the Dutch who first started the spread of the coffee plant in Central and South America, where today it reigns supreme as the main continental cash crop. Coffee first arrived in the Dutch colony of Surinam in 1718, to be followed by plantations in French Guyana and the first of many in Brazil in the state of Pará. In 1730 the British introduced coffee to Jamaica, where today the most famous and expensive coffee in the world is grown in the Blue Mountains.
The 17th and 18th centuries saw the establishment across Brazil of vast sugar plantations or fazendas, owned by the country’s elite. As sugar prices weakened in the 1820’s, capital and labour migrated to the southeast in response to the expansion of coffee growing in the Paraiba Valley, where it had been introduced in 1774. By the beginning of the 1830’s Brazil was the world’s largest producer with some 600,000 bags a year, followed by Cuba, Java and Haiti, each with annual production of 350 to 450,000 bags. World production amounted to some 2.5 million bags per year.
The rapid expansion of production in Brazil and Java, among others, caused a significant decline in world prices. These bottomed out in the late 1840’s, from which point a strong upward movement occurred, reaching its peak in the 1890’s. During this latter period, due mainly to a lack of inland transport and manpower, Brazilian expansion slowed considerably. Meanwhile, the upward movement of prices encouraged the growth of coffee cultivation in other producing regions in the Americas such as Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador and Colombia.
In Colombia, where coffee had been introduced by the Jesuits as early as 1723, civil strife and the inaccessibility of the best coffee-growing regions had hampered the growth of a coffee industry. Following the “Thousand Days War” of 1899 to 1903, the new peace saw Colombians turn to coffee as their salvation. While larger plantations, or haciendas, dominated the upper Magdalena river regions of Cundinamarca and Tolima, determined peasants staked new claims in the mountainous regions to the west, in Antioquia and Caldas. New railways, relying on coffee for profit, allowed more coffee to be grown and transported. The opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 permitted exports from Colombia’s previously unreachable Pacific coast, with the port of Buenaventura assuming increasing importance.
In 1905 Colombia exported five hundred thousand bags of coffee; by 1915 exports had doubled. While Brazil desperately tried to control its overproduction, Colombian coffee became increasingly popular with American and European consumers. In 1914 Brazil supplied three-quarters of U.S. imports with 5.6 million bags, but by 1919 that figure had fallen to 4.3 million, while Colombia’s share had risen from 687,000 to 915,000 bags. During the same period Central American exports to the U.S. had risen from 302,000 to 1.2 million bags.
In spite of political turmoil, social upheaval and economic vicissitude, the 20th century saw an essentially continuous rise in demand for coffee. U.S. consumption continued to grow reaching a peak in 1946, when annual per capita consumption was 19.8 pounds, twice the figure in 1900. Especially during periods of high global prices, this steadily increasing demand lead to an expansion in production throughout the coffee-growing regions of the world. With the process of decolonisation that began in the years following the Second World War, many newly independent nations in Africa, notably Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi, found themselves in varying degrees dependent on coffee export revenue.
For US coffee drinkers, the country’s wettest city, Seattle, has become synonymous with a new type of café culture, which, from its birth in the 1970s, swept the continent, dramatically improving the general quality of the beverage. This new found ‘evangelism’ for coffee has spread to the rest of the world, even to countries with great coffee traditions of their own, such as Italy, Germany, and Scandinavia, adding new converts to the pleasures of good coffee. Today it is possible to find good coffee in every major city of the world, from London to Sydney to Tokyo; we are drinking more and, more importantly, better coffee.
The importance of coffee to the world economy cannot be overstated. It is one of the most valuable primary products in world trade, in many years second in value only to oil as a source of foreign exchange to producing countries. Its cultivation, processing, trading, transportation and marketing provide employment for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Coffee is crucial to the economies and politics of many developing countries; for many of the world’s Least Developed Countries, exports of coffee account for more than 50 percent of their foreign exchange earnings. Coffee is a traded commodity on major futures and commodity exchanges, most importantly in London and New York.
LONDON – British intelligence agents have reopened their investigation into the mysterious crash of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger jet last February after a terror suspect taken into custody in Saudi Arabia confessed it was bombed, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The information came after the mass arrest of more than 100 al-Qaida terror suspects in the Middle East.
The Boeing 737-8 plunged into the Mediterranean shortly after takeoff from Lebanon, killing all 92 passengers on board. Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri blamed pilot error.
But one of the al-Qaida operatives held in a high-security prison in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, has told his British-trained interrogators that the aircraft was destroyed by an al-Qaida suicide bomber trained in a Yemeni training camp.
Yemen is the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden’s family. The operative said the Beirut bomber trained in the same Yemeni camp as Christmas Day underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
CNNJanuary 25, 2010 6:42 a.m. EST
A soldier inspects debris washed up after an airliner crashed off the Lebanese coast.STORY HIGHLIGHTS Rescue crews recover 23 bodies off the Lebanese coast Wife of the French ambassador to Lebanon among passengers Aircraft, carrying 90 people from Beirut, Lebanon, was bound for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Authorities did not immediately know the cause of the crash Beirut, Lebanon (CNN) — British, French and Cypriot aircraft joined rescue crews searching the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Lebanon on Monday where an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed with 90 people aboard. By midday Monday, crews had found 23 bodies, but no survivors, the state-run Lebanese National News Agency reported. Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced a day of mourning for the victims of the crash, ordering all government departments to close, the agency reported. He praised security forces and the Red Cross for their efforts in the aftermath of the accident. Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 left Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut about 2:30 a.m. and was headed to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. It disappeared from radar a few minutes after takeoff, said Ghazi El Aridi, Lebanon’s minister of public works and transportation. Authorities did not immediately know the cause of the crash. “We don’t believe that there is any indication for sabotage or foul play,” Lebanese President Michel Sulayman said. The airline said a 14-member team of investigators was at the scene of the accident. Video: Ethiopian airliner crashes RELATED TOPICS Air Disasters Ethiopia “We want to figure out the reasons behind this plane crash and we will be very transparent in informing everyone of what happened,” Hariri said. The Boeing 737-800 had seven crew members and 82 passengers — 51 Lebanese nationals, 23 Ethiopians, two Britons and citizens from Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Canada, Russia and France, the airline said. An earlier tally provided by the Lebanese government varied slightly. Among the passengers was the wife of the French ambassador to Lebanon, said Anne Charlotte of the French embassy. The plane crashed about 3.5 km (2.1 miles) west of the town of Na’ameh. Na’ameh is 15 km (9 miles) south of Beirut. As worried family members gathered at the Beirut airport for news, the army and the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon continued to scour the crash site for survivors. “We hope that we will be able to rescue as many survivors, but the weather conditions are very bad,” Sulayman said. Government-owned Ethiopian Airlines is one of the largest in Africa. Unlike several African carriers that are not allowed in European air space because of shoddy safety records, Ethiopian Airlines serves Europe. It serves three other continents as well, for a total of 56 destinations. The airline has such a commendable safety record that some expanding airlines in Asia have lured away its pilots at high pay, The New York Times reported in 2006. The airline has experienced two fatal crashes since 1980. In November 1996, a flight bound for Ivory Coast, also known as Cote D’Ivoire, was hijacked by three men who demanded that the pilot fly to Australia. The pilot attempted an emergency landing near the Comoros Islands off Africa as the plane ran out of fuel, but crashed. About 130 of the 172 people aboard died, according to published reports. And in September 1988, a flight struck a flock of birds during takeoff. During the crash landing that followed, 31 people of the 105 people aboard died.