samedi 25 mars 2017

Switzerland, that little poor …and rich country!

 
A rough economic paradox!

         The economy of the Swiss Confederation lives a rough paradox. On the one hand, its health is striking: thanks to the competitiveness of its pharmaceutical industry, watchmaking, commodity trading and financial services, the Swiss National Bank's (B.N.S.) foreign exchange reserves are equivalent to The gross domestic product of Switzerland. Who says better ?
        
On the other hand, the Swiss franc is too strong and penalizes other sectors. The end of banking secrecy inexorably reduces the attractiveness of local banking institutions and forces them to squeeze their numbers and freeze wages. The announced growth rate for 2017 could reach 1.5%. As in 2016. It is not really the frank recovery that would erase the years of crisis and stagnation lived since 2009.

Immigrants and domestic consumption.

         In Switzerland, immigrants account for a quarter of the growth in consumption. Another threat: Switzerland does not have enough immigrants, which goes against the Swiss common sense. Credit Suisse Bank experts have developed five immigration scenarios, and in all cases labor force growth will be stalled in 2020 because immigrant arrivals are falling. These contribute to a quarter of the growth in consumption, and the growth of the country will be affected.

What about major international organizations?

         Add to these dark clouds the fact that the protectionism expected of the "America First" of Donald Trump and Theresa May's Brexit does not announce anything good for the world economy. Very hostile to multilateralism, does the U.S. president risk jeopardizing one of the pillars of globalization based in Geneva, the World Trade Organization (W.T.O.)?
        
Not to mention the United Nations, which has an office on the ground, and the plethora of international organizations which have flourished on the shores of Lake Geneva and which could suffer from the return of each nationalist for itself: International Labor Organization, World Health Organization, the International Telecommunication Union, etc..
        
The populist outbreaks of the National Front in France, of the A.f.D. in Germany or the Freedom Party in the Netherlands confirm the renewed identity reflexes on the Old Continent too, which does not bode well for a nation devoted to commercial and financial free trade.

Focus on Africa?

         What to do in the short term? Looking to lower the franc? The United States, which has already placed Switzerland on its list of countries suspected of manipulating their currency, could take retaliatory action at the instigation of their fiery president. Reforming corporate taxation, as requested by the international community? The Swiss have just said "no" by referendum. Back on the anti-migratory measures adopted in 2014? Random.
        
Perhaps salvation would consist in putting more vigorously on Africa. For a long time, this continent, far from international trade, in which it weighs only 3% or 4%, is returning to the world game, not only because of its raw materials. It offers tremendous opportunities both in terms of health, finance, tourism, trading, agri-food industries and business services, where Switzerland excels.

Poor little Switzerland, rich and anxious!

         While awaiting this new impetus, the Confederation is condemned to take the back burner. At the very most, it can be argued today that the Brexit will have limited effects ... In 2017, its franc will remain strong, its wages will hardly increase, its inflation rate will return positive and its exports will continue to prosper.
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*Article by Alain Faujas, specialist in global macroeconomics, published in Jeune Afrique on 23 March 2017.

dimanche 5 mars 2017

Mozambique: The fabulous story of Rosita, the girl born in the tree!

 
Born by chance anywhere ...!

         The Frenchman Maxime Forestier sings "that one is born somewhere, that one does not choose his place of birth, Are the people born equal in law, in the place. To be born somewhere for the one who is born is always a chance ... ".

The mystery of our birth!

         There are children who are born in unusual places, such as in the sky at ten thousand meters or in the open sea, in a field of potatoes under a volcano or on a pebble or in the middle of a desert in a miserable camp of refugees. The essential thing is to survive this extraordinary birth.

The Folivora or the Lazy and her acrobatic childbirth!

         Among the mammals that give birth as our mothers is an animal whose delivery is spectacular and original: the Lazy or Folivora. Its body is original as it has only two long grids on each leg and its mouth has only 18 teeth. Its lower metabolism than other mammals gives it a temperature varying between 23 and 32 ° C. He lives, hanging in his tree sometimes upside down. He moves so cautiously that he is rightly called "Lazy."
         It is therefore normal that his childbirth is so spectacular that observing it one says that God has afflicted him of the evils that to avoid to humans. Aside from the pains of childbirth, she gives birth hung on her branch of tree and must be very careful to recover her baby with the free arm with this slowness characteristic of all her gestures.
         When one witnesses this birth, one is seized with terror by imagining that an unfortunate sound of wind or the break of its branch can be worth a deadly fall to its baby. Such acrobatics for a mother exhausted by pain is a true miracle of nature!
For the chameleon mother climbs to the top of a shrub to give birth. When its baby falls to the ground, her exhausted mother falls dead again a moment later! There is no miracle for her.

The seasonal deluge of Mozambique.

         This year 2017, Mozambique's extreme southern Malawi are as every astral summer, drowned under water. This year tropical cyclone Dineo has caused more than 55 wounded and more than 650,000 victims on the southern coast of Mozambique. More than 20,000 houses were destroyed by strong winds and precipitation. The flooding of rivers is on a scale that young Mozambicans have never seen. Floods in Mozambique are so sudden that people do not have time to escape the flood. They are obliged to cling to and perch on the trees.

An image erases apartheid from my head on March 1, 2000.

        
This day, I quietly watch the African news at Télévision Suisse Romande. It shows images of the floods in Mozambique. A parturient had taken refuge with 14 members of her family to escape the rising waters that submerged southern Mozambique. The poor woman stuck in a branch of a small tree, gives birth acrobatically. The swirling waters of muddy waters prevent rescue workers from helping her from the ground. She has just given birth as a "lazy" mum, the animal that I speaks to you at the beginning of this article. Unheard of in my life. I am seized with terror and swim amidst wonder and admiration of the courage for this mother! How can God let this produce such an accident? If he wished to give a lesson of his power to man, it was successful! Meanwhile, white South African rescuers come by helicopter take the baby wrapped in an old loincloth and take it out of danger. I turn off the television, I was afraid to see the sequel. A miracle had just happened in the eyes of all mankind. South African apartheid has just been erased from my head. These whites in uniform who usually shoot without a soul at the Mozambican immigrants in South Africa had just boldly saved a little black girl!
         They were all of a sudden, to show a humanity, exemplary "African Ubuntu"! For me, these two rescuers had just erased racial discrimination forever in southern Africa. The whites of southern Africa were members of an African tribe like the Zulu, the Xhosas,  the Khoisans or the Khoi-Khoi. Moreover, this birth and rescue trigger an unprecedented humanitarian aid campaign for thousands of victims of the disaster.

Rosina Manguingo "The girl born in the tree".

         After clinging to the branches for three days, the mother, Carolina Chirindza, known at the time as Sofia Pedro, felt the first contractions. Her mother-in-law had then collected the baby in a "capulana", a loincloth, to prevent it from falling into muddy waters and crocodile infested. South African rescuers arrived by helicopter just after the baby was expelled. She is known only as "the girl born in the tree"
. Rosita Mabuiango was born 17 years ago, perched on a branch above the flood waters of the Limpopo, infested with crocodiles, during the deadliest floods of the astral 2000.Today, the young woman born on the 1st March 2000 is reluctant to evoke this celebrity.
         "I'm normal,"
she told the AFP reporter who had been watching her helicopter from an aircraft of the South African armed forces. "I'm just born in a somewhat original way," she smiled shyly.
"I think it was God who decided to give me birth like that,"
she said timidly, sitting in the cream sofa of her godmother's salon in a neighborhood of the capital Maputo.
         The miracle is named Rosita, as her mother-in-law and improvised midwife. "I was not prepared for this, but that's what God wanted,"
says Carolina Chirindza, the pious mother in front of her house in Chibuto, about 300 kilometers northeast of Maputo. "Yes, it changed my life, because today I have a home and I have work," she continues.
Soon 40, she lives in a house offered to her family by the municipality of Chibuto, who also hired her as a housekeeper.
         A fair return of things, she suggests, both her acrobatic childbirth has mediated the distress of the victims of the floods - which have caused nearly 800 deaths. Mozambique's international donors raised some $ 450 million in international aid at a donors' conference in Rome in May 2000.
         The mother had even been received with her four-month-old daughter at the Congress in Washington to plead the cause of the refugees.
"Rosita is our local glory, her birth brought us a national and international celebrity. We have visitors who come here to see her, "
explains Joao Adriano, who lives in the nearby village of Chimundo. "Even the bus stop near his house was renamed his name", he adds with a smile.
         Seventeen years later, Rosita is relieved that she is no longer the center of attention. Only a small plate screwed into the trunk of the mahogany where she was born, about ten kilometers from Chibuto, comes to remind the curious that it was the setting for an extraordinary birth.

A fabulous destiny?

         This sudden celebrity and the many gifts that accompanied it have caused friction within the family.
Especially with the father of Rosita, Salvador Mabuiango, separated from the mother after a dark history of resale of land. He had also sold some of the furniture to buy alcohol. Justice has since deprived him of his parental rights.
         Far from all that, the young woman now wants to concentrate on her studies. She wants to be a petrochemical engineer, a probably wise choice after the recent discovery of large off-shore gas reserves along the coast of Mozambique.
         When she does not repeat her lessons, Rosita Mabuiango plays football on the team of her Catholic school. A passion she says of her brother Benedito, who spent four days in the tree where she was born, tied to her mother's back.

An alcoholic father, an aunt chosen by the minister ...

         During the school year, Rosita lives in Maputo with her godmother. She, Ruth Valera, has earned a reputation as a fashion model and fashion designer, but this 49-year-old woman is not actually part of the Rosita's family: it was a minister who asked her to take the "daughter of the tree"
under her protection, three weeks after her birth.
"It was amazing, I did not even know if it was a boy or a girl,"
recalls Mrs. Valera. "It was a choice of God, surely."
         The improbable godmother took her role very seriously and watched gradually the education and life of her goddaughter. "When you have to lecture her or tell her to spend less time on her cell phone," she says, "I do it."