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Central Africa Travel Guide

Central Africa Travel Guide

Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo

According to Countryaah, there are 9 countries in Central Africa. Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of them. The DR Congo has lush nature, an exciting history and a very hospitable population! The country was originally home to several kingdoms and one of the largest African states. The Kingdom of the Congo, founded in the 14th century, stood out in particular. After a checkered history, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) – until 1960 the Belgian Congo, from 1971 to 1997 Zaïre – today is the third largest state in Africa and covers an area of ​​2,345,411 square kilometers, making it 6.6 times the size of Germany. The DR Congo should not be confused with the western Republic of the Congo, the former French Congo. Tropical rainforest covers two thirds of the republic. In addition to dense forests and savannahs, many primeval forest rivers shape the landscape. The largest remaining rainforest areas in Africa are home to innumerable animal and plant species; There are said to be 1,600 different species of butterflies in the DR Congo alone – more than in any other country in the world. Primates in particular have an immense attraction on travelers: in the DR Congo, bonobos can be seen as well as the eastern lowland gorillas.

Climate:

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has an equatorial climate with year-round rain and a fairly constant temperature of around 26 degrees Celsius in the central part of the country. In the north and south, a rainy and dry season alternate with a moderate climate.

Best travel time:

Depending on the region, the period from December to February is suitable for a trip to the north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, whereas the months between April and October are favorable for the south. In general, the rainy season should be avoided due to the high humidity and heavy rainfall.

Republic of the Congo

Republic of the Congo

According to iTypeUSA, the Republic of the Congo is located in central Africa. Until 1960, when the French Congo was a colony of France, it should not be confused with the southeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the former Belgian Congo and Zaïre. There was already slave trade in the Congo estuary in the 17th and 18th centuries, and French proselytizing began in 1766. From 1875, Pierre Brazza began exploring the country. This was followed by the establishment of a military post in the Congo, from which the city of Brazzaville emerged. The Republic of the Congo is one of the more exotic travel destinations in the tourism industry. Tourist highlights are undoubtedly the rare lowland gorillas and extremely shy forest elephants living in the north-west in the rainforest.

Climate:

The African country has high temperatures and high humidity all year round. The dry season between June and September is followed by a humid rainy season with sometimes strong tropical thunderstorms. The average annual temperature is between 22 and 27 degrees Celsius, with the thermometer rising to over 30 degrees during the day. The Atlantic moderates both the amount of rain and the humidity on the west coast of the Republic of the Congo. In the inland rainforest, it is correspondingly more humid.

Best travel time:

The warm and humid tropical climate can put a heavy strain on European tourists, which is why the dry season between June and September is recommended for trips when the temperatures and humidity have dropped somewhat. In December and January it is still cheap to travel to the north of the Congo. The humid rainy season is not advisable.

Gabon

Gabon

Gabon is a country of incredible natural beauty. More than 70 percent of Gabon’s area is covered by tropical rainforest. Because of the difficult climatic conditions there are hardly any roads and a thin settlement (4-6 Ew./qKm), which is mainly concentrated in cities. The population is 1.2 million people, as a result of which there is little settlement pressure on nature. The statistics speak for themselves: 64,000 elephants, 25,000 gorillas, 35,000 chimpanzees, 680 bird species, 2,000 to 3,000 humpback whales and 320 types of orchids are native to the forests of Gabon. Here you can find quite rare zoological species such as lowland gorillas, mandrills, forest elephants, bongo antelopes and spotted rockhoppers. Gabon’s landscapes range from savannah and coast to dense tropical rainforest; Visitors to this country are constantly discovering new natural beauties. About 10% of the land area of ​​Gabon has been placed under protection by the government. 13 national parks have been opened since 2002. The best known are the Reserve de la Lopé, but also the Ivindo National Park or the Loango National Park, where there are unique opportunities to experience Gabon’s fauna.

Climate:

The African country Gabon has a tropical climate, which causes high temperatures all year round. At night, temperatures rarely drop below 20 degrees Celsius, and during the day an average of 26 degrees is reached in the coastal region. There is also an extremely high humidity of up to 98%. The course of the year is determined by a longer rainy season between mid-January to mid-May, followed by a dry period up to around September, before a few more rainy months follow.

Best travel time:

For a tour to Gabon you should use the dry periods between June and September and the two months of December and January. During this period animal observations are possible, and the trade winds lower the humidity a little. At the turn of the year turtles come to the beaches to lay their eggs. Whales can be seen off the coast from July to September.

Chad

Chad

Chad is probably the least known country in Central Africa – mainly because of its extremely fragile security situation. Chad, which is more than three times the size of Germany, has unique natural beauties: In the bizarre desert landscapes of the Ennedi Plateau, a labyrinthine world of sandstone formations, there are ancient inscriptions and rock art. In the north of the country, the largest groundwater lakes in the Sahara are located in the middle of dune areas and pyramid-shaped table mountains – and the highest mountain range in the Sahara, the Tibesti, with the more than 3,000-meter-high Emi Koussi. The Zakouma National Park southeast of the capital N’Djamena is one of the best places in Central Africa to observe huge herds of elephants, giraffes, wildebeest, lions as well as numerous antelope species, primates and birds.

Climate:

In the north of Chad there is a dry desert climate, here is the Sahara desert. In May, peak temperatures of 45 to 50 degrees Celsius are reached here, and the nights are often much cooler than the days. A rainy season runs between June and September in the so-called Sahel zone (the center of the country). The south of the country is characterized by a humid, humid and hot tropical climate with a rainy period between May and October.

Best travel time:

The drier winter months of November, December, January and February are given as the optimal travel period for Chad because the temperatures are then lower. In the rainy season, many paths can no longer be reached and the humidity rises uncomfortably high. The extremely hot spring and summer months are also unfavorable for traveling.

 

West Africa Travel Guide

West Africa Travel Guide

Togo

Togo

According to Countryaah, Togo is a country with a fascinating landscape and culture located on the west coast of Africa. It offers its visitors a multitude of sights and a great diversity of nature. The markets for traditional medicine and fetishes are well known. The country’s beaches invite you to relax, with a little luck you can watch Togo’s last wild animals in the national parks.

Climate:

Togo is characterized by a humid tropical climate. The average temperature in the north with less precipitation is 30 degrees Celsius, slightly higher than on the south coast to the Atlantic (27 degrees). The rainy and dry seasons are slightly offset in north and south Togo: the dry season in the north runs between November and April, the south is characterized by two rainy and two dry seasons, with the dry periods between mid-July and mid-September and between December and March pass.

Best travel time:

The north of the country offers bearable temperatures and falling humidity between November and mid-February after the rainy season. The south of Togo is recommended for tourists between December and March (long dry season) and between mid-July and mid-September (short dry season). The period from April to October is unfavorable when the rainy season causes humid heat and floods in the country.

Gambia

Gambia

The Gambia is a country with a fascinating landscape and culture. Located on the west coast of Africa, the approximately 740 km long border follows the course of the Gambia River over a length of 480 km and a width of 10 to 50 km. Apart from the coast, the Gambia is enclosed by Senegal, which is twenty times larger. The unusual borderline of the Gambia results from the fact that in colonial times this was the range of the cannons of British ships on the navigable part of the river.

Climate:

In Gambia, a dry and rainy season alternate under a warm tropical climate. While the temperatures on the coast are mostly bearable, in spring in the interior of the country they can reach 43 degrees Celsius per day. The rainy season prevails between June and November, in the dry months the Harmattan causes a little lower humidity.

Best travel time:

The dry period between November and May is perceived as particularly favorable when the thermometer no longer exceeds 30 degrees and the humidity drops. In the months between November and February migratory birds can be observed, which stay in Gambia over the winter. There are also many tourists in the country during the same period. October and November are recommended for a beach holiday on the Atlantic, the water is warm and the beaches are not overcrowded. Summer is not recommended due to the rainy season and its humid heat.

Cape Verde

Cape Verde

According to iTypeUSA, Cape Verde is a country located in West Africa. The archipelago of the Republic of Cape Verde consists of 15 islands and further small islets, nine of which are inhabited. Located in the central Atlantic off the west coast of Africa, a distinction is made between islands above the wind and islands below the wind. The latter include Maio, Santiago, Fogo and Brava as well as the uninhabited group of islands of the Ilheus do Rombo. The islands over the wind are Santo Antao, Sao Vicente, Sao Nicolau, Sal Boa Vista and the uninhabited islands of Santa Luzia, Branco and Raso.

Best travel time:

The islands can be visited all year round, but the months November to June are very pleasant as it is not so humid during this time. In the further hotter months, the sea breeze always provides a little cooling, so that this weather is also quite pleasant for a vacation.

Senegal

Senegal

The scenic and culturally fascinating Senegal is located on the west coast of Africa. The small state of Gambia is completely enclosed in the interior, while Senegal borders Mauritania in the north, Mali in the east and Guinea and Guinea-Bissau in the south. The landscape of Senegal is noticeably flat and most of the country is below 100 m above sea level. A depression that slopes gently towards the Atlantic coast covers around 80 percent of the country, the only exceptions are the Fouta-Djalon foothills in the southwest and the Bambouk mountains in the Falémé river basin on the Malian border. In the north, south of the Senegal basin, lies the dry Sahel plain Fouta Ferlo with rather sparse vegetation.

Climate:

The north of the country is subject to the dry and hot northeast trade wind, which causes the desert climate there. Maximum values ​​of over 30 degrees Celsius in summer are not uncommon, in winter the temperatures then drop to around 25 degrees. The rainy season runs in the north between July and October. The tropical south of the country is subject to the warm, humid monsoon winds during the rainy season between April and November, with temperatures of up to 40 degrees and a humidity of up to 95%. On the western Atlantic coast the temperatures are somewhat more moderate, while extreme values ​​of over 50 degrees can be reached on the eastern border with Mali.

Best travel time:

The optimal travel time for Senegal is the period between November and May. During the sunny dry season, divers have a clear view in the water, and migratory birds can also be observed. In the interior of Senegal, however, it will be too hot. Traveling to Senegal during the rainy season is not recommended due to the extreme humidity, especially in the south, and the abundant rainfall.

Ghana

Ghana

Ghana is a scenically and culturally fascinating country, located on the west coast of Africa. Since the publication of the new constitution in 1992 by the Rawlings government, the country has been on a growth path, characterized by political stability and democratic elections. In contrast to its two neighbors, Ivory Coast and Togo, the country and its structures have since become more stable and the World Bank and the IMF believe that the country can still achieve strong economic growth if raw material prices continue to rise. Political stability and the investments that go with it have created a tourist infrastructure in recent years that makes travel throughout the country possible. According to AllCityPopulation, the biggest city of Ghana is Accra with a population of 1.594 million.

Climate:

Compared to the north of the country, southern Ghana is a little more humid. The whole country is characterized by a tropical climate with dry and rainy seasons. On the coast, the average annual temperatures of around 27 degrees Celsius are somewhat lower than in northern Ghana. Two rainy seasons in the period from April to June and in the months of September and October characterize the south with high humidity of up to 90%. The north of the country only has one rainy season, which is between April and October. Then the thermometer rises up to 42 degrees. The dry season is caused by the dry, hot trade wind Harmattan from the Sahara.

Best travel time:

The dry season between November and March is recommended for a trip to Ghana. During this period, the water temperature in the Atlantic is ideal for swimming, and the humidity is slightly lower than in the other humid and rainy months. The temperatures in August, which lies between two rainy seasons, are also still bearable.

Madagascar Country Profile 2010-2011

Madagascar Country Profile 2010-2011

The year 2009 was a dramatic year for Madagascar. After the March 17 coup in which the young mayor of the capital, Andry Rajoelina (35), took power and forced President Marc Ravalomanana (60) into exile in South Africa, the country has undergone a continuous crisis. The crisis continued in 2010 and has major consequences for countries, people and, not least, for nature and the environment.

President Marc Ravalomanana was Madagascar’s richest man because he governed a large business empire built on dairy farming and food production across a wide range. He was accused of mingling his own business with the state’s economy. For public positions, he favored people from his group and from his own ethnic group, the marina. The coastal population has always regarded this inland group as privileged when it comes to the development of schools, health services and infrastructure. See DigoPaul.com for location and map of Madagascar.

All indications were that the president was safe after he was re-elected in December 2006 for another five years with 55 percent of the vote. So he was only halfway into his second presidential term when the coup happened. The president’s party had a majority in the National Assembly and Senate and in almost all the 1500 municipalities. An important exception was the capital, where the young mayor Andry Rajoelina swept Ravalomanana’s candidate and secured 63 percent of the vote. The mayor advocated dissatisfaction that had built up in the population. He was a well-known disc jockey and ran some advertising business in Antananarivo, but no one had thought of the possibility of him becoming the country’s de facto president.

Three events triggered the coup. First, Ravalomanana shut down the radio transmitter to Rajoelina because it had sent a speech that ex-President Didier Ratsiraka had kept from his exile in Paris. Second, it was known that the government had begun negotiations with the South Korean company Daewoo for the lease of a land area the size of half Belgium for 99 years for the production of maize to South Korea. Third, in January 2009, the president went on to purchase a luxury aircraft called “Air Force One” for $ 60 million.

It was impossible to come forward with criticism of the regime, also because of the president’s arrogant style of government, and people in Antananarivo began to demonstrate in the streets. Thousands joined in on Andry Rajoelina’s orange demonstration. On “Black Monday” January 26, the popular movement got out of control and set fire to both the president’s business and department stores and the national broadcast, then to other businesses as well.

February 7 turned “red Saturday”. Then Rajoelina and the political group he had created sent “the High Authority of the Transitional Government” (HAT), the crowd towards the presidential palace in the middle of the city. Here, the protesters were shot, and 31 people were killed and many injured. The movement had now received its martyrs.

The turning point came on March 8, when some colonels in the army made mutiny and took control of the weapons stock without caring about their generals. The defense minister was forced to step down. The following week, the militia marched toward the presidential palace outside the city where Ravalomanana resided. On the morning of March 17, the president gave power to the top generals. When the statement was read to Rajoelina in the presence of the church leaders, the UN representative and the US ambassador, he refused to accept the decision and “kidnapped” the generals. The generals were forced to give power to Andry Rajoelina.

Threatened by life, Ravalomanana had to flee to South Africa, where he still resides. The Constitutional Court approved the takeover of power and Rajoelina was appointed president. He immediately dissolved the Senate and National Assembly and has since ruled dictatorially by decrees.

The international community with the United Nations and the African Union (AU) at the forefront set up an international contact group to negotiate between the parties. In August, the three previously elected presidents Zafy, Ratsiraka, Ravalomanana and de facto President Rajoelina met for negotiations in the Mozambican capital Maputo. There, they signed an agreement on a “consensual and inclusive” solution to the conflict. This was subsequently extended with a supplementary agreement in Addis Ababa. According to this, all four political groups should get their hands on the wheel, with Rajoelina being the head of state and interim president, Zafy and Ravalomanana being represented with each co-president, and Ratsiraka getting the prime minister.

But when Rajoelina returned to Madagascar, he continued his one-sided rule. A new meeting in Maputo in early December was boycotted by Rajoelina. He then appointed a new prime minister and launched the idea of ​​a new national assembly in the spring of 2010. At the time of writing, it was uncertain when this could be done.

The consequences of the crisis have been great. The tourism sector, which had 320,000 tourists in 2008, has collapsed. All major donors, the World Bank, EU, US and Norway, have frozen state-by-state aid. Only humanitarian and health care assistance has been maintained. Gross domestic product growth was 7 percent in 2008, but fell to 0.8 percent in 2009. It is estimated that the crisis has led to the loss of some 300,000 jobs, especially in the tourism and textile industries. Education reform, which was well on its way to modernizing and expanding primary school from five to seven years, has stopped.

Only France has maintained state-by-state assistance, and many believe that France has indirectly supported the coup maker to safeguard French economic and cultural interests. There are 25,000 French people living on the island, many of whom are engaged in business. While Ravalomanana worked to liberalize the economy and entered into agreements with Canada, Germany, China and others, Rajoelina has forged stronger ties with France. But France, too, officially supports a unifying solution to the conflict.

One of the most tragic is that the cessation of state aid has led to environmental crime in the national parks. Because tourism revenue from ecotourism collapsed, foresters lost their revenue. Harvesting of timber from the rain forest has led to rare species of animals, such as lemurs and chameleons, being threatened with extinction. Natural parks that are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List due to biodiversity are at risk of being destroyed due to valuable timber exports to China, without the government trying to stop it.

The human rights situation has also deteriorated. In a report published in January 2010, Amnesty International points out that there have been a number of violations of basic human rights under the coup regime: accidental political arrests, inhuman treatment, persistent attacks on journalists and the media, and even illegal killings. The Madagascar de facto authorities (HAT) have not brought such abuses to judicial review, giving the impression that they have been approved at the highest level.

Country facts:

Area: 587 041 km2 (20th largest)

Population: 19 million

Population density: 33 per km2

Urban population: 29 percent

Largest city: Antananarivo – approx. 1.7 million

GDP per capita: $ 488

Economic growth: 5 percent

HDI Position: 145

Cape Verde

Cape Verde

Around 500,000 people live on the nine islands that make up Cape Verde. About as many live outside the country’s borders, but count as race-worthy. Politically, the country is very stable. Cape Verde has long had a good development, both financially and healthily, but still depends on foreign aid.

From the liberation in 1975 to 1990, Partido Africano then ruled the Independência de Cabo Verde (PAICV) as the only party. The 1991 election was Africa’s first peaceful transition to multi-party rule (along with São Tomé and Principe) and was won by the liberalist Movimento para a Democracia (MpD). MPD won again in 1995, but lost in 2001 to PAICV, which also won the election in January 2006.

PAICV’s victory at that time was partly due to voters’ dissatisfaction with abuse of power and internal clutter in MpD. The election in 2006 further strengthened the party’s position and PAICV today stands as a modern party, with an almost social democratic profile.

Parliament has 72 seats, and the emigrant population elects 6 of the representatives. Cape Verde has seven parties, but only three of them are represented in parliament after the last election in 2006. PAICV got 41 of the seats in the election and MpD 29, and the last two seats went to the party União Cabo-verdiana Independente e Democrática (UCID ).

In the local elections in 2008, MPD won big. They won in 11 municipalities, including the two largest cities, while PAICV won in 10. The only other party to win a local election was Grupo Independente para Modernizar Sal (GIMS), an independent group working to modernize Sal, one of the Cape Verde’s total of nine inhabited islands. However, GIMS received support from MpD and is considered here as an Mpd municipality.

Although the country’s political stability persists, regionalization trends can be challenging. At the same time, the country is in practice governed by only two parties. The 2011 election, which also requires a new president, can indicate the direction in which the country’s political system will go.

The biggest political debates in recent years have been the public sale of real estate and the effect of the privatization of larger state-owned enterprises. The electricity supply is still unstable. The power price and the “Norwegian” gasoline prices create a number of problems at the individual level as well as for the business sector more generally.

The human rights situation on Cape Verde is better than in most African countries. However, torture of prisoners has been reported, and the police are accused of taking child and women abuse too easily. Drug-related crime and violence are a growing problem, but Cape Verde is still considered a safe country to travel to.

Dependency of aid

Cape Verde exports fish, lobster, some fruit and products from light industry (shoes and clothes). There are small development opportunities in industry and agriculture, and the dependence on the tourism industry is increasing. The country has no significant natural resources, and chronic rainfall is causing major problems for agriculture. Only about 15 percent of the country’s 4,033 square kilometers are arable land. There is still some hardship, because the owners live abroad and hinder development. The PAICV government has long wanted a land reform. Unemployment is around 20-25 percent. Gross domestic product (GDP) is US $ 5214 per person.

Cape Verde today is highly dependent on outside assistance, an addiction that seems to persist for a long time to come. Around 90 percent of the aid is grants. This has become possible partly because Cape Verde has been politically stable since the liberation and the level of corruption is low. However, increasing corruption is registered. The currency (Cape Verde Escudos, CVE) is set at a fixed exchange rate against the euro. Inflation appears to be under control. Cape Verde has achieved a special partner status in the EU, according to the Cotonou Agreement.

The relatively good standard of living in Cape Verde paradoxically creates problems in securing continued assistance from donor countries; Cape Verde is now regarded as a middle-income country and is therefore not included among the countries that are usually recipients of aid.

However, the country’s stable political and social situation led the United States in 2005 to support Cape Verde through the so-called Millennium Challenge Corporation with $ 110 million for water supply, infrastructure and private sector development.

The country is very sensitive to external conditions that can affect the level of contributions from donor countries and emigrants. Emigrants’ contributions account for around 16 percent of GDP. The government is investing in getting this group to invest more money in the country. In addition to tourism, the authorities are trying to find opportunities to exploit the country’s geographical strategic position between Brazil and Africa. Opportunities to offer oil-producing neighboring countries onshore and / or refining facilities have been discussed.

Foreign debt totaled nearly $ 600 million in 2007, according to the UN. An increasing budget deficit in recent years is due to drought-related problems and health and education measures.

Health and social conditions

The authorities prioritize health and poverty reduction. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) supports, among other things, poverty reduction measures and considers the cutting-edge economy as persistently sound. Seven percent of the state budget goes to health measures. The primary health service is relatively well developed, but there is a shortage of trained health professionals. Access to clean water and sanitation is still lacking.

19 percent of the state budget goes to education. There is a free school offer for everyone and the literacy rate is approaching 80 percent. Cape Verde has its own university, and is partnering with a private university in Portugal. The country can thus offer a number of education at the university and college level. The problem of the authorities is continuity in education. Today, parts of primary school education are funded through external assistance and are therefore extremely vulnerable.

Many want to emigrate to seek education and work. However, the tightening of immigration policy in the West has made this more difficult, which has led to increased population growth according to Countryaah.

Cape Verde has sharply reduced UNDP’s development index, from 102nd place in 2007, to 121st place in 2009. The change is due to other countries having greater improvements than Cape Verde last year. The country’s own development indicators are unchanged, so the change is less dramatic than it may seem at first glance.

Country facts:

Area: 4,033 km2 (50th largest)

Population: 499 000

Population density per km2: 124

Urban population: 59 percent

Largest city: Praia – 126,000

GDP per capita: USD 3439

Economic growth: 5.9 percent

HDI Position: 121

Western Sahara

Western Sahara

Negotiations between Morocco and Western Sahara, and a possible new US position vis-à-vis Western Sahara, have marked the past year. At the same time, human rights abuses against the Sahrawi population continue.

Western Sahara is divided in two. The majority is occupied by Morocco, while a minority is controlled by the Sahrawi liberation movement Polisario. The UN and the world community recognize Polisario as a legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people. Both Polisario and the administration of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic – which is a full member of the African Union (AU) – have its main base all the way west in Algeria. The majority of the estimated 165,000 refugees also live there. The population of occupied Western Sahara is difficult to get an overview of, but it is believed that there are more Moroccan settlers than indigenous Sahrawis, and there are in addition a large number of Moroccan soldiers and police forces.

Morocco’s partners

As a country in Africa listed on Abbreviation Finder, Morocco is increasingly stepping up its exploitation of natural resources in the occupied territories, in cooperation with international companies, despite the UN having stated that such activities are in breach of international law.

In 2009, the search for oil expanded beyond the coast of the territory. Once again, a Norwegian seismic company – this time the Fugro Geoteam from Skøyen – did the investigations.

Norway is also involved in fishing. The Sjøvik group from Møre og Romsdal pays Morocco’s Ministry of Fisheries to obtain fishing licenses in the occupied areas. Saharawis have demonstrated against the Norwegian commitment, which still continues. Hundreds of Moroccan settlers will be employed in the Sjøvik group’s onshore reception facility.

Also in the phosphate industry are Norwegian interests. It was revealed last year that the Government Pension Fund invests in companies that account for two-thirds of all phosphate purchases from the Bou Craa mine in Western Sahara.

Finally, it is also worth noting that until recently tomatoes grown by settlers in Western Sahara have been sold in Norwegian stores, labeled “Morocco”. When it was discovered by the news service Norwatch, Coop stopped imports into Norway.

Negotiations

Negotiations between Morocco and Polisario are organized by UN Special Envoy Christopher Ross, former US ambassador to Algeria. Following the Houston negotiations, initiated in 1997 by former Secretary of State and Special Envoy James Baker III, this is the first time the UN has pushed Polisario and Morocco into direct negotiations. Negotiations resumed in August 2009 after more than a year’s pause. Following negotiations in Vienna in August 2009, both Morocco’s foreign minister and Polisario’s secretary general welcomed new negotiations in December 2009. The AU summit on August 31 passed a resolution highlighting “the urgent need to carry out the referendum as quickly as possible.”

The problem, however, is that Morocco does not want a referendum that is really about self-determination, as understood by the International Court of Justice in The Hague in its 1975 Opinion on Western Sahara (“free and genuine expression of the will of the people of the territory”). In the statement, either full independence or various forms of integration with another state are listed as possible, in accordance with resolutions 1514 and 1541 of the UN General Assembly. The “free and genuine expression of the will of the people” can be identified through a referendum. In Resolution 45/21 of 1990, the UN General Assembly unanimously agreed that “Western Sahara is a matter of decolonization that must be completed on the basis of the Western Saharan people exercising their inalienable right to self-determination and independence.”

The principles enshrined in Security Council Resolution 1871 of April 30, 2009 are that it should be a “just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that ensures self-determination for Western Sahara people,” and the parties are asked to “step into a more intensive and substantial negotiation phase. ”

It is relevant here to recall that the people for whom self-determination works are all inhabiting the territory as of December 31, 1999. It includes an estimated 200,000 Moroccan settlers, according to the Peace Plan for Self-Determination for Western Sahara People, which was supported by a unanimous Security Council in Resolution 1495 of 2003.

On July 3, US President Barack Obama sent a letter to King Mohammed VI of Morocco. In the letter, Obama reiterates that a solution must come as a result of a “UN-led negotiation, which (s) is a suitable forum to reach a mutually acceptable solution.” (World Tribune July 9, 2009). Anonymous diplomatic sources were quoted as saying that a new US policy would be designed. The letter made no reference to Morocco’s proposal to integrate Western Sahara as part of the kingdom, as former President George Bush had suggested he would support.

Human rights

The human rights situation in Western Sahara remained critical in 2009. The UN Force in Western Sahara, MINURSO, is the only UN force in the world that does not have the mandate to observe and report on human rights abuses. Thus, the UN personnel, as a silent witness to all the abuses that take place in the area, stand to the great frustration of the Sahrawi. A proposal in the Security Council to include human rights as part of the MINURSO mandate was blocked by Morocco’s closest ally, France.

A 216-page Human Rights Watch report published in December 2008 described how Sahrawis working for self-determination are being violated freedom of speech, association and assembly. Showing the West Saharan flag publicly is enough to be arrested, and torture of arrested people occurs. Amnesty International writes in its 2009 review of Morocco and Western Sahara that a “culture of impunity” for abusers continues to apply.

On October 8, 2009, seven Sahrawi human rights activists were arrested when they arrived in Casablanca by plane from Algeria. According to Amnesty International, the seven could be charged with treason for their work.

On November 14, another human rights activist, Aminatou Haidar, was rejected as she arrived at El Aaiun airport, after receiving a prize for her work in the United States. Haidar was returned to Lanzarote, where she carried out a 32-day hunger strike until she succeeded in getting permission to enter Western Sahara. By then, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had already intervened. The reason for the episode was that she had refused to cross for “Morocco” in the country heading when she first entered Western Sahara.

A dozen Sahrawi human rights activists were deprived of their passports during 2009. This included Sidi Mohammed Daddach, who received the Rafto Prize in Bergen in 2002.

Country facts:

Area: 266 000 km2 (30th largest)

Population: 497 000

Population density per km2: 1.9

Urban population: 81 percent

Largest city: El Aaiún – approx. 200 000

GDP per capita: Not stated

Economic growth: Not stated

HDI location: Not specified

Acer Smart Phones | 1976, Taiwan

Acer Smart Phones | 1976, Taiwan

Brand name: Acer

 

Logo:

001_acer_smart_phones_logo

 

Brand Facts:

  • Acer is a Taiwanese hardware and electronic brand specializing in designing and manufacturing laptops, desktops, tablets, projectors and other accessories.
  • They follow the values of Curiosity, Progress and Human, with a goal to create better products and help people to explore their potential and the world.

 

Main Categories:

Laptops, desktops, tablets, monitors, projectors, accessories

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Amoi Smart Phones Profile

Amoi Smart Phones Profile

Brand Name:

Amoi

Amoi Logo:

001_amoi_smart_phones_logo

Brand Facts:

  • Amoi is a Chinese electronic brand specializing in designing and manufacturing mobile communication devices and accessories.
  • They follow the value of “Pioneering, innovative, faith and sharing”, striving to provide fashion mobile products with cutting edge designs for customers in the world.

Main Categories:

Mobile phones, LCD TVs

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EMO Oppo Smart Phones Profile

EMO Oppo Smart Phones Profile

Oppo

EMO Oppo Smart Phones Profile

Logo:

001_oppo_smart_phones_logo

 

 

Brand facts:

Oppo entered the mobile phone market in 2008. The Oppo Find 7 is a phablet with a total of 3GB of RAM and a 2.5 GHz Quad-Core processor.The Oppo Find 7 is also available in another variant called the Find 7a, which has a 1080p screen and 2GB of RAM compared to the Find 7, which sports higher specs.

 

Main Categories:

Hi-fi, home theater, Audio-Visual, Mobile Phones

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Dell Smart Phones | 1984, Texas, US

Dell Smart Phones | 1984, Texas, US

Brand name: Dell

Dell Smart Phones

Logo:

001_dell_smart_phones_logo

 

Brand Facts:

  • Dell is a world famous electronics brand designing and manufacturing telecommunication products like computers, laptops, tablets, telephones and so on.
  • They are devoted to develop the newest and cutting-edge technology, with a goal to use technology to help people realize their dreams

 

Main Categories:

Laptops, desktop, tablets, alienware gaming PCs, PC& tablet accessories, electronics, workstations, servers, storage & networking, monitors, printers& electronics, software

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Gigabyte Smart Phones Profile

Gigabyte Smart Phones Profile

Brand name: Gigabyte

Gigabyte Smart Phones Profile

Logo:

001_gigabyte_smart_phones_logo

 

Brand Facts:

  • Gigabyte is a global famous brand designing and manufacturing computer hardware and other electronic products, especially famous for its award-winning motherboards.
  • They insist on the principle of quality priority, striving to create innovative and advanced technology products with high quality for customers in any area of the world.

 

Main Categories:

Motherboard, graphics card, PC components, tablet, laptop, smart phone, desktop PC, PC peripherals

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Panasonic Mobile Phones | 1918, Osaka, Japan

Panasonic Mobile Phones | 1918, Osaka, Japan

Brand name: Panasonic

Panasonic Mobile Phones 1918, Osaka, Japan

Logo:

001_panasonic_smart_phones_logo

 

Brand Facts:

  • Panasonic is a world top brand providing a wide range of products including cameras, computers, mobile phones, TVs, semiconductor products and home appliances.
  • Their mission is to create more innovative and advanced products to enhance the quality of people’s lives and promote the development of our society.

 

Main Categories:

Digital AV, mobile phone, home communication, car AV & navigation system, home appliances & batteries, beauty & healthcare

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Plum Mobile Smart Phones | 2010, US

Plum Mobile Smart Phones | 2010, US

Brand name: Plum Mobile

Plum Mobile Smart Phones 2010, US

Logo:

001_plum_mobile_smart_phones_logo

 

Brand Facts:

  • Plum Mobile is a leading brand specializing in designing and manufacturing unlocked GSM mobile phones and accessories.
  • Their mission is to create more advanced and innovative products to meet the satisfaction of customers and achieve a leading status in the world.

 

Main Categories:

Smart phones, unlocked GSM handsets, tablets

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Samsung Moble Phones | 1938, South Korea

Samsung Moble Phones | 1938, South Korea

Brand name: Samsung

Samsung Moble Phones 1938, South Korea

Logo:

001_samsung_smart_phones_logo

 

Brand facts:

  • Samsung is a world famous electronic brand as a top manufacturer of consumer electronic products including mobile devices, cameras, camcorders, print solutions, home appliances and other accessories.
  • They are devoted to create a better life through developing new technologies and providing innovative and functional products and services for people in the world.

 

Main Categories:

Mobile devices, TV/audio/video, smart camera/camcorder, notebooks/display, print solutions, home appliances, memory/storage

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Sharp Smart Phones Profile

Sharp Smart Phones Profile

Brand name: Sharp

 

Logo:

001_sharp_smart_phones_logo

 

Brand Facts:

  • Sharp is a Japanese leading brand designing and manufacturing electronic products including TVs, solar, mobile phones, printers and other electronic components.
  • Their goal is to create more innovative and advanced products to enhance people’s lives and bring people joy and comfort.

 

Main Categories:

TVs AQUOS, solar, plasmacluster, mobile phone/ smartphone, digital MFPs/ printers, LCD monitors, electronic components

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Sony Electronics Digital Cameras | 1946, Japan

Sony Electronics Digital Cameras | 1946, Japan

Brand name: Sony

 

Logo:

001_sony_smart_phones_logo

 

Brand facts:

  • Sony is one of the world’s top brands designing and manufacturing electronic products for games, movies, music, financial and other services.
  • Their goal is to inspire and fulfill customers’ curiosity and striving to create more cutting-edge and innovative products to enhance the quality of people’s lives.

 

Main Categories:

Electronics, game, movie, music, network services, financial services

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Huawei Smart Phones | 1987, China

Huawei Smart Phones | 1987, China

Huawei

 

Logo:

001_huawei_smart_phones_logo

 

Brand facts:

  • Huawei is a Chinese brand specializing in manufacturing multinational networking and telecommunications devices like mobile phones, tablets and so on.
  • They focus on the needs of customers, striving to create innovative and advanced networks, solutions and devices with good performance and multi-functions to bring great experience and enjoyment for customers.

 

Main Categories:

Networking, UC&C, cloud computing & data centers, management & tools, wireless, mobile phones, tablets, mobile broadband, M2M solutions, home Internet, home media device

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HTC Smart Phones | 1997, Taiwan

HTC Smart Phones | 1997, Taiwan

HTC

 

Logo:

001_htc_smart phones_logo

 

Brand facts:

  • HTC is a world leading brand specializing in manufacturing high-tech devices including smart phones, tablets and other accessories.
  • They are committed to creating innovative and advanced mobile devices with customized user experience and distinctive performance which can bring excellent experience for customers and improve people’s lives.

 

Main Categories:

Smart phones, accessories

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