Communist, socialist and left-wing organisations gathered in the working class suburb of Le Bourget this weekend for La fête de l’Humanité. Although political debate dominated the agenda – a programme of music, art and theatre pleased the crowds at one of France’s biggest cultural festivals.
Radio Report: Focus on France
Images of Africa in the western media are often characterised by famine and conflict. The discussion of poverty in African countries often overlooks the facts of everyday life. A new book The Ringtone and the Drumsets out to change this. Its author, an expert on development policy, presents the fast-changing politics and culture in three of the world’s poorest and least visited countries – Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau and Burkina Faso.
Interview: Mark Weston, author, The Ringtone and the Drum
Why did you decide to travel around three of the world’s poorest countries?
I’ve worked in international development for quite a long time now, trying to work out what’s gone wrong in the world’s poorest countries. What can be done to help improve the lives of people living there? But although I’d spent time in Africa before, and in Asia on short trips, I felt as that I hadn’t really got under the skin of what it’s like to live in poverty. I wanted to find out what the people who lived in the world’s poorest countries talk about. What do they do every day? How are they adjusting to the onrush of modernity and globalisation that’s transforming so much of the developing world?
His work mainly concerns international news and politics, especially Africa and France. He also covers arts, culture, economics, the environment, music, sports and technology. He has skills in multimedia production with a high level of expertise in audio editing, graphics, video and web technologies. His work has been heard on international radio stations, including American Public Media, Radio Netherlands and Deutsche Welle.
Before working as a journalist he spent time in commercial and community radio in the United Kingdom. He developed The Hillz FM community radio station and helped it to secure a full-time FM license.
The second Africa-France business conference starts in Bordeaux on Wednesday, described by some as the African Davos. It aims to bring together 100 African and 100 French firms to foster new business ties.
Coming just after the Nice summit, which saw French President Nicolas Sarkozy acknowledge the importance of African economic powerhouses such as South Africa and Nigeria, this conference sees companies from across the continent gather in what is traditionally the wine capital of France.
PARIS, FRANCE – While the people of Gabon mourn the death of their President and await his funeral, others are asking themselves what will happen to the criminal case brought against Omar Bongo in relation to alleged stolen assets, and a string of luxurious apartments, bank accounts and cars. Last year Transparency International and the Sherpa association lodged a complaint against Omar Bongo and two other African leaders suspected of profiting from the proceeds of public assets. The complaint led to a criminal investigation into Omar Bongo and his relatives, which established ownership of 39 apartments, 70 bank accounts and nine cars in France. Bongo’s death puts a halt to the criminal case, however. Radio France Internationale