Time and Location

Monday, 24 March 2014
19:00 - 21:00
Seminarraum I (1F-EG-01), Uni Campus im Alten AKH, Hof 1, Spitalgasse 2-4, 1090 Wien,  map

Program

Ali Idrissa, Economist, ROTAB/PWYP, Niger

Golden Baholelwa Misabiko, Human rights activst, Lubumbashi, Congo/South Africa

Fleur Scheele, Expert on Uranium trade, SOMO, Amsterdam


Chair: Marie Roger Biloa, Africa International, Paris
Welcome: Franz Schmidjell, VIDC

Languages: French with German simultaneous translation

Uranium - The Radiant Future of Africa

© iStock
© iStock

Background

In the past weeks thousands have protested in Niger’s capital Niamey against the French conglomerate AREVA. The provocation is the new negotiations of the contracts for their uranium extraction. They are protesting against the contamination of soil and water and the health hazards faced by the miners, and demand a fair share in the profits.
For forty years Niger has provided uranium for the nuclear power plants of its former colonizer. In the Sahel country itself around 90 percent of the population does not have access to electricity. Despite its natural resources, Niger is counted among the poorest nations in the world and is in next-to-last place (number 186) in the UNDP Development Report 2012. The mining facility counts for over 70 percent of Niger’s exports, but only 5.8 percent of the nation’s GDP.
During the transportation of ‘Yellowcake,’ as the powdery mixture made in the process of uranium extraction is called, with trucks to Cotonou and then by boat to France, a mountain of over 35 million tons of radioactive chemicals and debris was accumulated at the facility. The French environmental agency CRIIRAD and Greenpeace took samples for analysis. The result: The radiation contaminated the ground, the air, the water, the walls of houses, and even the silverware. The pollution in soil and water samples greatly exceeded the WHO thresholds.
Who will pay for the sanitation costs? Who is making money off of the ‘yellowcake,’ and how much are they making? How much leeway do the national governments have in the negotiations of transnational companies? What jobs have been created by the uranium mines, and what rights do the workers have?


Speakers

Ali Idrissa

studied Business Administration and runs the organization ROTAB, the Nigerian branch of the international network “Publish What You Pay” (PWYP). ROTAB/PWYP campaigns for transparency in government leadership, especially in budget management. Ali Idrissa is also a member of the Nigerian civil society EITI (Exractive Industries Transparency Initiative), which was called into being at the World Economic Summit of 2003. EITI fights corruption in the raw materials sector and campaigns for transparency in income usage. Ali Idrissa is a founding member of the human rights organization CROISADE, founded in 1999, and a chairman of the independent media initiative LABARI.

Golden Baholelwa Misabiko

studied Economics in Lubumbashi (Democratic Republic of the Congo). He worked for a long time as a teacher and an accountant, and campaigned as a human rights activist in East Congo. Golden Misabiko was chairman of the African Association for the Defense of Human Rights in Lubumbashi. Most importantly, he documented the human rights violations of mine managers, which led repeatedly to his arrest. He has recently been released due to massive interventions by international human rights organizations, and now lives in South Africa for safety reasons. Golden Misabko worked on the production of the documentary “Atomic Africa” (WDR 2013), and is one of the most enigmatic anti-atomic energy activists in Africa.

Fleur Scheele

studied Philosophy, Biology, and Climate Change in the Netherlands. She led research teams from the University of Zurich through the Indonesian jungle and worked for the WWF and the anti-atomic energy organization WISE in several African countries on uranium mining. Today she works for the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) in Amsterdam. Fleur Scheele is the author of the study, “Uranium from Africa: Migration of uranium mining impacts on society and environment by industry and governments.”

Marie-Roger Biloa

is the publisher of the Parisian political magazine Africa International and CEO of the Africa International Media Group. She was born in Cameroon and is a journalist. She successfully founded two magazines in Cameroon and Gabun. Marie Roger-Biloa is the president of the Club Millenium in Paris, an African Think Tank and network center for leaders. She is regularly a guest in TV discussions

Workshop: The extractive sector and economic transformation

Tuesday, 25th March 2014, 10.00 – 13.00 hours, VIDC, Möllwaldplatz 5/3, 1040 Wien (Languages: English, French)

With: Ali Idrissa (ROTAB PWYP Niger), Golden Baholelwa Misabiko (DR Congo/South Africa, Human and Workers Rights activist, Atomic Africa), Fleur Scheele (SOMO), Gunter Wippel (uranium-network.org). Chair: Karin Küblböck (ÖFSE, Vienna)

Presentation SOMO: African Governments and Uranium

Presentation ROTAB Niger: Améloration de la Chaine de la Valeur

Presentation H. Tulsidis (IAEA): Uran Mining in Africa

 

Further information: schmidjell@vidc.org