How to get to West Africa, and how to get around
In my experience the cheapest fares (under 1000 DM) are to Accra with Ghana Airways (from Düsseldorf, London or Rome to Accra) and with SABENA to Dakar (orif you want to risk it with Balkan Airways via Bucarest).
From Dakar you can get to Mali by rail (25,000 CFA) or by Air Mali (65,000 CFA). Inside Mali you have Mali Tas to visit Tombouctou, Gao and Mopti, and you have a relatively well developed safe bus network.
Connections from Mali to Burkina Faso either by Bus (Air Kenedougou to Bobo), or by Air Burkina (60,000 FCFA Wed, Sa) or Air Ghana ( 65,000 CFA Tu, Fr). Direct flights to Mali and Burkina Faso with AIR FRANCE or SABENA (from Paris or Bruxelles).
Note: if you want to visit the Dogon Plateau, it is closer from Ouagadougou (430 km via Ouahigouya, try to make it the first day to Bankass where there are 3 campement hotels which help you on with planning the rest of your trip). From Ghana to Burkina Faso or Mali (by Air Ghana, Tu and Fr, or by Air Burkina). Inside Ghana you have bus connections by State Transport Corporation (STC is quite ok) to every major destination, and to Ouagadougou twice a week, as well as by Airlink to Tamale and Paga (the border with Ouaga, about 150,000 to 200,000 Cedi).
A good idea is a round trip with Ghana Airways Accra- Bamako - Ouagadougou - Accra (twice a week, fare about 200,000 CFA) which allows you to see three countries. From Dakar, you can also join Accra by Air Ghana and others.
Election campaign in full swing. Speculations abound whether the outgoing president Alfa Oumar Konare will get rid of his Prime Minister, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, in view of the election in 2001.
Strikes continue: after a 48 hr strike by the flight security ASECNA on dec.2 and 3, renewed strikes have been announced for dec.21-25 if no wage settlement with the government can be reached. Also students strikes are likely on Dec.15 the anniversary of Journalist Henri Zongo's death, whose murder is still unsolved and univestigated by the Burkina courts.
New government under Mamadou Tanja named. Members of the government will be published shortly here.
Election year 2000. President Rawlings should leave the presidency for a successor, according to the constitution. After first backing his VP, there are now attempts to make Mrs Rawlings (Nana Konadu Agyeman) run for the NDC.
Will President Abdou Djouf gain a third term or will the opposition win ?
The campaign of the government to discredit opposition parties and their members continues. The leader of the opposition movement Alassane Ouattara has been stripped of his citizenship, even though a judge has delivered him a birth certificate (he like his family are Dioula from Kong, but the government claims they are of Upper Volta origins, but Kong has been part of Cote d'Ivoire since 1896). Members of his party have been arrested and condemned to jail terms under the allegation that they have incited to violence.
General Robert Guei, a former defense minister, has taken over power from President Konan Bédié in a not entirely bloodless coup, on Dec.24, 1999. He has liberated the political opposition from prison and has promised new elections. After some resistance the gendarmerie, the police and military pledged their support for the new regime, which asked all parties to register their candidacy for the coming election by Dec.31 the latest. On Dec.28, presidential candidate Alassane Ouattara, who had been banned by President Bedie on the grounds of not holding Ivorian citizenship - his birth certificates had been declared invalid by the previous member of justice - arrived in Abidjan and was received by General Robert Guei. Konan Bedié had lost his financial credit after this year's corruption scandal over 20 million ECU which had disappeared from the EDF health project - which President Bedié had admitted and promised to investigate - when EEC and IMF suspended further payments. The military accused Bediés government as corrupt, and General Guei promised to answer donor's questions on the utilization of aid money and to inveestigate corruption. Political credit had been lost by the former government following its manipulations of the Ouattara citizenship case and the harassment and emprisonment of his party supporters, after violent demonstrations following the decision on Ouattara's nationality.
On Dec.28.-29. the first sdmeeting of the ECOWAS new mediation council of foreign ministers took place in Bamako under the presidency of the Malian president Konaré. The foreign ministers were embarassed by the arrival of two delegations claiming to represent the Ivory Coast: General Abdoulaye Coulibaly, former pilot of President Houphouet Boigny and the number 3 in the military council; and from Togo, travalling with Togo's foreign minister Kofigo, the ex-defense minister of Konan Bedié, Bandama N'gata. The ministers took until 2 AM to discuss which delegation should represent the Ivory Coast, and then finally condemned the coup and appealed to General Guei to create an independent structure - probably an Electoral Commission - to prepare democratic elections until June 2000. In Togo, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Liberia - which are all ruled by governments which have not come to power after free and fair elections - there is some apprehension that the new trend - the military as promoter of democratic elections, as before in Nigeria and Niger - might provide a pattern for their own armies. Even in Senegal and Ghana where elections are due for this year and where it is believed that the present governments could not win fair and free elections there is some apprehension as to the loyalty of the troops.(According to the BBC President Bedié had appealed to help from Ghana tto recover his power).
Major rebel leader opposed to the peace talks has fled S.L. Are chances for peace now better?
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in different countries of West Africa: