at least twelve dead in Barea stadium Antananarivo

at least twelve dead in Barea stadium Antananarivo

At least twelve people were killed Friday in Madagascar in a stampede at the entrance to a stadium in the capital, announced the Prime Minister of the big island in the Indian Ocean, Christian Ntsay.

The stampede occurred in front of one of the entrances to the Barea stadium in Antananarivo, where a crowd of some 50,000 spectators had come to watch the opening ceremony of the eleventh Indian Ocean Island Games.

“The provisional toll shows twelve dead” and some 80 wounded, Ntsay told the press in front of the hospital in the Malagasy capital where the wounded were taken.

According to the Red Cross teams mobilized, the toll could climb. “There were a lot of people at the entrance, which triggered a stampede,” Antsa Mirado, a communications manager, told AFP.

The emergency services, the police and the gendarmerie went to the spot, noted an AFP correspondent.

President Andry Rajoelina, present at the sports ceremony, called for a minute of silence.

“We are around 50,000 in the stadium,” said the head of state in a speech broadcast on television. But “a tragic event occurred because there were jostling. There were injuries and deaths at the entrance”.

Near the sports arena, some were trying to find their shoes in a pile of objects probably lost in the crush, according to television images. Other images from inside the stadium, shared on social media, show packed bleachers.

The Indian Ocean Island Games are a multidisciplinary competition held this year in Madagascar until September 3.

They have been organized every four years, in different islands in the south-west of the Indian Ocean, for about forty years. The previous edition took place in Mauritius.

South Africa : Why was Algeria absent from the “BRICS” group accession countries?

Istanbul: It was surprising that Algeria was absent from the list of six countries that joined the “BRICS” group, despite the support it received from China and Russia and to a lesser extent from South Africa, but this had reasons and indicators.

In recent months, the names of four Arab countries that have great chances of joining BRICS have been rumored, namely Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Egypt and Algeria. The first three rose to the list of member states of the group, starting from the beginning of next year, and Algeria was absent.

On Thursday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the group had decided to invite Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to become full members of the group.

It was surprising that Algeria was absent from the list of six countries that joined the BRICS group, despite the support it received from China and Russia.

BRICS includes China, India, Russia, Brazil and South Africa. The first four countries are the fastest growing economies, seeking to get rid of Western hegemony and the dominance of the dollar, and encouraging dealing in local currencies in trade exchanges.

However, the Johannesburg summit (August 22 and 24) witnessed disagreements among the member states about expanding the BRICS, after India, Brazil and South Africa expressed reservations in this regard, but the leaders of the group eventually agreed to expand the group.

3 Indicators

There were several indications that Algeria did not join the group. President Abdelmadjid Tebboune predicted, in an interview with the “Al-Jazeera Podcast” in April, that his country “will soon enter as an observing member, until it finishes its economic reforms and becomes a member with full rights and duties.”

That is, Algeria was aware in advance that its accession to full membership would not be during this year, and the maximum it aspired to was a “observed member,” especially since it did not emerge from its economic crisis until 2022, after the collapse of oil prices between 2014 and 2020.

The second indicator is that Tebboune or his Prime Minister Ayman bin Abdel Rahman, not even his Foreign Minister Ahmed Ataf, attended the Johannesburg summit, and that Finance Minister Aziz Fayed dispatched him, although he had previously participated as a guest of honor in the previous summit held in China, and gave a speech on the occasion and then announced his desire country to join the bloc.

The third indicator is that Algeria did not participate in the “BRICS Friends” meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, in June, in which Saudi Arabia and the UAE participated, while Egypt participated in the meeting remotely.

And the failure to invite Algeria to participate in the Cape Town meeting was an indication that it would not later obtain full membership during the Johannesburg summit.

Selection criteria

Although Algeria is the largest exporter of gas in Africa, and its economy is free from debt, and recorded a positive growth rate last year amounting to 4 percent, and it has the third largest global reserves of phosphate, the second largest iron mine, and important reserves of rare and precious metals, but that did not prevent it from joining to Brix.

This is due to several reasons related to the size of its raw domestic product, the diversity of its exports, the rate of growth, geopolitical, strategic, demographic and population considerations.

Although BRICS did not reveal the criteria it adopted to include 6 of the 23 countries that submitted official requests, this can be concluded, through the importance that each country represents.

Algeria has the largest source of gas in Africa, and its economy is free from debt, and it recorded a growth rate last year of 4 percent, and it has important reserves of rare and precious metals, but that did not help it to join the “BRICS”

Saudi Arabia is the largest exporter of oil, and is considered a center of the Islamic world thanks to its embrace of the holy sites, and its non-oil exports exceed $70 billion.

As for the Emirates, it is considered one of the largest oil producers in the world, and Dubai is considered a regional center in the real estate and services sector, and it operates many ports in the world, especially in Africa.

Egypt, although it does not have large oil reserves like Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, but it occupies a strategic location, especially its possession of the Suez Canal, which is located on the global trade route, and includes a population of more than 105 million people, and embraces the League of Arab States, and its economy is second only to Nigeria in terms of output raw interior.

As for Iran, in addition to possessing important reserves of oil and gas, it controls the strategic Strait of Hormuz, is located on the Silk Road, and has a population of more than 85 million people.

However, Ethiopia does not possess remarkable oil or gas reserves, nor sea outlets, and its economy is smaller than that of Algeria, if it ranks sixth in Africa, with a volume of less than $178 billion in 2022, and suffers from conflicts and ethnic wars.

However, Ethiopia’s strength is represented by its embrace of the headquarters of the African Union, its occupation of the second rank in terms of population on the continent, its control over the headwaters of the Blue Nile River, and its achievement of a high growth rate in 2019 of 9 percent.

As for Argentina, it represents the Latin American region, where BRICS took the criterion of geographical distribution, and it is considered the second largest economy in the continent after Brazil, and the gross domestic product is about $ 633 billion, and it achieved a growth rate of more than 5 percent in 2022.

BRICS focused on diversifying the geographical distribution, as there are four countries from the Middle East region (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Iran), a country from sub-Saharan Africa (Ethiopia), and a country from South America (Argentina).

Focus has also been placed on the regional role of each country, as Saudi Arabia hosts the headquarters of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Egypt hosts the headquarters of the League of Arab States, Ethiopia hosts the headquarters of the African Union, Iran represents the center of the Shiite community, and Argentina is a founding member of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur).

But the most important criterion for selection, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, is “its prestige, (political) weight and, of course, its position on the international arena.”

Unfinished repairs

Algeria surpasses Ethiopia in the size of the economy and oil production, and the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt and Ethiopia in terms of the volume of gas exports.

Although Algeria does not control water straits, its strategic location between Europe and sub-Saharan Africa gave it a strategic advantage.

Therefore, it is difficult to know why Algeria was not selected within the second expansion of BRICS, because the selection criteria may be subject to political calculations for each country in the group.

This is what Lavrov referred to, saying: “Discussions about expanding BRICS were intense. It was not without problems, but in general, each country aimed to take the decision to include new members.”

However, the main reasons were previously mentioned by President Tebboune, related to Algeria’s need to structure its economy after emerging from its economic crisis in 2022, and from its political crisis in 2019.

The main defect that the Algerian economy suffers from is its dependence on oil and gas revenues, at a rate that sometimes reached 98 percent, which made it affected by fluctuations in energy prices, up or down.

The main defect that the Algerian economy suffers from is its dependence on oil and gas revenues, at a rate that sometimes reached 98 percent, which made it affected by fluctuations in the price of a barrel of oil, up or down.

Therefore, Algeria sought to address this imbalance by raising non-hydrocarbon exports from 2 percent to 11 percent in 2022, or the equivalent of $7 billion, and aspires to raise the figure to 10 and then $15 billion.

As for the second structural imbalance, it relates to the size of the economy, which amounted to about $192 billion in 2022, according to the World Bank. However, Tebboune said, “Algeria did not want to declare more than $225 billion as an official figure for the gross domestic product for the year 2022, while in reality it may range between 240 Or $245 billion.

He linked the announcement of the actual gross domestic product to “digitization adoption,” without counting the “parallel market,” which represents about 40 percent of the Algerian economy, according to an American report.

The third point is related to the size of growth. What distinguishes the BRICS countries before their expansion to South Africa is that they are the most developed countries in the world, while the growth rate of the Algerian economy is 4 percent, while it is supposed to be no less than 5 percent.

But the most prominent reason is the political aspect, as Algeria did not enjoy the support of India, nor the support of Brazilian President Lula da Silva, in contrast to his support for Argentina, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.