A number of things strike one on entering Bamako, the capital of Mali. The first is the majestic Niger River responsible for much of the green in an otherwise dusty, gravelly, semi-desert city. Another is the industriousness of the people in an obviously poor country, as everyone is trying to generate even a meagre income selling mangoes, chickens and home-made furniture, or Chinese-manufactured T-shirts, electricity adapters and slip slops. Then there are some incongruously tall buildings and hotels, a number of the latter bearing the name “Libya Hotels”. One garish building is named after the Libyan dictator, Gaddafi, who has funded this – still empty - structure to house the Malian cabinet. There are two bridges across the Niger with a third being built by the Chinese.