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ON AFRICA & THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM
 
BY
 
MIKE ONWUKE
mikeonwuke@yahoo.com
 
 
 
World Economic Forum (WEF) Davos Switzerland is gradually donning the garb
of Arab Summits: Mere talk shop and plain summitry. Much of that may
dovetailed into this year's forum.
For those squabbling to better humanity and banish poverty, Africa is a
good place to start. Apart being the epicenter of global poverty, Tsunami
and Iraqi conflict both have conspired to consign African affairs to the
background in recent times. Africa has a red-hot, hurting pellet on her
palms. Today 3000 people die daily in Africa of hunger and disease, 1.1
billion people all over the world today do not have access to pure water
and a greater percentage is from Africa. Can the WEF Davos do anything
about Africa and her plight? Out of 1000 children born in Africa, more than
170 die before they turn five because they lack vaccines that could easily
have saved their lives.

WEF should draw world attention to the grinding poverty in Africa and how
to attack it? With the way the world reacted to nature's own
9/11-theTsunami, Africa can benefit from global outpour of assistance and
aids. The WEF can also expose the lie on industrialized nations about this
thing called trade liberalization. Trade liberalization or free trade to
the West does not mean equal trading partnership or equal access to the
global market competing countries. To them, it means increased trading
items for their countries and a total ban of commodities from Africa and
developing world coming into their shores. It is true that Africa needs
aids but they need trade, equal trading partnership more than anything
else.

Today in this century of science and technology, when nations are going to
space conquering nature, mosquito and malaria both has conspired and staged
a come back, depleting Africa in addition to AIDS/HIV. We have not
discovered vaccines that can cure AIDS/HIV.  Mosquitoes have become
resistant to chloroquine and have charged at humanity with ferocious grip
and impunity.

Apart from trade liberalization, the advanced world can do more on debt
cancellation and increased aids to nations that have taken a firm stand
against corruption. Developing nations interested in taking Africa out of
the woods. Instead of aids, developed nations should concentrate on
projects that impact of the common man, saving the lives of those at the
brink of collapse and promoting the lives of those at the centre.

Issue of development in Africa cannot be discussed without Peace and
Security. Peace and security are both hinged on availability of food,
water, Medicare and so on. There are some good signs already. Prime
Minister Blair and U2's Bono have taken the bull by the horn and are
leading search lights and beacons on this move but the US has to start and
do more.

A small piece of 80 billion dollars that President Bush is asking Congress
to approve as additional funds to prosecute war in Iraq and Afghanistan
could do more to Africa than prosecuting wars in distant lands. In tandem
with this, Africa and her leaders have to change and modernize, embrace
democracy, good governance and condemn all sorts of injustice and take a
giant leap from Middle Ages and arrive to modernity. Africa should start
interrogating some sinister developments and begin to identify those who
thwart their efforts at re-emergence. Africa should devise a way of System
building to track and monitor internationally funded development.

All internationally funded projects should have transparent and reporting
system that is open to public query. They can even pay straight to the
contractors and cut out the ten per centers and all sorts of parasites. A
major infusion of resources is required to reverse decades of
under-investment and to support countries in crisis.

But wars still dot the African landscape. Ruinous and devastating
interlocking wars are home to Africa.  Truce in African conflicts is merely
lethargic stoppage to reload and buy time and more ammunition among warring
fiefdoms. Sudan war has lasted 35 yrs with a deadlier dimension to
it-Darfur. Senegal is still battling with the horrors of Casamance ghost.
Ditto to Uganda that has failed to deal with LRA in the northern caucus.
Worse still these wars pale into insignificance when you compare them with
the pogrom going on in Congo DRC, and lately Angola, not mentioning
Liberia, Somalia, Ivory Coast etc

But the onus of rebuilding Africa lies with lies with Africans themselves
and she must jettison her profligate ways where accountability is alien.
Let the money meet genuine needs and let there be no "Aid fatigue"

This will transform Africa from scotched and famished land to a prosperous
continent. Africa cannot do this alone. They need foreign assistance, after
all where will Europe be today without Marshal Plan. Today the world came
together to renounce the atrocious past of Nazi operatives in Auschwitz
death camp in South Poland. Why can't they do the same in addressing
poverty in the world poorest continent? We can't change the past, we only
address the present
Mike Onwukwe can be contacted on mikeonwukwe@yahoo.com and sent this
article from Arusha Tanzania East Africa.

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