Well-intentioned donations meant to help people in need have created an economic ecosystem. Chronically impoverished countries, particularly in Africa, have seen some of the most egregious abuses of foreign aid.
With a young population and dynamic economies, Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth has led to the rise of a new and expanding middle class. Unfortunately, inertia remains within the societies and continues to drag many African economies down.
The influx of migrants from Africa to Europe has grown to crisis proportions. Finally, some African countries are encouraging their citizens to remain at home rather than risk the perilous and often fruitless voyage across the Mediterranean.
Good governance and transparency are essential ingredients for economic growth and human development in democracies. The many crises in Africa are often due to structural elements that lock in power and encourage cronyism.
The African continent is rife with problems. Unfortunately, corruption is more than a problem, it is the rotten foundation upon which most of the governments and businesses rest. Only a few countries have managed to do something about it.
More and more countries in Africa are getting hit by jihadist terror attacks. Their numbers are not so great, but they manage to take advantage of governments’ weaknesses and endemic corruption.
Concerns about the Zika virus and the danger it poses to pregnant women has the international community geared for action. The quick reaction, before any link has been proven, is largely due to the criticism about the slow reaction to the recent Ebola outbreak.
The new year bodes ill for African security, as Islamist terrorism has become a new normal. Exacerbating the problem is the fact that governments are either too weak or too corrupt to counter the growing jihad.
Africa and parts of the Middle East seem like cauldrons for epidemics. Now cholera has struck. Nevertheless, global cooperation has facilitated major achievements with other diseases that have plagued the continent.
Even though Africa is home to some of the fastest growing, most dynamic economies in the world, Africans are still setting off on the perilous journey to Europe in the hopes of more. The causes are many, and the rationale at times defies logic.
Military spending throughout Africa in recent years has increased more rapidly than economic growth. The problem, however, is that in most countries the extra money is not well spent.
The Ebola epidemic could have been largely contained. But Africa’s perennial problems exacerbated the conditions in which the disease was able to spread more freely. Now the whole world is facing a real security risk.
Thanks to vast territories and porous national borders uncontrolled by governments, Islamist jihadism has expanded in Africa and has succeeded in creating a transnational network of cells. In countries like Nigeria the situation is becoming dire.
A decade after the genocide in Rwanda, the African continent has continued to roil with ethnic and communal tensions. A recap of the tragic events serves to highlight many of the mistakes made and traps to avoid in the future.
Christianity is the fastest growing religion in Africa. Growing just as fast, unfortunately, is the persecution against Christians – especially in areas where Muslim extremist groups are growing stronger.
For many countries in Africa, tourism is a major industry, linked directly to the wild animal population in the national parks. A combination of poaching and general indifference risks killing off one of the continent’s characteristic treasures.
On Obama’s first trip to Africa as president in 2009, he used his status as “African son” to criticize many of the continent’s shortcomings. On the second trip everyone will be asking how much, if at all, the continent has improved.
Since the end of colonialism half a century ago, newly independent African nations have struggled to find common ground; this despite the creation of international organizations meant to unify them.
Industrialized nations waste a shocking amount of food. But few people are aware of just how much food gets lost in the developing world. A closer look at how and where the loss occurs can lead to finding solutions.
Since the end of apartheid, South Africa has struggled against a host of problems to bring some semblance of equality. For years corruption and disease eroded the social fabric. Now the economic crisis has made matters worse. What once was seen as the driving economic force, is now floundering.
The deadliest war in the past quarter century has not only been the most ignored, it has also been exacerbated by international aid. Now ethnic animosity between Hutus and Tutsis are complicating the Congo’s long festering conflict.
In the year since South Sudan became independent, it has faced a barrage of obstacles. The war-torn country is still a stranger to peace, and even its oil wealth risks poisoning the fragile newborn state.
Wracked by intermittent civil war for decades, Somalia still festers. Its troubles are now spreading to neighboring Kenya.
In order to modernize, African states have been selling or renting farmland to foreign companies and governments – often at the expense of local farmers who have been tilling the land and grazing their animals on it for generations.
Despite its bounty of natural resources, Africa still struggles to consolidate stable governments whose priority is the well-being of its citizens. Democratic elections, while bringing some hope, have more often highlighted many of the continent’s chronic problems.
All it takes is a prolonged drought to plunge East Africa into yet another famine. But add to that the ongoing civil war in Somalia and Islamic factions’ resistance to outside aid, and you get the makings of an unprecedented tragedy.
Blessed with natural and human resources, Nigeria could be a powerhouse. But oil wealth mismanagement, widespread corruption and communal strife have plagued it since independence. Recent elections have given a glimmer of hope.
Now that South Sudan is about to become a new state, what remains of the old state will have to adjust to a new reality. The good news is that there are oil resources. The bad news is that often such resources prove to be a curse.
Does the arrest of Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast mean the end of hostilities, or just a new phase in the country’s on-again off-again troubles?
A domino effect is possible in West Africa, too. Protests in Burkina Faso have got President Blaise Compaoré rushing to remedy the situation.