Africa Matters in Global Village

Posted in Africa | 15-Dec-04 | Author: Dieter Farwick

Of all the continents, Africa receives the least coverage in international media. And when it does, the coverage is often about crises. Whatever the reason for the limited exposure, Africa matters in the global village.

With its vast natural resources, Africa affects the industrialized world. Its resources are indispensable in manufacturing, high technology and other sectors. Its rainforests are critical for the protection of the ozone layer. Over the last few years, the continent has emerged as an important partner in international commerce.

For instance, current United States-Africa trade runs at $33 billion a year. This number may be small, representing only one percent of U.S. foreign trade. Yet, it is greater than US trade with both Eastern Europe and Russia.

Africa - the neglected continent

Presently, sub-Saharan Africa provides 15 percent of US total oil imports. Analysts predict this contribution will rise to 25 percent by 2015. As Walter Kansteiner, former US assistant secretary of state for Africa, put it, “African oil is of national strategic interest to us, and it will increase and become more important as we go forward.”

The world cannot afford to ignore Africa. Africa’s problems could negatively affect the global village. Neglecting Africa is costly and the price tag will continue to rise.

Poverty is our enemy number one in the war on terror. Poverty-stricken countries not only offer ideal safe havens for terrorists, they readily supply them with willing recruits.

War in Sudan, Congo or Ivory Coast causes massive migration – within and out of Africa. African states cannot adequately absorb the displaced; neither can the rest of the world.

According to UNAIDS, 66 percent of the 38 million infected with HIV/AIDS worldwide live in Africa. The pandemic has left millions of orphans, creating a permanent underclass. African countries are unable to care for the afflicted.

We at World Security Network Foundation have decided to report more permanently on the African continent.

We have an Africa Editor, Mr. Mvemba Phezo Dizolele, based in the United States.

In his first World Security Network newsletter, he chooses to focus on the situation of women in eastern Congo.

Women’s welfare is an important yardstick to evaluate the quality of life in any given country.