China said Thursday it would offer $20 billion in new loans to Africa, underscoring the relationship’s growing importance, as Chinese companies agreed to operate more responsibly on the resource-rich continent.
Beijing has poured money into Africa over the last 15 years, seeking to tap into its vast natural resources, and China became the continent’s largest trading partner in 2009.
But its aggressive move into the continent has at times caused friction with local people, with some complaining Chinese companies import their own workers, flout labour laws and mistreat local employees.
Addressing African leaders including South African President Jacob Zuma and Kenya Premier Raila Odinga, President Hu Jintao said the loans would focus on supporting infrastructure, manufacturing and the development of small businesses.
Celebrating over 50 years of conservation success in Africa, this video highlights the range of unique approaches and diverse landscapes in three of the African Wildlife Foundation’s Heartlands: Maasai Steppe, Kazungula, and Congo.
All footage was exclusively filmed on location in each Heartland by AWF VP for Philanthropy and Marketing, Craig R. Sholley, and Director of Marketing, John Butler, with all video post-production managed in-house with special assistance from Dawne Langford.
Liberia is working toward a future removed from its troubled past – and doing so, partly, through surfing.
Eight years removed from its last civil war, the country has a growing tourism industry, part of which circulates around its 350 miles of pristine, white-sand coastline in Western Africa. It was for that reason and the hope of continuing to increase surfing’s presence in the country that it applied and was accepted to become the International Surfing Association’s (ISA) 71st Member Nation.
The ISA has recently undertaken the goal of growing surfing throughout the continent of Africa.
In March, the ISA sent a representative to Mali to address an audience of national Olympic delegates at the Africa International Sports Convention (CISA). In his presentation, Marcos “Bukao” Esmanhoto, the ISA’s Contest Director and an Executive Committee member, outlined the ISA’s efforts to develop surfing throughout the continent, touching on the potential social and economic implications of having a blossoming surf scene. Following the presentation, he received a resounding applause from the roomful of representatives from each of the continent’s 53 countries.
For a look at the future of digital museums, check out the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory’s new digital archive composed of thousands of scanned documents from the African leader’s life.
With the help of a $1.25 million grant from Google, the center digitized thousands of documents and images that illustrate the life and times of South Africa’s first black president. But instead of scanning them and dumping them online for scholars to peruse, the center, with Google’s support, created a virtual museum experience — highlighting certain pieces from the archives, putting them in the context of Mandela’s life and then enabling a visitor to the site to go deeper if they’d like.
The exhibit is organized by different phases of Mandela’s life, such as “Early Life,” “Prison Years,” “Presidential Years” and “Retirement.” As you move through the different sections, you’ll find the earliest known photograph of Mandela, scans of the desk calendars where he scribbled notes during his 27 years in prison, and handwritten notes he sent his daughters — including one written shortly after the arrest of their mother.
Child mortality in Africa has plummeted, belying the continent’s “hopeless” reputation.
The chart below shows the change over the most recent five years in the number of deaths of children under five per 1,000 live births.
Sixteen of the 20 have seen falls, but the more impressive finding is the size of the decline in 12: more than the 4.4% annual fall needed for the world to achieve its millennium development goal of cutting by two-thirds the child-mortality rate between 1990 and 2015.
The top performers, Senegal and Rwanda, now have rates the same as India. It took India 25 years to reduce its rate from around 120 child deaths per 1,000 births to 72 now. It took Rwanda and Senegal only about five years.
Michael Clemens of the Centre for Global Development, a think-tank in Washington, DC, calls this “the biggest, best story in development”.
With the quest for vision underway, it was now time to make action speak louder than words. So, I visited the nearest optometrist which is 70 kilometers from my village. He is a Botswana doctor, currently working abroad, and after discussing my needs, the arrangements were made.
There would be an initial screening free-of-charge and a follow-up examination for those with vision issues. Then we would pull together a plan to fund the glasses they would need. I had good impressions from the doctor and was proud of my bold steps towards solving this problem.
Working as a volunteer in Africa, my mindset and expectations have changed since leaving the States. My days here can be life-affirming and welcoming but then there is always another side. This is the part where work doesn’t get done how you want it or the pace of progress slowly drips. This is neither an accusation nor a complaint but rather it’s a way of describing life in another country.
Foreigners coming to work abroad often have to readjust their mentalities coming from a fast-paced, insanely competitive homeland. But as Namibia, and let me say Africa, can attest to, life isn’t always about success but resilience.
This is one of many things I’ve learned in that Africa can teach you lessons you thought you already knew. Lessons that make you realize what can be important in life.
Now, back to the story, I left the doctor, who was seemingly reliable and trustworthy, and I proceeded to arrange with the school for the upcoming visits. You can probably sense my foreboding as the path to your destination always has curves, bump, and obstacles.
Otherwise, things will be too easy and few lessons learned. Unbeknownst to me, the future plans will need a slight adjustment…
The Peace Corps Chronicles are written by Spencer Mandzik who joined the Corps in Feb 2010 as a volunteer in Namibia, Africa. He is living with a local family and learning to speak the language of Oshiwambo. These are his stories as he follow’s John F. Kennedy’s dream to serve our country “in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries.”
As a Peace Corps Volunteer in an African village, I am a teacher, librarian, HIV/AIDS coordinator, after-school program manager and all-around helper for any school functions.
Upon arriving here in Namibia, I had a great ambition to accomplish many things in my two-year service. I did a lot of brain-storming until it occurred to me that the students don’t need big things because they face serious and immediate issues such as malnutrition, hunger, poor hygiene, broken families, and the list continues.
It would be ill not to mention that Namibia has one of the highest HIV infection rates in Africa, and the nearest town has one of the highest within Namibia. All of my kids are affected by this in one way or another.
With that said, I reevaluated what my school and students needed. In the village resources and life are very basic. The schoolhouse has no electricity, no nurse, no continuous feeding program, broken chairs and desks, and missing many other basic items. Moreover, I noticed that not many students wear glasses.
Is it possible that something as fundamental as vision is not being addressed. What if the reason some kids are misbehaving or failing is because they can’t see?
Over half of the students are documented as OVC’s (Orphans and Vulnerable Children). Along with hardship at home, life at school could seem even more hopeless if you are struggling to read whats on the board and in the textbook.
With these facts and observations, the motor started churning in my head. I consulted another volunteer and luckily found that he had already initiated something similar. With his help I began my quest to aid the kids who deserve to be treated with fairness and open opportunities. What better a way to fight poverty and hardship then a motivation for educational success. Now, I realized the project to work on.
NEXT: PART II: The Initiation
The author, Spencer Mandzik, joined the Peace Corps in Feb 2010 as a volunteer in Namibia, Africa. He is living with an African family and learning to speak the local language of Oshiwambo. These are his stories as he follow’s John F. Kennedy’s dream to serve our country “in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries.”
Have you ever been away from home so long that you start missing the strangest things?
For me it’s always hometown doughnuts and Mexican food.
For Spence, who has been in Africa for 16 months, it’s M&M’s. Here’s a message I just received from him:
“Alright, goods news off the bat. I received your awesome package today and immediately downed 2 bags of M&M’s (with some sharing involved)…As you can see, my hyperness is still lingering. It’s funny too how much enjoyment I can get from a bag of American M&M’s.”