Blog Posts

Looking to a Brighter Future in Africa

January 3, 2012 World Hope International Man in Shop

Source: World Hope International

When thinking about Africa, the facts that come to mind are often not good. Most Africans live on less than $2 a day. The average life span in many countries is only 50 years. Famine and starvation persist. The list goes on and on.

In an article at the end of last year, The Economist reviewed the future prospects for Africa, but highlighted some different facts. Over the past decade, The Economist wrote, six of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries were in Africa. In eight of the past ten years, Africa’s economic growth was higher than in East Asia, including Japan. Even allowing for the economic slowdown in northern counties, the International Monetary Fund expects Africa to grow by 6 percent in 2012, about the same as Asia.

Surprising? Not to three African ambassadors to United States, who discussed the future of their countries at a recent Africa Studies Association Annual Meeting.  The ambassadors from Sierra Leone, Kenya and Rwanda were bullish on the economic future of the continent. What is the basis of the surprising optimism of the ambassadors and The Economist? As we begin 2012, we might well focus on some facts that provide another way to view Africa and its prospects for the future:

  • Africa’s middle class includes some 60 million Africans today, and is expected to grow to 100 million by 2015.
  • Foreign investment in Africa has grown tenfold in the past decade.
  • There are more than 600 million mobile-phone users—more than in America or Europe.  Thus providing the majority of Africans with access to communications and mobile banking.
  • The health of many millions of Africans has improved in recent years because of wider use of mosquito nets and advances in HIV/AIDS identification and treatment.
  • Worker productivity has increased 3 percent a year, compared with 2.3 percent in the U.S.
  • Since 1991, some 30 democratic national elections have been held and the movement toward democracy is growing.
  • Sierra Leone, a country known more for its decade-long civil war, “blood diamonds,” and corruption, has sustained an economic growth rate of 6 percent in recent years, fueled by iron ore and bauxite trade.  Its government has focused on reducing corruption and reforming its government institutions.  (Ambassador Bockari Kortu Stevens)
  • Despite political setbacks, Kenya has set out to become a middle-income country by 2030.  It has rewritten its constitution and built more roads in the last six years than it did in the forty years between 1963 and 2003. (Ambassador Elkanah Odembo)
  • In Rwanda, women comprise 56 percent of the legislators in parliament. Malaria is on the verge of being eradicated. The government’s poverty reduction strategies are wisely focused on local economies. (Ambassador James Kimonyo)

Let there be no misunderstanding: the challenges are great, and corruption and bad government will not disappear overnight.  But the African continent is moving forward even in these times of world economic hardship.

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Can we save Africa’s lions and other big cats from extinction?

December 16, 2011

Panthera vice president George Schaller laments the demise of big cats in the December issue of National Geographic and asks if we as a people have the will to save […]

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Fulfilling the Principles of Human Rights Day

December 10, 2011

It is hard to believe that 63 years ago today, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration has served as the foundation for an ever-expanding […]

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Fulfilling the Principles of Human Rights Day

December 10, 2011

It is hard to believe that 63 years ago today, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration has served as the foundation for an ever-expanding […]

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Drilling for Water in Africa's Most Remote Regions

December 5, 2011

They did it!  World Hope International recently dug its 700th well and achieved its goal of providing 500,000 people in Sub Saharan Africa with clean water! World Hope and its […]

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Drilling for Water in Africa’s Most Remote Regions

December 5, 2011

They did it!  World Hope International recently dug its 700th well and achieved its goal of providing 500,000 people in Sub Saharan Africa with clean water! World Hope and its […]

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Recognizing Progress, Committing to the Future on World AIDS Day

December 1, 2011

On  World AIDS Day, our attention turns again to Sub-Saharan Africa, which has only one-tenth of the world’s population, but two-thirds of the people in the world living with HIV […]

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America’s Top Diplomat for Africa Bullish on the Continent’s Future

November 28, 2011

At the annual meeting of the African Studies Association in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson spoke on a range of […]

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Overcoming Barriers to Graduating from High School

November 15, 2011

In Kenya, where three quarters of all high school students never graduate, Aid for Africa member Kenya Education Fund (KEF) helps disadvantaged students beat the odds. There are a number […]

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Remembering a Legacy of Planting Trees and Building Lives

November 4, 2011

In our previous blog post on the 2011 International Year of the Forest we highlighted the importance of forests in Africa, which account for the livelihoods of more than half […]

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Turning the Millennium Goals Into Reality: Goal 5 – Improve Maternal Health

October 24, 2011

In the fifth blog post in our series about the UN’s Millennium Development Goals we focus on Millennium Goal 5: Improve maternal health. The UN goal is to ensure that […]

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New Digital Technology Hunts Down War Criminal and His Army in Central Africa

October 10, 2011

Communities across Central Africa are now better equipped to prevent and respond to atrocities committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) thanks to Aid for Africa member Invisible Children, which […]

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Community-Based Conservation Efforts to Protect Wildlife

September 22, 2011

Tomorrow, September 22, is World Rhino Day, when  international attention is raised about the senseless slaughter of these amazing animals due to the mythical belief held by many that rhino horn contains magical healing properties.

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Eliminating the Obstacles Keeping African Children Out of School

September 14, 2011

This September throughout the United States, school-age children picked up their books and lunch money and headed off to school. They look forward to doing that every year through their […]

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Education on Overdrive—Creating Sustainable Schools

August 26, 2011

In Uganda and Tanzania, students supported by Aid for Africa members are learning more than reading, science, and math.  They are learning how to make their schools sustainable. For the […]

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Turning the Millennium Goals into Reality: Goal 4—Reduce Child Mortality

August 15, 2011

In the fourth blog post in our series about the UN’s Millennium Development Goals we focus on Millennium Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality.  The UN goal is to reduce child mortality by two thirds between 2009 and 2015.

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Fighting East African Famine Requires both Immediate and Long-term Solutions

August 1, 2011

Food aid has begun to reach people in East Africa who are severely afflicted by the worst drought in 60 years. This emergency food aid is vital to prevent thousands […]

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Elephant Poaching on the Rise Again: Kenyan Government Burns Ivory to Raise Awareness

July 22, 2011

The Kenyan Government burned five tons of elephant ivory worth $16 million July 20 to alert the world to a recent surge in elephant deaths from poaching.

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Africa's Newest Country – The Republic of South Sudan

July 11, 2011

On July 9 the world welcomed its newest country and the 54th in Africa—the Republic of South Sudan.

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Africa’s Newest Country – The Republic of South Sudan

July 11, 2011

On July 9 the world welcomed its newest country and the 54th in Africa—the Republic of South Sudan.

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Turning the Millennium Goals into Reality: Gender Equality–Goal 3

July 6, 2011

US First Lady Michelle Obama drew the world’s attention to the plight of women and youth in Sub Saharan Africa during her recent trip to South Africa and Botswana. In […]

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Making a Difference on World Refugee Day and Beyond

June 20, 2011

In Africa today more than 3 million people are refugees—forced to leave their homes due to persecution, violence, or conflict. The UN Refugee Agency—UNHCR—says the refugee crisis is particularly acute […]

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Turning the Millennium Development Goals Into Reality: Part 2

June 8, 2011

In the second blog post in our series about the UN’s Millennium Development Goals we focus on Millennium Goal 2: Ensure that by 2015, children everywhere are able to complete […]

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Zeroing in on Farming in Africa as a Key to Long-Term Development

June 1, 2011

At a recent meeting of the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs, Bill Gates spoke of a new effort to help the farmers of Africa and South Asia build better lives […]

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Zeroing in on Farming in Africa as a Key to Long-Term Development

June 1, 2011

At a recent meeting of the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs, Bill Gates spoke of a new effort to help the farmers of Africa and South Asia build better lives […]

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Turning the Millennium Development Goals Into Reality

May 19, 2011

Did you know that the Millennium Development Goals are the most ambitious, targeted, and comprehensive set of objectives ever created to eradicate extreme poverty? Established by the United Nations in […]

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Fostering Development from within a Community—The Value of Small Nonprofits

May 13, 2011

Most people who view the Kibera slum of 1 million–with its burgeoning youth population–on the outskirts of Nairobi see a powder keg waiting to explode.  A few others, like Rye […]

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Remembering Less Fortunate Mothers

May 6, 2011

Being a mother is never easy, but in Africa it takes on a whole new dimension. Save the Children’s new report on the best and worst countries for motherhood says […]

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Great Ape Trust Recognized for its Research Efforts with Bonobos and Chimpanzees

April 29, 2011

Aid for Africa member Great Ape Trust has two reasons to celebrate.  In Iowa, the Trust’s Sue Savage-Rumbaugh was named one of the TIME 100 for 2011 for her work […]

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“Greening” Africa

April 21, 2011

Aid for Africa members work to “green” Africa on Earth Day and every day. Sub Saharan Africa is rich in natural resources and the region has great potential for renewable […]

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"Greening" Africa

April 21, 2011

Aid for Africa members work to “green” Africa on Earth Day and every day. Sub Saharan Africa is rich in natural resources and the region has great potential for renewable […]

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Providing Hope to Ivorian Refugees in Liberia

April 15, 2011

The conflict in the Ivory Coast has led to the fleeing of more than 80,000 Ivorian refugees to its neighbor Liberia. In the midst of this humanitarian disaster Aid for […]

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Doctors and Health Workers Answering the Call in Sub Saharan Africa

April 4, 2011

In a recent compelling  article in The New York Times, Celia Dugger describes a growing movement in the U.S. of young American doctors and health workers who are going to […]

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Focus on Women: Realizing a Girl’s Potential and Fulfilling her Aspirations through Education

March 30, 2011

When Ann Musabe was 16 years old she was in high school in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, and in need of support.  She found that support through Aid for […]

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World Water Day: Spotlight on Saving Lives with Safe Drinking Water

March 21, 2011

On March 22, World Water Day, Aid for Africa asks you to remember that there are 1.1 billion people in the world who lack access to safe drinking water – […]

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Focus on Women: Changing a Young Woman’s Story through Education

March 18, 2011

Caroline Kashinin Senteu is one of only a handful of Maasai women in Kenya with a college education, and although her story began as the story of most Maasai women, […]

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Focus on Women: Changing a Young Woman's Story through Education

March 18, 2011

Caroline Kashinin Senteu is one of only a handful of Maasai women in Kenya with a college education, and although her story began as the story of most Maasai women, […]

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Focus on Women: Ugandan Finds Calling as a “Gorilla Doctor”

March 11, 2011

Aid for Africa member Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP) has a new veterinarian–Dr. Racheal Mbabazi.  Racheal graduated from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, in 2010 with a degree in veterinary […]

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Focus on Women: Ugandan Finds Calling as a "Gorilla Doctor"

March 11, 2011

Aid for Africa member Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP) has a new veterinarian–Dr. Racheal Mbabazi.  Racheal graduated from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, in 2010 with a degree in veterinary […]

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2011 International Women’s Day: Focus on Education and Training

March 7, 2011

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day on March 8 is equal access for women to education, training and science and technology. Education and training are important components of Aid […]

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Planting the Seeds Toward a Brighter Future

February 25, 2011

Tamiru Gerite lives with his wife and five children in the village of Bedengeltu, in Southern Ethiopia. He works hard as a farmer, but his subsistence fields generate little income. […]

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Building African Democracies with Books

February 21, 2011

As the dust settles after events in Tunisia and Egypt, the hard part of building true democracies from the ground-up has only just begun. Established rule of law, a thriving […]

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Saving Africa’s Forests

February 11, 2011

The United Nations designated 2011 the International Year of Forests and is working to highlight the importance of forests worldwide. Nowhere are forests more important than in Africa. More than […]

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A New Model for Helping South Africa's Most Vulnerable Children

February 2, 2011

The founders of the Ubuntu Education Fund in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, realized early on that that a fresh approach was needed to help the thousands of vulnerable South African […]

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A New Model for Helping South Africa’s Most Vulnerable Children

February 2, 2011

The founders of the Ubuntu Education Fund in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, realized early on that that a fresh approach was needed to help the thousands of vulnerable South African […]

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Southern Sudan Votes for the Future and Prepares for the Challenges

January 10, 2011

In Sudan, the south and north fought a civil war for more than three decades.  Beginning January 9 through the 15th, the south is voting to become an independent state.  […]

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Partners In Health—A Vision of What Can Be

December 12, 2010

  Aid for Africa was founded on the belief that committed individuals working on the ground in Africa can make a real difference in the lives of those in need. […]

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Aid for Africa Girls Education Fund — Helping girls go to school, stay in school, and succeed in life!

September 16, 2010

Life is tough for many poor girls in Africa.  Culture and tradition often keeps them at home while their brothers go to school.  Some girls are forced to marry when […]

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Africa’s growing economic muscle tells only part of the story

August 5, 2010

Africa is making progress economically, according to a new report by McKinsey & Company.  With combined gross domestic products across the continent of 1.6 trillion dollars in 2008, Africa is […]

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Human Rights and HIV/AIDS in Sub Saharan Africa

July 18, 2010

“Rights here, right now,” the theme of the 18th International AIDS Conference kicking off in Vienna, Austria, today, champions the role of human rights in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  In […]

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For the Love of Soccer

July 8, 2010

As the World Cup winds down this week, we are left with images of the best teams in the world competing for the top honor in soccer in vibrant and […]

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Scientific Research Underpins Development Advancements

June 16, 2010

An elephant trampling a farmer’s field is a frequent problem in many parts of Africa. One elephant can destroy a farmer’s entire crop. Recent news reports suggest that research scientists […]

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Environmental Justice — Using the Law to Protect the Poor and the Environment in Southern Africa

April 26, 2010

It isn’t everyday that an environmentalist takes on the government and wins. When Thuli Brilliance Mkama, the only public interest environmental lawyer in Swaziland, challenged the environment minister in court, she won and reaffirmed that law is a vital instrument to use against injustice and to support the poor.

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Embracing Local Community Needs is Key to Conserving Africa’s Wildlife

April 16, 2010

Today, in his column in the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof writes about the demise of the African wild dog, also known as the painted dog.  Once numbering in the hundreds of thousands throughout Africa, the painted dog is about to disappear—only a few thousand remain in four countries.

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Working to Save Africa’s Rich Biodiversity

February 25, 2010

The United Nations has named 2010 International Biodiversity Year, acknowledging the continued loss of plant and animal species around the world from population growth, urbanization, deteriorating habitats, invasive species, and […]

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Working to Save Africa's Rich Biodiversity

February 25, 2010

The United Nations has named 2010 International Biodiversity Year, acknowledging the continued loss of plant and animal species around the world from population growth, urbanization, deteriorating habitats, invasive species, and […]

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PBS Turns a Much-Needed Spotlight on Maternal Health Risks in the Wake of the Haiti Earthquake

January 29, 2010

It isn’t surprising that a team from the PBS newsmagazine NOW turned to Ann Starrs, president and cofounder of Family Care International, when it wanted to better understand why women […]

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Alternatives to Orphanages Bring Hope to Africa’s Vulnerable Children

December 19, 2009

The United Nations estimates that more than 55 million African children have lost one parent and that almost 15 million of them have lost a parent to AIDS. Orphanages are […]

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For Aid for Africa Members, Every Day is World AIDS Day

December 1, 2009

Two-thirds of the people in the world living with HIV and AIDS are in Sub Saharan Africa.  In its 2009 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, UNAIDS found that more […]

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Surviving Drought through Small Businesses

November 19, 2009

According to Reuters some 23 million people are in need of food aid in East Africa because of severe drought.  Last month the Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development […]

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The Nobel Economics Prize and Africa

October 14, 2009

Tapping Elinor Ostrom as one of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics is exciting for anyone interested in issues of saving forests, wildlife conservation, agricultural development, and environmental […]

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Strengthening Women’s Healthcare to Stem Rising Preterm Births

October 7, 2009

A new study by the March of Dimes with the World Health Organization finds that globally each year almost 13 million babies are born prematurely—one of every ten newborns.  Four […]

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The Power of Books

October 1, 2009

Today’s Diane Rehm radio program featured the amazing story of a 14-year-old boy from Malawi, William Kamkwamba, who taught himself how to build a windmill out of garbage, bringing light […]

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Aid for Africa Launches New Web Site

September 24, 2009

Today, Aid for Africa announces the launch of its new web site. We hope this site will be a resource for those looking to support the causes – clean water, […]

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