Saturday, October 22, 2022

Omar's Marshall Plan for Africa

   Africa has over 1.3 billion people – more than double the size of Europe. By 2050, that population is expected to double, giving it more than a quarter of the world’s population – many of them of young working age.

And its economies are poised for more growth. The Centre for International Development projects that seven African countries will be among the 15 fastest growing over the next five years. Improving education systems and increased trade are already improving the lives of hundreds of millions of Africans. The poverty rate continues to plummet and migration is increasing as well – spurring the spread of ideas, entrepreneurship and investment. Africa has more than 60% of the globe’s arable uncultivated land. And a new trade agreement is expected to create Africa’s first continent-wide free trade area, generating economic benefits for the country.

But a third of children remain malnourished. A similar amount do not finish secondary school. The Covid-19 pandemic has made these challenges more difficult, with many officials fearing Africa could lose a full decade of development. Putin’s illegal war of aggression in Ukraine has contributed to a devastating famine that is taking lives as we speak. And the climate crisis will make the hurdles for development and flourishing even higher. This is a particular injustice for a continent that contributes less than 4% of global CO2 emissions, but suffers the brunt of the impact.

Russia has signed military deals with at least 19 African countries since 2014 and has become the top arms supplier on the continent. 

Chinese companies have invested heavily in natural resources there, and Chinese trade with Africa was up to $254bn last year. 

A landmark study by the UN development program in 2017 shows that people who join violent extremist groups throughout the continent – from al-Shabaab to Boko Haram – are generally from geographically isolated and socially marginalized groups, and most name the precipitating event before joining one of these groups to be a low-level human rights violation.

So in terms of narrow counter-terrorism policy, support for governments, militaries, and police that violate human rights – rather than local civil society – is self-defeating. Only support for democratic institution building and accountability for human rights violations can remove the root causes of extremism.

Ilhan  Omar

We need a Marshall plan for Africa | Ilhan Omar | The Guardian

1 comment:

Mr. Magoo said...

I wonder if it's more comforting if you lose a loved-one in a war that was 'legal', than one that was 'illegal'.