Issue Talking Points
These pages, with brief talking points on sets of issues and links to recent
related AfricaFocus Bulletins, were initially prepared for use at
the Empowered Africa Forum
at Howard University in Washington, DC, on August 4, 2014.
AfricaFocus Bulletin is among the co-sponsors for this event,
which was initiated by the
US-Africa Network. The initial set of pages corresponds to panels
planned for that event. An additional page on
Health as a Human Right was added in September 2014.
The opinions expressed in these talking points are the responsibility
of AfricaFocus Bulletin editor William Minter, as a contribution
to debate on these critical issues. Much of the analysis and information on which they are based are included in
the Bulletins cited on each page. Links are automatically updated to include
the most recent AfricaFocus Bulletins related to each set of issues.
Note: This set of pages is a work in progress, and more sets of
issues will be added as time permits. Comments and suggestions are welcome, and
can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other issues covered regularly by AfricaFocus, but not yet
included in this set of pages, include Migration, and
Information and Communication Technology.
Continent-wide and Global Issues
In addition to background analyses on African countries and crises in
the news, AfricaFocus Bulletin pays particular attention to issues
which are at the same time Africa-wide and global. Today's global
issues take different form in different countries and on different
continents. But the most critical issues transcend
geographical boundaries and demand common action.
Climate Change and the Environment
The effects of global warming and environmental damage from the
fossil-fuel industry already affect all of us, although responsibility
lies primarily with the rich industrialized countries and the newly
industrializing powers. Africa is the most vulnerable continent,
but extreme weather and sea-level rise have hit New Orleans and
New Jersey as well as Lagos.
Illicit Financial Flows and Tax Evasion
Inequality and tax evasion eroding the public sector is growing both
within and between countries, while the rich on all continents funnel
their wealth into secret bank accounts scattered around the world.
Economy and Development
Politicians and investors in Africa and around the world speak of
creating good jobs. In practice most often they promote a market-fundamentalist
development model that sheds jobs while increasing profits for the 1%.
Food and Agriculture
International agencies agree that small farmers are indispensable to
addressing poverty and food insecurity in Africa. But commercial
monopolization of seeds and land grabs by both foreign
and domestic investors make a mockery of international pledges to
help small farmers, replicating international patterns of domination
by large enterprises.
Peace and Security
In responding to internal conflict, terrorism, and criminal violence,
leaders in Africa and around the world most often rely on militarized
responses that are ineffective and abusive of human rights. Although
leaders give lip service to addressing the root causes, it is
standard formulas of repression and funding for security forces that
take priority in practice.
Health as a Human Right
According to international law, health is a fundamental human right. Both national governments and
the international community have the responsibity to ensure that this right is
guaranteed in practice to everyone. Rich countries in particular have the
responsibility to contribute their fair share to achieving this goal.