|Africa News Digest
Southern Africa Cannot Feed Itself Because of AIDS
A large swath of Southern Africa will probably never again be able to feed itself, until HIV/AIDS is conquered. That conclusion can be read between the lines of a press release from CARE Sept. 12. Referring to a swath of 10 million people in regions of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland, and Lesotho, CARE states that while the rains have sometimes come at the wrong times, there is no drought this year. Yet, "AIDS has killed millions of adults in their most productive years. Others are chronically ill, and their care consumes their families' time and resources." Food production has declined as a result. CARE estimates that 700,000 metric tons of food is needed immediately to carry the population through until the next harvest in April. CARE recalls that, "This is the fourth consecutive year of severe shortages, and many people have exhausted their typical coping mechanisms of selling off livestock or farming tools to buy food."
This will soon be the fate of Subsaharan Africa as a whole. Specifics of the trend in Kenya and Rwanda (East Africa), Malawi (Southern Africa), and Burkina Faso (West Africa) were reported in last week's Africa Digest (No. 37).
Forget all the jaw-flapping about Millennium Development Goals. If there is no strategy actually capable of conquering HIV/AIDS, Subsaharan Africa dies.
IMF Slavery Is Not Just a Figure of Speech
After reviewing the slave trade and other forms of organized crime in West Africa today, the June 2005 report of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), entitled "Crime and Development in Africa," concludes that "Organized crime in West Africa in its contemporary form is generally perceived to have emerged in the 1970s, contemporaneous with the oil price rises of that decade, the delinking of the dollar from gold, high inflation, and the rapid spread of debt in the developing world."
Africans in America, Inc. (AIA, africanslavery.org), based in New York City and Nnobi, Nigeria, claims that today, "it is a status symbol in most African countries to have unpaid slaves, maids, and servants" in homes and businesses, and it is not hidden. AIA also reports the presence of slaves in African households in Europe and the U.S.
UNICEF says 47 African countries are involved in trafficking of human beings as source or destination, or for transit, or all three.
The leading purposes of trafficking are forced labor, commercial sexual exploitation, and forced enlistment in armies and insurgencies. Most victims are children aged 5 to 15.
The UNODC report also says the slavers take African women to Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, and force them into prostitution, and that young Nigerian children and adult women are enslaved in Saudi Arabia.