AFRICA: FORGOTTEN CONTINENT?

UPI’s Claude Salhani and Ed Susman write,

The old adage that no news is good news, alas, does not apply to Africa. The only news emanating from Africa this past year has been of fratricidal wars or devastating epidemics that continue to claim lives by the tens of thousands. Yet little news from Africa, if any, gets reported in the international media, and even less in the United States.

The continent, however, remains rife with disasters — both created by man and as a result of poor or non-existing healthcare, illiteracy, poverty, malnutrition and sub-standard norms of living.

Civil wars have been raging in the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Zimbabwe and refugee crisis of Biblical proportions abound in Angola, the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, to mention only some of the countries. Tens of millions of people remain displaced as a result of decades of continued warfare, with numbers mounting daily.

Africa remains the worst continent, where in some countries such as the Sudan and Niger, slavery continues to be practiced. Famine is always around the corner in other parts of the continent where life expectancy is the lowest in the world.

They then cite reams of statistics to back up their bleak picture. It’s worth reading, if only to remind ourselves.

It’s less clear to me that this should be reported more regularly in the Western media. For one thing, the wars, famines, and pandemics are covered at least sporadically. These things are simply so commonplace that they are essentially the base condition; they’re not news in any conventional sense.

Still, bits like this continue to be shocking:

The culture of some African communities exacerbates the problem. In some societies if the husband dies, the husband’s relatives take all the family possessions — including the home and savings, leaving the widow and her children destitute and homeless. The only alternative for many women and many children is commercial sex work, which fuels the spread of the epidemic.

FILED UNDER: World Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.