The Association of African Universities—AAU for short—held its 13th general conference last week in Libreville, Gabon. Representing the World Bank at this conference, I had a great opportunity to engage with this vibrant university community. A community which is expanding fast as demand for higher education is skyrocketing thanks to Africa’s “youth bulge”, that is, as the share of young people in the population is increasing in many countries. Private universities are mushrooming everywhere.
ENTEBBE (Ouganda) - Nous arrivons au terme d’un voyage historique dans la région des Grands Lacs tant pour le Groupe de la Banque mondiale, présidé par Jim Yong Kim, que pour l’ONU, dirigée par le secrétaire général Ban Ki-moon. Ce voyage a été fascinant parce qu’il s’agissait de la première fois que les dirigeants de ces deux organisations se rendaient ensemble en Afrique. Regardez cette vidéo pour comprendre mon enthousiasme et mon optimisme quant à l'avenir de la région.
Dans cette vidéo, Makhtar Diop, vice-président pour la région Afrique de la Banque mondiale, explique, alors qu’il traverse le fleuve Congo, pourquoi ce voyage du président de la Banque mondiale et du secrétaire général des Nations Unies, est une occasion historique de renforcer le processus de paix dans la région.
La semaine prochaine, j’accompagnerai Jim Yong Kim, le président du groupe de la Banque mondiale, et Ban Ki-moon, le Secrétaire général des Nations unies, lors d’une visite historique dans la région des Grands Lacs. L’objectif de ce voyage est de réfléchir avec les leaders africains à des solutions durables afin d’aider les populations de la région à prospérer. Cette visite est importante pour deux raisons : tout d’abord, elle signale une nouvelle ère pour les institutions internationales de développement qui s’engagent à promouvoir ensemble la stabilité ; enfin, elle signale aux citoyens des pays en situation de fragilité ou de conflit notre volonté de faire en sorte que ces pays ne restent pas à la traîne.
Next week, I will be joining World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on an historic joint visit to Africa's Great Lakes Region. The aim of the trip is to brainstorm with African leaders solutions to helping the people of the Great Lakes prosper.
This visit is important for two reasons - it highlights a new era of global institutions working together to promote stability, and it signals to the citizens of fragile and conflict affected nations our commitment: we will not leave you behind.
Many countries in today’s world have struggled, or are struggling, through war or political conflict to rebuild themselves and lift their people out of poverty. They are called fragile states, nations with poor health and education, little or no electricity, disorganized or weakened institutions, and in many cases no functioning governments. In Africa, 18 of the 48 countries in the sub Region are considered fragile, six of them so much so that UN, NATO or African Union forces are on the ground helping to keep peace.
- « Les orpailleurs sont pauvres et exploités, soumis à des conditions de travail insupportables. Il faut leur redonner leur dignité. »
- « Les orpailleurs sont des braconniers d’éléphants qui saccagent l’environnement. Expulsons-les ! »
- « Les orpailleurs sont de petits entrepreneurs prospères. Ils méritent d’être soutenus et encouragés. »
- « L’activité des orpailleurs est inefficace sur le plan économique. Il faut les remplacer par de grandes compagnies d’exploitation. »
- « L’activité des orpailleurs est illégale et ne participe pas à la richesse du pays. Elle doit être déclarée et encadrée. »
- “Artisanal miners are poor exploited human beings who are forced to dig for minerals under unbearable circumstances. They should be liberated.”
- “Artisanal miners are elephant poachers who destroy the environment. They should be evicted.”
- “Artisanal miners are successful small entrepreneurs. They should be supported and stimulated.”
- “Artisanal miners are economically inefficient. They should be replaced by large scale industrial operators.”
- “Artisanal miners are illegal and do not contribute any revenue to the state. They need to be registered and controlled.”
In Sub-Saharan Africa, many local journalists suffer attacks, imprisonment or even death for reporting on corruption, public spending or the mismanagement of natural resources. In Africa, at least 41 journalists are spending this World Press Freedom Day behind bars.
While there is a clear recognition by international institutions that corruption and good governance are key to poverty alleviation, there seems to be much less understanding of the importance of an enabling environment, as a complement to training and capacity building, in order for the press to meaningfully contribute to greater accountability and transparency, such as natural resources exploitation.
For example, new oil discoveries in East Africa have the potential to lift millions out of poverty if the profits actually benefit the citizens in that region. The optimism is dashed by the proverbial “resource curse,” that’s plagued the likes of Nigeria, Angola and Equatorial Guinea, where poor governance, wealth disparity and poverty persist. The fog of secrecy and opacity surrounding oil exploitation deals has also caused concern.
Growing up in India, mosquito nets were an essential part of life. I slept under them as a child in Bangalore, with their ropes tied to bedposts, doors, closets, window grills—anything that would offer support at the right height. It was like pitching a tent every night, and the occasional dramatic collapse would result in much helpless laughter. Later, going to college on the banks of the slow-flowing Koovam river in Madras (now Chennai), I tucked myself under a net in my dormitory at about 6 p.m. to avoid the twilight assault of mosquitos from the water. In fact, particularly after a bad attack of malaria when I was a child, a lot of my life was lived perforce under a mosquito net, until electric repellent gadgets reached the market and nets somewhat lost their popularity.
Recently, sitting in Halima Ibrahim’s house in Majengo, a neighborhood in the coastal city of Mombasa, and talking about the new mosquito nets her family had just received from the Kenyan government, I felt instantly at home in her tiny living room. It was packed from corner to corner with family and friends, all brimming with opinions about nets old and new. Everybody talked about malaria and what a problem the disease was in the community. The nets that had just been distributed to them free of cost would make a huge difference, they said, protecting them from being bitten by mosquitos, and saving them considerable expense. Many of the families on the street simply could not afford to buy durable and effective nets at the prices they commanded in the local market.
Ninety minutes after leaving Nairobi, UN flight 13W banks sharply over the Somali coastline in a series of steep turns that line it up for final approach into Mogadishu airport. The sharp turns are standard security measures to minimize exposure to fire from would-be attackers on the ground. Out of the starboard window, a number of small boats cut a slow, languid path through the ocean, while closer to the airport, large merchant ships sit anchored just off the end of the runway waiting to be unloaded in the nearby port which is the city’s economic lifeline. As we land, the tarmac shimmers in the 100 degree heat that now envelopes the city.
We’ve come to Mogadishu to present the findings of a new Bank study called The Pirates of Somalia: Ending the Threat: Rebuilding a Nation to senior ministers from the Somali government. The report concludes that Somalia cannot ‘buy’ its way out of piracy, and neither can the international community rely solely on its navies and law enforcement agencies to defeat the pirates, whether at sea or on land. The solution to Somali piracy is first and foremost political.
In a fresh look at ending piracy off the Horn of Africa, the Bank suggests that a sustained solution to ending piracy will only come with the recreation of a viable Somali state that can deliver essential health, education, nutrition, and other services throughout the entire country, especially in those areas where piracy flourishes.