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My good friend, Michael Bittel, writes in his blog that it's All About Africa.

I confess that I spend less than 1% of my time thinking about Africa.  But I should be spending more time.

Here are the best reasons I have to support Michael's statement.

1.   The problems of poverty and health issues are most pronounced in Africa.  Logically, the place where we can make the greatest difference is the place in which we should be concentrating our energies.

2.   Our societies are getting older and are stagnating in size;Africa's getting younger and increasing in population.  Think about it: In ten years, our society will be top heavy with retirees and throughout Africa the average individual will be around twenty years of age.  The central African states have fertility rates over 3%, and we are barely replacing our numbers.

These demographic shifts will be important for us to consider when it comes to finding dependable sources for labor and new markets for our products and services.

3.  Africa is our place of origin and likely presents the ultimate archaeological and anthropological challenges.

Africa also is incredibly challenging:

The poltical systems in Africa are unbelievably corrupt and brutal.  The language barriers are tremendous.  And the long history of racism and slavery with our culture is a very large impediment.

Even so, I think we should be thinking of Africa in the coming year as our technical skills continue to grow.  Some problems I would like to think about are:

- How can we improve the opacity of government to reduce corruption and make governments more responsible?

- How can we improve translation technologies to reduce language barriers?

- How can we improve communications in Africa?

What are your thoughts on how we can do use our technical talent to help those who truly are the poorest and simplest among us?

Jonathan Starr

Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2007 4:44 PM Personal , Politics , Geopolitics , Friends , Africa , Charity , Software Development , Management | Back to top


Comments on this post: How can we help

# re: How can we help
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I wish I knew. I think it must begin by correcting the government. With a corrupt government in place, we can't realize the full potential of our efforts to help. Oftentimes, aid meant for the starving ends up in the hands in the corrupt officials who use it to maintain their authoritarian holds on the communities.

I don't have a peaceful answer, and I don't believe in the use of force unless there is a direct threat to our own security and no other options are viable.

My best strategy would be to use political and economic pressure to force the governments to correct themselves. Of course, there would be negative short term consequences to that path, and I am more concerned with the increasingly authoritarian nature of my own government.
Left by Chris Eargle on Dec 26, 2007 5:33 PM

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