The “foreign policy” debate, like most American public discourse, ignored Africa, notwithstanding the presence of the son of a Kenyan and the great-great grandson of a Mississippi slaveowner on the stage at the University of Mississippi.
Earlier this week, the visits of Alaska’s governor to the United Nations, were judged more important than the special U.N. heads of state session on Africa.
Let’s look at a couple of headlines. Russia is sending a frigate to the coast off Somalia after a cargo ship carrying Russian tanks to Kenya was captured by pirates. Nigeria’s government negotiated a truce with rebels in the Niger Delta who have been disrupting oil supplies. South Africa’s president resigns.
The immediate relevance is there for even inwardly-focused Americans. But Africa is important in its own right with 700 million human beings. That’s one for each of the billions of dollars that we plan to throw away on toxic collaterallized debt obligations.
I have to believe that Americans are being tested to see where their true priorities lie — with service to humanity or naked greed and accumulation. When we were asked to relieve Africa’s debt, Western countries did not fulfill their pledges. Nor have they met obligations to reduce poverty by half by 2015 — the Millennium Development Goals.
It turns out that the money plowed into speculation was more than enough to end poverty, hunger and dramatically reduce infectious diseases.
We ignore it at our peril.