bulletin of the AFRICA PROGRESS PANELVolume 4, Issue 14 — 16 September 2011
Africa Progress Panel
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Africa's next challenge
Could it be terrorism, drugs, or something else…? Actually, one of Africa’s biggest challenges goes unnoticed: Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)-an issue accounting for 63% of all deaths worldwide, thus placing a huge social and economic burden on countries.
For decades, global health leaders have focused their attention on infectious diseases-HIV/AIDS, pandemic influenza and tuberculosis. They pushed for vaccines, better preventive measures, better access to treatment and more investment in health systems – to control the spread of germs and diseases everywhere in the world.
But a WHO report highlights that NCDs like heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes and cancer, are the world’s leading killers. It is estimated that in 2004, NCDs were responsible for 28% of deaths in Africa, and this is projected to increase by 27% over the next ten years. Approximately 33% of deaths due to NCDs occur in persons aged less than 60 (one-third of all NCDs deaths in Africa), making NCDs a significant contributor to premature death and disability in Africa. But also, the report estimates 30 million lives could be saved over the next decade by simple diet and lifestyle changes.
The United Nations has realized that NCDs are a critical global health problem and in particular for developing countries where there are so many other competing priorities. Next week, the first UN Global Summit on Non- Communicable Diseases will aim to enlighten the world about the effects of NCDs on healthcare worldwide and implore Member States to adopt a global plan to tackle this problem. Urgent and appropriate measures required include: creating public awareness for citizens to break bad lifestyle habits that would help avoid the onset of NCDs; strengthening the continent’s healthcare systems by increasing access to high-quality, low cost medicines and vaccines; expanding partnerships in the health sector and addressing the issue of poverty- which is a major hindrance to fight against poor health in Africa and is often regarded as enemy number one to global social progress, peace and security.
NCDs are also a fundamental challenge to Africa’s development; they place enormous costs on the society and hinder MDG achievement. As key officials try to agree on meeting specific goals by a specific amount and date, finding money to meet any goals could be an even bigger challenge given the global economic crisis.
- Malawi’s Human Rights Commission is accusing President Bingu wa Mutharika of inciting violence following his war threats and outbursts against civil society leaders at public functions. Civil society organizations planning protests for 21 September are registering discontent with the current government's political and economic governance which is expressing an economic downturn and alienating the country's foreign donors. Analysts say incidents in Malawi are showing a trend and question whether the Arab uprising could be spreading south.
- Election fever has hit Zambia as it goes to polls on 20 September 2011, to elect its next President. As is often the case with elections in this part of the world, questions have been raised about what to expect next week; the likelihood of the elections leading to violence as well as whether there will be drastic policy changes even if an opposition party leader like Sata wins?
- As the interim Government in Libya works to establish a new national identity to replace old political and tribal loyalties, power structures within the country remain fractured thus, creating potential for conflict; the continent is still divided over the removal of the country’s leader Gadaffi and ‘its neighbors are facing new sets of woes imported from someone else’s war.’
- Cameroon is scheduled to hold presidential elections on the 9th of October with at least 50, candidates including three women. But, with President Paul Biya, who has been in power for almost 30 years, seeking re-election, and some of the highest levels of corruption in the world, will these elections be any more credible than previous ones have been?
- The Angolan people are rejoicing and gearing up for progress and advancement with regard to development as Miss Angola wins the crown of the 2011 Miss Universe pageant. The first African woman to win in 12 years was selected over 88 other competitors from around the world.
- African leaders from fragile and conflict-affected countries call for a reassessment of the MDGs and new approaches to development in Africa
- The AfDB approves a $22.5 million loan to finance a major digital complex in Mali aimed at up-scaling ICT and entrepreneurship skills in Mali and West Africa
- African Environment ministers meet to firm up Africa’s position ahead of the Durban conference on climate change
- The Ad Hoc Committee of the AU commits to work with the National Transitional Council and "all other Libyan stakeholders" to establish an "all-inclusive national unity government"
- The AU and UN are working to implement a comprehensive capacity building programme - one of the principal recommendations of the 11th ordinary session of the AU Assembly
- The EAC and EU are re-negotiating to resolve the controversy over the delay in signing an economic partnership agreement between the two trading blocs
- ECOWAS urge member states to intensify efforts agreed by developing countries to reduce the negative impacts of global climate change
- IMF launches an electronic guide to help developing countries compile better Government finance statistics
- UNESCO emphasizes the need to build local energy capacity in developing countries as a framework upon which to later introduce renewable energies
- The UN mission in Liberia is helping to draw up an election security plan to ensure the success of the forthcoming elections and the irreversibility of the peace
- FAO and African leaders are working to adopt a ‘climate-smart’ approach to agriculture to fight the impacts of climate change and scarcity of natural resources
- FAO launches a Global Soil Partnership for Food security and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation – aimed at providing favorable policy environment and technical solutions for soil protection and management
- South Africa and Mauritius Continue to lead Africa in Competitiveness. According to WEF’s 2011-2012 Global Competitiveness Report, Africa’s competitiveness has been improving in recent years but many African countries are low in the ranking: of the 20 lowest-ranked economies, 13 are from Africa.
- Chad and Somalia are the riskiest places in the world to fall sick if you are a child , according to an index produced by Save the Children.
- World Health Professions Alliance launch an easy-to-use, practical guide to help individuals and their health professionals reduce the risk of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
- A new research by the WEF and the Boston Consulting Group titled "Redefining the Future of Growth: The New Sustainability Champions," showcases 16 emerging market companies which provide inspiring examples on how to tackle challenges of performance, innovation, sustainability and growth.
- The percentage of the world's largest 500 companies taking action to address climate change as part of their overall business strategy has increased to 68% in 2011, up from 48% last year, according to a survey from the Carbon Disclosure Project.
- A new WHO report features information about the NCDs situation in 193 countries and indicates where each government needs to focus to prevent and treat the diseases.
Cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases are no longer the diseases of the wealthy. Today, they hamper the people and the economies of the poorest populations even more than infectious diseases. This represents a public health emergency in slow motion.
- BAN KI-MOON, United Nations Secretary-General
In the blogs...
- Guardian APPS Blog: Apps rush- Noel Gallagher, Tales From The Woods, Live Rugby, Helga Deen and more, 12 Sept 2011
The UN Foundation debuts new mobile application that offers information on the organization's global work on health, development and environmental issues as well as how citizens can add their voices, advocate and support the UN.
- Guardian’s Poverty Matters Blog: A fresh narrative on aid dependence, 13 Sept, 2011
A report by ActionAid celebrates the fact that poor countries are relying less and less on aid claiming that strong growth and greater autonomy are making poor countries less aid reliant; thereby offering the development community a fresh take on a traditionally discomfiting issue.
- Pambazuka News (Pan-Africa): Libya: A wake-up call for African unity, 15 Sept. 2011The Author argues in favor of a union government for Africa, stating that the events in Libya are a clear wake-up call for Africa to unite and for its leaders to learn to relinquish power and not change the constitution at will.
- Business Standard (India): Should India hand out economic aid?, 13 Sept. 2011As India proposes to hand out $11 billion in economic aid to LDCs, particularly in African countries, this article questions the sense in doing so as India is still a desperately poor country with about 300 million people living below poverty line.
- The News Times (Rwanda): Africa has taken its place on the global pedestal, 12 Sept. 2011While addressing a French based think tank (IFRI) in Paris, President Kagame issues a warning to outside powers against trying to manage Africa, saying that recent developments in Africa and progress over the last two decades have earned the continent a place in the new world order.
- New York Times (USA): Somalia’s worsening famine, 12 Sept. 2011A New York Times editorial discusses the challenge famine in the Horn of Africa has presented to donor countries, specifically as it relates to Somalia. The author commends the leaders of East African countries for looking for future investments for famine prevention.
- Making It Magazine: Unfair Share, 25 August 2011A Professor of International Affairs at Yale University argues that the world poverty problem is not a specialist concern at the margins of politics but rather an important consideration in all decisions related to institutional design.
- Finance officials from the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations pledge to work together to support the global economy as it faces "significant challenges" to recovery
- China and the World Bank are in talks about cooperating to promote the transfer of low-value manufacturing jobs from China to Africa
- China finances $9.3 billion for African hydropower dams
- The EC allocates an additional €60m towards its emergency response to help fight famine in the Horn of Africa
- Germany's Development Minister reiterates his government's emphasis on education as a focus of the new development policy. More than half of the new commitments for education are envisaged for sub-Saharan Africa
- German State Secretary Beerfeltz speaks about bringing rural development back into the focus of German development cooperation after years of neglect
- Germany to promote budget reporting in East Africa
- Studies by the IBSA Academic Forum on food security issues in three countries suggest that providing food access works best when backed by cash transfers
- India will provide $8m in humanitarian aid to African countries afflicted with severe famine and drought
- Indonesian trade minister Mari Elka Pangestu is expected to lead a trade delegation to explore business opportunities in Africa
- Australia and South Africa bid to build the world’s most powerful telescope – one of the most powerful scientific instruments in history which will shed new light on fundamental questions about the universe
- The British Government’s new humanitarian policy sets out how the UK will respond to - and help prevent - disasters
- Britain is leading the way in providing quality aid that makes a real long term difference to ending poverty, according to a report released by ActionAid
|19-21 Sept||WTO Public Forum 2011: Geneva, Switzerland|
|20 Sept||The Gambia Presidential Elections|
|20 Sept||11th Annual International Economic Forum on Africa: Paris, France|
|20-22 Sept||Clinton Global Initiative: New York, U.S.A|
|20-23 Sept||African Regional Meeting for Francophone countries for the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness: Rwanda|
|21-23 Sept||African Dialogue on Climate Change Finance and Development Effectiveness: Nairobi, Kenya|
|23 Sept||Africa Investor CEO Climate Summit: Washington D.C., U.S.A|
|23-25 Sept||2011 Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the IMF: Washington D.C., U.S.A|
|25-27 Sept||G20 Labour Ministerial Meeting: Paris, France|
|25-29 Sept||World Water Congress: Porto de Galinhas, Brazil|
|26 Sept||Africa Investor CEO Institutional Investment Summit: New York, U.S.A.|
|28-30 Sept||3rd Africa Regional Meeting on Development Effectiveness: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia|