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The Africa Society was pleased to participate in the official Civil Society Pillar of the African Leaders Summit at the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, August 4,  2014.  Bernadette B. Paolo, President and CEO of The Africa Society, served as a moderator for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Breakout Session from 8:30 am to 10:00 am. Continue reading

The “Africa Forum” organized by the FEEEDS Advocacy Initiative, Gallup, The Africa Society, AllAfrica and Operation HOPE, which was held July 10, 2014 for 250 invitees, is being called a “substantive success.” It was the first in a series of activities leading up to the August 5-6, 2014 US-Africa Heads of State Summit.

Related Links

White Paper on ‘Africa Forum’ Pre-Summit Dialogue Released

FEEEDS-Gallup-Africa Society DC “Africa Forum” Kicks off Issues for the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit

Africa Society President Paolo moderates Governance Panel

(Left to right) Dr. Sulayman Nyang, Chair, African Studies Department, Howard University; The Africa Society CEO Bernadette Paolo; Dr. Raymond Gilpin, Dean, Africa Center for Strategic Studies; H.E. Cheikh Niang, Ambassador from the Republic of Senegal

 

Africa Trade Panel AfricaForum @Gallup

FEEEDS CEO Ambassador Robin Sanders (center) moderating ‘Africa Forum’ session on trade with Botswana Ambassador Tebelelo Mazile Seretse (left) and Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa, Florie Liser

On Wednesday, February 26, 2014, The Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa, in partnership with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, hosted Honorable Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, as keynote speaker for the first 2014 Ambassador Andrew Young Lecture Series. The program took place on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In her lecture, Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield discussed the Obama Administration’s priorities with respect to U.S. policy vis-à-vis the continent of Africa.

Honorable Linda Thomas-Greenfield and H.E Adefuye

Honorable Linda Thomas-Greenfield and H.E Adefuye

 

Left to Right: Ms. Bernadette Paolo, Esq., Mr. Noah Samara, Esq., Honorable Linda Thomas-Greenfield,  H.E Adefuye and Mr. Mamadou Beye.

Left to Right: Ms. Bernadette Paolo, Esq., Mr. Noah Samara, Esq., Honorable Linda Thomas-Greenfield, H.E Adefuye and Mr. Mamadou Beye.

 

Left to Right: Africa Diplomat Corps; H.E Oguin, H.E Diabate. H.E Soborun and H.E Mombuli

Left to Right: Africa Diplomat Corps; H.E Oguin, H.E Diabate. H.E Soborun and H.E Mombuli

Along with the World Affairs Council-Washington, D.C., in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, The Africa Society hosted 200 Washington area high school students for our flagship program, Teach Africa. The program was held on Thursday, May 15, 2014 at the Department of State in the Loy Henderson Auditorium.

For more on Teach Africa visit our website.

 

In commemoration of World Aids Day 2012 on December 1st, the US has unveiled the new US blueprint for an AIDS free generation. The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Bluepint: Creating an AIDS free generation, provides a roadmap for how the U.S. Government will work to help achieve a generation free of AIDS. The disease has plagued many African countries for decades and while some progress has been made in reducing the rate of infection of HIV virus and in managing the disease, there is still a long way to go. This, therefore, is good news for Africa and the rest of the world. The blueprint gives practical steps to achieve the set goal. As U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "Make no mistake about it, HIV may well be with us into the future but the disease that it causes need not be". As it stands today, only about 8 million HIV patients in developing countries are getting treatment. The United Nations aims to have 15 million treated by 2015. 

 

Africa has made positive strides in this area, with South Africa being commended during the speech for its efficiency in distributing antiretroviral drugs over the last four years. Just last week, UNAIDS announced that, over the past decade, the  rate of new HIV infections has dropped by more than half in 25 low-and-middle-income countries, most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Zimbabwe registered a 50 percent reduction; Namibia, a 68 percent reduction; and Malawi, a 73 percent reduction in the rate of new infections.

 

The beginning of the end of an AIDS ridden generation seems to be here. A lot of effort still needs to be invested into the project but the goal is achievable. Soon all the horrors of AIDS will be forgotten and the world we are all looking forward to, for ourselves and the future generation. 

 

References: 

 

 http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/2012/11/29/world-bank-group-president-praises-new-us-blueprint-aids-free-generation?cid=EXT_TWBN_D_EXT

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/11/201116.htm

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-11-29/clinton-releases-road-map-for-aids-free-generation

Black November

Starring – Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger, Anne Heche, Fred Amata, Wyclef Jean, Akon, Enyinna Nwigwe, Sarah Wayne Callies, Dede Mabiaku, Persia White, Vivica A Fox , Mbong Amata

 

 E-tourism, or the ability to book hotel, flight and other travel reservations online, accounts for about 56 percent of global travel today. Yet as late as 2005, e-tourism accounted for less than “2 percent of tourism revenues in Africa.” However, the disparity seems to be narrowing due to South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup when online booking jumped to 5 percent. Now, continued growth is expected and projections predict that the percentage of bookings made online throughout Africa will reach “15-20 percent by 2015.” Although there remain challenges to overcome before more of Africa’s hotels, parks and resorts are available for reservation online such as “high cost of bandwidth, the lack of integrated, real-time reservation systems and local online payment gateways.”


However, the challenges to online business on the continent have not hampered interest by major online travel agencies. As interest in tourism to Africa increases and the internet becomes more accessible on the continent, these companies see a major opportunity to expand their markets. In fact, the popular travel site Expedia has even gone so far to open a new office whose sole purpose is to focus on African travel. Many businesses which offer travel accommodation on the continent are jumping through hoops to offer online booking as “international travelers have credit cards and increasingly expect to be able to book online.” A survey also found that nearly “50% of Americans read an online review before booking internationally” giving those who have an online presence a major advantage.


The major obstacles for African businesses who wish to get involved with e-tourism are primarily related to the lack of online tools and experience necessary to become involved with the online markets. Expensive bandwidth costs and slow connection speeds can hamper the availability of e-tourism as online travel agencies require “a reservation system that offers real-time availability.” Successful e-commerce also requires marketing tools and expertise, which now requires more and more presence on social media sites. These problems are being overcome by increasing the awareness of e-tourism’s profitability, availability of “real-time software reservations system[s]” and training for online marketing strategies. One company, e-Tourism Frontiers, has capitalized on the disparity between the desire to become involved with e-tourism and the lack of availability and experience required to do so on the continent. They set up conferences in different regions between online travel agencies and all types of accommodation, from major hotel chains to small backpackers, in order to bring the two together.


As the internet becomes more accessible throughout Africa and bandwidth costs decrease, Africa’s travel accommodation is becoming increasingly accessible online. The evolution towards e-tourism has been the fastest in South Africa, mostly due to the race to prepare for the World Cup, but is expected to spread across the continent. Even in Africa’s remote travel destinations e-tourism has begun to take root. For example, one game reserve in Uganda has already created Facebook pages for their Gorillas which include a link to online booking for interested travelers. The potential for increased tourism through online booking is an accessible and exciting prospect for Africa’s growing economies.

 

Reference: Southwood, Russell. "E-Tourism in the Continent Starts Spreading Post World Cup." Balancing Act. AllAfrica.com, 3 June 2011. <http://allafrica.com/stories/printable/201106060402.html>.


Additional Information

An article from Business Daily titled “Battle for clients goes hi-tech as airlines turn to smartphones”: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/-/539444/1177236/-/122hfe6z/-/

A video from the ‘E-Tourism Africa Summit 2009’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET1w4l-g5KQ


Discussion Questions

1.       Do you believe markets must be online in order to be competitive? Which markets in particular?

2.       Do you think aid aimed at increasing internet access wasteful or necessary to develop economies? Where is internet access on the priority list?

3.       What other benefits, besides increased tourism, can a community or a household gain from internet access in developing countries? 

 Positive Predictions for E-tourism’s Growth in Africa

 

E-tourism, or the ability to book hotel, flight and other travel reservations online, accounts for about 56 percent of global travel today. Yet as late as 2005, e-tourism accounted for less than “2 percent of tourism revenues in Africa.” However, the disparity seems to be narrowing due to South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup when online booking jumped to 5 percent. Now, continued growth is expected and projections predict that the percentage of bookings made online throughout Africa will reach “15-20 percent by 2015.” Although there remain challenges to overcome before more of Africa’s hotels, parks and resorts are available for reservation online such as “high cost of bandwidth, the lack of integrated, real-time reservation systems and local online payment gateways.”

 

However, the challenges to online business on the continent have not hampered interest by major online travel agencies. As interest in tourism to Africa increases and the internet becomes more accessible on the continent, these companies see a major opportunity to expand their markets. In fact, the popular travel site Expedia has even gone so far to open a new office whose sole purpose is to focus on African travel. Many businesses which offer travel accommodation on the continent are jumping through hoops to offer online booking as “international travelers have credit cards and increasingly expect to be able to book online.” A survey also found that nearly “50% of Americans read an online review before booking internationally” giving those who have an online presence a major advantage.

 

The major obstacles for African businesses who wish to get involved with e-tourism are primarily related to the lack of online tools and experience necessary to become involved with the online markets. Expensive bandwidth costs and slow connection speeds can hamper the availability of e-tourism as online travel agencies require “a reservation system that offers real-time availability.” Successful e-commerce also requires marketing tools and expertise, which now requires more and more presence on social media sites. These problems are being overcome by increasing the awareness of e-tourism’s profitability, availability of “real-time software reservations system[s]” and training for online marketing strategies. One company, e-Tourism Frontiers, has capitalized on the disparity between the desire to become involved with e-tourism and the lack of availability and experience required to do so on the continent. They set up conferences in different regions between online travel agencies and all types of accommodation, from major hotel chains to small backpackers, in order to bring the two together.

 

As the internet becomes more accessible throughout Africa and bandwidth costs decrease, Africa’s travel accommodation is becoming increasingly accessible online. The evolution towards e-tourism has been the fastest in South Africa, mostly due to the race to prepare for the World Cup, but is expected to spread across the continent. Even in Africa’s remote travel destinations e-tourism has begun to take root. For example, one game reserve in Uganda has already created Facebook pages for their Gorillas which include a link to online booking for interested travelers. The potential for increased tourism through online booking is an accessible and exciting prospect for Africa’s growing economies.

 

Reference: Southwood, Russell. "E-Tourism in the Continent Starts Spreading Post World Cup." Balancing Act. AllAfrica.com, 3 June 2011. <http://allafrica.com/stories/printable/201106060402.html>.

 

 

Additional Information

An article from Business Daily titled “Battle for clients goes hi-tech as airlines turn to smartphones”: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/-/539444/1177236/-/122hfe6z/-/

A video from the ‘E-Tourism Africa Summit 2009’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET1w4l-g5KQ

 

 

Discussion Questions

1.       Do you believe markets must be online in order to be competitive? Which markets in particular?

2.       Do you think aid aimed at increasing internet access wasteful or necessary to develop economies? Where is internet access on the priority list?

3.       What other benefits, besides increased tourism, can a community or a household gain from internet access in developing countries? 

Malaria Prevention Efforts Find Success in Zanzibar

The widespread destabilizing effects of malaria have become a thing of the past on the island of Zanzibar of the coast of East Africa. However, this was not always the case, but has been achieved through determined efforts by the government and the international community. The results are staggering. In 2002, just before Zanzibar’s strong initiative to prevent the disease took root, one small clinic in Matemwe village of the Unguja region was treating about 3,063 cases a year. From 2006 to 2010, only 31 cases were reported, an incredible feat in just a few years. What’s even more incredible is that Zanzibar’s efforts utilized solutions that are well known, commonly utilized, and can be made available across the world, including “insecticide- treated bed nets, widespread home spraying, rapid diagnostic kits, lifesaving drugs and public education.”

 

Zanzibar’s success in malaria prevention can be attributed to careful planning, sufficient funding and a sustained commitment. Reduction in malaria infections gained significant gains in 2004 after healthcare officials recognized the disease’s resistance on the island to chloroquine, one of the most commonly used malaria treatment drugs, and halted its distribution switching to the more effective ACTs. This was followed by a comprehensive initiative derived and closely modeled after the World Health Organization’s, “Roll Back Malaria.” In 2005 alone, “about 200,000 homes in Zanzibar were sprayed in three waves, and over 230,000 nets were given out.” Clinics were also given a major boost to detect the disease with the distribution of over 100,000 diagnostic kits. In addition to the WHO’s outline for combating the disease, Zanzibar has established a “Malaria Early Epidemic Detection System,” which “monitor[s] new cases at 52 of Zanzibar’s 150 health facilities.” This system operates by clinics sending text messages to a central server with information on the number of patients tested and diagnosed with malaria. The data is then analyzed, out of ordinary increases are reported, and the relevant areas are then checked and monitored for mosquito breeding grounds. Zanzibar’s success has shown that with proper planning, swift implementation and enough funding malaria rates can be reduced dramatically in a short period of time.

 

Although efforts have been successful in reducing the prevalence of malaria from about 35 percent in 2008 to just below 1 percent today, many are concerned that this accomplishment could be overturned.  The greatest challenges reside in “disease monitoring, behavior change and funding.” Disease monitoring is important when the rate of malarial infection decreases and populations lose a natural immune resistance to the disease. However, difficulties in monitoring often stem from technical errors which hamper data collection. As populations perceive a lower risk from malaria, attention to behavior change becomes increasingly important. Individuals may not recognize the continued importance of using bed nets, keeping the environment clean or getting tested for the disease. Some officials are concerned that funding from initiatives meant to ramp up efforts to reach Millennium Development Goals by 2015 may drop after that year or sooner due to the program’s success. As Abdullah Suleiman, Manager of Zanzibar’s Malaria Control Programme reminds, “prevalence was reduced to 1-2 percent in the 1970s, and then people relaxed” illustrating the need to remain vigilant in combating the disease.

 

Reference: Tambwe, Anthony. "Zanzibar Moves to Mobile Phones in Tackling, Eliminating Malaria."AllAfrica.com. Tanzania Daily News, 28 May 2011. <http://allafrica.com/stories/201105311233.html>.

 

Additional Information

The President’s Malaria Initiative’s website on Zanzibar: http://www.fightingmalaria.gov/countries/profiles/zanzibar.html

An article from the BBC titled “Zanzibar’s battle with malaria”: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4942362.stm

An article from the Washington Post titled “Zanzibar’s Example In Fighting Malaria”: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/02/18/ST2008021802418.html

A 2008 report from ‘Africa Fighting Malaria’ on “Keeping Malaria Out of Zanzibar” http://www.fightingmalaria.org/pdfs/AFM_Zanzibar_March08.pdf

 

Discussion Questions

1.       Can other countries learn from Zanzibar’s malaria prevention efforts or are the characteristics that allowed for success unique to the island?

2.       Do you think malaria can be prevented in all areas of the earth? What are the major reasons that have circumvented this goal thus far? What are reasonable changes that can make malaria prevention more successful?

3.       What is the best way to ensure continued prevention, detection and treatment of malaria in a region that has been able to control the disease?

4.       What is the best way to distribute with malaria funding? Should regions which have been able to control the disease be given less money or should those fund be used in areas which have not yet been able to accomplish this?