What We’re Reading 8/11/09

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Secretary Clinton in Africa

New York Times: Clinton Presses Congo on Minerals
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Monday to push the Congolese government and the United Nations to end the longstanding bloodshed in the country, taking special aim at the illicit mineral trade that helps fuel the conflict. Again on Monday, in both Angola and Congo, Secretary Clinton spoke of reformulating the United States-Africa relationship. Today she is traveling to Goma, at the heart of Congo’s conflict, where she plans to meet with several women who have been victims of rape.

AP: Oil is no Gift for Africa’s Poor
AP reports that corruption has long kept oil revenues from making life better for ordinary people in oil-rich African countries. In Nigeria and Angola, the failure of oil profits to reach the countries’ poor has resulted in growing anger, which swells the ranks of militant groups, creating instability that threatens the world’s fuel supply. Hillary Clinton’s visits to those countries underscore the increasing importance the U.S. attaches to African oil as it seeks to reduce its need for Mideast oil.

USA Today: Problems Plague State Dept’s Africa Bureau
The State Department’s Africa operations are beset with “leadership shortcomings” that “compound acute staffing problems,” according to a bluntly worded inspector general’s report released Monday in the midst of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s trip to Africa. Among other issues, the report found that President Obama’s focus on African political corruption has not yet penetrated the bureaucracy.

Other news

New York Times: 800,000 More Health Workers Needed in Africa to Meet Health Goals by 2015
A new study has concluded that to reach Millennium Development Goals on maternal and child health and reduction in AIDS deaths by 2015, Africa needs an additional 800,000 health care workers. The estimates are based on the World Health Organization’s recommendations. The authors recommend that policymakers improve productivity by using more community health workers, providing incentives to motivate and retain workers and increasing training capacity.

Reuters: India Says Developing World not Split on Climate Talks
Bilateral climate agreements are no solution to fighting global warming and could trigger unwelcome competitive pressures, India’s top climate change negotiator said on Tuesday. Both India and China have made agreements with the United States to discuss climate change. But some fear that with such talks Washington could be trying to drive a wedge between the positions of developing nations.

-Grace Lamb-Atkinson

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