What We’re Reading 8/3/09

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New York Times: Just When Africa’s Luck was Changing
The New York Times writes that when the credit crisis erupted in September, many experts thought that Africa would be spared the financial turmoil, because African banks had almost none of their assets tied up in the global subprime market. But it has recently become clear that Africa is being hit hard. The Times notes that private investors were just starting to take notice of the economically poor but resource-rich continent when the global financial crisis hit, but now much of that interest has dried up.

Agence France-Presse: Clinton Seeks New US Commitment to Africa
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads this week on a tour of Africa aiming to prove US commitment to the continent after the administration’s early focus elsewhere. The trip will highlight issues close to Clinton’s heart, particularly women’s rights, as she plans to visit rape survivors and women entrepreneurs. On Wednesday she will kick off her visit in Nairobi, where she will emphasize the G8 20 billion-dollar fund to boost agriculture.

The East African: ARV Shortage Sets in as AIDS Funding Falls
In Africa, unanticipated shortfalls in funding for AIDS treatment have forced some health-service providers to stop enrolling new patients on life-prolonging ARV drugs, while others are signing up only those “critically ill” rather than all who qualify for the therapy. While patients are now sharing the available drugs to a certain degree of sustainability, there is an increased risk of people dying from the disease because they cannot access drugs at all, or do so too late.

Washington Post: Little Keeps Nigeria from a Crisis of Hunger
The Washington Post reports that Nigeria cannot feed its 140 million people, and relatively minor reductions in rainfall could set off a regional food catastrophe. About 38 percent of Nigerians younger than 5 suffer from moderate or severe malnutrition, according to UNICEF, and 65 percent are “food insecure.” Aid organizations say that they are now better prepared for food shortages in other area countries, but that Nigeria itself remains problematic because its economy is so large and complex. The government is currently not prepared to help its citizens in the event of a food crisis.

AP: Nigerian Death Toll Rises to 700
The fighting in northern Nigeria last week between the sect Boko Haram and the police killed more than 700 people, the AP reports. Sources inside the country now say that more than 50 Muslim leaders were ignored when they repeatedly called local authorities and state security to urge them to take action against the violent sect in the weeks preceding attacks. International concern is growing over the ability of Al Qaeda affiliates to cross the porous desert borders of countries like Niger into Nigeria.

-Grace Lamb-Atkinson

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