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Liberia's President Sirleaf: A true African hero

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf addressed a Joint Session of Congress on March 15th. This is only the second time in the last decade that an African Head of State has addressed Congress – the first being South Africa’s Nelson Mandela. She was superb. The combination of humility, resolve, courage, strength of purpose, and vision, along with great communication skills, made it one of the best speeches I have seen on any topic in a long time.

Millennium Villages: Useful contribution to development or publicity stunt?

Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute of Columbia University, spoke yesterday at CGD (video clip available) to describe his Millennium Villages Project. Sachs’s argument is generally that countries like India developed not by ineffectual, small amounts of foreign aid – as he argues the US delivers today – but by creating a Green Revolution. Communities learned to work together, and with fertilizers donated in part by the United States, they became able to feed themselves and eventually to begin developing.

The African Union dodges a bullet--sort of

The African Union has wisely avoided the embarrassment of having Sudan chair its current summit and head the organization for the next two years. This is not only because Sudan is one of the world’s worst regimes, but also because one of the most critical issues for the AU in 2006-07 will be halting genocide in Darfur and protecting civilians from militias backed by Khartoum.

Hero in Harare

One of the most eloquent, if still little-known, heroes in Zimbabwe is lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, interviewed here by South Africa’s Mail & Guardian. She has defended many of the leading independent journalists and editors against government repression, including our friend Andy Meldrum who was illegally expelled in May 2003.

A buyback to resolve Nigeria's debt problem

Debt relief and African poverty are firmly on this year’s global agenda, most recently from the Tony Blair-sponsored Africa Commission. But little attention is going to the big elephant in the room: Nigeria.

Even with its oil wealth, Nigeria’s debt burden is enormous given its huge population of 130 million and its extreme poverty—average income is just $330 per year. Increasingly vital to Western energy security, Nigeria is also a worrying source of transnational security threats, including Islamic radicalism, disease, drug trafficking, and international crime.

How to Travel Africa On the Cheap

U2 Front Man Bono and US Treasury Front Man Paul O’Neill may have had a few differences during their Africa tour, but they clearly agree that Africa needs increased market opportunities.

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