The New Global Community
If you are following the international news today you can see how much the world has changed just this year with the surge of the Islamic State, the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, and the continuing conflicts in Syria, and Libya.
We are living in extraordinary times as world challenges are increasingly more daunting, but equally so are the enormous opportunities to make a positive difference, and further expand positive US relations at a time when a segment of the world views our superpower status as a negative, or a clash of civilizations -- contrary to their socio-political perceptions or extremism. Unfortunately in the last few years some of these issues have manifested themselves into horrible acts of terrorism.
If we look at the three themes from the historic US-Africa Summit this summer, I believe you will see why the Africa Region is vital to the U.S. now and over the coming years
-- Peace and Regional Stability; and,
-- Governing for the Next Generation
These stats will move Africa from the second most populated region in the world to the largest. However, most will remain below the poverty level if current development doesn’t triple since the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) will not be met by most countries next year.
- New Allies,
- Partners on political and economic policy, culturally; and especially in,
- International arenas such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization, Organization of Islamic States, African Union, G-77, Arab League, etc.;
- Africa is the now the new frontier for these policies, business, emerging markets opportunities, and counter terrorism partnerships.
- Economic disparity and population breakdowns by age and gender to;
- World resource locations (where is the oil, where are the minerals, jobs, lack of jobs, land and water resources etc.); and,
- Religious differences or groups that might impact world views, encourage conflicts, affect perceptions of an action or statement, particularly by the U.S. Government.
So what are the next steps? How do we address the elements highlighted above, build on the US-Africa Summit that I mentioned, add new elements, particularly the role of the African Diaspora (1.6 million, U.S. Census 2014 figure for African-born immigrants), in helping to ensure we have a positive relationship with the Continent, particularly since half of the region’s large population will be under the age of 30 – prime education; prime wage-earning years; prime years to be influenced as partners.
Keep in mind my introductory comments as to the current challenges the U.S. has today with some in this age group in certain parts of the world (and even lately within the United States with the young girls from Colorado, and others from Alabama, Minnesota, North Carolina, United Kingdom and other places being attracted to join groups like the Islamic State, Somalia’s Al Shabaab, or terrorists groups such as AQIM or AQAP).
-- 75 million – current number of young Africans looking for work now, out of the 1.2 billion working age population world-wide looking for work;
-- 9-10 - number of countries FEEEDS Initiative counts with terrorism challenges.
So what can the U.S. do to help further build this relationship, this partnership that I am talking about so we have friends that we know, and that know us, in this large population, including expanding our part in their emerging market growth, and assisting those in the Sahel Region in the counter terrorism fight?
So What Can the US Do?
I believe we can help on:
- Think about the strategic long term with these emerging African nations, its leaders, and its people.
I do believe that there are global human values that most people hold dear: they want to be able to feed, clothes and house their families; live with dignity and respect for human rights; have access to affordable health care, and education for their children; earn a living wage through job creation or through entrepreneurial expression; provide a voice for the voiceless; encourage free press and good governance within recognized legal and transparent regulatory frameworks; and, a have reduction/elimination in corruption.