I was going to make this post a Second Quarter review but I have something more important to discuss. Last week, for the first time in history, a President of the United States has made pledges that will change not only the face of Africa, but also its future.
President Barack Obama, while visiting Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, pledged $7 billion to help fight power blackouts and double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. Funds from Power Africa will be distributed over the next five years in an effort to lift people out of poverty in Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique. This also opens the door to develop “green energy” like wind, geothermal, hydro and solar power.
This is America’s vision: a partnership with Africa for growth, and the potential for every citizen, not just a few at the top.
Additionally, Obama is promoting untapped agricultural and mineral resources, reminding governments to looks west instead of east. A partnership between the U.S. and African nations, called Trade Africa, aims to double intra-regional trade in East African Community (EAC) countries and boost exports to the U.S. by 40%.
I’m making this trip early in my second term, because I intend for this to be the beginning of a new level of economic engagement with Africa. If people across this continent are just given a chance, if they’re just empowered with the skills and the resources and the capital … they can achieve extraordinary progress.
The Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders was also launched so young Africans can attend U.S. universities. Grants, job opportunities and internships will be offered when they return home, allowing the graduates to use their newfound expertise to create companies, not-for-profits, and, ultimately, jobs. But most importantly, President Obama urged youth to fulfill Nelson Mandela’s legacy.
Just like previous generations, you’ve got choices to make. You get to decide where the future lies. … You’ve got time and numbers on your side, and you’ll be making decisions long after politicians like me have left the scene. And I can promise you this: The world will be watching what decisions you make.
And finally, $4.2 billion was pledged to PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, started by George W. Bush and continued by President Obama. This U.S.-funded program to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS increases the number of people receiving life-saving anti-retroviral drugs and prevents mother-to-child transmission of the virus. South Africa has been praised for their leadership in tackling this disease.
This is huge. Never before has a world leader committed his country to a partnership for success in this manner. This isn’t a hand out, it’s a hand UP. Some critics say it’s not enough but I think it’s a start toward a brighter future. I truly hope they’ll be able to put it all into action because it will effect monumental change in a continent that has experienced corruption, poverty, tragedy, indecency and oppression for far too long.
Who’s Honouring Me Now?
(An hommage to Stephen Colbert.)
What a pleasant surprise it was to come home from a weekend away and find that I had been chosen for the KAS July Square Heart Award. Not only that, but my Jigsaw square pattern was also chosen for the July pattern of the month. Talk about domination! And then I saw a photo of an adorable little boy who was looking at a book someone had made with the alphabet flashcards I had created. I feel so appreciated and thankful that my efforts are being recognized. It’s always been about the children for me and I’m happy to be able to help. Knit-a-square has taught me so much about giving and changing the world. I would honestly be lost without it.
THE SQUARES – WEEK 26
I’m tackling the new colours of wool this week, beautiful dark and light blue-greens. Square three is the featured Jigsaw pattern.
Square Count: 182