Thursday, July 9, 2009

Good news from the Lost Continent...

I'm fairly certain the phrase "the Lost Continent" was coined based on some other landmass, but I feel it is particularly apt concerning Africa. It is one of the most populous places on the planet, but you never hear much of it, at least in the U.S., unless some one has started another genocide. Even I tend to skip right over it on the map in my head. But then again, why would people concentrate on a place where the only news the outside world gets is that of misery and suffering? 

Of the various stories I've collected over the past few weeks, three come from Africa. In fact, the first I've been holding onto for a bit, in the hopes I would find a couple more to do a post on this theme. It was hosted on Google News on June 29. The Brookings Institute and the World Bank released a report that stated several African nations have made great improvements on the governance of their people. The report notes that Botswana is on-par with other, more developed Western nations and points to the progress made by Liberia, Angola, Uganda, Congo and Ethiopia. 

Liberia has now had nearly four years of peace after being yet another of those "war-torn African countries." The nation has the continent's only democratically elected woman leader and is making a real effort to rebuild its infrastructure after the lengthy civil war. VIN International has a story on the fledgling Veterinarians Without Borders, which is sending two veterinarians to Liberia to hold a free clinic for large and small animals and assess the country's animal care needs on the request of the country's vice president. Liberian VP Joseph Boakai points out there are no known educated veterinarians operating in a country of three million people. 

On its website UNICEF announced that a rebel group in the Central African Republic (CAR) has now released nearly 200 child soldiers from its ranks in accordance with a peace agreement signed last year. The group has sent home 166 boys and 16 girls, and UNICEF said nearly all have been reunited with their families. The children are being given clothes, hygiene products and other supplies and will have access to education, training and counseling in their villages. This announcement comes on the heels of 84 child soldiers released by a group in Chad back in June. 

(Photo courtesy of Flickr)

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