Posts tagged ‘Sierra Leone’

08/01/2011

African Development: Go To Cape Verde

African development requires at a minimum the elimination of hunger, improved health care, and greater education, but to reach these goals, smaller preliminary steps must first be taken, and instead of tackling all of Africa at the same time, a concentrated effort should begin in the island-nation of Cape Verde.

Why begin in Cape Verde? It has a population of only 491,575, and a unique geographical location, 350 miles from the West African Coast. It has year-round temperatures between 77 F and 84 F, dry air for nine months (Nov.-July), beautiful beaches, and an abundance of seafood for fishing expeditions. The islands could and should be promoted as a tourist destination, which would in turn provide jobs and money to achieve other goals. Once conditions are elevated throughout the island-nation, it can then become a base for improving life in the other African states.

Currently, Cape Verde has three international airports that provide daily flights to Europe, but additional air traffic from the U.S. and Brazil could transform the island-state into a continental stepping stone, like Hong Kong is for China, or London is for Europe.

While the local use of the Creole/Portuguese language is a match for tourists from Portuguese-speaking Brazil, Cape Verde needs English teachers to help them with travelers from the U.S.

But the area of development that would benefit the country more than anything else is drinking water. The problem now is usable water is in short supply, since there is no rain for nine months straight, and water wells cannot be dug, because the country is volcanic. Desalinization plants and drip irrigation methods are currently in use, but much more water is needed.

Cape Verde needs to make regional arrangements with nearby Guinea and Sierra Leone, two of the wettest places on earth, to pump rain water through pipelines, along the ocean floor. Usable water is needed to develop livestock, like cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry. Although Cape Verde currently grows bananas, corn, beans, potatoes, sugarcane, peanuts, and coffee, more water would allow for a much stronger agricultural sector.

Once Cape Verde was fully-irrigated and green year round, foreign traffic would increase several times over. The arrival of tourists would trigger side trips to the nearby continental African countries, and economic development would spread.

Development has to start somewhere. Let’s start in Cape Verde. Upon making it a success, the neighboring states will follow.

07/26/2011

Somalia Should Pipe West African Water

A drought responsible for the lowest amount of rain in 50 years has caused a return of famine in the Horn of Africa, in Southern Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. There was a similar episode 20 years ago, and a solution is needed for this recurrent problem.

While there is an immediate need for relief, work must also begin now on pipelines to redistribute the overabundance of water in West Africa to the dry regions of Northeast Africa. Four of the top 15 wettest nations on earth are in West Africa, including: Guinea, which ranks #1, Sierra Leone #3, Gabon #4, and Nigeria #15.

Guinea has a 200-mile Atlantic coast (9 N) and a rainy season from May through Dec. Sierra Leone (8 N), bordering Guinea, also has a swampy 210-mile Atlantic shore, which receives 195 inches of rain each year (April-Dec.) These poor states could benefit greatly from the sale of rain water to the dry regions. Gabon, in the elbow of West Africa (0 N), and also on the Atlantic, has Sep. through May rains. Nigeria, located on the West African south coast, has rain from April through Oct.

Gabon and Nigeria, both rich from oil revenues, have money to finance water pipelines, and experience from pumping oil. They could join with the Economic Community of West African States (ECWAS) to finance two water pipelines, one along a northern route, from the Atlantic at Guinea and Sierra Leone, due east through Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and into Somalia. A southern equatorial pipeline could start in Gabon and go east through the Congo, DRC, Uganda, Kenya, and also into Somalia.

Pipelines would bring a more permanent solution to the recurrent problem. The last time Somalia needed aid, Operation Somalia was authorized in 1992, but relief could not be delivered due to fighting in Mogadishu. President George H. W. Bush decided to prevent mass starvation by authorizing a U.S. Marine airlift. When President Clinton took office in 1993, he increased the size of the mission, under Operation Somalia II. When the U.S. started seizing weapons, however, they were accused of neo-colonialism, causing a Mogadishu mob to down two U.S. helicopters and murder U.S. soldiers, bringing the relief mission to an end.

The drought stricken area should not have to rely on airlifts for relief. Pipelines can and should be built. It’s just a matter of leadership, intergovernmental cooperation, and willpower.