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7 stories on Africa this week, other than Kony2012

Did you hear we halved poverty while we were all distracted by Invisible Children, asks guest blogger Jina Moore.

By Jina MooreGuest blogger / March 10, 2012



•  A version of this post appeared on the blog jinamoore.com. The views expressed are the author's own.

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Did you hear we halved poverty while we were all distracted by Invisible Children? The Internet is on fire debating Invisible Children and the Kony2012 campaign targeting Ugandan Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army.  Rarely does news from Africa so consume the chattering classes – who, as it turns out, are missing some real news. In no particular order, here are some stories from Africa this week:

1. On International Women's Day, Kenya's sex workers offer to pay income tax -- to make the point that sex work is as valid as any other work, and to force the government to recognize the practice as a labor. (Kenya, meanwhile, fired 25,000 striking nurses, arguing that nurse strikes endanger patients lives. Twenty-five thousand missing nurses, however, is apparently totally safe.)

2. The UN claims to have met the clean water Millennium Development Goal, and scientists rebut.  The World Bank says the world met the Millennium Development poverty goal.

The maternal mortality MDG, however, looked pretty awful from Gobah, Liberia.  Yesterday, I visited a clinic there – in the same county as the capital, Monrovia – that doesn't have a microscope, malaria meds for kids 5-10, or water.  That's right, water.  Read about it over on the project page for our Pulitzer Center collaborative project on reproductive health in Africa.

3. The International Peace Institute calls our attention to actually underreported topics, namely, security in West Africa.  In addition to the notorious drug smuggling, IPI draws attention to the scary combination of terrorism, drugs, crime and insurgency in the Sahel region (especially in Mali, it notes, citing a recent UN assessment) and to piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. (That's right.  Pirates advance on great white saviors.  Pirates, checkmate.)

Bonus points for IPI, which tell us what we can do, rather than wring our hands and feel guilty, or not guilty, or guilty about not feeling guilty, or questionable making others feel guilty about the guilt others try to put on them... er... work it out according to whatever made you angriest on the Internet.

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