Africare News Release
Africare President Julius E. Coles speaks on sustainable development in Africa at the third Campus of Excellence, held this year in Spain.
Africare President Speaks on Development and Sustainability at “Campus of Excellence” in Spain
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 18, 2007 -- At a crossroads between Europe and Africa, the city of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands of Spain served as a meeting ground for some of the leading minds of today and tomorrow to tackle tough issues facing the African continent. From July 8 to July 13, the third Campus of Excellence -- a ground-breaking initiative -- united postgraduates from universities and business schools around the globe with international leaders in a discussion of ideas and proposals to address the current political, economic, social, environmental and scientific challenges facing Africa. Africare President Julius E. Coles joined this year’s conference, entitled “Africa – Giving Future to the Present,” as a featured speaker and expert on the issue of Development and Sustainability.
“The growth of democracy in Africa is one of the best signs that real changes have taken place on the African continent,” noted Coles in a presentation entitled, “Africa in the New Millennium-- Does It Belong to Africans?”
In his presentation, Coles covered Africa’s development trends over the past 40 years, ranging from shifts in governance to changing population-and-growth trends -- some for the better, others still “works in progress.”
Today, more than two-thirds of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa have held successful multi-party elections. At the same time, the African population (just under 800 million now) is expected to grow to over 2 billion by 2050, despite the fact that 20 percent of children under the age of five die each year.
Civil conflict remains a reality on the continent. It is currently estimated that, in Africa, there are more than 13 million people displaced within their own countries and some 2.2 million refugees to neighboring countries. HIV/AIDS creates a deadly duo: Africa is home to 21 of the countries worldwide considered to have highest HIV prevalence. The pandemic not only changes lives but also impacts development, as more African leaders and teachers and technicians die each week than can be trained to replace them.
“Nothing has been a greater challenge to peace and stability in African societies than the AIDS pandemic,” noted Coles.
Turning to the future and addressing the problems Africa will continue to face despite significant developments of the past, Coles pointed out that the continent is heavily dependent on industrialized countries and emerging markets for financial resources and the exportation of its products and resources.
“Even with the majority of African countries having their independence, the economies of the African countries are still very much linked to the economies of the industrialized world,” noted Coles.
The solution lies in new initiatives, such as those developed by the African Union to take charge of the development process, as well as Africa’s influence on the world economy and markets. In the meanwhile, Coles emphasizes that one thing is certain: “The African countries will need to receive large amounts of external financial assistance and trade to be successful.” Africare remains able and willing to assist in that capacity.
For more information on Campus of Excellence 2007, visit www.campusdeexcelencia.org.
— By Sara Blackwell, Staff