Africa is largely ignored

Those readers who are not African may not know that Africa is almost completely ignored by western media. It's a huge continent with vast numbers of people and oceans of need.

One reason for the ignoring is that few of the commodities the west consumes come from here. (Oil? Mostly the warring Middle East. Manufacturing? China and now Viet Nam.) Oil is being explored in southern Sudan - thus some of the reason for their conflicts. Nigeria has lots of oil too, but unfortunately very little of those earnings make it to the average Nigerian.

Historically, Africa has been the recipient of western aid. Some of that paradigm is changing. Kenya sends many nurses and many other professionals to the States now. They can get much better pay there for doing the same job. And just like immigrants from Mexico and Central America, much of those earnings end up back in Kenya - helping their families, and the economy here.

On May 1st, Kenya’s president announced that the national minimum wage was increased to about $77 per month. That is staggeringly low to a North American. That brings up the issue is world equality... if the lower strata of society and the world were paid enough to have a basic minimum standard of living, the whole world economy would get messed up. (Would you be willing to pay four times what you paid for the Sony TV you just bought?) Maybe that wouldn't be a bad thing. But it would take a lot of adjusting on the part of everyone!

Lest I be so Africa-centric, I do realize that most of the rest of the world beyond the borders of the US is largely ignored by the world's biggest superpower.

Some of you readers out there are thinking, "Paul, please stick to the trivial observations of life in Kenya." Every once in a while, I feel the urge to dig a little deeper.


3rdfloor20 said…
Living away from the States sure develops your perception of what is going on in the rest of the world.
Nairobi Paul said…
Very true!

I think it's necessary to live outside the States to really understand the States.
The Lone Beader said…
I agree with you, Paul. Over here, we don't hear much of what's going on in Africa. I am interested in hearing about it from someone who lives there.

And, although I've never lived outside the USA, I would agree with the first comment. USA media tends to get all caught up in trivial issues that only pertain to them, or the lastest American Idol, which is saddening.
Shadowspun said…
My first ten years of life were pretty much spent in Germany (Munich and Baumholder). Coming to the United States was a major culture shock, especially since I moved to a rather parochial small city.

I still cherish the fact that I was taught diversity and to appreciate other cultures before I moved to a place in the US that doesn't seem to share those same outlooks on life. Now, if we could just get that across to the rest of the US.

Just an aside, it's interesting how we each referred to the US: the States, the USA and the US. So many names for one country and they weren't all used. I just found that interesting. I'm a Gemini and totally insane. Don't mind me.
Peter Matthes said…
I must say I don't know too much about the overall situation in Africa. However, Uganda and the Kibera slum in Kenya seem like two problems that need to be addressed without delay.

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