Preventing Exploitation of Migrants in the Horn of Africa

They couldn’t have been older than 16. Traveling on foot along a barren, dusty road toward Djibouti’s coastal city of Obock, the small group of Ethiopian boys were probably the farthest from home they had ever been. Clutching yellow jugs for water and flimsy plastic bags filled with dry meal as food, they braved exhaustion and Djibouti’s deadly summer heat, most likely hoping to make enough money in the Gulf countries or beyond to secure a more prosperous life for themselves and their families.

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Just last month, President Obama hosted a spectacular and historic summit in Washington of more than 40 heads of state from Sub-Saharan Africa. Never before had there been such an ambitious American outreach to this enormous continent, a fact all the more remarkable because it is home to more than 1 billion people­­­ — people who also happen to be current or potential consumers and partners for American businesses. When asked – as political and economic observers do of all international summits — whether the event made any difference, my answer is a resounding “yes.”

Read more about the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit on DipNote.

Educating yourself about #Ebola is one way to help stop the virus from spreading. 

Watch President Obama’s message on the Ebola virus and visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information.

On the Frontlines of the Ebola Response: An Inside Look at a Program to Help the Grieving

In Liberia, a country gripped by Ebola, the outbreak has not only taken its toll on health care workers but also on the professionals who comfort the grieving.

“The outbreak of Ebola was very shocking and overwhelming to our country,” said Jestina Hoff, a counselor with the Liberian Red Cross.  “It brought a lot fear.”

The outbreak has also hampered Hoff’s ability to do her job.”  As a counselor, I talk to parents who lost a child or to someone who has gotten sick with the virus,” said Hoff.  “They are feeling so discouraged, and I have to help them accept the situation and comfort them, but without touching them.”

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Six Things To Know About U.S.-Somalia Relations

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  1. Landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) are scattered throughout Somalia as a result of years of civil war and internal conflicts.
  2. Al-Shabaab’s access to poorly secured weapons stockpiles aggravates violence, fuels crime, and poses a threat to security in Somalia and throughout the Horn of Africa.
  3. The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is working with the Somali National Army to successfully curb the control and influence of al-Shabaab.
  4. The international community, with the strong leadership of the United States, has made great strides in countering piracy off the Horn of Africa, and pirate attacks off the coast Somalia are at the lowest levels since 2006.
  5. The U.S. is committed to supporting Somalia, providing over $1.5 billion in assistance since 2009 and over $300 million in FY2013 alone.
  6. In January 2013, the United States recognized the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS).

Read more about the U.S.-Somalia relationship on DipNote!

Five Things You Need To Know About South Sudan

 
1.     South Sudan celebrated its third year of independence on July 9, 2014.

The Republic of South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in July 2011 following a 2005 peace agreement that ended Africa’s longest-running civil war.  South Sudan, the world’s 195th country and the 193rd member state of the United Nations, is also Africa’s first newly independent country since Eritrea split from Ethiopia in 1993.

2.     As a former part of Sudan, South Sudan has experienced the adverse effects of conflict since 1956, with more than two decades of internal strife.

These conflicts displaced millions of South Sudanese and left the country with an underdeveloped infrastructure, a weak economy, contamination from landmines and other explosive remnants of war, and an abundance of unsecured small arms and light weapons (SA/LW).  The violence that reignited in December 2013 forced more than 1.5 million people from their homes, increasing their vulnerability to cholera outbreaks, widespread famine, landmines, and other unexploded munitions.

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We recognize Africa for its greatest resource, which is its people and its talents and their potential.
President Obama at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, August 5, 2014
The #USAfrica Leaders Summit kicked off today at the Department of State! Visit state.gov to learn more and watch events live through Wednesday.

The #USAfrica Leaders Summit kicked off today at the Department of State! Visit state.gov to learn more and watch events live through Wednesday.

Tomorrow, August 5, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies will co-host the first U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a day focused on strengthening trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa. You can read the schedule here and tune in live tomorrow at 9:00AM ET at www.video.state.gov/live.

Tomorrow, August 5, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies will co-host the first U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a day focused on strengthening trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa. You can read the schedule here and tune in live tomorrow at 9:00AM ET at www.video.state.gov/live.