Local and Community News
Atlanta: Students Hear of Africa's Twin Perils
April 7, 2003
On Thursday, Clark Atlanta University international affairs department Chair Kwaku Danso spoke to about 40 students at South Florida's only historically black college, Florida Memorial College, about Africa's twin problems: AIDS and debt. "I call on the U.S. and other countries to cancel African nations' debts," said Danso, a native of Ghana. "The African economic community has determined that Africa will need $10 billion per year to fight AIDS. But, right now, Africa owes $360 billion and pays $13.5 billion in interest per year." Danso said that no more than $18 billion of the debt is owed to the United States; Belgium, Britain, China, Germany and Japan loaned the majority of the funds.
"Africa has an AIDS-related death every eight seconds and the World Health Organization estimates that 25 percent of sub-Saharan Africans are HIV-positive," Danso said. "In Zambia, AIDS is expected to wipe out one-third of the population by 2020. As the work force dies off, industries in these countries will continue to endure labor shortages. By 2020, many sub-Saharan countries will have lost many of their skilled laborers," he said. "Teachers are dying off, too, and this will set back the African educational level by decades."
Danso pointed out some areas of hope. "Some nations have dealt with AIDS more successfully, such as Uganda, where AIDS rates have fallen," he said. "The leadership made it a national crusade, with the president [Yoweri Museveni] personally going into markets and speaking about the problem."
The American Friends Service Committee, an Atlanta-based nonprofit affiliated with the Quakers, is sponsoring Danso's lecture tour of historically black colleges. On Friday, he spoke at Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach.
04.06.03; Draeger Martinez
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.