Kenyan Ambassador Promotes African Development March 2005
Before the Ambassador addressed the meeting, a New York Rotarian, Mikio Tajima, the Executive Director of Conflict Prevention NGO 'Reconciliation 21' spoke briefly about his recent mission in Nepal. The king dismissed the country's government on February 1 this year because he was dissatisfied with the government's results in battling the Maoist insurgents. He held consultations with a number of potential actors in the conflict. The situation is still unsettled. Mikio outlined how the international community might assist, if and when national consensus might evolve one day in favor of holding peace talks outside Nepal. In this connection, the Japanese government has been urged to offer a site for possible peace talks, preferably in Okinawa.
The Kenyan Ambassador opened her discussion by thanking all Rotarians. She acknowledged that her image of Rotarians are people who are proactive and quick to respond to emergencies. She praised all Rotarians around the world and especially those in her own country. In this light, she was delighted to accept the Club's invitation to formally address Rotarians.
Ambassador Bahemuka (second from right) is a trained sociologist and earned her undergraduate degree at Marygrove College in Detroit, USA, and a Doctorate in Sociology from Nairobi University, Kenya. She is currently the Chairman to the Social and Human Sciences National Committee at the UNESCO National Commission . Also in the photo from right to left are Josef Klee, Barbara Burns, and
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She noted that there have been many reports and studies conducted determining what is needed to help Africa, but reports are only useful if they are put into action. Nevertheless there are several essential areas that need to be improved.
Good governance and using peer-review of African governments buy other African government
Transportation and communication infrastructure improvements.
Gender concerns, such as girls going to schools and how men and women interact with one another.
Sustainable food production.
Curtailing “Brain Drain“.
Increase the availability of clean drinking water. (Rotary is very helpful and active.)
Debt cancellation is needed because many countries are unable to pay back their loans and much of the assistance was given to a few companies and individuals.
Africa is capable of producing a number of raw materials and food products but non-African governmental trade barriers make it difficult to sell these products.
But most importantly she urged Rotarians not wait for the great projects. She advised Rotarians to: "Put up one light. Don't wait for the big project to brighten all of Africa. Provide small but consistently implemented projects, one by one, and brighten an African corner".