Washington, DC (Vocus) April 14, 2009
While finding a solution to end the ongoing pirate attacks in the waters off the coast of Somalia proves troublesome, the U.S. African Chamber of Commerce (USACC) encourages leaders of the world to come together to solve the issue through a unified response and diplomatic action, instead of military force. Analyzing the root of the problem, the USACC highlights the growing younger generation on the African continent together with the increasing environmental and health related concerns and deteriorating political conditions. These elements combined have bred social unrest and created a situation that is ripe for piracy as a means of livelihood for the African peoples and a demonstration to the world of the desperate situation in which many African youth and children find themselves.
Over one billion of the world's peoples reside on the African continent, and of these one billion people, over 60% are under the age of twenty. It is one of the fastest growing young consumer bases in the world. Yet, the half billion teens in Africa are left with little opportunity and even less hope for a brighter tomorrow. Drained of inspiration, the younger generation and their despair have fueled social unrest, and with the political instability and incompetence of organized government to offer an effective resistance, this unrest has given birth to the incidents of piracy in Somali waters.
The USACC acknowledges the fact that this situation affords no easy remedy. Any short-term solution based on military strength aimed at addressing the hopeless situation and the repeat occurrence of pirate attacks that have resulted will surely encounter defeat. In addition, any effort that refuses to address the underlying root causes of this dilemma will afford no remedy whatsoever. Resolution 1838 adopted by the U.N. Security Council in October of 2008, which calls for humanitarian aid and military force, has proven useless in preventing further pirate attacks and in remedying the deplorable situation in Somalia and other African countries. The Resolution ignores the environmental disaster in Somalia, which has lead to increased respiratory infections, mouth ulcers and bleeding, abdominal hemorrhages, and unusual skin infections among many of the inhabitants in the area. While noting humanitarian efforts to supply food to the region, the U.N. resolution fails to provide for a situation in which Africans feel empowered to take control of their own situation and become capable of supporting themselves and their families through honest and productive means.
A determined and sustained effort to construct a vibrant economic market on the African continent will offer enormous benefit now and, even more so, in the coming years. Global leaders must come together and aid the emerging African market now before piracy becomes a livelihood for desperate and starving children and youth in Africa. As global citizens, the leaders of the world have an obligation to assist Africans in their long awaited dream of Africa becoming united. A single, unified African front will facilitate domestic trade and access to international markets, giving hope and opportunity to the younger generation of Africans, diminishing piracy as a viable prospect in the future.
The USACC urges leaders to support the emerging African market and encourages the treatment of Africa as an equal partner in global trade and international interdependence. The African Continent has the most political instability, the highest incidents of health related concerns, and is the most in need of education; yet, African countries have not been represented as members of the U.N. Security Council for over 52 years. Indigenous peoples all over the world have a stake in this matter, and social and economic institutions across the globe stand to benefit from the destruction of racial prejudices and practices that subordinate communities and entire nations.
Most Somalis are not involved in piracy and are willing to work with the international community. Piracy, for the most part has been confined to a particular area of Somalia with many other regions still being free from the practice. The USACC discourages the use of military force and applauds efforts aimed to establish a legitimate Somali government and to revitalize the Somali economy. The solution must also take into consideration all forms of piracy, including illegal fishing, dumping, and nuclear waste.
The USACC is the Leading Advocacy Organization for U.S. African Relations and promotes Emerging Markets. The USACC is the umbrella organization for African Chambers of Commerce and Professional Trade and Business Associations throughout the United States and abroad.
U.S. African Chamber of Commerce
Martin Mohammed, President