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Posts tagged ‘Central Africa’

Bill Gates Predicts Almost No Poor Countries Left by 2035.

Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, said that by 2035 no nation will be as poor as any of the 35 that the World Bank now classifies as low-income, even adjusting for inflation.

Most countries will have higher per-person income by 2035 than China does now, Gates said in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual letter published today. He argued against what he called “three myths” that block progress for the poor: poor countries are doomed to stay poor; foreign aid is a big waste; and saving lives leads to over-population.

“The facts are on the side of the optimists,” Gates, 58, said today in a Bloomberg Television interview today with Betty Liu. “It’s actually dangerous that people are focusing on the bad news and not seeing the progress we’ve made. It means they don’t look at the best practices, it makes them less generous.”

The Gates Foundation has distributed $28.3 billion in grants since 1997 to fund projects in global health and development and education programs in the U.S., according to the organization’s website.

Almost all countries will be what are now called lower- middle income or richer by 2035, Gates said in the letter. They will learn from their most productive neighbors and benefit from innovations such as new vaccines, better seeds and the digital revolution, he said.

Poverty, Disease

“The belief that the world is getting worse, that we can’t solve extreme poverty and disease, isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful,” Gates wrote. “By almost any measure, the world is better than it has ever been. In two decades it will be better still.”

A few countries will be held back by war and politics, Gates said, citing North Korea, or geography, such as landlocked nations in central Africa. Still, he predicts that more than 70 percent of countries will have a higher per-person income than China now, and almost 90 percent of nations will be above today’s India.

Health aid is a “phenomenal investment,” Gates, the co- founder of Microsoft Corp., said in the letter. Helped by foreign aid, the number of polio-endemic countries was reduced to 3 from 125 since 1988. With the right investments and changes in policies, by 2035, every country will have child-mortality rates that are as low as the rates in the U.S. or the U.K. in 1980, Gates said, citing research by the foundation and economists published in the Lancet last month.

When children survive in greater numbers, parents decide to have smaller families, Melinda Gates wrote in the letter. And the pattern of falling death rates followed by falling birth rates applies for the vast majority of the world, she said.

“Headlines in a way are what mislead you because bad news is a headline and gradual improvement is not,” Bill Gates said in the interview. “We almost have to take a letter like this and speak out and say, ‘Wait a minute, despite how bad we feel about what’s not yet done, we have some approaches that work.’ And the cynicism is holding us back.”

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Bill and Melinda Gates Letter Debunks World Poverty Myths.

Image: Bill and Melinda Gates Letter Debunks World Poverty Myths

By Elliot Jager

Bill and Melinda Gates have released their foundation’s annual letter, which instead of sketching out their worldwide philanthropic agenda for the coming year aims to debunk three public policy myths about poverty.

The Gates Foundation letter argues that it is not true that “poor countries are doomed to stay poor,” that “foreign aid is a big waste,” or that “saving lives leads to overpopulation,” Forbes magazine reported Tuesday.

Bill Gates writes that most countries “we used to call poor now have thriving economies. And the percentage of very poor people has dropped by more than half since 1990.”

Gates is not saying poverty and inequality will disappear. Overall, though, he is optimistic for all countries except those “held back by war, politics (North Korea, barring a big change there), or geography (landlocked nations in central Africa).”

Regarding foreign aid, Gates says the belief that U.S. aid does not work “gives political leaders an excuse to try to cut back on it — and that would mean fewer lives are saved, and more time before countries can become self-sufficient.”

It also does not cost a lot, he notes. The U.S. spends less than one percent of its annual budget on foreign aid, he says, or about $30 billion. Gates breaks that down to $11 billion for public health and $19 billion for infrastructure.

While he acknowledges that aid is sometimes stolen by corrupt local government officials, he notes that corruption is just as bad if not worse in the United States.

“Four of the past seven governors of Illinois have gone to prison for corruption, and to my knowledge no one has demanded that Illinois schools be shut down or its highways closed,” he writes.

For her part, Melinda Gates tackles the myth that saving lives makes the planet unsustainable.

“Saving lives doesn’t lead to overpopulation. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Creating societies where people enjoy basic health, relative prosperity, fundamental equality, and access to contraceptives is the only way to secure a sustainable world,” she writes.

The Gates Foundation disbursed $3.4 billion in grants during 2012, and has given out more than $28.3 billion since 2006 for various programs around the globe.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Dozens of ‘Noisy’ Churches Silenced in Cameroon.

Church service in Ngaoundéré, Cameroon.
Church service in Ngaoundéré, Cameroon. (Elin B/Flickr)

The government of Cameroon has ordered the closure of dozens of churches in an attempt to put an end to what it considers to be anarchy among some Christian organizations.

The measure, which authorities began to impose on Aug. 23, targets Pentecostal churches, which are not officially recognized.

The minister of communications, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, said at an Aug. 28 press conference that the churches engage in “unhealthy” and “indecent” practices contrary to the goal of spiritual growth of the people.

Bakary also denounced “obvious cases of extortion of people in desperate situation,” “repeat nocturnal uproars” and “proselytizing.”

“In such a situation … the government could not remain indifferent and inactive,” he said. “The administrative authorities that are responsible for the preservation of public order had to take responsibility.”

About 10 churches have had their doors locked in Yaoundé, the capital. In Bamenda, the main town in the northwest, which houses a high proportion of the country’s Christians, some 20 churches have been affected.

In total, 35 churches were closed across the country, according to Bakary.

Pastor Naida Lazare, president of Cameroon’s Christian Media Network, says several churches sought government approval for more than 10 years but received no response.

“Many churches and Christian organizations have sought in vain for their legalization. They have gone through all administrative and legal procedures. But they have not received any notification indicating the rejection or approval of their associations,” Lazare told World Watch Monitor. “Instead of blaming Christian organizations or men and women often above suspicion, the government would gain much by regulating these associations, as many of them have been waiting for over a decade.”

Cameroon is a secular country in Central Africa. Almost 80 percent of its 20 million people are Christians. Freedom of worship and religion is guaranteed by the constitution, reinforced by Act No. 90/053 of Dec. 19, 1990, regulating religious organizations.

This law stipulates that the exercise of religious worship should be subject to the approval of the minister of interior affairs and authorization by the president.

Since the 1990 law, Pentecostal organizations have experienced remarkable growth in the country. Dozens of churches, which often have links in neighboring Nigeria, settled in the country.Such rapid growth has come at the expense of historical churches, such as the Catholic Church, which has seen a great number of its followers join Pentecostal movements.

These Pentecostal churches are renowned for their dynamism and ability to mobilize crowds.

It is difficult to know the precise number of churches in the country. Officially, only 47 permits were granted to churches or Christian organizations between 1990 and 2009, whereas about 500 denominations are operating across the country.

“This would mean that the overwhelming majority of those churches that are currently swarming our cities and towns exist illegally, benefiting from the tolerance of our administrative system,” Bakary said.

Bishop Dieudonné Abogo, president of the Pentecostal Union of Cameroon, acknowledges some churches are rowdy.

“The use of loud music during services may cause real disturbance to neighborhoods in some areas,” Abogo says. “This causes great damage to the reputation of officially recognized churches.”

The decision to close nonrecognized churches is not new in Cameroon. A number of Pentecostal churches in Cameroon have been closed in recent years by local authorities following complaints by residents. Abogo says governing bodies such as the Pentecostal Union of Cameroon should work with the government to find a solution.



EFCC Press Release: EFCC Arrests Satellite Broadcast Scammer In Kano.

By Wilson Uwujaren

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Friday August 23, 2013 arrested one Tope Ajayi over his alleged involvement in digital satellite broadcast scam. Ajayi was picked up by operatives of EFCC from his apartment located at 26 Link Bawo Road in Hausawa area of Kano following intelligence report.

Over 100 decoders and other computer gadgets were recovered from his server room by operatives of the Commission during a search on his apartment.
Ajayi who claimed to have worked with Skye Bank Plc is said to be a major digital satellite broadcast scammer. He is alleged to have a server that links up with a server in China and an unknown Internet Service Provider, ISP, somewhere in Europe or the United State of America.

The suspect is also alleged to be engaged in illegal importation, selling and distribution of pirate devices popularly known as Dungle which enables subscribers to have free access to Multichoice satellite signals across West and Central Africa.

According to Mr Frikkie Jonker, Senior Anti-Piracy Manager, Multichoice, Ajayi’s server is considered strong as it controls its counterpart server in China and distributes satellite signals to a host of West African and Central African countries including Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya Uganda and Benin Republic .

It was also revealed that the suspect had been extracting control words from multichoice cards in Nigeria and sending same to a server in China which is connected to an ISP server placed somewhere in Europe or America.

Jonker, who expressed his gratitude to the EFCC for the arrest, described the scam as one of the biggest in recent time.

Ajayi will be arraigned in court when investigation is concluded.

Wilson Uwujaren
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
27th August, 2013


Why God Doesn’t Do What You Think He Should.

elderly woman in a wheelchair

Maturity in Christ demands that we come to the place where we continue to trust God, even when His ways are difficult to understand.

Recently, a friend’s letter arrived that reminded me of the importance of resting our hearts on what we know to be true about God, especially when faced with circumstances that lead us to question His will.

He wrote: “As a family, God has been speaking to us recently through the death of my youngest sister, Freda, on August 31. We have no details yet. She sailed on September 18 of last year. … After 10 years’ patient waiting for the way to open.

“Many of our friends in their letters of sympathy speak of God’s mysterious ways, and I know there is an element of mystery. But I shrink from the suggestion that our Father has done anything which needs to be explained. What He has done is the best, because He has done it, and I pray that as a family we may not cast about for explanations of the mystery, but exult in the Holy Spirit, and say, ‘I thank Thee, Father….Even so, Father.’ It suggests a lack of confidence in Him if we find it necessary to try to understand all He does.

“Will it not bring Him greater joy to tell Him that we need no explanation because we know Him? But I doubt not there will be a fulfillment of John 12:24.” —Rev. Frank Houghton (China Inland Mission).

We Need No Explanation

Our hearts rejoice in that word for so great a matter. It is, indeed, the only perfect word. But perhaps sometimes in an incomparably lesser trial, the tempter has disturbed us, persuading us to look for an explanation. We find ourselves saying, “I wonder why.” Faith never wonders why.

Among our several hundred of all ages in the Dohnavur Fellowship family, who are being taught in the ways of prayer, there were many for whom this lesson was set when the answer to their prayers was turned to the contrary, just as they thought they had safely received it. For on a certain evening there was a special prayer for the healing touch for me. That night the pain was lulled, and natural sleep was given.

The blissfulness of the awakening next morning is still vivid and shining. I lay for a few minutes almost wondering if I were still on Earth. No night has been like that since. No sleep like that has come nor any such easeful wakening.

I knew something that morning of what it will be when He “shall look us out of pain.”

All the dear household rejoiced. Down to the tiniest child who could understand there was gladness and thanksgiving. Had they not asked for healing by the touch of God? Was this not that? So they accepted it with a reverent and lovely joy.

But my nurse was careful in her joy, and nothing was done, no carelessness occurred that could account for what followed. The pain returned and increased. The nights were as they had been. And some did, I know, find it very confusing and very disappointing. For was there not prayer? Indeed there was.

The loving care of those who led the prayer of our fellowship had divided the day into watches; there was never an unprayed-for hour. But the bars closed down once more. Was it strange that to some, who have not known Him long, there was the trial of wondering Why?

Trust His Heart 

“I am learning never to be disappointed, but to praise,” missionary Frederick Arnot of Central Africa wrote in his journal long ago. It was the word of peace to us then.

I think it must hurt the tender love of our Father when we press for reasons for His dealings with us, as though He were not love, as though not He but another chose our inheritance for us, and as though what He chose to allow could be less than the very best and dearest that Love Eternal had to give.

But on a day of more than a little trial, in His great compassion I was allowed to see—for as the ear is unsealed at times, so are the eyes opened—and I knew that the enemy had asked to be allowed to recover his power to oppress, and that leave had been granted to him, but within limits.

I was not shown what those limits were. I saw only the mercy that embraces us on every side. Was that moment of insight merely a pale reflection of an ancient familiar story? So some will understand it.

But the comfort that comes through such a moment never stays to argue about itself. It sinks deep into the heart and gives it rest.

Thereafter, not seeing, not hearing, not feeling, we walk by faith, finding our comfort not in the things seen or heard in that illuminated moment (though, indeed, that which was seen or heard does, with a sweetness peculiar to itself, continue to console), but in the Scriptures of truth: “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. … And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God” (2 Tim. 1:12; Rom. 8:28, KJV).

With Him who assures us of this there is no variableness, neither shadow that is cast by turning. His word stands true. In that truth we abide satisfied.

And so I have come to this: our Lord is sovereign. He may heal, as He will, by an invisible touch or by blessing the means (His gifts) that are used.

He may “save the exhausted one,” as Rotherham renders James 5:15, or sustain with words him that is weary, as He did St. Paul, and use those words for the succor of others (2 Cor. 12:9).

The Secrets of the Lord 

“But you are not St. Paul.” I remember reading that in a book on healing, just after I had been given peace in acceptance of a certain “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12: 7). I had prayed more than three times that it might depart from me, but it had not departed.

“You are not St. Paul.” It was true, of course, but it seemed too facile to be a true answer to this riddle of the universe.

And now, the more I study life as well as books, the more sure I am that there is a darkness folded round that riddle into whose heart of light we are not meant to see. Perhaps that light would be too bright for our eyes now.

I have known lovers of our Lord who in their spiritual youth were sure beyond a doubt that healing would always follow the prayer of faith and the anointing of oil in the name of the Lord. But those same dear lovers, in their beautiful maturity, passed through illness, unrelieved by any healing.

When I looked in wonder, remembering all that they had held and taught in other years, I found them utterly at rest. The secret of their Lord was with them. He had said to them, their own beloved Lord had said it, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14: 27). So their hearts were not troubled or afraid, and their song was always of the lovingkindness of the Lord. “As for God, His way is perfect” (Ps. 18:30), they said. “We need no explanation.”

Today with this thought in mind I read the “Song of the Redeemed,” the ninth song of St. John, heard after a door was opened in heaven: “Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Rev. 15:3).

Some of us cannot enter fully into even earthly music until it has become familiar. Perhaps our various experiences here are means by which we may learn the heavenly melody to which such words are set, so that when we hear the harpers harping on the harps of God we shall catch the thread of that melody, and follow it through its harmonies, moving among them with confidence and gladness, as on familiar ground.

“As for God, His way is perfect.” That is the substance of the words. And if His way be perfect, we need no explanation.

Read a companion devotional.

Amy Beatrice Carmichael (1867-1951) was a missionary and a prolific author of poetry and prose. She was born in Millisle, Northern Ireland, to Presbyterian parents, and from her youth was sensitive to the message of the gospel and the fate of those who did not know Christ.

In 1892, her application to the China Inland Mission was turned down because of concerns regarding her health. But in 1893, she was given the chance to serve briefly in Japan and Ceylon.

Finally, in October 1895, Amy arrived in India, where she would remain for the rest of her life. Her ministry, Dohnavur Fellowship, focused on rescuing children from threatening situations such as child marriage and temple prostitution. To those who became part of her family, Amy, who never married, became “Amma,”–a term derived from the Tamil word for mother.

In 1931, Amy suffered disabling injuries in a fall and never fully recovered. The final two decades of her life were spent confined to her quarters.

From her bed, she frequently wrote letters to her friends and staff. One collection of writings provided the content for her best-known book, Rose From Brier (Christian Literature Crusade).

Amy Carmichael died in 1951 and is buried on the grounds of the Dohnavur Fellowship. The ministry she began more than 100 years ago continues in operation.



Cameroon’s economy grows 5 pct, poverty deepens: World Bank.

YAOUNDE (Reuters) – Cameroon’s economy grew by around five percent last year, up from the 4.1 percent growth it showed in 2011, but under-investment in social safety nets contributed to worsening poverty, the World Bank said on Monday.

An oil producer and the world’s fifth-largest cocoa grower, Cameroon’s economy, though Central Africa‘s largest, is also one of its slowest growing. It had initially targeted growth of 5.5 percent in 2012 after increasing budget spending.

While agriculture, construction and a rise in oil production propelled growth, the Bank said there was little evidence indicating an improvement in the lives of the country’s population.

“Poverty in Cameroon has not declined, and instead has increased in the poorest areas. Food security is also a problem in these areas,” the Bank said in an update released by its country office in Cameroon.

The Bank said social safety nets, including cash transfer, school feeding, and public works programmes, were poorly designed and under-funded.

“The most recent data show that Cameroon allocates 0.2 percent of its GDP to social safety nets — one of the lowest percentages in Africa,” said Raju Jan Singh, World Bank’s Lead Economist for Central Africa.

Cameroon is one of Africa’s oldest oil exporters. But despite last year’s increase in output, production has slipped steadily since the mid-1980s as offshore fields fall into decline, putting at risk one of its main revenue generators.

Exploitation of rich mineral reserves have also been held back by a power deficit.

Cameroon’s GDP growth is expected to reach 4.7 percent in 2013, according to a Reuters poll published in October.



Measles epidemic spreading in Central Africa.

Measles epidemic is spreading in Central Africa, endangering the lives of thousands of children, the medical charity Doctors Without Borders warned last week.

Since October, the charity has vaccinated more than 226,000 children in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The organisation has also treated nearly 13,000 Congolese for the effects of the disease.

Measles is very contagious. In places where many children are malnourished and vitamin-deficient, it kills 1 to 15 per cent of those who don’t receive medical care, Doctors Without Borders estimated. (Even in the United States in the 1990s, although cases were rare, the fatality rate was 0.3 per cent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In AIDS patients, the rate is 30 per cent.)

The eastern Congo basin has serious shortages of medical workers and of drugs. While there is no treatment for measles itself, antibiotics can save those who develop pneumonia, meningitis or other secondary infections. Measles can also cause blindness by scarring the eyeball.

The outbreak is taking place despite enormous success against the disease worldwide. According to a study released earlier this year, deaths from measles have dropped by almost 75 per cent since 2000.

Most of the lives saved were in Africa and India. Measles shots are often cited as one of the chief reasons that deaths of children under age five around the world have fallen steadily.



The Spirit of Life.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death—Romans 8:2

John Lake was a missionary in Central Africa when an epidemic broke out. Thousands of people were dying. One of the doctors sent by the local government asked him what he used to inoculate himself with against the virus.

Lake directed the doctor to put a sample of the living virus under a microscope, and view the masses of living germs. He then took the sample in his hand for a moment and then returned it to the microscope. To the doctor’s amazement the germs were dead.

“That is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” he declared. “As long as I keep my soul in contact with the living God-.-.-.-no germ can attach itself to me. My spirit and body are so filled with the blessed presence of God, it even oozes from my pores.”

The “law of the Spirit of life” is the regulating, activating power, and life of the Holy Spirit that has set us free from the power of sin, hell, and the grave.

Fill me Lord with Your Spirit of life.
Empower me to overcome the
power of sin, hell, and the
grave in Your mighty
Name. Amen.


American Leprosy Missions Targets Flesh-Eating Disease.

Buruli Ulcer
A woman in Nepal suffering from Buruli ulcer, a flesh-eating disease. (American Leprosy Missions)

A disease most people have never heard of has devastated areas in the West African nation of Ghana. Buruli ulcer is an infectious disease that can lead to both physical and emotional scarring.

But a new campaign offers hope for the people of Ghana affected by Buruli ulcer – both for patients and their families. American Leprosy Missions is leading the charge with a three-year, $2 million commitment to fund End Buruli Now to help eradicate the disease.

The organization is also sending 9,000 pounds of general medical supplies to the region to help those who are waiting for care and medical treatment of the disease. Subsequent phases of the campaign will extend beyond Ghana to include neighboring West African countries.

The Buruli ulcer bacteria can lead to skin ulceration, extreme swelling in the limbs, and scarring that often results in deformity if left untreated. In addition to its physical toll, the disease often results in the social ostracizing of those affected by it. One-fifth of the world’s cases of the disease are in Ghana. Cruelly, Buruli ulcer disproportionately affects children under the age of 15, who make up 50 percent of its victims.

American Leprosy Missions’ work in Buruli ulcer led to the discovery that half of the World Health Organization’s needed supply of antibiotics—the vast majority of which are sent to West and Central Africa—is not being met. The Ministry of Health in Ghana also requested additional medical supplies because many hospitals and clinics do not have enough supplies to treat those affected.

American Leprosy Missions’ urgently needed shipment of medical supplies includes: bandages, gowns, masks, needles, syringes, gloves, waste disposal units and gauzes.

“Buruli ulcer is a cruel disease that brings with it both physical disfigurement and social stigma,” said Bill Simmons, CEO of American Leprosy Missions. “We’re honored to be able to bring hope and relief to people dealing with this disease in Ghana and other African nations.”

Because Buruli ulcer is related to leprosy, efforts around the former accrue benefits to the latter. American Leprosy Missions reports that early case detection and treatment of Buruli ulcer in Ghana is already having a positive impact on leprosy projects in the country.


By Katie Rouse

Kony 2012’s Most Motivated Viewers.

Kony 2012's Most Motivated Viewers

A few months before Invisible Children released Kony 2012, the U.S. sent about 100 troops to Central Africa to help hunt Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army, and while the video’s impact is debatable, it’s certainly helping to keep those soldiers on the job.

RELATED: What Are U.S. Troops Doing in Central Africa?

Several paragraphs into Jeffrey Gettleman’s New York Times report checking in with the U.S. advisory force that arrived last October, American officials credited the insanely popular viral campaign with helping to keep the mission in the spotlight. Writes Gettleman:

Gen. Carter F. Ham, the overall commander of American forces in Africa, has a “Kony 2012” poster tacked to his office door. As one American official put it: “Let’s be honest, there was some constituent pressure here. Did ‘Kony 2012’ have something to do with this? Absolutely.”

The U.S. troops don’t patrol, but they help strategize and process information, which can be hard to come by and slow-moving. Gettleman describes the “primordially thick” terrain in the region around Uganda, Central African Republic, and South Sudan, that renders much U.S. technology useless. While the U.S. has invested $500 million in development aid in Northern Uganda, the 100-strong force is the extent of its on-the-ground military assistance.

RELATED: KONY 2012’s Sequel Is About How Good the Original Was

As it turns out, keeping eyes on the U.S.-Ugandan force hunting for Kony is one of the few real impacts the Kony 2012 video had. While the viral video did bring the issue of Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army to a lot of people who had never heard of him before, its call for global demonstrations on April 20 went largely unheeded. And other U.S. government efforts to spread awareness or challenge Kony — such as a video from U.S. senators trying to further awareness of Kony— have not met with the kind of massively popular reception that Kony 2012 had.

RELATED: Jason Russell’s Naked Meltdown: The Video

The problem with Kony 2012 is that the video itself became more of a story than its subject. Filmmaker Jason Russell’s very public breakdown on a San Diego street ensured that. But it made Joseph Kony a household name, and that means the troops tasked with finding him have a higher profile, and as The Times points out, higher expectations for success, than other small-scale U.S. missions in Africa.


By Adam Martin | The Atlantic Wire 

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