Too often it seems that any news coming from the African continent is bad. Famine, disease, tribal warfare, abject poverty, political and economic turmoil, warlords and dictators, – the list of challenges and problems is long and overwhelmingly discouraging. Much of the worst news of late is linked to the influence of radical Islamic sects like the Muslim Brotherhood and the overthrow of Mubarak in Egypt and Gaddafi in Libya. Radical Arab influence is prevalent throughout much of northern Africa and is at the root of much of the extended tragedies in Sudan.
A rare bit of good news was highlighted by Dr. Kelly Victory, A Line of Sight Contributing Editor, in her December 2011 article highlighting the success of President George W. Bush's efforts to fight HIV-AIDS throughout much of the continent. Bush's 2003 President's Emergency Plan for AIDs Relief (PEPFAR) and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis are credited as already having saved 30 million lives in Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Uganda according to Dr. Victory, making it perhaps the most successful foreign aid initiative in history.
Nonetheless, Africa's legacy of hopelessness and despair has become so commonplace and extended that it is often referred to as the "lost" or "forgotten" continent. I've long been perplexed at the lack of progress and desperation that has befallen the millions of Africans. So, the headline "Cape Verde: African good news story" immediately captured my attention.
I have to admit, I didn't immediately know where Cape Verde was in Africa, but then neither did Evan Davis, the reporter assigned to write the article for the BBC before he was sent there. Here's what I learned.
Cape Verde is an island nation of barely half a million people about 300 miles west of Dakar, Senegal off the coast of Sub-Saharan Africa. The combined land mass of the various islands is roughly the size of Rhode Island. Heavily influenced by Europe, the government is a stable democratic republic, complete with multiple political parties exchanging control of the government in regular elections, and respect for the rule-of-law including strong private property rights. The population is primarily Catholic and Protestant according to our state department.