The debate about Hillary’s Clinton’s real reason for being in Africa continues. Some have argued that she has not done enough to address human rights abuse as well as worker’s rights. You will recall my recent post about this  and if you missed here is the link

The choice of countries that Mrs Clinton chose to visit have mostly one thing common EXTRACTIVE COMMODOTIES. However according to this article the agricultural money promised has meant that banana barons have strengthened their hold on Mozambique and Angola.

I appreciate their observation about the role of bananas in the day today life of most African countries, in fact certain tribes in Uganda the only thing that passess as food is Matoke  a type of banana that is boiled/steamed, mashed then served with any type of stew. In some families this is eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner

matoke

Matoke

This type of banana is facing a different kind of challenge compared that, that is of interest to the like of Chiquita, the BANANA WILT. This as I understand is a type of bacteria that affects banana plants and kills off whole plantations and thus threatening food security. In countries where bananas play an important role in day to day life this a real threat and  work has been under way  to develop a super banana plant that can resist the WILT. That fight has not gone unnoticed by those that object to GM food.

Having read the article, I wonder if the author is concerned that if bananas, if Africa are exported to the West then this affects the local economy that depends on the banana? I also wonder whether how much the author knows about bananas . Bananas come in different kinds and each kind almost always has a specific use, the bananas for juice and beer can be eaten as fruit ripe but the taste is awful, unless cooked, even then there are an acquired taste.  Whislt the  bananas that some is like to come across in the West are for instance not suitable for cooking, the same way you would cook Matoke.

The degree to which the activities of the likes of Chiquita will impact of the banana market will depend on the types of bananas any given country has, as well as how the workers are treated.

Although the article has a valid point regarding homelessness in many african countries I am not entirely sure I follow the Banana point!

Have you got a banana opnion? Please share it

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The basis of my work at Ethnic Supplies is enabling women if Africa to lift themselves out of poverty. This work bring me in contact with heart wrenching situations especially women that have been abandoned by their husbands and been left holding the babies so to say.

Besi, Milka and Flo

Besi, Milka and Flo

On my last visit to Kabale SW Uganda I was introduced to the basket weavers in this picture. Besi’s  story was especially sad. She has nine children and her husband had just abandoned her for a younger woman. With no formal employment or land of her own, the situation was desperate until she found Edirisa a local NGO and through them she was able to access buyers such Ethnic Supplies.

Milka and Flo on the other hand, have husbands at home who have no formal employment, and earn money as casual labourers, but this money is never available for the family to use and is instead spent on beer. I asked the ladies how they use the money the earn from selling baskets and they told me that mostly on the children’s education and health care.

African women have a great deal of responsibility for the family and I strongly believe that they hold the key to economic development.

Earlier today I came across this article from Voice of America  that highlights America’s commitment to the education of African girls  through USAID and quotes Hillary Clinton’s article in a South African paper in which she too agrees that  empowering women is the key to global progress and prosperity

This is serious stuff folk, and I often wonder where I would be if my father like Besi’s husband had decided to abandon us, after all at the time of my birth girls were not afforded an education as they were expected to get married as early as 13 years of ages.  Organisations such as the Commonwealth Council work very hard to ensure that girls in the common wealth have access to a decent education and you may recall my post about their work earlier this year. If you missed it here it is

One thing that puzzles me however, is that most African men I have come across on my journey with Ethnic Supplies agree that women need to be helped to become financially independent as they are the core of family and community life, but why isn’t this message getting through to some of the men, like Bessie’s husband?

Do we need to re focus our efforts and resources on the men instead?