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“Blood ivory” generates significant revenue for terrorist groups

Posted by African Press International on October 3, 2013

“Blood ivory” generates significant revenue for terrorist groups

NEW YORK, 3 October 2013 (IRIN) – Organized environmental crime is known to pose a multi-layered threat to human security, yet it has long been treated as a low priority by law enforcers, seen as a fluffy “green” issue that belongs in the domain of environmentalists.

But due to a variety of factors – including its escalation over the past decade, its links to terrorist activities, the rising value of environmental contraband and the clear lack of success among those trying to stem the tide – these crimes are inching their way up the to-do lists of law enforcers, politicians and policymakers.

The recent terror attack on the popular Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, has placed environmental crimes like the ivory and rhino horn trade under increased scrutiny. Al-Shabab, the Islamist militant group that has taken credit for the attack, is widely believed to fund as much as 40 percent of its activities from elephant poaching, or the “blood ivory” trade. The Lord’s Resistance Army, a brutal rebel group active in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic, is also known to be funded through elephant poaching.

Rising incomes in Asia have stimulated demand for ivory and rhino horn, leading to skyrocketing levels of poaching. Over the past five years, the rate of rhino horn poaching in South Africa has increased sevenfold as demand in Vietnam and other Asian countries for the horn – used as cancer treatments, aphrodisiacs and status symbols – grows.

“Drop in the ocean”

On the international stage, politicians – alarmed by increasing evidence of links between terrorist organizations and organized environmental crime – are taking a more visible stand against wildlife trafficking. In July, US President Barack Obama set up a taskforce on wildlife trafficking and pledged US$10 million to fight it.

But this is a mere “drop in the ocean”, says Justin Gosling, a senior adviser on environmental organized crime for the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, which was recently launched in New York.

“If developing countries really want to assist, they need to put up quite a bit of cash,” he added.

Funded by the governments of Norway and Switzerland, the Global Initiative is a network of leading experts in the field of organized crime, which aims to bring together a wide range of players in government and civil society to find ways to combat illicit trafficking and trade.

At the Global Initiative conference, Gosling presented a draft of The Global Response to Transnational Organized Environmental Crime, a report documenting environmental crimes around the world. Such crimes are on the rise in terms of “variety, volume and value”, the report says, and their impact is far greater than the simple destruction of natural resources and habitats. “They affect human security in the form of conflict, rule of law and access to essentials such as safe drinking water, food sources and shelter,” the report says.

The crimes documented range from illicit trade in plants and animals and illegal logging, fishing and mineral extraction to production and trade of ozone-depleting substances, toxic dumping, and “grey areas” such as large-scale natural resource extraction.

Most vulnerable

The most fragile countries – those lacking infrastructure and effective policing but often rich in untapped natural resources – are the most vulnerable to exploitation, and the poorest communities suffer the most. “For millions of people around the world, local reliance on wildlife, plants, trees, rivers and oceans is as strong as it has ever been,” says the report.

Communities are losing food supplies and tourism jobs through unsustainable hunting, fishing and – often illegal – deforestation. In vulnerable countries like the Maldives, for example, populations are at risk from rising sea levels and climate change brought on, in part, by deforestation.

It is impossible to quantify what proportion of organized crime is environmental crime, although 25 percent is a commonly repeated figure. This number comes from a UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimate of the scope of the problem in the Asia-Pacific region, and it is often extrapolated as a global estimate. Even less is known about how much organized environmental crime drains from the legitimate economy. To complicate matters, the line between environmental and other organized crime is often blurred, since the same trafficking networks are frequently used for both.

“We’re not really trying to look at environmental organized crime in terms of value,” said Gosling. “We’re looking at the global response to the problem. Who are the actors, and what are they doing? Is it sufficient, and if not, what can we do?”

Boosting enforcement 

Current efforts are failing. Part of the problem is that legislation and penalties vary enormously between countries. “The range between what may be considered acceptable and highly illegal is vast,” says the report, which argues for better synchronization of goals. There are plenty of international and country-specific strategies but few linkages between them.

Illegal logging is a common environmental crime

A perennial problem is that the environmental agencies tasked with handling environmental crime lack the capacity or jurisdiction to stop it, while law enforcement agencies fail to prioritize it. But as the financial incentives of these crimes soar – a rhino horn can fetch $250,000, for example, and a single fishing trawler expedition can bring in $1 million worth of fish – so do the stakes.

There is evidence that heavy weaponry, such as rocket mortars and semi-automatic weapons, as well as helicopters, are being used by poachers, says investigative journalist Julian Rademeyer, whose book, Killing for Profit, exposes the illicit rhino horn trade in South Africa.

Frequently, top players like alleged kingpin Vixay Keosavang, who is dubbed “the Pablo Escobar of wildlife trafficking” and is said to operate with impunity in his home country of Laos, have links to government officials and other powerful elites.

And no amount of policing can eliminate the fact that environmental crimes are widely seen as a passport out of poverty. Rademeyer, who presented his findings at the conference, found that young men from destitute villages in Mozambique who entered the Kruger National Park to poach rhinos were regarded as heroes in their communities because of the money they brought home.

“Many communities on the Mozambican side of the Kruger Park don’t benefit from its conservation efforts. They face a stark choice: go to Johannesburg illegally and try to find work or poach rhino horn, for which they can get anywhere from $200 to $2,000 per horn,” he said. Without alternative choices, “there will be a constant line of ready recruits to occupy middle positions in these trafficking networks”.

Cooperation needed

Rademeyer said the Global Initiative could facilitate faster action through information sharing: “These syndicates move and adapt very quickly. The only way to stop them is to move quickly, too.”

Signing endless memoranda of understanding does not speed up the bureaucratic and diplomatic delays in dealing with transnational environmental crime. Unlike the murky and rapidly evolving world of cybercrime, environmental crime is “a more conventional commodity trade. There are no excuses for why we can’t deal with it,” says Rademeyer.

Steven Trent, director of Environmental Justice Foundation (EFJ), agrees. His organization monitors the effects of illegal fishing on people’s livelihoods in some of the poorest countries in West Africa, including Liberia and Sierra Leone. EJF has also exposed how people are being trafficked on these illegal fishing vessels, either to fish as unpaid labourers or for the sex trade in Asia. Very often, the culprits are companies that “knowingly or sometimes unwittingly” fish illegally and send their products to wealthy countries.

Some solutions to combatting environmental crimes need not be high-tech or complex, he argues. A start would be for every fishing vessel to have a mandatory license number. “When it comes to organized crime, people tend to complicate things, but sometimes there are basic solutions which could bring quick dividends,” he says. “Transparency and traceability are some of the best and simplest tools to combat corruption.”

“Grey” areas such as industrial-scale logging, where the law is often unclear or unevenly applied, are also robbing people of their livelihoods and habitats. Research conducted by Global Witness in Liberia and Cambodia reveals that huge logging concessions are being given out in these countries with “no recourse to the people living there”, says the organization’s director, Gavin Hayman, who argues that countries need to share more information about their enforcement strategies.

As much as one quarter of Liberia’s land area has been given over to logging, Global Witness research reveals. In some cases, communities have been chased off their lands and stripped of their livelihoods. In Cambodia, activists resisting loggers have been killed.

It is imperative for players to get out in the field and find out what local communities actually want, Hayman says. Otherwise, these vulnerable populations can and will fall victim to environmental crime.

pg/rz source


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Criminal groups have benefited from globalization – Embedding crime experts into UN field operations?

Posted by African Press International on August 14, 2013

Nigerian police in the UN mission to Haiti assist in quelling a student protest in Port au Prince in 2009


  • Criminal groups have benefited from globalization
  • Overlap of UN peace operations and crime-affected regions
  • Organized crime can corrupt governments
  • Difficult for UNPOL to recruit effective crime-fighters

NEW YORK,  – The globalization of organized crime poses a growing threat to fragile states that lack the ability to resist it, putting pressure on the UN to find solutions.

A recently-released report entitled The Elephant in the Room, part of the New York-based International Peace Institute’s Peace Without Crime series, argues that “crime has become a serious threat in almost every theater where the UN has peace operations.” The authors of the report (Walter Kemp, Mark Shaw and Arthur Boutellis) argue that organized crime is eroding the UN’s attempts to bring about peace and stability in the many countries in which it has missions and yet these missions contain very few references to crime.

Criminal groups are one of the biggest beneficiaries of globalization, says Kemp, director for Europe and Central Asia at the IPI. “Over the last 20 years organized crime has gone global. It has reached macro-economic proportions.” Globalization has seen the growth in traffic around the world of just about everything – including contraband, says Kemp. Whereas organized crime was once regarded as a problem pertaining to the developed world, and confined mostly to cities, it has in the last few years rapidly spread its tentacles across the globe, finding new routes and penetrating vulnerable West African states like Guinea Bissau and Mali. “Much of the instability in West Africa is due to the impact of drug-trafficking from Latin America to Europe,” argue the authors.

As contraband is trafficked from one corner of the globe to the other, often moving through several transit countries, national – and even regional – crackdowns may simply shift the problem onto adjacent, potentially more vulnerable countries. Yet should the UN’s peacekeeping forces be tasked with fighting organized crime?

The authors concede that other parts of the UN may be better suited to dealing with the challenge but argue that given that “organized crime is threatening the stability, development and justice that peacekeepers are trying to establish,” peacekeeping forces cannot turn a blind eye.

While organized crime and peace operations “had almost nothing to do with each other” 50 years ago, “at the beginning of the 21st century the trajectories have converged,” they say. As peacekeeping has seen a greater integration between civilian and military aspects, and is as much about building up institutions and states as restoring the rule of law, organized crime has evolved too, “from a localized problem into a pervasive, strategic threat to governments, societies and economies”.

The authors show an overlap of UN peace operations and major crime-affected regions – Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Iraq, Kosovo and Timor-Leste to name a few – and conclude this is because “conflict affected and fragile regions – precisely the places where the UN is most needed – are especially vulnerable to transnational organized crime and provide favorable conditions for its development.”

In the first report in the series, Identifying the Spoilers, they spell out how peacekeepers and other players can identify signs of organized crime in the countries in which they operate. Elephant in the Room, the second report, shows how organized crime has had a destabilizing impact on the political economy of three nations – Guinea-Bissau, Haiti and Kosovo – and finds a “mismatch between the seriousness of the threat posed by organized crime and the UN’s ability to tackle it”.

They argue the limitations of a purely militarist approach – as when the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) countered the gang violence in Haiti. Despite their successes, they have not been able to halt the organized crime networks that still operate in and beyond Haiti’s borders. The third report, due out soon, looks at what the UN and international players can do at a systemic level to address the problem. Up to now, say the authors, “there is not much enthusiasm for the UN to tackle organized crime.”

Crime-and-instability nexus

Crucial to their argument is the notion that there is a “nexus between crime and instability” and that when transnational organized crime funds the activities and thus furthers the political aims of insurgents or rebels or corrupts governments at the highest level, the fall-out can be huge. This occurred in Guinea Bissau, for example, when the president, João Bernardo Vieira, was assassinated in 2009 in alleged drug-related rivalry between political and military officials.

“Good police work is of little use when the courts do not convict or where prisoners are released, and building capacity among corrupt officials can have unintended consequences.”

While the quantities of cocaine being trafficked through Guinea-Bissau are relatively small (an estimated 25 tons per year), at around 25 percent of the country’s GNP this is still high enough to corrupt high-level officials and undermine the tiny economy. Other contraband passing through other West African countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, DRC, and Cote d’Ivoire – and possibility posing a bigger problem in future – include fuel, timber, people, minerals, diamonds and ivory.

Terrorism versus crime

Shaw, director of Communities, Crime and Conflicts at STATT Consulting, says the focus on the threat posed by terrorism over the past decade has overshadowed the growth of crime networks. “The attention has been on the war in Iran and Afghanistan,” he says. Even the problem of opium-trafficking in the latter country has been viewed through the prism of the war. But the alarming nexus of organized crime, insurgency and terrorism in Mali has alerted the world to the fact that organized crime can step into the political vacuum in societies in upheaval.

Libya, warns Shaw, may become a haven for organized crime. “There are lots of unemployed young men, established militia and weapons, and the country is at the crossroads of a number of trafficking routes,” he says.

Crime-instability link overstated?

Ted Leggett, a research officer with the UN Office for Drugs and Crime, acknowledges a frequent overlap between organized crime and political instability but believes the connection can be overstated at times. It is important, he says, to make the distinction between the problem of local strongmen and the problem of transnational trafficking. Insurgents or rebels may profit from transnational trafficking – for example the Taliban’s taxing of opium production and trafficking in Afghanistan (earning them US$125 million annually), or militias’ involvement in trafficking minerals in DRC, to advance their wars – but they rarely take charge of the trafficking themselves. “Rather, they provide protection to transnational traffickers, specialists who pay them to operate in the areas that they control. It’s like the relationship between a state and the corporations headquartered within it. The US government does not export Ford autos, but it does tax Ford,” he says.

On the Elephant in the Room’s broader argument, Leggett says: “The idea that peacekeeping missions should help the host states build their capacity to deal with transnational organized crime is a good one but any such intervention would face serious challenges.” It is difficult, he says, for UN Police to recruit the kind of specialized staff required. “Most police peacekeepers are patrol officers from other developing countries” with limited skills and resources. Often, they can’t speak the local language. Given that “dealing with transnational organized crime requires a sophisticated understanding of the local context”, this is highly problematic. Another problem, says Leggett, and as the authors of the report note, is that the security forces are themselves often implicated in trafficking.

He adds: “Good police work is of little use when the courts do not convict or where prisoners are released, and building capacity among corrupt officials can have unintended consequences.”

Embedding crime experts into UN field operations?

The IPI report authors conclude with recommendations on how peace operations can tackle organized crime more effectively. As Shaw notes, “the complexities of illicit trafficking require much more than a law enforcement response.” Pooling information and utilizing regional offices, for example the UN Office for West Africa in Dakar, is key, as is embedding crime experts into UN field operations. Peacekeepers are well-placed to collect information, which must be managed and analysed at a higher level. They may baulk at the notion of intelligence gathering, “(but) as the UN increasingly becomes a target for terrorist attacks, and as UN operations become more exposed to complex situations involving armed groups and criminal networks, there is a growing realization and acceptance that peace operations need to have access to intelligence,” they say.

The development approach

Meanwhile, some argue that the best way vulnerable states – particularly those in conflict and post-conflict situations – can be protected from transnational organized crime is by taking a development approach: in other words, strengthening their economic, civic and government structures.

Graeme Simpson, director of Interpeace USA, which seeks to build social and political cohesion in post-conflict societies, argues that neither law enforcement approaches, nor the peacekeepers, can effectively combat transnational organized crime. “These approaches are addressing the symptoms but not the underlying deficiencies that make countries vulnerable to organized crime,” he says. “Drug cartels and drug-based economies are vibrant and they hold and employ huge numbers of people. Unless we create alternative sustainable economies and legitimate polities in these communities we won’t be able to offer alternative and viable ways for people to survive,” he adds.

pg/cb  source


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Norway signs UN arms trade treaty

Posted by African Press International on June 5, 2013

Norway signs the UN Arms Trade Treaty. “Norway has worked systematically to bring about such a treaty. It is now crucial that as many countries as possible sign and ratify the treaty so that it enters into force as quickly as possible,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

State Secretary Gry Larsen is to sign the treaty on behalf of Norway, along with representatives from a number of other countries, at a signing ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York. The agreement will enter into force after 50 states have ratified it.

“The arms trade treaty is an important step in the right direction when it comes to reducing armed violence and the serious human suffering caused by the illegal and irresponsible trade in weapons,” Mr Eide said.

The new treaty covers a wide range of conventional weapons, including ammunition and parts and components of conventional weapons. The treaty also includes important prohibitions and criteria relating to export licences, violations of international humanitarian law, international human rights, organised crime, terrorism in importing states and gender-based violence.

“Norway will work to ensure that the arms trade treaty is implemented effectively, and that there is a focus on the humanitarian aspects of the arms trade. It is crucial that the treaty gains global acceptance and that it sets a new international standard. In the years ahead, we will seek to strengthen the treaty, both in specific areas and by keeping it up to date as regards technological developments in the weapons field,” Mr Eide said.




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Almost all the countries of the world have signed up to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

Posted by African Press International on May 29, 2013

JOHANNESBURG,  – Talks have begun on giving a global treaty on land degradation more teeth. 

Almost all the countries of the world have signed up to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and are now in discussions to create a protocol or legal instrument to make the treaty operational.

Melchiade Bukuru, chief of UNCCD’s liaison office at the UN headquarters in New York, told IRIN talks on a protocol have gained momentum.

The UNCCD secretariat had first tabled the idea for the protocol at theRio+20 conference in 2012, and the proposed protocol was discussed at recent scientific meetings of the Convention. This is viewed as significant progress, as things often move slowly in multilateral forums.

The protocol is aimed at achieving Zero Net Land Degradation (ZNLD) and the UNCCD hopes it will help make the Convention operational in the manner that the Kyoto Protocol did for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in attempting to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

Ian Hannam, chair of the Sustainable Use of Soils and Desertification Specialist Group at the World Commission on Environmental Law, which falls under the International Union for Conservation of Nature, along with the group’s co-chair, Irene Heuser, and its previous chair, Ben Boer, have been campaigning for a protocol since 2012.

“A new legal instrument could take the form of a global policy and monitoring framework,” said Hannam and his co-campaigners in a statement. “It has also been proposed that such a protocol could incorporate the setting of ZNLD targets by individual countries, for example as a percentage of arable land in their jurisdiction, or regions within their jurisdiction.”

The UNFCCC’s Kyoto Protocol got countries to set time-bound targets to reduce harmful warming emissions. But it had the benefit of credible scientific data as its foundation – such as the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the rate at which they were warming it. Data and studies on this information are still evolving, but the basis has been established by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The UNCCD is pushing for the creation of similar body – an Intergovernmental Panel on Land and Soil (IPLS) – as a global authority providing credible and policy-relevant scientific information to help countries make informed decisions on dealing with land degradation and desertification (LDD).

At present credible scientific data on the extent of the problem is scarce, said a team of scientists in a report commissioned by the UNCCD in 2012.

Five global assessments in the last four decades have provided degradation estimates ranging from 15 percent to 63 percent of global land, and 4 percent to 74 percent of the Earth’s drylands.

“We need the attention of policy-makers, including those who are indirectly in charge of the Convention, such as a minister of finance [who allocates national funds], to understand the relevance of sustainable land management… in the context of national development – food security…”

The numbers have varied because different methods and factors were used in the calculations.

Nevertheless, in the two decades between 1981 and 2003, over 20 percent of the Earth’s surface – on which 1.5 billion people live – has lost its ability to produce, based on the best interpretations of satellite imagery. But this data lacks country-specific details.

“It is the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] which built the foundation and the momentum of climate change in all political discourses and policies,” says Bukuru, underscoring the importance of a scientific panel.

“There is still some resistance [from some member countries], but the majority of countries support its establishment.”

In the interim, he said, countries can use the services of the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES) created in 2012. The IPBES will assess the state of the planet’s biodiversity, its ecosystems, and the essential services they provide to society.

Bukuru said the UNCCD has in the meantime entered the “realm of measurability” in respect of its protocol.

In 2009 all the countries that are party to the UNCCD agreed to a set of indicators, such as the extent of land cover under a nation’s jurisdiction, and the number of people living above the poverty line in the areas affected by LDD. The countries have begun reporting back on the indicators since 2012, as is mandatory.

Explaining the relevance of the data, Bukuru said that the map of poverty usually coincides with that of degraded lands in most developing countries, except in oil-producing ones.

A 2009 review led by Zafar Adeel, director of the UN University’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH), also called for a scientific panel to be set up. “The UNCCD has not had this benefit [of credible science], and many of its founding assumptions are now challenged. It was believed that the Sahara was advancing remorselessly, whereas satellite measurements and careful field studies show that advance and retreat are cyclical.”

Financial backing

The UNCCD has also initiated a process to “put a price tag on action or inaction against land degradation, desertification and drought, and it turns out to prove that action is less expensive than inaction,” says Bukuru.

A report on one such effort informed a recent scientific meeting of the Convention that land degradation is costing the international community some US$490 billion per year, but some of the studies cited in the report used different ways of assessing degradation and there was not enough data available on some aspects, says Wagaki Mwangi, spokesperson for the UNCCD.

”We need the attention of policy-makers, including those who are indirectly in charge of the Convention, such as a minister of finance [who allocates national funds], to understand the relevance of sustainable land management… in the context of national development – food security, energy security, climate change adaptation, or poverty alleviation.”

The idea is to come up with a sound cost-benefit analysis like the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, presented in 2006 by Sir Nicholas Stern, head adviser to the UK government on the economics of climate change and development. The review put a monetary value on the impact of climate change and the global failure to take action now, which drew the attention of heads of state and finance ministers to the issue.

The UNCCD is supporting a global initiative – the Economics of Land Degradation, involving the European Commission, the Centre for Development Research (Bonn), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), UNU-INWEH and Germany – to establish a robust scientific basis for the development of sustainable land-use strategies, while a cost-benefit analysis would help create awareness.

Funding for projects to address land degradation and the impact of droughts has been improving, but is still too little. Mohamed Bakarr, of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the main funding mechanism of the UNCCD, said at the moment only US$320 million was available for the 144 countries eligible for funding for projects. The money is not distributed equally between the countries but according to criteria that take various factors into consideration.

jk/he  source


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A mini-documentary that highlights the problematic presentation of Africa in Western media.

Posted by African Press International on April 28, 2013

  •  by Edith Waringa

Africa In Western Media 

Imagine Africa contributing AID for one of the richest countries on the planet, Norway? Freezing Cold kills, as much as hunger killing whenever a country does not take care of her people. If all you saw in the news about the western country Norway was the freezing people you would think that it is so all the year round. Just the same as alarming stories about Africa by western media. Africa is rich of resources and the story must be told objectively. This video is made by students at the university of Oslo with financial AID from the Norwegian government to send a message to the world that Africa should be covered objectively by western media.

This is a very enlightening piece of information to those interested in seeing Africa with the African eyes and in a positive way with emphasis of the good things in the continent.

Imagine if every person in Africa saw the “Africa for Norway” video and this was the only information they ever got about Norway. What would they think about Norway?

If we say Africa, what do you think about? Hunger, poverty, crime or AIDS? No wonder, because in fundraising campaigns and media that’s mainly what you hear about.

The pictures we usually see in fundraisers are of poor African children. Hunger and poverty is ugly, and it calls for action. But while these images can engage people in the short term, we are concerned that many people simply give up because it seems like nothing is getting better. Africa should not just be something that people either give to, or give up on.

The truth is that there are many positive developments in African countries, and we want these to become known. We need to change the simplistic explanations of problems in Africa. We need to educate ourselves on the complex issues and get more focus on how western countries have a negative impact on Africa’s development. If we want to address the problems the world is facing we need to do it based on knowledge and respect.

The video is made by The Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund ( With the cooperation of Operation Day’s Work ( With funding from The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and The Norwegian Children and Youth Council (LNU). Music by Wathiq Hoosain. Lyrics by Bretton Woods ( Video by Ikind Productions ( Music Producer Kurt Pienke. Full credits here:…

Arabic: Rami Jawhar

Uploaders’ Comments (Edith Waringa Kamau)

All Comments (37)

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  • Esther Neema 

    Esther Neema 1 day ago

    Well that is true but there are also those who don’t. The ones that stay here long enough have learned to hustle. They have learned to bargain as well. There as “Mzungu who took a girl for a date and she came with her friends. He refused to pay for the friends and paid just for his date. In every country there are some corny people, it takes smart people to survive. Am not saying that it’s good to hustle tourist, it is a disgusting practice, but there are other things that are amazing.

    Reply ·   in reply to michael hoory (Show the comment)
  • michael hoory 

    michael hoory 1 day ago

    hi edith in all honesty i am shocked at the amount of litter in kenya and slum housing and lack of maintainances of public utilities,.ok u got banks and offices and expensive hotels in kenya 400euros pernight , but will kenyans ever wake up and realise the austraila gets about 28million tourists per annum.,.stop hustling tourists,.plzzzzzz

    Reply ·  
  • michael hoory 

    michael hoory 1 day ago

    sorry too say i have to agree with you ,,.very much neglect by leaders,,.if you get a chance look up aquaphonics videos on yotube for the future new technology of africa,.,.

    Reply ·   in reply to James Kojwang (Show the comment)
  • michael hoory 

    michael hoory 1 day ago

    sorry to say this to you but i wish kenyans would stop chasing tourists money,.u know its costs over 4500 euros per person for a weeks safari holiday in kenya,.and the ordinary kenyans think we muzungo are all laoaded,.

    Reply ·   in reply to Esther Neema (Show the comment)
  • Xoco Late 

    Xoco Late 1 day ago

    Keep on working on that Edith. The great job you’re doing has to be developed. Encouragements. Thanks again for representing and standing for Africa.

    Reply ·  
  • njue sly 

    njue sly 2 days ago


    Reply ·  
  • Tirus Kariuki 

    Tirus Kariuki 2 days ago

    Africa is rising and we the youth will continue telling the African story…the TRUE African story.Good work and we are proud of you Edith

    Reply ·  
  • Thomas Njoroge 

    Thomas Njoroge 2 days ago

    Thanks so much for this. I have struggled with this for ten years and I am going to share this on facebook to see if my friends in USA agree. I first came to vermont from nairobi and wondered whether I was in the right place. I went to college to take A$P 1 and 2 and a classmate asked me whether we go to school in Africa. I am sure he did not know, but to this day I still don’t know how to answer that question. I worked hard and passed with an A, then honors in NY nursing programme. Media ???

    Reply ·   in reply to Edith Waringa Kamau (Show the comment)
  • Kimathi Muthuri 

    Kimathi Muthuri 3 days ago

    Truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    Reply ·  
  • 10sheeko

    10sheeko 3 days ago

    This has been flagged as spam show

  • 10sheeko

    Comment removed

    Author withheld

    Reply ·  
  • Esther Neema 

    Esther Neema 3 days ago

    Very grateful for this, yes there is poverty, yes there are issues, and so are there in every country, but there also is so much beauty in Africa. we need to learn to sell that, and not misery, we need to learn to be self healing and do things for ourselves and not expect that selling a bad image should bring us money. We have so much to trade other than our poverty. we are a beautiful people. Such will inspire alot of Kenyas to tell the positive stories much as much as we do all the others

    Reply ·  
  • Gilbert Kiplagat 

    Gilbert Kiplagat 3 days ago

    good job Waringa, am proud of my mamaland, proud of you too. you have a great voice!

    Reply ·  
  • Stephen Machua 

    Stephen Machua 3 days ago

    Hello Edith Waringa Kamau, You have just summarised my passion for Africa in 9 minutes, i love it. I am passionate about positivity in Africa, follow me on twitter @stephenmachua lets join hands.

    Reply ·  
  • Tabbytha Mwendwa 

    Tabbytha Mwendwa 3 days ago

    Good job!

    Reply ·  
  • kenyamusica 

    kenyamusica 3 days ago

    Waringa… BigUp Girl. You are Awesome…. Keep the spririt… You are surely in a mission for Change.Thanks for representing all of us out here in da states. Bring more stuff to light. Cheers!!

    Reply ·  
  • Margaret Muru 

    Margaret Muru 4 days ago

    welll i get what you mean !! well done waringa

    Reply ·  
  • qtblaque 

    qtblaque 4 days ago

    kudos Waringa, all da african students u featured are great! We should all be proud of who we are.

    Reply ·  
  • qtblaque 

    qtblaque 4 days ago

    is dat why jang’o men die/ are on a spree to marry kiuk women, 2 make them feel better about themselves???AFRICA is beautiful, na muache kupenda vitu za bure dats y u don’t prosper in nyanza/ western

    Reply ·   in reply to James Kojwang (Show the comment)
  • James Kojwang 

    James Kojwang 4 days ago

    what say you of our devastatedly devided country between the kikuyu and luos like you and western kenyans suffering vis a vis the kikuyu elite determined to rule kenya forever? Your view of africa is ddifferent from REAL AFRICANS SUFFERING EVERYDAY from hunger poverty of thought an d basic necessities. DONT LIE TO THE WORLD….WE ARE SUFFERING AND DYING IN AFRICA!!!!!!!!!

    Reply ·  
  • GraduateGamers 

    GraduateGamers 4 days ago

    WE, more like you, your wife and children! get your lazy ass to work

    Reply ·   in reply to James Kojwang (Show the comment)
  • Scott Burke 

    Scott Burke 5 days ago

    Very nice work, Edith. I’ve been to Africa many times, including Kenya, and I couldn’t agree more with your piece. Keep going with this, whether more doco’s / writing etc, there’s so much more here. Quick — and sad — story: I send clients to Kenya (and other places), and one of them, a middle-aged American woman, told me she actually had fears of being raped after she got off the plane. Unreal. Anyway looking forward to more of your work.

    Reply ·  
  • jeff mokaya 

    jeff mokaya 6 days ago

    Africa needs to tell it’s own success story.

    Reply ·  
  • jeff mokaya 

    jeff mokaya 6 days ago

    Good work Edith.

    Reply ·  
  • Hellen Konyango 

    Hellen Konyango 6 days ago

    Great video Edith! I have also encountered some of the misconceptions living in New York. I’m always asked whether we speak English in Kenya and where I learned to speak it so well having not grown up in the U.S.

    Reply ·  
  • RaaMaale24TV

    RaaMaale24TV 6 days ago

    This has been flagged as spam show

  • Louisa Angoni 

    Louisa Angoni 6 days ago

    Well done Edith…..

    Reply ·  
  • Sura Mbaya 

    Sura Mbaya 6 days ago

    That said, Edith, there are number of great websites where Africans are sharing their stories on technology innovation, on business deals on great government policy. We need to give these websites more support, increased traffic, tweet about them and share them with others. We need to talk positively about our continent in our everyday conversations. We need to challenge those stereotypes every single day just as you are doing. Good stuff and godspeed!

    Reply ·  
  • Sura Mbaya 

    Sura Mbaya 6 days ago

    Edith – I admire your effort. I live both in the US and Kenya and I always get these stares from Americans when they realize that I know all about the stuff going on in the states. They marvel at my education and the fact that I went to one of the top schools in their country. I am also in an industry where we handle huge deals – a lot of Americans cannot fathom the fact that these deals are being closed in Africa. I agree – A lot of this has to do with the media’s depiction of Africa.

    Reply ·  
  • kahurialive 

    kahurialive 1 week ago

    I like this… I went to school in rural PA and was once asked if we had airports in Africa! I was thrown off at how much Americans don’t know about Africa! In a haste I responded that I took a canoe across the Atlantic and they believed it! In hindsight I probably did Africa a disservice but oh well…

    Reply ·  
  • Kate Rose 

    Kate Rose 1 week ago

    Edith, this is such a great piece! Reveals so many misconceptions and a real need for more stories from Africans themselves. Get it!

    Reply ·  
  • qd4wrong 

    qd4wrong 1 week ago

    I can totally relate to this I am Kenyan too and you can’t believe how many times I get asked if my christian name is my actual name or its just a name I picked up when I got to the US or if I had eaten cake or worn these types of clothes when I was in Africa. it is just ridiculous. Great video Edith!

    Reply ·  
  • qd4wrong

    Comment removed

    Author withheld

    Reply ·  
  • Edith Waringa Kamau 

    Edith Waringa Kamau 1 week ago

    Thanks for the feedback! Really appreciate.

    Reply ·  
  • Daniel Nyakora 

    Daniel Nyakora 1 week ago

    Is that Sophia!! This is cool!

    Reply ·  
  • TheFaradiah 

    TheFaradiah 1 week ago

    Yes!! Yes to having an African cable news channel!! We will tell our own stories…besides, kitanda usichokilalia hujui kunguni wake.

    Reply ·  
  • ruthwangia 

    ruthwangia 1 week ago

    Waringa Kamau,Great Job!

    Reply ·  



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