Africa Faces 3 Key Challenges For Managing Humanitarian Crises

Project Syndicate: Three Humanitarian Challenges for Africa in 2018
Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, regional director for Africa for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

“…Somalia’s [response to its cholera outbreak in mid-2017] gives me great hope for Africa’s future. But it also serves as a reminder that local capacity is easily inundated during times of crisis. While some parts of Africa have become self-sufficient in terms of public health, others continue to lean heavily on global aid. … [T]hree key challenges this year are likely to pose the severest tests of Africa’s ability to manage humanitarian crises. The first challenge is violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. … The second challenge this year is Somalia’s food insecurity, which, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, is expected to intensify this year. … Finally, the very scourge that Somalia contained last year will continue to rear its head elsewhere in the region. … [T]he international development community must do more to invest in grassroots solutions, empowering Africans rather than treating them as subcontractors to their own suffering. Not only are local organizations better positioned to navigate complex cultural and linguistic landscapes; they also have more to lose if they fail. … When local ingenuity and international support align, the cycle of suffering can be broken. For many African countries, the ability to look confidently beyond the next crisis is the first step on the long road to self-reliance” (2/14).