Aid to Haiti: Nigeria, South Africa and African Union should work together

The disaster that beset Haiti is colossal and the human suffering with destruction brought by earthquake is up to biblical proportion. The whole world is coming together to help Haiti, the poorest country in Northern Hemisphere, to save lives and ameliorate human sufferings. Africa is not missing in the picture; many African countries including Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda and others are offering assistance to Haiti but they should synchronize their effort.

Nigerians are part of the UN police mission in Haiti that are assiduously working to rescue people who are missing and trapped in the fallen building structures. The Nigerian Vice President Jonathan Ebele Goodluck has promised to follow up with more assistance. Rwanda and Liberia governments have contributed US $100, 000 and $50,000 respectively. Senegalese government has promised to offer land to Haitians, those that are willing to come to Senegal. And “South Africa – The government has announced a three-phase assistance package: deployment of doctors to a search and rescue team led by Rescue South Africa, a non-profit company; deployment of forensic pathologists to help identify bodies; provision of unspecified humanitarian aid in partnership with South African NGOs”.

All these contributions by African countries are the right steps in affirmative direction but the planning lacks vitality and coherence. In this case Africa needs coordination that will enable her to make a reasonable impact; this is not to negate the singular effort made by each country. But when they come together under the auspices of African Union the impact will be greatly felt and they will speak with one voice. The whole world will understand that Africa can work together for the rescue and revitalization that citizens of the world are doing in Haiti. African governments must not make this solely a government intervention operation but must devise a method to include their citizens especially the wealthy people in the country to contribute to a Haiti fund and NGOs that are dedicated to charity works.

Afripol Organization has applauded Liberia and Rwanda for the cash donations they made to Haiti. For inspite of the economic downturn and problems these countries were experiencing still they made these donations. Rwanda with her past history of genocide and destruction understood quite well the suffering and Liberia with her legacy of civil war knew what it means to lose life and property on a staggering scale.

Obama’s American has taken the lead and has done a good job and the American people have followed with donations. Africans can learn from this; not by giving large resources which they do not have but having a concerted planning and coordination. Nigeria and South Africa the two largest economies in Africa must shoulder bigger responsibilities, simultaneously showing sense of leadership by working together to streamline African response.

Mr. Emeka Chiakwelu is the Principal policy strategist at Afripol Organization. Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.

Written by
Emeka Chiakwelu
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