In this issue we call again for the use of smart intervention from the international community to prevent further bloodshed in Libya. There is a chance that the west, along with the rest of the international community, can play a genuinely positive role in the progress of this North African State.
The arguments against intervention do not add up. There is already so much western involvement in the country; in trade, oil exploration and commerce for instance, that the idea of not wanting to get involved, is untenable. There is also the very real possibility that the country becomes a failed state and a breeding ground for terrorists. The shadow of western involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan does cast a shadow over any potential intervention. Yet involvement does not need to mean full scale invasion of the country, modern technology means support can be supplied in more sophisticated ways. There is an opportunity here for the west to put humanity and the democratic principles it supposedly stands for before oil and trade. It is one it needs to take to be a true global leader.
Across Africa there is a need for democratic leaders to also be a voice calling for a concerted end to Gaddafi’s despotic regime. As the continent’s largest economy, and arguably democracy, South Africa has the opportunity to lead Africa in the call for greater democracy in the continent, from Libya to Ivory Coast and next door Zimbabwe. South Africa’s strength is growing, so too should its influence. It can and should represent a new direction for the African Union and the presentation of Africa to the world; as a progressive democratic continent that rejects despots and dictators.
Elsewhere in this edition and in the continent Britain has been lees restrained over its involvement. The Department of International Development (DfID) has expanded its aid programmes to five African countries. The increase in funds to these countries comes after a review of International aid. The review will also see aid to six African nations slashed as the department shifts its focus to try and help out those who are most in need. It is an attempt to get greater results without altering the amount of money spent.
March also saw celebrations of International Woman’s Day. We acknowledge the day with a look at the persistence of gender inequality in agriculture. We examine how discrimination that denies women who work in agriculture the same access to resources as their male counterparts is detrimental to womanhood, the family, and productivity of the land as well as being reprehensible.