January 10, 2011
Race Against Time
Part A: General Overview:
The book, Race Against Time by Stephen Lewis is compiled with five heart-quenching and eye-opening lectures. Each chapter held an important topic but they all were related by the continued inefficiency of the United Nations assistance, the lack of compliant funding from developed countries, as well as the endless potential that Africa is unable to clench. For decades the United Nations has been working to achieve a better peace for the global community by improving international law and security, economic development, social progress, and human rights. The organization is equipped with a variety of groups that have a specific focus, such as the Economic and Social Council, World Food Programme (WFP), and several more. Lewis proposes that the high status and admirable mandate of the UN is merely an illusion, with translucent promises and barely prompted goals. In the year 2000, the UN came up with The Millennium Development Goals all to be achieved by the year 2015. Lewis touches upon the following in regards to Africa; halve poverty and hunger, provide universal primary education, promote gender equality, reduce by two thirds the child mortality rate, reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality rate, and halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately, the complete accomplishment of these goals is at risk. Stephan Lewis believes that the people running these important organizations do not succeed in their position; they are entitled to an
immense amount of power in order to make a difference but they haven’t be able to conquer some vital issues. The leaders and members all have the correct mindset and an inevitable desire to help but their imprint on societies hasn’t been as great or supportive as it should. The UN has immunity throughout the world and they are accepted and welcomed everywhere. Lewis argues that they have many brilliant ideas but the plans are scarcely as efficient as expected because they sometimes choose the wrong people to produce them as well as the distraction of other issues that are dubbed more important, like finances and economies. In a way, they have fallen short because the potential and supremacy they hold is capable of so much more.
Furthermore, the short comings of The United Nations are not the only roadblock in the way of Africa’s development. Foreign aid from developed countries, mainly the members of the G8 summit is tremendously crucial to impoverished countries such as Africa. In 1968, each one of these richer countries had promised to give 0.7% of their own Gross National Income; to this date not one member has been entirely faithful. Without substantial aid, these countries are kept under a glass ceiling – they can only progress so far. Considering the world to be a somewhat moral and ethical place, it is an obligation to keep fellow countries entirely sustained. Many countries donate very little in comparison to their pledge, the US offers about three billion a year when it should be at about eight. The lack of foreign aid could be understood if the donors weren’t raking in tens of billions more than Africa; the real sadness emerges from the fact that the increase of foreign aid or even obligating the initial 0.7% would not devastate any developed country. Every one of the countries is advanced economically and socially enough to offer up the help required of them and to understand that it isn’t a burden to assist the needy. Lewis refers to Japan, a wealthy country who contributed only 17.7% of its foreign aid to Africa in 2002/2003,
the lowest of all the industrialized countries. Also, Lewis is suspicious that the only reason the funds were even provided for Africa that year was simply because Japan wanted a seat on the Security Council and required the votes of the African bloc. It’s difficult for Lewis to...