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Jim Clancy: African immigrants and news this week in Africa

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Jim Clancy is an anchor and correspondent for CNN International. As host of Inside Africa, Clancy regularly covers political, cultural and economic news from the continent

CNN Moderator: Good morning Jim Clancy. Welcome to you and all to another Inside Africa chat.

Jim Clancy: Good morning everyone!

CNN Moderator: This week the show takes a look at the African population living outside the African continent. Where are they going and how much of the African population are we talking about?

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Jim Clancy: In percentage terms, about 20 percent of the total world population of Africans live outside the continent. But in terms of the Diaspora itself, there are millions who are refugees, displaced or searching for economic opportunities in other nations. Africans, of course, can be found on every continent. Their emigration to the U.S. took a sharp upturn about six years ago.

CNN Moderator: What can you tell us about some of the special issues or problems they face when these people live outside their native countries?

Jim Clancy: The problems are many, and not unlike other immigrants in Europe, Asia or the Americas. Surprisingly, racial discrimination was not cited as a major problem by most of those we talked with for our report. But it is very disheartening for a university graduate, holding Masters or Doctorate level credentials to begin working as a store clerk or office clerk. They take time to build careers and most say it is not as easy as they imagined. But for health and educational opportunities, sometimes it is the only course they can take. What pleases many is the stated desire to return home to Africa one day and build businesses or institutions to help their own countries develop.

Question from chat room: Is there today any semblance of the 'back to Africa' movement that Marcus Garvey and others promoted?

Jim Clancy: It's not an organized movement we're talking about here. The key is that you have to have more than just the desire to "go back" to Africa. You have to have an understanding of the problems faced by Africans, first and foremost. Second you need skills that can be applied directly to bring solutions to those problems. I know several Africans who have returned to the continent to begin Internet or telecommunications projects because they have the skills.

These are precisely the kind of people that Africa needs. Yes, they should make good profits from their businesses. But more importantly, they are bringing the latest technological know-how to the continent and providing benefits for decades to come.

Question from chat room: Why is there no incentive for outside-educated Africans to return to Africa and help improve it?

Jim Clancy: In a word: salaries. Take for instance, the situation in South Africa where the main university for international and legal affairs simply can't attract teachers because it has no funds. Without teachers, what will the students learn? To create a "magnet" for international studies, the new Nelson Mandela Foundation, being strongly supported by Justice Richard Goldstone, who was recently here in the U.S. Justice Goldstone, former chief prosecutor for the War Crimes Court in the Hague, is a South African and sits on the Supreme Court. He came to the U.S. to find corporate sponsors to create funded teaching posts in South Africa. This is the kind of grassroots institution building that has to take place. Africa needs outside resources to build those institutions.

CNN Moderator: What's been the reaction in Ghana since 126 people who were killed at a soccer match last week after police fired tear gas into the crowd to temper their unruliness?

Jim Clancy: The police are taking most of the blame for the tragedy itself, but there are stark political overtones to the aftermath. The government claims that Jerry Rawling's former minister for sports was behind a lot of the friction in street demonstrations following the tragedy. The concern of many people is what effect this will have on Africa's bid for the 2010 World Cup. Frankly, it's far too early to tell. But African leaders and those who hope to host those games need to understand that security at sporting events is a matter to be taken seriously. This is just one of many sporting tragedies we've had in Africa in the last two years and there needs to be better training for police forces assigned to these events.

Question from chat room: Jim, love you on CNNI, glad to see you in the chat room...What is Africa doing about the children who are being sold into slavery?

Jim Clancy: Not enough, I'm afraid. It was the topic of the day, but much remains to be seen in action. Frankly, until and unless those who profit from the trade in child servants are prosecuted and jailed, why would anyone quit the business? Now, I've heard pledges from Ivory Coast and others to pass laws. We're watching them very closely and this will be a future topic on Inside Africa.

Question from chat room: Jim, new outbreaks of violence in Kenya are forcing hundreds from their homes. What's going on there?

Jim Clancy: What we have are conflicts over declining resources. Kenya has been hit by a years-long drought. The grazing lands of different ethnic groups--the Maasai and the Kisii-- are disputed. It is very unfortunate that this has happened, but the question must be put to the government: Couldn't you have seen it coming? Why wasn't something done to diffuse the anger and fear? The truth is that these kinds of disputes go on all the time, all over the world. It is only when there is no effective forecasting of this kind of earnest competition that we see it degenerate into this kind of violence.

CNN Moderator: Jim, what other stories will be coming out of Africa this week?

Jim Clancy: Well, there is a lot of news. I just finished speaking with Faustin Twagiramungu, the former Prime Minister of Rwanda. Mr. Twagiramungu and I talked about the Great Lakes Region and the U-N Security Council mission to Congo that got underway today. It is a complicated problem but one that deserves all of our attention. International pressure is vital to the success of the peace effort. Also vital, the national dialogue and the withdrawal of forces and an end to the looting of the Congo's resources. We hope to bring you a bit on that topic this weekend on Inside Africa. For now, I've got to sign off, but thank you everyone.

CNN Moderator: Thanks, as always, for joining us today, Jim Clancy.

Jim Clancy joined the Inside Africa chat from CNN Center in Atlanta, GA. The above is an edited transcript of the interview on Wednesday, May 16, 2001 at 11:00 a.m. EDT.



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RELATED STORIES:
Descendants of African slaves struggle to survive
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