For decades, much of the news about Africa was dire. From disease and famine to horrific violence, the continent has endured its share of problems. But while challenges remain, positive trends are developing across the continent. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson spoke about trends and developments and about U.S. involvement with the nations of Africa.
The conflict minerals movement is gaining traction. The movement is a pragmatic effort to address one of the principal drivers of atrocities and conflict throughout Congo’s tortured history: the scramble for control of Congo's vast mineral resources. In eastern Congo today, these mineral resources are financing multiple armed groups, many of whom use mass rape as a deliberate strategy to intimidate and control local populations. Armed groups and military units earn hundreds of millions of dollars per year by trading four main minerals: the ores that produce tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold. This money enables the militias to self-finance their campaign of brutal violence against civilians, with some of the worst abuses occurring in mining areas.