Africare: Late 1990s

Africare expands programs advancing civil-society development and "good governance" ― adult literacy is essential. (Photo: Sheila McKinnon)


First held in 1990, the annual Africare Bishop Walker Dinner gathers Africa supporters from around the world. At the 1994 event,  President Soglo of Benin (left) greets Nana Rawlings, First Lady of Ghana. (Photo: Gustave Assiri)


"I regard Africare as one of America's greatest gifts to Africa. Your work, in every corner of our great continent, has sustained our own commitment to building a strong and free Africa."

― Nelson Mandela
President of South Africa

The crises of the early 1990s continued: civil wars in Angola, Liberia and Sierra Leone; recurrent conflict in Burundi; and refugee migrations within Southern Africa and from Sudan to neighboring countries. In 1998, a border war erupted between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Heavy flooding in early 2000 caused damage and loss of life in Southern Africa, especially in Mozambique. Drought continued to plague Sahelian West and East Africa. And in every case, Africare continued to help.

In contrast, Rwanda made steady progress — rebuilding, reducing ethnic hostilities and, by the year 2000, holding multiparty elections. Other nations progressed toward democratic forms of governance, open civil societies and free-market economies. Africare's traditional development projects facilitated that progress. In addition, Africare greatly expanded its work in civil-society development and governance.

Africare's Food for Development, or "food security," programs had reached 13 countries by 2000.

And as HIV & AIDS dramatically spread in Africa, Africare's HIV & AIDS programming also spread — by the end of 2000, to more than 20 nations.

In the 1998 annual report, Africare's chairman and president shared this look to the future: "We are mindful that Africare is entering, not just another year, but the cusp of a new millennium. So we began asking ourselves: 'What can we do differently? How can we better help Africa?' ... We must achieve more with less," they noted. "Donor resources are shrinking across the board." They went on to affirm these programmatic focal points: (1) HIV & AIDS; (2) food security, population and the environment; (3) conflict resolution and "good governance"; and (4) computer and Internet technology transfer. Those focus areas have been maintained to the present day.



More Africare history

Early 1970s: "The task undertaken by Africare is immense" 
Late 1970s: "Courage to stand firmly against great odds"  
Early 1980s: "We need Africare to spread all over Africa"
Late 1980s: "A crucial threshold"  
Early 1990s: "I profoundly believe in Africa"  
Late 1990s: "The cusp of a new millennium"  
Since 2000: "There are no Africare programs, only African programs" 

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