Wednesday, April 5, 2017


By Adan Makina
Nowadays, a look at how some of the Somali youth living in the Western Hemisphere prepare for their future upon graduating from high school is cause for alarm. By developing distorted mental imaginations, these youth who hail from disadvantaged backgrounds and broken families, find it difficult to heed the advises given by their school counselors because of preconceived established ideas ingrained in their minds that are hard to alter. Ironically, with falling school performances reported among school-going Somali children in Europe and North America, choosing the wrong careers after the gates of the schools are kept under lock and key create unease for any watchful educator and parent who wishes to see all kids remain in school until they are capable of handling their affairs. Even with plenty of financial aid and other grants available and reserved for those willing to partake in the furtherance of their education, the prospects of remaining in school diminishes for reasons best known to them.
Because of their obsessions with immediate jobs and some cash to propel them in to the murky waters of the underworld, these kids end up taking up menial jobs and often find themselves shoved in to contemptible and unprofessional fields like cab driving, janitorial, doormen, cooks, and the manufacturing industry considered to be the lowest paying in terms of job classifications. However, because of overabundance of narcotics and other mind altering drugs readily available in the streets, tardiness and ill-fated temptations usher them in to the corridors of social rejection and disobedience that ultimately lead them to rub shoulders with the law.
Thus, the youth who was touted to be a shining star unto himself, his family, and his nation, becomes a subject of condemnation when an unpardonable and strange act leads him to the gallows of a dreaded prison. Though many strait-laced, fortunate convicts who serve their sentences cautiously emerge out of the gates of dungeons with rosaries in hand as signs of repentance, the hard core ones who remain behind could find themselves rewarded with extended jail terms due to other horrible felonies committed while behind bars. Such sarcastic miscalculations in life may be attributed to poor parental and societal upbringing, lack of role models and mentors, resettling with careless and unfamiliar faces and families, failure to grasp the exhortations of the elderly, and taking the wrong path in life.
Also, the effects of the horrendous civil wars that separated family and friends, child abuse and neglect, familial indiscipline, parental drug addiction and illiteracy, abject poverty, and hordes of imperfections content in the social fabric they live in become the driving levers for their self-immolation or self-destruction. In addition, the social depravity of the host environment and the guest youth’s competition for space and recognition coupled with the desire to assimilate opens a path for unintended social interactions and exposure to malignant, apathetic, and alien cultures that easily consume the diminutive empathy exported from country of origin.
Furthermore, the harboring of a sense of inferiority by the novel guest and the ardent desire to participate in the affairs of the newly exposed locale tremendously alters, defaces or may even erase whatever little was left of his brain chemistry. The once exotic youth finds themselves immersed in an unfathomable bottomless pit commandeered by criminals of the most awful category. Societal fragmentation in the Diaspora, lack of extra-curricular activities, exposure to pornography, cinematographic obscenities, and lack of parental involvement in Parent Teacher Associations, are the deriding factors behind the collapse of the once youthful Somali Empire.
The stubborn outgrowth of filaments of animosity and the division of society along clan lines has never been so profound in Somali society before. While it is true that poor governance, foreign interference in Somali affairs, and lack of reconciliation between warring factions added to Somali calamity, what we should note with dismay is how the Diaspora’s disregard for unity and coherence culminated in the breakup of many who cherished trust, love, and unanimity in matters exclusive to the Somali people and nation.
The handouts and welfare benefits provided by the host nations to Somali societies and individual families are the main arteries that finance malevolent designs and the major propulsion engine of hatred in the Diaspora and in beleaguered Somalia. Wired via electronic remittances to Somali antagonistic forces on a monthly basis, these monies could be used to rejuvenate the education of Somali youth in the Diaspora and also those in impoverished Somalia.
While the number of Somali youth lagging behind bars in the Western Hemisphere could run in to the thousands, still there are an equal number of law abiding, sagacious, and hard working youth struggling to go beyond permanent barriers, travelling the hard road to prosperity, and effecting change by transforming the impossible in to the possible.
Adan Makina
This article previously appeared on WardheerNews.


Since its inception in November of 2004, WardheerNews has been going the extra mile to spearhead journalistic excellence and literary professionalism. Our editorial board members and our esteemed contributors have been working tirelessly by the day ensuring everything related to the online magazine and the radio station went according to plan.
In 2013, we saw WardheerNews move from the old HTML fashion to the modern database data retrieval system. The magazine now prides to have an enhanced digital database that can be navigated with ease. was created at a time when information about the Horn of Africa, in general, and Somalia in particular, was limited, scarce and one-sided. It  was created to fill that void.
WardheerNews was started by a group of visionary Somalis to create an equal platform of exchange and discussion. Soon after its launch, reached faraway places, to a great number of people hungry for the rich content it provided. Consequently, Somali intellectuals, healthcare professionals, women and youth found it as the intellectual forum to discuss and debate important issues.
The management of WardheerNews has numerous plans in the making that will elevate the online magazine’s international standing. With the approach of the New Year, WardheerNews editorial board is in the process of adding to its entertainment and recreation menu in the near future a print magazine circulation that will be available in select international newsstands and  a high definition television station that will be available to its diverse audience.
As we begin to make New Year resolutions and ponder what it has in store for every follower of WardheerNews, one thing is certain: Mr. Adan Makina, Chairman of our Editorial Board for the past year and half, is stepping down to pave the way for our incoming new Chairman, Khaliil Hassan, WDN head of News section who is expected to inject new innovations for the coming year and beyond.
For the period he was head of the Editorial Board, Mr. Makina constantly displayed exceptional leadership qualities with his infectious smile and humor. His ideas and suggestions always revealed his depth in understanding human nature and finding creative ways to solve nagging problems. For the foreseeable future, Mr. Makina will continue to be a member of our editorial board. Besides, he will  head our book reviews section and continue to conduct interviews of major players in the community such as political figures, scholars, writers, filmmakers, and activists.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Reconstruction of Arguments

Reconstructing an argument is part of critical thinking and a means to understanding what others have written regardless of whether what they relate is right or wrong. People with profound knowledge of literature–especially writers–deliver arguments in different forms and that is why it is crucial for a student to master the art of critical thinking.

There are several steps to follow as a form of guidance as outlined below:
1.      Before doing anything else, reading the article with utmost care and devotion should be given top priority. It would be futile to begin writing without understanding the message contained in the article.

2.      The second attempt would be restating key ideas in every paragraph or groups of paragraphs into a sentence or even two sentences according to your expertise and linguistic preferences. Even though it could take time, it is worth the effort since it will be a foundation and a stepping stone for other steps.
3.      Give attention to summary sentences and consider grouping them together especially the ones that cover major issues with identical points of concern. Differentiate sentences that pinpoint the central argument from those detailing the background discussion. Group together the themes in the discussion or study. Avoid rewriting the article for this is academically a form of plagiarism.
4.      At this juncture, you should be able to regroup the main argument sentences into thematic order. In a nutshell, the end result should be a compacted form of argument in a standard-form version.
5.      Apply the standard version form for your general argument by grouping together the summary reconstruction for your outline.

6.      In the introduction part, expose the issues with the article, the author’s position, and then concisely draw an outline of the argument using the standard version form outlined in #4.

The Review:
1.      Read very carefully with devotion.
2.      Restate the key main ideas.
3.      Identify the main themes in the discussion and unearth the logical formulation.
4.      Compact the main ideas in each topic into a standardized reconstructed form.
5.      As an outline, apply the standardized reconstruction form.
6.      Finally, begin formulating an appealing introduction that captures readers’ attention. 
7.      That’s it!

Friday, March 17, 2017


Labo gabdhood oo Soomaali ah ayaa waxay raaceen gaari caasi ah. Wax yar kadib, wuxuu gaarigii socdaba, rakaab kale ayaa loo joojiyay waxaana soo galay nin madow, aad u dheer oo madax weynaa.
Soomaali af kama aammustee, gabdhihii mid kamid ah ayaa intey is celin weyday tiri, "na heedhe, ninku madax weynaa."
Ninkii oo ku hadlaya af Soomaali fasiix ah u jawaabay gabadhii afka dheereyd. Wuxuu ku yiri, "ina adeer isku xishoow afka waa lagaa badshaaye."
Gabdhihii waxaa ka soo haray yaab iyo ammakaag. Xariifka wuxuu yaraantiisi ku koray Xerada Qaxootiga Kakuma, Kiiniya.
Dhacdadan waxay ka dhacday dalka Yemen.


Soomaalida qurbaha ku nool wey meelo galgal badanyihiin. Taasina waxaa ku kallifeysaa sidey ku heli lahaayeen nolol maalmeedkooda iyo xoogaa dheeri ah illeyn maata gaajeysan ayaa ka danbeysaaye.
Waa mar kalee, haddana waa dalka Yemen. Gabadh Soomaaliyeed ayaa waxaa shaqo ku saabsan nadaafadda laga siiyey guri uu lahaa nin Janan ahaa oo goor danbe ku naf waayi doona diyaarad nooca qumaatiga u kacda oo ay cillad farsamo soo ridday.
Gabadhii waxay cabbaar shaqeysaba, waxaa la ogaadey in ay si wanaagsan u taqaan cunto karinta. Xaaski Jananka ayaa waxay gabadhii u xil saartay in Jananka ay u noqoto cunto kariye.
Cuntada ay kariso, xitaa carruurta ayaa ku dagaallami jiray. Haddey noqoto saambuuska marka aad goosato aan laheyn saliid dililiqeysa oo aan dharka kaa wasakheyn, baasta alfoorno oo dhadhan macaan iyo udeyg ku soo jiidanaya, bariiska bilaaw iyo biriyaani.
Subax baa Janankii gabadhii quraac ka dalbaday weyna u keentay waloow uu ka maqnaa khubuskii uu jeclaa ee uu ku goosan jiray. Gabadhii buu ka codsaday in ay u keento khubus waxayna u sheegtay in suuqa laga soo waayey.
Wuxuu faray bal in ay qaboojiyaha wax un ka raadiso.Wax yar kadib ayey ku soo noqotay una sheegtay in waxa ay qaboojiyaha ku soo aragtay aheyn wax uu cuni karo. "Waxba igama geline, xitaa hadduu toddobaad yiillay ii soo kululee iina keen", ayuu faray inantii weyna u keentay. Intuu ku quraacday khubuskii qamiirka ahaa, kana dhergay ayuu u mahad naqay gabadhii.
Wax yar kadib ayuu u yeeray gabadhii kuna yiri, "dad baan haaysan khubuskaasi qamiirmay ee weligaa cunto ha qubin."


In kastoo uu Soomaali ku dhex noolaa illaa iyo yaraantiisi oo uu la dhanqan ahaa, la diin ahaa, la af iyo la lahjadba ahaa, magtana la bixin jiray, nasiib darro noloshiisa waxaa ibtileeyay faanka laga faani jiray, sida loo bah dili jiray iyo sida ba'an ee loo takoori jiray asaga iyo eheladiisaba. Yaraantiisi looma ogoleyn in uu la cayaaro carruurta Soomaalida ee ay isku da'da ahaayeen.
Ninkan oo magaciisu ahaa Dhummo, wuu gaabnaa. Tubaakada ayuu aad uu cuni jiray, dhiilaha ayuu cugi jiray, xoolaha iyo dadkuna ceelka ayuu u dhaamin jiray. Ninkan sidaasi uu firfircoonaa oo dad iyo duunyaba ta'kuleyn jirey, ayey Soomaali Maryooley takoori jirtey. Sanka ballaaran, timaha jareerta ah, iyo murqaha waaweyn un baa lagu nici jirey.
Wax kastoo billow lihi dhammaad buu leeyahaye, Dhummo waa tii loo soo qaaday carriga Mareykanka burburkii Soomaaliya kadib. Asagoo 20-jir ah, ayuu soo galay dalkii caanaha iyo malabka. Isla markiiba wuxuu ku biiray machad laga barto luuqadda afka Ingiriisiga. Labo sano kadib ayuu ka qalin jebiyey waxbarashadii luuqadda af Ingiriisiga.
Dhummo tacliintiisi ayuu iska sii watay. Asagoo diyaarinaya dhigiriigii ugu horreeyay, ayey is barteen gabar caddaan ah oo la yiraahdo Jennifer. Jennifer iyo ninkii lagu caayi jirey "Dhummo dhaadhaamiyow, Dhummo dhiilaha cugow", waxaa u billoowday jaceyl aan la maleyn kareyn cududdiisa.
Dhummo intuu jaammacadda ku jiray, ayuu si labo jibaar u shaqeyn jiray. Wuxuu sidaasi u sammeynayey in uu hanto gacalladiisa Jennifer goor danbena Soomaali wacdaro lama illaawaan ah uu u dhigo. Goor ay uga hartay hal sano qalin jebintooda, ayey wada aqal galeen. Goortey qalin jebiyeenna, waxaa Dhummo loo dhalay gabar iyo wiil mataana ah.
Dhummo Soomaalinimadiisi maskaxdiisa iyo maankiisaba marna kama haadin. Qoysaska Soomaaliyeed ee ay deriska yihiin waa un kuwii berisamaadkii ay ku wada noolaayeen Soomaaliya ee ka faani jiray. Dhummo iyo Jennifer waxay wada billaabeen Mastar dhigirii hal mar. Sannad iyo bar kadibna wey wada qalin jebiyeen.
Labaduba waxay heleen shaqooyiin wanaagsan, noloshoodina kor ayey u kacday ayadoo Soomaalidii kale weli lacagta ceerta qaadanaya. Baabuurro qurxoon ayey iibsadeen. Guri qurux badanna deyn bey ku qaateen. Halka ay guriga ka gateen waa un isla halkii horraan ay u degganaayeen meel aan ka fogeyn.
Galbihii goorta ay carruuraha cayaarayaan, Dhummo waa uu ka mamnuucay carruurtiisa in ay la cayaaraan kuwa Soomaalida waayo sida ula muuqatay, carruurta Soomaalida ayaa gummoobay oo noqday NASAB DHIMMAN kuwiisina NASAB.

Monday, October 24, 2016


“A Female Approach to Peacekeeping”[i] by New York Times reporter Doreen Carvajal illustrates the leaps and bounds taken by women globally in peacekeeping operations especially in the West African nation of Liberia currently headed by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf-an astute woman who is known by the nickname “Iron Lady”.  According to the writer, women started pioneering in peacekeeping missions during the Balkan Wars of the 90s and their numbers continue to skyrocket. By the time the article was written in 2010, the Head of the U.N. Mission in Liberia was Ellen Margrethe Loj of Denmark, a woman who was dedicated to the preservation of peace and nation building in countries ravaged by wars. By then, Nigeria and India were the leading contributors of women peacekeepers in the world.

According to figures released by the U.N., women are edging closer to men in peacekeeping missions. In the past five years alone, the number of female police officers serving U.N. peacekeeping operations around the world doubled with Liberia and Darfur taking the lead. Of the 12,867 men and women serving U.N. peacekeeping missions around the world as police officers, women account for roughly 6% or stand at 833.  Of the 1,159 peacekeepers from Nigeria currently in Liberia, 5% or 59 are women. The need for the service of women in peacekeeping activities has gone global. Women account for 14% of the 1,354 peacekeepers in Liberia.

Men peacekeepers tend to behave better when women peacekeepers are present. Since women peacekeepers started arriving in Liberia, crimes like armed robberies, rape of women and girls, child molestations, and other types of startling transgressions have been considerably reduced with the help of the locals. After a long day patrolling the dusty streets of Monrovia, Syalus Maharana, an Indian operations commander, spends an hour of her time to mother her child in India by telling bedtime stories via video conferencing.

Even though women peacekeepers suffer nostalgia and depression during their tenure of duties overseas, to the locals they remain intimidating and sober. The major endearing factor driving women to such strenuous peacekeeping missions is the appealing financial opportunities offered by the U.N.  

Having marked the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day on March 8, the United Nations is intensifying its recruitment efforts by finding more women for its global peacekeeping missions. For many poor countries, contributing women peacekeepers to the U.N. global peace efforts means added value in terms of moneymaking. As it already pledged, the nation of Bangladesh is expected to dispatch a new unit of women peacekeepers to the U.N. peace initiatives. Thus, we learn from this story that women peacekeepers are as effective and efficient as their male counterparts in global peacekeeping operations if not profoundly more effective and that the demand for women peacekeepers will rise in the future.

Sunday, October 16, 2016


International Organizations
Globalization: Effects, Backlash, and Challenges
Globalization and Information Technology
Globalization and Income Inequalities
Cultural Dimensions of Globalization
Consequences of Globalization
Since the end of the devastating World War II, the political, social, and economic management of the world we live in has been tremendously altered with marvelous global cooperation getting off the ground followed by scrupulous regional transformations sprouting almost in every continent regardless of whether it is in Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America, and Australia. International nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) include organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross} (ICRC) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) also known as Doctors Without Borders. On the other hand, intergovernmental organizations also known as international governmental organizations (IGOs) include the United Nations (UN), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Council of Europe (CoE), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the European Union (EU). Intergovernmental military alliances like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and the European Security and Defense Policy are exclusively for defense purposes and often involve risky commitments. The Warsaw Treaty (1955-91) was a treaty of mutual defense or in other words a treaty of friendship, cooperation, and mutual assistance between the former member-states the Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania. International corporations such as Coca Cola and Toyota are referred to as multinational corporations (MNCs). [[i]

The first documented multinational corporation in modern history was the Dutch East India Company that was established in 1602 to carry out 21-year colonial activities in Asia. Also known as Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC in Dutch, it was arguably the world’s first mega-corporation and was reputed to have transported approximately a million Europeans to Asia ultimately leading to the establishment of permanent settlements with Java in Indonesia becoming the first station in 1603. Statistically, DOV is presumed to have utilized 4,785 ships for its seafaring missions and reportedly accumulated a net income of 2.5 million tons of commercial Asian goods that were in the end traded in European markets for significant profit.  To deter Dutch monopoly of trade in Asia, the English (later British) followed suit by instituting a formidable ocean trade constituting 2,690 ships formed exclusively to perform trade with the East Indies though it eventually became one restricted to trading with the Indian subcontinent and China.

The need for formidable and invincible alliances and alleviation of nuclear deterrence were the major factors behind the proliferation of regional and international organizations while the formation of multinational corporations evolved as a result of the profusion of capitalism in the western hemisphere and leanings toward democratic governance which hitherto predisposed humans to search for the virtues of liberty and justice. “The global political system has been undergoing both integrative trends, brought about by increases in communication and trade, and disintegrative trends, such as weapons proliferation, global environmental deterioration, and ethnic conflict.” [[ii]]  Major wars, such as World War I, World War II, and the Cold War brought about noteworthy changes in hypothetical explanations of world political affairs with the emergence of realism, liberalism, and constructivism followed by novel critiques of radicalism and feminism culminating in relative theatrical gains in thoughts and actions among hegemons, emerging powers, and nation-states.

International Organizations (IOs)
The hard work and dedication of responsible IOs operating in many parts of the world may not be denied as select numbers have been in the forefront of alleviating disease, hunger, and other forms of social sufferings found in the most deprived parts of the world. A good example is the internationally renowned organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) that was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1999 in recognition of its members' continuous effort to provide medical care in acute crises, as well as raising international awareness of potential humanitarian disasters. [[iii]] There have been several documented cases of environmental degradation by MNCs as happened in Liberia a few years ago where Firestone was found to have created extensive environmental degradation and to have allowed its local employees live in squalid conditions. Seldom, MNCs have been accused of practicing multifarious forms of exploitation, manipulate child labor, and cause environmental degradation in regions governed by corrupt regimes where laws are lax and ineffective. [[iv]] As long as MNCs abide by the internationally recognized environmental standards management set forth by ISO 14000, there shouldn’t be any problem for MNCs operating from far a field in developing countries. Another negative argument by some writers or scholars is that MNCs drastically changes the infrastructure of host countries and at the same time alter the culture and tradition of the locals they encounter. Besides the cultural and environmental erosion created by these foreign-based international institutions, a global effort can be effected to put a cap on further degradation of cultures, traditions, and the environment not only for the present but for posterity.

“The IMF, World Bank and the other international development banks have one thing in common; they are public sector institutions, with no requirement to turn a profit.” [[v]]

Globalization: Effects, Backlash, and Challenges
Globalization is the collective integration of political, economical, and cultural efforts across the globe. It emphasizes and incorporates trade, technology, health, Culture, environment, migration, investment, banking, and money issues, development, women and globalization, international law and organizations, energy, human rights, global education, and global media. While globalization has been applauded in different regions as a strong allocator of resources, distrust and indecision to grasp its benefits has left many lagging behind in the field of economic globalization. The consequences of off-shoring and outsourcing has had detrimental effects on the dwindling North American job market. The net loss of U.S. exports means the net loss of U.S. jobs. NAFTA and economic globalization have compromised long-term growth both in Mexico and in the United States. [[vi]]

In many regions of the world especially in North America, there is cause for small-businesses to celebrate because of the added advantages of globalization. Increased production, enhanced communication, quicker movement of goods, and services as a result of better transportation and the internet commerce have resulted in unparalleled opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses. "Globalization and the Internet have created unprecedented opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses in Canada" [[vii]]

Globalization and Information Technology
A clear picture of how globalization and information technology seem to transform the world has best been noted by Thomas L. Friedman, author of The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, where in his discussion with Jaithirth “Jerry” Rao, owner of the Indian accounting firm MphasiS, at the Leela Palace Hotel, the respected author states “…anything that can be digitized can be outsourced to either the smartest or the cheapest producer, or both.” [[viii]] Today’s globalization is not yesterday’s globalization. The current trend in globalization and information technology is one of leaps and bounds-a phenomenon noted since the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

Globalization and Income Inequalities
Attributing globalization to the downfall of the poor is outrageously a misguided notion. With the exception of a few global leaders with inadequate, unconvincing, ineffective, and unsatisfactory beliefs toward globalization, the rest of the world remains convinced that globalization does more good than harm to the poor. Those leaders opposed to globalization have the tendency to suppress the four components that are harbinger for growth and development: economic integration, technology, political engagement, and personal contacts. Trade, direct foreign investments, capital inflows and outflows, and net factor income are determining factors in economic integration. Table 1 shows the globalization index for 2005. International phone traffic, international travel and tourism, and cross border capital transfers, such as bank loans, securities or aid, and remittances, which are defined as transfers of money by workers to their home countries, are defined as personal contacts. [[ix]] The use of the internet, the number of available hosts, and secure internet servers define technology. Both technology transfers and personal contacts drastically reduce income inequalities within nations. Political engagement refers to membership in international organizations, the number of diplomatic missions a nation may have, and the number of diplomatic responsibilities or engagements for any given nation within the broader U.N. Security Council.  As shown in Table 2, the Heshmati index places greater weight on technology than Kearny. The larger PC1 figures represent aggressive globalization and also represent the first three components of globalization: economic integration, personal contacts, and integration.

Cultural Dimensions of Globalization
Despite globalization integrating capital, technology, and information across national borders, tension exists between the globalization system and ancient forces of culture, geography, tradition, and community. [[x]] Despite the surfacing of threats from the combined forces of resistance, undoubtedly globalization will go beyond the current novel innovations of world wide web, internet, e-commerce, PayPal, microchips, and fiber optic cable because the propensity of forces that are for globalization outnumber those that are against its propagation.

Consequences of Globalization
A stunning 1.1 billion of the world’s population live below the poverty line, which is equivalent to US$1. Table 3 defines data on poverty by region with Sub-Saharan Africa taking the lead while countries in the western hemisphere remain excluded due to their realization of considerable wealth and consumerism. 


Table 1
Source: Kearny (2005), from “Measuring Globalization,” Page 55

Table 2
Table 3
                                                            2001 Poverty Statistics, using poverty line of $1 (1993)
                                                            Total               HCI Poverty   Headcount                
                                                            Number          Number          Index (HCI)     Poverty          
                                                            (millions)        (millions)        (percent)        gap*   
Sub-Saharan Africa                          524                  241                  46                    20
East Asia and the Pacific                 1747                245                  14                    3
South Asia                                         1351                432                  32                    7
Eastern Europe                                461                  14                    3                      0.8
Middle East and North Africa          222                  4                      2                      0.5
Latin America and the Caribbean   499                  50                    10                    3
*Poverty gap gives the aggregate income shortfall as a percentage of aggregate consumption.
 Source:  World Bank (2006)

Table 4
Source: Dagdeviren et al. (2001)

[[ii]] Charles W. Kegley, Jr. and Shannon B. Blanton, World Politics: Trend and Transformation. Wadsworth 20 Channel Center Street, Boston, MA 02210
[[vi]] Kelly-Kate S. Pease, International Organizations: Perspectives on Governance in the Twenty-First Century, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458.
[[vii]] The title of a story by Lopez-Pacheco appearing on the National Post in Sept 2002.
[[viii]] Thomas L. Friedman, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, Picador, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.
[[x]] Thomas L. Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 19 Union Square West, New York 10003


A great king ruled Mali from 1312 to 1337 and his name was Mansa Musa. Crowned “Mansa”-meaning “king of Kings”- Mansa Musa was the grand-nephew of Sundiata. A Muslim himself, Mansa Musa embarked on the greatest Islamic pilgrimage by caravan ever recorded in history between the years 1324-1325 in a journey spanning thousands of miles through the stretch of the massive and expansive Sahara desert. Reputedly the most lavish pilgrimage in the world, Mansa Musa’s entourage carried 100 camel-loads of gold, each weighing 300 pounds; 500 slaves, each carrying a 4-lb. gold staff; thousands of his subjects; as well as his senior wife, with her 500 attendants. 

According to Arab historian Al-Umari, Mansa Musa and his retinue gave out so much gold such that the value of gold in Egypt drastically fell rendering the Egyptian economy in decline for many years. Al-Umari further states that Mansa Musa had to borrow from well-wishers at usurious interest rates for his return journey to Mali. In return, Mansa Musa brought back with him an Arabic library, religious scholars, and most importantly the renowned Muslim architect al-Sahili who built him a majestic royal palace and two great mosques at Gao and Timbuktu. In the aftermath of Mansa Musa’s travel to Mecca and Cairo, the Kingdom Mali became a center for commerce, education, and trade followed by diplomatic exchanges with Morocco and other Islamic nations. Mali enjoyed remarkable peace, stability, and profound prosperity for the forty-seven years between the time of his grandfather’s brother, Sundiata, and his accession to the throne. Mansa Musa ruled the Kingdom of Mali for twenty-five years finally leaving the political spectrum in 1337 when he died of natural causes. [i]

According to E.W. Bovill, author of The Golden Trade of Moors (1958), Mansa Musa’s kingdom was "remarkable both for its extent and for its wealth and a striking example of the capacity of the Negro for political organization". [ii]

[i] Roland Oliver, the African Experience: Major Themes in African History from Earliest Times to the Present, HarperCollins, 1993.

[ii] Edward William Bovill, The Golden Trade of the Moors: West African Kingdoms in the Fourteenth Century, Marcus Wiener; 2 edition (January 1995).


In the first half of the thirteenth century, a notable king by the name Sumaoro Kante of the Ghana Empire, ruled over the populous Mandinka tribe of Mali against their wishes. The Ghana Empire or the Wagadou Empire lasted from c. 790 until 1235 of the Common Era. The Mandinka remained in a state of bondage and helplessness until a powerful prince by the name Sundiata returned from exile thus becoming the undisputed celebrated hero of the Malinke people of West Africa. Known for his courage and unmatched vigor in battle, the Lion Prince as he was called, Sundiata, remained remarkable in his pursuit of leadership even while away from home in exile. By forging judicious alliances with local rulers, Sundiata assembled a large army comprising mostly cavalry and by 1235 his sphere of influence encompassed the modern states of Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, and Sierra Leone

After overthrowing the Kingdom of Ghana, Sundiata governed from his capital city Niani that featured buildings of brick and stone. His Malian kingdom controlled and taxed the trade caravans passing through West Africa. Often, caravans as many as twenty-five thousand camels heavily-loaded with miscellaneous cargo traversed the trade routes. The cities of Gao, Timbuktu, Jenne, and Niani became important trading centers populated by indigenous people and merchants in pursuit of the gold trade. Under Sundiata, Mali immensely profited from the trans-Sahara trade such that it benefited far more than Ghana did in the past. Malian rulers practiced Islam and provided security, accommodation, and luxuries to Muslim travelers from further up north. Sundiata reigned from 1230 to 1255 of the Common Era. In terms of sphere of influence, the Mali kingdom was the second largest kingdom in size in Africa (1.1 million sq km), with the Kingdom of Songhai being the first and the most extensive in land mass totaling 1.4 million square kilometers.


The history of generosity to foreigners in Africa goes along way. In 1331, Ibn Battuta, a learned Moroccan traveler, Islamic jurist and scholar, during a visit to Mogadishu, was accorded the best form of hospitality by being fed, clothed, and entertained for free. Perhaps, had he paid visit to any European land, he would either have been held captive as a slave indefinitely or he would have been killed right away. In his famous Rihla or travels, Ibn Battuta reported, “we stayed there for three days, food being brought to us three times a day, following their custom. On the fourth day, which was a Friday, the qadi and students and one of the sheikh’s viziers came to me, bringing a set of robes, these [official] robes of theirs consist of a silk wrapper which one ties round his waist in place of drawers (for they have no acquaintance with these), a tunic of Egyptian linen with an embroidered border, a furred mantle of Jerusalem stuff, and an Egyptian turban with an embroidered edge. They also brought robes for my companions suitable to their position. We went to the congregational mosque and made our prayers behind the maqsura [private box for the sultan]. When the sheikh came out of the maqsura I saluted him along with the qadi; he said a word of greeting, spoke in their tongue with the qadi, and then said in Arabic “you are heartily welcome, and you have honored our land and given us pleasure.” [i]

Ibn Battuta’s hosts never turned out to be the apes, beasts, and baboons recorded in many obnoxious European accounts of Africa. Instead, he found people who were resilient, affectionate, modern, and perceptive of travelers’ needs, punctilious, and above all religious and not blasphemous as the Europeans would have us believe. Ibn Battuta was a guest to a Somali sheikh (Islamic scholar) and a qadi (magistrate) both of who observed all the values, creeds, and customs of Islamic way of life especially in reference to etiquettes relating to hosting guests or visitors. Even before disembarking ship, Ibn Battuta and his companions or crew, were accorded a high degree of respect on board ship. Ibn Battuta was accorded the respect reserved for a doctor of the law. He became a guest of the sheikh and not the guest of an ordinary man or woman. Born in Tangiers, Morocco in the year 1304 C.E., Ibn Battuta descended from the Lawati Berber tribe in a family of lawyers and judges. The full name of this dedicated lone-traveler was Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Al Lawati Al Tanji Ibn Battuta; he died about 1368 or 1369. In a period spanning 29 years, Ibn Battuta covered approximately 75,000 miles by ship and on dhows, on horseback, on foot, and riding donkeys and camels to mostly Muslim lands. He traveled three times the distance covered by the celebrated European discoverer and explorer Marco Polo!

In reference to past African political organizations, contemporary scholars and writers often use the terms stateless society and segmentary society. Far from the truth, Africans enjoyed elaborate hierarchy of officials and bureaucratic apparatus in the management of their daily affairs. Between the years 800-1500 C.E., great kingdoms, empires, and city-states flourished in sub-Saharan Africa with scrupulous trade routes traversing the massive Sahara desert culminating in the profusion of immense wealth to West Africa, North Africa, Middle East, and Europe in what came known as the trans-Sahara trade routes. Whether in the coastal plains or in the lush hinterlands, Africans executed complex and organized central governments ruled by powerful kings with administrative divisions overseen by prominent figures representing the head of state.

Long before the birth of Islam, a mighty kingdom existed in Ghana (not related to the modern state of Ghana). Even before the Islamic Hijra in 622 C.E. (Common Era), as many as twenty-two kings ruled Ghana. As reported by Al-Bakri, a mid-eleventh century Spanish-Cordovan traveler, the seat of the Kingdom of Ghana was at Koumbi-Saleh-a flourishing city containing elaborate buildings and over a dozen mosques. During its height of power—from the ninth to the twelfth century—as many as fifteen thousand to twenty thousand people populated the city of Koumbi-Saleh. [ii]

To maintain order in the kingdom and protect the city and the state from external aggression and to safeguard the trade routes from marauding hooligans and highway robbers, the Kingdom of Ghana had as many two-hundred thousand well-armed and well-trained armies of warriors. To support such a large army, the administration in Koumbi-Saleh levied taxes on trade caravans passing through the kingdom. During this period in time, the headwaters of the Niger, Gambia, and Senegal rivers contained the largest deposits of gold. The demand for economic development and dwindling resources in the eastern hemisphere lured merchants in the Mediterranean basin and the Islamic world to the vast resources that was available in the kingdom of Ghana. In exchange for gold and other precious minerals, trans-Saharan merchants from as far as Europe and Arabia brought in horses, cloth, manufactured wares, and salt-a crucial commodity that was in short supply in the tropics. Besides Koumbi-Saleh, other prominent trading towns were Timbuktu in present-day Mali, Gao, Jenne, and Niani. Never at time has the history of the African continent been contrasting as European explorers of the past envisaged. Instead, Africa enjoys a history full of intricate governance, distinct civilization, elaborate terra-cotta craftsmanship, magnificent trade routes and abundance of wealth, and endless stories.

[i] H.A.R. Gibb, trans. The Travels of Ibn Battuta, A.D. 1325-1354, 4 vols. Cambridge: Hakluyt Society, 1958-94, 2:374-77.

[ii] Jerry H. Bentley and Herbert F. Ziegler, Traditions and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past, Volume 1: From the Beginning to 1500, The McGraw Hill Companies, Inc., 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, 388-89.