News Round-Up for Diaspora and Friends


President Obama approved $105 million for emergency humanitarian relief efforts in the Horn of Africa yesterday, which includes money funds from the president’s Emergency Relief and Migration Assistance Fund.

“Thousands of Somalis are fleeing the famine and seeking refuge in Kenya and Ethiopia, which are also affected by the drought,” said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, in a press brief yesterday afternoon.  You can click here to watch the video.

The U.S. State Department recently announced new guidelines to give foreign aid workers more flexibility in providing aid to others controlled by Al-Shabaab.

-You may be familiar with social coupon sites like Living Social and Groupon.  Recently, launched its own social coupon website for Africans living abroad at

After signing up for free with the website, members are offered a weekly, deeply-discounted deal.  If enough members sign up for it, they receive a voucher for it.  For instance, the first deal were deeply discounted tickets between New York and Lagos.

Other deals include discounted airfare to Ghana, South Africa, and other destinations on the continent, as well as social coupons for international phone cards, money transfers, hair styling, and cell phone services.  Vendors who sign up can access the market power of Africans living abroad, who remitted an estimated $40 billion last year collectively, according to the African Development Bank, the Sacramento Bee reported.

-There are more Ethiopian doctors in Washington D.C. than all of Ethiopia, and 60 percent of medical doctors trained in Ghana since the 1980s have gone abroad, according to this New York Times editorial by Josh Ruxin, a Columbia University expert on public health, and founder of Rwanda Works.  Only 3 percent of the world’s health care workers serve the African continent.  However, two Rwandan doctors are teaming up with a New York obstetrician to start a second Rwandan medical school (there is only one medical school right now, housed at the University of Rwanda) to increase the country’s capacity for training.

Graduates of the Kigali Medical University, funded by the Rwanda Development Bank, may still end up working abroad, but the school plans to emphasize education and the need to stay home and serve the country’s medical needs.  Its first class of students will begin this year.


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