What is happening around the world and we do not know!

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What do Poland, Guatemala, Argentina, Ivory Coast and Tanzania have in common? Not much probably but interestingly enough all these countries had elections over the weekend and while for some of these countries, notably Poland and Argentina, you could see some media coverage, for the others, there was little. We should also add to the list Congo- Brazaville that voted in a referendum to allow the president to extend his grip on power.

Should we surprised? Not really because at the end of the day we end up watching and listening to a very limited set of “breaking news” like the refugees crisis going on in Europe, the war in Syria, some natural catastrophe like the quake that hit Pakistan and Afghanistan over the weekend of course the American presidential race. The “offerings” are very limited also because probably average people do not care about elections in faraway countries with little significance to the world. Nothing could be more wrong than this narrow vision of the world

No much is left to divert the audience’s attention to other parts of the world notwithstanding the importance of some of the elections that just happened over the weekend.

This is a pity because we should be more appreciative and more inquisitive about what’s going on around the world and we should look beyond what the international news channels offer us.

Some of the elections held over the weekend are extremely importance. For example:


A peaceful eastern Africa country that since  independence from the UK had always had the same party in power, Tanzania could see for the first time the opposition winning the election. This would  be another step forward for the promotion of democracy in Africa with still many countries experiencing “one party rule” whose legitimacy stems from independence.

While having one party holding a firm grip on power can help in exceptional times like the post independence or the post liberation phase, having the same ruling elites in power  for decades does not allow the creation of a free and competitive democratic market with opposition parties only playing a nominal role. Look at Ethiopia where in the recent election the governing coalition won 100% of the seats in parliament.  Look what happened in Congo Brazzaville where President Denis Sassou Nguesso will be able to extend his thirty one year stay in power. The same might happen in Rwanda, the same happened s few months ago in Burundi with the country now in turmoil. Same discussions are going on with Uganda where Musaveni is desperate for another term ( interesting very recently when the opposition was again harassed by the Ugandan police, the International New York Times published a special feature  advertisement about the economic potential of the country without saying anything about the  political repression by the regime).

Ivory Coast:

Once the super power of West Africa whose capital was considered a “second” Paris, the country underwent at least a decade of political instability, infighting and civil war. Finally peace and stability returned thanks to President Alassane Ouattara who over the weekend was running with the hope of getting a second term. Probably he will make it as the country desperately needs political stability to find again its old “grandeur”. The years of turmoil in Ivory Coast had a very high price on the entire region with millions of migrants being forced to return to their homes as the conflict was worsening. If we want peace, prosperity and economic growth in Africa, we need to wish well to President Alassane Ouattara and to the people of Ivory Coast.



One of the most violent and crime ridden countries in Central American, Guatemala should be at the center of the American people’s attention. After all migration is a big and hot issue in the USA and we know that thousands of migrants coming from he south are simply looking for a better shot at life. Without viable government and weak rule of law exacerbated by endemic system corruption, Americans will see more and more migrants from Guatemala and neighboring countries attempting to change their lives in order to find a better one. The Americans already pay the price by  having populist politicians on the right side of the political spectrum that are taking advantage of issues like immigration to win over segments of  the disenfranchised electorate who do not know much about Central America and are therefore carried away by simplistic and stupid proposals.

Do we have any hope to find better coverage of the hidden world? Possibly the one who is really giving a try is the network Aljazeera based in Doha. CNN and BBC do sometimes cover “unusual” countries but their attentions remains mostly focused on the big events that attract worldwide audiences.

Of course on internet you can find all the info about what is going on in Guatemala,, Congo Brazaville or Tanzania but these are more “specialist” web sites and requires attentive almost expertise like reading.

What we need is to ensure  better coverage of the “hidden” world by the big mainstream channels.

What passes as something unremarkable today in a remote country could have repercussions tomorrow on the same people who keep ignoring the rest of the world.

The wars in Libya and Syria, despite the media coverage and the geographical closeness, were pretty remote affairs from the psychological point of view for most Europeans. We know now that this is no more the case.

The same could be said for other unfolding and unnoticed crises.


Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

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