African Union (AU)
Chairs: Vivek Rajani & Vidit Shah
Topic A: Developing Rapid Response to Disease Outbreaks and Effective Medical Aid
For the past several years, diseases like ebola, malaria, AIDS, and tuberculosis have ravaged the African continent, taking the lives of many men, women, and children. During the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, 28,616 cases and 11,310 deaths were reported in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Out of 36.9 million HIV-positive people worldwide, 66% live in sub-Saharan Africa. Countries like Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Uganda still do not have air-conditioned medical clinics and effective health care systems. In 2015, 1.6 million Africans died of treatable or preventable diseases. Despite recent efforts by local and international governments to combat disease outbreak and mass mortality, adequate medical aid still remains an issue for several African countries. In 2014, it was projected that in the coming years, China would donate about $150 million dollars annually to health care-related projects in Africa, yet conditions in Africa have not sufficiently improved.
Topic B: Sexual and Gender Violence
It is known that the lack of medical care, climate change, and poverty have devastatingly stunted development and technological advancement in Africa. However, underlyingly, several humanitarian issues have added to the social, political, and economic challenges that African governments face. One of these issues is sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), especially towards the female gender. However, it is important to note that many males do face such violence, even though male against female violence is much more common. SGBV in African nations is influenced by several factors, including cultural and social norms, poverty, and the presence of crime or war in the area. Research has shown that women of younger age, typically 15 to 19 years of age are more at risk of physical sexual violence. SGBV has several negative consequences on the African population as it promotes the spread of HIV and the contraction of mental and physical disorders that may be passed on to generations to come. Although the African Union has taken against this issue, SGBV is still present in many areas, like Zambia, rural Kenya, and rural Tanzania.