George Clooney isn’t just an accomplished actor, he’s also a known philanthropist and activist.  Clooney and John Prendergast, his friend and co-founder of The Sentry, an anti-corruption watchdog, have penned an op-ed piece on the corruption plaguing Africa.


Clooney and Prendergast have a shared interest in humanitarian issues, demonstrated by The Sentry’s goal of creating “consequences for those funding and profiting from genocide or other mass atrocities in Africa, and to build leverage for peace.” Both men authored an op-ed piece that was published on March 14, titled, “The Key to Making Peace in Africa.”

They open their article by discussing the ongoing civil war in South Sudan, explaining how it was instigated by “competing factions of South Sudan’s ruling party” back in December 2013, and it has since caused untold devastation, plunging the country into its biggest refuge crisis since 1994. They continue, noting how this phenomena isn’t uncommon in other African countries, and the top government officials often abuse the situation to funnel money into their pockets. Many examples are given, such as how then-petroleum minister Stephen Dhieu Dau “used oil revenue to support a militia that had allegedly committed atrocities.”

“Every year, billions of aid dollars pour into Africa: taxpayers and donors around the world fund peacekeeping forces, state-building programs, humanitarian assistance, elections, and peace processes. But none of this support has been able to keep corrupt leaders and their network of beneficiaries from stealing billions of dollars,” they explain. Clooney and Prendergast believe it is necessary to use leverage against “entire networks, not just individuals,” arguing how sanctions can be effective if they’re properly enforced as they had been with Iran and North Korea in the past. Although the upcoming meeting between President Donald Trump and Leader Kim Jong Un may be “controversial,” Clooney and Prendergast cite it as an example of how enforcing strict sanctions might work.

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They add how Washington “must take advantage of the fact that war criminals and their facilitators tend to use U.S. dollars to move their spoils through the international financial system,” and although the United States government is starting to take action in South Sudan, other territories need similar measures. They close their open letter by saying, “Without taking aggressive measures to go after the spoils that drive conflict in South Sudan and other African countries, it is difficult to imagine any future other than one of deepening repression, growing famine, and spiraling warfare.”

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