Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Unlikely today, inevitable tomorrow.

THE AFRICANIZATION OF AFRICA: The benefits of organic socio-economic development policies

“When someone asks you if you are mad, it may mean you are on to something.”
Claus Andrup


Two challenges faced by many African nations today are social stability , underpinned by diversified economic growth. Each nation is unique on this continent, though most westerners and easterners often, quite mistakenly, think of Africa as a country. Africa is today, likely without exception, the most complex and significant part of the global structural puzzle. A continent, now staring at itself in the mirror and asking itself; who am I?

While thought of by many, not only Paris Hilton, as a country, Africa is comprises in almost a quarter of the planet’s sovereignties. There  are in fact fifty-four countries currently in the continent of Africa.  In general terms the leaders of these countries declare solemnly – no better example than Robert Mugabe – that they are governed democratically. “I solemnly declare,” they say as they are sworn into power. Democracy has many definitions on the continent. The again that can be said of almost any region in the world one can think of, none the least the self-appointed arbiter of global democracy, the United States of America.

The list of countries includes Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of the Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Western Sahara, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The number of countries has often increased and altered as most of the territorial divisions in Africa were made by the colonial powers. Eritrea for example is a relatively new country. Africa is the poorest continent despite its abundant natural wealth and a major reason for this has been its colonial past.

Colonisation effectively drew lines across traditional tribal borders thus frequently dividing historic communities on the one hand and often forcing traditional foes to live side by side. A modern day example of this is seen in the Tutsi and Hutu conflicts on the bordering regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo and modern day Rwanda. Similar instances are repeated across the continent.  The BBC reporter and author on African affairs, Richard Dowden offers possibly the clearest insight on the subject in his latest work, Africa: Small Miracles.

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