Africa's 50-year dream

2014-01-30 15:24

Addis Ababa - High-speed railways, a common language, diplomatic clout, cutting-edge fashion and leadership in space exploration: this was the vision of a transformed Africa laid out before a continental summit on Thursday.

In a speech to the African Union, the 54-member bloc's chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma provided a foresight of what Africa could be like in just 50 years' time, providing some welcome distraction to an agenda dominated by conflict.

Written as a message to a hypothetical friend in 2063, Dlamini-Zuma spoke of a "grand reality" where a new Confederation of African States has replaced the AU.

"At the beginning of the 21st century, we used to get irritated with foreigners when they treated Africa as one country: as if we were not a continent of over a billion people and 55 sovereign states! But, the advancing global trend towards regional blocks, reminded us that integration and unity is the only way for Africa to leverage its competitive advantage," she said.

"We did not realise our power, but instead relied on donors, that we euphemistically called partners," she said.

She spoke of a future Africa with "regional manufacturing hubs" in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Zambia, as well as "Silicon valleys" in Rwanda, Egypt, Nigeria and Kenya, and of equal access for women to education and business ownership.

"We lit up Africa"

The future Africa, Dlamini-Zuma said, was also a leader in renewable energy, with war a thing of the past.

"We lit up Africa, the formerly dark continent, using hydro, solar, wind, geo-thermal energy, in addition to fossil fuels," she told delegates at the summit in Addis Ababa.

"Some magazine once called us 'The hopeless continent', citing conflicts, hunger and malnutrition, disease and poverty, as if it was a permanent African condition. Because of our experience of the devastation of conflict, we tackled the root causes," she said.

She spoke of a future African Space Agency, a modern, continent-wide telecommunications infrastructure and an Africa where young people can tour the continent on high-speed rail links much in the same vein as Europe's InterRail system.

"Our grand-children still find it very funny how we used to struggle at AU meetings with English, French and Portuguese interpretations," she said, describing an Africa half a century into the future where the languages of the former colonial powers have been replaced by the new lingua franca Swahili.

She described Kinshasa as having eclipsed Paris and Milan as fashion capital of the world, and Accra as upstaging Brussels as the home of gourmet chocolate.

  • Danie Malan - 2014-01-30 15:37

    Which planet did she escape from??

      Buzzbar - 2014-01-30 16:38

      If the last 50 years are anything to go by, then I think she has that doek around her head tied too tightly....

      Willem de Haan - 2014-01-30 18:03

      Another dream. There was a time when Africa was referred to as the sleeping giant. Well, it appears that the giant still is dreaming, Actually, the giant has to wake up and stop dreaming for anything to happen. When will this happen?

      Rob Martin - 2014-01-30 18:30

      Cant happen, Africa is in turmoil all over..and always will be because they all greedy for power,she probably has the doek over her eyes.

      Themba Jimbo Yule - 2014-01-30 23:15

      I haven't heard of anyone/thing out of this earth occupying office at AU so, she must be from earth. Or is this a trick question? Or maybe Ape planet is what you actually implying.

  • Ayanda Koza - 2014-01-30 15:38

    Agree! It is time South Africa let her borders drop. We need to unite as one country from Zimbabwe to Nigeria and DRC all the way to Spain

      Revelgen - 2014-01-30 16:18

      Dreams and action are two very different things. People in the same country cannot even agree. Just check out the Congo right now: fighting between the govt and rebels has displaced 2.9 million people. Or the Central African Republic where civil war rages and there is a humanitarian crisis. And there are many more examples in Africa. Go check it out. But now we are all going to drop our borders, agree on a common language (!) and have a marvellous future? Yeah, r-i-i-ight! Get real mate.

      Buzzbar - 2014-01-30 16:41

      Unfortunately yours and ms Zumas mentality are what Africa is struggling with most. No common sense or realistic foresight.

      Marina Millicent Poniatowska - 2014-01-30 17:46

      Ayanda, you are aware Spain is on a different continent, right? Rather keep quiet and let the grown ups talk.

      Andrew Miles - 2014-01-30 22:05

      so that the West African can rule over you like centuries ago? In any case, does SA even have borders these days? Half of Africa is already here.

      Themba Jimbo Yule - 2014-01-30 23:09

      Its time Africa drop her borders from the north right down to the south, if it leads to instability then so be it. And let those who proclaim doom be proven right. I say its time africa take that chance, challenges will be there and I'm sure Europe had their own too. Africa deserves to move in that direction. If within 50years Africa does not attain this, it won't warm to try for another 50years. Its better than sitting on our butts complaining of leadership and that africa is a consumer(as though the continent consumes rather than very people who calls it a consumer hub) and does not produce.

  • Marc Anthony Webb - 2014-01-30 15:50

    We are going to have to get out of the COMA!!! Nkosazana Zuma we are currently in and start the hard work.Africa has the potential to become a powerhouse in the future but at the current rate we will never get there.All the potential is here with the right climate and workforce but the attitude and poor work ethic will never see the full potential...One has to look at what Japan did after WII and the recent earthquakes without much outside assistance!

  • Esias Labuschagne - 2014-01-30 15:50


  • Ray Bar - 2014-01-30 15:51

    I'm glad my surname isn't Zuma.

      Matthew Patrick - 2014-01-30 15:54

      I'm sure she regrets half of hers being Zuma.

  • Gavin Westcott - 2014-01-30 15:58

    'We"? lit up Africa!-She looks like she has been smoking something!

      Feneth Mnisi - 2014-01-30 17:27

      Nope, She has been eating grass.

  • Colin Craig Broadfoot - 2014-01-30 16:00

    I see, I see that she is a moron. Got no idea whatsoever. Why didn't one of her family tell her not to make an @ss of herself in the paper. Who needs enemies with family like her's. What an embarrassing moment for her.

  • Colin Craig Broadfoot - 2014-01-30 16:03

    We the ANC will build an NKANDLA on mars.

  • Blackbeard - 2014-01-30 16:11

    It should read '500 year dream'. She was quoted out if context...

  • Johnson Fizz Morallana - 2014-01-30 16:12


  • Gerhard van Wyk - 2014-01-30 16:18

    Hopefully, in Dlamini-Zuma's Lalaland of the Future, the leaders of Africa will no longer be corrupt, nepotistic, thieving parasites. Ignore that little problem and Africa will forever remain "The hopeless continent", because conflicts, hunger and malnutrition, disease and poverty will remain forever. Stephen Jay Gould said: "When people learn no tools of judgement and merely follow their hopes, the seeds of political manipulation are sown." Just about the perfect description of the ANC and an average ANC supporter, but this could be anywhere on the continent.

  • rory - 2014-01-30 16:18

    A lot of people will have to discard the begging bowl outlook

  • Sattva2 - 2014-01-30 16:20

    High-speed railways, a common language, diplomatic clout, cutting-edge fashion and leadership in space exploration: this was the vision of a transformed Africa laid out before a continental summit on Thursday. THIS IS A JOKE, RIGHT? Starvation, poverty, over-population, bribery, war, corruption.... that sounds more like it !

  • Eugenio Lopes - 2014-01-30 16:22

    Sorry to say but this is unfortunately just a pipe dream. First stop endemic greediness and corruption

  • John Birch - 2014-01-30 16:25

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Wtf has she been smoking! I'm trying to think of something to say but still laughing.

  • Peter Mansfield - 2014-01-30 16:26

    Yeah! Right!

  • John Birch - 2014-01-30 16:41

    I'm gonna light one too and see you on the frigging moon in 5 minutes. This just shows the world how hopeless we (africa) actually are. In SA we cannot even get school books to the kids in time for year start up, and our school system has dumbed down our kids that they can hardly read when they leave school. How, pray tell, are we gonna be world leaders in 50yrs time.

  • Themba Jimbo Yule - 2014-01-30 16:42

    I don't understand why there is so many negative comments over this article. Isn't such a future Africa something we all should be moving forward to?

      Feneth Mnisi - 2014-01-30 17:25

      Yes, Africa moving forward, may be in the next 1000yrs.

      Themba Jimbo Yule - 2014-01-30 22:04

      It can even happen in 2000years from now. What's important is that a vision ought to be there and willingness to attain it, from not only those in office but, even from the ordinary on ground individuals. Yes, it seems this is definately not achievable, not because of the time frame but rather because of africans themselve not believing it is possible. I'm not sure why, maybe its a skinn colour issue again.

      Andrew Miles - 2014-01-30 22:11

      Centralizing African governance will only bring war to the continent (he who rules, rules the money). And what language will be chosen Xhosa, Zulu or the imperialist language of the people you hate so much, English, I think not. Southern African leaders are arrogant, West and Central African counties are far superior warriors and will rule the rest.Well go for it, good luck.

      Themba Jimbo Yule - 2014-01-30 22:34

      Read the article again she speaks swahili as the common language. And why do u right your comment as an outsider, reffering to africans as they? Are you not african?

      Gary Goddard - 2014-01-31 02:49

      Themba....this has nothing to do with skin colour at all. This is plain, simple realism. Africa will NEVER be a stable continent given inter tribal rivalries etc that go back hundreds of years still play out today. There are people out their (Zooma for example) who are only interested in enriching themselves and will go to any lengths to do so....including civil war. The entire African mind set needs to change....2000 years may not even be enough time to change.

      Stephanie Sutherland - 2014-01-31 03:00

      And how many tribal wars will erupt, not to mention conflicts based on faith. Good heavens I shudder at the mere thought of it. The Bloodshed would be horrendous to say the least. Africa needs to become realistic and grow up first.

      Graziella Uncensored - 2014-01-31 04:21

      It's the same tone in white people's writing that dismisses African cultures before the white man as valueless until the white men's benevolence shows us the value of their culture. Ignore them.....

      NicBrits - 2014-01-31 19:26

      Themba you are right MOVING is the key word.

  • Jim Stephenson - 2014-01-30 16:42

    fat chance any of that happening in even 500 years

  • Felicité Thipe - 2014-01-30 16:43

    IMF debt Mam'Zuma.

  • Brad Smith - 2014-01-30 16:47

    Lets say that africa is the utopia you are hallucinating about...I mean dreaming about. Lets say africa is better off and a country like bangladesh is struggling with malnutrition or something. Are you gonna donate to a country in need like africa is so used to receiving? I bet not. In africa its all about yourselves isn't it.

  • George Slade - 2014-01-30 16:47

    Definately another delusional ZUMA !! This is African "leadership" . The only planning they are capable of is how to steal from those who create wealth. Imbeciles

      gerasimos - 2014-01-30 17:58

      Spot on George. Problem is they don't know that they don't know and then have the arrogance to presume they know everything! African leadership suffers from a self cultivated inferiority complex to which they cannot admit due to their own hubris. Net result is a failed continent. We laugh at the pathetic illusions spewing forth from the Zumanites but it is a general malaise that strangles the continent and its is no joke.

      Themba Jimbo Yule - 2014-01-30 22:44

      No premises at all to support the conclusion. Your comment is not even worthy of a reply. @george

      Gary Goddard - 2014-01-31 02:57

      And why not Themba. George is 100% correct. What has this cANCer(ous) supposed government of ours done for anyone other than themselves? The poor are far worse of now than they were 20, even 10 years ago yet look at Zooma. Not doing too badly with tax payers money is he?

  • Mike Lowry - 2014-01-30 16:48

    Also smoking her socks. silicone valley?????? Africa is a net consumer and has never produced anything other than too many children.

      Goodman Segage - 2014-01-30 17:10

      Hahahahahahaha, you sound like terrified by the 50-year dream. It shall come to pass jst wait and see.

      gerasimos - 2014-01-30 18:02

      @ Goodman the hopeful...... Not terrified just skeptical, not 50 years ....maybe 500 years and by then the world would have passed you by just like it had done centuries ago.

      Andrew Miles - 2014-01-30 22:15

      Goodman, Zim after 34 years and I'm still holding my breath for something to come to pass. I don't get your statement on how he sounds terrified, you ,Mike and I will in all probability not even be around in 50 years time.

      Themba Jimbo Yule - 2014-01-30 22:29

      Can Africa produce something on itselve or does africans(people includind you lot) have to produce? How stupid can one be!

  • jong.wat - 2014-01-30 16:55

    Go home Zuma. You're drunk.

  • Makaveli Makaveli - 2014-01-30 17:00

    You have screwed Africa with all of your revolutionary parties. The way you failed your marriage with Zuma is the same way you are failing Africa. It very difficult to work with a misguided ideology.

  • Gary Landman - 2014-01-30 17:01


  • Prince Vegeta - 2014-01-30 17:08

    Nothing is impossible, but looking at our continents current situation, I would say that is too farfetched Ms Zuma, especially in the next 50 years, now if you said 100 years than maybe... ai it's still to farfetched

  • Brad Smith - 2014-01-30 17:15

    the russians. americans. europeans and now even the chinese are already colonizing space but when johnny-come-lately africa ever manager to get a spacecraft out there which i highly doubt they will go crying to the united nations that space was stolen from their forefathers

      NicBrits - 2014-01-31 19:29

      Can you give an example where the nations you mentioned have ONE colony in space?

  • Jean Viljoen - 2014-01-30 17:16

    I think that you have been plugged into the Matrix for too long Zuma. Unplug and face harsh reality: a p*ss poor continent sucked dry by despots, dictators, killers, and other maniacs peddling crime, fraud, corruption, wars, poverty, gross human rights abuses etc etc etc. It was really only a dream.....promise.....

  • Feneth Mnisi - 2014-01-30 17:22

    Sounds more like Alice of wonderland to me. A very bad nightmare.

  • Ian Van Zyl - 2014-01-30 17:39

    Well, then we first have to remedy the tendency in Africa towards corruption, nepotism and despotism. Otherwise this just ain't gonna happen.

      gerasimos - 2014-01-30 18:03

      You forgot tribalism and ancestor worship as well.

      Graziella Uncensored - 2014-01-31 04:24

      Jesus is also an ancestor... a dead person!

  • mmmmTim - 2014-01-30 18:27

    The only thing that can be regarded as certain is a stream of utterly corrupt dictators stealing from their people and supporting each other to avoid the consequences,

  • Ricky De Kock - 2014-01-30 18:52

    Wow amazing!

  • Johan Diedericks - 2014-01-30 19:11

    He he he, keep on dreaming!! Could not invent even a darning needle!!

  • Tye Botha - 2014-01-30 19:28

    A beautiful dream... And as much as I wish this was the Africa of 2063, I'm pretty sure we're looking at 2100....

  • Ian Lowe - 2014-01-30 20:44

    Well what a nice start. A common language - as in well used - would be Mandarin or Spanish or lovely old English which the whole of Africa can anyway do. High Speed railways. Hmmmmm. Who gets what bribes where ? Diplomatic clout; easy behave like a diplomat. Fashion. Well fashionable mafuta probably has its place. Space exploration. Well look to Sawzi and Durban Poison. You have it. C'est la vie.

      Andrew Miles - 2014-01-30 22:20

      High Speed railways? Can't even manage the one they have presently.

  • Jon Low - 2014-01-30 20:56

    "She described Kinshasa as having eclipsed Paris and Milan as fashion capital of the world, and Accra as upstaging Brussels as the home of gourmet chocolate." Alice in Wonderland Book 3?

      Andrew Miles - 2014-01-30 22:19

      Hehe , now why are they pushing to bring AA into European fashion then (Naomi Campbell) when they can just come and model the excellent fashion here?

  • Keith Reddy - 2014-01-31 07:12

    LOL WTF did I Just read? The greedy corrupt officials in most African countries will never make it to do this. All they care about is lining their pockets, wearing flashy designer labels and driving expensive cars. Add to that the hunger, famine, civil wars, coups, rebels, militia, in-fighting. Whatever this lady is smoking I need some please?

  • psbuthelezi - 2014-01-31 07:59

    As long as Africans hold dear to their languages over any other, as long as Imported religions like Christianity and Islam plague Africa with war, as long as Africans protect bad leaders like Mugabe and Zuma. It will simply remain a dream.

  • louis.elst - 2014-01-31 11:13

    Why spend money on a space agency when people die in hospitals , children die of hunger and Africans can't live together Surely the money should be spent on education and improvement

  • Nana Ngobese - 2015-02-24 21:49

    Love or hate her, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is the MOST inspiring African woman leader we have at this point. Who else sets a vision like this one when we are despondent and listless?

  • Malusi Mpanza - 2015-03-01 17:04

    Africa is growing to be the trading zone of the world in much the same way as the Jerusalem of the BC ages. The power of Africa is the consumer market. But it's challenge lies in maintaining it within the borders such that exports outweigh imports by any measure and significant margins.

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