Africa: the next 50 years

2010-12-23 14:31

Many African countries celebrated 50 years of independence from colonial rule this year. Yet there are still African leaders who ­resort to unconstitutional tactics to cling to power.

One recent example is Ivory Coast’s ­Laurent Gbagbo, who swore himself in as president despite losing a recent election to rival ­Alassane Ouattara.

Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki did the same after losing to Raila Odinga in the country’s 2007/08 general election, ­resulting in a political compromise that spawned a coalition government headed by Kibaki.

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, who is also running a coalition government even though his party, Zanu-PF, lost the 2008 general election, seems hellbent on stalling the possibility of another election.

Africa is unlikely to meet all the United Nations Millennium Developmental Goals by 2014.

The United Nations Development Programme says sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia are the only regions in the world where absolute poverty has increased.

Despite all these problems, Africa’s ­economy will grow by an unparalleled 7% next year, according to forecasts by the ­African Development Bank, with global ­giant China playing an ­important role in the continent’s political and ­economic ­rebirth.

In their recent book China Safari: On the Trail of Beijing’s Expansion in Africa, French journalists Serge Michel and Michel Beuret project that the Asian power’s investment in Africa will reach $100 billion­ (R681 billion) this year.

Having followed China’s projects in a number of African countries, Michel and Beuret observe: “China has a lasting vision for Africa. Its goals far exceed the limited scope of former colonial African powers.

“They are willing to make long-term ­investments in infrastructure projects where investors would want quick returns.”

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