World won’t wait for Africa – analyst

2014-01-28 13:20

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Africa should stop blaming everyone else for its problems and take responsibility for its own future, Institute for Security Studies analyst Jakkie Cilliers has said.

Cilliers this morning gave a briefing at the Radisson Blu hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) summit, which is taking place this week.

“I am a white South African, and this is why I like to look forward and not backward,” he told academics, diplomats, AU officials and journalists at the meeting.

“The rest of the world will not wait for Africa to catch up, so it is important to reclaim that political space,” he said.

Cilliers said much of the economic development in Africa isn’t being driven top-down, but from the bottom up by people desperate to get out of poverty. This resulted in “haphazard” development, like in India.

Cilliers was presenting a paper giving a long-term forecast of 26 of the most fragile states in Africa based on a monograph published recently.

According to his forecast, Comoros, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, the Republic of Congo, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Togo will still experience poor governance, chronic poverty, widening inequality and vulnerability to violence and conflict in 2050.

He said even if the remaining states manage to strengthen themselves, it would still only make a small difference to the lives of their people.

Cilliers also criticised the AU, even though he said he is a “huge fan”. He said the organisation “sets itself norms that it cannot reach” and therefore sets itself up to fail. It should be more realistic, he said.

Still, Cilliers admitted African states had made huge advances in the past decade or two.

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