August 14, 2002


DISPATCH FROM AFRICA : 'Renaissance' for continent? : Massive initiative offers hope for poor but invites skepticism (Anthony C. LoBaido, August 11, 2002,
A new initiative by the world's economic powers to revitalize Africa has become the hottest topic on the continent.

The Group of Eight most industrialized nations is launching The New Partnership for Africa's Development, or NEPAD. The initiative has raised the hopes of many Africans but also invites skepticism. Does NEPAD signal a "renaissance" for Africa's poor or is it merely a tool of the West to tightenits grip on Africa's natural resources?

The continent is awash with challenges, gripped by AIDS, colonization by communist China, civil wars, corporate raiders, mercenaries, dictators,self-induced famine, Marxism and radical Islam. The post-colonial era clearly has failed all Africans.

The recent peace initiative in Sudan is faltering. Civil war rages in Madagascar and Liberia. Congo seethes with instability. A second genocide in Rwanda is possible. Togo has had three decades of dictatorial rule. Zimbabwe and Cameroon have held some of the most fraudulent elections in modern history.

Many wonder how to turn Africa back towards the prosperity and stability it enjoyed under white colonial rule. Since the 1950s, respect for human rights generally has declined. Foreign aid accounts for 50 percent of Africa's budget and 75 percent of its infrastructure. Africa comprises 1 percent ofworld economic output, less than Belgium.

Cyclical drought, increasing water scarcity, urban drift, poor education, matriarchal tribalism, a shortage of high tech workers, massive migration toSouth Africa and economic inequality are storm clouds on the African horizon which have no quick fix.

According to a report issued by the Institute for Global Dialogue, a branch of the German Social Democracy Party, by the year 2020, Africa as awhole will exist under one of five possible scenarios. These scenarios are conflict and corporate control, unstable markets driven by globalization, a slow and continued slide into decay and anarchy, the breakup of African states into smaller units each struggling for survival, or regional renaissance led by a new visionary leadership of Africans.

Man, this is depressing. Is there any sign of hope for Africa? Posted by Orrin Judd at August 14, 2002 9:59 AM
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