24 points for discussion - Conference in conjunction with the commemoration of fifty years of independence - June 2011
In the year 2010, most African countries will be celebrating fifty years of independence. This symbolic moment is an opportunity to assess political, economic and social changes on the continent. Clearly, each country has followed its own specific trajectory. But while, overall, progress has been made in the political arena, results in terms of economic and social development have been disappointing. In general, Africa has not been the true master of its destiny. Throughout the cold war, the continent was torn between opposing political blocks—in some case practically made a ward of one block or the other—and forced to adhere to certain political and economic doctrines. Today, however, Africa plays only a marginal role in the process of globalisation; the continent is in a position of submitting to the new world order rather than shaping it.
Yet Africa is not a hopeless continent. It has energetic young people and the natural, cultural and intellectual resources it needs to emerge in the 21st century with its own world view, its own conception of governance and its own path for development. That is why the symbolic moment marking fifty years of African independence should not be used to mourn over the mediocre results of the past, but to build a project for the next fifty years. It is now time to delineate the concrete perspectives of that project.
The Alliance for Rebuilding Governance in Africa (ARGA) plans to kick-off reflection on the project in June 2011, the first year of the second half-century, by organising a major conference on “The second half-century of independence: Africa takes control of its destiny”.