Africa Notes: Some Thoughts on Africa In the Year 2000 - September 1993
September 1, 1993
We live in a world where the walls are coming down, opening up nations and societies to new forces and new opportunities. At one level, this is a liberating process. It makes possible previously unimagined levels of growth and freedom. At another level, it is a time of profound challenge, even threat, to established patterns and assumptions-a time of apprehension and fear as people worry about their futures, their status, physical and economic security, and cultural autonomy. Just look around. Look at the hesitation of some Asian societies before admitting a Michael Jackson rock tour to perform! Look at the West Europeans a few years after the Berlin Wall came down erecting new barriers to the free movement of goods and people from the east and the south. In the United States, look at the success of elements of organized labor and Ross Perot in stirring up fears of the proposed North American Free Trade Agreement.
What will be the place of Africa in this new world disorder? How will Africans cope with the collapse of old structures and familiar assumptions over the next decade? Will Africa -as doomsayers argue-become even more marginalized, a region left behind by history as a sort of global slum? These are big questions and I can only touch on a few of the key aspects.