By Germain-Hervé Mbia Yebega, Political Scientist, Governance, Peace and Security Programme Officer at the Africa World Institute
The emergence of Africa is at the heart of many debates and arouses many passions in Africa as elsewhere. But what emergence are we talking about? And what is in this catch-all notion that is found all over the place in departmental language and in the speeches of political leaders? Each country is developing its project to become “emerging” by 2020-2030. Sometimes, in a folk atmosphere: the cane of a convalescent head of state – President Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire – was thus designated, last March, as the “emerging cane” of West Africa… And the person concerned was the first to laugh about it!
To grasp the background lines of this race for emergence, we must invest in Africa’s historicity. To talk about Africa is to look at about 50 countries gathered on the same continent. Hence the urgent need to highlight the common denominators, the enormous potential, but also the extreme diversity.
A careful reading of the resolutions of the African Union’s fiftieth anniversary celebrations in 2013 shows that the interest it arouses worldwide goes against alarmist theories that overstate its instability. However, it is undermined by crises and poverty. Today’s Africa must therefore face the incompressible demands of peace and sustainable development. The general problem of its emergence is inseparable from its strategic affirmation. And it must be structured around the two major interactive axes of security and development.
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The article was also published in African Geopolitics, No 52 (Third Quarter 2014), Pp. 129-136.