1945

Africa

As it meets the third millennium, the continent of Africa remains profoundly influenced by three things. First is the deep sense of wounded psyche that the five centuries of diaspora and colonial subjugation have engendered, experiences whose historical run came to an end only in May 1994 when the Republic of South Africa formally abolished apartheid and became democratically free. Second was the fragmentation and parcelling of Africa into arbitrary entities by the colonial powers in the closing decades of the 19th century. This one irrational geopolitical activity spawned at least two major conundrums: it exacerbated the diverse ethnic rivalries in Africa, and it created a whole range of minuscule nation-states. Of the 53 existing African states, 22 are micro-stales, each consisting of less than 5 million people, and another 12 are mini-states, each having between 5 and 10 million people only. Added to the colonial heritage of tightly controlled borders, there exist tremendous disincentives to undertake crossborder communication, cooperation and trade. Indeed, there are much stronger historical linkages with the former metropolitan powers than with neighbouring African countries. And third, ever since the early 1970s, Africa has become steadily impoverished, even in the face of its enormous range and extent of natural resource endowments; and has become greatly indebted to bilateral creditors (64% of all debt stock) and multilateral financial institutions (MFIs), especially the World Bank, the African Development Bank (ADB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which account for 19% of the total debt stock. Existing debt reduction strategies in Africa have proved inadequate, and have not stemmed the steady growth of the external debt stock; yet MFIs have opposed any writing-off of their debts, or even of their being rescheduled. Consequently, in reality, the African external debt has become unrepayable.

Sustainable Development Goals:
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