African Manifesto for 2060 African Manifesto for 2060

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Symbolically, the year 2010 is a time for retrospection. It is also and above all a time for introspection.


In 2010, as many African countries celebrate their first fifty years of independence, the time has come for a symbolic moment of retrospection. This retrospection has two facets. First of all, it is important that we look back to pay a well-deserved and on-going homage to the men and women who, across Africa and the world, have helped free the continent in the name of peoples’ rights to choose for themselves. Secondly, we must assess the changes that have taken place on a continent not always the master of its destiny. Seen in this dual light, the dreams inspired by the great figures of independence in various African countries have faded little by little, and been replaced by an uncertain future and above all a worrisome lack of prospects for Africans, particularly young people.


The symbolic commemoration of fifty years of independence is also a time for introspection. Indeed, introspection is a duty, particularly for political and economic leaders, who are clearly responsible for what has become of Africa: despite the work accomplished, these leaders have been generally unable to properly manage public affairs and create conditions required for the economic and social development that Africans need to attain self-fulfilment and material and moral well-being. Nor have these leaders been able to prevent social unrest. Poor governance has maintained the continent in its position as the poorest part of the world, despite immense natural resources.


Threats to democracy, the rule of law and individual liberties punctuated the first decades of independence before democratic ideals were firmly adopted in the 1990′s. Now even this political progress has been jeopardised by interminable electoral disputes, political use of ethnic issues and monarchic pretensions based solely on a desire to conserve or attain political power. The continent’s intellectual leaders also have a duty towards introspection. They have sometimes—often, perhaps—been the active or passive accomplices of political authorities’ poor management of public affairs. Blocked in their strategies of individual survival, they have not sufficiently assumed their collective responsibility for the future of the continent and the defence of the interests of African peoples.


Finally, but to a lesser degree, this duty is also incumbent on the international community, which has contributed to the deterioration of political, economic and social conditions in Africa. By prescribing structural adjustment policies and allowing rich countries to unilaterally define the rules of the world economy, the international community has reduced African States’ capacity to intervene in their economies and redistribute wealth. It has also worsened their chronic dependence on international aid—both financial and technical—and accelerated Africa’s exclusion from the process of globalisation.


The year 2011 is a time to project ourselves into the second half-century of independence.


The men and women who contributed to African independence assumed their responsibility toward history by helping free the continent from the shackles of colonisation. Now it is up to the men and women of today to assume their responsibility toward future generations. Now, at the dawn of this second fifty-year period, is the time to make a symbolic appointment with the year 2060, which will mark the end of a century of independence. The development of modern nations and the definition of development strategies has taken time in all other parts of the world, and it will take time in Africa. But Africa must take its destiny in hand by engaging whole-heartedly in a collective project whose design and implementation are the work of both political and intellectual leaders and all actors in society—on and off the continent.


With this in mind, and notwithstanding efforts made by institutional and non-institutional actors in each country and on the regional, continental and world level, we ask that this beginning of the second half-century be dedicated not to a simple assessment of what has been done, but to working towards the emergence of an Africa with its own vision of the world, its own conception of governance and its own development path—all anchored in the realities of the continent and all responding to the challenges of the modern world and globalisation. Through the organisation of a major conference entitled “The second half-century of independence: Africa takes control of its destiny” we ask that concrete perspectives be drawn up so that, in 2060, we can leave future generations with:


  • An Africa that has found its own way by using the best of its traditions, re-examined in the light of the challenges of the 21st century, and the best of international experience, freely interpreted by the continent itself and not imposed from the outside in the form of standards and conditions;
  • An Africa with a system of production and trade that allows it to benefit, in its turn, from the advantages of globalisation, but that also allows it to dictate its own rules of the game, so that it can protect its eco- systems, progressively develop its own skills and its own production system and design its own system of sustainable development by re-appropriating its rich potential.
  • An Africa that has reaffirmed its relations with other countries and continents, reinforced just and equitable partnerships, freed itself from dependency and let its voice be heard in the concert of nations.



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