Africa 2000: In the New Global Context
As we are preparing to enter the third millennium, Africa is undergoing major developments in a new global context. A new political and economic agenda is being designed for the continent, that will deeply affect the life of the African people far beyond the year 2000. What are the contents of this agenda, their implications, and some of the possibilities which they open?
Since the end of the cold war, a new vision of the world has taken shape. This is based on the fact that we live today in a unipolar world, dominated by only one superpower. The end of the conflict between capitalism and socialism has so changed the global political landscape that Francis Fukuyama has even suggested that we are witnessing "the end of history" ( Fukuyama 1992). According to Fukuyama, we are moving toward a world whose major trends and patterns can be expected to remain essentially unchanged politically and economically. It is a world where power will always be in the hands of those who now possess it and the powerless will continue to remain so, a world, most important, where the rich will get richer, and the poor will get poorer. This, today, is the new orthodoxy that politicians as well as academics are spreading through the world.
This new trend has been promoted by World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), according to guidelines that were established in 1944, at the Bretton Woods Conference, in New Hampshire, when policies were devised to create a world where the type of political and economic disruptions brought about by the World War II would no longer occur. These two institutions recently celebrated their fiftieth anniversary. Perhaps what they were also celebrating is the fact that they now seem to be capable of imposing on the populations of the planet the agenda that issued from Bretton Woods, that until now they have been unable to realize, due to the existence of a conflictual world in which the two dominant powers had nuclear missiles turned against each other.
Glimpses of this agenda, particularly as it affects Africa and other "less