TEN YEARS AFTER THE END OF THE COLD WAR, AFRICA IS BUFFETED BY contradictory trends. Largely ignored by the major powers, African countries are nonetheless deeply influenced by the forces of globalization. Overlooked by foreign investors worried about political instability and poor communications, they are under pressure to open up their markets to foreign competition; unable to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the information revolution, they are affected by the unfettered spread of information technological change has fostered; still dominated by largely authoritarian governments fearful of losing their grip on power, they feel compelled to at least speak the language of democracy, transparency, and accountability and to open up their political systems enough to satisfy aid donors.
Abandoned to their own devices on the one hand and deeply influenced by worldwide trends on the other, African countries are struggling to find their place in the international economy and the international order, as well as to establish a new order in the region. Ten years after the end of the cold war, Africa is a continent in turmoil, facing a serious crisis but also new opportunities.
The end of the cold war was greeted in Africa with relief at first, because the confrontation between the superpowers had some obvious negative repercussions for the continent. Although the confrontation did not create conflicts that would otherwise not have existed, it caused them to become more costly, prolonged, and internationalized. The first Ethio-Somali War in 1963, for example, was an obscure, purely bilateral conflict over borders and range land which lasted a few days and to which the world paid no attention. The second Ethio-Somali War in 1977 continued for more than a year, and was fought with tanks and planes, with the Soviet