27 November 2008

Tribal Africa: Time's Cruel Prank

Africa has the largest number of active tribes on the planet, over 500 at last count...tribal violence is on the rise again. A good case in point is Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation. Nigeria has some 250 "ethnic groups" (most organized as tribes around shared customs, language and culture) in a population of 122 million. Pre-colonial tribal warfare is returning... In the last decade, nearly ten million have died from tribal violence in Africa. _StrategyPage
Africa sits atop vast mineral wealth, and unsurpassed agricultural potential. All that is lacking is political stability, trained and skilled people, and good leadership. Africa currently lacks all three.
In northern Africa, the African Union, Algeria and Morocco are at loggerheads over the occupation of Western Sahara. In Central Africa, a century old crisis that has claimed over 5 million lives threatens to annihilate the Democratic Republic of Congo. In eastern Africa, Kenya is in a state of ceasefire following the 2007 post-election violence. Angry Tanzanians recently pelted their president’s motorcade with stones while former officials from the East Africa Community barricaded Tanzanian highways. The war in Northern Uganda persists. Ethiopia and Eritrea continue to trade tirades in the Horn of Africa. Sudan’s Darfur crisis still lingers. Somalia’s crisis has taken an international dimension through the escalating piracy in high seas. In West Africa, the Niger Delta crisis still persists. Currently, Nigerian militants have threatened to interrupt shipping. Guinea Bissau’s President, Joao Bernardo Vieira has just survived a coup attempt. The attacks against other nationalities in South Africa and imminent implosion of the ANC paint a gloomy picture of Africa’s economic powerhouse. Zimbabwe is yet to end its power sharing stalemate. _Source via _Booker
And those are only a few of Africa's problems. With tribal warfare comes the overthrow of governments, and the potential clashes between African "states." Scores of "more advanced" nations stand ready--like vultures--to supply African combatants with all the weapons they can pay for. China currently holds the inside position as the main African arms supplier, but Russia, Europe and the US also participate in the exchange of weapons for mineral wealth.

In the meantime, infectious diseases--including HIV and malaria--continue to deplete Africa's human capital before it can mobilize to help itself. The most successful nation in Sub Saharan Africa--South Africa--is being decimated by HIV, corruption, loss of critical infrastructure, crime, and a slow, steady regression to the African mean of poverty and hopelessness. Not what Nelson Mandela envisioned.

To most of the rest of the world--China, India, Europe, Islam, Russia, etc.--Africa represents a ripe fruit, plump and waiting to be plucked off the tree. To the people of Africa, it is a place of poverty, disease, violence. Yet hope and optimism still spring up in the unlikeliest places.

With proper leadership and respite from violence--and protection from exploitation from the outer world--Africa might grow into a productive and prosperous place. If only time and the outside world would leave Africa to its own self-development, under wise leadership. Unfortunately, time will play its cruel prank on any creature who thinks he can escape it. And the outside world? The outside world has just begun to simmer up to a boil.


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Blogger Unknown said...

A new form of colonialism is at work. It is interesting to watch.

Foremost practitioners are the Chinese in Africa, and they are hard at work. They offer tech assistance and cheap prices on goods. They will likely push for laws to allow them citizenship. Then they will be overtly political. In two generations they may run some of the countries...though some Africans might run them out much as Idi Amin ran out the Indians.

As a futurist, I'd say that the possibility of cognitive enhancement might...maybe... change the course of events.

Aaah! Real estate. They're not making any more of it!


Sunday, 30 November, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

When someone builds a vertical skyscraper, they are in essence creating more real estate.

The same thing will apply when seasteads become more viable, as well as artificial islands. Some cities create more coastal land via infill. Dubai has been particularly creative in that respect.

Sunday, 30 November, 2008  

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