Africa is a continent of great diversity and political intrigue. It is a region that stretches from the deserts of the Sahara, through the jungles of the Congo to the grasslands of Southern and Eastern Africa. It is a region that has seen great conflict and dramatic change, but also great growth and development. African politics is often portrayed as anarchic. but in reality it is amongst the richest in the world and can often surprise observers.
To understand African politics you must understand how history has affected the region. In particular modern Africa has been shaped by the colonial exploits of the European imperialists and the legacy that colonialism has left. Many of the current problems Africa faces have resulted from decisions made by colonists and by those, in Africa, who sought to overthrow these regimes. These post-colonial leaders often adopted the colonial structure to further their own exploitation of the land and its people. But for every leader who became corrupt, another brought new political freedoms to the continent.
It is true that poverty and debt characterise much of Africa, but it is also true that the continent has enjoyed rapid economic growth and it arguably one of the most resource rich areas on the planet. And whilst we have the image of ‘poor’ Africa in our minds must remember that this is a continent that had produced some of the richest cultural heritage of anywhere in the world, from music and art to film and literature.
“The first light of human consciousness and the world’s first civilizations were in Africa”.
John Henrik Clarke, (1915-1998) Pan-Africanist American Writer, Historian & Academic