Africa and the West: Converging Views

Board Editorial
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Africa and the West: Converging Views

n°52 Third Quarter 2014

Africa has always held a particular place in Europe’s imagination – and this is truly mutual, especially after the time of decolonization. Enthusiastic views converge – from the...

Magazine content

Zorgbibe Charles
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GIDE IN THE CONGO

“A youthful project achieved in maturity”. When he set off for Africa, André Gide was bold enough to compare himself with Curtius, the young Roman hero who sacrificed himself to the infernal gods by hurling himself, fully armed, into the abyss that had opened up in the middle of the Forum! In fact, he was fascinated by Joseph Conrad, whom he had met fifteen years earlier, at the instigation of Valéry Larbaud. He had translated Conrad’s story entitled “Typhoon”, the account of a violent storm in the Strait of Taiwan ….or rather of the effects...

Narame  Véronique
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AFRICA IN THE HIGH-TECH CLUB

In Africa’s laboratories and research and development (R&D) centres, in the “Fab Labs” and the “Barcamps”, researchers and engineers are inventing new processes. They are variously engaged in optimising water resources, creating a programme to promote the use of banking services, establishing a technology park or creating an injectable bone regeneration substitute. There is a focus on such innovations that can revolutionise the daily life of the “African man in the street”. For a long time innovation was the preserve of   countries with...

Compaoré Blaise
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HOW TO CONDUCT A SUCCESSFUL MEDIATION

Conversation with Charles Zorgbibe   In diplomacy, mediation is an art. And in the art of mediation, there is a “Compaoré method” that has proved its worth on a number of occasions. This method is based on an attentive hearing of all the protagonists, the use — so necessary — of the “men behind the scenes” to approach the different parties and establish trust, a good dose of persuasion and, if agreement is reached, the establishment of a follow-up committee. In the interview below, the President of Burkina Faso reviews his “method”

Mbia Yebega Germain-Hervé
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THE CHALLENGES OF AFRICA’S EMERGENCE

The emergence of Africa is at the heart of a great many debates and arouses many passions in Africa and elsewhere. But what is meant by this emergence? And what is the sense of this catch-all concept that we come across time and again in ministerial discourse and the speeches of political leaders? Each country is developing its plan to become “emergent” by 2020-2030. Sometimes in an almost folkloric atmosphere: for example, the walking stick of a convalescent Head of State — President Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire — was dubbed the “emergent walking stick...

Ntema Mampuya  Floribert
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THE PARADOX OF NIGERIA

In the Gulf of Guinea, sandwiched between Benin to the West, Chad and Cameroon to the East and Niger to the North, Anglophone Nigeria is a giant of many paradoxes. Endowed with enormous mining and agricultural resources and the largest population in Africa, 179.6 million inhabitants in 2013 according to the World Bank, Nigeria could claim the top position in Africa in almost every sphere. The reality offers a striking contrast between successes and failures.   An extraordinary destiny The explanation for the current development of Nigeria lies in the very foundation of the different...

Nana Ngassam  Rodrigue
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THE THREAT OF BOKO HARAM

Boko Haram: not a day passes without some mention of this Islamist group. Its deadly attacks are headline news in Nigeria and elsewhere, despite the measures taken by the Government to curb the expansion of its grip on the national territory.•[1] The Islamist sect which is terrorising the country has been responsible for the deaths of at least 3,000 people •[2] since its transformation into an armed rebel movement in 2003. Advocating a radical and inflexible Islam, the ideology•[3] of the movement takes its inspiration from the Taliban of Afghanistan,•[4]...

Pambou  Lucien
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THE ISSUES AT STAKE IN THE FRANCOPHONE ECONOMIC UNION

The institutional construction of Francophonie was forged around the French language with the majority of the Francophone African countries which became independent in the 1960s as its members, together with France. The Francophone space now includes 77 States and Governments, with 220 million speakers and, if the demographic forecasts are confirmed, 700 million by 2050. Two Presidents — Senghor of Senegal and Diori Hamani of Niger — were among those to promote the creation of the Francophone space. Language and culture, the cement of the reciprocal relations between Africa and...

Pougnaud Pierre
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THE TERRITORIES OF THE FRANCOPHONE SPACE

Above all, the territory of the Francophone space is the universal. But its global influence and its future are in fact dependent on its entrenchment in concrete territories, landscapes, regions or customs, for the notion of territory covers both a geographical dimension and a host of intangible characteristics which create the personality of a place and of the human groups which occupy it. Africa is certainly the most striking example of this, although it is equally true in Europe or in North America. What is known as Francophonie (the French-speaking and Francophile world), which has...

Jouve Edmond
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THE EURASIAN UNION: A NEW GEOPOLITICAL PARTNER?

Among the objectives which have always underpinned international relations, there is one which tends to bring together the peoples and States of a single or of several continents and helps them to know each other better and to cooperate. Pan-Asianism, a movement that covers a complex continent, is diffuse in content. Before the First World War it was led by Japan and in the post-war period India took on its leadership. Both countries made their mark upon it.

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BOOK REVIEWS

Tchicaya U Tam’si. Le viol de la nuit. Vie et œuvre d’un maudit Boniface Mongo-Mboussa Vents d’ailleurs, 2014Deprived of the affection of his mother from earliest childhood, Gérald subsequently has considerable difficulty in following the path mapped out for him by his father, one of the “évolués”, the so-called African elite produced by the colonial administration, who very quickly leaves teaching for various clerical posts in the private sector. He then enlists as a sergeant in the French army at the outbreak of the war and after the...