Publisher: African Studies Association

Putting Africa'S House In Order To Deal With Developmental Challenges

Georges Nzongola-ntalaja
KEYWORDS: Putting Africa's House in Order to Deal with Developmental Challenges


However proud Africans must be to have a person of African descent in the White House, they should have no illusions as to how much President Barack Hussein Obama can do for Africa. Africans must put their own house in order for purposes of dealing successfully with the major challenges facing the continent, the most important of which is that of democratic and developmental governance. Obama's priorities are not necessarily those of Africans. They have to do with the role of the United States as a superpower in a global system in which the American military and business corporations play a hegemonic role. In this context, Africa is relevant to American and Obama's global priorities when its resources are needed to strengthen this role, on the one hand, or its humanitarian crises are likely to affect them in an adverse manner, on the other. What are these global priorities, and how are they likely to affect Africa during Obama's tenure? Following is a brief examination of four major priorities. The first is limiting the spread of nuclear weapons. Operating on the premise that nuclear weapons should be limited to the few countries now possessing them (U.S., Russia, Britain, France, China, Israel, India, and Pakistan), the U.S. government has led an international campaign against the acquisition of nuclear weapons technology by other countries, particularly those deemed hostile to Western interests, such as Iran and North Korea. Since South Africa destroyed the nuclear arsenal of the former apartheid state and Libya gave up its nuclear ambitions, the only relevant issue with respect to Africa's role in the spread of nuclear weapons is the question of who has access to Africa's abundant supply of uranium. Denying access to African uranium to “rogue states” and terrorist organizations is an important foreign policy objective of any American government, including the Obama administration.

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