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POLSC325: African Politics

Unit 7: African Renaissance?  

Prior to the end of the Cold War, African leaders used the term “African Renaissance,” which was later picked up and used by western analysts. The term refers to a new period of African history marked by hope and development, growth and prosperity, peace and national stability, burgeoning efforts at building democracy, and an increase in the continent’s social and institutional capacity to solve major problems. The term gained importance on account of Africa’s recent history, when the emergence of weakened or corrupt states and the threat of near economic collapse dashed the promise of a better future following independence. This final unit will begin with the idea that an African Renaissance is slowly and selectively underway. We will use smaller case studies that reflect a more hopeful continent as gateways to reflection about the present and future.  

Unit 7 Time Advisory
This unit should take you 11 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 7.1: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 7:2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 7:3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 7.4: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 7.5: 1.5 hours

Unit7 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Explain the significance of South Africa to the region. - Identify and describe the current political and economic conditions in stable African  states. - Explain how these   states achieved stability. - Describe the “African Renaissance.”

7.1 African Renaissance   7.1.1 Positive Assessment   - Reading: United Nations University: Thabo Mbeki’s “The African Renaissance, South Africa and the World” Link: United Nations University:Thabo Mbeki’s “The African Renaissance, South Africa and the World” (HTML)

Instructions: Thabo Mbeki, a former president of South Africa,
popularized the notion of the African Renaissance. It refers to a
political and philosophical movement centered on the renewal of
African agency in the form of direct confrontation of Africa’s ills
with the goal of devising African solutions to African problems.
Significant political, economic, social, and cultural developments
all form part of a reinvigorated engagement geared towards lifting
the African continent out of poverty and into a more proactive and
influential position in global politics. Mbeki argued that Africa is
redefining itself and will reemerge as a new continent in the
future. Here, you can experience the arguments first-hand through a
speech Mbeki presented at the United Nations University in 1998.

This reading should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.  
    
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  • Web Media: Youtube: NTV Kenya’s “Mbeki speaks to Wallace Kantai” Link: Youtube:  NTV Kenya’s “Mbeki speaks to Wallace Kantai” (Video)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and view the entire video, posted to YouTube by Kenyan news station NTV.   This video consists of a 2011 interview of Thabo Mbeki.  The interviewer invites Mbeki to reflect on the state of the African Renaissance paying particular attention to economic development.
     
    This video should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
     
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7.1.2 Negative Assessment   - Reading: The Washington Quarterly: Bruce Gilley’s “The End of the African Renaissance” Link: The Washington Quarterly: Bruce Gilley’s “The End of the African Renaissance” (PDF)

Instructions: The link above takes you to the archive of the
Washington Quarterly; click on the title of the article under the
‘Africa’ heading to download the PDF version of the article.  Here,
Dr. Gilley argues that the African Renaissance essentially is over
because the last decade witnessed a reversal in trends relating to
democratization, economic development, and regional cooperation.
 Please compare and contrast the author’s assessment with that
offered by Mbeki (see the interview in sub-subunits 7.1.1).  
    
 This reading should take you approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to
complete.


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7.2 The New South Africa   - Reading: International Crisis Group: Donald Steinberg’s “Post-Apartheid South Africa and the World: A Bridge Over Troubled Waters?”  Link: International Crisis Group: Donald Steinberg’s “Post-Apartheid South Africa and the World: A Bridge Over Troubled Waters?” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire article.  As the largest economy in Africa, South Africa has the potential to drive African   economic development.   . Since the end of apartheid and the emergence of a multiracial democratic system in 1994, the country has also positioned itself to be the political and economic leader of the continent. Such leadership roles are reflected in South Africa’s engagement with the international community in general and its foreign policies in particular.  Yet there appear to be some contradictions between South Africa’s history and its present policies. The author of this article attempts to explore and explain these contradictions.   Additionally, South Africa’s democratic transformation and the relatively peaceful coexistence of various races make South Africa a model for the rest of the continent.  The article mentions several lessons that the country can teach other African   states.  Try to identify them while you read.
 
This reading should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
 
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  • Web Media: NPR: Tavis Smiley’s “South Africa's Rocky Road to Democracy” Link: NPR: Tavis Smiley’s “South Africa's Rocky Road to Democracy” (RealPlayer or Windows Media Player)
      
    Instructions: You will first need to choose whether to  launch this resource by using Real Media or Windows Media Player.  Click the link for the method you prefer, and then listen to this clip in its entirety (approximately 10 minutes).  Pay particular attention to how South Africa has made a transition to democracy. 

    This resource should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
     
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7.3 Africa and NEPAD   - Reading: Southern African Regional Poverty Network: Chris Landsberg’s “NEPAD: What Is It? What Is Missing?” Link: Southern African Regional Poverty Network: Chris Landsberg’s “NEPAD: What Is It? What Is Missing?” (HTML) (PDF)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above, and then either download the PDF version of the 10-page article or click on the individual section titles listed.  The New Partnership for Africa's Development or NEPAD facilitates political and economic reform in Africa.  It is one of the many initiatives that international and regional organizations have launched in the hopes of achieving sustainable development, good governance, and peace on the continent.  After reading the article and looking at NEPAD’s website, determine if NEPAD is any different than some of the other programs previously studied.  Do you think NEPAD will succeed?  If so, why? 

 This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.  
    
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  • Reading: The New Partnership for Africa’s Development’s “History,” “NEPAD Governance Structure,” and “NEPAD Agency”

    Link: The New Partnership for Africa’s Development’s “History,” (HTML) “NEPAD Governance Structure,” (HTML) and “NEPAD Agency” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on the links above, and read this informational material on NEPAD. Also, feel free to further browse through the website and examine NEPAD’s six thematic areas. Consider NEPAD in terms of Chris Landsberg’s critical analysis.

    These readings should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.

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7.4 African Renaissance: The Experiences of Senegal, Botswana, and Mozambique   7.4.1 Senegal   - Web Media: Al Jazeera: “An African Renaissance in Senegal?”

Link: Al Jazzera’s [“An African Renaissance in
Senegal?”](http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/africa-states-independence/2010/09/201091911832707777.html)
(HTML and YouTube)

Instructions: Read the article linked above first, and then watch
the media clip (the video is approximately 22 minutes long).
 Senegal has been one of the most stable countries in West Africa.
What made Senegal stable?  How is it unique from other African
states? What lessons can we learn from Senegal that may be
beneficial to the rest of the continent?

These resources should take you approximately 45 minutes to
complete.

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7.4.2 Botswana   - Reading: Carleton College: Stephen R. Lewis Jr.’s “Explaining Botswana’s Success: The Importance of Culture” Link: Carleton College: Stephen R. Lewis Jr.’s “Explaining Botswana’s Success: The Importance of Culture” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read Dr. Lewis’ essay on Botswana. This southern African state is often heralded as ‘Africa’s success story’ because it has experienced relative political stability and its economy has prospered since independence. While Botswana’s recent political and economic developments may not be linked with the current wave of African Renaissance, it represents a compelling case study that may inform any present and future discourse on African agency.
 
This reading should take you approximately 1.5 hours to complete.
 
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7.4.3 Mozambique   - Reading: The Economist’s “Mozambique’s Recovery: A Faltering Phoenix” Link: The Economist’s “Mozambique’s Recovery: A Faltering Phoenix” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Click the link above to read a brief account of Mozambique’s post-conflict recovery. It appears that Mozambique has made significant steps towards political stability and economic development since 1992.
 
This reading should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
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7.5 The Future   - Reading: The Kofi Annan Foundation: Kofi Annan’s “The Future of Africa”

Link: The Kofi Annan Foundation: Kofi Annan’s “[The Future of
Africa](http://kofiannanfoundation.org/newsroom/speeches/2011/02/future-africa)”
(HTML)

Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the speech
Kofi Annan delivered in 2011 at Exeter College in Great Britain.
Here, the former UN Secretary-General reflects on Africa’s political
and economic development since independence. He points towards a
number of current realities that he considers positive signs for
Africa’s future. What is your assessment? Do you agree or disagree
with Ellis and Annan?

These readings should take you approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes
to complete.

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