AFRICA POLITICS

AFRICA POLITICS

INTRRODUCTION

The year 2005 was named the second Year of Africa, recalling 1960, the Year of Africa in which African nations won their independence one after another. With aid to Africa being a major discussion topic of the Gleneagles Summit and focus of the mid-term evaluation of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) on Africa, international attention has been turned to the serious issues of poverty, communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and conflicts faced by Sub-Saharan African nations. From the standpoint of area studies, whose goal is the understanding of others, the increased attention on and increased newspaper and television coverage of Africa is seen as a positive development. However, given the focus of coverage on disasters, it is important to recognize that such narrow coverage can potentially lead to one-dimensional stereoyping of the region. There are 49 independent Sub-Saharan countries (including island nations), each with its own history and characteristics. In order to develop a deeper understanding of Africa as a region, it is important to pay attention to both unique characteristics of individual nations as well as to identify commonalities. The same can be said for understanding politics in Africa. While donor countries and international development agencies tend, in general, to focus on the ”problems ” such as deficiencies in governance, dictatorships, corruption, conflicts, and insecurity of multi-ethnic societies, the political realities of individual African nations, each of which has its own unique characteristics, does not allow us togeneralize them with such a stereotypical view. The elimination of such single-sided, generalize devaluation can be said to be the mandate for Afri

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