ISMAIL LAGARDIEN: Illusions and reveries of Africa claiming the 21st century are fast evaporating
Once again, the continent is incidental to world politics, and in some ways a mere source of raw materials — this time for China
I have been gathering notes for this column for about two weeks and wanted to discuss the difficulties and challenges of financial integration in Africa. But then Ethiopia went to war in the Tigray region, and I was reminded of the enduring tensions between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. As I sat down to write, I found myself back with the political economy of regional integration, to geopolitics and its nationalist seductions and, well, the tiresome illusions of an African renaissance.
My mind drifted back two decades, to when the World Bank published, “Can Africa Claim the 21st Century?”. Given my own cosmopolitan leanings, I am necessarily drawn to functional global integration, so what is written here should not be misconstrued. We live in times when people go out of their way to find something to disagree with or cause a fight, and if there is no argument, they cause one...