Africa in a Changed World Economy: Building Relations for the Transformation in the 21st Century

Horace G. Campbell


Since the financial crisis of 2007-2008 when the financial markets imploded, there has been a growing awareness of the fragility of the international capitalist system. This paper examines the contradictory experience where there is austerity in Europe and North America, yet Africa is experiencing tremendous growth with seven of the fastest growing economies in the world being Africa. The paper underlines four major features of the changed world economy:1) the looming end of the European project (most manifest in the comatose state of the EURO, 2) the consolidation of radical alternatives in Latin America (especially moving towards one currency) the imminent end of the US dollar hegemony, 3) the revolutionary changes that have been initiated in the streets of Cairo at Tahrir Square, and 4) building peaceful relations and the opportunities for energy transformation which could lead to repairing planet earth away from the impending environmental cataclysm. These four changes are examined in the context of the relations between the peoples of Africa and the peoples of Asia –drawing from the experiences of China and Vietnam. These relationships were honed within the context of the non-aligned movement and the anti-colonial struggles. The paper noted that the questions of transformation will now have to be clarified to specify whether these transformations are within the framework of capitalist “development” or that of a new mode of social and economic organization. The paper concludes by raising the challenge of how our work as intellectuals and activists assist in the transformation of society, to develop human potential for self-emancipation from all forms of bondage and restrictions – mental, racial, economic, gender, social and cultural. The dignity and the unification of the peoples are interconnected to questions of transformation.

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