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Sub-Saharan Africa seems to be forgotten in the post-cold war era. But Kaoru Ishikawa's analysis of Africa's history and its political and economic development suggests that a brighter future is in prospect for the nations of Africa. The African nations hosted dynamic societies prior to the slave trade era, and many of the obstacles to their future prosperity and dynamism have been removed. The focus of the book is on how African countries and the international community beyond Africa can work together to realise this potential and build on recent improvements, notably in health and the position of women in society. The ability of South Africa - no longer an international pariah to be a locomotive for growth is assessed.




The people of Africa continue their struggle for peace, stability and lasting democracy. The end of the cold war has had a deep impact on sub-Saharan African countries as well as the rest of the world, reviving movements for democracy which were often forgotten in the period after independence. But, in most of these countries, people cannot even earn one dollar a day and continue to live in conditions where one child out of five dies before reaching the age of five, not knowing much about other alternative ways of life because half of them cannot read and thus cannot get information; and where girls cannot attend school because they spend half a day walking to fetch water and firewood. Life expectancy is mostly less than 50, and even this is shrinking due to pandemics such as AIDS. Peace and prosperity are important for these countries in order to realize human life with more dignity, but the actual facts in the continent show that external help is needed for this purpose.
Kaoru Ishikawa

1. Peace and the Development of Sub-Saharan African Countries

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, there has been more and more talk of democracy and the market economy, and the end of the communist totalitarian regime in the former Soviet bloc emancipated hundreds of millions of citizens. The northern hemisphere takes the lead in this movement towards happiness for each individual, and a most illustrative and historical consensus to be noted from this viewpoint is the Charter of Paris, issued in 1990 by the then-Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) nations at the head of state or government level. The Charter mentioned democracy as the only system of government for CSCE nations and stated that an abiding adherence to shared values and their common heritage is the tie which binds North American and European States together. In 1992, at the CSCE Helsinki summit meeting, the notion of free and democratic states from ‘Vancouver to Vladivostok’ was born. In other words, most of the highly industrialized nations representing one fifth of the global population with four nuclear powers who hold permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council are under one roof. Those who did not belong to CSCE, while welcoming the end of the cold war itself, had some mixed feelings about the logical possibility that the gathering expressed as ‘Americano-European Community’ was of a potentially exclusive nature.1 The CSCE meeting had an appearance of a renewed family gathering.
Kaoru Ishikawa

2. Development Assistance

Development assistance to sub-Saharan African countries after independence started mainly as a historical continuation between new states and their former colonial power. Then political and humanitarian aid joined with military aid as well, contributing to development efforts by these new countries, but development assistance in the 1990s is facing serious problems. ‘Aid fatigue’ has appeared in many highly industrialized countries reflecting the economic difficulties which these countries are facing, such as the high unemployment rate among young citizens. Development assistance decreased as a result.
Kaoru Ishikawa

3. Key Sectors for Awakening

Education is of fundamental importance in nation-building efforts. At the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, the then Japanese Prime Minister Hosokawa said in his keynote speech: ‘Development starts with "man" and ends with "man"… and the future is in the hands of the younger generation.’ The relationship between the level of people’s education and their socio-economic welfare is obvious. In most industrialized countries, primary school enrolment rate is almost 100 per cent and the illiteracy rate is usually less than 5 per cent.1 In sub-Saharan African countries, population is doubling every 25 years or so. The African continent has the world’s highest birth rate (at 43 per 1000) and highest death rate (at 14 per 1000), with the world’s shortest life expectancy at birth (53 years).2 These statistics indicate serious problems, but the reverse of the coin is that half of the population is under 15 years old, and these are the people who will bear the future of the country.3 This is why sub-Saharan countries have been exerting strenuous efforts to improve education since independence. As a result, some improvements have been achieved, including a considerable increase in the adult literacy rate which in 1990 had reached the levels shown in Table 3.1.4.
Kaoru Ishikawa

4. Potential Locomotives for Change

The end of apartheid and the 1994 general elections brought the Republic of South Africa under President Mandela back into partnership with sub- Saharan Africa. Her rich natural resources, economic infrastructure and $132 billion GNP (in 1996) can play an important role in sub-Saharan Africa if they are wisely used. Although by world standards her GNP is not enormous (about the same size as Poland’s at $124.7 billion), by regional standards it can be called a giant. In fact, South Africa’s GNP is more than four times larger than that of Nigeria ($27.6 billion), which is the second largest sub-Saharan economy after South Africa, and her percapita GNP - $352 in 1996 -reflects the potential economic force if the disparity between the black and white communities can be eradicated.
Kaoru Ishikawa


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