News / Africa

    Many African Countries Mark 50 Years in 2010

    Seventeen African countries are marking half a century of independence this year.  These include a number former French colonies, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.  Celebrations are being held in Africa and outside the continent, but Africa analysts say Africa needs to see much more progress before celebration is really warranted.

    The government of France, a former colonial power in much of West Africa, recently invited African leaders to commemorate 50 years of independence for 14 of its former colonies.

    The president of Cameroon, Paul Biya, thanked his host, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    "I want to thank you warmly for this initiative," said Biya.  "It allows us to re-examine and accept our common history, to reassert our desire to build our future, even further than ever before."

    Mr. Biya has been in power since 1982, for more than half of Cameroon's independence, and has maintained very close ties with France.  But as in many other African nations, Cameroon's independence has not solved all its problems.  Despite its many resources, parts of the country still suffer from malnutrition.

    Independence for many Africans has also been marked by conflicts, coups and disease. The Democratic Republic of Congo, which recently celebrated 50 years of independence from Belgian rule, is no exception.  The current president, Joseph Kabila, a former rebel fighter, has been trying to liberalize the country's mineral-rich economy and enforce rules against corruption.

    Congolese citizen Jose Mungongo remains hopeful.  "We hope that everything he started will continue and will be for the better of the country," said Mungongo.  "And of course, we hope that the social element of that will continue as well."

    The executive director of Africa Action in Washington, Gerald LeMelle, says Africans themselves need to control what they do with their resources, rather than anyone from outside.

    "It is very, very difficult, 50 years after so-called independence, it is very, very difficult to see where countries on the continent are able to make decisions without significant input by international economic and political actors," said LeMelle.  "If people can't make decisions that are in the country's best interest first, vis a vis their resources, then we have not achieved independence."

    In terms of the next 50 years, Steve McDonald from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, says he would like to see civil society groups, such as media, gain more and more importance.

    "I think work needs to be done across the board for them to play the role that civil society does in the west," said McDonald.  "I think it's still a nascent movement in that they are not really empowered.  They are an irritant.  They are a voice in the wilderness often, sometimes they affect the flow."

    The U.S. government will mark the many African independence milestones with a town hall meeting hosted by President Barack Obama in early August - for African youth leaders, the African diaspora community, civil society groups and leaders of Africa's private sector.  Mr. Obama, whose father was a Kenyan who came to the United States to study, has said he wants to make sure the U.S.-African partnership can help all Africans in the decades ahead.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora