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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid