Article from ROAPE Volume 28 Number 87
Thabo Mbeki's African Renaissance in a Globalising World Economy
The idea of an African renaissance has once again re-emerged on the continental agenda, and as in the past, it has captured the imagination of a number of scholars, journalists, and politicians. In South Africa, where the African renaissance has come to be associated with the political ideas of President Thabo Mbeki, it has been broadly interpreted as calling for African political renewal and economic regeneration. Mbeki speaks of the rebirth and renewal of the continent, the establishment of democratic political systems, the achievement of sustainable economic development and the changing of Africa's place in the world economy so that Africa becomes free of the yoke of the international debt burden, and no longer a supplier of raw materials or an importer of manufactured goods. At the core of Mbeki's renaissance therefore, is a deep concern with the position of the continent within a rapidly globalising world economy. While Mbeki acknowledges that these aspirations are not new from the point of view of continental struggles for emancipation, he argues that conditions currently exist in which they can be achieved. Among these, he has identified the end of the cold-war, completion of the process of decolonisation on the continent, and the acceleration of the process of globalisation itself.