The Pan African Congress of Manchester in 1945
The 1945 Manchester Pan-African Congress revisited by Hakim Adi and Marika Sherwood
Pan-African history: political figures from Africa and the diaspora since 1787 By Hakim Adi, Marika Sherwood
Not since the countries of Africa tossed out their colonial masters several decades ago has there been this much optimism andexcitement about the continent’s prospects. While China’s economic expansion has slowed, and while Europe and the United States try to dig themselves out of recession, Africa has not only weathered an up-and-down global economy — it’s been booming. Consider Nigeria’s stock market, which gained 35 percent last year, or Uganda’s, up 39 percent. But even more important is that real gains are finally being made on the ground in Africa today — ones that speak to the possibility of a breakout phase that would lift millions out of utter poverty and great misery.
Let’s start with the numbers. According to International Monetary Fund data, sub-Saharan Africa has grown at an annual rate of 4.8 percent over the last five years, a period that includes the trauma of the global financial crisis. That means it has outperformed other developing regions — like Latin America, for example, at 3.3 percent — and it blows out of the water the advanced economies, which expanded just 0.5 percent per year.
This is happening on a continent that has been saddled for decades with the worst levels of malnutrition, ravaged by preventable and treatable diseases, beset by corruption and rent-seeking, and scarred by a legacy of foregone opportunities. It is also occurring on a continent thought to be deeply vulnerable to negative external shocks, internal political upheavals, and now, sadly, terrorist movements.