At the dawn of the New Millennium, Africa appears to make its move towards a turning page of its history, deploying desperately its efforts in order to swift from the legacy inherited from the past today marked by countless unresolved problems.

Most of the concerns voiced by AAPSO are the continuing bloody,

devastating civil wars and numerous conflicts with million on deaths and lots of heavy destruction, not to mention all ills that plague the African continent : mass poverty, diseases, malnutrition, famine, violations of human rights, corruption, waste of resources for armaments, external debt, looting of natural riches, ethnic and religious conflicts, etc., all contributing to  growing backwardness, political and social unrest, leaving little room, if any, to the genuine economic development and social progress.

The developments of the situation in some countries like Sudan, one of countries having heavy death toll of its citizens,the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the largest and richest country of the region if not of all Africa, and now the Ivory Coast once presented as the "mirror" and "star" in the West Africa because of its economic performance  all are matter for more or less scepticism.

The main concerns of AAPSO regarding these countries lie on  what was and still is the threat of splitting, leading to the possible collapse of their unity and territorial integrity. In the particular case of Sudan, the Machakos agreement, for example, has put the entire Sudanese national political structure, secular and democratic, under question. Such agreement, nonetheless, did not prevent the fightings to resume, proving by itself that it was not the real solution to the issue while it ultimately will lead to the division of the country. Moreover, more consternation has raised  regarding the  precise  nature and role of the United States accused of manipulating the  situation from behind the scene.

AAPSO has been more concerned by the situation in the Great Lakes region being embroiled in  a series of conflicts.. Although the situation has fortunately improved in the DRC and  peace agreement has been reached which stirs hopes for the final settlement of the problem, foreign invading troops continue to occupy parts of the country despite already signed agreement to withdraw, still provoking bloody confrontations with the local populations. Such confrontations might be used as pretext to go back to conflict, provoking more deaths and destruction. Moreover, the neighbouring areas of the Great Lakes region are now threatened of being another theatre of confrontations with the new kind of internal conflict having erupted in Central African Republic, which is likely to affect  the situation of the neighbouring countries, specially the Chad, both countries sheltering  opposition leaders accused of preparing  coup d'état..The recently reported massacres of both Centrafricans and Chadians in this country have dangerously inflamed the political atmosphere. Surprisingly, Lybians and troops from the part of Democratic Republic of Congo controlled by secessionist Jean Pierre Bemba happened to be involved in the conflict giving support to Central African rulers. Lybia which backs the Central African regime, has been accused of sympathizing with the rebels fighting against Chadian president. The presence of Lybia in this country is also connected by what The Economist ( Nov. 2, 2002) stated that "Lybia has backed his (Central African president's) regime since last year, in return for a 99-year monopoly on extracting the republic' vast reserves of diamonds, gold and other minerals".

While the Geat Lakes region and its neighbouring  areas are trapped in endless confrontations, the most striking attitude of indifference manifested by the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) vis-à-vis what is happening  next to its borders, has raised suspicion among foreign observers.

Trouble in the political atmosphere in Southern African region had manifested in a country, the giant among its peers, South Africa, which is leading a vibrant economic development. ANC has been increasingly engaged into neo-liberal policy, which has recently triggered the discontent of its allies governing the country. ANC was fired with scathing criticism from the powerful national Union, COSATU, and the Communist  Party of South Africa, accusing it of leading the country into the Western capitalist powerful influence. Concerns have even raised sometimes among the neighbouring countries of SADC about the attitude of the heavy-weight South Africa in terms of economic and trade transactions.

Another issue of concern by AAPSO is the fact that the Western region of Africa is being caught  by the conflict between governement troops and mutineers from military in Ivory Coast. The situation there suggests that political, economic, religious and human rights factors play an important role in the conflict. Violations of human rights are being committed in many parts of the country, thus aggravating the  already disastrous situation in search of just and equitable solution. Foreign ethnic populations accused of involvement in the local problems of the Ivorians have provoked xenophobic acts and tense hatred from local citizens causing bloody killings and massacres. Despite appeasing discourses of maintaining the integrity of the Ivorian territory; despite the announcement  of deployment of troops from Ecowas to mediate between the conflicting parties, and to ensure the cease-fire and the negociations conducted by  team composed of responsible personalities from West African neighbouring  countries;  in view of the threat of coup as  openly and explicitly declared by the mutineers, as well as that of splitting the country  once considered as a possibility, the country remains in high degree of tension.

AAPSO is of the view that the division of country because of civil wars or any kinds of conflicts be it in Sudan or elsewhere in Africa where the very sensitive character of the issue is evident, would create a very dangerous situation, lead to more confrontations, instability, devastation and death of people. The issues should be tackled and settled by peaceful means.

AAPSO hailed the African efforts to solve themselves the issues that constitute major challenges within the present international environment. While civil wars have ended in Angola, Sierra Leone, or in Burundi where nevertheless the process of war-settlement is lagging in hard negotiating conditions between warring parties, a lot of problems remain and needed to be solved. Numerous obstacles constitute major stumbling blocks to this end.

AAPSO is aware of the dimension reached by the alarming situation of human rights in Africa. It suggests that hopes for a meaningful change in this respect have been betrayed. At the outset of the New Millennium, slavery, bearing modern image and aspects in some circumstances, has commenced to spread in some parts of  the black continent. Apartheid appears in various forms in different circumstances. Sexual exploitation, child trafficking and prostitution constitute scourges of seemingly unlimited bounds. The resort to torture as a mean to extract confessions; the summary executions in defiance of all equitable justice; the mysterious disappearance of detained persons, the discrimination  with respect to race, sex, religion and ethnicity, all these are practices  perpetrated , often with total impunity, in the continent. While the mass of African population is subject to starvation, misery and  diseases, national high ranking officials are implicitly or explicitly accused of amassing the wealth of their countries, furthering corruption, ignoring massacres of their own citizens, using their own social and political position to influence decision-making bodies, or carrying out repressive operations and rape even using the fight agaisnt terrorists as a pretext to harass human rights militants or political opponents. While Africa has opted for democracy and human rights, democracy is suffering from ill-practices of "variable geometry" perpetrated according to individual or collective interests. Regrettably, the spread of democracy in Africa has not brought the anticipated boost to development.

AAPSO views the selfish interests manifested by those who covet, internally and externally, the immense riches and natural resources enjoyed by Africa as fact undermining the countries' right to development and social progress. The  race towards immediate profit at the detriment of the entire African population seems to be the rule. The looting and trafficking of natural resources of Africa continue unabated with the regrettable complicity of Africans and foreign countries or corporations abroad. The African oil is now object of increasing covetousness. Not surprisingly, in their quest for international control of the oil in the world, America's assistant secretary of state for Africa, have declared that "African oil has become of national strategic interest for  us (America)". Recently,  American officials were touring some African oil-producers countries like Angola, Gabon, Nigeria, in a bid to justify their intention. It is rumoured now that the American president himself will follow suit next year.


            The world is  now witnessing the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS in Africa which is home for 70% of the global total of people living with these infections. The number of African victims is more and more alarmingly increasing. AAPSO strongly supports the demands of Africans for easy access to essential drugs for HIV-related illness; for freeing hard-hit populations from charge related to affordable anti-retroviral medecines; for producing generic drugs by compulsory licensing. AAPSO believes that the time is ripe to declare a decisive war against this disease and reminds the political leadership of Africa and worldwide of their responsibility facing the present and the future of the African people.

            Facing the deepening poverty, growing backwardness and continued marginalisation of Africa from the globalization process standing in stark contrast to the prosperity of the developed world, Africans are queen to get rid of this miserable situation. AAPSO views the New Partnership for African Development-NEPAD-as demonstration of African efforts to primarily deal with their own problems and to search for solutions by means initiated by themselves. Nevertheless, NEPAD has sparkled  strong criticisms and more grievances from the side of African civil society, NGOs, Unions, intellectuals, thinkers etc, for not having been  consulted in drawing the Document.  Taking these critics into consideration, AAPSO considers that NEPAD should be regarded as a process-in-the making subject to further necessary improvements, amendments, or substantial adjustments according to genuine African people's aspirations reflecting all realities involved in the process of development. This requires participation of the masses, their enthusiasm, their sustained efforts towards progress and prosperity.


            Africa has opened a new page of its history. AAPSO welcomed the new-born African Union (AU) as new African political identity destined to meet the challenges it will face in the process of globalization. Although the positive achievements of the OAU outweighted the negative ones from the political and economic point of view, unavoidable pitfalls in many occasions had tarnished its face and reputation  in  the eyes of both Africans and the rest of the world. For the AU to succced it should  learn the lesson from OAU's past experiences, while voices come from many corners about the incertainties regarding the AU's planned structures and the recurrent failure of several generations of African leaders to live up to their promises and commitments. In this respect, no less important question about the accountability of African leaders concerns the setting up of a "peer review" process through which political governance and management of national affairs will be put under scrutiny by counterparts leaders. But for this to meet all expectations, AAPSO  thinks that civil society, NGOs, should be involved in the process, not merely the leaders. As a political priority of its efforts directed to tackle the problem of security, the AU, while continuing to subscribe to the principle of non-interference, has incorporated in its Constitutive Act the so-called principle of non-indifference. Unconstitutional seizure of power, genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity can trigger actions. AU may intervene to reestablish security where needed. The creation on "Peace and Security Council" is intended to act in this respect.


            What matters most is that Africans alone should be responsible for resolving their own problems. The AU should lend a careful ear to the legitimate aspirations and demands of the African people that globalization tends to leave out in abysses of misery and poverty. Preserving the African identity, the African cultures, the African values; perfecting the image of a united, integral Africa that can revive peace, security ad stability for its citizens, all constitute major challenges for the African Union.


N.B.- The present paper has been set on November 6th, 2003. The situation in some theatres of conflicts ( Ivory Coast, DRC, Central African Republic.) is subject to further update owing to rapid developments  of events.