The World Bank
Los Angeles, October 8, 1997
James S. Coleman — an appreciation
Thank you. It is a real pleasure for me to be here. At the end of my graduate school, I was offered an opportunity to become a university teacher in California and of course as a young man I was very excited about the possibility of teaching in California. But that Spring at Notre Dame University, Robert McNamara, who had then taken over as president of the World Bank, gave an outstanding and highly courageous speech on promoting family planning around the world. To have done this at Notre Dame, a Catholic university; to have had that courage and that passion, made me sit up and wonder whether perhaps I should consider joining the World Bank after all. I have never regretted that decision, having chosen to work in international development since then.
Recently I had lunch with Robert McNamara — he's in his late seventies now — and we were reminiscing about Africa. What always struck me about this man, who remains so intellectually sharp and so very present, was the optimism: the optimism then when he was president of the Bank and the optimism now about Africa. This theme of optimism will be the beginning of my talk and it will be the full stop of my talk, this afternoon, in honor and in memory of Dr. James S. Coleman, whose own optimism for Africa in the 1950s and Sixties would have found a real place during my lunch with McNamara.
I believe James Coleman would have found the present a most exciting time to be working on Africa. It was his vision of the significance and challenge of the African continent which inspired him to found the African Studies Center here in 1959. He was something of a pioneer in having established African studies as a credible discipline in American universities, when it was not yet popular.
But in fact he did more. He went out to Africa; he went out to Nigeria, to Uganda, to Kenya and he went out to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and contributed to African scholarship and the development of universities and institutes. He was a pioneer too because he understood very early on that Africa's long-term development needed long-term solutions designed and implemented by Africans. And he had the wisdom to focus on capacity building and the building of institutions. It is only now that institutions like mine, the World Bank, are in some sense retracing Coleman's steps on some of these key and critical issues of capacity and institutional development.
Today, in the Coleman spirit, I will explore the relationship between Africa and the World Bank. I will also explore whether we are getting better at putting structural solutions to work on structural problems.
First, I will talk about the present context for a new-found optimism in Africa, represented by the expression that my colleagues and I have been using, namely that "Africa is on the move" (Madavo and Sarbib, 1997).
Second, I will address the three decades of development work in Africa and distill from them the lessons that we — the Bank and Africa — have learned together.
Thirdly and finally, I will present a broad strategic framework for the new and most promising phase we are now entering with Africa — the phase of partnership, energized by a sense that this is a new era for Africa and it can also be a new era for institutions like mine, the World Bank. I am told that Coleman was informed by a sense of the possible and that he rejected the standard pessimism about Africa. I hope to describe here the framework of what I believe is a development partnership for a very possible future in Africa — and a hopeful future.
Africa is on the Move — the Context for Optimism
We at the Bank and, I believe, many Africanists like you, are conscious of the unique alignment of forces and factors that make Africa today a continent on the move. In this sense we meet at a time, for Africa, of great hope, opportunity, and challenge … the challenge to bring about economic progress, the challenge to bring about the reduction of poverty. But you might well ask why I am optimistic. Let me offer three reasons for my optimism about Africa.
Firstly, Africa is on the move because increasingly its citizens are choosing that this be so. We have seen political changes in the 1990s and some of them are very real. Over 40 Sub-Saharan African countries out of 48 are at various stages of political liberalization. And I am not just talking about the question of Western-style elections, although that might not be unimportant. I am talking about the possibility of opening up these societies, opening them up to the possibility of people participating in their future in terms of economic and political life. This, done on a broad scale in Africa, can provide the political legitimacy and broad-based support for the many tough choices that fundamental reforms will demand in Africa.
The second reason for my optimism is that this wave of political reform has brought with it a new style of African leaders. Today some of them that we look to are remarkable not for their ideology but for their lack of it. We admire some of them for their no-nonsense pragmatism. Some too are grappling with issues of accountability and transparency. Gone are the days of statist doctrine in most places. Although from time to time, some of today's reformed leaders fall back into old habits and rhetoric — and I've even seen this happen on private sector promotion tours.
There is also a willingness on the part of the new leadership to acknowledge the issues of corruption and mismanagement and the need to deal with them. These African leaders care about development; they care about the kinds of programs that are going to make sense for them. They are not willing to be pushed around: I have seen, for example, for the first time in some of these countries, Prime Ministers and Presidents saying to an institution like the World Bank, "no, no we don't want to do that and if you insist then, take your money back to Washington". This ability to say "no", this ability to have the self confidence that they need to own these programs, that they need to be the master of their own house, this is an element which gives me tremendous confidence in the future.
And some of these leaders have begun to articulate a vision for us. Take for example the Deputy President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, who has called for an African renaissance. To quote him: "… we've had a whole generation which has experimented with many different things ... politicians with one-party states which did not work, military governments which did not work and all kinds of economic policies which did not work. Now I believe there is a new generation on the continent saying we are ready to turn things around." (Friedman, 1997)
It is very much my hope that this spirit Mbeki is trying to articulate and the spirit of people such as Museveni and others who are becoming the new African leaders, will serve as role models for young Africans who are coming up so that they too can be proud of their continent and its possibilities.
But there is a third reason why I am optimistic about Africa: the economic figures are beginning to say so. In 1996, we saw average growth rates of 5 percent compared with 3.4 percent in 1995, compared with barely 1 percent in 1994. Forty one of the 48 Sub-Saharan countries now have positive per capita GDP. We are beginning to see the long-dormant private sector revive and we are beginning to see capital flows trickle back into Africa. Sure, the numbers are still small — $12-billion — but what is encouraging is that three years ago it was much less than that so the trend is up and if we can build on this it will be a major contribution to the future.
It is gratifying too that Africa is beginning to get the international attention it did not have three years ago, five years ago. And I believe this is for the good. We saw Africa being featured at the G7 summit in Denver this past summer. We had the amazing event outside Washington DC organized by the Corporate Council on Africa in April: the place was simply oversubscribed by people from the private sector. Further, a friend of mine was telling me that at the ninetieth American Assembly of Columbia University, 70 influential Americans got together to talk about "Africa and U.S. National Interests" (American Assembly, 1997). And of course, some of you are aware, the United States Congress is currently considering legislation that would strengthen trade ties to Africa and offer opportunities to exports from Africa to the United States.
The image of Africa in the public eye is also changing as a result. A number of the serious media publications of the developed world have focused not just on bloody war stories out of Africa but on economic gains and investment potential. These are not reports that gloss over the pitfalls and challenges, but we are all strengthened in our work by the more balanced attention which Africa is receiving. My point is that this all adds up and if we can build on this we will make a difference in Africa.
Now, I do not want to be naïve. There are of course sad footnotes. You and I know that we have intolerable human suffering in places like the Horn of Africa — Somalia, Sudan; in places like the Great Lakes — Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo; in places like Sierra Leone where we thought we had begun to make progress but in fact there has been a retrogression. We have been waiting for a long time for improvements in a place like Angola and we are still waiting. So, by my talking optimistically about Africa I am not ignoring these other realities. But it is very important that those of us who know Africa and who are concerned about Africa, not allow some of the civil conflicts to mask the gains that are really taking place in other parts of the continent. In many ways we need to continue to remind those we work with that Africa is not a country; that Africa is a set of countries where some may be making tremendous progress while others are not doing so well; that we need to take a differentiated approach rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
There is another dose of realism that I want to share with you. The economic and political gains I am talking about are remarkable alright given what was happening in the 1980s into the early 1990s. But I think we also have to concede that these gains remain fragile. These achievements need to be deepened, they need to be broadened, and in many ways they need to be accelerated.
The hard fact of the matter is that some 282 million Sub-Saharan Africans live on less than US$1 a day. The fact of the matter is that ninety out of every 1,000 babies in Sub-Saharan Africa still die before their first birthday. I was recently in Ethiopia — 60 million people, the second-largest country, population-wise, in Sub-Saharan Africa — and guess what, only one, I repeat one, in four primary-aged children is in school. What are the implications of this for Ethiopia? What are the implications for Africa?
The point I am trying to dramatize is that 5 percent growth rates, while encouraging, are not enough. We are talking about a continent the population of which is growing at 3 percent a year so the gains per capita are 2 percent. At that rate it would take a generation to double Mozambique's $90 per capita income. It would take a generation — 35 years — to bring Mozambique's per capita income from $90 to $180. We cannot afford that!
Tough economic and social policy choices will, therefore, have to be made in order to raise the growth rates in Africa from 5 percent to 7 to 8 to 10 percent. And these kind of hard choices can only be made if they are commanded and supported by civil society; if indeed Africans as a people will their future with determination.
My friends it is also not just a question of getting the growth rates from 5 to 10 percent. It is not just the level but the nature of this growth that will matter. Will it be the kind of growth that will provide a conveyor belt to pull the poor along? Will it be the kind of growth that will enable a child to go to school, a sick child to go to a health clinic, with drugs? Will it be the kind of growth that will enable a man in a township of Johannesburg to get a job? I am saying the quality of growth and its composition matter as much as its level.
Before I share a few ideas about the way I see the future, allow me to reflect a little bit on the past: the World Bank and Africa — where have we been on this journey and what have we learned together.
Three Phases of Development over Three Decades
For convenience allow me to divide this experience into three phases: the period of the 1960s to the early 1970s, the first phase, was a period of relative economic tranquillity and, in some sense, real growth. In 1957, the Bank had just two African members. By 1971 there were 40 and today there are 48. The first Bank loan in Africa was in 1950, to Ethiopia for road rehabilitation, and until the early Seventies, the Bank's support in Africa focused on power and transport.
Africa in the Sixties was preoccupied with consolidating political power. There was not much attention paid to long-range economic policy and the building of institutions. Of course the harmful effects of some of these omissions are now recognized both by African leaders and their external partners.
The economic systems of the colonial powers were seen as part of the problem during this period rather than an inheritance that could be adapted. Most African governments, as we all know, opted for state-led economic models which suppressed private initiative and used the state's economic apparatus to consolidate power.
Robert McNamara, in his seminal speech in 1973 in Nairobi (McNamara, 1973), really provided the first major wake-up call on African development. He stressed the need for agriculture, for rural development and he stressed the need to reach what he called the "absolute poor". But what was interesting about the World Bank at that time — and I was a junior officer — was that, fundamentally, Africa was not on the radar screen of the institution. If you look at the people who were the intellectual giants around McNamara, helping formulate the direction the World Bank could and would turn, there were very, very few people who made it their business, on a day-to-day basis, to worry about Africa. They were steeped in Asia or Latin America or some other part of the world and they provided the intellectual underpinning to much of the leadership McNamara gave at that time. By the way, when I talked to him about this during our lunch he admitted it and thus all the more remarkable his own insight at the time and the leadership he alone gave on Africa.
There emerged after 1973 a very interesting cultural struggle in the Bank. There were the young, bright and eager professionals, the kind of people who came through the same program I did, the Young Professionals, who believed in the call by McNamara. On the other side were the core of colonial administrators who were specialists in their fields and who were deeply skeptical. At that time the Bank was dominated by Americans and British for the most part, making up over 40 percent of the staff. And some of my British and American friends, I must say, were highly paternalistic towards Africa. For example, I remember startling my African audience when I went to Zambia in 1974. That was the first mission which I led. There were seven of us and among them I was relatively young. We were all sorts of colors but I was the only black. And so I started to speak and the various facial expressions told the story … The Zambians just did not believe that I could be the spokesman of the mission. This lack of respect for African capacity in leadership lingered for a long time in the Bank. I am glad to say we are gradually coming out of it and in a sense I am a symbol of that progress.
I make the point because as a result of these attitudes, because of the ways in which people looked at Africa, because of the lack of confidence in the ability of Africans to take care of their own house, we, at the Bank, resorted to technical assistance and to short-term solutions to issues that were essentially long-term. So there was a fundamental mismatch. The foreign technical assistance model was simply inappropriate for the kinds of things we faced. So it is not surprising that in this first phase, the Bank focused on infrastructure and paid limited attention to policy, to institutions and to capacity.
What then happened between the mid 1970s and the mid 1980s, what I might call the second phase? During this period we built on McNamara's drive towards poverty reduction, agriculture, rural development and education. We relied in many ways on McNamara's individual leadership and his call to the "moral" case for development assistance. In fact, McNamara had tripled lending to Africa from 1969 to 1973 and by 1981, lending for agriculture and rural development — and these are the social sectors — exceeded a third of Bank lending to Africa.
I think we should place some of these activities by McNamara in this period in another context too. McNamara's Nairobi speech came six years after President Nyerere's Arusha Declaration (Nyerere, 1967) which, you will recall, captured the imagination of everyone by putting the rural poor at the center of development. But political elites in Africa were very slow to recognize the importance of people in the rural sector and indeed we, external supporters of Africa, did not make it easy to make this particular change. We were too inclined to translate potentially sweeping reforms and demanding, long-haul efforts into five-year project schedules and six-month "action plans".
Then of course in the Seventies, the oil crises and especially the 1979 price shock hit Africa particularly hard, coming alongside the collapse in primary commodity prices and the beginning of the burgeoning of the debt burden. In addition, few Africans and few development practitioners had been alert to the institutional decay that had been happening in African economies during the Seventies. The expansion of state enterprises, the close regulation of economic activities, the virtual elimination of the private sector and the bloat of the public sector, made Africa especially vulnerable to external changes. The cumulative effect of this became evident at the beginning of the Eighties.
What did we in the Bank do? We came out with a report in 1981 called Accelerated Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Agenda for Action (World Bank, 1981), the famous Berg Report. It offered a remedy for economies caught in a downward spiral, a remedy that lay in sound economic policy. This report was a major shock to Africans because it suggested that the World Bank was losing patience with Africa. For Africans, the easiest way of explaining the problems that were being faced was to point to exogenous economic factors and the colonial inheritance. We at the Bank seemed, suddenly, like a stern schoolmaster: "sound policy, sound policy," we were saying. Interestingly, the cultural struggle I told you about between the young and the old colonials, with the young pushing for change along McNamara's road, became less clear. These young foot soldiers began to lose faith in Africa and they began to join the group which questioned fundamentally whether Africa could turn over a new leaf. In many ways these young people, most of whom were my friends, began to behave like disappointed lovers towards Africa, revising their assessment of countries like Tanzania dramatically where only three years before they had given us glowing pictures — and this despite little change in the objective circumstances of many African economies.
In retrospect I believe it was right that the Berg Report sounded the alarm. The misfortune is that we did not do it very convincingly — the report had a sharp tone to it; as I said, a stern schoolmaster tone. It alienated those around Africa who could have become our allies in reform and we are still living with the consequences of some of that debate in the Eighties on the Berg Report. It is interesting that the 75th anniversary edition of Foreign Affairs that recently came out cited four important books in this century on Africa. They were Lord Lugard's The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa (Lugard, 1922), Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth (Fanon, 1963), René Dumont's False Start in Africa (Dumont, 1962) and the Berg Report. The reviewer's judgment, though — and this is telling — is that: "Today most countries still await convincing proof that the Bank's prescriptions will eventually accelerate growth." (Foreign Affairs, 1997). That takes us back to the point that it was right for us to sound the alarm bell but perhaps we did it in a way about which there still exists skepticism as to whether or not some of our ideas are really eventually going to bear fruit.
Indeed today, in the minds of the African public, the phrase "structural adjustment" is synonymous with the World Bank in Africa. This is an ironic turn of events because when structural adjustment programs were initially granted us we were thinking of places like Korea, Thailand and others. They did in fact structurally adjust in the 1980s and went on to become big successes until of course two or three weeks ago when some turbulence in their currencies emerged which needs to be worked on. Kenya was the first African country to receive a structural adjustment loan and some of the issues we were dealing with there in the early Eighties are still on the table and have not been resolved.
In many ways, Africa was perceived as not having either the economic prospects or the administrative capacity necessary to undertake serious structural adjustment. So in Africa we saw adjustment in the early period turn more towards stabilization rather than real adjustment — leading to the confusion between the roles of the Bank and the IMF on the continent. And of course in this early period of adjustment, we fell prey to another old habit of the Bank which is that we tended to think that if we influenced a small number of decision-makers rather than helping governments establish the conditions for broad-based ownership, that everything would be alright. The fact of the matter is that we have learned the hard way that the Finance Minister signing off on a piece of paper does not mean that things will happen on the ground.
This brings me to the third period, the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s. During this time structural adjustment programs really matured and we began to see a greater preoccupation in making sure that we fed issues of growth and poverty into adjustment. We began to grapple with the issue of providing more sophisticated and targeted safety nets than those of the mid 1980s and to pay attention to the social sectors in our programs. The share of loans which included social sector initiatives increased from less than 5 percent in FY 1984 to 1986 to almost 30 percent in FY 1990 to 1992. We began to grapple too with the need for political support and to discuss with governments how one grows political support for some of these difficult adjustment programs. Many reform prescriptions required that governments take hard political knocks and it is probably in this area where the Bank and its African partners have experienced some of the most frustrating aspects of our relationship.
During this period Africans became impatient with the idea of being "dictated to". The Bank, on the other side, said it was merely sharing the experience of other countries which showed that policy reforms had to be implemented. We were simply trying to point out that it was a world on the move and that if Africa was going to participate in the global economy in a competitive way, it had to change the way in which its economies functioned. And those Young Turks I mentioned, who had been fighting in the Seventies and then disillusioned, were coming back now, feeling that Africa could do better and should do better. And yet, at the same time, we were in this unfortunate circumstance of watching Africa in an economic free-fall that went well into the early Nineties. With this we saw poverty expanding when the very thing that was really motivating people to work for the Bank was to do something about poverty.
In my interpretation we could have handled the structural adjustment debate much better; we could have anticipated some of the social dimensions much earlier. And we should have appreciated earlier too that we could not just deal with a small group in core economic ministries but that these programs were difficult and needed to be sold to the public. We should have appreciated that without public support, things were not really going to work.
I conclude that if we were right in the 1970s to focus on infrastructure — and I think we were — and if we were right in the 1980s, to insist on economic reform, we did a very poor job in the implementation of the latter. Our instruments, our language, our approach were simply wrong. It is only in the early 1990s that we began to change, just as Africa was beginning to turn itself around and ask of us at the Bank, as an international institution, that we provide that which Africa required rather than that which the Bank thought was good for Africa.
The changes that were made in the late 1980s were anticipated in another very important Bank report entitled From Crisis to Sustainable Growth which was issued in 1989. It rung the alarm bells and showed the need to go beyond the issues of structural adjustment to address fundamental questions of human capacity, institutions, governance and the environment. It also began to diagnose what ailed us and to shift our focus from prescriptions to a more humble approach. Let me quote: "Responsibility for Africa's economic crisis is shared. Donor agencies and foreign advisers have been heavily involved in past development efforts along with the African governments themselves. Governments and donors alike must be prepared to change their thinking fundamentally in order to revive Africa's fortunes. However, Africa's future can only be decided by Africans. External agencies can play at most a supportive role." (World Bank, 1989)
So you see, here, a real shift in the way in which we began to look at Africa.
By the mid-1990s, and preparing ourselves for the future I want to address now, we had refined this new perspective further. There could not be talk of a grand-scale solution for Africa any more. We recognized instead a mosaic of different opportunities. And I quote from another Bank report in 1995 entitled A Continent in Transition: Sub-Saharan Africa in the Mid-1990s: "As the conditions, constraints and progress of African countries vary, so do their agendas." (World Bank, 1995). We began to understand, in other words, that "a dynamic partnership between the African people, African governments and donors is needed to realize the potential of Africa in the coming years." We realized here that we could not apply one solution to every situation; we could not treat Africa as if it was one country.
A Partnership for the Future
So what about the future and where is the Bank going with Africa? I would characterize our relations with Africa now in this fourth phase, if I may call it that, as a relationship built around partnership. And this partnership is built around five mutually reinforcing building blocks.
Block One is the need to support the emerging new style of African leadership. We must accept the fact that Africans must lead and take responsibility for their economic future. That means a change in the way in which we deal with Africa: rather than dictate we need to listen, rather than lead we need to support and rather than always imposing conditions we need to arrive at jointly agreed-upon performance targets. I am not suggesting here that the Bank go soft on Africa. I am suggesting though that the Bank proceed on the basis of a compact: here is what needs to be done and within that the Africans have a certain responsibility to do their part and their partners from outside have their responsibility to support them. This way of doing business is going to be much more difficult for my institution as it is for Africans because it means they, the African leaders, are going to have to grow these reform programs on the basis of consensus and participation in countries where this is not always easy. It means they are going to have to be prepared to open up to civil society, to non-governmental organizations and to other players that have tended to be ignored in the past in Africa. And for the Bank, it is not going to be easy because it requires that we let go of control.
Block Two calls for us to assist the African leadership in establishing and deepening the consensus around a strategy to accelerate growth with both internal and external development partners. We are challenged here to examine some of the elements of the way forward. I have said that the challenge is to raise growth rates from 5 to 8 to 10 percent. What will it take to do this? It is very clear we are going to have to talk about private sector-led growth because there are not going to be adequate investments coming from the public sector. It is very clear, too, we are going to have to ensure that the growth addresses rural areas and the social sectors otherwise there is not going to be the political and social underpinning to sustain this sort of progress. It means we have to help Africans develop a growth strategy based on the preposition that development is about inclusion and not exclusion. Africans have to come up with strategies that will bring about growth that raises all the boats with the tide rather than benefiting a few people.
I said I do not see progress in Africa unless the private sector begins to play a strong role. For our Block Three this means we must look at trade, at investment and at the mobilization of domestic resources so that ultimately Africa can generate its own development finance. We must create Africa as a good business address which means creating the policy environment that will make the private sector want to go to Africa rather than Asia or Latin America. We have to provide access in international markets to African exports. Fortunately we are beginning to see the trickle back to Africa of private sector flows although they are still very small. And we are beginning to see the trickle back of foreign direct investment. This needs to be accelerated.
Block Four requires that we continue to support official development assistance (ODA) to Africa. For Africa, ODA is absolutely critical and we must be careful that we are not swept along by the fact that private sector flows have becomes five times the ODA flows to developing countries. We know that private sector flows are not going to go to countries that do not have infrastructure and an educated work force. They are simply not going to go to Africa unless we significantly improve conditions by doing some of the things that cannot be done by the private sector but need to be done by the public sector. We need to redouble our efforts to support IDA, the International Development Association, the soft window of the Bank which is really the lifeline for Africa and averages an annual commitment of $2.5 billion. We need further to strongly support the efforts to deal with the debt issue in Africa, the so-called Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative that is now underway. And I think, in making the case for some of these issues in the United States, we can and should make the point that IDA contributions are not just charity. IDA contributions used well in Africa, can create business opportunities, can create win-win situations in which all of us, Africans and non-Africans alike, can benefit.
Block Five recognizes that African countries and their international and bilateral development partners cannot tackle the development effort alone. There is a need to consult much more closely with beneficiaries of projects that we finance in Africa. There is a need to involve the civil society, the private sector and non-governmental organizations. There is a need, in working together in this way, for people to listen, to learn from each other and to combine efforts and leverage the impact of what we are doing.
There are two other key elements which cut across all five blocks and will remain very important in Africa. One is building capacity. The kind of Africa I am talking about, the kind of ownership of development programs that I am talking about, are not going to be possible if the capacity on the African side is weak. It simply means you do not have the building blocks for a partnership of people. Fortunately the African Finance Ministers have come up with a project that will address some of this. I think their Partnership for Capacity Building (African Governors, 1996) will be a rallying point for external donors to support this great need.
The other key element which will be very important is the diffusion of knowledge. Africa comes late to the information age but is in a position to leapfrog into the latest information technology. In the development game, ideas matter as much as money and perhaps in some cases, more. The access to ideas, to knowledge, to the experience of other parts of the world by Africa is going to be absolutely fundamental to the future. We have begun to take some initiatives as the Bank tries to become a knowledge bank to support Africa. We are involved in a range of knowledge-based development activities like the African Virtual University which will soon be operating in 10 African countries and a school-to-school Internet connectivity program which has been established between Uganda, Ghana and Senegal on the African side and Wyoming, Toronto and Chicago on the North American side. We must be alert, too, to gathering Africa's experience and contributing it to the knowledge bank.
I have suggested that Africa now is a continent on the move; that Africa's people are ready to will their own future. But in many ways those of us who have worked in development should have, a long time ago, taken a longer view of development by building institutions and people very much in the spirit of the pioneering work of James S. Coleman. This is the lesson that we should all take: that Africans should lead us into the future; that we, as their supporters in academia, in civil society and in development agencies, should listen and support. And it is very important in this process that we raise Africa's confidence as much as we raise its output; that we should, in thinking about Africa, think about equipping its young people with the ways and means — not just the hope — for a better day. We must think too about securing its older people the prospect of a more secure twilight to their lives in the heart of their families and communities. And finally, we must ensure that poor people find a path away from their difficulties and isolation.
As World Bank President Wolfensohn said: "This is what the challenge of development is all about -- inclusion. Bringing people into society who have never been part of it before.
"Our goal must be to reduce these disparities across and within countries, to bring more and more people into the mainstream, to promote equitable access to the benefits of development regardless of nationality, race or gender. This — the Challenge of Inclusion — is the key to the development challenge of our time." (Wolfensohn, 1997).
All of us, Africans and Africanists, as well as those yet to perceive and learn the special qualities of the continent and its peoples, have a role to play — together — in achieving that.