Courtesy Reuters

Africa's Future and the World

An attempt to solve specific African problems out of context, according to some half-understood universal concept, neglects the especially important social factors. Such an approach assumes that science has reached its limits, that mankind's present knowledge is absolute and immutable, and that in these matters there is nothing further to be expected, attempted or desired. It implies that human society, having reached maturity, begins to decline. On the contrary, everything indicates that it is still full of contradictions and imperfections and that these are the causes of its difficulties, its crises and its disequilibrium. Thus the course of progress, far from being limited, is infinite in time and space.

It is absurd to suppose that an American laborer can think and act in the same manner as the president of a great New York bank. It is just as absurd to conceive of the African or the African nations acting in terms that are supposed to be universal but actually are only relative, depending on particular historical or social conditions.

There are no simple solutions to human problems, nor will there be while vast differences in living conditions keep peoples apart, while agricultural and industrial overproduction constitutes a permanent problem in the most highly developed nations, and while a tragic lack of consumer goods and equipment remains a serious peril for the peoples of the underdeveloped or undeveloped nations. Poor peoples, underdeveloped nations, have needs and demands which are essential to the fulfillment of their hopes and which have nothing in common with those of the highly developed nations and their rich populations. It is not strange that all peoples want security and seek to improve their standards of life, for man's universal aspiration is for progress, social justice, freedom, prosperity and peace. But each of these aspirations has a particular order of urgency for each people, and draws on infinitely varied potentialities and capacities.

Because of their historical past and their present state of underdevelopment, Asians and Africans obviously have

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