Futuribles Journal n° 332

Géopolitique - Société, modes de vie

The 21st Century Seen from Africa. Dialogue or Clash of Civilizations?


Alioune Sall, Director of the African Futures Institute, looks at the key question of this special issue - the future of relations between civilizations at global level - from the African angle, a view too often forgotten in this debate.
In this article, he sets out the major challenges that Africa faces (coping with modernity, bloody conflicts, problems of governance, etc.) and emphasizes how far the West (in particular the former colonial powers) is responsible for the current difficulties of the continent. Nevertheless, contrary to the view that certain commentators sometimes express, he thinks that Africa has a future and one that does not involve a clash of civilizations, but rather a dialogue which will give rise to a new sort of modernity.
Invoking various African thinkers, Alioune Sall offers three main arguments in favour of this dialogue of cultures: pluralism and respect for diversity, a new kind of citizenship that is not based on being native-born, and the emergence of what he calls "afropolitanity" (in a sense marking a post-colonial phase of modernity in Africa). He does not underestimate the scale of the challenges (population growth, economic problems, governance, etc.), but bases his hopes on the coming together of a vision of values and a certain degree of political intervention that makes it possible to envisage Africa's future with optimism, against the background of a genuine dialogue with other cultures, and especially with the West.

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