Flipping Book | Africa's Giants | Salini Impregilo Library

Africa is waking up. Of course, it would be somewhat exaggerated to call it an African Renaissance as some observers like to, but something new is happening. It certainly does not provide the remedy for the continent’s tragic poverty but at least it brings some hope for the future. From the Mediterranean to southern Africa, everything is on the move: streams of people are leaving rural areas for the sprawling outskirts of the cities. They follow the invisible new link of mobile phones, while Chinese engineers and workers are building roads and railways designed to open up the way towards modernity in a continent that has never succeeded in achieving it by itself. Nevertheless, it would be as well not to harbour any illusions, because this process is only at the beginning and Africa remains by far the poorest continent in the world. Despite the signs of awakening seen over the past ten years, Africa’s share of the total income for the planet has not changed from that of thirty years ago, while its population is growing and will double before the middle of the 21 st century. Africa’s journey will therefore be uphill, despite the immense natural resources that the continent possesses. The greatest obstacle along the journey towards the African Renaissance is naturally the fragility of the political classes governing almost all the countries. This is partly due to an ancestral reluctance towards cooperation between the countries, too small to build up a robust economic life by themselves, and traditionally opposed to setting up the partnerships needed to give strength and continuity to development. The gap between Africa’s potentials and the poverty of its citizens is still enormous: the world’s richest continent in terms of resources and territory is not yet able to produce enough food to feed its inhabitants and to generate the amount of energy required to make their living conditions bearable. As I said at the beginning of this introduction, Foreword