Around the Horn

Africa has long been the poorest continent in the world. Its often brutal colonial past is a heavy legacy. Many people still suffer famine, especially in the Horn of Africa. Civil war has been a perennial scourge in the region, and the chaos that comes in the wake of such wars has led to everything from radical Islamic groups to pirates on the high seas.
But a closer look at this part of the continent reveals that something is changing. Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are on the way to new (or almost new) governments willing to bring democracy and prosperity. It will not be an easy task, especially in a time of crisis. However, Africa has the resources to free itself from its perennial dependence on richer countries. Even in the case of a stronger economy, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s, the problem of ethnicity still has a huge impact on the political behavior of many African States. The four states listed here all have to manage uprisings and clashes, because the most common feature of the modern African state is the multi-ethnicity that all too often generates conflicts. Other matters of concern stem from the neighborhood policies of these countries, especially the tensions between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite different views about how to manage rebellions, two states that were in conflict with each other until only a couple of years ago – Ethiopia and Eritrea – now have the opportunity to cooperate. But the overriding hope in this part of the world is that new governments will able to end poverty for their people and help them to be really free. It is an ambitious task that can only be achieved with hard work. Along with the Arab Spring, the rest of Africa seems to beginning a new path towards a better future.