The crisis of the State preceded structural adjustment, the latter only exposing a pre-existing economic and financial crisis. As a result of this financial crisis, the State’s ambitions have fallen into discredit. Its leaders are less able to redistribute wealth and, as one problem leads to another, their political survival is threatened. The « revolt of the belly » has been carried over to the political playing-field thanks to favourable international circumstances which have forced states to accept multipartygovernment. From this viewpoint, the collapse of ideological models and the structural policies of adjustment are as much factors in the crisis of the African State as they are in its renewal.
The difficulties Africa is going through are illustrated in the gap between its growing dependence on international authorities and the continual weakening of the means at its disposal to make it self heard in these bodies. For twenty years, Africa was caught up in the North-South dialogue. In the 1980s, the breaking-off of the dialogue and the breaking-up of the Third World deprived it of means for collective action. The distinction between North Africa and Black Africa has grown more pronounced as first the globalization of markets and then the changes in East-West relations caused the latter to fall victim to a process of double marginalization. International organizations consider Subsaharan Africa to be a "welfare case" and reserve special treatment for it, without loosening the external constraints bearing down on its economy. In these conditions, a consensus seems to be developing which holds that multilateral diplomacy is not what's most important for Africa and that the real question is to know how to involve the entire population in the development process. There is thus a return to the overall issue of grass root organizations and essential needs as outlined in the 1970s.
With a GDP of355 million dollars, i.e. 4 % of the world GDP, the African continent is economically the least developed region. During the 1980s Africa underwent economic and social decline combined with worsening external and internal financial imbalances. The Maghreb, southern Africa, and Nigeria constitute nonetheless areas that have a relatively high level of development with much potential.
Superpower disinterest turns out to be the main feature of Africa's post cold war era. Although marxism-leninism and models of socialist orientation based thereupon have utterly failed, there is not much reason for capitalism to triumph either: the debate on the limits and risks of the market forces will continue as the example of South Africa shows. The eighties have turned out to be a lost decade for development in Africa and there will be no significant rise in outside development assistance in the coming years : expectations for a Marshall Plan for Africa and hopes concerning a "peace-dividend" because of disarmament in Europe should be discounted in the context of the exploding cost of European reconstruction. Africans can either react with despair or with a "New Realism", geared at solving their problems essentially by mobilising their own resources and creativity. Europe, for its part, would be ill-advised to judge its relations with Africa merely in terms of diminishing strategic and economic interests.
From 1988, there has been a change in the pace of events in the Horn of Africa. The United States and the Soviet Union opted out of the logic of cold war which obtained up to then, leaving more room open to an intervention by neighbouring States (Israel, Irak, the Gulf States). The extension into the Horn of the Middle-Eastern rivalries is all the more real since the political powers are all in a precarious position, despite their use of an unmitigated coercion. Yet, the internal dynamics, which are complex, are still prevailing. It does not seem from their current evolution that there is any hope for real peace talks to end the conflicts.
With the marginalization of Africa in international trade, previous models for operationalizing relations with Europe have become obsolete. There is increasingly a trend towards uncoupling between North Africa, the Republic of South Africa, and Black Africa. North Africa has broken away to the point of regarding itself as a hinterland of Europe. South Africa is likely to become both a crossroads and a transit point in trade between Europe, Africa, and the Pacific region. In Black Africa, the only current scenarios for reconnection with the rest of the world seem to amount to pointing out this subregion's capability to do harm if it were ever abandoned.
As the 1980s drew to a close in the Maghreb, old plans for unification were dusted off with the creation of the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA), an organization bringing together all five countries of North Africa : Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya. This article seeks to analyze this new dynamic of regional integration by emphasizing its significance, its characteristics, its scope, and its limits. We express the hypothesis according to which the process of the Maghreb 's integration has been set in motion largely by the crisis in the inter-Arab System. Above all else, it represents a response to the constraints implicit in the push towards European union.
Nigeria's leadership role in inter-African relations remains a myth despite the country's assertiveness in the areas of liberation, conflict mediation and regional economic integration. Rhetoric and posturing in inter-African diplomacy have become a substitute for reality. Furthermore, the weakness of the Nigerian domestic structure and the effects of the structural adjustment programme negate Nigerians capabilities to exert a leadership in inter-African diplomacy.
The principal preoccupation of South African foreign policy decision makers has consistently been the preservation and perpetuation of white power and privilege. This has been especially the case with respect to relations with the rest of Africa, and above all Southern Africa which South Africa has long regarded as its natural hinterland. Traditionally, the neighbouring states have been a source of minerals, markets and migrant labour, but more recently they have also been perceived as a source of insecurity. Pretoria countered the alleged "total onslaught" it faced with its "total strategy" which, in the region, amounted to a combination ofathump and talk. "The military reverse South Africa suffered in Angola in 1988 forced a reassessment of policy, leading to the independance of Namibia and the prospect of an end to apartheid domestically. How the emergence of a non-racial democratic regime in South Africa will affect policy towards the continent is uncertain. While the African National Congress recognizes the need to put the relationship on a new and mutually beneficial basis, it is likely to be preoccupied with its own formidable domestic agenda. This may leave policy effectively in the hands of the technocrats and the businessmen, which does not augur well for an end to the present exploitative relationship.
Chronique des relations extérieures du Canada et du Québec