Pan-africanism In The Late Twentieth Century
The mid-1970s saw the elaboration of a new philosophy and a new outline for long-term economic, technical, and financial cooperation between Africa and the Arab world. In some respects, oil and, particularly, the creation of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) were important in this regard and transformed Nigeria into a crucial state in Arab-African relations. Oil profits and the institutional framework of OPEC enabled significant capital transfers from Arab to African states between 1973 and 1980. Yet, those funds fell well short of Africa's real needs for development capital, and these factors often proved to divide rather than promote unity. Ultimately, the dramatic downturn in oil prices beginning in the early 1980s not only hurt oil-producing countries but drastically reduced Arab aid to Africa.
At the end of the twentieth century, debates surrounding "globalization" and renewed interest in transnational communities and cultural networks sparked a number of attempts to "reconsider" the history of Pan-Africanism, particularly among scholars associated with the nascent fields of African diaspora studies and Atlantic history. The delegates at the Sixth and Seventh Pan-African Congresses—held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Kampala, Uganda, in 1974 and 1994, respectively—also revisited this history. They did so, however, in an attempt to emphasize the need for unity in confronting contemporary economic exploitation in Latin America and Africa as well as the revolutionary potential of Pan-Africanism for the future. Likewise, following the end of both the Cold War and apartheid in South Africa, the new African Union, founded at Sirte, Libya, in March 2001 to replace the OAU, was called on to address problems as diverse as the marginalization of Africa in international affairs, the global economy, and the AIDS pandemic on the continent.
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