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African Engagements: On Whose Terms? Africa Negotiating An Emerging Multipolar World

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Chapter Summary

In the early post-colonial era, African governments were strongly engaged in promoting strategies of economic modernisation within the frame of the new nation states, with nation a notion of substantial confusion. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in late 1989, Africas engagement with the world changed to the direction of democracy and human rights. This chapter explores some of the reasons why it often appears so difficult to take African agency seriously and considers some recent thinking on African agency and engagements. By using the ancient Egyptian civilisation as an example, it is possible to describe two radical and opposite views regarding African agency and engagements: one which sees Africans as incapable of cultural development and totally dependent upon external influences, and the other which sees Africans as the major contributors to and developers of civilisations within Africa and beyond.

Keywords: African agency; Egyptian civilisation

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