……The coronavirus pandemic lays bare that which well-to-do middle classes in African cities have thus far refused to confront.

In the past 10 years, various media, intellectuals, politicians and international financial institutions have clung to an idea of an Africa on the move, of Africa as the new frontier of capitalist expansion; an Africa on the path to ’emerging’ with growth rates that are the envy of northern countries.

Such a representation, repeated at will to the point of becoming a received truth, has been torn apart by a crisis that has not entirely revealed the extent of its destructive potential.

………This letter is a small reminder, a reiteration of the obvious: that the African continent must take its destiny back into its own hands.

FACE ON THE STREET: Patrick Akpojotor, acrylic on canvas, 122 x 92 cm, 2019.

For it is in the most trying moments that new/innovative orientations must be explored and lasting solutions adopted.

The present letter is addressed to leaders of all walks of life; to the people of Africa and to all those that are committed to re/thinking the continent.

We invite them to seize the opportunity of the coronavirus crisis to joint efforts in rethinking an African state in the service of the well-being of its people, to break with a model of development based on the vicious cycle of indebtedness, to break with the orthodox vision of growth for the sake of growth, and of profit for the sake of profit.

The challenge for Africa is no less than the restoration of its intellectual freedom and a capacity to create – without which no sovereignty is conceivable.

LED IN STRANGEWAYS: Larry Amponsah; Inkjet Print, Fake Hair Extensions, Melted Glue-sticks & Acrylic on Somerset Velvet Paper; 120 x 150 cm, 2019.

It is to break with the outsourcing of our sovereign prerogatives, to reconnect with local configurations, to break with sterile imitation, to adapt science, technology and research to our context, to elaborate institutions on the basis of our specificities and our resources, to adopt an inclusive governance framework and endogenous development, to create value in Africa in order to reduce our systemic dependence.

More crucially, it is essential to remember that Africa has sufficient material and human resources to build a shared prosperity on an egalitarian basis and in respect of the dignity of each and everyone.

The dearth of political will and the extractive practices of external actors can no longer be used as excuse for inaction.

We no longer have a choice: we need a radical change in direction.

Now is the time!


Wole Soyinka (Nobel Prize in Literature 1986)

Makhily Gassama (Essayist)

Cornel West (Princeton University)

Kwame Anthony Appiah (New York University)

Henry Louis Gates Jr (Harvard University)

Cheikh Hamidou Kane (Writer)

Odile Tobner (Librairie des Peuples Noirs, Cameroon)

Iva Cabral (daughter of Amilcar Cabral, University of Mindelo)

Olivette Otele (Bristol University)

Boubacar Boris Diop (American University of Nigeria)

Siba N’Zatioula Grovogui (Cornell University)

Véronique Tajdo (Writer)

Francis Nyamnjoh (University of Cape Town)

Ibrahim Abdullah (Fourah Bay College)

Sean Jacobs (The New School)

Oumar Ba (Morehouse College)

Maria Paula Meneses (Coimbra University)

Amadou Elimane Kane (PanAfrican Institute of Culture and Research)

Inocencia Mata (University of Lisbon)

Anthony Obeng (The African Institute for Economic Development and Planning)

Aisha Ibrahim (Fouray Bay College)

Makhtar Diouf (Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar)

Koulsy Lamko (Writer)

Mahamadou Lamine Sagna (American University of Nigeria)

Carlos Nuno Castel-Branco (Economist, Mozambique)

Touriya Fili-Tullon (University of Lyon 2)

Kako Nubupko (University of Lome)

Rosania da Silva (University Foundation for the Development of Education)

Amar Mohand-Amer (CRASC, Oran)

Mame Penda Ba (Gaston Berger University of St Louis)

Medhi Alioua (International University of Rabat)

Rama Salla Dieng (University of Edinburgh)

Yoporeka Somet (Philosopher, Egyptologist, Burkina Faso)

Gazibo Mamoudou (University of Montreal)

Fatou Kine Camara (Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar)

Jonathan Klaaren (University of the Witwatersrand)

Rosa Cruz e Silva (Agostinho Neto University)

Ismail Rashid (Vassar College)

Abdellahi Hajjat (Free University of Brussels)

Maria das Neves Baptista de Sousa (Lusiada University of Sao Tome e Príncipe)

Lazare Ki-Zerbo (Philosopher, Guyana)

Lina Benabdallah (Wake Forest University)

Iolanda Evora (University of Lisbon)

Kokou Edem Christian Agbobli (The Universite du Quebec a Montreal)

Opeyemi Rabiat Akande (Harvard University)

Lourenço do Rosario (Mozambique Polytechnic University)

Issa Ndiaye (University of Bamako)

Yolande Bouka (Queen’s University)

Adama Samake (Felix Houphouet Boigny University)

Bruno Sena Martins (Coimbra University)

Charles Ukeje (University of Ile Ife)

Isaie Dougnon (Fordham University)

Cláudio Alves Furtado (Federal University of Bahia, University of Cap-Verde)

Ebrima Ceesay (University of Birmingham)

Rita Chaves (University of Sao Paulo)

Benaouda Lebdai (Le Mans University)

Guillaume Johnson (CNRS, Paris-Dauphine)

Ayano Mekonnen (University of Missouri)

Thierno Diop (Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar)

Mbemba Jabbi (University of Texas)

Abdoulaye Kane (University of Florida)

Muhammadu M.O. Kah (American University of Nigeria & University of the Gambia)

Alpha Amadou Barry Bano (University of Sonfonia)

Yacouba Banhoro (University of Ouaga 1 Joseph Ki-Zerbo)

Dialo Diop (Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar)

Rahmane Idrissa (African Studies Center, Leiden)

El Hadji Samba Ndiaye (Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar)

Benabbou Senouci (University of Oran)

José Luís Cabaco (Universidade Tecnica de Mocambique)

Mouhamadou Ngouda Mboup (Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar)

Hassan Remanoun (University of Oran)

Salif Diop (Universite Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar)

Narciso Matos (Mozambique Polytechnic University)

Mame Thierno Cisse (Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar)

Demba Moussa Dembele (ARCADE, Senegal)

Many Camara (University of Angers)

Ibrahima Wane (Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar)

Thomas Tieku (King’s University College, Western University) Jibrin Ibrahim (Center for Democracy and Development)

El Hadji Samba Ndiaye (Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar)

Jose Luis Cabaco (Technical University of Mozambique)

Firoze Manji (Daraja Press)

Mansour Kedidir (CRASC, Oran)

Abdoul Aziz Diouf (Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar)

Mohamed Nachi (University of Liege)

Alain Kaly (Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro)

Last Dumi Moyo (American University of Nigeria)

Hafsi Bedhioufi (University of Manouba)

Abdoulaye Niang (Gaston Berger University of Saint-Louis)

Robtel Neajai Pailey (University of Oxford)

Slaheddine Ben Frej (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciencees of Tunis)

Victor Topanou (Universite d’Abomey-Calavi, Bénin)

Paul Ugor (Illinois State University)

Djibril Tamsir Niane (Writer)

Laroussi Amri (University of Tunis)

Karine Ndjoko Ioset (University of Wuerzburg and University of Lubumbashi)

Magueye Kassa (Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar)

Lionel Zevounou (Paris Nanterre University)

Amy Niang (University of Witwatersrand)

Ndongo Samba Sylla (Economist, Senegal)

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