Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- Globalisation has taken a heavy toll on Africa, former UNESCO director Amadou Mahtar Mbow lamented Thursday at an inter-generation debate with African pupils and students at the University of Dakar.
Mbow noted at the discussions, held on the sidelines of the ongoing first Conference of Intellectuals from Africa and the Diaspora here, that globalisation was but one of the advanced stages of modern capitalism.
"This globalisation commenced since the rebirth and birth of modern capitalism in Europe.
This capitalism has, most of the time, fed on African sweat with the Negro trade, the triangular trade as mercantilism developed in Europe.
Therefore globalisation, considered from its roots, has taken a heavy tool on us Africans, he charged.
If the globalisation has become today a hot issue, Mbow said it is because it has instituted a system of inequality.
According to Mbow, a former Senegalese culture minister, "the point is less about Africa being hostile to globalisation than what globalisation we are faced with, whom does it serve and on what bases it unfolds".
"Is it based on inequalities between the States and the exploitation of a part of the world to the detriment of others?" Mbow queried, adding that while Africa cannot change globalisation, it cannot stand aloof of this trend.
"But Africa must demand in globalisation in order to have a clear vision of what it wants, where it comes from and where it is heading to, what are its own problems, what are its aspirations and what is its vision of the world and world relations," the Mbow urged.
On the issue of cultural alienation which the youths lamented, Mbow stressed that everyone had a form of cultural alienation.
"We were trained at school in exclusive French patriotism.
We sang French songs to identify ourselves with the French who colonised us," he explained, stressing that the cultural alienation went on because unlike what had to be done, Africans were unwilling to reform their educational systems.
If the former generation -- Africa's own -- attempted such enterprise in the '60s by publishing manuals essentially centred on African history and geography through the general history of humanity, the movement failed to be extended to the following generations, he cited.
Mbow urged youths to assume their responsibilities, think and reflect as Africans in light of the African context and the aspirations of Africans.
"Because," he warned, "cultural alienation is in the mentality of people".