As someone who has worked in Africa‘s worst war zones for the past quarter-century, I usually write about atrocities, tyranny and famine. That’s what Americans are used to in articles with Africa datelines: grim tales of a hopeless and devastated continent. But after years of dealing with the likes of Somali gunmen, the Janjaweed militia in Sudan‘s Darfur region and abducted child soldiers in northern Uganda, I am far more optimistic about Africa’s future than I was when I started.
The election of a 53-year-old former insurance executive as president of Sierra Leone last week was the latest sign of progress coming out of the continent. Though there were some isolated incidents of unrest, the democratic swearing-in of Ernest Bai Koroma was contrary to what much of the world has come to expect from Africa.
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