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In the ‘90s, and thereafter, it is likely that short-term emergency management will remain the major concern of governments in Sub-Saharan Africa. Polarized by economic and financial equilibria, governments forget the essential element to the sustainability of their societies: the food security of their people. As a source of social peace, it must be associated with the right to health, education, employment and a high-quality environment. Is this security compatible with the complete liberalization of society which no longer knows how it works, and with the incorporation of fragile and vulnerable societies into a world economy governed by competition driven by rationalization and quality? Is African society doomed to adopt this rationality in which it will lose its identity? Or rather will it have the political will to take the security of its peoples as its goal?

As a general rule, governments seem to have a confused idea about food security and manage the short term in a state of contradiction without looking further ahead. They seem to be more anxious to keep to the liberalization timetable than to set up a new economic system. No deliberate choice has been made of any one of the different ways of guaranteeing food security. The only certainties are that they are seeking to improve their own supplies and possibly also an export market within the WAMU.

Is African society politically motivated and ready to exploit the convergence of events that favour a real economic take-off, and are the donors ready to run the risks involved in ensuring that investments remain in the country, and for the country?

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