In recent years, many African countries have become democratic and liberalized politically. In all areas of politics, Africa is shaking off its old ways and becoming more modernized.
Grassroots political action is finally becoming a force in many African
nations. In addition, elections, a free press, human rights, and mass participation are becoming more widespread.
Before achieving their independence, many African countries were ruled by European colonial powers. These countries prevented democratic institutions from developing, and held the continent back economically as well.
As a result, concepts of political freedom, democracy, and citizen participation do not have the tradition
they do in other countries. However, as the region progresses, these types of ideas are becoming more ingrained.
In many other areas of the world, politics has had an intense effect on the environment. In countries such as the United States, hundreds of environmental groups exist to attempt to influence public opinion and the government.
Obviously, an abundance of such organizations has yet to arise in Africa. But the fact that governments are, by necessity, becoming
more responsive to the wishes of their citizens will probably mean that attempts to preserve and conserve the natural environment will increase in the near future.
Many African governments are now beginning to work towards economic development. Often by increasing information exchanges with the rest of the world, Africa has worked towards modernization.
If the development efforts are successful, the effects on the environment will be extremely important and greatly mixed. On
the negative side, Africa might begin to suffer from the effects of industrialization, such as pollution. But on the positive side, Africa might also develop the economic and political resources needed to protect the environment.