Last week, the top diplomats of the United States of America and Russia have crisscrossed the continent of Africa by scheduling trips in some strategic countries for them. Sergei Lavrov started on Monday by visiting Angola, then Namibia, Zimbabwe,Zambia and Ethiopia. Rex Tillerson started his, with a visit in Ethiopia where the headquarters of African Union is located. He also planned a visit in Kenya and Nigeria. During this visits, there has been a communication war between these top world diplomats . The American Rex Tillerson criticized Chinese economic approach when dealing with the continent. In fact, he warned the countries of Africa to be careful in signing contracts with China. He thinks China encourages dependency policies while dealing with Africa. By utilizing corrupt deals and endangering natural resources.
Russia’s Sergei Lavrov on it parts , criticized the top American diplomats for criticizing China. What is really going on? Why all of the sudden, Africa is becoming like a woman that everyone wants to court? What is at stake for the Chinese, the Americans and the Russians? Is the continent prepared for this sudden courtship in order to preserve its interests.
The continent of Africa has always been an object of attraction. Beginning with ancient time, people from ancient Grèce came to the continent for knowledge. It is reported in the work of those who have study ancient Egypt such us cheikh Anta Diop. Socrates and others during their time had been in the continent to acquire knowledge. The second wave of attractiveness started in the 15th century with the Portuguese who were the world power at the time. This is the period that started misery of historical proportions for Africa with the slaves trade and the destruction of entire kingdoms and culture through the christianisation of Africans
The 18th century enlightenment and the industrial revolution, created a need for natural resources in order to develop industry in Europe. This eventually transformed the slaves trade to colonialism. Colonisation of the entire continent, that was not limited to the christianisation but open the door to the exploitation of natural resources. With colonialism, Europe took over the continent sharing among themselves territories during the Berlin conference in the 19 century 1884-1885) , a conference that is also called the Congo conference. This conference proceeded to not only divid the content, but also to regulate trade with Africa, regulations that designated Europeans as masters of the African lands.
In the middle of the 20th century, although most countries of Africa became independent from their colonial masters, they did not completely free themselves from them. This is the case of the 15 countries in west Africa and central Africa that were under France authority. Africa has always been in the middle of the geopolitical strategies of the world power. What is at stake for the new wave of attraction by Africa.
At the end of the 20th century, while many developed countries neglected Africa, considered it as a country in need and limited their dealings with the continent to aid, China progressively position itself as Africa number one partner. The continent had been turning to China for aid and trade. China has surpassed the US as the trade partner since 2009. It has invested in infrastructure in Africa using Chinese firm and labor. China is also provided African countries loans .
As far as the US is concerned, the objective is reconquer the continent. It is a fact that the US limited their relationship to aid. The US contributes a lot in the humanitarian aid that goes to Africa. The us invested a lot of resources during the ebola crisis more than two years ago. According to Reuters, the last past three years, Kenya has received 100 millions annually in security assistance. But the gap of direct trading is really large. In fact, while us concentrates in aid China invest in infrastructure. Kenya has inaugurated a 3.2 billion railways funded by China last year. The top US diplomat trip purpose is also to reassure its African partners of the friendship besides the reported « shithole countries incidents ».
Russia on its part has been fighting to regain its position as a superpower on the world stage. With the other members of the so called BRICS pôle ( Brazil, Russia, India China and South Africa), Russia has been countering western way of conducting world business. In fact, Russia has been calling the West has neocolonialist. They have been offering the African countries a partnership that will not go against the cultural value of the continent.
With all this unfolding in front of our own eyes, what are the strategies for Africa? How does Africa need to respond to all these powers flattering her. At this moment, it does not appear that the African Union has a strategy that will guarantee the well being of its people. Hopefully, with the awakening of the African youth , Africa will secure its interests. It will deal with the partners that have a better plan that will lead the continent to free itself from its foes ( those who wish that colonialism or neocolonialism continue).