Could we as Africans, if we have any self-respect, stop questioning the motive of China, the US, London, the EU; yes, and Russia! The same goes for those warning Africans against the colonial designs of BRICS countries; just when did they realise that colonialism was so wrong?
The always-down-for-a-party African politicians took their aimless foreign relations to the next level this week: Russian Roulette! Did they not read about what the Russians possibly did to Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions?
Whenever a foreign power invites African politicians to a summit (about Africa) they are guaranteed a full house. Our “wabenzi” are forever eager to mingle with fellow Africans – to others – at a venue far from the realities of their own countries. It does not matter if their doctors or teachers are on strike for better pay; or if their electorate cannot trust the water coming out of their taps. The inaugural Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi was opened by President Vladimir Putin.
“We currently export to Africa $25 billion worth of food – which is more than we export in arms, at $15bn. In the next four to five years I think we should be able to double this trade,” Putin was quoted to have said.
China was the first BRICS country in 2000 to set up the Forum for China-Africa Co-operation.
Japan had already in 1993 launched the Tokyo International Conference of African Development to promote “Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral co-operation”.
In the same year, a membership-based Corporate Council on Africa, to boost business and investment between the US and the nations of Africa, came into being. Then the World Economic Forum Africa was born in 2006, followed by the inauguration of the India-Africa Forum Summit in 2008. Of course, the Commonwealth (since 1931) and La Francophonie (1970) were in place already to keep the bond with Africa in check.
The real deal which sliced Africa’s fortune among everyone else other than Africans, however, had been clinched in Germany between November 1884 and February 1885. The occasion was the Berlin Conference where colonial powers helped themselves to their respective coveted piece of Africa by drawing the borders that keep Africans divided to date. Therefore, let us please not be surprised that every other nationality in the world has a plan for and about Africa, except Africa itself.
Granted, we have the AU and its Agenda 2063; but there is no doubt its share of the diary entries of an average African head of state or minister remains far less than what goes to the goings-on beyond the shores of Africa.
Putin was bound to reassure the 40-plus African presidents that his planned co-operation framework with Africa was not based on conditionalities or the intent to influence the continent’s politics. What else can a suitor say, especially one that arrives so late on the scene?
Instead of asking what Russia or China is looking for in Africa, we ought to promise our children that no one will colonise us again because we are implementing a pro-Africa plan to turn our fortunes around; otherwise, at this rate Syria will soon colonise us.
- Victor Kgomoeswana is author of Africa is Open for Business, media commentator and public speaker on African business affairs.
OPINION: Victor Kgomoeswana