AFRICANGLOBE – The contemporary political challenges and crises of growth without development in Africa owe mainly to the past relationships of Africa with the West.
The structural dependency of Africa on the West was the key factor in the disarticulation of the continent’s internal economic integration.
The legacy of that structural dependency was more acute in the lack of any meaningful infrastructural connect within the continent.
No other event encapsulates that truth more than the USA-Africa summit held early last month.
During the summit, the United States pledged to increase its economic flows, in terms of investments to Africa up to $33 billion. And Africans applauded!
However, this was Obama’s big joke because if you divide the $33 billion by 54 African countries, each country would receive nearly $611 million.
Fidel Castro was right to say that “Americans put Obama, whose father is an African, in the White House to cover up American imperialism with a big smile”.
In a country attacked by the US through the Tutsi regimes of Rwanda and Uganda such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, you can’t rebuild much with $611 million!
But if the DRC government raised its stakes in each mining contract it signed with North American companies up to 51 percent to turn them into win-win contracts (which is highly unlikely!), the Congolese state could generate $33 billion per year.
At the same time, to give an idea of what we are talking about, oil, gas and mineral exports from Africa, including to the US, were worth $382 billion in 2011 alone, more than eight times the value of official development aid received by African countries that year.
Africa’s trade with the US was only $100 billion in 2012 (ONE Policy Brief Report, 6 June 2013).
Take oil imports alone. US imports from Africa consist of 89 percent oil alone, less than China whose oil represents 66 percent of imports from Africa.
At the same time, illicit financial outflows from Africa to the West, including to the US, are estimated at up to $200 billion annually (Oxfam International report, 6 May 2013).
We really have to ask ourselves: Who is enriching whom? “Who refuses to buy the Congolese cobalt,” wondered Mzee Laurent Kabila, DRC’s assassinated president. These are fundamental questions!
We are witnessing a kind of recolonisation of Africa with the consent of Africans themselves!
That is why the great lion of Africa, Robert Mugabe, who refuses Americans and Israelis as advisers in his Cabinet and who maintains a very good relationship with China, was not invited to this kind of “Second Berlin Conference”; but the likes of Kagame and Museveni (Museveni has already stood for a third term and America said nothing!
What happened in Rwanda in 1994 has become an excuse for everything. One day the whole truth will come out, if it has not already done so!), worst criminals in the 21st century Africa, were invited. Now we know!
It is now in the US where African leaders go to buy a second legitimacy after being “elected” by their people.
Besides they want this circus to take place every year.
“I have no other masters except my people,” said Mzee Kabila.
On the contrary, recently Kagame threw a tantrum over his erstwhile Western backers, calling them “former colonial masters who do not stop lecturing Africans”.
However, he was later caught in his own trap when he boycotted the “Summit on Peace and Security in the African Continent” ,convened by French President François Hollande in Paris on December 6, 2013.
For Rwanda, there was no question of attending the summit.
“Those who feel they still need the protection of the former colonial master will go to this meeting. This is not our case,” a close associate of Paul Kagame told Jeune Afrique.
A short while later, Kigali welcomed the invitation from US President Barack Obama to attend the historic summit of leaders from across Africa — the first of its kind — held in Washington last month.
Kagame was indeed caught in his own trap — having declined the invitation of France, he nevertheless accepted that of Obama.
What difference could there be in the invitations of the two Western masters?
It is because the US shields Kagame from being held accountable for genocide in Congo?
After all, he is only playing the role of “an Anglo-American proxy” in Congo, as he has done “so well” for the last 20 years.
This “Second Berlin Conference” took place because the involvement of non-western powers especially China is currently challenging the critical obstacle of Western control, stranglehold and monopoly in Africa which must be overcome if Africa is to attain sustainable development, as Charles Onunaiju put it.
He correctly pointed out as well that whether the summit sought to seriously engage Africa in long-term comprehensive and productive relations or it was a mere knee-jerk reaction to Africa’s rising global profile to which many important actors, especially China, have already constructively engaged, will be clearer in the future.
In fact, the volume of Sino-African trade has already reached $280 billion. This is why China was at the centre of all the debates of this USA-Africa summit.
The truth is that the economic power of the US is waning.
Americans are consequently seeking to consolidate their control and monopoly over Africa’s raw materials to safeguard their first position in the world at all levels and at all costs (even a third world war), including stoking wars by proxy in Libya, DRC, and so on.
As Onunaiju once more put it, maybe the alarm bell that the new development bank established by the BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — at their last crucial summit in Brazil, portends the end or at least to cause a considerable weakening of the monopoly of global financial governance of the Breton Woods institutions, could have jolted Washington into a direct economic involvement in Africa, whose rising profile would impact on any new emerging global financial and economic architecture.
External factors to Africa’s instability play a heavier role than internal factors and oil and raw materials always constitute the stakes in every African war. And so, the militarisation of America’s Africa policy is a reality and aims to counter Chinese influence in Africa.
Or, China’s contribution in Africa is developmental. Just look. As the Ebola epidemic hits West Africa (Professor Jason Kissner asked himself whether the Ebola outbreak is US-sponsored bio-terror), unlike other countries, China has already dispatched medical personnel assistance teams to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia as part of public health emergency relief, even risking their own lives.
And because the DRC was the first country to be the victim of Ebola (the name of a river in the region where it was first diagnosed), Kinshasa followed the example of China and sent its epidemiologists to West Africa to share their experience with other African brothers.
China has also already shared its technologies with Africa, including an irrigation system which does not waste water, shared with Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, where agricultural outputs have quadrupled as a result.
We Africans welcome China’s developmental approach because what Africa needs most is development, a share of new technologies so that Africa can transform its resources on the spot and create jobs and markets, not military bases (Cold War mentality) which America is now building throughout Africa, targeting countries rich in natural and mineral resources; or pitting some African countries against others under the cover of military support programmes.
By: Antoine Roger Lokongo[/sociallocker]