Africa and Global Strategic Challenges: A way forward

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Prof. Alhagi Manta Drammeh

By: Prof. Alhagi Manta Drammeh

Global politics has suffered from gigantic problems and challenges from the Corona pandemic to the Ukrainian-Russian conflict. There are already many unsettled conflicts, including the Libyan, Syrian and Yemeni crises. All these have implications for economic growth and political stability for the entire world and particularly many African countries that depend on foreign imports and aid. Closer to home, there are anti-colonial sentiments, for example in Mali, Guinea, Sudan, Burkina and recently in Niger. Therefore, there is a need for sober reflection on the root causes of these demonstrations. Generally, there is a perceived understanding that Africans need to be liberated from mental and cultural colonialism to assert the African cultural identity.

Although Africa enjoys an important strategic position, it has unfortunately not made use of that in its relationships with the world. Geographically, one can claim that Africa is the only continent that is connected to all the other continents. It is connected to Europe, Asia and the Americas by sea. Africa is also endowed with many different natural resources, such as diamond, gold, silver, uranium, copper steel, gas and oil which are sources for both industrialisation and energy. The climate is not hostile in that it has vast areas of land suitable for agriculture. Moreover, the continent has vast quantities of livestock. However, the people of Africa starve and there is a looming humanitarian catastrophe in many parts of Africa due to wars, for example, in Sudan and Somalia and there is a fear of civil war in Niger if precautious measures are not taken. Military intervention in Niger by ECOWAS will not resolve the crisis but may compound it. Therefore, diplomacy should be given a chance. Every situation should be treated on its own merits and demerits, specificities and peculiarities. The Gambian situation is different from Niger’s. Geographically, Gambia is surrounded by Senegal in three parts and on the West, it faces the Atlantic. Also, Gambians voted for a new government and thirdly the military switched loyalty at the time from the then incumbent President Jammeh and probably working covertly with the ECOWAS to facilitate their invasion.

On the contrary in Niger, it seems that the junta got popularity among the people and ECOWAS itself is divided on whether to intervene or not. The military junta in the other three African states declared support for the military junta in Niger.
A Way Forward: Political problems should be resolved politically. That is Africans should resolve their problems within the African context and should not allow anyone to dictate to them what to do. This does not mean that Africa should be insular and isolated. No. Africa is part of the global system and should endeavour to be an actor and influencer. This is what we are now observing that African leaders are becoming more proactive, assertive and influential in world politics. Let Africa feed its people. Let Africa educate and employ its people. Wars have always brought misery and chaos. Wars will end up being discussed at a Roundtable. Let our leaders embrace and entrench good governance.

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