OPINION

Africa: The New Frontier For Global Strategic Power Play_Jessy Samuel Ejah

The continental experience in respect to other continents has been one of exploitation pre-and post-colonial era, an event that must never be allowed to ever happen again.”

In the past few decades, the African continent has tried to assert herself in the global scheme of things as they push to end the era of military dictatorship and authoritarian regimes in the continent, an optimism that was greatly welcomed across the globe which did open the door for investment in the financial, Infrastructure and oil and gas sectors .

However, while the continent was enjoying this new optimism she quickly found herself caught up in the massive corruptions, and ethnicity wars that raised the insecurity level to the highest, the rise of kidnapping and political unrest followed swiftly.

The situation became unacceptable as years went by leading to a great reduction in investment from Europe and America with companies leaving in great numbers. At these times, the tag of insecurity and high risk for business Investment became the continents label creating a big vacuum. However, the vacuum created as a

result of these meant someone had to fill the gap created by the Western world to save Africa’s economy with loss of jobs in their numbers, and that was China.

The Chinese came in with so much investment funds not minding the high risk involved, in the process bringing hope and some form of relief to countries in the continent, focusing on infrastructural development and other forms of investments that brought jobs instantaneously.

However, in the past decade, the Chinese vastly increased her Involvement in Africa most significantly raising eyebrows across the Western world and causing an unease amongst the powerbrokers in the capital of Brussels and Washington prompting them to review their strategy on their involvement in Africa especially at this crucial and critical time when China is strategically using her influence in the continent to her geopolitical advantage aside the overbearing consequences of their investment on the citizens of Africa, both economically and politically which will be fully addressed in the next article.

Though China loaned a whopping $95.5bn to the continent between 2000 and 2015, researchers at the China Africa Research Initiative found most of this was spent addressing Africa’s infrastructure gap. Some 40% of the Chinese loans paid for power projects, and Another 30% went on modernizing transport infrastructure. The loans were at comparatively Low interest rates and with long repayment periods.

CHINESE PERSPECTIVE

China overtook the US as Africa’s largest trading partner for several years now but in recent times their strategy

of helping to end Africa’s international marginalisation seems to be back firing significantly with the anti-china

sentiments rising across the continents strategically, Especially as regards Chinese focus on oil, which has proven to have mutual advantage for China And African state elites at the expense of their people.

Secondly, offering aid without preconditions, China has presented an attractive alternative to conditional

Western aid and gained valuable diplomatic support to defend its international interests. However, a generally

asymmetrical relationship differing little from previous African–Western patterns, alongside support of

authoritarian governments at the expense of human rights, make the economic consequences of increased

Chinese involvement in Africa Mixed at best.

“Does the risk for African borrowers relate to the project’s profitability? “Will they Be able to generate enough

economic activity through these projects to repay these loans? Or are the projects seen more as ribbon-cutting

opportunities? A very legit question so many people are asking today including the reputable CARIDIRECTOR

DEBORAH BRAUTIGAM. In fact, in a wider context and global perspective, the view from the European and

American capital sees Chinese strategy in Africa as a long-term ambition for world domination both politically

and economically using the continent as a platform to forge that quest, a suspicion which has seen them

rationally lending support to voices of local pro-democracy or environmental movements that label some

Chinese ventures in Africa as purposive plunders of resources in poorly governed and mismanaged African

Moreover, smart Asian economic power houses like Japan, India and South Korea whose Large population is in

ardent search for agricultural, energy sources and raw materials were clever to act swiftly by following China

and expanding their economic influence too in the continent leaving Europe and America scrambling to find

their foot back in the continent. Nevertheless, in the past three years the continent is quickly becoming the new

frontier for geo-political power tussle between the West and the Chinese and their allies, Russia and now Turkey,

whose President is pushing to have influence in the Sahara. For the Russians, they created an economic park

called The BRIGS ECONOMIC FORUM and just last year started creating a platform for AFRICA–RUSSIA economic park

which I believe will lead further to Military park which in my view must not be allowed to happen else, we will

be seeing a new Africa’s re-colonization that will enhance authoritarianism amongst political elites since none

of the aids or economic assistance usually proposed by China and her allies (especially world power Russia)

comes with no pre-conditions.

Africa’s time is now, the post Brexit Britain is eager to comeback, including the more pragmatic Americans, all

ready to swing in but the question remains, how can the continent harness this global presence to her future

advantage without being recolonized or short-changed by the

Very political elites who are selling their interest to China with Russia waiting in the wings. Few examples of such

greed, shown by the political elites is in Nigeria, where the elites who

are currently in power mostly from the northern part of the country supported by few Southern elites did use

the mineral resources from the south as collateral for long-term Loans to develop the north while the

motherland where the resources came from are left underdeveloped. Most tragically, the elites in power had

made it more difficult for citizens to speak out with widespread threats to the lives, properties, and businesses

which some of us had experienced in the past while others lost their lives in the process.

Therefore, it will be appropriate for like minds and top technocrats across the continent both at home and in

diaspora to work together, joining forces with other interest groups worldwide to create an impeccable structure

at the very heart of this new surge for the continent, beyond the current existing non-political think -tanks that

will generate ideas for the leaders on the continent driven by the people not by the government or any of her

surrogates that is centred on “knowledge sharing and creative thinking. Our time to boast our global influence

is knocking at our doorsteps! Let’s stand up and be counted!

Are we up for the task ahead?

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