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Africa’s futile scramble for China, Japan and Russia

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AS the Industrial Revolution swept through Europe, the scramble for Africa started in 1871. But to prevent wars among European powers the Berlin Conference was organised, and held from November 15, 1884 to February 26, 1885. The aftermath led to the partition of Africa and eventually its colonial domination.

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After Ghana’s independence in 1957 most African countries became independent by mid-1980s, the bulk of them gaining freedom from colonialism in the 1960s.

But by early 2000, independence had obviously failed in Africa. Many Africans started illegal migrations to Europe. While European countries are struggling with the African and Middle East migrant challenge, it would appear that African countries are now jostling to hand over their economies to willing Asian giants, such as China, Japan and Russia.

It is a well-known fact that China’s prosperity has given her unfettered entry into many African countries with “easy” loans, grants and the presence of their companies, experts and tradesmen working apparently to help tackle infrastructural deficits. China is now so deep in the affairs of some African countries that Zambia even enlisted some Chinese police reservists as officers in their police force! They only backtracked after a huge outrage.

Not to be outdone, Japan established its Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD. President Muhammadu Buhari attended the seventh edition in August 2019. Buhari also attended the Third Russia – Africa Economic Summit, RAES, which held in Sochi late last month.

Just like China has done, Japan and Russia are advancing lots of credits, grants and technologies to help tackle underdevelopment in Africa. Russia will go the extra mile by supplying countries like Nigeria critical military armaments they need to fix their security headaches.

More than 40, 50 and even 60 years after independence, African countries are now going cap-in-hand to these Asian countries which have achieved self-sufficiency. We only hear of what African countries stand to gain from them but not what they will take away from us as they are not Father Christmas.

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Have African countries dropped European colonial masters only to voluntarily acquire Asian economic overlords, having failed to make their independence count for anything? Are we not mortgaging our future generations to these new “masters” whose true colours we may discover when it is too late?

African countries must realise that salvation does not lie in mortgaging their economies to Asian or other foreign giants. If former war-torn Vietnam could generate $245bn in 2018 alone without oil or natural resources (more than half of Nigeria’s total GDP worth) it can also be done here. Rwanda is already getting there.

Africa must discard dictatorship and adopt good governance. African leaders must make friends with their peoples, make governance people-centred, educate them, raise their capacities and use them to launch development. Only Africans can rescue Africa.


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