Africa Was Never Free

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It has been over 50 years since Africa has been decolonized by Western imperialist nations. Since then, Africa has faced many challenges including effective self-governance and independent economic growth. Most of our weaknesses,’ declared Kenneth Kaunda, first president of Zambia, in a March 1966 speech, ‘derive from lack of finance, trained personnel, and education.” However, these weaknesses are also Africa’s greatest opportunities.

African countries have the ability to create industries based on their vast natural resources without fear of exploitation, train workers, and educate its people how it best see fit. Africa has the opportunity to build its self in its own image. However, due to its instability, it has exposed its self to outside influence with the potential to be recolonized.

If Africa is not careful, this immense opportunity will slip away. Let us begin at the United Nations. The year is 1971 and China has two governments. There is the Republic of China (now present-day Taiwan), which would administer the Mainland of China and Taiwan. Then there is the People’s Republic of China (modern day China). Both claimed to be the rightful governors of all the Chinese territory. This lead to domestic and international conflict and as a result, the United Nations put this to a vote at the General Assembly.. Only one could be one represented globally.

Among the 35 countries that voted against the People’s Republic of China (modern day China), was much of Africa. These included countries such as South Africa, Chad, Gabon, Liberia, Niger, and many more. Fast forward to 2007 and the United Nations was voting to condemn the potential human rights violations of North Korea. Although, this vote did not directly involve China or Africa, it very much did. China provides North Korea with 90% of their trade volume. This gives China overwhelming influence over North Korea.

As a result, China fought hard against the resolution proposed by the United Nations… and so did Africa? Out of the 54 countries in Africa, only 11 voted to condemn North Korea, but why? This is because African countries such as Kenya where China has just completed a super high-speed train from Nairobi to Mombasa. Are more focused on staying in China’s good graces then condemning human rights violations. On the surface, this seems logical; China is investing in us, but why is it not safe to allow this Chinese investment? Unlike Western countries, China’s investments mainly take the form of loans for infrastructure development.

In contrast, places like the US put forth investment focused on aid programs, primarily healthcare and education. Many Africans welcome China’s investment into its much-needed infrastructure, but it’s not clear how much of a benefit African nations are seeing. One key example is how China is importing workers from its mainland and refusing to employ local African workers. However, the key issue is that many countries are becoming excessively indebted to China. Kenya, for instance, has $50 billion of debt, 72% of which comes from China.

Stop and think about that! China is bending these countries over backwards in crippling debt. In Senegal-highways, Ethiopia-airports, and Guinea a new dam. All of these projects are costing billions of dollars that these countries do not have. Another example, is China building the African Union’s headquarters. Sometime later it was discovered that China had bugged the building and was gathering secret information behind closed doors! Outrageous? Yes. Surprising? Probably not due to the fact China is not genuinely trying to help Africa, it is merely an opportunity for them. Even after something of this nature it still has not turned away African governments from opening their arms to China.

China is smart because the reality of these loans is too good to be true. They give the loans at little to no interest rates and have the foresight to know that most of these African countries will not be able to pay back these loans. In return, when these countries do not meet the requirements of these loans, China will garnish even more influence then they previously had. African countries may never be truly colonized ever again, but I would argue this is as close as one could get. Why this is happening is not hard to understand. African governments are weak. Without the equal separation of power it makes the country vulnerable to manipulation, as there is no safety net to protect them.

For example, a strong legislative or judicial branch would help ensure these loans are truly in the best interest of the country. In Africa, the executive branch is interested in staying in power and the Chinese supports this. Why does China support this? The method is as follows: First, create a large infrastructure project inside of the country. This will gain popular support from the people, while also making the executive look good by brining infrastructure into the country. In reality, China wants these countries to be heavily indebted to them.

This will intern create influence over the Executive running the country. As previously stated, there is little to no separation of power. By creating influence over the Executive you are creating influence over an entire nation as the Executive wields the majority of governmental power. Why does China continue to support these dictator style regimes? If you keep a particular Executive in power as long as possible, China can wield influence over that government as long as possible. Lets take Rwanda for example, if it is a landlocked country with limited natural resources.

Why does China invest so much? Rwanda’s President recently made changes to the constitution removing term limits from the executive .The change of leadership may equate in change of policy, especially towards China. The result is the colonization of Africa by China. China will look to repeat this process as many times as possible. Do you think China is building dams in Guinea because they just want to be nice? No, of course not. In conclusion, Africa is at risk of becoming too dependent on China. The lack of separation of powers in government providing checks and balances to the Executive and taking on massive debt to China or any other foreign nation leaves them exposed.

If the African people refocus on creating a more stable and consistent form of government, educating its people, and are willing to look to alternatives to outside investment, it will have a chance at becoming a freer continent. If they fail to act, I believe they will enslave themselves all over again. Africa is at a pivotal moment as they have an opportunity that rarely comes in human history, a chance to start new. However, if they do not act quickly, you will see colonization occur all over again as I believe it is beginning now. As we know, history repeats itself.

Cite this paper

Africa Was Never Free. (2021, Jul 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/africa-was-never-free/

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