The New World Order and Africa

On March 30, 2022, Russia’s minister of foreign affairs, Sergey Lavrov, in a conversation with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, said “we together with you and our sympathizers will move towards a multipolar, just, democratic new world order,” Lavrov was echoing his boss, Vladimir Putin’s exact wish. Putin is reacting to the punitive sanctions of the United States and its NATO counterparts seeking to impoverish his country in the war against Ukraine. Already Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the fallout of the war and unprecedented sanctions on Moscow are shaking global supply chains and financial markets.

With Russia a major producer of commodities such as oil, gas, aluminum, palladium, nickel, wheat and corn, sanctions and market concerns about the war’s disruption on supply chains have caused commodity prices to soar. Surging commodity prices will create winners and losers across Africa and the world and surely, with Russia and China also scheming to counteract western punitive measures there is the likelihood of a shift in power structure of the world.

Question is, is the United States or even NATO blameless in the current debacle in Ukraine, and is America’s self-acclaimed role as the policeman of the world and its attitude worthy of any leadership role in the emerging new world order?

Currently, the United States is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court but ensures others are put before the court at the least opportunity. It has solidly stood behind Israel in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, looking away from the atrocities being meted out to the latter. America’s own military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan that have scarred the region with Syria still mired in a civil war with no end in sight. America has constituted itself as the world’s policeman bankrolling dictatorships the world over.

China and Russia are not as guiltless either. They are both violators of their citizens’ civil and human rights. In China minorities in the Northwestern Xinjian region, as well as intellectuals and civil rights activists and journalists are targeted for arrests and constant harassment. Putin’s Russia is known to chase its opponents of the regime killing some of them in the process. Gulag archipelagoes and Siberia’s punitive camps continue to provide ‘education’ to intransigent opponents. Journalists and intellectuals are also targeted for arrests and detentions.

None, therefore, of the powers holds the key to any new world order in which Africa benefit. Recent treatment of Africans and peoples of color in Ukraine seeking to flee from the conflict should guide Africans and others in finding their own destiny.  Vasu Gounden, the executive director for the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) opines that Africa is only a pawn in the current world order and therefore the peoples and the continent deserve an existence devoid of any external control of its resources and people. African people, he says, continue to wallow in poverty, economic uncertainty and underdevelopment.

A growing urbanization of its peoples with no hopes for industrialization have become a pawn for both West and East. Land grab and illegal exploitation of resources and people further impoverish the continent, while help and advice from Bretton Woods institutions only worsen the plight of an Africa constantly seeking to renegotiate its debts. The continent is yet to attain a 21st century level society. World powers seeking a foothold on the continent for the exploitation of its resources provide support for ambitious, greedy and corrupt African military officials who engage in coups d’etat. Russia is reported to be behind the recent Mali coup led by Colonel Assimi Goita.

The Telegraph of U.K. reports that the IMF has warned that the Ukraine war could mark the end of globalization. Russia and China, the report goes, could “create a financial system to rival the West after tough sanctions were imposed on Moscow.” Having been ejected from the Swift payment system, China’s UnionPay has stepped in to help Moscow after Visa and Mastercard suspended operations in Russia. And Russia’s intention to drop the dollar as the currency of choice for the purchase of its oil as well as Saudi Arabia’s anger with the United States and also to drop the dollar as the currency of preference for Saudi oil are all intended to weaken western currencies and economies. Already the United States and most of EU are experiencing inflation for the first time in several years. The blow to the West’s economy in general is likely to create what the Telegraph termed as “a tectonic shift” as it puts an end to globalization.

Globalization, is well known to have benefitted only the global haves while the have nots, the primary goods producers, and of course, Africa were left in a wanton need for fair trade. Its intended benefits only served to exploit the developing world.

The emerging economic developments demand that nations and regional blocs need to rethink their alliances.  Africa can only face the future with hope if the continent recognizes the differing economic models and fashion something to suit its circumstances.

The recent signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a pipe dream of Ghana’s first President Late Kwame Nkrumah is pregnant with opportunities for a united Africa buffeted by a strong economic integration. Africa cannot be competitive in the new world order if it does not industrialize. And an industrialized Africa can impact the continent and globally in a way for it to be given the recognition it deserves.

Africa needs to chart its own path and does not need to subscribe to Chinese, Russian or American interpretations or manifestations of democracy and multilateralism. As Russia and China intend to upset the old order of global dollarized trade and commerce with the gold standard, a united Africa has the potential to control its economic destiny. The AU has no impact on the continent neither does it have any voice on the global stage. The African bloc is still fighting for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, a pursuit that has turned into a soundbite that only falls on deaf ears.

Amandla believes that maybe, and just maybe, this would be the beginning of an African renaissance.

Posted by on Apr 28 2022. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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