The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Moussa Faki Mahamat, has condemned the latest struggle for influence in Africa by Europe, America and Asia describing it as an “infantilization” of an entire continent by the so-called global superpowers.
He made the remark in Vienna, Austria, on Tuesday at the High-Level Africa-Europe Forum under the theme: “Taking Cooperation to the Digital Age”.
“Stop this stereotypical idea of Africa as a hapless terrain where Europe, China or others have free rein to battle for influence!
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“We choose our partnerships, and create conditions based on mutual interest and benefit. Do not infantilize an entire continent,” he said at the forum in the presence of the President of the European Council Jean- Claude Juncker.
The forum was co-chaired by the African Union Chairman, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda alongside Austria’s Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz who is also the president of the Council of the European Union.
Kagame also called for mutual partnership with Europe that will create a win-win situation for everyone and end the old order of giving assistance as a form of generous contribution.
The United States recently released its new Africa Strategy which attacked China and Russia’s influence in the continent describing it as “predatory” and “corrupt”.
“China uses bribes, opaque agreements, and the strategic use of debt to hold states in Africa captive to Beijing’s wishes and demands. Its investment ventures are riddled with corruption, and do not meet the same environmental or ethical standards as U.S. developmental programs.
“Such predatory actions are sub-components of broader Chinese strategic initiatives, including “One Belt, One Road”—a plan to develop a series of trade routes leading to and from China with the ultimate goal of advancing Chinese global dominance,” explains the U.S. national security adviser John Bolton.
He also accused Russia of selling arms and energy in exchange for votes at the United Nations that “run counter to the best interests of the African people” while positing the United States as the saviour who will “safeguard the economic independence of African states” and “protect U.S. national security interests”.
The strategy, however, came with restrictions for African states using aid to get them to dance to their music.
Bolton stated that countries that “repeatedly” vote against the United States in international forums or “take action counter to U.S. interests” are not entitled to U.S. aid.
Bolton said the U.S. is revisiting a cold-war era Marshall Plan that “furthered American interests, bypassed the United Nations, and targeted key sectors of foreign economies rather than dissipating aid across hundreds of programs.”
These measures could rather harm U.S. trade interests in Africa which China and Russia are already beneficiaries after signing bilateral agreements and win-win partnerships with many African nations.