It was Russia, Germany and now UK! Enough of the exploitation of Africa

January 21, 2020 at 10:00 am | Opinions & Features

Mohammed Awal

Mohammed Awal

January 21, 2020 at 10:00 am | Opinions & Features

Jean Nanga wrote in 2015 that: “The decolonization of Africa that began in the 1940s was in essence passage towards neocolonialism, a mutation of the former colonies, a reconfiguration of the mechanism of domination and exploitation by both the former colonial powers and other capitalists of the center.”

This is true as the United Kingdom is meeting African countries in what has been dubbed the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London.

The summit is the UK’s attempt to secure a strong trade relationship even as the country backs out of the European Union (EU). A significant majority of Africa’s countries attended.

The UK’s international development secretary, Alok Sharma said: “Africa’s substantial investment potential is clear, with many African countries outstripping global economic growth in recent decades.”

Also last year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with dozens of African leaders in Berlin for a business summit aimed at helping Africa boost domestic business investment as part of the Compact with Africa initiated through the G20.

Image result for uk africa summit 2020 guardian
Photo: AP

Initiated under the German G20 Presidency, the G20 Compact with Africa (CwA) aims to promote private investment in Africa, including in the area of infrastructure, increase attractiveness of private investment through substantial improvements of the macro, business, and financing frameworks. Twelve African countries have joined the initiative: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, and Tunisia.

Speaking to ARD public television after meeting the leaders of the aforementioned African countries, Merkel said: “Africa is a continent with more opportunities than risks but there’s still a lot to do.”

And she’s right! 

The time has come for Africa to take a stance and fight for its development. The time has come for Africa to halt the over-dependence on Western countries for assistance to develop, especially as a 2017 report into resource flows in and around of Africa showed that the continent loses more money each year than it receives in aid, investment, and remittances.

According to Honest Accounts, 2017 more than three times the amount Africa receives in aid was taken out mainly by multinational companies deliberately misreporting the value of their imports or exports to reduce tax. 

Image result for uk africa summit 2020 guardian
Photo: AP

“Along with these illicit financial flows brain drain, debt servicing, and the costs of climate change – caused predominantly by the west but played out on the world’s poorest people – all make Africa a net creditor to the world,” wrote Eliza Anyangwe in the Guardian.

“These examples speak to the way in which the global economic, trade and information systems are set up, and screw over African countries: from unfair intellectual property laws, to trade deals that force African countries to open up their markets to the rich world’s surplus production, destroying local agriculture and manufacturing in the process. But this shouldn’t be read as a get-out-of-jail-free card for African leaders,” she added.

In conclusion, Africa must seek to develop beyond aid. It’s possible and takes a great deal of political will to achieve that.

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