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What Future For Africa?

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on April 28, 2021 07:52

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As Africa struggles with Islamist rebels, the old Colonial powers seem to default to propping up compliant strongmen with little regard to developing democracy or diversifying the economies. Russia, likewise, seems to be defaulting to supporting their choice of rebels. But what about China? What future will Africa face?

Days after winning the first round of the presidential elections in Chad, President Idris Deby was dead, killed when his visit to his troops fell into a rebel ambush. French President Macron attended Deby’s funeral, quickly reaffirming French support for the regime, now under Deby’s 37 year old son, and emphasizing military solutions rather than alleviating poverty and promoting democracy.

The rebels, said to have some Russian support, are broadly based on tribal opposition to the Deby clan, but also have wider support among opposition groups. A military regime legitimized by manipulated elections will not serve the long term stability of this region.

Chad plays a key role in the French and US strategy in the Sahel--which is floundering as economies stagnate--and militant groups proliferate and political fracture planes become wider. In Mali, allegations of military atrocities are heard more frequently, and the public goodwill the government forces may have had is slipping away.

Fulani village in Mali - one of the ethnic groups targeted by militants and Government forces. Photo F Reus - Wikipedia CC BY-SA 2.0

Southern African countries are planning an intervention force to counter Islamist rebels in the ungoverned north of Mozambique, but no actions are planned to address the neglect and poverty in this oil and gas rich region. In Kenya, observers report that those against Al Shabaab fighters from Somalia are unlikely to succeed without community support and good intelligence. Corruption is said to be destroying the reputation of the authorities, and insurgents are living among the population, making large parts of the border provinces ungovernable.

Uganda is reported to be reinforcing its military presence on its western border in the face of a growing threat from rebels, aligned with ISIS, operating out of the Congo. This rebel group has its roots in the civil war that brought President Museveni to power.

Nigerian President Buhari called on the US Africa Command to move its headquarters to Africa, and to help Nigeria and the West African region to face security challenges. This has been resisted for decades, also by Nigeria, but with Boko Haram forces almost at the doors of the capital, Abuja, reality changes. At the same time there is a growing realization that the Nigerian military chain of command is largely a fiction, and that corruption, lack of equipment, and lack of governance contribute to the successes of Boko Haram. 

The future scenario is that western powers will prop up increasingly unpopular strongmen against growing unrest and uprisings. Unrest and poverty will increase emigration. China, on the contrary, insists on non-interference in internal affairs, long term economic development policies, economic development aid (including industrial development), human resource development, and assistance such as providing COVID vaccines.

 

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on April 28, 2021 07:52

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Source: The Hill

Nigeria on Tuesday urged the United States to move the headquarters of U.S. Africa Command (Africom) from Germany to the...

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