The 4th EU-Africa Summit took place in Brussels on 2-3 April 2014. It brought together more than 60 EU and African leaders, and a total of 90 delegations, to discuss the future of EU-Africa relations and reinforce links between the two continents. Discussions at the summit focused on the theme “Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace”. Topics included education and training, women and youth, legal and illegal migrant flows between both continents, ways to stimulate growth and create jobs, investing in peace and ways to enhance EU support for African capacities to manage security on the continent. _ (emphasis added)
“I do not see the countries and peoples of Africa as a world apart; I see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world – partners with America on behalf of the future we want for all of our children. That partnership must be grounded in mutual responsibility and mutual respect.”
Isn’t that nice? The West wants to be good friends with the African nations and invest in people and prosperity and peace and partnerships grounded in mutual responsibility and mutual respect. Or, as Zero Hedge suggests, is there an alternative motive?
Okay. Africa has resources and the Western nations are big consumers of natural resources. So, what they really want to do “mutually beneficial” business in the nations of Africa. There’s nothing wrong with that, right? Ah! But, the West has some serious competition for Africa’s natural resources _ China. China has been making huge inroads in Africa in the last two decades.
So, what is the calculus that a head of state of an African nation must make when considering whether to do a deal with the West versus doing a deal with China? Can the West be trusted? Clearly, the African leader must consider what happened to the heads of state in Libya and Egypt. And, they must consider the results of the policies of the West in places like Syria and Iraq. And, what about al those “human rights” and “democracy” strings that come attached to doing business with the West? What business is it of theirs how we treat our women? China, on the other hand, doesn’t care we are dictators or democracies. China doesn’t care if we don’t send our daughters to school. China isn’t interested in imposing their culture on us. China only cares about doing business.
It’s said that if you visit Africa, a part of you stays behind when you leave. There’s some truth in that. I visited South Africa and Namibia (it was called Southwest Africa when I was there) several times in the early eighties. I was definitely taken with that part of the world. There is something magical about Africa. Unfortunately, the magic seems to work for everyone except the native Africans.
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?
Note from Jim:
I don’t know how many of my readers are interested in the state of affairs in the country I live in, but I know some of you are. For those who are interested, World Affairs has an excellent article you will want to read. If you do read the article, you will note the extremes that can be achieved by “community organizers”. And, although America is nowhere near as far gone as this country is, you will note some alarming similarities.