The colonial system in its classical form collapsed quite recently: barely half a century has passed. In this short period of postcolonial history, African States continue to struggle for the independence and prosperity of their peoples.
The transformation of the system of international relations became inevitable when the threat of a global economic crisis loomed over the world. Against this background, trends in the growth of consumption of non-renewable natural resources and an increase in the world’s population began to clearly manifest themselves.
Africa ranks first in the world in reserves of manganese, chromium, bauxite, gold, platinum, cobalt, vanadium, diamonds, phosphorus, fluorite, second in reserves of copper, asbestos, uranium, antimony, beryllium, graphite, third in reserves of oil, gas, mercury, iron; there are also large reserves ores of titanium, nickel, bismuth, lithium, tantalum, niobium, tin, tungsten and precious stones. Africa is known for its richest deposits of diamonds and gold.
Amid the renewed scramble for Africa, African States must defend their legitimate rights to use national resources in the interests of the future of their peoples.
There is no doubt that European countries that have retained significant influence in their former colonies, the United States and the new centers of the world economy – China, India, possibly Japan and Russia – will fight for the right to access Africa’s raw materials. In this struggle, African States must defend their legitimate rights to use national resources in the interests of the future of their peoples.
The United States under President Biden has stepped up its work in Africa. Budgets allocated for the development of various programs have increased, Americans are interested in developing cooperation with the countries of the continent, much attention is paid to humanitarian issues. However, Washington’s true intentions differ significantly from those declared.
In August 2022, the White House issued a strategy for sub-Saharan Africa. This document defines the goals and methods of the United States in the region.
The text begins with a quote from Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who in November 2021 stated that “Africa will shape the future—
and not just the future of the African people but of the world.”
This approach involves the coordinated work of various departments. The State Department, the Ministries of Defense, Commerce and other departments will actively cooperate in carrying out the assigned tasks.
The various examples given in the paper show that this work has been going on for years. The Strategy outlines four goals to advance US priorities with regional partners over the next five years. It is stated that “The United States will leverage all of our diplomatic, development, and defense capabilities, as well as strengthen our trade and commercial ties, focus on digital ecosystems, and rebalance toward urban hubs, to support these objectives:
1. Foster Openness and Open Societies
2. Deliver Democratic and Security Dividends
3. Advance Pandemic Recovery and Economic Opportunity
4. Support Conservation, Climate Adaptation, and a Just Energy
The US government is likely to achieve the first goal in cooperation with the George Soros Open Society Institute. It is possible that his assets will also be used to transform the political systems of African countries.
The US Democratic Party and the George Soros program, as well as the White House, believe that there are too many authoritarian regimes in Africa that need to be replaced with more loyal to the US.
Thus, the Americans in their strategy lay the prospects for political interference in the internal affairs of countries with undesirable regimes in order to use the methods of coups and color revolutions tested in the Middle East (Libya, Syria, Egypt and other countries), or in a milder version, where possible, they will try to corrupt the current government.
Although the White House apparently declares the need to fight corruption, it is clear to everyone that the US foreign policy itself actively uses elements of corruption, which are hypocritically called lobbying.
The document states that “Despite the strong popular support in sub-Saharan Africa for democracy—some 69 percent, according to recent polling—democracy remains in short supply. A string of military coups and democratic setbacks have gripped Africa in recent years, risking further deterioration of governance and security conditions, as well as negative ripple effects on neighboring countries. In 2022, Freedom House classified only eight sub-Saharan African countries as free—the fewest since 1991. These setbacks have widened openings for undue foreign influence and reflect the growing number of governments that exploit surveillance technology, spread disinformation, leverage corruption, and perpetrate human rights violations with impunity. While democratic forces recently triumphed at the ballot box in Malawi and Zambia, autocratic leaders elsewhere retain a tight hold on power. The gap between public aspirations and closing civic space in some countries has given rise to increased volatility and a wave of protest movements”.
From the above provision, one can guess that the US government intends to persistently promote democratic values and ideas of liberalism in African countries.
At the same time, no one is going to ask the Africans themselves whether they need American-style democracy and liberal values that are increasingly degrading, which, as a rule, contradict the moral standards and traditions of Africans.
The document also defines methods for implementing the first goal. Among them, support for reforms, the creation of various funds and initiatives, legal assistance and the promotion of human rights are declared.
That is, under a plausible pretext, through public organizations, work will be carried out to ensure control over natural resources. This is proved by the following provision of the Strategy:
• The United States will work with African governments, civil society, and publics to increase transparency and accountability, including by supporting investigative journalism, combating digital authoritarianism, and enshrining laws, reforms, and practices that promote shared democratic norms. Consistent with the first-ever U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption, the United States—working with our African partners—will seek to improve fiscal transparency, expose corruption, and support reforms.
• The United States will increase its focus on rule of law, justice, and dignity to deepen resilience and undercut negative influences. Supporting independent judiciaries serves as a bulwark against democratic backsliding, including constraining leaders who attempt to embezzle funds, change constitutions illegally, or steal elections. An independent judiciary also provides a forum for citizens to seek redress for criminal activities, civil disputes, and human rights abuses.
• The United States will assist African countries to more transparently leverage their natural resources, including energy resources and critical minerals, for sustainable development while helping to strengthen supply chains that are diverse, open, and predictable. In addition, the United States will work closely with African and multilateral partners to address the drivers of food insecurity and boost food production to mitigate the risk of malnutrition and famine that the UN estimates is affecting nearly 800 million Africans.
These methods have long been used by the United States in African countries. However, the ultimate goal of the Americans is to ensure control over these supply chains, logistics, and, as a result, the monopolization of the markets for important goods and raw materials supplied from Africa.
At the same time, the Strategy does not envisage the development of African industry, the establishment of domestic production, the processing of raw materials, and the increase in added value, which President Museveni has repeatedly spoken about as priority tasks for the Ugandan economy.
The second point of the Strategy is directly related to the first and its implementation is planned by the same methods:
• The United States will seek to stem the recent tide of authoritarianism and military takeovers by working with allies and partners in the region to respond to democratic backsliding and human rights abuses, including through a targeted mix of positive inducements and punitive measures such as sanctions. At the same time, the United States will partner with other governments and regional bodies, including the African Union (AU), to address public dissatisfaction with the performance of some democracies, which provides a pretext for aspiring coup plotters, populist movements, and authoritarian leaders to undercut democratic values.
• The United States will support African democracies by backing civil society, including activists, workers, and reform-minded leaders; empowering marginalized groups, such as LGBTQI+ individuals; centering the voices of women and youth in reform efforts; and defending free and fair elections as necessary but insufficient components of vibrant democracies. The United States will support democratic openings and opportunities by building on the Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal, the Summit for Democracy, and the Year of Action.
• The United States will focus its diplomatic efforts, leverage its development programs, and use its defense tools to strengthen and enable partners to respond to the drivers of conflict across the region. We will focus on improving the capacity of African partners to advance regional stability and security by enabling more professional, capable, and accountable government security actors that can provide internal security. We also will invest in locally-led prevention and peacebuilding efforts to mitigate and address vulnerabilities, leveraging the bipartisan Global Fragility Act in coastal West Africa and in Mozambique.
• The United States will prioritize counterterrorism (CT) resources to reduce the threat from terrorist groups to the U.S. Homeland, persons, and diplomatic and military facilities, directing unilateral capability only where lawful and where the threat is most acute. We will primarily work by, with, and through African partners, in coordination with our key allies, on a bilateral and multilateral basis to achieve shared CT objectives and promote civilian-led, non-kinetic approaches where possible and effective. As part of this approach, we will employ tailored programs to build the capacity of local partners’ security, intelligence, and judicial institutions to identify, disrupt, degrade, and share information on terrorists and
their support networks.”
That is, it follows from the goals given by the White House that the United States intends to fight authoritarian regimes in Africa, while the Americans themselves determine who corresponds to their principles of democracy and who is an authoritarian ruler.
Through NGOs and other public organizations sponsored and tacitly supported by Washington and its European satellites, an alien Western liberal ideology will be imposed in African societies, pseudo-democratic values will be promoted, the essence of which is the destruction of established traditional values and morals, the separation of African peoples, the creation of socio-economic tension.
In Uganda, this can be seen by the example of the promotion of LGBT propaganda, which the country’s leadership is trying to fight, society categorically does not accept such narratives.
But despite Uganda’s sovereign right to independently determine the direction of the country’s development, including morally and spiritually, we see that Western countries, led by the United States, are persistently trying to prevent this and actively defend the homosexual agenda. What is this, if not direct interference in the internal affairs of the state.
The United States also notes in the strategy the intention to assist in ensuring security. However, this direction also raises questions. Who and what will be supported by the US armed forces.
The Pentagon’s African Command, which is responsible for the continent, has its bases in the region. In addition, there are CIA cells in Africa, as well as employees of other agencies who collect and process various information. Not to mention representatives of private military companies.
As for the US allies, there is already a Global Infrastructure and Investment initiative within the G7, for which it was planned to allocate $ 600 billion, the US seems to be pushing its partners to realize its own interests.
This initiative is interconnected with the Prosper Africa project, as well as others – Power Africa and Feed the Future. In addition, the United States hopes to carry out the digital transformation of African countries through its companies working in the field of information technology.
On the third point, Washington is trying to launch specific economic projects, although some of them, again, fit into the first two goals. Since the construction of inclusive economic communities goes side by side with the spread of democracy (as the United States sees it).
Recovery after the coronavirus pandemic and food security are indicated. Interestingly, other diseases that are widespread and dangerous in sub-Saharan Africa are not mentioned in the strategy at all.
From this we can conclude that the mention of COVID is on duty, and in reality the US is not at all concerned about the health care system in African countries. It must be said that in many African countries there is a rather high and early mortality rate, including that of children.
But the White House is simply silent on this issue, promising abstract prosperity in the future. Finally, the fourth point continues the line of the previous ones. This is a US partnership with African governments, civil society and local communities to support and manage natural ecosystems, which will reduce carbon emissions and control climate change.
The USA has two programs for this: U.S. Plan to Conserve Global Forests: Critical Carbon Sinks and Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment. At the same time, Washington intends to launch some kind of energy plan, although no specifics are given.
Of course, in addition to the pathetic exhortations prescribed in the strategy, there are objective and rational interests of the United States associated with the fact that, according to forecasts, by 2050, the number population in Africa will amount to 25% of the world’s population.
And this means the largest consumer market and labor force. Africa also has the second largest area of tropical forests in the world and possesses 30% of the most important minerals. As for political influence, the countries below the Sahara account for 28% of the votes in the UN system. Manipulating these votes seems to be critically important for Washington.
That’s why the USA has such a strategic interest in African countries. Despite the instability in a number of them, political turmoil and uncertainty, Washington wants to control the future of the continent, although it has previously directly participated in numerous destructive projects.
In addition to the US, a similar interest in Africa is shown by the EU, in particular, former colonialists from Germany and France. Paris has recently lost some of its influence, while Berlin is trying to push its own roadmap with the same goals as Washington.
The Western liberal-democratic model of development has shown its inconsistency in Africa. The intervention of the United States and France in the internal affairs of the countries of the continent, in particular, Mozambique, Mali, Burkina Faso and Somalia, not only did not help solve their most acute problems, but led to an aggravation of civil confrontation, an increase in terrorist activity, and economic degradation.
The interest of Western countries, including Washington’s plans, declared in the African Strategy, as well as the intention to hold a “summit for democracy” in Zambia at the end of March this year, look like another attempt of Americans, with the support of European allies, to impose in Africa inappropriate “Western standards” which have already shown their inoperability. In addition, the West seeks to promote a liberal ideology in the region, which is not acceptable in African countries, whose population honors traditional spiritual and moral values.
The writer is a Ugandan Journalist with Passion for Current African Affairs.