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All eyes on Africa: Subjugation or liberation

Lately, there’s been a sudden rush of Western interest in Africa in the form of renewed trade relationships, foreign direct investments and bilateral funding. But this trend is not new, raising concerns about the genuineness of this laser focus on Africa.

A school of thought believes that the West needs these resource-based pacts with Africa to tighten its sanctions grip on Russia. They believe that the interest is a conduit pipe to milk and dominate the region through the use of multinational and transnational corporations. Meanwhile, another school opines that Africa needs help to come out of its debt overhang and fiscal bottlenecks, necessitating the West to lend its hand.

Go big or go home: A note to African leaders

Whichever way, what is certain is that Africa is in the spotlight and this is the best time for countries to come to the roundtable with better asks that would lead to sustainable development and not debt or investment imperialism with no lasting impact on their citizens.

More importantly, countries in Africa need to address lingering political and structural weaknesses that increase demand for foreign loans, bloating external debt to unprecedented levels (up 2.72% to $1.13 trillion in 2023 from $1.1 trillion in 2022) and stunting domestic and continent-wide growth. Africa is expected to grow miserly by 3.1% in 2023, from 3.6% in 2022.

And the time to make these positive changes is now. Dysfunctional and unfruitful democracy has birthed more than four coups in West Africa since 2022, with more countries at risk of the coup contagion. The only option is to correct the menace by doing right by the people, increasing confidence in governance.

In this edition of the FDC Afriscope, the FDC Think Tank provides a deep dive into the latest happenings in Africa from summits to coups, gerontocracy and upcoming elections.

Enjoy your read!