By Carlton Joseph
A couple of weeks ago President Joe Biden invited the leaders of 49 African nations in Washington for the second US-African Leaders’ Summit. Vice President, Kamala Harris opened the meeting making the case that the continent’s demographics will inevitably lead it to become a key global player in the decades to come and the administration would invest $100 million to expand the Young African Leaders Initiative. Furthermore, the U.S. Export-Import Bank was entering new memorandums of understanding that will clear the way for $1 billion in new commercial financing in Africa. White House national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said the administration would commit to spending $55 billion in Africa over the next three years on “a wide range of sectors to tackle the core challenges of our time.”
Currently the US allocates foreign aid to 47 African Nations, and US Agency for International Development (USAID) operates 27 missions in Africa. If this is the relationship Biden intends to continue, then Africa is doomed to remain the continent with the most natural resources but the most underdeveloped and poorest continent on the planet. USAID is not designed to help countries develop, but to keep them poor and dependent on the G7.
In the 80’s my company was awarded a 5-year, US multimillion-dollar contract to develop alternative energy in Africa. We decided to pursue projects in solar and wind, but the project manager promptly turned them down and insisted that the contract was for designing and developing wood burning stoves. I informed him that designing and producing wood burning stoves were not an energy problem solution, and it would result in destroying the forest and contribute to climate change and other problems. We could not agree and I refused to work on the contract.
President Biden cannot be serious, and if he is serious, he believes that Africans are still the ignorant, colonial subjects of the past. The fact that he herded, like animals, 49 heads of nations representing 1.4 billion people to a conference is disrespectful and demonstrates that he thinks they are fools. Fools, because it is very difficult to accomplish anything of substance with such a large gathering of people with different agendas. Also, I blame African leaders for not understanding power; or how power is projected, and for accepting the invitation. Inadvertently, Biden, by herding them, has also informed them that they are powerless and exploitable. African leaders must realize that the inability to be united as one African nation is the reason why Africa and African people are the doormats of society.
Europe has dominated Africa using “divide and conquer rule” for the past three centuries. Today, instead of uniting like the US, China or India, African misleaders prefer to be “large fish” in small ponds, not being able to build a sustainable economy or a militarily strong Africa, they prefer to beg for aid, when all of the natural resources to build Africa remains under the control of the US and Africa’s old colonial masters.
A people without vision will surely perish. Even Europe, who have been fighting each other for the past 5 centuries, is able to unite under the banner of the European Union. Why can’t these 49 or 51 countries, if you include the countries that were not invited, unite and become the United Nations of Africa? Being able to function as one united body and present a “United Africa,”
represented by a President and supporting institutions, with a clear vison of what Africa wants, is the only way to achieve global power, security and equality.
Inviting 49 leaders to a meeting is disrespectful, and demonstrate that the US does not believe they are worthy of respect. Especially, when the President of Ukraine, current population about 30 million, is invited to the White House, given the opportunity to address the US Congress and is promised over $40 billion in US aid; this represents over 1 billion per citizen.
African leaders are either crazy or stupid, or do not understand power or power dynamics, $55 billion over three years; to appease 1.4 billion people, a little more than one billion per country is ridiculous. People whose resources have been taken away from them by force, people who have been enslaved, emasculated and relegated to the bottom of society, will be fools to assist America and the G7 with their continued global economic domination.
Is this summit supposed to erase what Biden acknowledged (at the summit) America’s original sin of slavery? Is this his idea of Africa being engaged on their own terms and according to their own needs? These African misleaders should be voted out of their leadership positions when they return to Africa, because they have given Biden the photo-op that he needed to bolster America’s position as the global leader. They were herded into Washington because they only represent 3 percent of world trade. Biden understands that as long as Africa remains divided, developed countries, whether it is the US, China, Russia or France will continue to exploit them. Africa will not benefit; the economic story will be the same: the extraction of its natural resources at the expense of its people who are desperately seeking a healthy and brighter future.
African leaders must understand that a large resource rich land mass with large populations are the prerequisite for producing great wealth and military power. And, in this dangerous world of international politics, only economic and military power guarantees your national security. They must insist that only the people of the African continent have the right to decide their own destiny, and adopt an economic system that benefits their people and their continent.
The president of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo was correct when he called on African countries to stop “begging” from the West, saying: “If we stop begging and spend African money within the continent, Africa will not have to ask for respect from anyone, we will get the respect we deserve. If we achieve prosperity, respect will follow, to the outside world, there is no Nigeria, Ghana or Kenya, we are Africans. Our destiny as a people depends on each one of us.” Hopefully, they agree and do the right thing.