To have Africa on your side; win the hearts of the People, not Governments by Fidel Amakye Owusu


1. For the past 200 years, Africa has had to contend with 3 major scrambles from external interests and entities.

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2. First was colonialism. By the late 19 century, European powers had agreed to share the continent among themselves and exploit its vast resources. The main method included Indirect-rule, where Britain used weakened versions of existing institutions to be in charge.

3. The French had used the policy of Assimilation to directly make their “subjects” French. Germany, Portugal, Spain and others, (especially the Belgians) had been more direct with their control–and brutal at times.

4. The second wave of the scramble had emerged after independence—and in some cases before. This was during the Cold War. Western and Eastern powers had used governments to win over #African states. The people did not matter as governments were all that mattered.

5. External forces therefore armed government in order to maintain control over the people. By this, resource exploitation and #diplomatic support were assured.

6. Not much of a struggle was seen on the continent in the first decade after the Cold War. The period only had traditional #powers like France and to some extent the US and Britain entrenching their interests in Africa.

7. Currently, a third major scramble for Africa has emerged.

8. This stage is characterized by the rise of ; assertive Russia; and emerging powers including Turkey, , India, #Israel, Gulf States and others. All are interested in Africa. The traditional powers on the continent including France, Britain, #US and their allies are also determined to stay.

9. The problem for these powers is how to win Africa this time round.

10. In the 21 century, it appears it would be difficult to win Africa in the long term without winning its people—the ordinary people.

11. The availability of unlimited information on simple handsets with the reach of the internet has made the young population of Africa very much informed.

12. They are aware of colonialism and its legacy; Cold War politics; and dynamics of recent global events. They also know about the mostly selfish nature of leadership on the continent.

13. In recent times, citizens of #Francophone West Africa have openly objected to French presence in their countries. Some have boldly asked for alternative “partners”.

14. African youths are questioning external interests in their states. They want their countries left alone. However, many moderates still believe Africa needs partners and #FDI to grow.

13. That notwithstanding, it appears powers and countries that want to engage with Africa must most importantly win the hearts of the people. Yes, they must let their engagements benefit the people and not governments and leaders like has mostly been.

14. Many more to come in a paper…

Below: Youth in Senegal protesting against French presence.

By Naija247news
By Naija247news
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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