Additional reporting by David Ijjo and Sarah Nabirye
Concerns are mounting as analysts and Pan-Africanists warn of an impending second phase of scramble, arms race, and domination on the African continent.
The escalating trend of organizing numerous African summits by global superpowers, such as the United States of America, Russia, India, China, and the United Kingdom, has raised alarms about potential negative consequences for Africa’s sovereignty and development.
The repeated convening of these summits has drawn African leaders and influential figures to various countries across the world.
However, experts and Pan-Africanists argue that these gatherings could compromise Africa’s position and interests on the global stage, possibly leading to unfavorable outcomes.
“In their pursuit of ideological and strategic discussions, superpowers are positioning Africa to potentially lose more than it gains,” cautioned Ndebesa Mwambutsya, an analyst familiar with geopolitical dynamics.
Newton Solomon Balenzi, Head of Administration for the Pan-African Movement’s Uganda Chapter, echoed these concerns, stressing the need for African leaders to prioritize unity over individual interests.
“African leaders must set aside their pursuit of short-term gains, such as cheap food grants, and instead adopt a unified agenda that promotes the continent’s long-term prosperity,” asserted Balenzi.
Critics argue that during these summits, African leaders often lack the moral authority to assert themselves on global matters, allowing the superpowers to steer discussions and decisions in their favor. This power imbalance raises questions about the potential erosion of Africa’s sovereignty and agency.
“Africa’s engagement with the rest of the world should be based on mutual respect and collaboration, not on unequal power dynamics,” emphasized Natumanya Moses, Director of Administration and Finance at the Uganda Pan-African Movement (UPAM).
The recent visit of African leaders to parties involved in the Russia-Ukraine conflict has sparked mixed reactions among analysts and Pan-Africanists. While some view such diplomatic engagement as an opportunity for Africa to play a constructive role, others warn that the continent could inadvertently become entangled in arms races and Cold War conflicts.
“The African continent should remain cautious and not be drawn into conflicts that do not directly serve its interests,” urged Ndebesa Mwambutsya, emphasizing the importance of Africa’s independent stance.
Interestingly, it’s not just superpowers that are eyeing Africa’s potential growing economies such as Singapore and countries from the Middle East are also showing increased interest in the continent. This surge of attention raises questions about Africa’s strategic significance and its potential role in global geopolitics.
“Clearly, Africa possesses resources, markets, and opportunities that attract the attention of both established and emerging global players,” Ndebesa Mwambutsya noted.
Despite the concerns, analysts and Pan-Africanists remain optimistic about Africa’s future. They stress that a united front is key to safeguarding the continent’s interests and avoiding undue influence from external powers.
By speaking with a common voice and pursuing a collective agenda, African leaders can position their nations to benefit from global partnerships while maintaining their sovereignty and integrity.