Today’s Africa

“Today’s Africa does not want charity. It seeks more investment and a measure of respect.” Look at how successful China is at investing in Africa, as discussed in the China’s presence in Africa post. Why is this? Because China does respect African nations for their availability of markets and resources. Many of the United States policies, however, are stuck on a post-colonial agenda rather than a post-industrialized one. Yes there should be continued aid to certain nations in Africa, used for development, healthcare, and food security. But there are also developed cities and countries in Africa, many of them democratized, where more effort should be put into involving the U.S. in markets and businesses. Often this can be more for the benefit of the United States than for African nations, contrary to perceptions of aid.
Sub-Saharan Africa cannot be thought of as one economic or political region, for it has intense differentiations. South Africa, Nigeria, and Ethiopia all have significant economies and governments that the United States and Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton can have successful relations with. On the other hand, Zimbabwe is known for its autocratic government under Mugabe and the economic and diplomatic issues that are the result. In some cases foreign investment would be relatively easy. In others, it would be quite difficult. The only challenge, therefore, is sorting these out. A Foreign Affairs article this week discusses what they believe the Obama administration has done wrong in Africa (though lack of effort). The article ends with, “ultimately, the United States cannot afford to ignore Africa. And rather than viewing the continent as a problem to be solved, the next administration should do something radical: treat Africa with the attention it now deserves.”

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