Defining the Africa-Europe relationship: Part Two


A PARTICULARLY revealing moment during the recent Africa-EU summit which we are all obliged to recall with shame is the lecture on gay rights delivered by the Belgian prime minister.
The fact that Europe deliberately selected a gay premier to deliver that lecture before African leaders speaks volumes.
The move was consciously calculated to insult the leadership of the continent and to dismiss African views on homosexuality with contempt.
It is as if Europe was saying- why should African views on gays begin to matter now when in the past their views on anything and everything about them and their continent has never mattered anyway?
Why should Europe suddenly change course and begin to respect African feelings on anything when in the past 500 years it has benefitted immensely from African labour and resources particularly because it had completely ignored those feelings?
Put briefly, ignoring the humanity of Africa is a formula which has worked wonders for Europe and that formula is not going to change now for the sake of it!
Accordingly, Europe decided to attack African views on gays head on during the summit.
Because this is an issue which unites all Africans and their leaders!
To allow that kind of unity to establish roots deep enough to sustain itself is not good for Europe which fears that in the long run the same African unity will be redeployed elsewhere and used as leverage, especially when it comes to economic issues.
According to Europe, that African unity should be nipped in the bud because it remains a potent threat to the prolonged looting of resources from Africa which Europe has become addicted to for long.
In other words, the continued rape of Africa by Europe has all along been based on the divide and rule formula-a devastating weapon which has effectively kept Africa so weak that it has no choice but to depend on its rapists on almost everything!
This weakness explains the silence from African leaders which greeted the premier’s lecture.
That silence mimicked at a symbolic level the proverbial silence of slaves who never dared to answer back so as to counter accusations by the all powerful slave master!
In a way, Africa and Europe are still caught up in the perverted logic and dynamics of a slave-master relationship which should have been gotten rid of soon after attaining independence from colonial rule!
This is why Europe has always reacted in a mean and petty manner that beggars belief whenever issues to do with equality between Africa and Europe arise.
For instance, Europe is not prepared to regard the Africa-EU summit as an African Union (AU)-EU summit because to acknowledge such is akin to accepting the unity and dignity of Africa and its being as important as Europe! Anything which may remotely suggest that Africa as a continent is an equal to Europe is anathema.
This slave-master logic largely explains the unbecoming haggling which took place two years ago over the naming of Africa-Europe summits.
In light of the above mentioned slave-master relationship, the question that arises is: what should be done?
a) Africa should be bold enough to acknowledge that at present it remains divided along colonial lines and that those deep divisions continue to be a godsend to its exploitative European partner.
The AU should work day and night to generate meaningful content and structures to justify its existence as a union or else it will remain a joke that Europe takes it for as amply demonstrated during the recent summit.
b) The majority of African leaders continue to believe that Africa needs Europe more than Europe needs Africa when in fact this is no longer the case.
Such leaders continue to regard Europe as the centre of economic power in the world when in reality that power has been relocating and repositioning itself in Asia during the past 20 years or so!
Europe has depleted most of its natural resources and would like to access these cheaply from Africa to keep its economy running.
A good example dramatising Europe’s vulnerability is its dislike for and fear of Russians, more so in regard to the recent crisis in Ukraine– but that same Europe cannot do without Russian gas.
Attempts to do so would leave millions of European natives freezing to death! Right now Europe is in a hurry to increase dramatically amounts of gas it can get from African countries such as Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya so as to lessen its dependency on Russia.
In other words, Europe is poor resource-wise and not in a position to sustain its standards of living on the basis of its own resources alone!
African leaders should become literate enough to read into this!
c) Africa needs to work out on an urgent basis a continental economic policy which spells out in detail the minimum shareholding requirements which all foreign investors should automatically surrender to locals when they set up their extractive business enterprises in Africa.
Scrupulous adherence to such a policy would automatically address the current situation in which African countries compete with each other at any cost to lure foreign investors who then proceed to take away African resources for a song!
Abundance of African resources and their worth should be the basis dictating the nature of our relationship with Europe and not fear of it!
d) As pointed out recently by columnist Nathaniel Manheru, Africa needs to develop a continental capacity to audit its resources both below and above its soils, so that it has a clearer grasp of its worth.
One cannot help, but feel that all those African leaders who rushed to attend the Africa-EU summit could not represent Africa well because they are all unaware of the full value of Africa’s resources and the strategic importance of these resources to the global economy.
Right now Europeans know more about our continent and its resources than we do.
The impotence which African leaders betrayed during the summit in Europe is based on their ignorance about Africa’s worth!
This handicap explains their silence when it mattered most that they speak and protect African interests!
Ignorance unnecessarily compromises Africa’s bargaining power and is not only inexcusable but also suicidal!
e) The AU should spearhead the setting up of a continental programme of education which spells out in a compelling manner key aspects of Africa’s past, its present circumstances and its prospects for the future! This programme should be embedded in the education systems of all African countries and designed to promote knowledge about ourselves as a continent and our obligations to it.
The hope is that any future leaders will know Africa and its worth like the back of their hands and desist from betraying it in the way some of its current leaders are doing in exchange for very little from an increasingly bankrupt Europe!


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