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The 21st Century seems to have ushered in a period of intense competition to woo Africa. Africa, with its vast untapped economic resources, is now the battleground for global powers, notably France, the US, and especially China. Each has established an African Forum, where African leaders are periodically invited to a discussion cocktail. They all purport to have a feeling and understanding for the African Problematique, to which they pledge support for resolution. So we have the US-Africa Summit; the Forum on Sino-African Cooperation (FOCAC); French-Africa Summit.

Not to be undone, the UK has its own version with Africa, signed into operation by Tony Blair, after the Gleneagles G8 Summit that failed to establish his dream International Finance Facility (IFF) of $550 billion, by which he intended wiping off Africa’s indebtedness. The Russians, a few years ago, invited African leaders to a similar forum in Sochi, Russia, where President Putin offered a Russian plan for engagement with Africa. Turkey has shown strong interest in Africa and is instituting its own African platform. In all these, the three front liners are the French, the US, and the Chinese

The Francophonie, involving France and the French-speaking former colonies had always been the platform for Franco-African relations. But since 2006, the French opened the doors to non-French-speaking countries, including Ghana. Each American President tries to meet with African leaders, the famous one being the one with President Obama. The Chinese kicked off with the 2005 FOCAC Summit in Beijing, which was attended by Thirty-Five African Heads of State. The 8th ministerial conference of the Forum on Sino-African Cooperation (FOCAC) has just ended in Dakar, Senegal. Two days of summit discussed the question of vaccines and the fight against the pandemic of Covid-19. It also touched on especially the economy within the framework of the Chinese “Belt and Road Initiative”, which Eritrea and Guinea-Bissau have just joined. It is clear that the deterioration of the security situation in Ethiopia and the US sanctions imposed on Eritrea must have probably accelerated the haste to join the FOCAC. By joining the “Belt and Road” initiative, Eritrea intends to take advantage of Chinese funding and infrastructure projects. The same goes for Guinea-Bissau, where Chinese companies are already very active in forestry or deep-sea fishing. The two countries joining the New Silk Roads on the eve of the Dakar summit was described as proof of expansion of Chinese diplomacy, a proof that is also expanding “the big family of Sino-African friendship “.

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