Second Liberation’: How is Africa Fighting Economic Shackles of Its Colonial Past?

Second Liberation': How is Africa Fighting Economic Shackles of Its Colonial Past?
Second Liberation': How is Africa Fighting Economic Shackles of Its Colonial Past?

Africa-Press – Botswana. In 1963, Africa Day was established — a holiday, one of the main initial goals of which was to raise awareness of the struggle for the liberation of Africa from colonialism. The countries of the continent have managed to achieve political sovereignty, but independence has not yet been fully achieved in the economic sphere.

Africa is reaching out to countries that do not preach neocolonial practices in order to achieve the second — economic — liberation after the previously achieved political one, Dr. Wuhibegezer Ferede, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies, Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia, told.

“Africa is still economically dependent on the post-colonial economic order. […] [Thus, it] is really trying to address these challenges [of colonial legacy] through a form of mobilizing internal resources, and of course by creating an alliance with external actors who are really immune from this legacy of colonialism,” he said.

One of such challenges is the absence of true unity between the African states, which is also caused by external forces.

“Africa is still divided because of the internal and external challenges. You see internally Africa is still struggling in establishing a vibrant state, a vibrant economy, and African states are still fragile. And this internal fragility is again because of external intervention,” Ferede argued.

It’s worth noting that the continent has been striving for unity for decades. In 1963, when the Organization of African Unity (now African Union) was established, one of its primary goals was bridging the divide between countries.

“The aspiration was of course ensuring peace and security in the continent and ensuring prosperity in the continent through principles that they have made by then with the belief that there is a radical move towards continental integration,” the speaker recalled.

Speaking of economic liberation, one of the organizations, that could help the continent in this is, indeed, BRICS, according to the professor.

“You see, [due to] the dysfunctionality of the liberal international order […] in terms of financial disorder and security disorder […], Africans are really moving towards an alternative international arrangement. […] So, BRICS will be an alternative source of finance to escape this strict conditionality,” Ferede reckoned.

The prof further said that African countries are also leaning towards BRICS since the bloc, when providing assistance, does not impose conditions similar to those of Western countries (whether economic or political), which often have ulterior motives and do not actually pursue economic and political prosperity for the continent.It’s also hard to imagine political prosperity for Africa when the continent doesn’t have “a strong voice” in the UN, Ferede continued. Thus, the global organization needs reforms.

“Africa is really voicing to reform the UN system. Africa is the largest continent, and it has no veto power, or they don’t have a really strong voice in the UN system. […] European scholars are really [admitting] that the international liberal order is in crisis […] and are really arguing for reform and for Africa to have its own voice in it,” the professor said.

Moreover, such “a strong voice” should be given to Africa not only in international organizations but also in media. The continent has sometimes been stereotyped in the Western press and culture as a whole as backward. Ferede recalled the famous German philosopher Hegel, who viewed Africa as a continent whose inhabitants could only be equated to animals or useless objects, doomed to remain in slavery and inhuman conditions.

In this sense, the opening of the press hub in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa will help the continent combat such harmful and unfair stereotypes.

“It’s [the hub opening] really important because Africa has been stereotyped. […] This whole stereotyping, it needs a sort of aggressive intervention, both from an African origin, discursive struggle, and, of course, there has to be cooperation from international actors like yours. Your presence here in Addis Ababa is also a welcomed initiative,” the speaker said.

Wrapping up the interview, Ferede welcomed Russia’s policy in Africa in general, not only in the news realm.

“Today’s Russian approach is really focusing on giving agency to Africa without really dictating the policy space in the continent, and Africans are coming with a collaborative spirit. I see such a positive move from the Russian of today,” he concluded.

Sputnik Africa

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