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About this book

This book probes key issues pertaining to Africa’s relations with global actors. It provides a comprehensive trajectory of Africa’s relations with key bilateral and major multilateral actors, assessing how the Cold War affected the African state systems’ political policies, its economies, and its security. Taken together, the essays in this volume provide a collective understanding of Africa’s drive to improve the capacity of its state of global affairs, and assess whether it is in fact able to do so.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Introduction: Inspirations and Hesitations in Africa’s Relations with External Actors

Mutasa provides a solid introduction to this intriguing book on Africa and the World: Bilateral and Multilateral International Diplomacy. In his snapshot, Mutasa trails the key contemporary scholarly debates made by 21 authors in this volume, which discusses Africa’s relationships with Western powers. These discussions probe issues on: bilateral relations with traditional powers—the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, France, Portugal, and Italy; bilateral relations with non-traditional powers—Brazil, India, Japan, the Nordics, Latin America, Europe, the Islamic world, and the Middle East; and multilateral relations—with the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, the BRICS bloc (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the European Union, the World Trade Organisation, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, and how these relations have defined the continent.
Charles Mutasa

Bilateral Relations: Traditional Powers


Chapter 2. Africa and the United States: A History of Malign Neglect

Chapter 2 argues that the United States policy towards Africa over the last six decades has reflected a history of “malign neglect”. During the Cold War, Washington pursued its global strategy of “anti-communism” in Africa, resulting in a proliferation of weapons to local proxies and millions of African deaths. After the end of the Cold War, despite rhetorical support for democracy and economic development, US policy under the three presidencies of Bill Clinton (1993–2000), George W. Bush (2001–2008), and Barack Obama (2009–2016) continued to undermine these goals through a securitisation of policy and continued support for autocratic regimes.
Adekeye Adebajo

Chapter 3. Africa and Russia: The Pursuit of Strengthened Relations in the Post-Cold War Era

Chapter 3 demystifies Russia’s engagement with the continent, an engagement that dates back to Russia’s support for national liberation struggles in countries such as Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. The Soviet Union was also the provider and supplier of military equipment during these liberation struggles. The Soviet Union/Russia has always traded with African countries in the form of arms deals and other military equipment. The chapter further discusses the intrinsic nature of real neglect by the Soviets at the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet Union, with Russia being unable to continue its engagement with the continent because of its weakened economy with very little meaning for future engagements with the continent.
Rosaline Daniel, Vladimir Shubin

Chapter 4. Africa and China: Winding Into a Community of Common Destiny

Chapter 4 examines the growing influence of China on the continent, which has made it Africa’s largest bilateral trading partner in the post-Cold War era. Issues of concern regarding China’s engagement revolve around the use of Chinese labour in its projects rather than the use of local African labour. Some of the criticisms of African governments’ engagement with China include environmental degradation and destruction of local textile industries in preference for cheap Chinese products. Thus a major challenge facing the Sino-Africa partnership in the post-Cold War era is that Africa seems to lack a long-term strategy for engaging China.
Haifang Liu

Chapter 5. France and Africa

Chapter 5 offers a bold account that provides solid academic analyses in understanding France’s position on the African continent, defined in the author’s offering of 11 critiques in which he tests France’s position in Africa of either—a realist critique; or a liberal idealist critique; or a pan-Africanist critique; or an anti-imperialist critique; or an “affordable influence” critique; or a postcolonial critique; or a cultural relativist critique; or a progressive political critique; or a “decline-and-fall” or “end-of-empire” critique; or a patriotic defence critique; or an international law critique. Thereby the author provides empirical evidence on France’s “over-stretched” transition between the Françafrique of yesterday and the France-Afrique of tomorrow which is able to assess whether Paris could hold sway.
Douglas A. Yates

Chapter 6. To Brexit and Beyond: Africa and the United Kingdom

Chapter 6 argues that British foreign policy over Africa in the Cold War era seems to be one driven by guilt over colonialism, migration worries, and fears of terrorism, and the looming trade-stress test and interests mainly with South Africa. The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition and its successor Conservative government have rebooted trade and investment promotion, and have been rebuilding the UK’s diplomatic network in Africa. Britain has been engaged in UN peacekeeping, contributing to deployments in South Sudan and Somalia. It is also engaged in some military capacity-building, but only in selected African countries such as Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Gambia. But with Brexit, the author predicts that there is likely to be greater de-prioritisation of Africa in British policies as the Theresa May administration shifts the goal posts.
Alex Vines

Chapter 7. Africa and Portugal

Chapter 7 discusses Portugal’s foreign policy, which is exclusively directed towards the Portuguese-speaking African countries—Países Africanos de Língua Oficial Portuguesa (PALOP)—marked by aid and cooperation; trade and economic exchanges; and political and strategic mediation. The author underscores that Portugal’s relationship with Lusophone Africa has been greatly determined by its accession to the European Union (EU) in 1986, and the end of civil war in Angola and Mozambique. The chapter critically assesses the role of the Community of Portuguese-Language Countries as an effective forum for implementing economic and development policies in Africa during the post-Cold War era. But given the mixed interests of Portugal, in Angola, Mozambique, and other PALOP countries, the author notes that Portugal’s influence in Africa was largely eclipsed by Brazilian interests, especially during the administration of Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva.
Clara Carvalho

Bilateral Relations: Non-Traditional Powers


Chapter 8. Africa and Italy’s Relations After the Cold War

Chapter 8 notes that, since the beginning of decolonisation to the end of the Cold War, Italy had not shown much interest in sub-Saharan Africa. Italy’s presence in the region decreased considerably, especially when compared with its presence in other African countries, relegating it to a secondary role in terms of the country’s economic footprint on the continent. Italy’s influence in Africa has been more strongly felt in North Africa than in sub-Saharan Africa. Italian interaction with North Africa has been based on mutual respect in politics, intercultural communication, and mutual economic benefit. But the main game changers in African-Italian relations in the post-Cold War era have been those who took over the Italian leadership from 2013.
Bernardo Venturi

Chapter 9. Brazil-Africa Relations: From Boom to Bust?

Chapter 9 argues that post-Cold War relations between Africa and Brazil plummeted after the Workers’ Party-led government of Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva (2003–10). The post-Lula regimes have been characterised by a loss of momentum in Africa-Brazil ties, due to Brazil’s current economic doldrums and political contestation. Africa has been an important focus of the Brazilian South-South diplomacy in the post-Cold War era, with a focus on Portuguese-speaking African countries, Nigeria, and South Africa. The author notes that Lula’s successor, Dilma Rousseff (2011–16), displayed a lack of interest in foreign policy, budget restrictions, growing competition from other external players in Africa, and other factors, which meant a decrease of Brazilian pursuit of South-South ties, including in Africa.
Adriana Erthal Abdenur

Chapter 10. A Renewed Partnership? Contemporary Latin America-Africa Engagement

Chapter 10 focuses on how the Latin American and Caribbean countries, including those other than Brazil, expanded their relations with the African continent, including through initiatives such as the Africa-South America Summit. The strengthening of post-Cold War bilateral relations between the LAC countries and Africa can be seen as part of a strategy to increase contacts with countries of the global South. This was particularly the case with the inauguration of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela (1999), Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva in Brazil (2003), and Nestor Kirchner in Argentina (2003). The author explores the economic posturing inherent in Africa-LAC relations and thereby highlights that, through the expansion of diplomatic interactions, LAC and African states are seeking to further support their specific foreign policy agendas.
Danilo Marcondes de Souza Neto

Chapter 11. Africa and India: Riding the Tail of the Tiger?

Chapter 11 focuses on Africa’s relations with India, the “other” emerging Asian power, which has thus far escaped the close scrutiny, if not criticism, that the much larger, and expanding, Chinese footprint on the continent has attracted. The competitive dynamic between New Delhi and Beijing is an important fulcrum of India’s international relations in Africa. Not surprisingly, this has contributed to a tendency, by and large, to assess India’s presence on the continent either in a comparative framework with China or within the context of its membership of the BRICS bloc (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). This chapter, though, is primarily concerned with the dynamics of the bilateral relationship between Africa and India. It begins with a brief history of Africa-India relations, followed by an in-depth analysis of present-day economic ties. Next the chapter focuses on peace and security cooperation between India and Africa, before offering some concluding reflections.
Kudrat Virk

Chapter 12. Africa-Japan Relations in the Post-Cold War Era

Chapter 12 underscores that, while this book engages Japan as a non-traditional player, the term “traditional” in the case of Japan can be taken to imply relatively long periods of time—thereby recalling that Africa-Japan relations date back to the pre-Second World War period. Though Japan’s trade with Africa had been largely with apartheid South Africa, which estranged Tokyo from the rest of the continent, the creation of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development in 1993 marked an era of development cooperation and one that seeks to promote “self-help” and an African continent that is not entirely aid-dependent. Nevertheless, Japan’s double standards have been evident through parochial interests concerning Africa’s mineral wealth.
Scarlett Cornelissen, Yoichi Mine

Chapter 13. Africa and the Nordics

Chapter 13 argues that, for the Nordic countries (especially Denmark, Norway, and Sweden), cooperation with, and common approaches to, the African continent during the Cold War were primarily based on solidarity. Arguably, the relations were less complex and multidimensional than today, given that cooperation is now clouded by political and security interests, particularly to curb migration flows to Europe and to combat terrorism. White papers published by Denmark, Norway, and Sweden in 2007 and 2008 revealed a shift of focus in their foreign and aid policies to greater promotion of trade and investment. The Nordics still show interest in commonly pursuing international climate change cooperation in Africa, as well as conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and supporting Africa’s own regional integration.
Anne Hammerstad

Chapter 14. Africa, the Islamic World, and Europe

Chapter 14 argues that, since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on America and the subsequent USA invasion of Iraq, there has been a violent struggle for life, dignity, democracy, and Islamic statehood in many Arab countries, which has had serious consequences for both Africa and Europe. The author uses Dominique Moisi’s geopolitics of emotions as a framework for his analysis, identifying a general fear of the “Arab implosion”, and discusses Europe’s dilemma in creating the promise of a better life through political reforms, given the current problems associated with unemployment, climate change, and migration coming from Africa. The chapter brings to the fore the real fears of Europe, in as much that it has again redrawn the map of Africa to protect its own.
Roel van der Veen

Multilateral Relations


Chapter 15. Africa and the Middle East: Shifting Alliances and Strategic Partnerships

Chapter 15 traces the Cold War-era Afro-Arab cooperation as tied to the Arabs’ support for Africa’s struggles against racism and colonialism and the joint condemnation of Israel’s expansionist policies against the Palestine people at the United Nations. Turkey’s new Africa policy, however, has sought to strengthen its diplomatic, economic, and cultural ties with the continent. Much of the trade of the Middle East (Iran, Turkey, and Israel) in sub-Saharan Africa is with South Africa. The authors therefore argue that trade is the starting point, and there are still many opportunities to strengthen relations further between the Middle East and African countries, such as linking infrastructure for trade corridors, but more needs to be done by both parties to tap into these opportunities.
Hamdy A. Hassan, Hala Thabet

Chapter 16. Africa at the United Nations: From Dominance to Weakness

Chapter 16 assesses the strength of Africa’s engagement with the United Nations since the 1950s. The author argues that the African position within the United Nations has moved from one of dominance to one of decline, providing a brief but meticulous background and analysis of the key challenges that have confronted African governments within the world body during and since the Cold War. The Security Council is still lopsided, in that it no longer represents the balance of power in the world demographically. The chapter emphasises that it is therefore important for the African continent to steer itself away from dependency, and pay and fund its institutions as well as its UN dues.
James O. C. Jonah

Chapter 17. Africa and the International Criminal Court

Chapter 17 tackles the relationship between Africa and the International Criminal Court (ICC) and goes to the core of these intricate relations—which the author notes is not the ICC’s obsession with Africa—but rather its shift away from independence. He goes on to argue that the ICC is not a Western tool designed to subjugate African leaders on the continent and advance an imperialist agenda. But, as the world’s watchdog, the ICC is a crucial bulwark against impunity on the continent, where national legal systems are weak. Thus the chapter underscores that the hard reality is that the rule of law requires that the rules should apply to all equally, including those who make them.
Dan Kuwali

Chapter 18. Can the BRICS Re-Open the “Gateway to Africa”? South Africa’s Contradictory Facilitation of Divergent Brazilian, Russian, Indian and Chinese Interests

Chapter 18 claims that the BRICS network has been presented as an “alternative” to exploitative global multilateralism, whereas Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa are in fact junior partners in perpetuating the under-development of Africa. According to the author, the BRICS stand accused of under-developing Africa in several respects, a process amplified by roller-coaster commodity price changes. Nonetheless, the author notes that some scholars think the BRICS have to a greater extent impacted the global order by driving some change in the procedural values of multilateralism.
Patrick Bond

Chapter 19. Europe-African Relations in the Era of Uncertainty

Chapter 19 argues that the events of 2016, especially Brexit, the crisis of confidence around regional integration in Europe, the controversial economic partnership agreements (EPAs), the cutting of EU funding to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and the clamping down on African immigrants in the Mediterranean, are likely to have serious repercussions on what seems to be a fading relationship between Europe and Africa. Another issue of consternation is Europe’s introduction of migration control as a new condition for development cooperation following the refugee crisis.
Gilbert M. Khadiagala

Chapter 20. Africa and the World Trade Organisation

Chapter 20 assesses Africa’s performance in the past 20-plus years of involvement in the World Trade Organisation trade and development trajectory, including the unfortunate Doha Round and other World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreements. The author centres the discussions on trade liberalisation on the continent which are noted as being WTO measures extended into areas of procurement, healthcare, and food security, and consequently a reform of the preferences, which have all added to impoverish Africa, among several other issues.
Mariama Williams

Chapter 21. Sub-Saharan Africa: The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund

Chapter 21 points out that, beyond the Cold War, there has been a structure of asymmetrical global power relations of Western nations and multilateral institutions that has disadvantaged sub-Saharan Africa. The author expands on the Bretton Woods institutions—the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund—which he claims to be the greatest purveyors of poverty in Africa. The chapter recommends reform measures for the WTO and IMF that would discard neoliberal Western-dominated agendas through giving African states more voice and leadership in these institutions.
L. Adele Jinadu

Chapter 22. Conclusion

The Conclusion goes to the heart of the discussions in the 21 chapters of this book and provides a critical analysis that the author terms the core problematique—which underpins the relationship trajectory of Africa and its key external partners and actors during and after the Cold War. The author also makes recommendations that could be of possible use to Africa and its diasporas, the international community, their governments, and policymakers, as well as the civil society community.
Dawn Nagar
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