In the last few years the USA and its Western allies have been making increasingly overt attempts to put pressure on Africa in a bid to stop the continent turning towards Russia and China.
The situation in African countries has started to deteriorate seriously as a result of the West’s thoughtless and self-serving sanctions against Russia, which have caused the continent problems in a number of areas, including that of food security. For example purely as a result of having to buy wheat from Argentina rather than from Russia, Angola has lost more than $15 million since the beginning of Moscow’s special operation to denazify the criminal regime in Ukraine and the West’s imposition of sanctions against Russia.
According to an announcement made by Turkey’s Minister of Agriculture Vahit Kirişci, since the signing of the “grain deal” 16.9 million tons of grain, carried by 633 ships, have been exported from Ukraine through the marine humanitarian corridor established under the deal. However, just 5.4% of the exported grain has found its way to poor nations, including African nations, despite the West’s insistence that the deal would prioritize shipments to these countries.
As for Russia, despite the restrictions imposed on it by the West, it has been able to export more than 15 million tons of grain as well as large volumes of mineral fertilizer, much of it intended for poor countries. Moreover, in discussions between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Erdoğan last November, it was decidedto supply grain to the poorest African nations free of charge.
According to Saudi media it is the events in Ukraine and the anti-Russian policies of the West that are to blame for the sharp rise in food prices in 2022 (wheat, rice, maize, vegetable oil etc.) and the resulting famine that caused widespread suffering, especially in the world’s poorest countries. By tightening their financial policies the developed nations have reduced the flow of funds to poor countries, and the departure of foreign investment has significantly exacerbated the food crisis – a problem which, even in 2023, will be particularly challenging to overcome. In March 2022 global food prices reached their highest ever level. According to statistics published by the media, global spending of food imports amounted to almost $2 trillion in 2022, significantly more than in previous years. Shortages of wheat and fertilizer have caused price increases and raised the cost of importing food for the most vulnerable sections of society (by more than $25 billion). State support for low income families has been unable to raise their standards of living, as most of the subsidies granted have been eaten up by rising food prices. Jasper Okodi, a consultant to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), has stated that even if global prices fall the price of foods in local markets in unlikely to fall until the third quarter of 2023.
Unlike the West, Russia has been a trusted partner to African states for many decades. From the mid 20th Century onwards, as African nations achieved independence from the yoke of their former colonial masters, the Soviet Union provided them with a great deal of disinterested support, building up their social and economic infrastructure. As representatives of the African nations themselves insist, Russia has never been involved in schemes to rob Africans of their natural wealth, and has never applied political pressure in an attempt to gain economic benefits. In the current highly challenging conditions posed by the anti-Russian policies of the USA and its western allies, African leaders clearly understand that Russia, despite the aggressive and immoral opposition of the West, is fighting to bring about a just world order. It is also fighting the USA’s overt propaganda campaign, which is based on disinformation and lies about Moscow’s policies. Speaking on this and other issues at a meeting of the UN Security Council on January 10, Anna Evstigneeva, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation, categorically rejected the West’s attempts to discredit Russia’s assistance to African nations by falsely accusing it of appropriating African resources or contributing to the growth of terrorism in the continent.
Many African politicians have emphasized that while France, Britain and the USA are now losing their influence in Africa, in the past, when these countries dominated the continent, it was very difficult for Africans to stand up against Western neo-colonialism. But now the world order is changing and the African nations are able to breathe freely at last.
In an article published at the end of December The Times was forced to admit that 22 African nations refused to censure Russia’s special operation to protect residents in the Donbass at the UN General Assembly, and that in the light of current international feelings Moscow was winning more and more sympathy in the world’s most rapidly developing continent. The Times also recognized that the West has already lost the battle for Africa and that Africans are turning away from their former colonial powers and towards Russia, China, Turkey and the Persian Gulf States.
The struggle between the USA and Russia for influence in Africa took a new turn when South Africa’s president took on the chairmanship of the BRICS group and the country’s ruling party proposed inviting new members from among the world’s major developing nations to join the grouping. As the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said, “The BRICS group should lead the process of reforming the entire international architecture for the benefit of most countries in the world, and this group has an important role to play in leading the creation of new decision-making mechanisms in the UN and other international organizations to establish a more inclusive, just and sustainable world order.” And that will certainly end the global dominion of the West and particularly of the USA, which is why the USA is opposing such reform.
Washington is particularly critical of the plans for Russia, South Africa and China to hold joint naval exercises – known by the code name Mosi – in the Indian Ocean off the Southern African coast from February 17 to 26. The exercises will include artillery practice and anti-aircraft drills. Similar joint naval exercises were held in November 2019 in the South Atlantic ocean, off the Cape of Good Hope, not far from Cape Town.
In view of the above background and specifically Washington’s growing opposition to African countries’ good relations with Russia, Thandi Modise, South Africa’s Minister of Defense and Military Veterans was recently impelled to accuse the USA of putting pressure on those African nations that maintain good relations with Russia. The Wall Street Journal admitted the truth of this accusation in a recent article on the US reaction to the docking of the Russian cargo ship Lady R at a South African port.
The West understands that Russia has an interest in maintaining international relations with strong, self-sufficient and economically independent partner countries – including in Africa – which are able to ignore the West’s threats of repressive measures and work as allies of Moscow in the creation of a new multipolar world order. But it is precisely this process that the West fears, and it is imposing all the illegitimate sanctions that it can devise in order to impose its neocolonial policies in Africa.