This transcript appears in the April 22, 2022 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
What Africa Expects from the World
This is an edited transcript of the remarks of Diogène Senny to the Third Panel of the Schiller Institute’s April 9, 2022 conference, “Establish a New Security and Development Architecture for all Nations.” Mr. Senny is President of the Pan-African League—UMOJA Congo, Republic of Congo. He is also President of the Coordination wa Partis Politiques Panafricanistes.
Dear Speakers, Dear Participants, Dear Guests,
First let me thank the Schiller Institute for inviting me, on behalf of our Party, the Pan-African League—UMOJA Congo and of the Coordination wa Partis Politiques Panafricanistes of which I am the President, to speak at this important international conference. I also thank all the speakers for the quality of their interventions delivered before my own intervention.
The title of this conference is: “Establishing a New Security and Development Architecture for All Nations.” And the theme I will address in this intervention is: “What Can Africa Expect from the Rest of the World?” A theme that we rephrase in the following way: “Pan-Africanism and the Geopolitics of War.”
The Russo-Ukrainian conflict which is currently tearing Europe apart on its eastern flank, is a real concern because of the immediate and direct human drama it generates, but also because of its indirect consequences at the economic level well beyond the area of confrontation.
However, like any geopolitical crisis, most often accompanied by wars, it is first and foremost a consequence of the geopolitical permanency of the West, a system which for the first time since the Middle Ages, has experienced one of the longest periods of stability, from 1945 to 2022, or 77 years.
We tend to forget that at the end of the Second World War, the hypocrisy of the victors led them to condemn geopolitics, calling it a “Nazi science,” having provided Hitler with scientific and ideological justifications for his vital space (Lebensraum), his will to conquer and dominate.
Even Stalin’s Soviet Union had forbidden the teaching of geopolitics, calling it a cursed discipline of an evil Germany which was consubstantial with Nazism.
However, if we look closely, apart from the racist ideological considerations of the German regime, the second Thirty Years’ War (1914–1945) is a result of the geopolitical rivalries of the European powers that go back to the past centuries and that have never ceased.
Periodically, each European power tried to impose its hegemony on the others. We remember the Spain of Charles V and then of Philip II, the France of Louis XIV and then of Napoleon, the Germany of William II and then of Hitler, etc.
Thus, each time a European power shows an excessive political appetite, the resistance of the others is organized in order to neutralize it. Consequently, each European power will build a geopolitics of both protection and conquest, by seeking a vital space, in Europe and outside, if possible.
Western Powers’ ‘Sharing of Africa’
This is the beginning of what is called a Steeple-Chase, that is to say a transposition into Africa of European geopolitical conflicts in view of the concept of Lebensraum and the sharing of Africa.
Two types of European imperialist powers clashed over Africa: on the one hand, the old colonial powers such as Portugal, France and England; and on the other, the young imperialists, Germany and Belgium.
The Berlin Conference of 1884–1885, under the leadership of Bismarck, in order to establish rules that would organize colonization, marked the first modern act of concerted and conscious exploitation by the European powers, in spite of their age-old conflicts on the one hand, and the proclamations of human rights on the other.
Divided into zones of influence of the European powers, Africa will not cease to serve, from the end of the 19th Century, as a provider of natural and mineral resources, geopolitical ambitions to all Western powers.
After the Second World War, the winning and reigning powers of the time, which had redrawn the contours of the new global power relations, only gave in formally to the demands of decolonization in the 1960s.
For, despite the accession of several African countries to international sovereignty, most of the political leaders who wished to give independence a real economic and cultural reality were dismissed or assassinated.
The most emblematic case is the assassination of Patrice Emery Lumumba by a Belgian-American coalition in January 1961, as soon as the Democratic Republic of Congo gained independence on June 30, 1960. Lumumba opens a long list of African patriots—victims of Western imperialism.
Also, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, precisely at the end of the 1980s, the Western powers indicated that there was no longer any reason to support dictatorships in Africa; that it was time for democracy to prevail. Here again, African disillusionment is great.
The zones of influence, despite minor changes, have remained connected to the geopolitics of each extra-African power. Even the arrival of new emerging powers, such as China, does not change much.
To sum it up, Africa, bogged down and fragmented into zones of influence and vital spaces, is the by-product of the geopolitics of the Western imperialist powers, structured and organized since the 19th Century.
These Western geopolitics rely on a fringe of the African elite, baited by individual gain, who serve as a screen for the real masters. This is what is called Neo-colonialism, which has never been as vivid as it is today, through a whole series of mechanisms: secret defense agreements justifying the presence of military bases; monetary control such as the CFA franc; leonine trade agreements; the maintenance of outward oriented economies; odious debts; etc.
The Liberation of Africa
However, these zones of influence are spaces of organized chaos, in which all kinds of villainous dictatorships abound. Consequently, this does not favor any viable development.
For example, between the 1960s and the end of the 1980s, on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall, instability and chaos organized in Africa, materialized in 71 successful military coups among 118 attempted coups d’état.
Since the return of multiparty politics, although military coups have decreased, we have nevertheless witnessed a new category of civilian coups: violation and manipulation of the constitutions in order to retain state power; rigging of elections through the control of the commissions in charge of organizing elections, etc.
To the question: What can Africa expect from the rest of the world?
Africa expects the West to stop with its ambiguities and hypocrisy. In reality, Western geopolitical traditions have certainly mutated in many respects, but their structure remains the same.
The geopolitics of the sea (England, United States, Japan), the continental geopolitics (Germany), the geopolitics of the fortress (Russia), the geopolitics of defeat (France, Italy) have undergone an aggiornamento with regard to the different revolutions that have taken place over time, but they need vital spaces in order to continue to maintain positions of power in the concert of nations.
For without the double revolution of the atom and the missile, the Russo-Ukrainian war would set the whole of Europe ablaze and drag the whole world with it, as the West knows how to do.
That is why we reiterate this call for an end to Western hypocrisy. The West must abandon geopolitics in order to get rid of harmful power complexes.
Africans know that nobody will free them from this long servitude imposed by Western imperialism, through African kingpins.
The liberation of Africa will be the result of the insurrection of consciences that is winning every day the African Youth, through Pan-Africanism.
Because, for us, peace in the world cannot be attained without reaffirming control and taking over the African zones of influence which feed the ambitions of the extra-African powers. Pan-Africanism proposes to deprive any ambitious power of African resources in order to use them exclusively for the well-being of African populations.
By creating the United States of Africa, Africa will no longer be a prey to extra-African powers.
By reunifying the African continent, Pan-Africanism allows Africans, in all sovereignty, to achieve their Renaissance by rethinking the problem of borders in a peaceful and reconciled framework.
However, in these worrying times, Pan-Africanism remains faithful to the spirit of Bandung or Afro-Asianism, expressed in 1955, where in order to counter the axis of power from Washington to Moscow, another axis was traced from Accra to Jakarta, based on non-violence and non-alignment!
Umoja Ni Nguvu [Unity is Power]
Thank you very much!