African countries

Eight African countries to start trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area

The Southern African Development Community (SADC), at its 42nd Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government held on 17 and 18 August at the People’s Palace (Parliament), vehemently expressed its collective opposition to a US bill aimed at countering Russian influence and activities in Africa. The “Combating Malicious Russian Activities in Africa Act” passed by the US House of Representatives directs the US Secretary of State to submit a strategy on Russia.

According to the statement posted on its website, the 16-member regional bloc complained that the United States had made the African continent “the target of unilateral and punitive measures” and its Senate Foreign Relations Committee pushed the bill to prevent President Vladimir Putin from using Africa. to circumvent US sanctions and finance its war in Ukraine, as well as to protect Africans from human rights abuses by Russian mercenaries.

SADC leaders therefore reaffirmed their collective position of non-alignment vis-à-vis conflicts outside the continent. The summit was held under the theme “Promoting industrialization through agribusiness, mineral beneficiation and regional value chains for inclusive and resilient economic growth”.

“Africa is not for sale. Africa is open for business, not for sale or plunder. We must defend what is ours and ensure that no one takes what is ours,” Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera said at the summit, underscoring the bold stance against the scramble for Africa’s resources by powerhouses. exterior. “If the world wants what we have, it has to buy in a fair trade so that we use the profits to build ourselves new cities, new universities, new infrastructure, new industries and new programs that take people out of the world. poverty and vulnerability.

President Chakwera urged African leaders and their people to build Africa and future generations, not for those bent on plundering its resources. He then spoke of the need for Africa to define its destiny and chart a new independent course. That Africa’s resources remain in the hands of Africans but not stolen by some. Let us stand with one voice and tell the world that Africa is open for business but not for sale.

“It only takes Africans to build the African continent. No foreigner will develop the continent. We should not always look at them because what they give us does not build anything but simply creates tensions on the continent as they have done in the past. In this scathing speech, he further castigated Western and Eastern countries that they should not just be in Africa to steal but to build. There is no one outside of Africa who can build it, not a European, an Asian or an American.

Titled the Combating Russian Malicious Activities in Africa Act (HR 7311), it was passed April 27 by the House of Representatives by a bipartisan majority of 419 to 9 and will likely be approved by the Senate, which is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. The legislation is framed in broad terms allowing the State Department to monitor the Russian Federation’s foreign policy in Africa, including military affairs and any efforts that Washington considers “malign influence.”

Russian military operations in Ukraine respond to efforts by Washington and Wall Street to expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) deeper into Eastern Europe as a direct threat to Russian Federation interests. Russia and its allies. Two other bills were recently passed to maintain and expand Pentagon military bases around the world and provide an additional $40 billion to supply arms to the Ukrainian government which is bolstered by neo-Nazi militias embedded in the armed forces.

During the first phase of Russian special operations in Ukraine, many African states refrained from complying with two United Nations General Assembly resolutions motivated by Washington to condemn the Russian government for its intervention in Ukraine while completely ignoring the level of fascist infiltration of kyiv’s military forces and the need to find a diplomatic solution to the emerging conflict.

African heads of state, such as President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa, have always argued that the African National Congress (ANC)-led government in Pretoria would not support war in Ukraine and sanctions. draconian measures imposed by the Biden administration. . Ramaphosa has demanded that the US State Department and the White House support negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow, which have been regularly undermined by Biden and members of his cabinet.

Long before the February 24 invasion by Russian armed forces, the United States made repeated threats against President Putin and the entire Moscow-based government demanding that he acquiesce to the expansion of the NATO. Unprecedented sanctions aimed at completely locking Russia out of the global economic system have largely failed to curb Moscow’s advances in eastern Ukraine.

The “Combating Malicious Activities of Russia in Africa Act” passed by the United States House of Representatives is a well-designed, broadly worded piece of legislation allowing the Department of State to oversee Russia’s foreign policy. the Russian Federation in Africa, including military affairs and any efforts that Washington deems malign influence.

The United States Congress bill has been approved by a large majority that would target and punish African states that have political and economic relations with the Russian Federation. Titled the Combating Malicious Activities of Russia in Africa Act (HR 7311), it was passed on April 27 by the House of Representatives by a bipartisan majority of 419 votes to 9 and approved by the Senate, which is equally split between Democrats and Republicans.

On March 2, at the United Nations General Assembly, in the presence of the 193 UN member states, a total of 141 countries voted in favor of the resolution, which reaffirms the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The African representatives and their votes were considered very interesting. Some 17 African countries abstained in the vote at the United Nations General Assembly to deplore the Russian invasion of Ukraine while 28 other countries on the continent voted in favour.

Among those who abstained from voting were South Africa, Algeria, Uganda, Burundi, Senegal, South Sudan, Mali and Mozambique. The others were Sudan, Namibia, Angola, Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Madagascar, Tanzania and Congo.

Eritrea is the only African country to vote against the resolution. Besides this however, Egypt, Tunisia, Nigeria, Kenya, Chad, Ghana, Gambia, Gabon, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Libya, Liberia, Djibouti, Mauritania, Somalia, Niger, Benin, Lesotho, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Mauritius, Comoros, Seychelles, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, among others, voted yes.

Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea Bissau, Ethiopia, Eswatini were not in the room. Uganda said it abstained in the vote to maintain “neutrality” as the new chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). The NAM is a forum of 120 developing countries to assert their independence from the competing claims of the two superpowers.

In a tweet, Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Adonia Ayebare, said the country will continue to play a constructive role in maintaining regional and global peace and security.

Shahid said the resolution reflected the grave concern of the international community over the situation in Ukraine. “I join Member States in expressing my concern over reports of attacks on civilian facilities such as residences, schools and hospitals, and civilian casualties, including women, the elderly, people with disabilities and children,” he said, quoting the text. In practice, African countries hold similar views on the principles of sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, including those who voted and those who abstained.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said he was bound to respect the resolution and be guided by its call. “The message from the General Assembly is loud and clear: end hostilities in Ukraine now. Silence the guns now. Open the door to dialogue and diplomacy now,” said António Guterres, adding, “Looking forward, I will continue to do everything in my power to contribute to an immediate cessation of hostilities and urgent negotiations for the peace. Ukrainians desperately need peace. And people around the world demand it.

SADC collectively aims to, among other things, promote sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development that will ensure poverty reduction and improve the standard of living of the people of Southern Africa. This 16-member organization was established in 1980. The member states are Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique , Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia. and Zimbabwe.