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The Scramble for Africa – Part 2

Publish date: 27 November 2023
Issue Number: 1055
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: General

Between November 1884 and February 1885, the world's powerful nations gathered in Berlin at the invitation of Germany to discuss the colonisation of Africa. Leaders of the world's biggest economies last week met in the same city as guests of Germany to discuss investment and climate change with their African counterparts. At the G20's Compact with Africa (CwA) summit, heads of state such as Nigeria's Bola Tinubu, Zambia's Hakainde Hichilema and AU chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat were notable among the 17 African representatives. News24 reports that Tinubu is a new president in one of Africa's biggest economies; Hichilema is a leader who wants his country to join the CwA; and Mahamat is the G20 representative for Africa – a new member to the club. Under the CwA, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia, recently joined by the DRC, came together to promote private investment in Africa. A report compiled by the World Bank and the International Finance Co-operation, ahead of the CwA summit, said growth in CwA countries increased to 5.4% in 2022, while reaching only 3.0% in non-CwA African economies. At this year's conference, according to the German Government, Angola, Kenya and Zambia were invited after showing interest in joining the group.

News24 notes that delegates heard that the continent's debt stands at a combined $1.8trn. ‘The debt burden represents a yoke,’ said Mahamat, while the AU Commission chairperson and the President of the Comoros, Azali Assoumani, added that ‘Germany must support us for greater progress and prosperity in Africa and the whole world’. Since 2010, Africa's debt has grown by 183%, approximately four times faster than its GDP growth rate in dollar terms. Numerous ways of dealing with that have been explored by African heads of state. Some of them are the G20 debt restructuring framework and the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development, a meeting of Africa's thought leaders and economists. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced during the summit that his government would invest more than $4.04bn in Africa's green energy space until 2030.

Full News24 analysis

Meanwhile, Uganda has announced that it will host two major international gatherings in January: the 19th Summit of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Heads of State and Government, as well as the third South Summit organised under the framework of the Group of 77 and China. During the events, Uganda will take over the NAM chairpersonship for three years, as well as the leadership of the G77 and China for a year. News24 reports that Foreign Affairs Minister John Mulimba told Parliament that both gatherings were going to be major tourism boosters for the country. ‘Uganda's chairmanship of the two summits will provide a platform to market Uganda's unique tourism and investment opportunities to a larger and wider community of international actors,’ Mulimba said. MP Abdu Katuntu said Uganda was more than capable of hosting such a gathering, having hosted the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting successfully.

News24 notes that NAM was created in 1961 with the goal of advancing the interests of developing countries in the context of the Cold War. The movement was instrumental in decolonisation, the foundation of newly independent states, and the democratisation of international relations during its first three decades. The NAM now consists of 120 countries, accounting for more than 60% of the UN's total membership. The Group of 77 (G77) was formed on 15 June 1964, by the signing of the ‘Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Developing Countries’ in Geneva. It is the largest intergovernmental organisation of developing countries, serving as a forum for South-South countries to articulate and promote their collective economic interests.

See Africa Analysis 

Full News24 report

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