SECOND RUSSIA-AFRICA SUMMIT; RESHAPING BENEFICIAL RELATIONS
Next week Wednesday to Saturday, President Vladimir Putin will be hosting the second Russia-Africa summit in the northwest city of Saint Petersburg, 700 kilometres from Moscow. It is a follow-up on the first one held in the Black Sea Resort city of Sochi in 2019 on whose heels Covid-19 pandemic struck, paralyzing the global economy from which every country is recovering. We hope that African leaders traveling to the summit will carry their brains on shoulders so that many decades from now Africans don’t again cry that they were short-changed like has been the case more than sixty years after formal colonialism ended.
With China, US, Russia, Japan, EU, India, and South Arabia all summoning African leaders to their respective capitals for engagements, it could become another scramble where Africa returns empty-handed like has been with the World Bank, IMF, and Paris Club except for speaking good English, French, and wearing designer suits, watches and perfumes.
In Uganda’s case, NRM, after thirty-seven years hasn’t fully dismantled and restructured the public service into a revolutionary or even reliable progress force for socio-economic transformation, and, so, we continue to throw otherwise good opportunities and money after bad money, yet expect better results. The emerging elite political class is turning out to be even more predatory, if not incompetent, while the academic and research troupe are yet to solid footing in home-based innovation and creativity to drive sustainable and shared prosperity.
The summit is also against the backdrop of sixteen months of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in which the African Union three weeks ago sent a peace contact Group where former Uganda Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda represented President Yoweri Museveni who was in self-isolation after testing positive for Covid-19. President Museveni is slated to join other African Heads of State and government, and leaders of Africa’s regional bodies in St. Petersburg next week. A good turn up should be a rebuke to NATO and its meddling allies that have tried to cajole everyone into submission and follow their belligerent line against Russia.
Without doubt it’s reasonable to anticipate that the Ukrainian conflict will be on the agenda even if as briefing notes to the main focus on trade, investments, global peace and security, and reshaping the UN Security which African countries have demanded for a while but without success because the dominant Western allies led by the US, Britain and France have resisted any meaningful changes. As part of the old imperial order from which they continue to strangulate other countries, the alliance seems dreadful of the unknown.
On the summit sidelines will be bilateral meetings, discussions and hopefully inking deals between Russia and African countries, and also among Africa’s political, business, investment, trade, finance and media institutions and leaders seeking to reshape new engagements that can benefit Africa, Russia and other cooperating countries. These meetings should stock-take the implementation of undertakings agreed upon and signed across the spectrum of bilateral and multilateral cooperation during Sochi 2019.
It’s important to underscore that this summit comes in the backdrop of renewed diplomatic efforts by the Joe Biden administration which within the last three months has sent high-powered delegations of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and this week its top Climate Envoy-former Secretary of State John Kerry to China even when the US had been slapping China with trade tariffs, making over alleged human rights abuse, technology and industrial espionage, and the so-called ‘spy balloon’. The centurion former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who authored the biggest US-China rapprochement which paved way for President Richard Nixon’s (Trick Dick) visit in 1971, too was this week in Beijing as a guest to President Xi Jiping. The self-appointed world policeman must be squeezed to a corner to appreciated global affairs can no longer be its sole domain to piss around as it pleases, otherwise without a doubt, the end of the empire is beckoning.
Rounds of western unbridled condemnation, economic, travel, trade and financial sanctions, and sabotage against Russian have so far to their embarrassment delivered limited results even when they continue gang pressing the world to unquestionably follow them like foolish poodles. We must expose their hypocrisy and false self-righteousness while Russia and Ukraine return to negotiations. NATO has tried to sponsor resolutions through the UN system seeing it as its bulldog but many countries scorned siding with the alliance even though some may be unconvinced by Russia’s reasons for launching the offensive when diplomatic approach could have still probably worked in its favour. Even with the trillions of dollars in lethal weapon support, global diplomatic and media propaganda, Russia remains solid 16 months on. The Russian economy remains resilient while those of Western Europe seem to be squeaking as territories for wanton exploitation are increasingly narrowing. African political, diplomatic, investment, business and opinion leaders must bear of all these issues in mind while in Saint Petersburg, Russia this coming week if they are to slowly begin building its own true centre of gravity.