Friday 24th of March 2023 01:11:40 AM
Breaking News
1   Ex-Terrorists Negotiator, Tukur Mamu, Arraigned         2   Naira Scarcity: FG Urged To Save SMEs         3   Polls: ICPC Officers Rescue, Arrest Suspected Vote Buyer In Issele-Uku         4   As NHRC Tells Police To Arrest, Prosecute Electoral Law Violators         5   PDP Wins Seven Assembly Seats Out Of 11 In Bayelsa        

HOME / Column / Features / SPECIAL FEATURES
Biden’s Charge To African Leaders On Free, Fair Elections
Published Jan 09, 2023 IN Column, Features, SPECIAL FEATURES,
93         0
Please Share:


THE United States President Joe Biden recently urged African leaders to do everything possible to entrench transparent, free and fair elections especially in the light of seven African nations facing historic elections this year 2023. 

Biden who held a private meeting at the White House with leaders from Nigeria, Liberia, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and Sierra Leone focused the discussion with the African leaders on elections and democracy in the continent as the countries get set for elections in 2023, charging the leaders on the need to make sure that the elections are transparent. The meeting which was held on the sideline of a US-African Leaders Summit, zeroed in on the need for the election scheduled to hold in the continent this year to be free and fair so that democratic ethos can be further entrenched to engender development in an evidently better world. 

In the words of U S National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan after the meeting, “I want to be clear that having a meeting about elections in 2023 is not about us raising the alarm bell or claiming we’ve got concerns and then solutions It’s rather to say: There are important elections coming up, we would like to do everything we can to support those elections being free, fair and credible,” 

In the same vein, Biden speaking at the US-Africa Business Forum, said the US is committed to strengthening democracy on the African continent and vowed to work closely with African nations on a range of issues from climate, food security, and public health. 

He particularly stressed that “Africa’s economic transition depends on good government, healthy populations and reliable and affordable energy, the United States is committed to supporting every aspect of Africa’s inclusive growth and creating the best possible environment for sustained commercial engagement between African companies and American companies. The United States is all in on Africa’s future.” 

Biden’s charge to the African leaders is a very timely one as the inextricable nexus between free, fair and peaceful elections one side and enduring peace that ensues development on the other can never be downplayed. 

It remains rather instructive that Africa’s economy was on a recovery path from the Covid-19 pandemic in 2022 when a range of internal and external shocks struck, such as adverse weather conditions, a devastating locust invasion, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Although the direct trade and financial linkages of Africa with Russia and Ukraine are small, the war has damaged the continent’s economies through higher commodity prices, higher food, fuel, and headline inflation. The main effect is on the increasing likelihood of civil strife because of food- and energy-fuelled inflation in an environment of heightened political instability. 

Key African economies such as Nigeria and South Africa were already stuck with low growth, and many African governments have seen their debt burdens increase — some such as Ethiopia and Ghana now have dollar debt trading at distressed levels — and more countries will follow this year, 2023. 

On average, the public sector debt-to-GDP ratio of African countries stood at above 60% in 2022. The era of Chinese state-backed big loans and mega-projects that started 20 years ago in Angola after the end of its civil war may be coming to an end, but Chinese private-sector investments on the continent will continue through its Belt and Road Initiative and its dual circulation model of development. 

Geopolitical competition in Africa has intensified in 2022, particularly among great powers such as China, Russia, the US and the EU, but also by middle powers such Turkey, Japan and the Gulf states. 

The sixth AU-EU summit was held in Brussels in February and agreed on the principles for a new partnership, although the Russian invasion of Ukraine disrupted these ambitions. Japan’s pledge of $30 billion in aid for Africa at the eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development in August 2022 was clearly made considering the $40 billion pledged at the China-Africa summit in November 2021. 

The US also launched a new strategy to strengthen its partnership and held a second US-Africa leaders’ summit in Washington in December. Russia’s ambitions have been curtailed by its invasion of Ukraine, postponing its second summit with African states to 2023. The imposition of international sanctions has complicated its trade and investments, and its military support including through the Russian paramilitary group Wagner has been curtailed, focused on Mali, Libya and the Central African Republic (CAR). The strategic importance of Africa has resulted in all the UN P5 members calling on the G20 to make the AU its 21st member in 2023 under India’s presidency. 

Competition to secure Africa’s critical and strategic minerals and energy products has intensified over 2022, and in the energy sector, European countries want to diversify from Russian oil and gas with alternative supplies, including from Africa. 

Western mining companies and commodity traders are increasingly seeking alternative supplies from Africa. Decarbonisation is becoming a driver of resource nationalism and geopolitical competition in certain African mining markets, home to large deposits of critical “transition minerals”, such as copper, cobalt, graphite, lithium and nickel. 

The Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) was hosted in Egypt in November 2022 and gave African leaders an opportunity to shape climate discussions by pushing their priority areas, such as loss and damage, stranded assets, access to climate finance, adaptation and desertification. 

Climate adaptation in Africa is a key condition to preserving economic growth and maintaining social cohesion. The Horn of Africa, particularly Somalia, is suffering from one of the worst droughts in memory. The geopolitical and geoeconomic ramifications of the Ukraine war has directly affected the African continent through contributing to food and cooking oil inflation and humanitarian aid delivery. 

Throughout 2022 the AU was undergoing intensive reform, and it struggled to respond to the growing number of security crises across the continent. 2023 will have hot spots in the western Sahel and Lake Chad Basin, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and northern Mozambique, all of them crossing state borders. In Mozambique, a 2019 peace deal assisted by the UN will see the last guerrillas from Renamo demobilised in 2023 to reintegrate into civilian life — some having been recruited in 1978. 

One of the 120 armed groups, M23, resumed its conflict against the central government after lying dormant for several years. It took up arms again in 2021 and has been leading an offensive in eastern DRC against the Congolese army. 

According to the UN, Rwanda has been supporting M23, and in November Kenya’s parliament approved the deployment of about 900 soldiers to the DRC as part of a joint military force from the East African Community (EAC) bloc. The DRC joined the EAC in March. 

In the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia saw an uneasy ceasefire agreed between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. 

Islamist militant groups in Africa expanded their territorial reach in 2022, particularly in the western Sahel, where al-Qaeda and Islamic State affiliates are competing for influence. 

The drawdown and exit of Western forces from Mali, both the French Operation Barkane and international contributions for the UN’s Minusma mission there, adds new dimensions to regional security challenges. Mali’s decision in May to withdraw from the G5 Sahel has also eroded the regional security architecture. Jihadist activity may spread further into coastal states, which has resulted in international partners such as France and the United Kingdom redesigning their security assistance strategy for the region.

Read also
11 Ways To Keep Your Teeth Healthy
Mar 24, 2023
As Nigeria’s Judges Get Set To Begin Voting
Mar 24, 2023
INEC Takes The Hand Of Democracy Back
Mar 24, 2023
Alice Was Pursuing IVF But Caught Up With PGT
Mar 24, 2023
Journey To Delta Govt House Culminates Today With One Winner
Mar 24, 2023
Fuel Scarcity: NMDPRA Calls ‘Planned’ PMS Price Hike, A Mere Rumour
Mar 24, 2023
Nigerians Hit By Rent Hike As Vacancies Dwindle
Mar 15, 2023
IWD: Women Cry Out Against Spike In Domestic Violence
Mar 24, 2023
Shell Links Rivers Explosion To Oil Theft , Regrets Loss Of Lives
Mar 08, 2023
NNPCL Attributes Fuel Queues To Movement Restrictions For Elections
Mar 08, 2023
UTME: How Applicants Struggle To Get Registered
Mar 24, 2023
As Oborevwori Weathers The Storm To Govt House
Mar 24, 2023
USA – The Graveyard Becomes Garden For Nigerian Footballers ––Odegbami
Mar 24, 2023
Nigeria 2023: The Best And Worst Of Times
Mar 24, 2023
Real Russia Story Behind The War
Mar 24, 2023
History Unfolds As Nigerians Go To Polls Today
Feb 25, 2023
Countdown To 2023 Polls
Feb 23, 2023
Before Nigeria Decides 2023
Feb 22, 2023
Naira Redesign, Transition To Cashless Economy: Matters Arising
Feb 16, 2023
Re-evaluating the Presidential Amnesty Programme
Feb 16, 2023
As Nigeria’s Judges Get Set To Begin Voting
Mar 24, 2023
Low Production Affects Price Stability
Mar 02, 2023
High Cost Of Gas: Consumers Call For Govt’s Intervention
Mar 02, 2023
Japa Syndrome: The Right Information For A Smooth Transition Into The UK Universities
Feb 13, 2023
2023 Elections: Rovers’ Account From Hinterlands
Feb 27, 2023
History Unfolds As Nigerians Go To Polls Today
Feb 25, 2023
Ending Terrorism And Violent Extremism Through Community-Based Reintegration
Feb 13, 2023
How FG Under-Produced Crude Oil By 263m Barrels In 11Months
Jan 26, 2023
FG Paying Fuel Subsidy Amidst Escalating Scarcity
Jan 19, 2023
As Night Falls In Igueben
Jan 16, 2023
Make a comment