In the last decade, Africa has been the scene of a global competition for strategic resources, marking what some experts call "The New Colonialism." While international attention has focused on the expansion of Chinese influence under the "win-win" strategy, other powers, such as the United Kingdom and France, have played significant roles in this complex dynamic.
The term "new colonialism" It is used to describe contemporary dynamics in Africa, where powers such as China, the United Kingdom, France and the United States seek influence and resources. As in historical colonialism, new colonialism reproduces patterns of inequality and domination, evidenced in the disproportionate extraction of resources, the resulting economic imbalance, political manipulation, forced displacement of local communities and a financial control that threatens the sovereignty of African nations. Let's look at the main actors:
United Kingdom: Development Aid or Covert Interests
While the United Kingdom presents a facade of development aid in Africa, the report "The New Colonialism: Britain's Scramble for Africa's Energy and Mineral Resources" reveals a more opaque reality. Annually, London grants around 134 million dollars under various forms of assistance, but simultaneously, it facilitates British companies in the extraction of 192 million dollars in raw materials.
This phenomenon highlights the duality of British politics, where apparent aid conceals the desire to control strategic resources. British mining companies, according to the report, Not only are they involved in resource exploitation, but they are also responsible for environmental degradation and labor rights violations, raising ethical questions about the UK's approach to Africa.
France: Maintaining a Strategic Presence
France, with a colonial history rooted in Africa, seeks to preserve its political and economic influence in the region. In the face of growing Anglo-Saxon competition, Paris unconditionally supports its national companies in Africa, considering them vital for its economy in a context of trade war and recession prospects.
The fight for strategic resources in Africa has become a crucial element for France, which sees these resources as an economic safeguard in times of uncertainty global. Competition with the United States and the United Kingdom for authority in the region has led Paris to take measures to protect and guarantee its economic interests.
China: The Giant in Search of Resources
China's expansion in Africa has been particularly striking. As the most populous country in the world and with increasing urbanization, China faces an insatiable demand for resources to sustain its industrial development and feed its vast population. With 20% of the world's population but only 7% of productive land, China is forced to look for resources abroad.
The Chinese government is forced to secure food resources and raw materials wherever possible. Africa, with its vast resources, has become a crucial source for China. Massive internal migration to urban areas has increased the consumption of goods, increasing the need for basic resources.
The water situation also worries China, since it has only 8% of the world's water resources, many of which are contaminated. Faced with these limitations, China actively seeks in Africa and other regions food security and access to essential water and mineral resources for its sustained economic development.
United States: Economic and Geopolitical Hegemony in Africa
The United States, although it has historically had a smaller presence in Africa compared to other powers, has increased its interest in the region in recent decades. While its focus has been predominantly military and security, economic competition for African resources has also been a reality.
In terms of investment and trade, American companies have sought to secure their participation in the growing African economy. The search for energy resources, strategic minerals and new markets for American products has led to an increase in the presence of American companies on the continent. In addition, the geostrategic interest in the fight against terrorism and political stability in the region has also influenced the United States military presence.
As Washington seeks to consolidate its economic and strategic position, competitive dynamics pose challenges and opportunities for African countries in terms of negotiation, regulation and resource management.
Challenges and Opportunities for Africa
The new colonialism in Africa reflects a complex interaction of global interests. As China, the United Kingdom and France seek to secure their economic needs, Africa faces crucial challenges and opportunities.
For African countries, the transparent and sustainable management of their resources becomes imperative. International cooperation, effective regulation and the promotion of ethical business practices can be key to ensuring that global competition for resources does not translate into exploitation, environmental degradation and labor rights violations. In this complex scenario, the search for a balance between economic development and the preservation of natural resources is presented as a crucial challenge for the future of Africa.