Emerging Powers vie for Influence in Africa

May 4, 2012 by

The end of the Cold War resulted in the strategic disengagement of western countries, including the United States, from Africa. They continued their trade, aid and assistance relationship with Africa, but once the threat of communist expansion disappeared, the West interacted with the continent in a different way. This change permitted an opening for a variety of emerging countries to expand their ties with Africa.

Assessing China’s Role and Influence in Africa

March 29, 2012 by

The most important difference between the United States and China is the very structure of the American and Chinese governments and the way their respective systems engage in Africa. American commercial activity (trade, investment and bidding on contracts) in Africa is conducted by private companies with limited involvement by the U.S. government. If two or more private U.S. companies are competing for the same project, the U.S. government must be impartial, providing essentially equal help to all U.S. interested parties. When this situation occurs, my experience was that the role of the U.S. government diminishes even further.

Zimbabwe’s Ongoing Energy Nightmare

March 9, 2012 by

In the 32 years of his benighted rule, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Gabriel Mugabe has done more damage to the country than its white-led minority government ever did. With the exception of the smuggling of “blood diamonds” the country’s economy, once the “breadbasket of Africa,” resembles nothing so much as a slow motion train wreck. One of the foundations of modern nations’ economic prosperity are reliable sources of power and here too, Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union cronies have managed to screw things up.

Power and Struggle as Zimbabwe Continues to Slide

February 15, 2012 by

Happy anniversary, of sorts, as February 10, 2012 marked the three-year anniversary for Zimbabwe’s power sharing government. Beginning in 2009, President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party has shared power with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party after Mugabe’s thirty-year presidential reign.

The United States Reassesses the China-Africa Relationship

January 18, 2012 by

China, India, Brazil and Russia and even smaller non-western countries such as Turkey, Iran and Indonesia steadily have been replacing western influence in Africa throughout the first decade of the 21st century. China has contributed more to this process than any other single non-western nation and perhaps more than all of the others combined. China surpassed the United States in 2009 as the largest bilateral trading partner with the combined fifty-three countries in Africa.