Africa & The Next Cold War

A new Cold War is pointing in the horizon and Africa may again be caught in a game where she could be torn between the US and China this time around

Three decades ago, Africa was on an ideological pendulum, swinging left or right, between East and West, never managing to find its own ideological path.

By Abdoulaye Dukule, [email protected], Contributing Writer

A new Cold War is pointing in the horizon and Africa may again be caught in a game where she could be torn between the US and China this time around.

The AU launched its Center of Disease Control with support from “partners” including the US, China, and many others. The US is shouldering 15 percent of the budget, the salary of the director, and support for researchers at the center. China decided to build the headquarters for US $80million.

Now President Trump has threatened that if China were to build the headquarters, the US will withdraw its support from CDC.

African leaders, after the ministers, are expected to vote on the issue later this year.

In February 2020, President Trump says the Chinese just want to spy on African research. This comes against the background that some AU technicians accused China of spying on Africans deliberations in the new AU headquarters they built in Addis Ababa pictured above. Did they or not? It would be naïve to think that they did not or will not. In that building, all technical maintenance is carried out by Chinese personnel. A voice in the elevators welcomes visitors with a greeting that says the name of the Chinese  company that made the elevator. The few Africans working in the building mostly carry on janitorial services.

The issue goes beyond the impeding Cold War but Africa’s capacity to take care of its basics needs that serve as building blocks to its self-determination and development.

Most of the AU budget comes from external donors since the death of Gaddafi who used to pay close to 60 percent of the budget. Germany is building the Security center. Every major building on the AU campus was or is being building by a “donor.”

Trump is on a collision course and Africa with China could become the fighting ground.

Africa has more than the capacity to build its conference center. African leaders fly into Addis Ababa on private jets yet would not meet their obligations to the Union.

When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.

Africa is the next frontier. Will Africans stand on the sidelines and be spectators or would they lead? The issue of the CDC headquarters is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Trump campaign will point to China for the ravage caused by Covid-19 and the blame game will be a central narrative for both Democrats and Republicans going into the elections. China will respond in kind. A new wargame of disinformation is just about to start. Will Africa allow itself to be used as pawn?