Africa countries need peace to thrive not coups

Thursday, September 9th, 2021 00:00 | By
President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo chairs the ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit on the situation in Mali in Accra on May 30. West African leaders met in Ghana to discuss a response to Mali’s second coup in nine months. Photo/AFP

News of the recent coup in Guinea by members of the country’s elite force, caught the international community by surprise.

At a time when the world has come together to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and engage in recovery efforts, a mutiny was the last thing on people’s minds. 

The coup is a blast from a past that Africa has been trying hard to forget.

While the continent is not new to the overthrow of legitimate governments in recent years, many Africans are fatigued by this phenomenon.

Guineans are under no illusion that the coup will transform their country, to offer them the lives that they rightfully yearn for.

International players have also voiced concern on the unfortunate happenings in Guinea, decrying its ripple effect including China, the African Union(AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas).

In a statement on September 6, China’s Foreign Ministry opposed the coup in Guinea and called for the immediate release of President Alpha Conde who is in hostage. 

At this time when efforts globally are geared towards economic recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Africa needs to put more focus on its development needs rather than spend time and energy jostling for power.

The current crisis is really a culmination of a political crisis that has been simmering for several months.

In October 2020 the AU, Ecowas and the United Nations released a joint communique following a “High-Level Solidarity Mission for the Promotion of a Credible, Transparent and Peaceful Presidential Election in The Republic of Guinea.”

The Guinea coup also follows a trend that seems to have started this year in West Africa, with a coup d’état in Mali in May and an attempted coup in Niger in March. 

According to the African Economic Outlook 2021 titled “From Debt Resolution to Growth: The Road Ahead for Africa” published by the African Development Bank Group, Africa’s post-coronavirus economic prospects are looking up.

The report says Guinea’s economy, which is one of China’s major trading partners, has been resilient amid the pandemic, with the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growing more than the forecast at the start of the pandemic.

Similarly, the report says that Africa’s growth performance and outlook is projected to recover this year from its worst economic recession in 50 years.

The continent’s real GDP is projected to grow by 3.4 per cent in 2021, after contracting by 2.1 per cent in 2020. 

While the recovery is based on the resumption of tourism, a rebound in commodity prices and the rollback of pandemic-induced restrictions, the report warns that the outlook is subject to great uncertainty from both external and domestic risks.

Unconstitutional regime changes like the Guinea coup ranks high among such drawbacks. 

Chaos in African countries will also have international ramifications by interfering with value chains in the supply of crucial raw materials.

Guinea’s remarkable performance, for example, was based on recovery of China’s demand for the country’s bauxite and aluminum, of which Guinea has been the major supplier since displacing Australia in 2017. 

The coup is evidence of the West’s superimposed democratic culture in Africa.

Many African countries were forced to adopt two-term presidential limits in addition to the multi-party system.

It is instructive that the West has not demanded these kind of political arrangements in other regions who retain the prerogative to maintain leaders as long as they are popular and competent. 

This and other conditions set for Western aid to African countries are really meant to distract them from focusing on their socio-economic development as perennial political bickering undermines the development agenda.

African countries need peace in order to have a conducive atmosphere where it can thrive.

Anything that disturbs this peace should be shunned by all patriotic Africans.  — The writer comments on international affairs

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