Brexit, Trump: Africa and the Newly Re-Ordered World, By Majeed Dahiru

As the world begins to adjust to a newly re-ordered world, Africans cannot and should not continue to lament over the new realities confronting us. A re-ordered Pan-Africanism is nigh to effectively confront the enormous challenges that may predictably emerge from the current realities.

The world is set to undergo fundamental changes, first with Brexit and second, and most importantly, with a Donald Trump at the White House in quick succession. Throughout the Western world, populism and nationalism is on the rise, evident in these two historic but unexpected events. If the world was set on the edge by Trump’s candidacy, the world is shocked and in some cases devastated by his emergence as the president of the United States, the most powerful nation on planet earth. Between Brexit and Trump’s election is a common thread of nationalism, with the question of immigration at the core. The realities of a newly re-ordered world are soon to manifest. A new world in which the developed economies of the West Europe and the United States are going to compete squarely with the emerging economic miracles of south East Asia for global wealth, resources and markets, by pulling out of or re-negotiating several trade deals that are considered unfavourable. A new world in which less charity in the form of aids and grants will flow from the rich countries of the West to the least of the less developing countries on the African continent.

 

The re-ordered new world will be characterised by more of realist and less of moralist foreign policies by powerful and leading member nations of the international community. Under the current reality, every job matters in Western Europe and America, with their citizens willing to do them, leaving fewer opportunities for millions of economic refugees out of Africa and South America. National interests will be negotiated under the frame of bilateral arrangements, rather than through multilateral approaches, for maximum benefit.

 

The shock and disappointment expressed by the world over Trump’s election came about as a result of a complete detachment from the realities of the lives of the average American. Most people were subjective in their assessments of the two leading contenders of the latest US presidentioal polls from their comfort zones and viewed issues through the prism of racial, geographic and religious sentiments. They were unable look beyond what they were seeing and objectively assess the candidates and what they stood for, by putting themselves in the shoes of the average American citizen, particularly the majority White working class, which forms about eighty percent of the total population.

Nigeria, as the most populous Black nation on earth, is naturally positioned to champion a re-ordered pan-Africanism. The reasons for the existence of a modern state should be more economic than political… Nigeria should begin to move towards this progressive path because our choices are limited if we must survive in a newly re-ordered world.

As a person with zero public service experience, Donald Trump’s messages represented a deeper and larger truth which were often high on rhetoric but low on facts and figures. His opponents focused more on the method of his delivery but ignored his core message to their detriment. With a multi-billion dollar campaign fund, Hillary Clinton’s media strategist deliberately distorted Trump’s every message and statement by taking them out of their realistic context, while also widely propagating these through the leading local and international mass media, which contributed greatly in misleading the world in underestimating the GOP nominee and generally regarded him as unfit to lead America, and concluded that he was unelectable.

 

This strategy greatly obscured the realities on the ground in God’s own country. The deeper and larger truth about the American situation as espoused by Donald Trump was understood by the masses. Trump struck the right cord in the minds of his countrymen on the danger posed to the free world by radical Islam, an issue that Hillary Clinton treated with political correctness to the silent consternation of millions of her country folks. Trump was on point on the economy and the fact that America was losing ground to the other emerging economic powers of South East Asia. The massive trade deficit, put at over $350 billion in favour of China, massive job losses as a result of unfavourable trade deals and practices and a widening budget deficit of $587 billion because of excessive government spending on issues like Obamacare, has combined to make America an unprofitable enterprise.

 

On the world stage, America has lost its leading role in international relations and diplomacy to Russia, particularly in the Middle East and continental Europe. On immigration, the developed world is not willing anymore to bear the burden of the inadequacies of continental Africa and its deficient system which has earned it the notoriety as the largest producer of economic refugees in the world. The world was not alone in this shock. Hillary, her backers and supporters, were so bewildered that her concession speech was not only conditional, her supporters took to the streets in protests in a manner that fits her own description of Trump’s supporters – “deplorable”. It was like telling a lie and believing it. They were protesting a time tried, tested and trusted Electoral College system that produces an elected American president. Heads of government of leading democracies, like the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, India, and South Africa etc. are not elected by popular votes. They are elected primarily as members of parliament by their respective constituencies, subsequently elected to lead their political party in the parliament, and if in majority, head the government.

The new pan-African thinking should cease to be “how Europe underdeveloped Africa” but become “how Africans are under-developing Africa”. Africans should begin to transform their countries from mere assemblages of ethnic groups, whose existence are more for political convenience, into formidable nation states whose existence should be more for economic reasons, without which Africa may not live in the re-ordered world…

As the world begins to adjust to a newly re-ordered world, Africans cannot and should not continue to lament over the new realities confronting us. A re-ordered Pan-Africanism is nigh to effectively confront the enormous challenges that may predictably emerge from the current realities. The cardinal objectives of the newly ordered Pan-Africanism will be: Africans taking full responsibilities for their actions, leading to successes or failures, past and present. Africans must stop blaming everyone else but themselves for the darkness that envelopes the larger part of the continent. Africans should begin to accept shared responsibility for the trans-Atlantic slave trade because the enterprise was a partnership between European slave merchants and African slave raiders. Africans should admit and acknowledge the good sides of colonialism, particularly the introduction of the invaluable Western education and maximise the benefit to annul its negative consequences.

 

The continuous blame on colonialism for the plight of Africans after fifty years of independence in many countries has fostered a lethargic mentality which has led to a defeatist approach to life and continuous relish in self-pity as consolation. Every nation on earth was colonised at one point or the other in its developmental history. The problem with the colonial experience of sub-Saharan Africa was that it occurred very late and ended very early. The new pan-African thinking should cease to be “how Europe underdeveloped Africa” but become “how Africans are under-developing Africa”. Africans should begin to transform their countries from mere assemblages of ethnic groups, whose existence are more for political convenience, into formidable nation states whose existence should be more for economic reasons, without which Africa may not live in the re-ordered world but will merely exist on the fringes to be continuously exploited. Africans will never be truly respected anywhere in the world until the darkness that is the African continent is lit up and cured of destitution.

Nigeria, as the most populous Black nation on earth, is naturally positioned to champion a re-ordered pan-Africanism. The reasons for the existence of a modern state should be more economic than political. Modern states are supposed to be successful business entities, run profitably. The success and profitability of a nation state is determined by a combination of factors which includes but are not limited to; a freely elected government and entrenched rule of law with independent and functioning institutions of state, high quality human resources, a developmental immigration policy, and realistic and sometimes predatory foreign policy driven primarily by economic advantage. Nigeria should begin to move towards this progressive path because our choices are limited if we must survive in a newly re-ordered world.

 

Majeed Dahiru, a public affairs analyst, writes from Abuja and can be reached through dahirumajeed@gmail.com.

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