25.05.2024 Author: Viktor Mikhin

The world celebrates African Liberation Day

The African Liberation Day

On 25 May, the world will celebrate African Liberation Day. By decision of the United Nations, this holiday was established in honour of the first conference of African governments held in Addis Ababa on 25 May 1963, which laid the foundation for the creation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Russia and African countries have been linked by centuries of strong political, economic and cultural ties. The Soviet Union is most directly associated with African Liberation Day, having defended throughout its existence the right of African peoples to achieve political independence from the insidious colonial powers of the West.

Africa under the hated yoke and oppression of the West

Initially, the slave trade carried out by the West inflicted enormous damage on Africa, drastically slowing down the continent’s development and making it one of the poorest regions in the world. Suffice it to say that more than 30 million young men and women in the prime of life were transported through the Nigerian port of Lagos alone to work hard on the plantations of the now “democratic” United States. Due to the long voyage, the bestial treatment of the slaves, the dirty, rat-infested holds of the ships, and simple starvation, only 8 million people made it to America, the rest died and were thrown overboard for the amusement of the sharks. This is one of the sources of the wealth of the West, which now boasts of its happy life and supposedly democratic systems.

Although formal European domination in Africa ended in 1977 when France “gave” independence to Djibouti, Western companies continue to plunder the continent’s resources relentlessly. The unfair pricing of cheap African raw materials and expensive manufactured goods made from the same raw materials is still in place. And if a national leader gets in the way of the West, he or she is eliminated by any means necessary, of which there are countless examples, starting with the assassination of the world-famous African leader Patrice Lumumba. Thus, the resource-rich continent remains perpetually poor, barely fitting into the modern world economy, through the fault of the West.

Africa’s land and its people have been and continue to be brutally exploited by Western rulers as mines and cash crop plantations proliferated, exploiting Africans to extract valuable products and export them to Europe and North America. Triumphant socialist revolutions in Russia, China and elsewhere around the world helped inspire resistance to colonial rule, and after World War II, protest movements and guerrilla wars of independence swept across Africa, ending colonial rule in less than three decades. “But instead of colonialism as the main instrument of imperialism, we have today neocolonialism, which, like colonialism, is an attempt to export the social conflicts of capitalist countries”, noted Ghanaian founding father and Marxist theorist Kwame Nkrumah in his book “Neo-colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism”. The result of neocolonialism is that foreign capital is used to exploit rather than develop less developed parts of the world, Nkrumah wrote. “Investment under neo-colonialism increases rather than decreases the gap between the rich and poor countries of the world”.

Nkrumah’s observations are still relevant 57 years later, as transnational corporations and Western financial institutions ensure that only a small fraction of the wealth extracted from Africa’s soil reaches its inhabitants, leaving a continent with almost twice the population of Europe with only 3 per cent of Europe’s wealth. In other words, the unconscionable plundering and siphoning of funds by Western countries continues unabated, leaving African peoples on the brink of poverty. This is the morality of the unipolar world that the West has created for itself and for itself.

Africa-Russia: relations of friendship and equal co-operation

Our country’s relations with African countries have always been at a good level, and it must be said that they crossed their Rubicon in October 2019, when the first Russia-Africa summit was held in Sochi. Few people in the world expected that a meeting with Vladimir Putin would arouse such great interest among all African leaders without exception. The forum was unprecedented in scale – some ten thousand people attended, all 54 countries on the continent were represented, 43 of them at the highest level. The heads of eight major African companies, associations and organisations also came to Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin considers African countries to be “important and reliable partners”. In his address to the participants of the 36th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, he said: “We are united by our aspiration to build a fair multipolar world order based on true equality and the rule of international law, free from any form of discrimination, coercive diktat and sanctions pressure”. Putin reasonably expressed the hope that the current phase would help Russia and the countries of the continent to expand cooperation, which he said had recently intensified.

One of the main ideological messages that Russia promotes in the African direction is the joint fight against neo-colonialism. “Russia and African countries defend the traditional moral norms and social foundations of our peoples and oppose neo-colonial ideology imposed from outside”, Vladimir Putin said on 20 March 2023 at the International Parliamentary Conference “Russia-Africa in a Multipolar World”. – By the way, many states of Asia, the Middle East and Latin America adhere to similar positions, and all together we make up the world majority”. Moscow broadcasts this thesis at all levels – for example, one of the key topics at the above-mentioned parliamentary conference was “Western neo-colonialism: how to prevent history from repeating itself”.

“We still live in the captivity of the Western paradigm of consciousness, the Western matrix of thinking”; “It is Russia, not the United States or Anglo-Saxon countries, that is a reduced copy of the entire diverse world with its strong differences in economy, faith, standard of living, climate”. “After political liberation, the colonies retained the old economic structures and dependence on metropolitan imports”; “The independence that the colonial powers supposedly granted us was another form of oppression” – these were the statements made by Russian and African parliamentarians at this conference. It is true that there is a minority of the West that is still trying to impose its rules of the game on Africa and elsewhere, but this is just the moaning of a dying old world.

Unlike the greedy Western countries that are only looking to grab what they can, Russia has been providing free aid to the poorest countries in Africa. At the end of 2023, Moscow supplied six African countries with much-needed grain free of charge, and also gave Turkey 1 million tonnes of grain for processing and further delivery to the poorest African countries, which caused anger and hysteria in the West. It is quite clear that such a magnanimous move by Russia will not only add respect to our country on the world stage, but will also make it more difficult for the West to plunder African countries.

The determining factors in building relations with the African continent are economics and security. Africa, thanks to Russia’s magnanimous policy, has for the first time found itself in the position of having its heart conquered. In this regard, it may be recalled that Russia cancelled over $20bn worth of African debt and stated: Moscow is interested in forging ties with the African Free Trade Zone – both through the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and bilaterally. Major Russian companies such as Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, RusHydro, Alrosa and Lukoil are investing in Africa. In addition, Moscow will help the continent produce electricity – Rosatom is currently building Egypt’s first nuclear power plant, El Dabaa, and the corporation is going to expand its presence on the continent.

In the field of security, Russia, with the help of a number of African countries, in particular South Africa, created BRICS, an interstate informal association of countries with dynamically developing economies. BRICS serves as a platform for partnership between states whose interests in the spheres of politics, economy and security coincide. Relations between the countries are based on the principles of non-interference, equality, multipolarity of financial relations and mutual benefit. The goals of BRICS are: to collectively increase the economic growth rates of the member countries; to strengthen their positions in the world through active co-operation with each other. Currently, BRICS includes such African countries as South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia and Algeria has applied for membership. Leaders of many countries of the world note that Russia’s policy on the African continent is aimed at building the foundations of peaceful construction, increasing the growth of economies and raising the living standards of Africans. There is no place in Russian policy, as there is in Western policy, for building military blocs and alliances, pitting one country against another and constantly provoking military conflicts that please the West.

Thus, Russia, having declared the creation of a multipolar world, is testing this thesis in practice by establishing friendly multilateral ties with many African countries. In relation to African countries, Moscow pursues a policy of non-interference in their internal affairs, building peace and progress on the entire African continent.


Victor MIKHIN, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, especially for online magazine “New Eastern Outlook

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