The situation in many African countries could become increasingly dramatic – and explosive – if the war in Ukraine continues to prevent the arrival of grain. If this continues, famine and migrations will be the face of the continent in the coming months. Coupled with this specific crisis, the rush of high food and fossil fuel prices, extreme weather events, the slowdown in the global economy, and the growing difficulties of indebted countries in the region to meet their obligations, this comes at a time of strengthening dollar due to rate hikes – are other factors that threaten to profoundly destabilize fragile African societies. These shocks hit a continent already exhausted by a huge economic slowdown linked to the pandemic, while continuing on the path of intense demographic growth. The forecasts published a few days ago by the UN indicate that sub-Saharan Africa’s population will increase from 1,150 million today to 1,400 in 2030.
The demographic scenario is worrying and the geopolitical scenario no less. Much of the continent, particularly in the Sahel on the one hand and in and around Ethiopia on the other, faces deep entrenched conflicts and extreme insecurity. In addition, the danger of competition between the great powers is projected in Africa. China has been a benchmark in terms of financing and infrastructure development for two decades, and Russia has missed no opportunity in recent years to invade various unstable countries by providing security services and generally eroding their democratic prospects. Both the United States and the European Union have announced future global investment projects aimed at providing an alternative to the Chinese offering, but have not yet reached cruising speed. The recent G-7 summit in Germany reaffirmed this commitment, in which Africa can and must play a key role.
There are projects that are leading the way, like building a vaccine factory in Senegal with European financial and intellectual help. And there are areas where commitment to Africa can be immediately demonstrated: the climate pacts include a promise to inject $100,000 million into countries that have not contributed to pollution and to achieve a just transition and those through extremes Phenomena suffered to compensate for global warming. The Horn of Africa drought illustrates this well. Action is needed and the West, particularly Europe, has an important role to play, both for moral reasons and for self-interest.