Within the Emerging Multipolar World, Africa Must Stop Being a Beggar Continent

The world is transiting through the most difficult times in history. The emerging multipolar world has drawn discussions among political elites, academic researchers, policy experts and corporate business directors. There are indications that more than half of the world is rising against unipolar system and ruled-based order, and excitedly welcome efforts aimed at preserving a multipolar order in the world.

Late November, Kestér Kenn Klomegâh held an emailed snapshot interview with Ethiopian-American Negash Abdurahman, a commentator on Ethiopian affairs, a documentary filmmaker and an educational technology specialist.

Abdurahman is the Founder of RI Systems Inc. He has won awards for films, his award-winning film ‘Cuba in Africa’ was years in the making, overcoming many challenges. Cuba In Africa tells the story of Cuban volunteers who gave everything to win the independence of Angola, Namibia and contributed to the fall of apartheid in South Africa.

Here are the interview excerpts:

How would you characterize the emerging new global order?

There are indicators, but no clear outlines yet, of a new global order. Much depends on the outcome of conflict between Ukraine/the West and Russia. It’s a very dangerous combustible situation that can grow into a nuclear conflagration.

What do we make about the concepts: unipolar verses multipolar system?

A unipolar world is not good for the poor and dispossessed — which is the majority of the world. Poor and middle income countries need to join hands to protect their interests and not allow themselves to be bullied. I like a multipolar world where power is not concentrated in the hands of the old powers. A multipolar world, among other things, will find a solution to the heavy-handed use of sanctions to destroy countries.

Do China and Russia hope to lead this new direction in partitioning the world?

Unlike the West, whatever strength China and Russia have today, it’s not built on enslaving human beings and colonial exploitation. They earned what they have. There has to be some respect for building power this way. China is not perfect, but the lessons from the rise of China as an industrial power in the last 50 years is more relevant to developing countries, compared to the old European/American model.

Do you accept the general public view that the global crisis was started by both Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin?

I believe Putin’s back was pushed against the wall. There is rarely a good ending when you corner an individual or a country.

And specifically what does Africa make out of the Russia-Ukraine crisis?

There is a racial element to the war. Europe and America care less about the suffering of Africans, Latin Americans or Asians. But when a white population such as Ukraine is affected, their lives are valued more than those of people color. Now, I love the people of Ukraine. I feel their suffering and the war should stop soon. But the Ukraine situation is a lesson for Africans and other people of color to reflect on why their lives are valued less.

By the way where are the Cold war slogans: peace, development and solidarity?

We have to continue the struggle for self-determination, for the opportunity to live in peace and preserving valuable traditions. In addition and most important, Africa needs to look inward to solve its problems and obsess less about what’s going in the outside world. We have to acknowledge the fact that Africa has abundant land, natural and human resources.

It needs to take care of its house first. i) Africa needs to feed its people first and foremost; ii) Stop being a beggar continent, reduce its vulnerability and stop outsiders from looting its resources; iii) Create meaningful employment for young people; iv) Fight against the West’s continued attempt to portray Africa as a security threat — resist AFRICOM, Africa should not be portrayed as a source of bad news, chaos, disease and refugees; and v) Plant trees and fight environmental degradation. Africa should be a better custodian of the environment, all that is beautiful that God gave it.

Does this offer any benefit to Africa? From the above, where is the position of developing countries especially those in the global South?

We look inward, and be reminded of the fact that no outside power will ever give Africa something for nothing. It will be foolish to think otherwise. As my favorite Russian proverb goes, “THE ONLY FREE CHEESE IS IN A MOUSE TRAP.”

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