In a recent opinion piece on Washington Post titled “The future is African — and the United States is not prepared” Salih Booker, the executive director of the Center for International Policy, and Ari Rickman, a research fellow at the Center made the argument that the current US policy was not nearly enough to prepare for Africa’s upcoming population explosion. They claimed the following:
“Beginning in 2035, the number of young people reaching working age in Africa will exceed that of the rest of the world combined, and will continue every year for the rest of the century. By 2050, one in every four humans will be African. At the end of the century, nearly 40 percent of the world’s population will be African. Yet, instead of preparing to build a relationship that can grow with the continent, based upon diplomatic cooperation, the United States is doubling down on more than a decade of reliance on its military as the primary vehicle of engaging with Africa. The consequences, as one might expect, are overwhelmingly negative.”
The piece went on to make the following argument about how other countries are engaging with Africa.
“Africa’s rapid change also presents challenges that will not be contained within the continent. Indeed, the persistently high absolute number of people in poverty, the underdevelopment of infrastructure, ongoing conflicts, and continuing problems with democratic governance are already combining to make Africa the world’s largest source of emigrants. Many other countries have taken note of both the potential and the challenges in Africa’s anticipated transformation, and have mostly decided to increase their engagement. Plenty has been written about China’s growing presence, and the European Union has also been deepening its links to the continent. But there is also a growing list of other countries pursuing stronger ties — including India, Brazil, Turkey, Japan, and the Gulf states.”
They continue on to argue against the current approach saying:
“It should come as no surprise then that the aggressive U.S. military presence has done little to strengthen U.S.-Africa ties. Protests against bases and troop deployments have taken place in Ghana, Niger, Cameroon, Liberia, and several other countries. U.S. Africa Command is actually headquartered in Germany, largely because no African country wants to host it. The unease with American militarism is likely only to grow — particularly as countries become less dependent on U.S. aid, and as certain U.S. military missions potentially provoke an increase in violent extremism … Simply put, the U.S. military is attempting to prepare African countries to fight an enemy they actually may not have (or at least not to the extent that Washington imagines), while the U.S. government is failing to help those same countries deal with the real killers — namely, poverty and corruption.”
It wasn’t so much the arguments they made in the opinion piece but the comments we found quite interesting. Here are some. We will love to get your thoughts.