The year 2022 witnessed a major shift in the balance of international influence in favor of Washington after the summit in which US President Joe Biden hosted leaders and representatives of 50 African countries, in light of Russia’s preoccupation with the war in Ukraine and the sudden withdrawal of the French army from Mali.
Highlights of 2022
- Africa began the year 2022 with a new coup on the twenty-fourth of January in Burkina Faso, located in the west of the continent, led by Lieutenant Colonel Paul Henry Sandaogo.
- Burkina Faso is one of the countries that witnessed a series of military coups, with a total of 10 attempts.
- On August 15, 2022, the last unit of French forces that had been stationed there for 10 years with the aim of fighting terrorism in the region left Mali.
- The move came following the deterioration of relations between Mali and France after the army seized power in Mali in August 2020.
- On September 5, 2022, William Ruto was elected President of Kenya in an election that witnessed great legal controversy.
- On the twentieth of October 2022, about 150 people were killed in protests in the Chadian capital, rejecting the extension of the transitional president, Mohamed Idriss Deby, to remain in power for another two years.
- On November 2nd, 2022; The city of Pretoria in South Africa witnessed the signing of a peace agreement between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray Liberation Front, after two years of war that led to the killing and displacement of tens of thousands of residents of the region adjacent to the Sudanese border.
- On the fifteenth of November 2022; 131 civilians were killed in the DRC in revenge attacks by the M23 in the east of the country.
- In mid-December 2022, an American-African summit was held in Washington, in which, alongside President Biden, leaders and representatives of 50 African countries participated in a move aimed at restoring the role of the United States of America in the brown continent.
- During the summit, the United States pledged to inject $55 billion into the economies of African countries over the next three years.
- The year 2022 witnessed a great impact of climate change on the countries of the brown continent, as devastating floods hit Nigeria and other countries in Africa, killing more than a thousand people.
- The year also witnessed deadly droughts in Somalia and Kenya, which posed a major threat to the food security of more than 200 million people on the continent.
bleak economic prospects
Economic conditions are not expected to improve much in the year 2023. Despite the huge natural resources that the continent enjoys, most of which are an essential component of many heavy industries in Europe, China, the United States of America and Asia, corruption and civil conflicts are still a major obstacle. to make the best use of those resources.
Average economic growth in Africa slowed in 2022 to 3.3 percent, according to preliminary estimates, compared to 4.1 percent in 2021, but if oil and other commodity prices decline, it would be reasonable to expect an improvement in average GDP growth in Africa in mid-2023. .
In the year 2022, we witnessed an increase in the American role in the continent, while China, which has the greatest influence on the continent, has been preoccupied during the past years with other, more urgent issues, including strengthening efforts to combat Covid 19 and consolidating relations with the countries of the Middle East, which constitute the largest source of energy for Beijing.
In contrast to China, which focused more on investment and trade relations, the United States sought to direct its relations with the countries of the African continent through a strategy that combines economic and investment cooperation while addressing the basic concerns related to American national security and reducing Russian influence.
Observers assert that the trilogy of security, economic opportunities and geopolitical issues is what will most direct the new US strategy in Africa during 2023.
It was remarkable in the year 2022 that the French military presence in Africa decreased after the withdrawal of the French anti-terrorism forces from Mali earlier in the year.
How do experts see the future?
Luca Biong Deng, professor and academic dean at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University in Washington, believes that: “The African continent needs to build solid institutions in addition to working to consolidate the concepts of democratic and civil governance at all levels.”
Deng told Sky News Arabia that without serious work to build the institutions of civil rule, economic difficulties, military coups, security fragility and civil wars will continue.
For his part, the economist Zmedina Ngato pointed out that:
- In 2022, most African countries witnessed a rise in the prices of goods and services and an erosion of the purchasing value of wages, in light of the high inflation rates to an average of 14.5 percent.
- High inflation will continue to be a challenge across Africa due to rising commodity prices.
- There are three main reasons behind the deterioration of economic conditions in Africa in 2022; They are the negative repercussions of the Russian-Ukrainian war, which led to the disruption of grain and energy supplies. In addition to the significant decline in the exchange rates of many African currencies after the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates.
- The third reason, according to Ngato, is represented in the repercussions resulting from the bad weather conditions in many African countries, especially in the east of the continent, which caused damage to crops and thus led to food shortages and an increase in prices.
According to the political analyst specializing in African affairs Mita-Alem Seneshu:
- The year 2022 witnessed a new shift and pattern in Africa’s foreign relations, especially towards the United States of America.
- The new trend is driven by the major changes in the continent and the need for the United States of America to limit Russian and Chinese influence.
- The involvement of competing countries in a multilateral approach to reconcile economic and security interests can contribute to providing security and stability, achieving economic and technological development, as well as promoting democratic transformation during the coming period.
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