Gone are the old days when Africa was treated as a dark continent. In a sharp contradiction to past tarnishing portrayal, Africa is growing to be more assertive and decisive in global stages. The continent has attracted more traction from the international community with its big opportunity for mutual growth. Particularly, over the years, the rest of the world has increasingly become desirous to forge strong bilateral cooperation with the continent of the youth.
Being home to close to 70 percent young population and replete with precious yet untapped natural resources, the continent has also placed itself as an indispensible actor in global geopolitics. African countries are also fighting for a greater representation of the populous continent in international organizations including the United Nations Security Council.
Unlike the longtime ill-conceived thoughts, African countries are pushing for equal treatment in the international arena. Nowadays, the world’s fastest growing economies are in Africa. Countries like Ethiopia, despite the odds, have been registering rapid economic growth for years in a row.
With the African economy forecast to maintain an upward trajectory, powerful economies and affluent blocs have been coming up with various socioeconomic programs to cement cooperation with a continent that has so much to offer. Last year only, BRICS countries added Ethiopia and Egypt as new members and the G20 countries also gave the African Union a permanent membership. These developments are solid indicators of the continent’s increasing engagement at bilateral and multilateral levels.
In terms of redressing global woes, the continent remains a key partner. And, it is behooving the rest of the world to join forces with the continent to tackle global challenges like climate change. More nations and blocs are showing keenness to boost economic cooperation and political alliance with the continent.
And, the boom in the number of global actors and the rapid transition to a more multipolar world are offering the continent with multitude of cooperation alternatives. The fact is Africa is no longer a junior partner and it has now become vivid that no international goals can be met or no predicament can be tackled by leaving the largest continent behind. From the U.S Africa Summit to Russia Africa forum, nations with different economic status and political view are exploring ways to bolster ties with the abundant continent.
Despite the growing enthusiasm, Africa is asking for an equal treatment in its partnership with other sides.
Over the years the calls have got louder and clearer. Trade rather than aid is what Africa prioritizes.
The continent’s young population, vast natural resources, rich history and culture place it in equal footing in the world stage. Sure, Africa needs the proper technology and knowledge to unlock its potential.
With right policies and strategies, the continent can achieve miraculous economic growth and may significantly contribute to global causes. To do so, there should be savvy commitment from other sides.
Speaking at the Summit where leaders and representatives from 45 African nations have took part, Musa Faki said: “Africa does not want to reach out. We are not beggars.”
While welcoming Italy’s Initiative, the Chairperson said: “we cannot be satisfied with mere promises that can’t be kept. A paradigm shift is required to usher in a new model of partnership and pave the way towards a more just and coherent world.”
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said for her part that the project would be based on cooperation among equals” and “far from any predatory imposition or charitable stance towards Africa. We want to write a new chapter in the history of our cooperation. There has been biased storytelling in the past, saying Africa is a poor continent. This is not true. It boasts natural resources and a young population.”
True to the words of both leaders, Africa should not have been seen as a continent of poverty. Of course like elsewhere, the continent has layers of challenges to overcome. From conflicts to poverty, Africa has to do more to tackle its pervasive problems. Yet, describing the rich continent with defaming words was a grave mistake that requires respite. The continent has immense potential that does not only bring continental development but also global change. To see the continent as a land of poverty and junior partners is an outdated way of thinking. Africa has what it takes to be an equal partner and the world should take concrete steps to ensure where a just and equal global system works.