Will African leaders always be summoned by every country in the world?

Source: Will African leaders always be summoned by every country in the world?

So Zimbabwe President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa is off to the inaugural South Korea – Africa Summit.

Tendai Ruben Mbofana


Not too long ago, African leaders were in Rome for the Italy-Rome Summit, which took place in Rome on January 28–29 2024.

There is also the 16th US-Africa Business Summit, held on 6-9 May 2024, in Dallas, Texas.

The UK-African Investment Summit (UK-AIS) that was due to take place in April 2024 was postponed to a later date.

The second Russia–Africa Summit was held at the Expo Forum in St. Petersburg on 27 and 28 July 2023.

There is also the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) between Japan and African countries, as well as Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

Quite frankly, I have actually lost count of all such so-called summits – whereby African heads of state are seemingly summoned by a single, more developed country.

As much as I appreciate the need for Africa to forge strong political and economic relationships with other nations, there is something amiss with these meetings we have been witnessing.

Africa is a continent.

So, why are we reducing ourselves to the same level of individual nations?

Why are we allowing Africa to be treated as equal to a single country?

In fact, are we not casting the continent as inferior to these states – since our leaders are usually the ones who need to travel all the way to Italy, US, UK, Russia, China, and now South Korea?

Surely, how can 54 heads of state be summoned by only one president?

Is this not embarrassing?

Are we saying that as Africans, we totally lack any sense of self-respect?

Or, are we still being held back by a colonial hangover, where we continue to relate with the rest of the world as our masters?

Is would appear as if our leaders remain in the grip of the 1950s and 60s desperation for overseas countries to be messiahs of Africa – from where our help comes.

We still view ourselves in the sense of the scramble for Africa – where we are the prize to be won by competing world powers.

This time around, however, instead of these world powers forcing themselves on us – we are, instead, throwing ourselves at these countries’ mercy as willing quarry.

It is as if we actually enjoy being the hunting ground of global powers.

Yet, we appear to forget that our Africa holds 30 percent of the world’s mineral reserves, many of which are critical to renewable and low-carbon technologies including solar, electric vehicles, battery storage, green hydrogen, and geothermal.

The continent’s proven oil reserves constitute 8 percent of the world’s stock, and those of natural gas amount to 7%.

Minerals account for an average of 70 percent of total African exports and about 28 percent of (GDP) gross domestic product.

The contribution of extractives to public finance is significant, with some African countries’ public revenue almost entirely dependent on them.

Indeed, AfDB (African Development Bank) estimates that Africa’s extractive resources could contribute over US$30 billion per annum in government revenue for the next 20 years.

The Bank also estimates that revenues from recent oil, gas, and mineral discoveries could contribute between 9 percent and 31percent of additional government revenues over the first ten years of production for countries such as Ghana, Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Uganda.

These are the resources most of these global powers are after.

Yet, instead of leveraging on our newfound power – as the source of these world’s most sought-after resources – we permit these global powers to push us around.

Why is Africa not negotiating on an equal footing with other continents?

Why are we not seeing Africa-Europe, or Africa-Asia, or Africa-America summits – where we deal with each other as equals?

As a matter of fact, Africa – with all the aforementioned resources – should, by now, be the more dominant power.

These world leaders should be coming to us, with cap in hand, begging us for deals and investments opportunities – and not summoning our own heads of state to their capitals as if they were little children.

So, why is this not happening?

It is quite easy to understand.

Our leaders on the continent are corrupt and, as such, are more interested in securing dodgy investment deals that benefit them personally as opposed to the nation their lead.

Who is benefiting from Chinese investments, for instance, in Zimbabwe?

Are these ‘investors’ not actually treating ordinary Zimbabweans as second-class citizens in their own country – with most displaced from their ancestral lands without any meaningful compensation?

What development has come to Chiadzwa (in Marange) after nearly 20 years of diamond mining by several Chinese companies?

Are these people living like paupers on their own land?

Are those working for Chinese mining companies not being treated as slaves?

In so doing, Africa has not substantially developed as a continent to the extent of flexing its muscles on the global arena.

The ordinary people on the ground are actually poorer than they were during the colonial era – as our resources are systematically looted by the ruling elite working in cahoots with these dubious ‘investors’.

There is really nothing to show for all the mineral resources we have as a continent.

That is why world powers will never take us seriously as equals.

Our presidents will always be traveling to world capitals like naughty school children called by the headmaster.


  • comment-avatar
    sankonjane 2 weeks ago

    Yes Tendai and we should not make the mistaken assumption global white Liberals seem to have, that a black is a black is a black – no matter which of the many diverse cultures on our huge continent come from, and that we all think the same and have the same aspirations!!
    Until there are larger areas of like minded populations pursuing similar goals with similar skill and information we will continue to be” easy pickings ” for more sophisticated global financial forces.

  • comment-avatar
    Colin Cronin 2 weeks ago

    Why didn’t the rest of Africa learn from President Tubman of Liberia and his “Open Door” policy. The iron ore mines and rubber plantations worked very well under Tubman and he was loved and respected by the various tribes of Liberia.