Empire: The New Scramble for Africa

Added: 07-03-2018

In this hour long documentary, Marwin Bishara explores the merits of the ‘Africa Rising’ narrative. In many ways African states have autonomy thanks to the neoliberal market. However, this same market is responsible for Africa being outcompeted and squeezed out of resources in new creative ways, with the profits from these deals directed towards a small elite class.

Africa colonialism creativity neoliberalism Chinese elite class facade freedom oligarchy scramble for Africa neocolonialism

Type Reading Time Author Date Source
video 48 minutes MARWAN BISHARA 07-27-2014 http://www.africaontheblog.com/
Type Reading Time
video 48 minutes
Author Date
marwan bishara 2018-07-03 00:00:00 UTC
Source
http://www.africaontheblog.com/
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Key Takeaways
  • Since colonialism, Africa has earned more autonomy and been able to make deals that actually benefit the continent. 
  • Neoliberalism has forced Africa to compete on a global scale with countries and businesses that take advantage of a lack of leadership and leverage. 
  • The success of a small African elite is misleading the narrative of African development.

Summary 

In this Al Jazeera documentary, Marwan Bishara describes a popular narrative for Africa in the 21st century as a place of bustling success, with the continent rising up and out of its colonial past now over 50 years removed from that period (in most countries). 

He sets out to confirm or deny this narrative. On one hand there is very real progress being made, seven of the top ten fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa. Bishara does not feel that this growth is representative; these growths are fueled by mass sale of natural resources and debt, and the benefits are felt only by a small elite class. 

A discussion with journalist Parselelo Kantai reveals that African countries are more free and can actually earn profit from their resources when conducting trade with new groups like China. In the past, African colonies had no autonomy and little control over their resources. 

However, Africa’s wounds from colonization and the ensuing roughly 50 years of debt accumulation have hurt Africa’s leverage and meant that there is little leadership or sense of direction for economic growth. Former colonial entities, like France, still hold their former African colonies’ reserves in its banks and have firm control over trade access. 

In the neoliberal age, Bishara argues that there is a facade of freedom. But, in reality a new class of African oligarchs are in control of much of the wealth and the vast majority of Africans are being squeezed out of their resources, just in more creative ways.

Notes 

Marwan Bishara in Al Jazeera: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/profile/marwan-bishara.html