SA needs clear path forward as new world order emerges

Global shifts and movements are set to have a massive impact on our country, on Africa, and on the world.
FUTURE WORLD: Global shifts and movements are set to have a massive impact on our country, on Africa, and on the world.

Now that SA’s election has come and gone, and we now fret over our coalition government and its discontents, it is urgent that we raise our eyes to the rest of the world.

A political tsunami is rising across the globe.

The world is changing fast and if we do not prepare now, we will end up as a loser in the race for survival.

Billions of people have already voted in elections across the world this year, among them Indians and Russians, and their choices guarantee that a new world order is taking shape.

Billions more people will vote in the next few months, and the shape of the future world will become a little bit more distinct.

All we know for now is that the liberal world order we’ve known for 35 years is taking major strain.

We can see that China, Russia, India and a few others are pushing to build a new world, but the jury remains out whether this is a new order for the “big men” or for the people.

The world is at an inflection point.

Europe is closing its borders and isolating itself from the world.

After plundering the continent for centuries, Africa’s former colonisers are now regrouping and shutting down their borders to keep Africans out.

France has in the past two weeks voted overwhelmingly for right-wing parties whose only raison d’être is the battening down of the hatches.

The Netherlands recently concluded a coalition after right-wing parties gained the upper hand.

Italy’s right-wing government is a normal fixture of life in Europe now.

Germany, the Scandinavian countries, Hungary — all these countries are now governed by parties whose leaders utter the most racist statements while moving ahead with shockingly anti-human, anti-African, policies. The walls are up.

Yet these countries need African labour and skills, and they will exploit it.

France is hiring African doctors left, right, and centre.

Europe, the US, and the UK recruit African nurses and other healthcare workers.

Over the next 10 to 20 years, Africa stands to lose hundreds of thousands of skilled workers to Europe.

What is the co-ordinated African response to this?

Meanwhile, Russia continues to provide warring African states with mercenaries.

In many parts of West Africa and the Sahel, where the US and France are being chased out by local military leaders, Russian mercenaries have moved in as soon as the last American or French soldier has marched out.

Africans have sat and watched.

China continues to advance loans to African states and to build infrastructure projects with its own personnel.

China’s cheap products have replaced locally manufactured goods from industrial areas such as Salt River, SA, and Mombasa, Kenya.

At the same time, the country is strengthening relations with Russia, North Korea, Iran, and others. Where is the co-ordinated African response?

All these global shifts and movements are set to have a massive impact on our country, on Africa, and on the world.

Countries that build themselves and their people up, which make the right choices about alliances and partnerships, that act primarily in the interests of their people, will thrive.

Those which are led by corrupt leaders who do deals with China or Russia or the US for their own pocket will face the consequences in the future.

SA’s incoherent foreign policy over the past two-and-a-half years is an example of a country that hasn’t worked out a clear path forward for itself and its people.

How are we for the rule of law when we support Russia’s invasion of a sovereign state?

How can we condemn the invasion of Palestine when we support the exact same thing in Ukraine?

By the same token, why do we cosy up to countries with appalling human rights records when we stand for totally different principles in our own country?

Why do we congratulate the Zimbabwean president and attend his inauguration when our own SADC and SA observers tell us that those elections were neither free nor fair?

We hunt with the wolves and run with the hares. What are we?

Countries that make principled, human rights-led, ethical, decisions on domestic and foreign policy will survive the period of massive uncertainty the world is living through.

Indeed, such countries are likely to thrive. Those who sit on the fence will find themselves in trouble.

I’m particularly worried about the lack of policy co-ordination and action on the continent.

When superpowers such as China invest in Zimbabwe or Kenya, or elsewhere, the AU should be doing more to ensure that playing fields are level and that poor countries are not exploited.

Colonialism and colonialism of a special type may have ended when SA became free in 1994, but divide and rule tactics haven’t exited the continent yet.

It’s a whole new world out there. As a young influencer once said, we are either the sharks in the ocean, or the fish in the ocean. 


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