French scholars: Africa, a past that cannot be passed

On September 10, Echo published an article by Dominique Moisi, a geopolitical scientist at the Institut Montaigne, entitled “Africa, a past that cannot be passed”, which reflects on the historical causes of the failure of democracy in Africa.

According to Moisi, although the coups d’état in Gabon and Niger are different in nature, it must be recognized that they are “contagious”, especially in French-speaking Africa. It is true that there are economic reasons for the wave of coups in Africa: as a continent ten times the size of India and three times the size of China, with 18% of the world’s population and 30% of the world’s minerals, Africa has always been below the poverty line, which exacerbates the discontent of the people.

But more important is the political reason. On the one hand, Western democracies, represented by the United States, are increasingly “unqualified”, and Africa has alternative options to China and Russia in terms of democratic models. On the other hand, the democratic proposal is often too poor, this problem needs to be solved by African countries themselves.

Behind this is a deeper colonial history. Without the colonial history, Africa’s population would have been at least twice as large as it is now. Being under the control of the great powers, Africa was forced to be the object rather than the subject of history during the two world wars and the Cold War. But the West does not recognize that “the past is not past”, and the confessional statements of former colonizers are not enough to hide the hypocrisy of their policies. For the French, “I intervene, therefore I am” seems to be a modernized version of Descartes’ famous quote. But Africa needed allies to help it develop, not greedy plunderers.