A Continent Under Siege
Africa is the world’s second-largest and second most populous continent. With 1.4 billion people as of 2021, the continent accounts for about 18% of the world’s human population. The above data underscores the importance of Africa to the rest of the world. Whatever happens in Africa rubs off on the entire world. The continent has been in the news lately for the wrong reasons. The resurgence of military coups in some parts of Africa, has made headlines in the newsrooms across the globe. In 2021, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that “military coups are back.” There have been at least a dozen coup d’états in West and Central Africa since 2020, with eight proving successful while the others either failed or spiraled into conflict. Overall, Africa has experienced more coups than any other continent. Of the 17 coups recorded globally since 2017, all but one – Myanmar in 2021 – have been in Africa. The overall number of coup attempts in Africa remained remarkably consistent at an average of around four a year between 1960 and 2000. The recent coups in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and lately, Gabon, have truncated democratic governance and exacerbated the political instability in the region. The continent has been in a state of siege for too long.
To break the siege, there is an urgent need for serious interventions, not only by the regional bodies, but also by global organizations. In the wake of the military takeover in Niger Republic, the regional bodies, ECOWAS and AU had tried to intervene the way they knew best. The bodies imposed some sanctions on the junta, while the ECOWAS even went as far as threatening to intervene militarily, if the democratically elected government was not reinstated. But instead of re-instating the ousted leader, the junta had done everything to consolidate its hold on power. This goes to show that the regional bodies are more like the toothless dogs and they alone cannot solve Africa’s problems. The world body like the UN has to lend a helping hand and it has to be serious about it. Africa needs help. The continent needs support. An African adage says, ‘the comfort of the tree determines the comfort of the bird.’ For the world to enjoy peace and stability, the siege that has been built around Africa needs to be broken. To achieve this, the whole world needs to get involved.
1) Whatever happens in Africa rubs off on the entire world
2) To break the siege, there is an urgent need for serious interventions, not only by the regional bodies, but also by global organizations