Geopolitical Analysis

The Historical Context of Mistrust in Africa    

To succeed in doing business in Africa, it is important to understand the geopolitical context. Business relies on policies. Policies are set by politicians. Politicians depends on several geopolitical factors. Geopolitical factors are based on trust. Here, we look at the historical context of mistrust in Africa.

 

When you do business in Africa, here are some facts to keep in mind. Africa has 54 countries. Those countries are divided into 2 blocks (North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa) and 5 regions (north, south, east, west, and center) and each one has different historical and cultural backgrounds that affects the way they do business.

 

Another thing to keep in mind is the ease of doing business. Although this element is constantly changing depending on the orientation and leadership of the current political elites. Also, there are key determinants such as the strength of the institutions and the level of corruption.

 

 

When analyzing the wealth and strength of institutions of Africa’s markets. It’s important to pay attention to the source of the data you use. For example, on the map above, Gabon is presented as rich country with strong institutions. Gabon is rich, but the institutions are not strong. The Bongo dynasty reigned over this country for more than 50 years. A military coup happened in 2023. So, the source of the data is the World Bank. It is then easy to assume that Gabon is a good student of the West and profits from the West’s good grace.

The historical context of mistrust in Africa is based on centuries of slavery, colonization, post-colonization, and permanent exploitation.

 

1884-1985: German Chancellor Otto Von Bismark convened Europe in Berlin and decided to share Africa among European countries like a big cake and avoid fighting each other. No African was present during the partition of the continent.

France’s President de Gaulle created a system called “Françafrique” to control French’s former colonies economically, politically, culturally, and militarily, which has prevented any sense of autonomy and economic growth.

 

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