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The Mandela Institute organizes a Webinar on the theme "Rethinking National Diplomacy in the Pan-African Vision", July 06, 2021


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"I have always dreamed of serving not only Niger, but our entire continent, because there are no real prospects for the development of our countries when they are taken separately. Africa must unite or perish. Every African must repeat this truth expressed by Kwame N'Krumah every day. Every African, beyond his country, must have an African conscience. I hope that the FTAA is a big step towards the awareness, by all Africans, of their common destiny," President Issoufou Mahamadou, 2021.

"Africa is a continent accustomed to expecting everything from "external aid", therefore open to all denials of external sovereignty. Thus, the State never has sufficient financial reserves to mobilize for social emergencies because of its strong dependence on external aid and its weak fiscal capability, aggravated by the absence of sustainable mechanisms for resource mobilization and a weak contribution from the private sector" (excerpt from the book "L'Afrique en perspective", 2020). 

The Mandela Institute, in partnership with the Doctoral School of Governance of Africa and the Middle East (GAMO - UM5) and the Laboratory of Research and Diplomatic Actions (LaRAD), organized on July 06, 2021, a Webinar on the theme "Rethinking National Diplomacy in the Pan-African Vision" with the interventions of the following eminent personalities:

- Mr. Olivier Mahafaly Solonandrasana, Former Prime Minister of Madagascar

- Mr. José Brito, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of CaboVerde

- Ambassador Ezzeddine Zayani, Former Ambassador of Tunisia in Kinshasa, Expert to the African Union and President of CTESG

- Ambassador Dieudonné Ndabarushimana, Former Ambassador of Burundi to France, Ethiopia and Permanent Representative of Burundi to the African Union

- Maître Tall Nadia Biouelé, Lawyer, President of Hera Foundation Mali

- Prof. Mohamed Harakat, University Professor, Head of the Doctoral School on Governance in Africa and the Middle East (GAMO- UM5)

- Ms. Aube Kouame, Digital Media Specialist and Investment Analyst, Founder of B'heti Connect & Africanship

- Mr. Jude Chaleureux Mbina, Doctoral student in philosophy, Young Research Analyst at LaRAD

- Mr. Lagrange Fidèle Sinmenou Agnankpe, Specialist in Strategic and Diplomatic Intelligence, Founder and Executive Director of LaRAD

Traditional diplomacy has been eclipsed by economic diplomacy. Africa has been subjected to razzias, slavery, colonization and globalization without reacting. The strategy of all the powers as well as their modes of diplomatic, economic and military interventions to exercise and perpetuate the trusteeship over Africa are sufficiently known and visible. Until now, it is the diplomacy of counter-performance that is in vogue in Africa. It is a pity that selfish interests guide our diplomacy. 

Prime Minister Olivier Mahafaly emphasizes that after fifty years of independence, the situation is bitter. Africa is still dependent on its former metropol and traditional donors (World Bank, IMF), and its countries are considered as reserves of raw materials (soil and subsoil) lagging behind globalization. To support his demonstration, he relied on the works of famous authors such as Yves Alexandre Chouala (Africa in the new international partnership), Marie Claude Smouths (Africa in multilateral diplomacy), Samuel Ngembok (The African Union, a diplomatic power?), Almouner Talibo (What development for Africa?), René Dumont (Why is Africa off to a bad start?), etc. He notes that the absence of Africa on the international scene invites us collectively to rethink the strategic framework of current national diplomatic action, for lack of sufficient continental coherence, to adopt a long-term pan-African vision and define the axes of a great strategy of visibility and international respectability.

Diplomacy is the implementation of the State's foreign policy to defend national interests. For Africa, the fight against poverty is a major concern of African diplomacy and international cooperation. Hence the need to develop economic diplomacy so that African countries do not remain indefinitely on the sidelines of globalization. This diplomatic orientation must be concerned with the industrial transformation of local products and raw materials to create added value, boost economic growth, fix product prices and reduce the imbalance in trade.

The level of influence of African countries on the international scene is still disparate. North Africa is very present with the quality of its representatives and the regional weight of its countries. For sub-Saharan African countries, diplomatic presence still needs to be improved in order to negotiate their interests without a spokesperson at international summits. It is no longer necessary to accept certain conditionalities of international financial institutions such as the Structural Adjustment Policy (SAP) of the 1980s, which has only impoverished African populations. The new paradigm of "partnership" expresses a logic of relations of interest. It is based on essential elements : respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, democratization of political life, liberalization of economies, participation of civil society, etc. As a new framework for official development assistance (ODA) and international solidarity with Africa, the partnership is being deployed as a channel for the new world order and for the dissemination of the "vision principle" of the world of Western donors with a strategic aim of the globalization agenda, the reciprocity of which must be sought intelligently. In this perspective, the African Union has a very important role to play. To do so, it should have a real capacity to influence its member states and unfailing credibility with international partners. This credibility requires financial autonomy, the delegation of part of national sovereignty, effective conflict management and diplomatic visibility on the international scene.

Prime Minister Olivier Mahafaly made some important proposals :

- In the digital age, African diplomacy and diplomats should make greater use of new communication technologies (ICT) to revolutionize information and diplomacy in the various negotiations on the international scene;

- The African Union, supported by its member countries, should continue its lobbying efforts so that Africa can sit and have its representatives or its permanent representative in the United Nations Security Council;

- The African Union must acquire world-class media (CNN, Euronews, Al-Jazeera) to correct the negative images (war, corruption, poverty...) conveyed by the international media and to convey its own international information with audiovisual influence;

- Africa is undoubtedly the continent best endowed with natural resources (fertile land, minerals, energy) which are the object of covetousness of others and which do not bring the economic emergence of the continent. It is up to African political decision-makers to show solidarity (speak with one voice) in order to reverse the situation and renegotiate contracts to ensure the economic revival of their countries. The main objective of an international negotiation is to obtain more from one's partner while giving up the least. African diplomacy should focus on addressing this persisting challenge.

Minister José Brito believes that the current foreign policy with a collective illusion of decision-making autonomy will bring us to a catastrophe. If you don't have a vision to achieve, you will follow the vision of others. The majority of the people is the opinion that it is no longer possible to return to the pre-pandemic world of Covid-19 characterized by Africa's dependence. This is reinforced by the fragmentation of Africa into States clinging to their "national sovereignty" in all areas, despite 1) the existence of Regional Economic Communities (REGs) constituting "regions" of African development and 2) the insufficient use of the principle of pooling means and actions in dealing with key issues affecting Africa. Global diplomacy cannot be the result of chance or improvisation, it is the result of strategic foresight in terms of priorities and agreement on the best representation of the State in each event. National unity, political stability, the conduct of public affairs with the qualifications or requirements of good governance and international solidarity are essential for the progressive achievement of national objectives and that position the country as a credible, respected and useful state in the international community and foreign policy as the pursuit of interests of national policy abroad.

Covid-19 has taught us that our system is built on an unstable foundation that is ripe for future collapse. We must change the course. In post-Covid Africa, we have a historic choice : either we embrace a new and better world now, or we cling to our dangerous ways. A return to "business as usual" means that we would be going in the same direction that led to the catastrophe we find ourselves in today. However, we must first cross a no-man's land; we are leaving the old pre-pandemic world, but we have not yet entered a New World. There is a need for codification of international law to bring domestic law into line with international best practice.

The African Union (AU) must engage in the necessary ruptures to assume a future close to the vision of its Agenda 2063 with a diplomacy carrying multilateralism to change its role in the world governance. To do this, below are key recommendations :

- To accelerate the process of political integration of Africa in order to have a common vision in commercial and economic terms and promote continental political and institutional integration to strengthen African institutions towards autonomy and sovereignty; this requires reducing the scope of the principle of subsidiarity in regional organizations and strengthening the leadership of the African Union;

- To prioritize the complementarity of African economies instead of negative competition and significantly boost intra-African trade and African unity with the operationalization of the AfCFTA by implementing trade and investment rules to become a much more attractive investment hub;

- To boost African concertation in order to have a single African voice in international forums by challenging the political tutelage of multilateralism, which has led to a collective illusion of decision-making autonomy, and by conducting an uncompromising self-assessment of global governance;

- To be the bearer of the renewal of cooperation at the global level by carrying another project of multilateralism around existential questions for the planet and by redefining all the leonine agreements of cooperation on the basis of reciprocity of rights and duties, the refusal of the exclusivity of any partnership, the reinforcement of the African co-sovereignty in the fields defined as common goods. This requires the renegotiation of various economic and commercial agreements that are less favorable to Africa (such as the agreements for economic partnerships between Europe and Africa, and the creation of an African free trade area, a factor of affirmation of African worlds;

- To engage in the fight against illicit flows from the continent by promoting rigorous economic governance that allows the elimination of corruption and by putting an end to fiscal generosity towards multinationals;

- To form a common front to obtain the cancellation of the African debt with the international financial institutions, China (40% of the African debt estimated at 365 billion) and the International Community;

- To positively accompany the desires of African youth to break with the old order of dependence in order to build a prospective vision of Africa based on economic patriotism,

- To transform natural resources into negotiating power and rebalance the balance of power by putting a stop to the transfer of added value from African economies to the countries of the North (out of the $100 billion produced by the cocoa industry, the producing countries capture less than 15%);

- To develop a concept of defense and national diplomacy to address issues of security and stability with a pooling of African defense and intelligence resources.

Diplomacy in Africa must act as an instrument of this necessary transformation of the continent. The AU's visibility depends on the establishment of a diplomacy with its own effective diplomatic network. Minister José Brito outlined the major challenges facing Africa and its diplomacy :

1. To finance development with a foreign policy that emphasizes economic diplomacy, rethinking economic promotion and approaches to financing infrastructure investments and access to capital markets;

2. To renegotiate Africa's position with respect to its foreign partners, particularly trade rules and intellectual property regimes;

3. To deal with global governance in order to take advantage of the three major trends that dominate world public opinion : the climate trend, the technological trend and the demographic trend;

4. To make a fairer distribution of tasks between AU and Africa's Regional Economic Communities (RECs). RECs focusing on economic integration and development issues, leaving the AU to deal with defense, security, conflict management, and the role of spokesperson on major global issues and inter-regional partnerships. The lack of a single voice in practice, which would be conferred by the transfer of significant parts of national sovereignty, condemns the African Union to the exercise of a front diplomacy that is skilfully driven by more robust international actors;

5. To enable diplomacy’s involvement in the political management of integration by reducing the factors limiting continental negotiating influence, such as the non-democratic nature of regimes, the political fragility of states, and persistent conflicts, the unproductive cult of national sovereignty in the diplomatic and military spheres, the very limited supranational competence in terms of the capacity to influence its member states and international partners;

6. To overcome the cult of national sovereignty on the diplomatic and military level and build a specific partnership on security and stability with the transfer of important parts of national sovereignty to the African Union and the establishment of institutional and operational mechanisms for the pooling of forces and specialization, with a view to the interoperability of the security and defense apparatus in order to strengthen an effective pan-African diplomacy;

7. To organize ourselves to face and destroy the terrorist threat by linking intelligence objectives to political needs, creating a better articulation between diplomacy and intelligence services and helping our political leaders understand how to lead in such complex and delicate situations. States must formulate a strategic concept of national defense and security that serves as a guiding framework for cooperative security diplomacy, defining priorities and establishing strategic partnerships in this area, in terms of intelligence, the fight against trafficking and transnational crime, and surveillance of maritime space;

8. To create a mobility and migration diplomacy to ensure several specific objectives such as short-term mobility, legal migration, fight against illegal migration with the negotiation of agreements in this framework to better cooperate in the areas of security, documents, visa facilitation and readmission. 

Ambassador Ezzeddine Zayani focused on the handicaps of current African diplomacy. As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said: “Man discovers himself when he measures himself against the obstacle.”Recalling the good times of African diplomacy in the 1960s with founding fathers such as Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia, Leopold Sedar Senghor of Senegal, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Mohamed V of Morocco, Hamani Diori of Niger, etc.. and the regression that we see today, he said that the diplomacy of a country is a reflection of its internal policy, that bad governance, corruption, non-respect of human rights, especially women's rights, negatively impact the foreign policy of a country. African positions are no longer accepted in international fora, because we live with a handicap of continental fragmentation, disparities and internal inequalities. The resignation of some African states in favor of the African Union in the elaboration of diplomatic issues weakens sovereign decisions in this field in the face of a more selfish world. The active, radiant, listened to and strong diplomacy of the 1970s, with an impact on the international scene, favored African pressure linked to permanent consultation. He called for a greater commitment and responsibility of African countries in the elaboration of their foreign policy which should not escape their prerogatives and become the prerogative of other parties such as non governments. It is necessary to have a national vision to transfer it to the AU. Ambassador Ezzeddine Zayani insisted on the crucial need to train African diplomats, particularly young people who must be equipped especially in bilateral or multilateral negotiations. Diplomacy is an art of negotiation and we must know what to say and put on the table in the last round. Africa, a continent of more than 1.3 billion people by 2025, still holds great hope, even though the Covid-19 pandemic has left deep scars.

Ambassador Dieudonné Ndabarushimana considers that a country cannot have a voice on the international scene if it has internal fragilities. When Africa is not united, it is marginalized. We have a divided Africa in the African Union; we are very far from the slogan "One Africa, One Voice". The negotiators must have the support of the people, who must be constantly informed about international disparities. The milestones of modern diplomacy were laid down in the Westphalian era in 1664 with the Treaty of Westphalia, which gave pride of place to peaceful coexistence, respect for borders and the sovereignty of States. Currently, bilateral diplomacy has given way to multilateral diplomacy organized within supranational institutions to which states cede part of their sovereignty in order to take care of certain prerogatives of managing common interests on their behalf. With globalization, the diplomacy of the 21st century has been coupled with a very pronounced economic dimension, the logic of interest has become the leitmotiv of a diplomacy that wants to be effective and innovative. The reality is that no State can take the risk of doing it alone, as the stakes of today's diplomacy go beyond the narrow borders of States to become global issues affecting the military, economic, environmental and ecological domains. Diplomacy is not the "Communion of Saints", it is often the scene of unorthodox practices and stratagems consisting in taking advantage of the weaknesses of the partner to lead it to imprudence and to sink it durably to draw more or all the advantages.

The long march towards pan-African diplomacy dates back to the time of decolonization when the precursors of independence were quick to dream big for a united and united Africa ready to regain its place in the concert of nations; but this was without counting on the balance of power and the unjust international system which has no other ambition than to keep Africa at the bottom of the ladder. The precursors of independence were aware that the borders inherited from the Congress of Berlin (1884-1885) were artificial and had only the objective of dividing Africans in order to better dominate them. And this is unfortunately the case today. The noble idea of a "united and solidary Africa" within the framework of a unitary organization of Kwame Nkrumah ("Africa must unite") and Barthélemy Boganda was nipped in the bud by the old powers who will use all the stratagems according to the logic of "divide and conquer". At the birth of the OAU, differences of opinion as to the foundation of a strong Africa will reappear in broad daylight. Two blocks will compete with each other :

 - On the one hand, the so-called Monrovia Bloc was made up of some newly independent states. This group advocated harmonious coexistence and cooperation between African states. 

- On the other hand, the members of another bloc called the Casablanca bloc, which included Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Libya, Mali and Morocco, converged on the belief in the need for political unity for Africa, and even in the need to create a continent-wide federation.

This division still characterizes the African Union under other stratagems that prevent the creation of a political federation and strong integration with a pan-African army to promote peace, develop the continent's geopolitical influence and initiate its economic development. Since the 1960s, within the non-aligned movement, African diplomacy has been concerned with the liberation of countries that were not yet independent, the fight against apartheid in South Africa, the fight against poverty, "compensatory inequality" in trade, "national and collective self-sufficiency in the economic sphere"...

From the Organization of African Unity to the African Union, the four Marathon Summits (Sirte, Lomé, Lusaka, Durban) for the adoption of the Constitutive Act of the African Union consecrated the eternal division of Africa with the bloc of construction of Africa from below through the Regional Economic Communities (led by South Africa) and the bloc of construction of Africa from above through the federal institutions of the United States of Africa (led by Libya of Gaddafi). History will remember that North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Libya) built itself a strong and powerful political unity of Africa. But the African Union inherits the poverty of the Continent, the inequalities, the gap between the North and the South and the injustice of the international system. Its new vision will now be for « An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, led by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force on the world stage .» Its most ambitious peacekeeping mission projects and program budget are funded almost entirely by non-African partners who take advantage of this to influence certain decisions. It is in this context that Nepad was created in 2001, which is not very far from the vision of the Lagos Plan of Action and which militates in favor of Africa's collective prosperity: « Bringing the Continent out of the malaise of underdevelopment and exclusion in a globalizing world. » Like the Lagos Plan of Action, Nepad, which initially aroused enthusiasm, will suffer almost the same fate of lack of commitment and political will. The permanent concern to take a step forward for the economic integration and prosperity of the continent that the AU initiated in 2013 to promote Agenda 2063 as the concrete manifestation of the pan-African vision of "An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa". Even Agenda 2063, which incorporates the substance of the SDGs, has not been remarkably successful, particularly in the implementation of its ten-year plan, one of whose flagship programs is "Silencing the guns on the continent by 2020". It is in this context that the single market for goods and services (ZLECAf) and that was symbolically launched the "African Passport" in 2018 in Kigali. This is an important step in the African integration process.

The quest to reform the African Union is an absolute necessity in view of the lack of efficiency in the implementation of Agenda 2063. It is a matter of limiting dependence on non-African partners by mobilizing the member states' own funds, revising the scales of contribution, reducing the number of departments within the commission, reducing the plethora of staff... This reform conditions the future prospects for pan-African diplomacy. From the United Nations to the WTO and the Bretton Woods Institutions, the system is organized to prevent the African continent from taking off. On the other hand, Africa is increasingly suffering the blows of the balance of power that explains most of the failures. Initiatives have been taken by pan-African diplomacy to try to free Africa from the poverty and underdevelopment imposed by an unjust and inequitable international system. 

As our elders did, the struggle for development and continental federal institutions must continue with new strategies: 

- Kwame Nkrumah's call for "Africa to unite" remains relevant. Africans must be united, today more than yesterday, so much the strategies to divide them to weaken them are still on the agenda;

- The Continent has a solid basis for repositioning itself in its cooperation with partners. The Continent has a varied range of raw materials coveted by the industrialized countries as well as an extensive forest area which constitutes the vital ecological lung for all humanity; 

- Pan-African diplomacy must be steered by a strong supra-national structure to which states trust and agree to cede part of their sovereignty. The current status of the African Union does not allow it to play this role, as it has no room for maneuver. Its hands are tied by the member states and depend on their will. 

- Member states need to be strong and to inspire confidence internally. The lack of legitimacy is also reflected at the level of the African Union and hampers its influence on the international scene. 

- Africans should take advantage of the post-Covid context to carve out a path for the diversification of cooperation relations in a win-win spirit;

- For diplomacy nowadays to be effective, it must be participatory. Bureaucratic diplomacy has become obsolete. It must be carried out by the people. We have seen the impact of the movements against the CFA franc which led the French President and the leaders of the WAEMU (UEMOA) to move the lines and think about creating the ECO. Classical diplomacy would not have produced the same results. Similarly, the return to power by the junta in Mali would not have been possible, had it not been for the determination of the people of Mali;

- Diplomacy nowadays must be carried out by the Civil Society, the businessmen…When the President of Cameroon receives the businessman Dangoté and this move shows that business diplomacy is often more effective and concrete than classical diplomacy; 

- African leaders must therefore earn the trust of their peoples to benefit from their support. Similarly, it is imperative to sesnitize the populations about the continental projects for their support and effective engagement; 

- The training of the continent's human resources is an imperative to compete on the international scene. The exercise of negotiations requires knowledge and expertise in various fields; 

- Education would enable the continent to have the necessary expertise to prospect and transform raw materials instead of selling them in their raw state; to create job for the continent's numerous youth;

- The continent must have a strategy and a political and social communication tool to make its voice heard in the concert of nations;

- The contribution of the New Information and Communication Technologies (NICT) can expedite development on the continent.

Ambassador Dieudonné Ndabarushimana underlines the paramount importance to put in place mechanisms of decentralized diplomacy carried out by the people, the major economic actors and the civil society to have an impact on the international scene. To do so, it is necessary to reactivate the objective of "silencing the guns" on the continent and to examine our individual weaknesses to transform them into collective opportunities.

Lawyer Tall Nadia Biouelé considers that the African Union appears to be an empty shell without real decision-making powers. She asks herself a fundamental question: what is the agenda of Africa? Foreign policy is nothing more than a reflection of domestic politics. We have failed to preserve our nations, to give ourselves negotiating powers. It is as if Africa is simply the terrain where foreign powers fight a trade war for their selfish interests and where Africans have no ambition for their continent. The state of play of African diplomacy and the challenges at hands call for urgency to devise viable strategies of influence to consolidate the image built on inter-Africanity from our strategic resources with our ecological reservoirs (forest) and minerals. It will be necessary to solve the problem of industrialization to transform our products.

To that end, Tall Nadia Biouelé proposes the following recommendations: 

- Work towards the emergence of States that create resources and added value with inclusive development to project themselves on the international scene,

- Review the relationship between African states and African states with the rest of the world,

- Review and renegotiate all international commitments, often signed at the time of decolonization and/or without a sense of patriotism, to put forward pan-African interests so that Africa positions itself as an actor in the world with its own agenda based on common development and strategic resources;

-  Build the new image of Africa with our own media of international dimension.

Professor Mohamed Harakat explains how to rethink resilience and the paradigms of continental and pan-African economic diplomacy. He outlines a few avenues:

1. A new doctrine of strategic and participatory diplomacy that brings together the people and the leaders. What profile for the diplomat of the post-Covid-19 crisis with information and training in a global context of fragile governance and the global system of emergence of new powers;

2. New organization of diplomacy to take courageous and coherent decisions in a context of multiplicity of actors and stakeholders;

3. Strengthening diplomats' personal and linguistic skills with knowledge of the issues to succeed in bilateral and multilateral negotiations;

4. Assessing external risks to enhance strengths and reduce weaknesses;

5. Assessment of the impact of foreign policy to make a difference for the people. From this perspective, it is necessary to review the relationship between development policies and the international cooperation of partners (National governments, NGOs, UN, EU) in order to establish a system of governance and cooperation at the service of the continent and its populations;

6. Accountability to measure the value of diplomatic action and the importance given to the AU, which is very costly for few results. Africa is rich and highly indebted with a capital flight of 88.8 billion US dollars that can finance development projects.

Professor Mohamed Harakat presents some suggestions:

- Defend the image and interest of Africa with trained diplomats and industrialization to transform raw materials;

- Imagination to create the African dream for the youth with regional and continental integration of infrastructures to promote trade and economic growth;

- Opting for democracy to boost a culture of participation.

All of these elements together (doctrine, organization, skills, risk and impact assessment, diplomatic accountability) will strengthen Africa's presence in international forums so that its concerns are heard. 

Ms. Aube Kouame addressed the topic under the angle of diplomacy and media representation of Africa. She urges to rethink the new way to promote the country, through which one is the representative of their country throughout the world. The first thing a diplomat does when he arrives at the office in the morning, as part of his missions, is to read the press to get the latest information on his consular district. This shows how much the media influence the actions of diplomats and therefore the representation of the countries in question. Pan-African diplomacy must redefine the international game through the media, including digital media, in order to convey another image of the country and of Africa, especially to investors in the context of economic diplomacy. We must integrate the weight of online media in the redefinition of international influences. To do so, we must rely on the energetic, optimistic, dreaming African youth, all over the world, who are ready to make the rest of the world discover Africa through diplomatically positive contents. It is in the interest of countries to support these young people who are working to redefine the image of Africa, to develop African soft power and to weigh in the diplomatic balance. This commitment to promote the business environment in Africa, its economy and its ecosystems, actively participates in the diplomatic action that aims to create bridges between Africa and the world. It is through media spaces, which place the action of the actors of our economic ecosystem at the center of international issues, that together we can redefine new relations in a pan-African vision with the rest of the world.

Mr. Jude Chaleureux Mbina wonders about the universe of international relations which appears complex and immense. The international actors and international actions to be studied are difficult to quantify and qualify with precision and rigor without falling into the trap of fascination or masked advance. It points to the modern ambiguities of local diplomatic systems. These are internal ambiguities linked to bad governance, corruption, territorial problems and the opposing continental vision of the African institutional architecture. From the creation of the Organization of African Unity to the establishment of the African Union, African countries have never shared a common vision of African integration. The political, economic and national contradictions inherent in the modern stage of development of independent African states seem to reflect Africa's past, present and future. This disunity of regional economic visions is coupled with personal rivalries between statesmen and states (Morocco - Algeria) hindering the African diplomatic union. The external ambiguities linked to debt, international aid and economic partnership agreements (EU-AU EPA - Agreement on Economic Cooperation between the EU and the AU) are also a source of concern. 

The Cotonou / Lomé agreements still lock Africa into a logic of social case rather than of interest defense, thus preventing the expression of originality of an international political approach. This creates a situation of diplomatic denial which calls for the following actions: 

1. Short terms :

- Awareness on the state of the diplomatic apparatus;

- Determination and courage of all;

- Setting goals for the elimination of all forms of colonialism;

- Unanimous declaration of a policy of non-alignment and non-participation in blocs in decisions against the development of Africa;

- Non-admission of political interference and economic pressure from outside.

2. Long term means: 

- Gradually break up non-productive ties (careful identification);

- Rethink the basis of Africa's unity and future;

- Sign treaties with new international actors (balanced); 

- Renegotiate agreements on the basis of mutual respect and equality (EPAs);

-Sign treaties of peaceful coexistence (non-aggression) between African countries (from generation to generation like the Russia-China Pact).

Africa should also think about expansion, by increasing the number of its diplomatic representations throughout the world and assumed by a young elite of charismatic and patriotic leaders who can shape international relations. This rebalancing of diplomacy will rely on new actors:

- Multinational companies and their important actors to increase Africa's influence;

- Laboratories / Think tanks with the production of innovative ideas that bypass international malice;

- Media networks, NGOs, lobbies, sportsmen, African celebrities and diasporas to convey another image of Africa.

The Diplomacy of the Fifth Estate is more than real and increasingly influential... money. "African unity" will remain a utopia as long as the leaders are not convinced, competent and motivated pan-Africanists." (Boukari-Yabara, 2014). Rethinking national diplomacy within a pan-African vision means organizing locally and regionally to achieve continental goals in the short, medium, and long term, and not taking any decision that weakens peoples, nations, and the continent.

Questions and contributions from participants propose to rebuild the pan-African ideal with an African diplomacy in a federal state that defends political, economic, monetary, cultural and spiritual sovereignties in order to emerge:

- Does diplomacy in Africa have a positive impact on African citizens?

- How can we speak with one voice when the States are already unable to express a coherent and median national message?

- An Africa that is ethnically, politically and spiritually reconciled, in order to make the most of its size, its socio-geographic diversity, its natural resources and its demographic dynamism in the service of Africans;

- A strong and powerful Africa, capable of protecting its territory, its populations and its strategic resources;  

- A united  Africa open to the market economy with balanced trade and the prospect of revising its international commitments;

- A prosperous Africa with social justice, focused on internal trade and sovereignty of economic policies;

- An offensive Africa in the defense of its interests and its dignity to find a respectable place in the concert of nations;

- Africa often follows the lead and African diplomacy is not up to the major challenges of the world. In international conferences, the African Union must send diplomats who know the issues very well and who are very concerned about the future of Africa;

- Scientific diplomacy to raise the level of our negotiation on complex issues of vital interest such as mines and oil;

- Cultural diplomacy to share the thought and foundations of African civilization,

- The self-financing of the AU to ensure its independence with the means to assume diplomatic missions;

- Cheikh Anta Diop said that "security leads to development". And some of our leaders think the opposite with speeches on emergence, economic growth and continental trade that they assign to their diplomacy. This is not possible in a world of uncertainty and geopolitical competition;

- Africa will not count on the international scene until it is united and militarily armed to ensure its security;

- Quality training is essential for young Africans with the basis of a solid knowledge of geopolitics and global geostrategy, so that young African executives can make Africa's voice heard on the global political and economic scene;

- The speakers summarized perfectly the state of play of African international politics and the related stakes: a relevant proposal dominates: people's diplomacy and an equitable distribution of state revenues to the populations. The fragmentation of Africa is observable within the societies of each country. Reducing it is an imperative within the reach of politicians.

In diplomacy, one either produces results or apologizes: but never both at the same time. African diplomacy is in the permanent solicitation of generosity. Participants urged African leaders to rediscover the courage and spirit of the founding fathers of independence who conceived of Africa through a federal state (United African States) that would ensure security, energy and monetary sovereignty as well as strategic control of the continent's natural resources and infrastructure. This requires profound reforms of the continent's diplomacy and its embodiment by patriotic, experienced, competent diplomats equipped to defend pan-African interests.

Africa remains the stake of the « Others » without its own actors. Instead of moaning, we must act and think about the post-Covid-19 crisis in an uncertain world in geopolitical upheaval. This is an opportunity to impose our vision of economic diplomacy based on beneficial partnership to serve national and pan-African interests. It will be necessary to go beyond the political time of compromise (the short political vision) to enter the long time of the Strategy and the Prospective with the diplomacy of influence. It is a true diplomacy that favors the thesis of African integration to carry the voice of the continent high on the international scene. In this perspective, it is urgent to get Africa out of the diplomacy of underperformance and begging. Our diplomacy with a pan-Africanist vision must lead us to develop heavy industry in order to transform our own raw materials and become importers of finished products. It is at this price that we will be able to attain our political independence through the economic independence of Africa.

The pan-African doctrine should guide public authorities in making sovereignty decisions with a diplomatic goal of strategic influence, embodied within a common vision. Despite the dynamics of regional and continental integration, we regularly witness a lack of pan-Africanist vision in national diplomacy(s) on the international scene. Each speaker addressed the issue according to his or her knowledge, experience and vision of national and pan-African diplomacy. From the current state of affairs and the challenges facing African diplomacy, it is a question of making prospective and innovative proposals towards continental and pan-African diplomacy in order to avoid counter-productive geopolitical policies and influences. In this regard, isolated national diplomatic considerations weaken the whole continent and facilitate external manipulations. Consolidating the dynamics of regional and continental diplomacy will certainly boost the respect and relative influence of Africa on the international scene.

International Cooperation and Solidarity are today questionable regarding their usefulness and efficiency. If cooperation produced development, Africa would be rich today. If international solidarity reduced poverty, Africa would have a significant proportion of middle classes. Result: 60 years of ODA for nothing. International solidarity, cooperation, development aid and "partnerships" are palliatives that no longer satisfy Africans, especially young people whose demand for decent conditions is higher. The failure of international development aid instruments is often underlined by the recipients. Other peoples need an imaginary enemy to live. And Africans need friends to survive. This is no longer possible in the current context of strong geopolitical competition. Everyone must play his or her part of influence and those who refuse to do so will suffer.

We are experiencing a very important change in the world in terms of geopolitical influence. Africa is a victim of the strategic incoherence of the struggles waged individually by each state on its territory without a pan-African vision. This facilitates external maneuvers that have no other objective than to keep Africa out of the new world order. The coronavirus is an opportunity for change. However, everything is being done to confine Africa to its role as a spectator of global competition and combat. Africa's fate is at stake now, because the coronavirus has just awakened or weakened African consciences that seemed to be deeply asleep. It is time to put an end to the colonial conception of Africa with "s" in order to divide the continent into spaces of "Africas" without consistency or strategic importance. Diplomatic intelligence requires making strategic choices for collective protection. It is necessary to adopt an attitude of reaction with a winning strategy of common diplomacy oriented in an important way towards the economy and the strategic autonomy to protect our interests of center of gravity of strategic resources. The doctrine is simple: African countries must put their own interests before the legitimate concerns of other countries. They must rely on their own resources to foster their own development before relying on the generosity of others.

Countries have interests; but Africa has not an effective geo-strategical policy, it has only “friends” who rush to its bedside in all circumstances. Today, the coronavirus is shaking up the world and geostrategic change is inevitable. The era of personal destiny is over. It is no longer a guarantee nor a strategy of protection. Only the pan-African perspective can ensure a place in the world to come. The crisis brings a new vision of the world. With the closing of borders, we have seen that the vital space is national. This brings back patriotism and nationalism that were dissolved in globalism. This is an opportunity to promote African patriotism and pan-Africanism. Faced with the challenges of Covid-19, African leaders have one last chance to pool their efforts to ensure Africa's livable development through a pan-African vision and joint diplomacy. And it is to be hoped that strategic common sense will return to geopolitical sense. As Edgar Morin said, "courage is resisting everything that will betray our ideas.

It is the pan-Africanism of legal tools (protection of interests) and economic (industrialization & transformation of raw materials) that should guide pan-African diplomatic action. The new strategic and independent Africa must be capable of tracing its own road that will lead to sustainable development and that is based on the quadriptych: strategic vision - tactical decision - operational action - joint diplomacy. The will, determination, strategy and unity of Africans are needed to build a dignified and responsible future in front of the new chapter of geopolitical history that is opening. It is no longer possible for Africans to continue to govern and decide by sight without a pan-African doctrine or common diplomacy.


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Report by the Mandela Institute

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