Emmanuel Argo : «Don't forget the Afro-descendants of the Africa Mundus! » (2)

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Second part of our interview with Emmanuel Argo, teacher, specialist in EU law, member of Chatham House, Institute of International Affairs in London.

How does the replacement of French interests by Chinese interests in Africa manifest itself?

Let's just refer to the Chinese development agency AidData, which in France would correspond to our AFD. It notes that in "Sub-Saharan Africa, China has financed, among other things, a $320 million ring road around Addis Ababa, a $3 billion rail line between Addis Ababa and the seaport of Doraleh in Djibouti, another $4 billion line between Nairobi and the port of Mombasa, or a $600 million road between Port-Gentil and Libreville in Gabon." If the Chinese stock market is untied, it is not only for reasons of public development aid, but above all, of geostrategic positioning to the detriment of France, which is struggling to want to literate populations who in a short time have passed in the era of software and advanced technologies, connected, communicating with the whole world and getting information through social networks. African managers trained in Beijing or Shanghai The time has come for French leaders, both at corporate and government level, to understand that times have already changed. That the era of: “We are counting on you”, has given way to the era of: “You must count with us, Africans”. The cultural traditions underpinned through the Francophonie and the diasporas forge lasting ties with France. But China, which is enriched by its past economic mistakes, now includes in its management teams Africans trained in Beijing or Shanghai. African countries, aware of their strengths, will increasingly have the upper hand in imposing their choices on the powerful.

In some African countries, Russian security companies close to Vladimir Putin intend to replace the French army, especially in Mali. How to explain this renewed Russian interest in Africa?

Russia's interest in the Africas is not new. Let us remember the so-called Cold War period when certain countries on the African continent chose to side not with the USA, but with the USSR, including Russia. After the independence of the 1960s, the universities of the USSR trained thousands of African students. Links therefore exist between these men and women who speak Russian fluently although Africans.

Another argument: in 2005, at the invitation of Chatham House, representatives of Russian civil society came to London to meet those of the African diasporas in view of the 2006 Civil G8 scheduled for Russia. I had the honor of representing them at this summit because the issue of development in Africa was one of Britain's priorities. Without being fooled by the symbolism, I was elected general rapporteur for all the recommendations at the plenary conference of this civil G8 chaired by Vladimir Putin in Moscow in March 2006.

Diasporas, an asset for France

If France does not want to be outdone, it should rely on its trained, competent and experienced diasporas who are natural links with Africa. But, unlike other Anglo-Saxon countries, it is sometimes regrettable that our country is reluctant to be represented by nationals of African descent. The increasingly emancipated countries of the African continent will make choices in their best financial interests, just like the other countries of the planet. Haven't the USA and Great Britain just short-circuited France in the submarine market?

How could Africa take full advantage of its wealth to ensure its development?

The world is changing, the evolution of the climate and changes in the environment force us to behave in new ways. In addition, the poverty of some African countries is only an illusion in view of the natural and mineral wealth of the soil and subsoil. Finally, by 2050, the African continental population will reach two billion. The Africa Mundus designates both the 5 regions of continental Africa and its diasporas spread over the planet which form a 6th region, are therefore at the center of economic and societal solutions. There were the Brettons Wood agreements, then the Uruguay Round cycle, the latter having led to the creation of the World Trade Organization.

An Africa Mundus Agreement

Like previous initiatives, I propose the establishment of an Africa Mundus Agreement between the African Union, with its 6 regions, and its partners in the rest of the world to put an end to looting. French but also international companies must now all pay taxes and duties before any embarkation, that is to say when the unprocessed raw natural resources leave African soil. That would partially solve the issue.

Could closer relations between Africa and the Caribbean be envisaged again?

As early as 1975, the Lomé Convention between the so-called ACP (Africa-Caribbean-Pacific) countries and the EEC/European Economic Community provided for the facilitation of commercial and cultural exchanges. In 1989, as a member of the ACP-EEC Cultural Association, I participated in the signing ceremonies of the Fourth ACP-EEC Convention signed in Lomé on December 15, 1989. The texts related in particular to the financial protocol, that relating to the definition of the concept of “originating products” and methods of administrative cooperation.

“These partnerships will have to be revisited. »

In 2000, the Cotonou Agreement succeeded Lomé for a period of 20 years on a series of EPAs (Economic Partnership Agreements) between the European Union and 79 ACP countries. Next August, these common trade and development partnerships supported by European aid will have to be revisited. France, holding the presidency of the European Union, should not fail to be attentive to the requests and projects not only of what is now agreed to be called the OACPS (Organization of African-Caribbean-Pacific States ), but just as much from its Overseas Territories, these European regions spread across the four corners of the world and neighboring the ACP linked to the EU. This will be an opportunity to place at the center of the directives projects which concern, for example, photovoltaic development, protection against rising waters, bioclimatic disasters, protection of forests, that of fishery resources and other concerns common to French overseas territories. as in the countries of the West African coast.

Diasporas, 6th region of the African Union

It goes without saying that such provisions would support efforts related to relative food autonomy through agricultural production and processing that respects Afro-Caribbean taste and culinary habits, and in relation to new direct trade links. It is also an opportunity to recall the importance of the African diasporas and in particular that which is made up of Afro-descendants spread across the world as a result of the slave trade in particular. These diasporas constitute the 6th extracontinental region that the African Union has added to the 5 continental regions of the African continent.

Conciliation for reparations

For their part, the United Nations has set up the international decade for people of African descent for the period 2015-2024, a way of recognizing in the eyes of the world a population of 350 million people, including us, the natives of the French Overseas Territories, are an integral part. To this end, within the framework of this international decade, I propose that an action of truth, conciliation with a view to reparations be put in place. All this to demand something other than gratuitous mea culpa and repentance, but to lead to a stage of truth so as to put an end to the usual electoral promises, like that of a president who in his time had promised without guarantee more of 1 billion euros for French Guiana.

In terms of fairness...

If representatives of civil society from this 6th region had been invited by President Macron, those from French overseas territories recognized throughout the world would have recalled that one year after the abolition of slavery, the settlers were compensated with more than 123 million gold francs for the loss of their 250,000 slaves. On the grounds of this inequity, they would have asked, among other things:

  • that, as part of a partial reparation, express provisions be made concerning inheritance tax and the transmission of inheritance in French overseas territories, an exemption obviously applied to people of African descent for four centuries, i.e. the duration of trade and the slave trade
  • that as compensation and catch-up, an investment fund for the specific economic and cultural development of the Overseas Territories be created
  • that in terms of fairness, nationals of these very remote Franco-European regions benefit from facilities for true territorial continuity between their territories and mainland France.

Such measures taken within the framework of the decade of Afro-descendants would aim to ensure social peace and above all, to guarantee a more serene future for current generations who, like others, legitimately aspire to good live in their region of origin.