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The ‘Western leverage and linkage’ factor in African Foreign Affairs Despite its peripheral position and the sometimes-negligible contributions, Africa is deeply embedded in global political economy. This embeddedness becomes even clearer when one analyses Africa‘s relations with the world and relations between African states and in the regional bodies they establish. Of course it is often difficult to find a balance or accord equal weight on the extent to which ‗global externalities‘ as opposed to endogenous factors impact on the direction and even character of state relations within Africa and how these also influence Africa‘s foreign affairs. To capture the role of both domestic and international factors in African foreign affairs one is tempted to invoke the notion of ‗Western leverage and linkage‘ as one of the dominant if not the most key factors in shaping African foreign affairs. It‘s a factor which is both an indicator of Africa‘s predicament and a postulate of bounds of possibility. ‗Western leverage‘ a term used by Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way (2006) infers basically, vulnerability of national government to international pressures which assume a variety of forms such as ‗conditionality and punitive sanctions, diplomatic pressure and military intervention and this varies across states. But ―the weak, aiddependent states with underdeveloped economies‖ (Levitsky & Way, 2006:201) as found in much of Sub-Saharan Africa, are more susceptible to western leverage than the more larger and powerful states like China, India and Russia. With the larger and more powerful states, like Russia, India and China, leverage when employed tends to be less effective. Linkage on the other hand, infers the ―concentration of ties between a country and the EU, the United States and Western dominated multilateral organizations‖ (ibid, 2006:203). The combination of leverage and linkage to the West continues to define the terrain of power in Africa‘s international relations and this is so without discounting the importance and role of internal factors. In fact ‗leverage and linkage‘ to the West constitutes an unbreakable thread and is like an umbilical cord – it conditions both the domestic power distribution in each country as well interstate relations within the African continent. It is for this reason that ‗Africa‘s engagement with the global community continues to evoke significant debates surrounding the patterns, forms, and content of such engagement‘ (Khadiagala, 2011:329). The feeling that Africa is somehow helpless in the face of ‗Western leverage and linkage‘ should not be dismissed but should be used in reflections that yield new insights. That is why the issue of leadership, especially, bold, ethical and people centered leadership continues to feature prominently as a need in all areas of endeavor in the African continent. ―The need to move beyond fashionable talk about Africa‘s renewal to an examination of ‗nitty-gritty‘ issues, i.e. critical questions and issues of praxis is now very central and urgent, and even more than before. Leadership and consistent ‗positive action‘ is important in Africa. When the ‗roll is called up yonder‘, ‗the cares of‘ and sorrows of our kin should not ‗journey‘ with us to our graves‖ (Kondlo 2013: 3). For Africa, the 21st century should not be just another century of hope but should be one of ‗positive concrete actions‘ leading to the fulfilment of Africa‘s dreams for authentic and complete emancipation.
The question which is perennially intriguing when examining African foreign affairs and postulating solutions, is whether ―which one carries more weight and should therefore be regarded as central to meaningful change- the international or the domestic - where does the weight lie? It is not enough to say they both count. This is obvious but in the balancing act which often occurs where does the centre of the centralnervous system reside, especially in today‘s globalising world?‖ (Kondlo, 2013:7). This journal responds in variety of ways to this important debate.
The articles in this volume of the Journal of African Foreign Affairs are an interesting mix as they cover a variety of issues. The connecting thread is that they all illuminate our understanding of Africa‘s relations with the world and how African states relate among themselves. The issues covered include liberation struggle diplomatic issues, regional dynamics, bi-national relations, as well as individual African state roles in international bodies. They explore the discursive landscapes of ‗theoretical and practical‘ elements of African Foreign Affairs. The articles unpack debate and analyse the implications of the ‗predicament and possibility‘, which characterise African foreign affairs up to this point in the 21st century, a century which many described as ‗the African century‘. The first two papers expose how foreign relations, in the period of the liberation struggle, far before independence, foregrounded the limitations and prospects liberated nation states would have in global power relations. Kwandiwe Kondlo‘s article ―Diplomacy of National Liberation‟ - The Exiled PAC and the International Community, 1962-1990‖ as well as Andile M‘Afrika‘s article on ‗The Black Consciousness Movement and the Diplomatic Offensive‘, basically show the kind of forces liberation movements in Africa attract, even though inadvertently, to the newly liberated African nation-states. Because of the interests pulled into Africa‘s borders during the liberation struggles, spaces for ‗linkage and leverage‘ were created and these have become burdens which African states deal with in their foreign relations and affect inter-state relations in the continent too. The article by Kelechi Johnmary Ani, Victor Ojakorotu and Timi Legend Asuelime touches on a very sensitive issue in many parts of the African continent – the land question. The article is titled ‗Ezza and Kwahu-Ewe Land Dispute in Nigeria and Ghana: Unfolding the Road to Peace and Development‘. One will find that in many cases in Africa, the question of land was trivialised and complicated by colonizers and the liberation movements were weak in dealing with it during the course of the liberation struggle and even in transitional negotiations preceding freedom. Some claim, for reasons of diplomacy, liberation movements in Africa, toned down on the land question but the question always reemerges as challenge years after independence. The paper by Kelechi Johnmary Ani, Victor Ojakorotu and Timi Legend Asuelime examines and compare the dynamics of conflicts over land in Nigeria and Ghana. Joseph Makanda and Maheshvari Naidu‘s article, ‗The South Africa‟s Peacebuilding Interventions in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Insights from the Congolese refugees in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban‘ examines South Africa‘s peace building intervention in the DRC‘s conflict and interrogates the approach used as well the challenges. What is even more interesting in this paper is the debate about the whether the intervention had any benefits for South Africa. Andrew Osehi Enaifoghe, ‗South Africa's Politics of Regional Integration in SADC and its Socio-economic Implications‟, examines the implications South Africa‘s economy bears as the strongest in the sub-region and on the continent. It explores both regional and global interests that are at the heart of South Africa‘s foreign policy, resulting in the need to make compromises which may be disadvantageous for the SADC bloc. The article by Olumide Fafore, ‗An Overview of the Effects of Organized Crime on Southern Africa‟ is one of the rare contributions as it looks at crime on a regional scale in Southern Africa. The paper provides an in-depth analysis of the nature and impact of organized crime on regional peace and security and governance within the region. It also offers several recommendations which include the strengthening of the capacity of legal instruments and agencies to control organized crimes within the region. The article, ‗Political Economy Trajectory: Post-Apartheid Economic Policy Development‘ by Andrew Osehi Enaifoghe, examines key developments in the political economy of South Africa and underlines how its role as a member of SADC benefited both South Africa and the sub-region at large. It argues that South Africa has played a very vital role in the Southern Africa sub-regional integration since her acceptance into the SADC. South Africa‘s leadership role in the SADC organization has led to different groups from public, private and civil society sectors seeking new forms of partnership, and cooperation in the area of poverty reduction, peace and security, governance support, and economic development.
George Chimdi Mbara‘s article, ‗Through the Eye of a Needle: An Examination of Nigeria‟s Quest for a Permanent UNSC Chair‘, draws from insights of the realist theory, which asserts that Nigeria‘s leadership pretension in Africa can mainly be assessed based on how responsive the leadership of the country is to the plight of her citizens at home and abroad. It explores the country‘s chances of achieving the objective of becoming either the sole permanent chair or one of the permanent chairs earmarked for Africa on an enlarged United Nations Security Council. Whereas, Sunday Israel Oyebamiji‘s article, ‗Nigerians‟ Migration to the United States of America: A Contemporary Perspective‘, explores the rationale behind the migration of Nigerians to the United States of America (USA). It posits that the quest for career development combined with a desire for relevance, plays a dominant role in the decision to leave the country for the USA. This contributes to the building of the linkages and connections with the West already alluded to. The last article, ‗Power Dynamics in International Relations (IR) Thinking and Practice: An African Perspective‟, by Bheki R. Mngomezulu, is a theoretical piece which encourages critical reflections on the nature of international relations, from an African perspective. The paper demonstrates how power dynamics play themselves out in international relations thinking and practice.
One hopes that the articles presented in this volume of the Journal of African Foreign Affairs will not only be an addition to the store of knowledge on African foreign affairs but will spark dialogue which will eventually expand depth and insight.
Levitsky, S & Way, LA (2006): Linkage and Leverage: How do international factors change domestic balances of power? In Schedler, A (ed): Electoral Authoritarianism – the dynamics of unfree competition, Lynne Reinner Publishers, London Khadiagala, GM (2011): ‗Africa and the World – Introduction‘, in K. Kondlo & EC Ejiogu (eds): Africa in Focus – Governance in the 21st Century, HSRC Press, Cape Town Kondlo, K (2013): ‗Introduction: Africa‘s Unended Quest for Emancipation – North Africa and Beyond‘ in K. Kondlo (ed): Perspectives on Thought Leadership for Africa‘s Renewal, Africa Institute of South Africa, Pretoria Kwandiwe Kondlo (Prof) Guest Editor