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By Caleb Onyeabor
The growing sentiments by most Africans for Africa to ditch the West and embrace the East is borne out of issues that are historically and contextually relevant. Why the concerns about the shortcomings of the West are not out of place, the clamour for a total disconnection from the West is.
Africa can afford to break ties with any of the former colonial masters who are unrepentant in their ways but as far as the international economy is concerned, Africa still needs America. Any smart African nation that is interested in development must know this. Here’s why. In the last 50 years, more countries have moved from third to first world by aligning with America than with the USSR or any other power bloc. No matter our grievances with the West, this is just the reality. More countries have developed economically by adopting and adapting American economics than communist economics. More countries have developed in the last 50 years or more by exploiting their relationship with America than with any other country in the world. Let’s take a look at some examples.
China is a global powerhouse today, but there is an American touch to it. They are an example of how a country can use America to grow. China’s economic development over the past few decades is a testament to how it strategically engaged with the United States to foster its remarkable growth. Beginning in the late 1970s, China initiated economic reforms that welcomed foreign investment and trade, and the United States played a pivotal role in this transformation. American businesses eagerly invested in China’s burgeoning market, attracted by its vast labor force and potential consumer base. This influx of American capital not only provided China with the necessary funds for infrastructure development but also facilitated the transfer of technology and managerial expertise. Trade between the two nations flourished, with the United States becoming one of China’s largest trading partners. Additionally, China leveraged its diplomatic ties with the U.S. to gain access to global markets and international institutions, further propelling its economic ascent. While the relationship has been complex and sometimes contentious, there is no denying that China’s collaboration with the United States has been a significant driver behind its remarkable economic rise and transformation into a global economic powerhouse.
India’s journey from a third-world nation to a rapidly developing economy is closely tied to its embrace of economic partnerships with the United States. Since the early 1990s, India has implemented significant economic reforms that have paved the way for its remarkable growth. A crucial aspect of this transformation has been its collaboration with the United States. The Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sectors are prime examples of this partnership’s success. India’s highly skilled workforce and English proficiency made it an attractive destination for American IT companies looking to outsource services. This collaboration led to the creation of a thriving IT industry in India, driving economic growth, creating jobs, and fostering technological advancement.
Trade relations between the two nations have also flourished. The U.S. is one of India’s largest trading partners, and this bilateral trade has grown substantially over the years. This relationship has not only boosted India’s economy but has also provided access to American markets for Indian goods and services. Furthermore, India’s strategic partnership with the United States has extended into areas like defense cooperation, space exploration, and renewable energy, creating opportunities for technology transfer and knowledge sharing.
Singapore’s remarkable development from a small, struggling nation into a thriving first-world economy is a testament to its strategic partnership with the United States. This close relationship has been pivotal in shaping Singapore’s economic success.
One of the most significant ways in which America helped Singapore develop was through trade and investment. The United States became one of Singapore’s top trading partners, and American companies saw the potential of Singapore’s strategic location as a hub for business in Southeast Asia. American investment in sectors such as electronics, manufacturing, and finance played a crucial role in Singapore’s industrialization and economic growth. The presence of multinational corporations, many of which were American, brought technology, expertise, and job opportunities to Singapore.
Furthermore, the United States provided valuable military support and security guarantees to Singapore. This partnership helped ensure stability in the region, which was vital for Singapore’s economic prosperity. Singapore also benefited from American cooperation in areas like education and healthcare, adopting best practices and knowledge from the United States to improve its systems.
In essence, the strong economic and strategic partnership between Singapore and the United States has been a cornerstone of Singapore’s development. It has allowed the nation to leverage its resources effectively, attract foreign investment, and create a business-friendly environment that has propelled it to first-world status.
South Korea’s remarkable transformation from a war-torn nation into a thriving first-world economy is closely linked to its strategic partnership with the United States. This alliance has played a pivotal role in South Korea’s economic development and security.
One of the key ways in which the United States helped South Korea develop was through military support. The Korean War (1950-1953) solidified the U.S.-South Korea alliance, and since then, the presence of American troops in South Korea has contributed to regional stability and security. This security umbrella allowed South Korea to focus on its economic growth without the immediate threat of conflict.
Economically, the United States has been a significant partner for South Korea. The U.S. provided vital aid and investment during South Korea’s post-war reconstruction period. Moreover, the relationship with the United States opened doors to international markets. South Korea established trade agreements and partnerships with the U.S., which helped its industries, such as electronics, automobiles, and steel, gain global recognition and expand into international markets.
In addition, South Korea’s educational system and technological advancement were influenced by American models. American universities and institutions played a role in South Korea’s educational development, and the transfer of technology and knowledge from the United States contributed to South Korea’s rapid industrialization.
In summary, the partnership with the United States has been instrumental in South Korea’s journey to becoming a first-world nation. It provided security, economic opportunities, and access to global markets, contributing significantly to South Korea’s remarkable economic and technological progress.
Even Europe has had the American touch. After the devastation caused by the second World war that brought Europe to her knees, it was America that rescued her. The Marshall Plan, officially known as the European Recovery Program (ERP), was a cornerstone of American assistance to Europe. Proposed by U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall in 1947, it provided substantial financial aid to European nations. Over four years, the U.S. contributed billions of dollars to help European countries rebuild their economies, infrastructure, and industries. This aid was essential in jump-starting Europe’s economic recovery.
Even in the middle east, the most successful countries in the middle east are allies and partners of the United States of America. UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel. For instance, UAE is the United States’ single largest export market in the Middle East and North Africa region, and more than 1,000 U.S. firms operate in the country. Many more U.S. companies, drawn by strong logistics and transport industries, use the UAE as a regional headquarters from which to conduct business throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Asia.
Any African country serious about its development must find a way to court America and become its important ally and partner beyond the many paper agreements that exist. Africa needs American capital, American investors and access to American markets. The reason is simple. They are the dominant players in the global economic space and if you need a share of the global market, you need to work with the leader of the global market. Any African nation that wants to go the route of the Singapores, Dubais, South Koreas and Chinas of this world must put America in their development plan and foreign policy overtures. That is the way of the world, at least for now. While this does not take away the important role of internal reforms, international partners are also an important criteria for development and America has proven to be a partner for countries that wish to move from third to first world and this is a fact.
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