Russia’s Rising Military Influence in Africa: Threatening the US Hegemony in the Region

by Eli Mshomi

The cold war’s clandestine operations were characterized by the unconventional advancement of both the USSR and the US across the globe.

Now, when Russia is finally gaining ground after the demise of the USSR, this advancement is to be seen once again.

Russia is threatening the US hegemony in Africa with its military tactics and investment.

Being unsaturated with global powers, Africa is one of the few remaining places on the face of the planet that has yet to align itself with any major power bloc in global politics.

This makes Russia and the US think about the countries that otherwise are neglected.

Russian military spending in African countries has increases manifold in recent times as the country is gauging the power vacuum in the continent.

Russian military spending in African countries has increases manifold in recent times as the country is gauging the power vacuum in the continent.

United States Ignorance Toward Russian Nations

In the recent few months, the Russian president Vladimir Putin has intensified his connections with his old friends in the African continent.

By connecting with the Republic of Central Africa, the Congo, Ethiopia, and other countries in the region, Russia is making a statement to announce its arrival once again on the global landscape.

In the past, the US government remained the primary supporter of the African countries, both militarily and financially.

The United States spent millions of dollars in aid every year in exchange for political and strategic support.

In those times, the continent saw significant progress in its living standards. The economic conditions and living standards of Africans were improved to a great extent.

In return, the United States got a stronghold on international matters with political support from the African countries.

The US government began to exploit the natural reserves of these countries, which can be explained by the neo-colonialism of international relations.

In fact, the United States was the country that enabled Nigeria to become one of the top exporters of petroleum products and South Africa to become the most developed country in the African continent.

The United States enabled these countries to exploit and sell their reserves of natural resources to fulfill the needs of the country and provide a better life to African people.

But all of this growth was temporary, much like the sigh of relief for just a moment.

With the end of the cold war, the US started abandoning Africa, thus creating economic stress and a power vacuum, seeing that there is no other major power capable of exploiting the gap.

This is the primary reason why African nations are reluctant to bandwagon with the United States once again, as they did in the past.

They are seeking new global alliances, and Russia and China can fill this void.

The rise of insurgent groups in Africa has multiplied the demands of the nation states to call for the security measures; hence they demand more military infrastructure.

The rise of insurgent groups in Africa has multiplied the demands of the nation states to call for the security measures; hence they demand more military infrastructure.

Russia: Embracing Neo-Colonialism in African Countries:

However, Russia is seeking something even more important from the African nations. As the time to colonize countries is over in this century, Russia is embracing the doctrine of neo-colonialism, hence investing heavily in the continent.

As the cold war’s superpower eyes the natural resources of Africa, especially metals, gas reserves, rare stones, and radioactive materials, it is ready to invest more and more in the region.

Africa is a lucrative market for arms and ammunition. Due to the increase in terrorist organizations like Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab in the African region, African countries allocate a considerable amount of budget for their security and defense.

This is the reason why Russian exports to Africa have been increasing in recent times. For instance, Russia’s exports to the continent rose to almost $13 billion in 2019, a 40 % increase from 2015.

Now, Russia has signed a military cooperation agreement with Ethiopia and Nigeria in the past two months, which signifies the rising Russian influence in African countries.

Russia’s 18% military exports go to Africa only, which manifests that how much the country is investing in African nations.

While the United States stopped its sale worth $1 billion in weaponry to Nigeria for its alleged involvement in human rights abuse, Russia measured the gap accurately and tried to fill it up.

If the United States pursues its SAHRAA act, it can further sideline it from African countries, paving the way for Russia even more.

Chinese and Russian nexus in Africa can change the course of regional politics. While China is investing heavily in the continent under its OBOR initiative, Russia continues expanding its military spending.

Chinese and Russian nexus in Africa can change the course of regional politics. While China is investing heavily in the continent under its OBOR initiative, Russia continues expanding its military spending.

Final Thoughts

China is also extending its One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative in African countries with full flow.

This bilateral push of Russia and China in the remaining countries signifies a great shift in the paradigm of international relations, which is an all-inclusive recipe to sideline the United States.

 

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