Virtual Kollage: Why some African countries do not practice the principles of non-alignment

Posted by / Wednesday, 15 March 2017 / No comments

Why some African countries do not practice the principles of non-alignment



WHY SOME AFRICAN COUNTRIES DO NOT PRACTICE THE PRINCIPLES OF NON-ALIGNMENT
Introduction
The Non-Aligned Movement refers to a group of countries who have decided not to openly side with the eastern or the western bloc when it comes to international geopolitics. Membership is drawn from the less developed countries of Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Europe. 

The Movement started in Belgrade in 1961 with the Presidents of Yugoslavia, India, Egypt and Ghana at the time. Initially, the Movement started with twenty-five members but currently, there are one hundred and twenty member states and fifteen observer nations.

WHY SOME AFRICAN COUNTRIES CANNOT IMPLEMENT THE NON-ALIGNED POLICY
Influence of former colonial powers
Many of the African countries have, at one time, been colonized by European powers and many of them are still attached to the apron strings of such former colonial powers. The former colonies are therefore influenced in the running of their countries. This is why they cannot really toe the line of Non-alignment but to follow the path their former colonial masters pass.

Fear of military attack
Another reason why some African countries are not able to follow the path of Non-alignment is that they fear they could be attacked by the super-powers. There has always been the fear that an African country could be attacked by a super-power so as to be able to extend its influence to that country or to that region of the world. Therefore, some of the African countries think that in order to receive maximum protection against such attacks they must align to the East or the West.

Personal interest of some African leaders
Some African leaders have an inordinate desire to remain in power. Some of these African leaders, who are unpopular in their own countries, have been kept in power by one of the super-powers or the other. It is therefore incongruous for them to say they are neutral. They can therefore not be willing to become Non-aligned.

Membership of International Organizations
Another reason for the inability to implement the principle of Non-alignment is the membership of the various African countries to several International Organizations. Many of the former colonies of Britain, for example, belong to the Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth of Nations has very close tied to the Western Bloc. For this reason, it is many times difficult to be Non-aligned without incurring the displeasure of one opposing bloc or the other.

Indebtedness of African countries
Many of the African countries are either indebted to a country or countries in the Western bloc or in the eastern bloc. In some cases, it is an indebtedness that may be very difficult for them to repay, within the specified period, or ever pay. It is therefore difficult for them to turn away and claim they want to become neutral. This is one reason why some African countries are unable to implement the policy of Non-alignment.

Economic under-development
Also, many of the African countries are economically under-developed. The African countries have remained, largely the producers of primary goods to feed industries in the metropolitan capitals of the west or eastern blocs of the bi-polar world. They depend on imports of all kinds from the developed world, ranging from finished goods and to the transfer of technology. Such countries find it more expedient to align to one bloc or the other and therefore are unable to be non-aligned.

SAMPLE QUESTIONS
1. Highlight six reasons why some African countries find it difficult to be Mon-aligned. 

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