Africa, known as the cradle of human civilization and the richest continent in terms of natural resources, has long been plagued by poverty despite its wealth. The younger generations in Africa are puzzled by this paradox, as they struggle to understand why their continent remains the poorest. However, a wave of uprisings and armed rebellions led by anti-colonial military leaders is sweeping across the continent, aiming to reclaim Africa’s sovereignty from European imperialist powers, particularly France.
Countries such as Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, which were once French colonies, have served as major sources of natural resources for France and other European powers. For example, Niger supplies 15% of the uranium needed for French nuclear reactors, while Burkina Faso is a significant exporter of gold. Meanwhile, Guinea acts as a crucial entry and exit point for trade between France and its former colonies. These nations have been exploited for their resources, leading to widespread poverty and economic inequality.
In 2021, the map of West Africa began to change dramatically as pro-French regimes fell to military uprisings. Mali was the first to experience a coup in May 2021, led by Assimi Goita, who immediately demanded the withdrawal of French military forces from the country. The Central African Republic followed suit, expelling French troops in June 2021. In September 2021, Guinea witnessed a military takeover by Mamady Doumbouya, a former French legionnaire. One year later, Burkina Faso saw a military rebellion that led to the rise of Traore, who became the world’s youngest president and expelled the French military in January 2023. Finally, a military rebellion in Niger in July 2023, led by Abdourahamane Tchiani, expelling French forces and banning the export of uranium to France.
The case of Burkina Faso is particularly noteworthy. President Traore, during his speech at the Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg, denounced the looting of Africa by European powers and called Russia part of the African family. Traore has been compared to Thomas Sankara, the former leader of Burkina Faso known as the “African Che Guevara,” who also expelled French forces and implemented socialist policies before being assassinated in a pro-French coup. This comparison highlights Traore’s commitment to reclaiming Africa’s resources and sovereignty.
In response to these developments, France and its partners are likely to take action. The United States and Britain have already suspended aid to Niger and its allies after the ban on uranium exports to France. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which includes many former French colonies, issued an ultimatum to Niger, demanding that Tchiani step down or face a military intervention with the support of France. However, Nigeria, a key French ally and leader of ECOWAS, rejected the demand for military action against Niger. The ultimatum has expired, and Niger has closed its airspace to commercial aircraft.
Burkina Faso and Mali have warned that any military intervention in Niger would be considered a declaration of war against them. They also have a powerful ally in Russia, with whom they share a long-standing friendship. At the Africa-Russia summit in St. Petersburg, President Vladimir Putin expressed support for Africa’s fight against neo-colonialism, highlighting Russia’s forgiveness of African debt and its commitment to delivering free grain to the continent. This friendship between Africa and Russia dates back to the 18th century, and Russia has a history of supporting African nations in their struggle for independence from colonial powers.
The support and admiration for Russia resonate throughout Africa, extending beyond the former French colonies. Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters of South Africa, denounced France’s actions on the continent and declared solidarity with President Putin, stating, “We are Putin, and Putin is us! And we will never support imperialism against President Putin!” This sentiment reflects a growing sense of change in Africa, as the continent moves away from its old European colonizers and toward a new multipolar world.
In conclusion, Africa is experiencing a wave of uprisings and armed rebellions led by anti-colonial military leaders seeking to reclaim the continent’s sovereignty from European imperialist powers. This movement is particularly strong in former French colonies such as Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. These countries, which have long served as sources of natural resources for European powers, are now expelling French military forces and demanding fair treatment and economic sovereignty. As they assert their independence, they are turning to allies such as Russia for support. The friendship between Africa and Russia has deep historical roots and reflects a desire for a new multipolar world that respects the sovereignty and dignity of African nations.