Is International Cooperation A Positive Development In Africa?

675 words | 3 page(s)

International cooperation is common regarded as a step towards positive and continual development since the links to the outside world allow adopting the best experiences and learning from the most progressive states. In the meantime, Africa’s experience has shown that it does not always work like this. In effect, it demonstrated that, in Africa’s case, international cooperation implies numerous disadvantages for the state including the growing challenges to its maritime security, increased criminal activity, and threats to the state’s sovereignty.

One distinctive example of the effect of international cooperation is the undermined security in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG). On the face of it, the gulf’s security was undermined at that very point when other states realized their interest in their presence on the gulf (which is the richest world source of oil) and began enhancing their presence in the region. What happened next is that the world community would blame Africa for being ineffective in terms of security provision neglecting, in the meantime, the fact that its effectivity was undermined by the chaos brought by foreign states. The world community would pretend to be preoccupied by how to improve the situation and to bring the GoG security to a more or less satisfactory level. In effect, all the initiatives (including the implementation of Security Council Resolutions or the establishment of such entities as the Gulf of Guinea Commission or Maritime Organisation for West and Central Africa) would only help the outside states to find more justifications of their presence in the region, while their use to the security problem resolution was of no or little significance (The Gulf of Guinea: The new danger zone 2012).

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The degradation of the maritime security would automatically result in the increase of the criminal activity. In this regard, it is necessary to realize that the maritime security is, first and foremost, the issue of inner security rather than the one of the protection from the outside threats. This thesis might seem questionable, at first sight, but it describes adequately how things work in reality. Thus, the flaws in the maritime security encourage the increased activity of the criminals willing to occupy the uncontrolled sectors (Melinescu 2017). The offshore crime inevitably turns into the onshore one though, by that time, the former is much more powerful that it used to be at the beginning: weak maritime policies are the most favourable environment for the establishment of criminal laws and corruption that are further applied to regulate the poorly controlled field onshore.

As a result, the international cooperation brings an unexpected effect to the African. Initially, Africa is viewed as a state that experiences problems establishing control over its territories. The responsible world community responds to these problems and increase their activity in the region masking it under the slogan of guidance and support provision (Brown 2013). In effect, however, their activity is mainly driven by the states’ willingness to enhance their presence in rich in resource regions. When these regions become overcrowded by external states, the security policies (which are of initially low quality) are threatened largely. Consequently, the mess in such regions as GoG results in the increase in the criminal activity that further spreads to other African regions. This increase, in turn, encourages the world community to enhance their activity in Africa what leads to more mess and more criminal activity. In the long run, the continually growing presence of external states in the African region poses significant threats to the sovereignty of the African states because their governments (that are initially ineffective) are getting more and more compromised and the idea is actively translated which suggests that these government cannot cope with the problems in the region and that external states should take over these regions because they are more experienced and successful.

  • Brown, W 2013, ‘Sovereignty matters: Africa, donors, and the aid relationship’, African Affairs, vol. 112, no. 447, pp. 262-282.
  • Melinescu, N 2017, ‘Migration of terrorists in Sub–Saharan Africa’, International Relations, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 79-88.
  • The Gulf of Guinea: The new danger zone 2012, viewed 23 July 2018,

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