New Mapping Laboratory at Rennes School of Business
Rennes SB has recently inaugurated its new mapping laboratory, instigated by the Chair of Geopolitics. Have a look at the first map to be produced by students in the Programme Grande Ecole (Master in Management).
Coronavirus: the African countries that have signed a petition against US sanctions
Nine African countries have joined 17 other nations in calling for an end to Western sanctions that, they argue, impede their governments’ ability to fight coronavirus.
On the map*, the nine countries to have signed the petition against US economic sanctions in Africa are designated in red. As it stands, the trade restrictions have not been relaxed because they target countries that are non-aligned with the US. These nine African countries are all linked in some way to the New Mongolian Empire, a strategic continental axis composed of China, Iran, Russia with links to Turkey.
In Southern Africa, three countries stand out
Three countries stand out in particular in Southern Africa, starting with Angola which was once the site of clashes between Moscow-led Cuban mercenaries and their Western opponents. Former Russian president, Dimitri Medvedev, visited both Angola and Namibia in 2006, cancelling $29 billion in African debt.
Angola is also being courted by Portuguese-speaking Brazil, who hopes to replace the former Portuguese colonial power, and by China, who carried out 50% of China-Africa trade with South Africa and Angola in 2014.
In the 1990s, Mozambique was included in a strategic US plan that aimed to reshape Southern Africa, but twenty years later it’s China that has established itself in the Mozambican uranium mines.
In neighbouring Zimbabwe, Russian mining companies Nordgold and Rusal operate gold and platinum mines. Any Western companies that want to benefit from this rich market, are severely punished. In April 2019, the UK-based Standard Chartered Bank was fined $657 million for circumventing US sanctions in Zimbabwe between 2009 and 2014. Meanwhile, the US-based company, Apollo Fintech, is quietly working with the country to implement a digital currency based on its gold resources.
China and Russia: two key players
Further north, Burundi, also a signatory to the petition, had its debts cancelled by China, whilst Cameroon, another non-aligned country, harbours close links to China: the total cost of products imported to Cameroon from China amounted to more than $1 billion in 2016.
Meanwhile, Equatorial Guinea, signed an agreement with Russia in 2015 to allow the refuelling of Russian warships in Equatorial Guinean ports, as well as defining a simplified entry process for these ships.
In Guinea-Conakry, another country to sign the petition, China has access to a supply of bauxite. The director of the first of these bauxite mining companies is French, but the project is supervised and co-financed by China. The Russians are also active in Guinea-Conakry and provide unwavering political support for the constitutional review sought by President Alpha Condé.
The deterritorialisation of geopolitics
Finally, in the eastern part of the African continent, Eritrea has long preserved close ties to Tehran, who used the country as a transit platform for its arms exports to Yemen and Gaza. Moscow is currently building a logistics base in the country.
Sudan maintains a close relationship with Turkey, the latter obtaining 99-year management of Suakin port in 2017. On the 28 September 2020, China announced that it was offering $300,000 in emergency humanitarian aid to Sudan.
Even if these non-aligned African countries cooperate with friendly powers, they suffer from major geopolitical weakness as they remain geographically isolated. Of the nine countries, there is only a limited degree of geographical proximity in the areas surrounding Sudan and Angola. This weakness is currently being diminished by the deterritorialisation of geopolitics, as we observe a partial shift into the digital space in the wake of the recent worldwide pandemic.