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Travis Cunha

Dec 2, 2023

As we approach the end of 2023, geopolitical upheavals continue unabated. The expanding BRICS alliance encounters a potential obstacle with Argentina's election of self-proclaimed libertarian Javier Milei, challenging the country's plan to join BRICS in January 2024. Simultaneously, Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, is actively seeking membership in BRICS, aiming to fortify its position among the world's most powerful nations.

Nigeria Breaking Free from its Colonial Legacy

Similar to many African nations, Nigeria has grappled with the pursuit of economic and political sovereignty since gaining formal independence in 1960 from British colonial rule. The shift from colonialism to imperialism introduced new controls over internal politics and resources, with the United States leading international banking institutions in exerting influence. Nigeria's substantial oil reserves subjected it to stringent controls imposed by the IMF, World Bank, and the United States, particularly during economic sanctions linked to alleged support for Boko Haram.

Even after achieving "flag" independence, this of course hasn't meant genuine sovereignty. The transition from colonialism to imperialism involved controlling internal politics and resources, primarily led by the United States through international banking institutions. Nigeria's oil reserves placed it under strict controls from the IMF, World Bank, and the United States, especially evident during economic sanctions related to alleged support for Boko Haram. The extremist group, dubbed "Africa’s Taliban," and which seeks to overthrow the Nigerian government, has provided the United States and its vassal institutions with the pretext to impose economic sanctions and exert an even tighter grip on the nation's economy by selecting recipients of foreign investments.

The United States’ State Department report titled “2023 Investment Climate Statement on Nigeria” outlines the liberalization of business ownership, allowing foreign investors full control, particularly in the oil and gas sector.

Nigeria, like numerous other nations, has learned through experience that borrowing from the IMF and World Bank often leads to unanticipated consequences. Upon default, measures such as austerity and complete economic liberalization swiftly ensue. The West's practice of "debt trap diplomacy" on Nigeria has supplanted colonialism, pushing nations into poverty and deindustrialization, hindering the developing nation's path toward complete sovereignty.

Nigeria Steps into the Multipolar World

Nigeria occupies a distinctive position to spearhead what some term the "Great African Awakening," marking a new era where African nations can assert themselves as equals on the global stage. New opportunities are emerging, notably through the Belt and Road Initiative, which has injected vitality into Africa. In October, Nigeria's National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) signed contracts valued at $2 billion for new projects in collaboration with three Chinese partners, according to Vice President Kashim Shettima's office.

As the West witnesses its imperialistic grip on Africa slipping away, attempts are made to create malicious rumors against China, mirroring past Western actions against Africa. Western media outlets accuse China and Russia of investing in the continent solely to push African nations into deep debt, allowing them to control their economies. However, as debt accumulates due to various factors, China and Russia surprise the West by renegotiating or outright canceling debt. A U.S. research firm, Rhodium Group, reported that between 2020 and 2022, approximately $76.8 billion in Chinese overseas loans were renegotiated or forgiven—significantly more than the $17 billion from the preceding three years. Russia has also forgiven more than $20 billion in African debt, indicating a substantial shift towards a new era of diplomacy with African governments.

Nigeria appears to be navigating both sides of the multipolar landscape, expressing interest in joining both the G20 and BRICS. Despite manipulation by the United States, severing ties would have devastating effects as they remain Nigeria's biggest trading partner. Minister of Foreign Affairs Yusuf Tuggar announced, “Nigeria has come of age to decide for itself who her partners should be and where they should be. Being multiple aligned is in our best interest. We need to belong to groups like BRICS, like the G-20, and all these others because if there’s a certain criteria, say the largest countries in terms of population and economy should belong, then why isn’t Nigeria part of it?”

Africa's most densely populated country aims to establish its leadership position on the continent after years of playing an ancillary role in global politics.

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