Hi! Welcome to Semafor Africa where Alexis Akwagyiram and I dig into some of the biggest stories around the continent twice a week.
I’ve been enjoying a couple of tweet threads by Semafor Africa friend Gyude Moore, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, in which he explains the need for African countries to develop a more focused foreign policy that serves their collective needs. In our Staff Picks below, another friend, the Kenyan development economist Ansetze Were, also tackles the idea that African countries need to prepare for the ongoing shifts in global alliances especially as China’s priorities change.
One of Gyude’s central arguments is that African leaders should have a clear focus on their own priorities rather than allowing their countries to be props in the battle between the great powers. “There are African interests unique and separate from Chinese pursuits or Western interests. There will be times when African interests will even run counter to theirs.”
This seems obvious to say but as a journalist in this space, constantly scouring for news and speaking to sources, you become acutely aware of how African coverage is very much focused on how the continent might serve the interests of other forces.
Fortunately people like Gyude, a former Liberian minister, Ansetze, or Claude Grunitzky, who is a modern African media pioneer (see our One Good Text) are helping to prioritize African voices.
In this issue we have a great piece of reporting by Samuel Getachew in Addis Ababa about the difficult balancing act the Ethiopian government is trying to achieve by exporting wheat to help it avoid running out of the forex it needs to keep the economy running. It’s a position several African governments have found themself in the post-pandemic era.
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