A prominent American politician, businesswoman and philanthropist Alycia M. Barnard envisages a radical reshaping of the United State foreign policy to fuel accelerated growth of the economies of developing countries to stamp out growing influence, domination and security threats posed by China and Russia, especially in Africa.
The standout vision in the radical agenda is making Africa militarily capable of fending off foreign threats – particularly from China, Russia and Middle East, which if successful, will result in “a proper society” 20 years from the present.
Speaking to Tell from her home in Florida, USA, Republican presidential aspirant Alycia M. Barnard pinpointed flaws in the current US foreign policy that China and Russia have consistently exploited to elbow the US out of Africa, Middle East and Asia.
Ms Barnard’s position is informed by United Nations agency, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reports that show Africa owns more than 65 per cent rainfed arable land, yet it has over the decades been the source of refugees going to Europe, the America or Canada as a result of proxy wars – an which they have no stake in – being fought on the continent Russia, China and their allies.
According to Barnard, Africa must “become an exporter [of industrial goods] and job creation in Africa is a must. [I want to] promote education and employment. Better technology. We need Communist China out of your country. We need Russian influence out of your country. America needs to become an exporter worldwide and job creation. We [America] need not fund the governments but the people.”
The war in Ukraine brought to the fore the security, peace and economic risks posed by Africa’s reliance on wheat from Russia and Ukraine, with more than 25 countries on the continent and the Middle East facing acute food shortages after the Moscow blocked Ukrainian food exports.
It is estimated that between 2018 and 2020, Africa imported wheat valued at $3.7 billion, which translates to 32 per cent of the continent’s total imports from Russia and an additional $1.4 billion or 12 per cent from Ukraine.
The data does not include fertiliser imports, needed in the production of other staples like maize (corn), sorghum, rice, potatoes, beans and vegetables. Barnard envisages an Africa, with 65 per cent of the world’s arable land, can source locally its own agricultural inputs.
The United Nations, the African Union and European Union have on a number of occasions separately and jointly accused China and Russia stoking many conflicts in Africa in their vicious scramble for the continent’s raw materials – especially minerals.
Data obtained from the United Nation Environmental Programme (UNEP), headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the continent holds has the world’s largest a huge proportion of natural resources. Ironically, its arable land, water, oil, natural gas, minerals, forests and wildlife cannot hoist the continent out of the clutches of extreme want.
Against the daunting backdrop, Barnard says, “America needs to pull out of the Middle East, period! [We can] allow Russia, China and North Korea to have it in the Middle East. That has been going on since the 1990s. I need to be strong on foreign policy. Firm. That’s why I registered to run for the first woman president in American history in 2024. I [may not] have the donors and influence as a big person in politics. We need to elect people that are not career politicians to get the job done with a worldwide view of the issues we have facing the globe.”
Barnard’s worldview resonates with many people in Africa who believe the stigma of war, hunger and abject poverty are by design by superpowers to appropriate the continent’s wealth cheaply. As a case in point, African human rights activists use the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – a country the size of western Europe – that owns more than 40 per cent of the world’s total mineral wealth. However, DRC is ranked among the world’s poorest nations, yet it produces the minerals that drive rapid growth of technology in the world. The country is also pivotal to climate change push as it hosts the world’s second largest rainforest to Brazil’s Amazon, yet its forest resources are being harvested wantonly by Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries to fund insurgency on the continent, while DRC’s wood accounts for China’s cheap timber exports.
UNEP says, “Africa is home to some 30 per cent of the world’s mineral reserves, eight per cent of the world’s natural gas and 12 per cent of the world’s oil reserves. The continent has 40 per cent of the world’s gold and up to 90 per cent of its chromium and platinum. The largest reserves of cobalt, diamonds, platinum and uranium in the world are in Africa. It holds 65 per cent of the world’s arable land and ten percent of the planet’s internal renewable fresh water source.”
Alycia Barnard blames Washington for the Russian and Chinese excesses in Africa. She argues that had the US brought Africa on board economically, the continent would not be the epicentre of humanitarian crises that call for intervention every so often.
“I’ve known this for a couple years. China and America need to stop so much business. We need to cut them off, no matter how entangled our countries are. We did it to Russia and cut them off our technology Visa, Master Card, American Express. They live on the intellectual property theft and American reliance is huge. If we sanctioned them for all their senseless wars and acts of violence against humanity. The horrific conditions of war camps, prisoners and the Uighur religion in China. If we banned Iran we can ban investment in American land. Allow poor people more education opportunities. Put private schools and magnet schools in every Latino, African American, White communities across our country. Allow room for more private education in our country. Get off the government ran system. Every child should have access to the same education in America,” she says.
The political firebrand has retained a number of consultants to help realign American foreign policy to be in consonance with Africa’s emerging geopolitical hurdles. During president Donald Trump reign in 2016-2020, Africa and Asia were relegated to the margins of US’s foreign, economic and political considerations. While his successor, President Joe Biden’ has tried to reconnect with Africa, the impact of his administration’s engagement is faint, which inclined Africa more and more towards China and Russia.
During these regimes – inherited from predecessors – Africa has been feeding American, Chinese. Russian and European war industries.
“Someone in Africa [has] to teach me what I need to know to do business in these countries. Advocate for new trade agreements from our countries. So we can open up business in Africa… The governments squander our money in corruption. We need to help the people… I’ll look into it in Kenya and America. How we bring business to Africa,” Alycia said in response….
She is vouching for an education curriculum that broadens African and American students’ world view in resonance with globalisation.
She explains, “We need to start somewhere and that’s with the destruction of education when and if managed properly by the government and government school-run system. Force the government into submission with new international big import/ export trade for their country and people. We force them to have an education system within six years in place for the whole country. We force them to start drilling gas. Your country (Kenya) is the richest untapped market in Africa in the world. We create jobs. We open call centres (to link people to opportunities).
“We demand a living wage that matches the best paid individuals for their industry. We demand clean drinking water for its people. If you think about it, America made the worst decisions under the Clinton administration’s Freudian slip. We made them a developed country. In less than 20 years we industrialised them and provided millions of jobs and millions of dollars in business. If we can do it in China, we can do it in Africa. We put a humane contract in the best interest aimed at the people not the government. The government can’t afford to turn down trillions of dollars in commerce.”
The Republican is also pushing for a radical change in how the US trades with Africa. Currently, Africa accesses American markets courtesy of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). This was a law enacted in 2000 to allow Sub-Saharan African countries to export goods to America. However, qualification for AGOA was tied to the rule of law, human rights and respect for core labour standards. The impact of the window provide by AGOA has not been felt because the continent’s manufacturing sector is still labour intensive, hence inefficient.
Information gleaned from the White House website shows the US facilitated over 800 two-way trade and investment deals in 47 African countries for some $18 billion, while the US private sector injected in Africa $8.6 billion. Goods and services traded with Africa were valued at $83.6 billion in 2021. However, African exports to the US were less than $1 billion – a yawning trade imbalance Alycia Barnard must be addressed urgently to lift Africa 1..5 billion population from unbroken cycle of donor-funding.
“We force them into submission. The kind way. Business is business. We the people come up with the contract – before I take office (I wish it were in 2022). But I strive to be the kindness and word of reason the world needs. We don’t have to worry about nuclear weapons with Africa but we do with China and Russia. They are unstable loose cannons. We don’t need to be supporting their missions and visions,” she outlines her agenda for Africa and the world in general.
She points out, “The plan in 2025 that China had for roads and bridge programs crippled those small countries. All opportunities for America to cash in on and reduce our debt responsibly and work harder as the people to generate wealth. America is supposed to be the beacon of the world. Freedom. A country rich and powerful and I got messages from a service member in Syria asking for food. Considered, we shouldn’t have boots on the ground in the Middle East. Operation bring our soldiers home. We need to treat our military better. We need to help Africa build its military up and maybe in twenty years you have a proper society. We educate all your people not just the people who can afford it. We demand a government run education strategy for Africa.”
A militarily weak Africa has often been reduced to a playground for foreign armies and a “laboratory” for testing new weapons. It is estimated that Russia and China alone have more than 100,000 soldiers and police officers. The number excludes private armies and mercenaries like Wagner Group that do the dirty work for foreign governments. Like Russia, the United States a presence on the continent in the form of Blackwater private army.
Barnard seems to support the creation of a unitary African governed by one constitution and uniform. United States of Africa is an idea that has been stalled by foreign interests, with the African Union lured and pulled in different – often incongruent – directions with ideological, economic and military interests at play.
“We demand the governments of Africa per its people’s command to create a constitution for their countries based on human rights. Rights for women. Education and birth control. Our American companies can get their share exporting medicines. Educating the African governments to create their own pharmacies, doctors of their own, and open new clinics in their countries for the sick and mentally ill,” Bernard lays out her vision.
- A Tell report