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Africa Could Contribute Significantly to an Emerging Global Order

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa showed shrewd statesmanship in discussing his unique role representing South Africa and Africa at the recent G7 summit in the UK. Media reports rightly highlighted his comments on the Covid-19 pandemic and whether adequate vaccines will be available. Less noticed was Ramaphosa’s skilful advocacy of Africa’s potential role in helping re-balance the emerging geostrategic struggles between the wealthy democracies, represented by the G7 and European Union, and the leading authoritarian powers of China and Russia. Ramaphosa was asked whether he had concerns that announcements of major US investments in African infrastructure “is not a way to push back at China?” Anyone reading credible US media reports could conclude it is. But Ramaphosa has a different agenda, one that might actually support a broader strategy of “peaceful co-existence” among the major powers and their allies. “We are a continent of many countries with huge deficits regarding infrastructure” he replied, adding: “no single partner in the world can do it alone. So, we want partner-type investments. We are open for business and for investment. We welcome those who come, on good terms of course.”