By Fidel Amakye Owusu

1. The Hellenistic civilization that emerged from southeast Europe greatly influenced North Africa. The Roman empire and other political establishment in East Asia also influenced the continent.

2. Before that and even today, Africa also influenced these regions in different ways and at different times. The Egyptian and Berber civilizations were notable.

3. The geographical space occupied by Africa has been a major factor that enables these influences. Africa’s proximity to Europe and Asia has, therefore, been consequential. When any sneezes, Africa could catch a cold. In an interconnected world, events in many more regions affect Africa in significant ways.

4. And so what?

5. Despite the many conflicts and hotspots across the continent, many external conflicts also have ramifications for it.

6. What are these?

7. Firstly, the Ukraine conflict will continue to affect Africa in diverse ways. Since the invasion, the continent has paid the price for heavily relying on grains from the Black Sea corridor. This translated to food inflation with concomitant unrest in some countries. As the war enters a new phase of intensity, any mitigation of the grain problem in the short to medium term is unlikely.

8. Also, the war in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas and its potential to escalate and involve multiple states and actors is something to be watched by African states. Already, Houthi rebels backed by Iran are disrupting maritime traffic in the Red Sea. The region has many important African ports that will suffer from such disruptions.

9. Also, the militarization of the Red Sea area could lead to horizontal weapon proliferation which will intensify insecurity in the region. The proximity of volatile states like Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Somalia to the area should be a cause for concern.

10. Again, the situation in the Middle East and its tendency to affect global oil prices must be a real concern for African economies. This could put pressure on them and create socio-political problems. With many weak political systems, stability could be jeopardized.

11. Also, great power competition may affect Africa in unexpected ways in 2024. With global polarity becoming increasingly multi, Africa has become a turf for zero-sum scrambling. Worsening relations between global powers could mean more troubles for Africa.

12. Way forward?

13. With various challenges including heavy debts, instability and domestic clashes, African states do not need additional pressure from external events and actors. However, these are inevitable. Consequently, the state should define their interests and husband available resources to mitigate domestic challenges while fostering robust and win-win partnerships across the world.

By Fidel Amakye Owusu – International Relations and Security Analyst and Writer

Article Reproduced with Permission from Fidel Amakye Owusu

To view the original article by Fidel Amakye Owusu on LinkedIn visit here

We hope you enjoyed the article, there will be more regular weekly articles from Fidel Amakye Owusu coming soon.