The independence of African countries in the 1960s might suggest that colonialism is over, but some Western economies have remained tied to Africa’s cheap natural resources even after independence.

Western countries have a vital need for cheap African strategic minerals such as oil, uranium, gold, bauxite, rare metals, etc. Uranium mining in Niger fuels a large number of nuclear power plants in the West and around the world. Rare metals from Congo (DRC) are used to manufacture telecommunications components—Nigeria’s oil resources supply hydrocarbons to the world market.

A paradox remains today: Several resource-poor Western countries are among the richest and most developed, while several resource-rich African countries remain impoverished and struggle to develop.

Africa’s riches have been coveted by Western elites for centuries. Consider the Berlin Conference of 1884, where European countries sat around a table to divide up Africa, with rulers drawing the borders we still see in several African countries today.

Despite the advent of independence in Africa, Western colonial elites never relinquished the continent’s fabulous wealth but had to find new ways to extract it. These methods are called neocolonialism.

Neo-colonialism aims to keep Africa impoverished and divided to continue to extract its wealth cheaply. The tools of neo-colonialism are many.

For example, dozens of NATO military bases have been established on African soil to monitor and protect the flow of cheap natural resources.

Popular movements and African personalities opposed to neo-colonialism have often been neutralized. The list is long.

One way to impoverish Africa is to control its economy. Some fifteen francophone countries have no currency of their own. They use a currency managed by Western financial institutions, the CFA franc.

African countries are encouraged to go into debt to the World Bank and the IMF, often with the complicity of the African elites themselves, who play the neo-colonial game out of self-interest at the expense of their people. Once indebted, countries become easy prey to the pressure for cheap natural resources.

One of the curious conditions imposed by the IMF’s structural adjustment was to reduce the size of African armies, leaving them unable to defend their countries.

In 2008, when Libya proposed the creation of a pan-African bank to free Africa from its systemic debt to the West, the project’s initiator and Libyan leader was assassinated in a NATO operation carried out outside the law and without a UN resolution.

On that occasion, Libya was infiltrated by terrorist groups with training, equipment, and military intelligence similar to those of NATO countries. Subsequently, the terrorist infiltration went beyond Libya’s borders and spread to the Sahel.

For years, some African countries rich in natural resources have been affected by incursions by terrorist groups of indeterminate origin, who commit serious crimes against defenseless populations in areas adjacent to the sources of cheap natural resources extracted outside the institutional control of African states.

Organisations such as the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) do not challenge the neo-colonial model. They are suspected of complicity and are being questioned by growing sectors of the population, especially the youth. African leaders under neo-colonial influence who do not respond to the interests of their people are also being questioned.

The most popular media in Africa are Western media groups for whom liberation from neo-colonialism is not a priority. But the increasing access of African students to education and information is raising awareness and making media manipulation more difficult.

In response to the continuing terrorist attacks, three Sahelian countries have decided to take the initiative. The military leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, backed by broad popular support, temporarily seized power to restore security and sovereignty in their respective countries.

Together they have created the AES (Alliance of Sahel States), a mutual defense and economic integration arrangement that could soon lead to a federation.

The AES countries have demanded that NATO military bases leave their territory. In Niger, the largest US drone base in Africa will be relocated. In Mali, French bases will close in 2024.

Following the closure of foreign military bases, Sahelian populations fear retaliation, revenge, and destabilization by NATO. There have been coup attempts against the leaders of the transition in the ESA countries, the President of Mali, Colonel Assimi Goïta, the President of Burkina Faso, Captain Ibrahima Traore, and the President of Niger, General Abdourahamane Tchiani. They all survived thanks to the people’s understanding of the risks and the physical protection of their emancipatory leaders.

Pan-Africanist networks active in Africa and around the world play a key role in mobilizing the African people. They are individuals, movements, media, and institutions committed to the liberation of African peoples. Pan-Africanism defines positions and concrete actions on issues of cultural, military, financial, mining, and technological sovereignty.

Today, Africa tends to liberate itself, to shape itself as a region, and freely choose its destiny.

The West does not want to lose the cheap African resources it has enjoyed for centuries.