By South Sudanese Foreign Minister Hon Mayiik Ayii Deng
South Sudan Foreign Minister stated during the US-Africa Summit that there are three eye-opening threads that, when considered together, indicate an inflection point in world history and a choice point for American policy on Africa.
The foreign minister stressed that the first two threads are the current crossroads in the American and African stories respectively, and the third is the prophetic relationship between these two components of world history. After the foreign minister discusses those threads in his paper, he concluded by sharing thoughts on how leaders at the US-Africa Summit, and the countries they represent, can leverage this moment to benefit Africa, America, and the world at large.
Hon Minister stressed that Since World War II (WWII), America has been the dominant global power. Spurred by finance, industry, democracy, media, and culture, America has defined modernity for many people worldwide. The American dream has spread to all corners of the earth, with millions of people aspiring to migrate to America in the hopes of gaining citizenship. Failing to make it to the United States physically, many people try to recreate the image of America in their countries of origin. On top of this soft power, America’s overwhelming military strength and access to much of the world’s natural resources complete this cocktail of endowments. These advantages largely explain why America has been the world’s greatest nation.
Finally, the foreign minister stated that Africa, too, is at a historical crossroads. Since WWII, we have decolonized politically with the establishment of sovereign African governments. Africans naturally embrace democracy as a reflection of our values. However, liberal democracy in Africa has failed to provide the economic freedom we need. Increasingly Africans perceive the Western world as neo-colonial and have reconsidered whether neoliberal policies serve our interests.