During a recent visit to West Africa, Rwandan President Paul Kagame declared that Russia has the right to be anywhere in Africa. Kagame also accused Western nations of dragging Africa into its political messes.
His words echo the sentiments of many African nations. Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, the original BRICS countries, control about a third of the world’s total economy. Adding a dozen or more members will create a concrete multipolar world the United States and its Western allies must cooperate with rather than compete against. Also, it seems likely that the U.S. Dollar will cease to be the universal international trade currency soon. The creation of a BRICS currency will be one of the main topics when the BRICS meetup occurs in Johannesburg in August.
Two so-far unnamed East African countries finish off the list of 19 nations wanting entry to the group. Rwanda and Ethiopia could likely be the unknown candidates for what would end up being the most important economic force in the world. Furthermore, deepening military and economic ties between Russia, South Africa, China, Iran, and India signals a paradigm shift in the world order. But the massive change is indicated more strongly if one reads between the lines (economic news). So, let’s briefly look at a focal point few analysts mention, the East Africa Exchange (EAX) and its critical leadership.
The EAX is a privately funded regional agricultural commodities exchange launched in Kigali, Rwanda, back in July 2014. The stated objective of the exchange is to facilitate farmers and producers of agricultural produce to obtain fair prices and accessibility to funding. The EAX now operates in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. On a special note, a map of the China New Silk Road initiative reveals these nations as part of a direct connection to South Africa. This, and other factors, can only lead us to one conclusion.
As a final underlying indicator, the current world order is on the way out. Let’s look at the attitudes of the leadership of EAX. The reader will find interesting the neutral position, which would have certainly, at one point, been heavily tilted away from Russia and China and toward the Western powers. First, let’s look at
Ayodeji Balogun, CEO of AFEX, founded the East African commodity exchange – EAX. In an interview recently, Balogun talked about the polarization shift:
“I think that capital will continue to become more globalized, but delivery will become more localized due to these events. International companies will redefine their supply chain strategies around local alliances that will work for the next 10 to 15 years. I think there are huge opportunities across the continent for those who can work with them.”
Now let’s look at the most significant stakeholders in EAX in order of their controlling interest level. The most prominent investors in the exchange are Heirs Holdings (Tony O. Elumelu), Berggruen Holdings (Nicolas Berggruen), 50 Ventures Inc. (Jendayi E. Frazer), and Ngali Holdings Limited (Jean RUTAYISIRE MUSONI).
Tony Elumelu is one of the most influential figures in African politics and business. In 2020, he made Time‘s list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and today the Nigerian economist and philanthropist has a controlling interest in Transnational Corporation, a diversified conglomerate with business interests in Power, Hospitality, and Energy. He recently commented on Fox Business on the impact of the Ukraine-Russia conflict on Aftica food security, saying:
“The impact of the war on food again was serious and all that is actually a cause for concern on the continent. We’ll pray that they will find peace quickly. However, this also presented an opportunity. The African Development Bank, led by Akin Adesina, just two days ago, announced a multi-billion dollar deal to help African countries to capacitate and increase the ability to grow foods in the country, on the continent. So, these are things happening, so I dare say, at times, some crisis presents some opportunity.”
Nicholas Berggruen is an American/German billionaire investor 21st Century Council, the Council for the Future of Europe, who’s chairman of the Berggruen Institute, which addresses fundamental political and cultural questions in our rapidly changing world. He is also the co-author with Nathan Gardels of “Renovating Democracy: Governing in the Age of Globalization and Digital Capitalism.” A Tweet from the visionary reveals the truth of the current state of the economic and geopolitical world:
“Global inspiration & cooperation imploded over the last years. With the centrifugal force gone, everyone retreats to straightening their home. The affirmation of regional cultural & political powers is creating a multipolar world headed each by the US, EU, China, India & Russia.”
Jendayi Frazier is the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during the George W. Bush administration and a member of the Atlantic Council. She’s vehemently anti-Trump but pragmatic and prudent concerning her network power base, the elites of the West order. However, she’s also the “plant” inside a crucial African entity with the power to really change the game. Like George Soros and other key manipulators, Frazier’s directive is to influence minds and society in the region through her 50 Ventures and entities like the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
Jean RUTAYISIRE MUSONI is an independent Consultant and Researcher (African Economic Research Consortium), but his most essential efforts revolve around Ngali Energy and Ngali Mining. These companies are linked to the Belt and Road Cooperation via several steps. Manufacturers in China depend heavily on gemstones, minerals, and technologies from Ngali Mining. As for MUSONI’s stance on the coming multipolar shift, like most wise investment types in Africa, he’s currently playing the middle of the road.
Finally, as you can see, powerful forces underneath the high-profile corporate, governmental, or billionaire elite are at work preparing for what’s inevitable. The current Washington take may be “all-in” for making short-term billions for American companies. Still, in the end, those same companies will face the immovable reality that the world is fed up with the American form of capitalism. Several people mentioned are working to recreate the consensus on this and to transform world economics for the 21st century. I feel that very soon – unless Biden and his NATO army cause WWIII, we will see great strides made toward a world system that is holistic and all-inclusive.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.