Guinea’s coup and the message African leaders failed to catch

When the political upheaval in Guinea started, there was a worldwide concern regarding the fate of the world’s Aluminium Market. This concern was raised because the West African country partly holds the live-wire to the market as it is the world’s second-largest producer of Bauxite, the ore used in the production of Aluminium.

Indeed, the few days of disruption in Guinea affected the world market. There was a record high hike in the price of Aluminium since the advent of the military coup. Financial reports had it that prices for the metal increased a percent further to hit $2,776 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange market; a hike considered the highest since May 2011.

Virtually every headline was about Guinea and its resources; a good observation of the impact of that coup beyond the boundaries of Africa and the reaction of the world market amplifies the significance of Guinea, just a single African country to the world. Again, the same impact and panic reaction in the market exposed the gross ignorance and disservice of the African leadership to the continent.

Africa holds about 30 percent of the world’s mineral reserves. Statistics have it that, 40 percent of the World’s gold, 90 percent of chromium and platinum, 12 percent of the world’s oil reserves, eight percent of the world’s natural gas, 12 percent oil reserves, 65 percent of the world’s arable land and ten percent of the planet’s internal renewable freshwater sources can be found in Africa.

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Unfortunately, the leadership of the continent (with exception of few) has failed at all levels to leverage on these resources to change the story of the continent. These leaders, mostly power-drunk and greed-infested, prefer to grandstand in individual glories just to end up mortgaging these resources to foreigners at ridiculous rates with killer terms, crippling future generations.

The big question is: If Guinea can singlehandedly hold the world’s market to a standstill, what becomes of the narrative if African countries unite and build a stronger bargaining power to control their resources? What becomes the narrative if all 54 African countries decide to push industrial revolution with a united front to process their resources instead of selling at raw value?

One message African leaders may have missed or are probably passive about is the fact that Africa’s disunity is a multi-million business operated by masterclass gurus tasked to ensure that, the boundaries, both visible and invisible which divides the continent remains intact to prevent a control over such resources; the success of which reduced African leaders to beggars instead of powerful owners of resources who should be directing affairs on the negotiation table. Unfortunately, these same leaders play a part to aid this agenda. What is the way forward?

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