By LaKeshia N. Myers
It has been said that the continent of Africa is the only continent that could sustain itself. The continent is rich with natural resources—oil, diamonds, gold, cocoa, and rubber, but due to colonization, many of the countries on the continent lack the ability to become a major player in the global market.
When the United States rebuffed Russian fuel, I immediately thought, “We need to buy it from Nigeria.” According to Hanna Ziady of CNN, as Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria has 206 million people, endemic poverty and vast energy reserves that could be harnessed to fuel development (Ziady, 2021). Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer, with fossil fuels accounting for sixty percent of government revenue and ninety percent of foreign exchange earnings.
Therefore, I wonder why Nigeria has been largely ignored by the United States when it comes to interim negotiations for fuel. There is some speculation that Chinese investors may have a foothold in the Nigerian oil market, which may make leaders hesitant (because of China’s pro-Russian sentiments), but on a global scale, an American offer still wields power.
There is also the issue of transition—as the world deals with the Paris Climate Agreement and vows to cut carbon emissions in order to preserve the environment, countries like Nigeria are coming under huge pressure from developed countries to abandon fossil fuels and shift to renewable energy. I question how countries, such as those on the continent that are still reeling from the effects of colonization can afford to shutter operations that account for ninety percent of their gross domestic product (GDP). As we tackle the geopolitical relationship between the United States and the rest of the world, we need to understand that we have a responsibility to move into the twenty-first century with ease—using logic, responsibility, and foresight.
As we continue to navigate this process, I implore our federal government to realistically assess our foreign relationships. Build new alliances with the continent and continue to think outside the box on how we can safely and sustainably move into the future.