Nobody takes Justin Trudeau seriously when he has to travel abroad. He always gives the impression of playing one of the two Dupont and Dupond in Tintin. Fortunately, his minister of foreign Affairs is more turned on than him. Nevertheless, Canada has a serious slope to climb back up in Africa.
Justin Trudeau has already made three visits to Africa, and several of his ministers have also visited the continent. But the announcement sudden this trip in Africa shows a way too obvious that he is especially interested in the votes of african countries for the candidacy of Canada to the security Council of the UN. Canada has no strategy strong towards Africa. This trip smells like opportunism, and almost contempt.
1. How the Trudeau government can encourage african leaders to vote in its favour ?
The canadian government has a big lever, the one of money. The other levers are traditional in Canada are very weak. Previously, the canadian government had been cultivating its relationships in Africa through a network of embassies to be effective. Several embassies canadian in Africa were closed under the government of Stephen Harper. The latter was not concerned with Africa. The damage of these years of neglect are slow to repair. The previous minister of foreign Affairs, Christia Freeland, was too obsessed by the United States and by Ukraine to give Africa the place it deserved.
2. The situation promises to be-she so bad for Canada ?
For a long time, one of Canada’s strengths has been to present themselves as a power, not colonized, the opposite of the european countries. But the argument plays less against Ireland and Norway, both competitors of Canada for the seat on the security Council. Worse, the proximity of Canada and the United States, which was once seen as an advantage, has become much less attractive since Donald Trump is in power.
3. Who is the main player in Africa ?
China became the most influential countries in Africa. Between 2008 and 2018, the direct investment from China into Africa rose from us $ 8 billion to $ 42 billion. France lagging behind in second place with $ 27 billion of investment. China claims that the african countries are more receptive to their investments because it was previously a third-world country, like them. His understanding of the needs and techniques of construction, therefore, would be well adapted to african countries. But the real strength of China lies in its power of corruption. The chinese companies do not hesitate to sprinkle money for african policy makers. Canadian companies do not have this luxury. Given the poor state of relations between Beijing and Ottawa, the chinese government will not hold up the little finger in favour of Canada. It is likely to help Ireland.
4. Why Africa, is it important for Canada ?
African countries represent more than 25 % of the votes at the UN. Africa is in the midst of population and economic growth. Its natural resources are still untapped in terms of their potential. For Quebec, the strong French-speaking population that lives there is a mutual benefit.
5. The journey of Justin Trudeau in Africa is it in vain ?
It is probably vain if Canada’s only support for its security Council bid. It could be productive if Canada had a real long-term policy towards Africa, which would require a new foreign policy.