Opinion: Africa and foreign influence
States’ national interests are not limited to their territory or neighborhood. Good economic, foreign and security policy is based on identifying national interests and consequently cultivating spheres of interest, to different degrees and varying levels of priority. Regional and global powers will establish spheres where they can exercise influence. This influence can be used in the short term, mainly to the advantage of the influencing power, or to develop a long-term zone of interest to the countries’ mutual benefit.
Areas where political structures are fragile (regardless of whether they are democratic or autocratic) because they have not been adapted to the local culture or societal needs are especially prone to dependence on or intervention by foreign powers. This intervention can be economic, political or come in the form of soft power.
Sub-Saharan Africa is especially prone to foreign influence, which has overwhelmingly shaped its politics, economics and even culture. There is a long history of this intervention.