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Africa, the least developed of continents, has in recent times become a hub of increasing geo-strategic schemes by some of the ―big guns‖ in contemporary global politics –notably the United States of America and its allies, who seemingly are regarded as the conventional overlords of the region, the BRIC states- Brazil, Russia, India, China, and some other emerging countries from Asia. This neo-relationship which is characterized by socio-economic and politico-military interests, though regarded in certain quarters and existing literature as a symbiotic one, is gradually, as events unfold, assuming a predatory and highly asymmetrical relation. It is important to note that the neo-scramble is riddled with interests that are beyond Africa, which as events occur, might hurt and/or limit the continent‘s aspirations, development and impair its security. Bringing it home, the activities of the major powers and the multinational corporations would have serious implications for the countries of Africa in general, and those of the Gulf of Guinea in particular. As such, Nigeria, which is the regarded sub-imperial power of the zone, would need to put serious measures in place, because it would bear most of the implications. Against this backdrop, the study has been used to explain the hidden transcripts of the relationships that subsist between the extra-regional powers that are presently traversing the continent and the countries of the Gulf of Guinea, particularly Nigeria; and thus revealing some dimensions of the relationships that might ensue between or among the extra-continental powers in a not-too-far-future. In doing this, the study adopts both primary and secondary sources of data gathering.




Extra-African presence and interests in Africa, and the Gulf of Guinea in particular, have presently assumed a more pronounced dimension in the 21st century. Really, the scramble for Africa, and indeed the Gulf of Guinea by extra-territorial powers is deeply rooted in earlier centuries starting from the 16thcentury, but the 21stcentury in particular holds the record for the largest ―rush‖ for Africa and her resources by the big-guns in international politics (Adesanya, 2004). Indeed the 20th century ushered in globalization, which obviously is serving the purposes of spreading development and deepening the linkages between or amongst peoples within the international system. Thus, the phenomenon has assisted in whittling barriers to communication between and among states. This development marked a watershed in state relations as international relations which was largely euro-centric (focused on Europe) in political, technological, cultural, and politico-diplomatic, as well as military gamuts to mention a few, began to adopt a more encompassing global structure to include other continents of the world. More than this is the fact that democracy proliferates within the global system, while the role of Multinational Corporations (MNCs) as tool to actualize the aspirations of the major power, assumed a robust dimension within the international system.

Beyond this however is the fact that the end of the cataclysmic event of the 2nd World War brought the Cold War, which served to bifurcate the world into East-West. This situation


led to the second scramble for Africa, between the ideological giants of the United States and the Soviet Union. The newly independent African states insisted on being non-aligned to either side, this however served the purpose of enticing both sides of the divide to woo them as new brides. As such, they –African units- were able to access some necessary funds and hardware. Given that Africa is festooned with a cornucopia of resources, particularly at a time when some of the major powers are in dire need, the continent has thus assumed the status of the epicentre of global scramble; even as the 21stcentury scramble becomes a currency that resonates in literature.

Flowing from the foregoing therefore is the notion that the neo-scramble for the continent is underpinned by desires for resources, and as such, the Gulf of Guinea that boasts of countries that are treasure trove, especially serious reserves of desired energy and mineral resources have assumed the status of the ‗mecca‘ of worship for the extra-territorial powers of the US, China, UK and France that consider themselves as the conventional overlords of the zone, India, Brazil, Japan, Russia, and Malaysia to mention a few. In view of this, existing literature has claimed that the countries of the region are going to enjoy serious in-flow of revenue that would assist them in not merely leaving the rank of poor states, but emerging as well to do ones. This claim, as events are presently showing, was made without giving serious considerations to the attendants that would come with the scramble.

To this end, the core of this study is divided into five chapters. The first chapter is an introduction to the study. It argues that more than the increased influx of funds into the countries of Africa and the Gulf of Guinea, the energy and mineral producing ones in particular, there are developmental and security challenges that might assume grave dimensions, particularly to Nigeria, which is the perceived regional power. These developmental and security concerns are the attendants of the 21st century scramble for the region by extra-territorial powers, which are


deepening both their presence and interests in the region in order to guarantee their oil and mineral supply, and equally seek markets for their manufactured goods. Chapter two is concerned with the framework of study, while chapter three presents the methodology explored in achieving the aims of the study. Chapter four serves the purpose of analysing the data gathered; and equally nuances the development and security challenges that Nigeria might contend with given the ongoing scramble for oil and mineral resources in the region by major global oil importers, especially those identified above. The last chapter draws out the major conclusion, summary of the study and recommendation.


The neo-scramble for Africa refers to the ‗mild‘ scuffle for African states by the industrialized world with the aim of establishing influence on the region as well as securing foreign policy interests of socio-economic and politico-military pedigree. It could also be viewed as all subsisting relations and interrelations regarding economy, politics, military, technology and socio-cultural aspects between the Global North and Africa arising in the 21st century in which the latter benefits on a lesser scale to the former.

The neo-scramble for Africa differs from the earlier epochs with new players on board, new geo-political relations, variegated strategies and inter-connected implications which all have impacts on Africa and the extra-African powers themselves. It is imperative to observe the role of globalization in shaping the structure of states relations today without totally deleting the ever present underlying factor of state security of national interest – a trait that has been present in


these relations from time immemorial. An event largely seen in existing literature as the closest origin of the current neo-scramble for Africa is the Cold War (1945 – 89) – forty five years of overall high- level tension and competition between the superpowers, but with no direct military conflict (Mingst, 1999).

For African states during and after the phase of de-colonization, the 20th century was largely defined by the activities of the two super powers of that era – the United States of America and the Defunct Soviet Union (cold war). These two belligerents, which individually held and still hold opposing ideologies on the politico-economic structure of the global system (capitalism for the U.S.A. and socialism for the Defunct Soviet Union), consciously and otherwise had states all over the world surrendering allegiances to either one of them for the strengthening their individual causes. These arrangements saw for the establishment of military international organizations armed with the objective of securing and protecting member states of either the capitalist or socialist blocs. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created by the U.S. and its allies while the WARSAW Pact was initiated by the Defunct Soviet Union. This bi-polarity was however punctured by the establishment of a third wheel to the duo; the Non-Aligned Movement (1955) – a movement of 115 members representing the interests and priorities of developing states of which some African states like Nigeria, Ghana, are members (the non-aligned movement: Description and history, n.d.). At this juncture the rational question that comes to mind is, of what significance is the event of the cold war to Africa as well as Nigeria‘s development and security? One factor that stands out as regards this question is seen in the violent dimension of the cold war.

Going by the afore stated definition of the cold war which includes the absence of direct military confrontation by the belligerents, one who isn‘t abreast of the details might conclude


that the period which is defined in some literature like Mingst (1999) as a period of ―long peace sustained by mutual deterrence‖ was actually free from violence, but this couldn‘t be farther from the truth. Proxy wars (surrogate wars being fought on behalf of the United States on one hand and the Defunct Soviet Union on the other) claimed the lives of thousand on African soil and this is not to talk of the wars in Asia, Latin America and the rest of the world; a notable example of such in Africa is the Angola civil war of the 1980s. Though there was no proxy war fought on Nigerian soil, Nigeria‘s foreign policy of non-alignment to any of the super powers and their allies was largely as a result of the cold war. This resulted in Nigeria receiving aids from both sides in a bid to win her over and as such Nigeria‘s claim of non-alignment has been criticized. Another factor to consider in answering the question is the evil that was apartheid rule

– the enforcement of racial hierarchy privileging whites in South Africa to the detriment of the native blacks (BBC archive Apartheid in South-Africa: Living under racial segregation and discrimination n.d.). Nigeria spent millions of naira in aids to support the movement for the eradication of apartheid.

Coming home, the British colonial economic policies in Nigeria during the hey-days of colonialism which discouraged indigenous industrialization impacted on the latter‘s ability to become more independent as Nigeria became a source of raw materials for the metropolis cites and factories in Britain (Adeyeri and Adejuwon 2012). Some 50 years later after gaining flag independence, Nigeria‘s dependence on Britain is still a reality and neo-colonialism as argued by the great Kwame Nkrumah has come to replace colonialism with a more refined approach.

There exist similarities as well as differences between the scramble for Africa prior to the 21st century and the neo-scramble for Africa. Some of the similarities are seen in the following;


1.      The scrambles, in both eras‘ have extra-African players engaging the region on the platform of separate identities. For example in the 21st century the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has virtually all its members vying for influence in the Gulf of Guinea thereby dividing the council into the U.S.A, Britain, France and its allies on one hand and on the other Moscow, Beijing and its allies (the two groups practice capitalism and communism respectively which is characteristic of the cold war);

2.      In both eras, the underlying factor of securing individual national interests remains an independent variable. Irrespective of the facade displayed for public view and the new strategies in play in the 21st century, the common deducible trait in state relations between Africa and extra-African players in both periods mentioned is that of securing national interest;

3.      The more significant expanse of the African continent remains glued to the status of third-world. This is a fact that was in existence prior to the neo-scramble and still has not changed in very recent times even with the continued economic relations between the two classes;

4.      The industrialized countries had and still have the upper hand over Africa in these relations as regards calling the shots and laying down the rules. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Paris Club and other financial institutions of the west continue are just some of the instruments used by the west to exploit the weaknesses of Africa. Attached to grants and aids offered by these institutions are stringent pay back clauses which have been discovered to further put Africa in a position of subservience;


5.      Africa‘s role, in terms of economic relations has not changed and neither has that of the west. In the two eras being considered, the role of extracting raw materials has remained the same for Africa while the west has maintained the duty of refining such materials into finished products and re-selling such back to Africa at exaggerated prices, the list is almost endless.

As regards the differences in scramble for Africa before the 21st century and afterwards we have;

1.      The21st century has witnesses the emergence of new players notably the BRIC states-Brazil, Russia, India, China, and some other Asian countries. These new players were also accompanied by new strategies, schemes, substance of interest, and so on. It is important to note that prior to the 21st century, most of these new players didn‘t have the wherewithal to expand their influence overseas to Africa;

2.      Energy resources, especially oil and other associated products have been put on a pedestal in the 21st century following the discovery of its importance during the heydays of both world wars and the cold war. These resources were discovered to be in abundant supply in Africa, as such in an attempt to avoid the crises-ridden middle east as well as the dictates of industrialized states that also harbour crude oil, these super powers have turned to Africa for a relatively cheaper and easier access to oil in the 21st century which was not exactly so in the preceding era;

3.      Africa in the period preceding the 21st century had most of its states under colonial subjugation up until the later part of the 20th century. The transition of former colonies in Africa to status of independent states has significantly changed the structure of relations

as regards Africa‘s participation in international politics, bearing in mind that political


sovereignty is a pre-requisite requirement for state induction into the international system;

4.      Following the end of the cold war in the early years of the 21st century, there has been an undeniable acceptance of capitalism in Africa as the preferred mode of production. This is a very significant difference in the sense that in the second half of the 20thcentury capitalism and communism were both being promulgated almost equally by the U.S. and the Defunct Soviet Union (ideological antagonism of the cold war).

The afore-mentioned are just some of the obvious differences in the scramble for Africa in the two eras. Suffice to say that the neo-scramble for Africa does not have these foreign states as well as multi-nationals and investors cordoning-off the acquisition of non-energy related resources, it has been discovered that the security of energy resources has been placed at the fore front of foreign policy objectives of the majority of these extra-African states.


The global economy is witnessing serious fluctuations with attendant spill-over, which is assuming a grave dimension in Africa, particularly the Gulf of Guinea. This is partly because of the widespread crises in/with which the Middle-East, which previously was the major supplier of crude oil to the global market, is embroiled. This is coupled with both the significance of the oil and gas resources and the impending scarcity of these resources; in addition to these were the Al Qaeda terror attacks September 11, 2001 on the U.S.; as well as the intensified search for natural resources necessary for furthering development.


Given the above, key global players, especially China and the United States – at a reduced rate presently, perhaps because of America‘s possession of large deposit of Shale oil-are increasingly casting their gazes on the oil-rich countries of Africa, especially those of the Gulf of Guinea; some other zones of the continent where they – extra-regional powers – could access the desired resources. Their interest, as earlier explained, is partly because of the need to securitize their energy and mineral resources supply; that is, to diversify their sources of energy supply away from the Middle East, which has continuously been a boiling cauldron of imbroglio, and to ensure that their companies do not witness the dearth of necessary resources. In this regard, Henry Ryan, the former Deputy under Secretary of Defence insisted that Africa … is emerging on the world scene as a strategic player…. (Mc Fate, 2008).

As such, the American government dispatched naval task force, comprising an aircraft carrier, a guided missile cruiser, two guided missile destroyers, an attack submarine and a supply ship to the Gulf of Guinea (The Punch, 2004, 6) to conduct military exercises in that ‗ungoverned‘ part of Africa. Since then, key government officials in Washington restated the importance of the GoG (and the rest of Africa) to U.S. energy and security calculations; for instance, Walter Kansteiner III erstwhile U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa opined that: African oil is critical to the U.S., and it will increase and become more important as we go forward (Obi, 2008, 38; Traub-Merz & Yates, 2004, 7). Also, the Chinese government and some other Asian governments, India for instance, have deepened their investments in the region through a wide range of commercial deals such as the Chinese $2 billion loan [in 2003] to Angola for secured supply of 10,000 [barrels] of Angolan crude per day. Presently, China‘s state-owned national oil companies and those from India are active in prospecting for oil with a mandate to meet some portions of their countries crude oil requirements. Aside from the U.S.

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