Project Description

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,..

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.

and China and other Asian countries, other countries such as France and Britain are already deeply involved in the continent, portions of which they regard as their traditional zone of influence. In several respects examined in the study, the growing activities of major extra-African powers in Africa portend several challenges for Nigeria and other countries of the continent. Granted this, extant literature has claimed that the 21st century scramble for Africa portends serious advantages to its units, particularly Nigeria, which presently is the largest economy on the continent. This claim, as realized, was made without proper regard for the serious disadvantageous appurtenances that evolve and/or are deepened by the neo-scramble for the continent.
In view of the above, the study makes a radical departure from existing literature by examining the background to and the broad dimensions of the 21st century scramble for the Africa. This is done through the examination of the existing interface between the historical experiences of oil-rich and mineral resources laden African countries and the factors that led to the neo-scramble for the continent. As such, the study seeks to explain the varying security threats that the domestic regional and international politics involved in the neo-scramble for the continent poses to Nigeria.
The specific objectives of the study are to:
1. probe the growing importance of Africa to regional and global security;
2. examine the myriad developmental and security issues relating to the international politics of natural resources in Africa; and to
3. analyze the implications of the complex developmental and security issues that are engendered by the convergence of extra-continental interests in the Africa for Nigeria.


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