Global Alternatives 2024
Thinking Laterally: How to Create a More Inclusive World Order

We are living at a pivotal moment in history. For the first time in almost 500 years, the Western hegemony is being challenged militarily, economically, technologically and philosophically to a degree where the West could lose its dominance with the emergence of a truly multipolar world.

We are at a historical turning point, where the way in which our countries interact will determine the relationship for at least a century. 

EU foreign minister Josep Borrell once defined Europe as a garden of prosperity surrounded mainly by jungle. But what are the roots of this garden? The pain, blood, violence, murder and absolute exploitation of the peoples of the world, including Europeans; the extermination of populations, cultures and identities across continents for 500 years.

The systematic use of violence and mass murder was shared by all colonial powers. It was customary for the Belgian administration to cut off the hands of males for “insufficient yield” in the rubber harvest. Over the course of 23 years, Belgium caused the death of several million Congolese in order to accumulate more wealth. 

The French colonial system massacred hundreds of thousands of people in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Algeria, Madagascar, Cameroon and Senegal, but also in Martinique, New Caledonia and Guyana, in fact, practically all the territories under French domination were the site of massacres.

The United Kingdom invented concentration camps in Africa during the Boer War of Independence in South Africa; it used this technique again in Kenya while massacring between 100,000 and 300,000 people. Britain also caused the deaths of an estimated 165 million Indians through famines brought about by its colonial policies. 

The Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors wiped out entire civilizations.

This was done by a minority, originally from Western Europe, whose principle of action is the absolute predation on resources and humans; and whose primary motivation was and remains limitless greed.
Their philosophical approach is that of Machiavelli – divide and conquer.

What about us? Who are we? What about our philosophical approach? Why does it matter?
Who are we – some will say Russian, other will say Senegalese or Kenyan many will consider themselves Slavic African, but are we who we say we are? Does it even matter?

When I was about to start my PhD studies in the Soviet Union, I was asked to pass exams in the Russian language, mathematics and Marxist-Leninist philosophy. I could not comprehend the relevance of philosophy, as I was doing a PhD in Molecular Biology. At the time, it was explained to me that my approach to research data would be largely influenced by my philosophical beliefs. Several decades later, in Burkina Faso, I fully realised how true that clarification was.

While working with or for the pharmaceutical industry in the West, I was absolutely convinced that the solution for African healthcare was to embrace Western-based medicine with some adaptation to the African environment and therefore traditional African medicine was merely a transitional option on the path to “adjusted” Western-based medicine in Africa. 

To my astonishment, I came to realise that African medicine was not just pharmacopeia, but a fully-fledged medical system that needed to be developed for the benefit of not only Africa, but also humanity. For example, a solution to a key viral infection capable of starting a pandemic like hepatitis, HIV or Covid-19 was available.

Morality and Law
Pandemic, Inequality and Geopolitics
Andrés Serbin
The COVID-19 pandemic has probably caused the greatest economic, political and social damage to humanity since World War II. In fact, it will accelerate and deepen some of the pre-existing processes and trends and will confront us with new challenges and scenarios at the global level, the scope of which we barely glimpse.

Nevertheless, those cures, similarly to the Sputnik V or Epivac Ebola from Russia, never made to the international pharmaceutical markets, where they may have benefited populations around the world.
How come? 

Because in the Western-based economic mind-set, health is no more than a commodity, the pharmaceutical sector is an industry driven almost exclusively by profit, not by scientific achievements nor by socio-ethical rationales. 

Efficient and affordable medicines are considered a threat by Western “big pharma”, scientific and technological achievements by non-Western countries are perceived as disruptive to the Western narrative (Chinese goods are of inferior quality, Russian technology is backward, there is no such a thing as African innovation, etc.) and ultimately a menace to Western hegemony.

Today we are living at a pivotal moment in history. For the first time in almost 500 years, the Western hegemony is being challenged militarily, economically, technologically and philosophically to a degree where the West could lose its dominance with the emergence of a truly multipolar world.
This is the moment to reassess our beliefs – how much is it our beliefs and what have we been led to believe. We must reassess our knowledge of what is truly undisputed, regardless of ideological biases, to reassess ourselves – so that our mind is free from centuries of unproven/unchallenged Western dogmas.
The objective of such reassessment is not to negate the Western contribution to the human civilisation, but to uncover the limitation of that model; to take advantage of the factual achievements together with inputs and knowledge all around the word to create a wiser system that is more inclusive for the vast majority of humanity.

Africa has more to offer than just mineral resources.

Let us think differently. Let us think laterally!

Global Alternatives 2024
Information Technology for Africa: A New Threat of Colonisation or the Road to the Future?
On May 22, 2024, the Valdai Club hosted an expert discussion, titled “Advanced Information Technologies as a Driver of Socio-Economic Development for African Countries.” Oleg Barabanov, the moderator of the discussion, called the formation of a new economy based on knowledge one of the key priorities of modern development, adding that it was especially important for developing countries. Many African states have achieved significant success in this area, but a number of problems remain, particularly those related to inequality between the developed and developing world.
Club events
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.