Africa Notes: Soviet Assistance to Africa: The New Realities - May 1990
May 22, 1990
An epoch of Soviet assistance to Africa is drawing to a close. Moscow now faces mounting economic difficulties at home and is in reduced strategic competition with the West. The traditional priorities that shaped Soviet foreign aid policy throughout most of the postwar era are dissolving and new ones have not yet been established. Thus, it seem appropriate to assess past results in this area and to outline options for the future.
Soviet analysts speak of a "pause" in Soviet-African relations. Some even use the term "crisis of confidence" and explain Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze's visit to seven African states in March 1990 in terms of the need to overcome this crisis. These opinions are justified, but only for the short run. With old links weakening, new ones are being forged to replace them. Some of these new African links will arise from the opening up of the Soviet economy. Aid will inevitably follow trade.