Africa as a Priority Direction of Ukrainian Foreign Policy

  • Post category:Issue XXII

Oleksandr Mishyn
PhD in Political Science, Co-founder of the Center for African Studies, Assistant Professor, Department of International Regional Studies, Institute of International Relations, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
ORCID: 0000-0003-3530-1973

DOI: 10.37837/2707-7683-2021-33

Abstract. The article addresses the problem of the African region’s place in the system of Ukrainian foreign policy priorities. For a long time, African countries have been neither the focus of attention for the Ukrainian political authorities nor a subject of substantial research on the part of the national academic and scholarly community. Therefore, the unexplored topic of Africa as a Ukrainian foreign policy priority contains fundamental elements of scientific novelty itself. The continent with a large population and a considerable resource potential remained deeply marginalised in the Ukrainian diplomatic activity practically during the entire period of Ukraine’s independent development. In order to find out the origins of the abovementioned state of affairs, the author formulates a research question in the following way: How is the African space positioned in the state documents of strategic character? Accordingly, the article draws preliminary conclusions on the evolution of views concerning Ukraine’s interaction with African states and traces a way from a total disregard to the attempt to integrate even peripheral African states into the modern national strategy of Ukraine’s foreign policy, which is also being revised.
Given the abovementioned, the exploration of the reasons of radical change in attitude towards the region in the period of the Russian-Ukrainian war and the COVID-19 pandemic is all the more interesting. The author seeks to thoroughly determine the correlation of internal and external imperatives that influence the rethinking of the perception of Africa and increase its weight in the hierarchy of Ukraine’s national interests. Besides, a comprehensive examination of the institutional basis and resourcing of the foreign policy course is presented in the article. Also ascertained are the notable reasons to consider Africa the priority vector of diplomatic efforts. All of this is necessary to provide a body of evidence to explain the motive of Ukraine’s higher authorities to intensify activities exactly towards Africa. Consequently, the author draws a conclusion about the primacy of economization in Ukraine-Africa relations. The final part of the article explains such a strategy of behaviour and presents its advantages and disadvantages.
Keywords: Ukraine, Africa, foreign policy strategy, economisation, diplomacy, COVID-19.

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