The Department of Foreign Affairs has announced that the Tánaiste Micheál Martin, beginning on the 17th of July, will visit Mozambique and South Africa in a week-long diplomatic visit.
The apparent reason for the visit is to bolster the bilateral relationships between Ireland and its African partners. However, given that Mozambique and South Africa are key targets for Irish international aid, Martin’s visit amounts to a mere check-up on Ireland’s humanitarian policies, and a diplomatic formality.
Why is one of the most prominent politicians in Ireland gallivanting around the Global South, touring failed states south of the Zambezi, when his own country appears ever closer to becoming a failed state in its own right?
In a DFA briefing on the Tanaiste’s visit, Martin included, in his own words, a statement of purpose for the visit:
“As I travel to South Africa and Mozambique, I look forward to building on our excellent relations with both countries, particularly with respect to our political, economic and development relations. South Africa is one of our key partners in Africa, a significant market for Irish exports and home to the largest Irish diaspora on the continent.”
“Mozambique is a close partner where Ireland’s second largest bilateral international development programme is focused. While there, I look forward to witnessing first-hand the positive and sustainable difference that Ireland is making to the lives of people in Mozambique.”
“This visit holds special significance for a number of reasons. I look forward to marking Mandela Day in South Africa on 18 July, where I will be participating in 67 minutes of service at a community centre, in the company of Foreign Minister Pandor, in commemoration of the 67 years Nelson Mandela spent working for social justice in South Africa. In Mozambique, I am particularly looking forward to my visit to the Province of Inhambane, where Ireland has had an active presence on the ground for over 25 years.”
In 2006, Martin previously headed a trade mission to South Africa as the then Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. The results of that visit saw the signature of a measly €2 million contract between the Irish company BMA GeoServices and the South African exploration company NuCoal, to provide legal and environmental management services.
Of course, the state is unlikely to sign any meaningful contracts beneficial to the Irish economy, and the trip is simple virtue signalling at taxpayer expense celebrating funding corruption regime’s at taxpayer expense. It would be foolish to funnel any more money to the corrupt ANC-led South African state as it teeters close to the brink of collapse.
Martin’s visit serves to reiterate Ireland’s commitment to fund ailing African states. Though not alone in its folly, the Free State “punches above its weight” in wasting its money on international aid programmes to Africa which have proven to only aggravate domestic issues on both the African and European continents.