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By Philip Muehlenbeck

This ebook explores Czechoslovakia's diplomatic family members with African states and locations them inside a much broader chilly battle historiography, supplying contextual heritage details at the evolution of communist Czechoslovakia's pro-Soviet overseas coverage orientation. This shift in Soviet international coverage made Africa a concern for the Soviet bloc.

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At first, Somalia rejected the Czechoslovak offer, citing a lack of resources and trained diplomats. 52 With Czechoslovakia’s economic opportunities in the country negligible, educational assistance became the basis of its relationship with Somalia. In December 1960, Somalia’s minister of education, Garad Ali Garad Jama, visited Prague and signed several education agreements with the Czechoslovak government. Czechoslovakia agreed to send experts RELATIONS WITH CONSERVATIVE AFRICAN STATES 194562 29 to help in the development of the new country’s education curriculum.

Rather than being discouraged by the rarity of footwear in Africa, he saw a huge opportunity of an unfilled market. By 1929, Bata was the world’s leading footwear exporter, and on the eve of World War II, the company had over 100,000 employees, and its shoes were being sold all over the world, but especially in Africa. The company set up several factories on the continent, as its inexpensive footwear was perfect for the African market, and Bata soon became known as the “shoes of Africa” and was perhaps the most recognizable brand name of any product in Africa.

Historians Jan Zidek and Karel Sieber could find no record of Czechoslovakia providing any financial or material support to the PAI until the mid-1960s. 84 The Ivory Coast, under the leadership of Felix Houphouët-Boigny, was the state in Francophone Africa that was the most loyal to Paris, and as a result, the most hostile to the Soviet bloc. Houphouët-Boigny had ironically begun his political career as a communist, but after a falling out with the French Communist Party in 1950, he became staunchly anticommunist.

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