Skip to comments.African Poverty: Today African Leadership is Africa’s Worst Enemy
Posted on 07/09/2005 6:41:59 AM PDT by Liz
There is a lot of talk right now about taking action to eradicate extreme poverty from Africa. This weekend a series of Live 8 concerts were held across the world to pressurise G8 leaders to do just that. Recently the G8 wiped out IMF and World Bank debts of 14 African countries...
The unfortunate thing about this is that attempts in the past to let Africa earn her way out of poverty have regrettably yielded disappointing results.
Africa, which has abundant human and natural resources, and more farmable land than anywhere else in the world, ought to be able to take care of herself without desperately depending on outside help. Yet she has received an estimated $1 trillion in foreign aid in the past 50 years.
So what is the problem that causes Africa to slide into deeper poverty when Asia and Latin America that used to be part of the Third World, have become richer since the past three decades?
Many people are quick to attribute Africas predicaments to colonialism and its ramifications. To some extent this is true. Colonial masters designed African economies to suit their needs and not those of the local people. For example main roads and railways were built to convey minerals and crops for export and not to develop the internal economies.
In addition, Africa was segmented into units with in some cases friends and allies separated and enemies placed in the same countries. This is the situation that now gives rise to most postcolonial tribal, civil and nation wars that do not only destroy existing economies but also discourage potential investors.
But then, colonial experience should not still be an obstacle to African development. Colonialism ended some three decades ago. More to that, not only African countries were colonised. In countries like India, New Zealand and Australia that were equally colonised and exploited, successive leaders have been able to fashion out of the colonial legacy, political and socio-economic structures that have ensured economic prosperity.
Today people point to trade imbalances as a reason why African countries especially those south of the Sahara are unable to get above the poverty level. This claim is supported by the fact that within the last 20 years, sub-Saharan African share of global trade has declined from 6 to 2 per cent.
This is however just part of the problem. Today, the main constraint to African recovery is the role of post-independent and contemporary African leadership. This crop of leaders do not seem to care about the situation of the continent were 30,000 children die everyday and while a further 100,000 do not go to school. For how can one justify the fact that even though African countries have been losing potential revenue because of unfair international trading systems and external debt service payments, greedy and visionless leaders still conspire with their cronies to steal and squander vast amounts of their countries wealth on misguided projects.
How can Africa develop when her elite does not only steal the countrys wealth but are unwilling to invest in their own countries. In corrupt societies in Asia, such as Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan the citizens still prosper because the corrupt elite keep their money at home. They invest in new mobile phone network, build private hospitals and tourist hotels.
On the contrary, in Africa corrupt leaders steal money from the system and make matters worst by extracting the money from their countries. Mobutu is reputed to have amassed a fortune equal to Zaires national debt. The rate of capital flight in Africa is more than in any other continent. It is estimated that $20 billion is taken out of Africa annually by corrupt regimes. According to President Olusegun Obasanjo, corrupt African leaders have stolen at least $140 billion from their countrys wealth since independence. And it is believed that 40 per cent of wealth created in Africa is invested overseas.
Even money used within the country is often spent on ceremonies, activities or goods and services that hardly benefit the economy or those in dire need of government assistance. Lavish palaces like Cameroons Unity Palace, fleet of cars and jet planes have become status symbols for African regimes.
Former Emperor Bokassa of Central African Republic for example, squandered over $20 million of his countrys wealth on worthless and unpopular coronation. King Mswati III has spent £8 million on palaces for his 13 wives, £500,000 on eight Mercedes cars with gold-plated numbers, and £330,000 on his 36th birthday while 700,000 of his people live in poverty.
Recently the Cameroon government spent over FCFA30 billion of the countrys money on a new presidential plane even though Cameroon Postal Service customers are currently being owed over FCFA 54 billion of their savings, and several teachers recruited by government have had no salary for a year.
African leaders are not only motivated by greed for wealth, but also by power to crush their opponents. This explains why in many sub-Saharan African countries annual military expenditure increase by about 14 per cent when its economic growth increase only by about 1 per cent. More than $15 is spent annually by the region on arms that bring nothing in return but destruction of the economy and refugee crises.
Another reason why African economies have failed to take off is that African leaders have failed to create institutions and systems that would enable their citizens to develop. In some instances they even destroy or abandon existing ones especially if such structures do not happen to be in the region of preference.
In Cameroon for example, successive regimes have misappropriated Southern Cameroons financial and economic structures that formed the lifeline of the region.
Cameroon Bank Ltd for example, which was established by Southern Cameroons, in 1972 came under the Ministry of Finance and subsequently collapsed as a result of bad management and large sums granted out without security. By the time of its closure it was being owed FCFA 30 billion.
Produce Marketing Board Reserves accumulated in Southern Cameroons from the sales of farmers produce and kept for price stabilisation by Produce Marketing Board, was confiscated and transferred to Yaounde and misappropriated while Southern Cameroons farmers for whom the money was being saved were left destitute
Victoria and Tiko, are good examples of towns affected by this policy of exclusion. Victoria deep-sea port and Tiko wharf operated efficiently and were used to export CDC produce abroad. But after unification both were closed down. Even look at what has happened to Nkongsamba that used to be the third cosmopolitan town in Cameroon after Yaounde and Douala. Today the town that used to bustle with agricultural entrepreneurs, is nothing but a shadow of her old self.
Any long-term solution to African poverty depends more on a change of attitude and the creation of the right environment by African leaders, than on debt cancellation, aid and fair trade. These external factors will no doubt generate essential revenues for African nations. But there is no guarantee at the moment that if things do not change corrupt regimes will not end up recycling some of the funds back into their private accounts overseas instead of investing all of it on education, health care systems or communication infrastructure and transport network.
What Africa needs is committed leadership. The New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) created by African leaders to take care of African failings can only succeed if these leaders actually decide to put in place acceptable practices of good governance, accountability and transparency towards their own citizens and the world.
NEPAD is seeking $64 billion from the West in investments, but if they (African leaders) are committed to helping Africa, they leaders can start investing their own wealth- legitimate or not- at home, and also by reducing the amount spent on arms and military to fight wars or crush opponents.
African countries especially those south of the Sahara are not destined to remain poor. Botswanas success story is there for all to see and copy. Today Botswana has succeeded in managing its diamond revenues to the extent that she now has reserves instead of debt like all others nations in the region.
BOKASSA IN CROWN AND ROBES.
BOKASSA ON GILDED EAGLE THRONE
These people are just hopeless....Totally unable to sustain the civilization that western colonialism built for them.
In a hundred years the land will be the way it was in 1500.
What Africa needs is more concerts, songs, and love-ins by old tired crappy rockers. That will "cure" poverty.
The last people the west is going to listen to is what little brain trust is left in aftica - even a 2 time Nobel prize winner in economics from Kenya says STOP! - Arfica is being killed with aid.
LOL! Guilty white liberals come up with the most worthless solutions but they all "feel" better about it.
It's unfortunate but true. Colonization appears to be the only effective answer for some of these countries.
Send money to line the pockets of dictators makes a lot of sense.
i had a college graduate school friend from nigeria. he was royalty, of the ibo tribe, and educated by the british schools. he wanted to work in the nigerian government.
he had zero concern about anyone but himself. period.
the leaders of those countries have no concern for the poor. donated money ends up in swiss bank accounts.
monies donated to africa should be administered through independent charities, not the africans themselves.
Do you remember the economist's name? I read an interview over at Midwest Conservative Journal with a Kenyan who was begging that Western aid be stopped. He also brought up the point that AID's numbers in Kenya are very distorted. But I do not remember his name. It started with an S.
It seems that all of those cultures who never get past the "tribal" stage are stunted. They don't create anything, are not builders, don't take care of their poor, their women & kids...They stay like big children (bad children)and cannot govern themselves. Those Judeo-Christian based societies, on the other hand...
First of all, there is no poverty in Africa. The African condition is pretty much what it has been for eternity.
The problem in Africa is that a modicum of prosperity has occurred in a very limited manner. The disparity between some prosperity and the benchmark results in the appearance of poverty.
To achieve uniform prosperity as exists elsewhere there must be some return to colonialism and the reintroduction of adherance to freedom and law.
You can add Haiti to that list.
The link to the English translation:
Isn't this article talking about Black-on-Black crime? Sound familiar?
A few years ago I heard this joke. This is from memory and may not be as funny as it should be.
Two sons of prominent leaders, one from africa and one from asia, attended school together in the US. They became friends, and years latter the one from Asia went to visit the one from Africa.
The one from africa says "I hear you are doing very well"
The asian replies "yes, I am a multimillionaire".
"how did you do that ?" the african asks.
The asian holds up a picture of a new bridge, highway and skyscraper and he says "you see this bridge, highway and skyscraper, I got 5% of that"
The asian asks his classmate, "how are you doing?"
The african answers "Oh I am a multibillionaire"
The asian asks "really, how did you do that ?"
The african points out the window to dirt road winding through a vast undeveloped jungle, and he says "you see that new bridge, highway and skyscraper, I got a 100% of that."
please read post 16
The article is in Der Speigel
it's a different culture. (/s)
Socialism NEEDS ghettos to cover the governments graft..
Socialism NEEDS "victims".. no big surprise here.. Socialist Euro parasites are setting up to BLEED Europe AND Africa again through Morons like Mugabe.. And the ghouls in Sudan.. the commies and other MOBS in South Africa and other places..
And Americas republican gov't is NOT innocent..
Thanks so much.
Heheh.......betcha there's a lot of "bridges, skyscrapers and highways" in the jungle, built with aid money secreted in a numbered Swiss account.
Human Nature--in all its glory, in all its stupidity and in all its all. Read it and understand the history of the human race.
It's astonishing to me to realize that most of human history is unwritten and unsaved. What we see today is likely close to what history has always been since time began.
" ... there must be some return to colonialism and the reintroduction of adherence to freedom and law."
Bert; "colonialism" and "freedom" are diametrically opposed. I presume what you meant was a return to a relatively competent form of government.
of possible interest:
(more of the same)
lol - good one. too true.
There's a sliding scale here. You can have personal freedom, especially economic freedom under colonial rule. You would not have freedom to change rulers. That's a step up from life in Zimbabwe right now, where all freedoms are being suppressed for much of the population.
Colonialism might not be a nice thing, but there are worse things. And Africa seems to have a taste for the worst.
The choice seems to be to either let them be, to live in the stone age, or to commit continental suicide, or to educate them to Western ways through colonialism.
We'll be considered the great satan, no matter what choice we take.
I believe our past policy was that we didn't care which choice the Africans took, as long as it wasn't to become another well armed outpost of our 1st world enemy, Russia at one point, and China now.
Without a religious basis (which should drive individual effort, not gov't effort), what possible motive does the USA government have to do anything in Africa, except protect our interests in not having the Chinese or Russians or Iranians build nuclear missle launch points or other military bases there?
Why did Bush agree to throw more money down this big black hole of waste? Vote constitution party before it is to late.
Strangely believe it the Movie "Coming To America" taught this theme. The great hope is the introduction of some new genes into the mix to bring salvation. Eddie Murphy realized what was needed and came to America for his bride.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.