I read Loewen’s book Lies My Teacher Told Me years ago, and it was one of the pivotal texts that began the opening of my eyes. Like so many people of color who are over 45 and grew up in the US, I knew what life for us was all about, but this little book helped me see the role of indoctrination in the propagandist machine of US “history”. This RT editorial from its The Truthseeker program uses Loewen as its launching pad and moves it into the white fear that grips the politics of the right-wing in this country.
The Middle East and North Africa have been turned into an arc of instability all the way from Iraq and the Persian Gulf to Libya and Tunisia. Chaos and violence seem to be in almost every corner of the Arab World and the Middle East. The bloodletting does not seem to stop.
I went searching for a poster/photo to illustrate what I intended to write here and came across this on BING Images. This is a german poster from WWI. It says that the u.s. is destroying europe; (of course it does not mention the evil germany was perpetrating on that same continent). I like that the u.s. monster’s foot is a bomb, and that two bimbos riding on its shoulders are perfect illustrations of the decadent, celebrity/beauty/anti-intellectual obsessions that still define the country’s culture. Note that the u.s.’ leg is the “most beautiful leg”…u.s. arrogance and superlative delusion. A greedy capitalist grubbing his money hangs from one hand, while one arm is sheathed in prison stripes, seems appropriate since even today the u.s. enters into global conflicts to secure the ground for economic vultures and predatory capitalism, and imprisons more of its citizens for no good reason than any other country on earth. What is especially beautiful about this poster is the noose hanging from the prison-stiped arm, the klan hood on the monster’s head, and the imprisoned black people dancing the jitterbug, because those images illustrate the stereotyping and terror that characterized black life in the land that was “making the world safe for democracy”. Both the stereotyping and terror are on the rise again here and now it isn’t limited to black people.
The u.s.’ need to whine and fret over Russia’s refusal to extradite of the HERO Edward Snowden, while steadfastly refusing to extradite former Russian diplomat Kirill Alekseev, who’s wanted for treason, provocation and embezzlement. Since there is no extradiction treaty, and the u.s. is unwilling to return someone wanted for criminal offences to Russia, I do not see ANY ground upon which this country can stand. This is a double standard – something that characterizes the haughty attitude the u.s. refuses to check – which was so brilliantly illustrated by the comment made by barack obama when israel engaged on its murder in Gaza campaign of the last year: “no democratic country would put up with bombs dropping on its head” (paraphrase). This was so laughable because this is a man who has a murder list and bombs at least four countries on a regular basis, without except in the case of Yemen their permission. And certainly its client aparthied state isreal bombs not just the Palestinians, but Sudan and now Lebanon and Syria, adding to the misery in that nation which is in a state of civil war. Now that the use of chemical weapons is in play, of course the u.s. and its western henchstates immediately chose to blame Assad’s government for its use. The Syrian government say that they found chemical weapon components in tunnels they’ve captures from the rebels. It appeared earlier this year that the rebels were the ones who used chemical in the earlier attack we heard about, so why it be that the government is lying about this now. The answer is simple, it suits u.s.and israeli interests. A wise person should be VERY SKEPTICAL of the west’s assurances. Remember the Syrian government allowed UN chemical weapons inspectors in BEFORE this convenient last attack.
Note the title of the poster “LIBERATORS“. That is what the u.s. has fancied itself to be since WWI. It has carried on an over 50 year economic embargo on Cuba because that island nation had the nerve to reject unbridled capitalism, and confiscated the assets of the capitalists. NEVER GO AFTER CAPITALISTS; THE u.s. CANNOT ABIDE THAT. Unfortunately Cuba has survived and through necessity become a model of sustainability, environmentalism and now entrepreneurship. The u.s., who admitted just last week that it created the enmity that flows its way in Iran, by admitting once and for all its part in its overthrow of the democratically elected Mossedeh. The reason…securing english hegemony over Iran’s oil and gas. After the shashinshah’s deposal, and the u.s.’ continuing its attempts to undermine the Ayatollah the Iranian people rightly feared another u.s. sponsored coup, so they took hostages to send a message and help secure their transition from the shashinshah’s evil rule. Now Iran may get nuclear weapons, and thus the ability to defend its self from israel and the nation that Martin Luther King Jr. called the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world today”. I applaud them if they do. Why? It (again) is simple: If israel has nuclear weapons, then there needs to be a counterbalance elsewhere in the “Middle East”. The great warmongering hegemon and its little Frankenstein monsterette cannot let that happen, even though the Supreme Ayatollah says that nuclear weapons are non-islamic. Finally, I must bring the two other nations that the real “Evil Empire” is trying to destroy into this little sermon Zimbabwe and Eritrea. These are two African nations who are pursuing an Africa for Africans restructuring of their nations. I will not take sides concerning the criticisms of their people both in-country and in their respective diaspora, because I think they have legitimate right and standing to criticise their own government, and I have no such right to speak against either side concerning how their nations should go. Both Asfewerki and Mugabe have rejected economic colonialization, deference to white interests and neoliberalism. Like Cuba they are becoming places where a different, more indigenous way is making real progress. Seeing this Satan and his imps have gone to work. My grandmother used to say, “When the Lord starts blessing, the devil starts messing”. Using propagandistic press coverage and sanctions he certainly IS messing.
The two powers that are rising, and have the enough military power to stand up to the monster China and Russia find themselves the target of his containment and encircling campaign. I don’t think it will work, especially in the case of China. Economically China will be number one sooner rather than later, and the greedy insolvent u.s. needs Chinese money. Russia has oil and gas that the world’s over-developed nations need. Both nations have biological, chemical and nuclear weapons whose missiles can and would, if necessary, be used effectively on this country. Their formation with India, South Africa (a weapons exporter) and Brazil of the paradigm shifting BRICS partnership, is pushing the world toward multilateralism. Multinational organizations in Latin America that exclude the u.s. and Canada, the rise of Turkey and the sudden understanding of the need to be effective of the African Union are assisting in this push. They are more and more, along with the sanctioned nations of the paragraph just above, saying no and forming a barricade. I have great hope that they have taken to heart the scripture in the Bible which says “Resist the devil and he will flee from you”.
This link is to Aljazeera’s new three part series The French African Connection. Anyone interested in “francafrique” and what has become of that policy, which caused and financed coup d’etats in much of francophone Africa MUST watch this.
I’ve just finished an overly rigorous master’s degree in Global Leadership. My area of focus was on the BRICS and Africa. I’m going to post my second to last capstone paper here. This one is different from most of my other papers because I wrote what MY prescription for Africa was, based on my research and what I’d learned as a student one semester shy of graduating. Here is the title:
AFRICA THE OLD/NEW WORLD: The Author’s Suggestions for a Complete Paradigm Shift
I have to do so much more work on this to develop it into a much more substantial article, but at least this is the germ. (Also, you should treat every part of this paper as copyrighted material, and when copying from word into this format structure is lost.)
Wishing, in a spirit of good and mutual accord, to regulate the conditions most favorable to the development of trade and civilization in certain regions of Africa, and to assure to all nations the advantages of free navigation on the two chief rivers of Africa flowing into the Atlantic Ocean; … and concerned, at the same time, as to the means of furthering the moral and material well-being of the native populations; [italics mine] General Act of the Berlin Conference on West Africa, 26 February 1885
INTRODUCTION Africa has about one half of the world’s natural resources. Two of the continent’s nations – Egypt and Nigeria – were listed as among the “next eleven”, after the BRICS nations by Goldman Sachs, (the investment bank which first coined the term BRICS). China, India, Russia and Brazil have been investing aggressively in Africa. The European nations, which were once the colonial powers bent on “civilizing” and “furthering the moral well being” of the people on the continent have again turned toward Africa, along with nations of the Arabian Peninsula and Brunei. Why is this happening; why has Africa become so popular? The opening sentence is the reason. That is one of the main premises of this paper. AFRICA HAS HALF OF THE EARTH’S NATURAL RESOURCES, and the already developed world having largely overexploited its natural resources is greedy for more. This new scramble for Africa is different from the first scramble which began roughly around 1880 and lasted until about 1902, is different in that the military element that characterized the earlier land-grabs are not present. (The United States (US), has been through its AFRICOM initiative establishing military bases and partnerships on the continent, but there is no indication as of this writing that violent threats from the US has caused the host countries to accept these bases.) These resources and the disinclination of Africa’s fifty-four nations to accept a return to colonial domination gives them power and this paper is about that power. In this small thesis general problems on the continent, such as corruption in government, foreign aid, tribalism and lack of infrastructure will be assumed, but because of the power he perceives that the nations of Africa now have, the author will recommend a course of actions he believes will make good use of that power to the advantage of African nations and their people.
THE LOAN CULTURE
In a recent BBC interview bespoke tailor/fashion designer Ozwald Boateng said “The infrastructure really is what’s holding Africa back. The reality of it is that Africa’s not being able to take full advantage of its resources” (BBC, 2013). While IMF and World Bank loans have often been infrastructure loans, according to Boateng and other Africans these loans have often come with too many strings that aggravated already existing problems in the nations that received those loans. The dependence on the loan culture stifles indigenous business and allows African nations to be lazy about aggressive tax collection. As it pertains to IMF loans exacerbating existing problems, this year the country of Malawi has become a case in point. The IMF, under the leadership of Christine Lagarde, has returned to Malawi with its usual policy of structural adjustment, the conditions in this case involved ending subsidies on fuel and other commodities, and drastic devaluation of the kwacha, in a nation where half of the population live on less than a dollar a day. Elliot Ross a contributor to both the blog Africa Is A Country and The Guardian newspaper in London, wrote for the blog about the relationship Malawian president Joyce Banda’s predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika had with the IMF: After years of being frozen out by Bingu wa Mutharika’s administration, Joyce Banda has restored the IMF to the top table of Malawian policy-making and has pushed through a sweeping program of reforms at their behest, principally a massive devaluation of the kwacha and the removal of major subsidies on fuel and other commodities, all in the name of attracting foreign investment. The immediate prize was a three-year loan of $157 million. These funds had been withheld from the recalcitrant Mutharika, along with an $80 million credit facility, but were restored in June last year as a reward for Banda’s currency devaluation. Bloomberg News lays out just what has been the result. Banda after having devalued the kwacha by 30% against the dollar has found its value falling by an additional 29%, “making it the worst performing unit in Africa” (Bloomberg, 2013). Malawi’s main export curly tobacco, which is a low-grade product, will not garner enough foreign exchange to shore up the currency. Unemployment has risen and people are protesting. After the autocratic Mutharika people were euphoric about Banda. In an interview with Bloomberg, Simiso Velempini of Control Risks Group in England said, “Malawians had a lot of expectations when Banda became president but there hasn’t been significant economic improvement…She had considerable good will when she came to power but some has been lost” (Bloomberg, 2013). Aid in Tanzania has had a middling effect upon the plight of marginalized communities in country, and anti-poverty aid focused on the nation’s pastoral people is an example of this. Because hard targets have been met, in some cases, when numbers are used to assess success some donors see progress but others see the success as dubious. Tanzania, like other developing nations in Africa are attempting to meet the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, which call for a reduction in poverty and hunger of fifty percent by 2015. They have been using Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) to set goals and prioritize aid and private investment in target areas. In there article “Are current aid strategies marginalizing the already marginalized? Cases from Tanzania”, authors Eamonn Brehony and Jim Kinsella point out that the IMF and World Bank often find the stratagem employed to reach the goals set in these PRSPs to have great breath but little depth. Tanzania utilizing its Vision 2015 framework, part of its National Development Vision engaged civil society, the business sector and, of course, government to try to tackle poverty in areas outside of metropolitan areas. All the right people were contacted but not everyone’s voice was heard. Brehony and Kinsella write about what assessors found: “However such optimism on the part of the donors is questioned by Evans and Ngalewa… who, in their assessment of the PRSP in Tanzania, found that the rural poor were becoming increasingly disengaged from political decision making, and that the latter tended to be dominated by the private sector and government. They indicated that the ability of the PRSP process to substantially address poverty in Tanzania depended on institutional reforms in local government and the management of public services. In reviewing Tanzania’s policy environment in relation to pastoralism, Matee and Shem…acknowledged that the MKUKUTA” – the name of Tanzania’s anti-poverty program – provided significant opportunity to reduce the political and social exclusion of pastoralists. At the same time, they identified some of the main forces at play in preventing this opportunity from being realized; these include ‘the lack of understanding of pastoralism by policy makers’; the ‘twin encroachment by state and private interests in national parks, game preserves and traditional pastoral lands’; and ‘inappropriate systems for delivery of social services’.” ( Brehony, Kinsella, p. 54) In short, the MKUKUTA program became more about the government and the donors rather than the people it was meant to serve. A study in corruption you may well ask; it seems that government officials at different levels wanted fees paid to their department, and no dimunition in their perceived authority. The examples cited below show that the Tanzanian government undercut the empowerment of the Loliando and Ololosokwan people, thus undermining the anti-poverty purpose of the original donation. What follows is an examination of just how the government’s own intentions were thwarted by departmental territorialism, and indifference to local input. Case 1 Case 2 Development in Practice, Volume 19, Number 1, February 2009; ps. 55, 56 The decline in clothing production on the African continent is often attributed to the importation of used clothing from the developed world. This turns out to be a correlation that requires in country observation in conjunction with a review of what economic data that is applicable and available. In their article Unraveling the relationship between Used-Clothing Imports and the Decline of African Clothing Industries Andrew Brooks and David Simon explain the various inputs that must be taken into account when attempt to properly assess the correlation, however structural adjustment as required by international lenders, with an eye toward economic liberalization is at work in this area. “Trade liberalization policies in the 1980s and 1990s generally opened African market places to used-clothing imports (Field, 2000; Majtenyi, 2010). In terms of volume, used clothing is a signiﬁcant import for African states, consistently being one of the top ten exports from the US to Africa and frequently the main item shipped into many parts of the continent (Frazer, 2008; Hansen, 2000). Used garments account for over 50 per cent of the clothing market by volume in many sub-Saharan African countries, includ- ing Uganda (81 per cent) (Baden and Barber, 2005: 1; Uganda Manufac- turers’ Association, quoted in Dougherty, 2004). Exports are beneﬁcial for charities and commercial operators in the global North and are positively coded by Northern governments as they act as a self-ﬁnancing recycling system for clothing waste (House of Lords, 2008). Used clothing can have beneﬁts for Africans as it satisﬁes a basic human need for clothing, for warmth and protection, and provides a valuable cultural resource which is used to express social identity (Field, 2000; Hansen, 1994, 1995). Those who participate as vendors or importers can proﬁt from the trade and since second-hand clothes are cheaper than new clothes, used-clothing imports offer relief from inﬂation and the erosion of purchasing power (Wicks and Bigsten, 1996).There is, however, a strong argument that the used-clothing trade has negative impacts on African economic development. Relatively cheap used clothes are a substitute for the purchase of new garments which are or were often produced locally. African consumers choose between new and used goods and — for ﬁnancial and/or cultural identity reasons — often prefer used clothing from the global North to more expensive locally produced or imported items (Chigbo, 2008; Hansen, 2004; Veila et al., 2006). Hence, increased imports of used clothing can depress domestic clothing production, but this is a complex issue which requires closer examination… (2) Since the implementation of economic liberalization policies in the 1980s and 1990s, the predominant trend has been decline in the African clothing industry. In Ghana textile and clothing employment fell by 80 per cent from 1975 to 2000; in Zambia from 25,000 in the 1980s to below 10,000 in 2002; and in Nigeria from employing some 200,000 workers to being negligible (Traub-Merz, 2006: 17). In Kenya, McCormick et al. (1997) found in the 1990s that small and medium clothing manufacturers faced low overall de- mand for clothing in Nairobi. This was due to declining urban incomes, linked to the structural adjustment programmes that formed part of the economic liberalization process. The conditions of urban poverty and depri- vation in African cities in the 1980s and 1990s have been well documented (Davis, 2006; Myers, 2011; Riddell, 1997; Simon, 1995; Tevera, 1995). However, evidencing these trends quantitatively is difﬁcult and they may be obscured by inaccurate or inappropriate statistical reporting (Satterth- waite, 2003). What is clear is that economic liberalization in the 1990s was accompanied by restricted purchasing power, especially for African urban populations which had previously provided the main markets for consumer goods. In Kenya the low demand for locally manufactured new clothing in the 1990s was combined with competition from more affordable used clothing. However, different ﬁrms experienced different effects. Custom tailors, who mostly served middle-income urban consumers whose incomes had fallen sharply, fared worse than small manufacturing ﬁrms which sold their goods in up-country markets to rural people less affected by declining incomes, some of whom gained economically (Simon, 1995)… (3) African factories have been producing for afﬂuent export markets rather than impoverished local markets. Increases in output and job creation have been stimulated by trade agreements, especially the US African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), which allow African factories to produce clothing for markets in the global North. AGOA (2000–2015) provides duty-free and quota-free access to the US market for apparel items made in sub-Saharan Africa, spurring increased clothing manufacturing and trade, at least prior to the ending of the Multi-Fibre Agreement in 2005 (African Coalition for Trade, 2007; ILO, 2005). A further complicating factor in unravelling the relationship between used-clothing imports and industrial decline is, therefore, that decreases in production for national consumption may be masked by increases in production for export markets… (4) The salient point here is that observed growth of clothing production in certain key economies, such as Kenya and Lesotho, in the 2000s is indepen- dent of the African market for both new and used clothing. Mangieri(2006) has shown that used-clothing imports to Kenya grew simultaneously with the increased manufacture and export of apparel in the early 2000s,precisely the opposite relationship to the long-term correlation between industrial de- cline and used-clothing imports that dominates the literature. Equally, the decline in manufacturing in Kenya and Lesotho since the mid-2000s was the result of decreasing exports to the global North, rather than increased domes- tic competition from used-clothing imports. Likewise, the earlier decline in clothing manufacturing was linked to a decrease in local market demand as urban incomes fell under structural adjustment programmes, as well as the opening of markets to used-clothing imports and cheap new clothes from Asia in the 1990s…(5) The closure of African clothing factories in the 1980s and 1990s was an outcome of policies of economic liberalization (Traub-Merz, 2006). These same macro-economic interventions opened African markets to used- clothing imports, as well as new cheap Asian imports (Onimode, 1988). The correlation is indicative of Africa’s subservient role in the global economy and reﬂects the asymmetric power relationships that dictate trade policy. Al- though deﬁnitively proving whether the relationship is causal has not been possible, both these trends are manifestly symptomatic of the malaise that has embraced Africa following the economically liberal structural adjust- ment programmes”. (Brooks, Simon ps. 12, 15, 16,17, 21)
Africans have more frequently begun referring to the new interest that the global North has taken in Africa as a re-colonialization via economic interest. This is often called the new “scramble for Africa”, in which not just the European nations are trying to gain access to the rich natural resources of the continent. The chart below, from the January 18, 2013 Canadian National Post, illustrates how Africa is divided according to resources to be exploited by (in this chart) nations of the global North. The resources upon which it concentrates are iron ore, rare earth minerals, gold, diamonds, natural gas, oil and coal, however arable/farmland through sale and lease must be added to this list. Kofi Annan helms the Africa Progress Panel, an organization concerned with sustainable and equitable development in Africa. According to their 2012 policy paper “Africa Investment Ready”, natural resources (oil and minerals specifically) account for forty percent of national budget revenues, and can rise to ninety-eight percent in South Sudan. Governments have begun to understand the importance of good governance in the management of their resources and its ability to lift the living standard of their people. The kleptocracy to which donor nations refer when discussing why untethered giving/lending to African nations is ill advised, is something to be steadfastly avoided when revenue from development of the continent’s resources is generated. Good governance is the remedy to the situation. The African Progress Panel in explaining what is currently happening to address these issues says; “ Governments are now much more aware of the high stakes involved in managing natural resources, and civil society is increasingly well organized and effective in highlighting violations of good practices. Several resource-rich countries in Africa have stepped up efforts to improve natural resource governance combining national programmes with participation in global and regional initiatives:” (African Progress Panel, p. 9). Mandy Turner, a visiting fellow at Bradford University at the time her article Scramble for Africa, appeared in the Guardian newspaper, gave a breakdown of the effects of foreign direct investment (FDI). This was written in 2007 and the breakdown in dollars for this resource stripping is thorough. With oil, gas, timber, diamonds, gold, coltan and bauxite, Africa is home to some of the largest deposits of natural resources in the world. Revenues from their extraction should provide funds for badly needed development, but instead have fuelled state corruption, environmental degradation, poverty and violence. Rather than being a blessing, Africa’s natural resources have largely been a curse… Today, there is a new scramble for Africa taking place, and the continent has again become a vital arena of strategic and geopolitical competition between the US, France, Britain, China and India. The key question for many is: will the exploitation of Africa’s rich resources benefit anyone other than the continent’s elites? Meanwhile, European firms represent roughly two-thirds of total FDI in Africa. More than half of European investment originates from the UK and France, going mainly to countries with which they have historic ties. French oil companies such as Total, locked out of the Middle East due to France’s opposition to the Iraq war, have made large investments in Francophone countries such as Cameroon, Chad and Gabon… The new entrant to the scramble is China. Despite its large land area, it is a resource-poor country and Africa offers the natural resources vital to fuel its rapidly growing economy. China looks to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia for copper and cobalt, to South Africa for iron ore and platinum, and to Gabon, Cameroon and the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) for timber. For oil, it has been wooing Nigeria, Angola, Sudan and Equatorial Guinea. China is now the second largest consumer of crude oil after the US, and was responsible for 40% of the global increase in demand between 2001 and 2005. It imports 25% of its crude oil from Africa… The global demand for natural resources will bring benefits such as FDI, increased exports and good balance of trade figures for Africa. But what kind of cloud accompanies this silver lining? One of the main concerns is that the scramble for Africa is fuelling corruption, environmental degradation and internal dissent. Salil Tripathi, senior policy adviser at peacebuilding NGO International Alert, says: “Unless properly managed, the windfall gains from resource extraction cause more problems. It reduces a state’s incentive to impose a free and just taxation system, and encourages corruption and acquisition of weaponry.”… The environmental impact is also alarming. The clearing of forests for timber exports increases vulnerability to erosion, river silting, landslides, flooding and loss of habitat for plant and animal species. Gas flaring from oil production, where unusable waste gas is burned off, pumps large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere… A number of initiatives have recently been launched in an attempt to deal with the “resource curse”, including the UN’s Global Compact and the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI). Such moves are welcome, says Wykes, but they are voluntary codes of conduct, and many companies and countries have not signed up to them – notably China. “Northern transnational corporations may not themselves always be shining champions of corporate best behaviour, but it is clear that Asian state-owned companies do not have the same corporate governance regulations,” Wykes says. “China’s Africa policy explicitly states that economic assistance will be given with ‘no strings attached’.”… Timber Exports to southern European countries still dominate, but China is the principal destination for timber from east Africa, most notably Mozambique. The exploitation of timber resources in Liberia was a key source of funding in its civil war. The American Forest and Paper Association estimates that in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana and Liberia, 30% of production is “suspicious”; other estimates put it as high as 50% in Ghana and Cameroon, and up to 100% in Liberia. Oil Sub-Saharan Africa is home to eight oil exporters: Nigeria, Angola, Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Chad, the DRC and Sudan. Nigeria is the largest producer in Africa and 11th in the world. Angola is the second-largest, with production expected to reach 2m barrels per day by 2008. Sudanese production and export has risen rapidly in the past few years despite internal unrest in Darfur, although output dropped back a little last year. Sub-Saharan Africa has about 7% of proven world oil reserves. Of the 8bn barrels of oil reserves discovered by prospectors worldwide in 2001, 7bn were in the fields off west and central Africa’s Atlantic coast. The US is the largest importer of African oil, with China second. Minerals West Africa is one of the fastest growing gold producing regions in the world. According to figures from precious metals research firm GFMS, South Africa is still the world’s largest gold producer, despite a drop in production last year. Ghana produced 62.8 tonnes of gold in 2005, while Mali mined 45.9 tonnes. Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Rwanda and the DRC are also significant sources. The DRC is also rich in copper, coltan and cobalt. A 2002 UN report on the DRC conflict heavily criticised neighbouring countries (particularly Rwanda) and companies for fuelling the conflict in their attempt to gain access to these natural resources. Diamonds The trade in diamonds is worth around $37.6bn a year. Botswana, the DRC, Sierra Leone and South Africa hold the biggest reserves. At 22%, the DRC has the largest share of the world’s production of industrial diamonds. The US is the largest market for industrial diamonds. The diamond industry was forced to institute the Kimberley Certification Scheme after investigations showed that illegal exports of diamonds was fuelling the bloody wars in Sierra Leone, the DRC and Angola. Natural gas Africa has rich and underdeveloped natural gas resources. It has the fastest growth rate in natural gas production worldwide, with supply set to rise by 4.9% each year from 2003 to 2030. A considerable amount of the incremental production in Africa – from Algeria, Nigeria, Libya, and Egypt – is for export, both by pipeline and in the form of liquefied natural gas. According to the US Energy Information Administration, Africa’s production of world natural gas is projected to rise from 5.1 trillion cubic feet in 2003 to 18.5 trillion in 2010. The reserves-to-production ratio is estimated at 96.9 years (exceeded only by the Middle East). (The Guardian 2007)
TRIBALISM AND STRIFE
Tribalism is often cited as a major cause of Africa’s social problems, contributing to corruption, environmental degradation and the exacerbation of the effects of disease and drought. Writing for the BBC Viewpoint Calestous Juma, international development professor at Harvard University, tackled the aftermath of Kenya’s 2007 election that saw Mwai Kibaki defeat Raila Odinga. For the purpose of this paper the only the general statements defining the consequences of tribalism are germane. Beginning with this succinct definition of tribalism – “ the use of identity politics to promote narrow tribal interests” – Juma crystalized in a manner that allows anyone to grasp his meaning just what sort of negative tribalism is. He wrote: There are those who argue that tribalism is a result of arbitrary post-colonial boundaries that force different communities to live within artificial borders. This argument suggests that every ethnic community should have its own territory, which reinforces ethnic competition…Leaders often exploit tribal loyalty to advance personal gain, parochial interests, patronage, and cronyism…But tribes are not built on democratic ideas but thrive on zero-sum competition…As a result, they are inimical to democratic advancement…In essence, tribal practices are occupying a vacuum created by lack of strong democratic institutions…Tribal interests have played a major role in armed conflict and civil unrest across the continent. (BBC 2012) While the BBC article concerned itself with politics, i.e. election politics, the genocide in Rwanda, the Tuareg/ Malian conflict and the Sudan/South Sudan split are examples of the result of tribalism when taken to its extreme manifestation.
THE AUTHOR’S SUGGESTIONS FOR PARADIGM SHIFT
1). BORDERS. Why were the borders of the former colonial powers kept? Why is it that Senegal and Guinea-Bissau who share the Fula people as their largest ethnic group not the same country? A conference of African nations addressing the issues of borders should be called. Biafra, South Sudan, and Eritrea are nations who broke away from other countries. The Tuaregs “invaded” Mali to finally achieve their own nation in January of this year, because when France constructed Mali, including the Saharan north, they made no provision for the nomadic Tuareg people. Rather than having to divide through violence, a border conference at which the borders of African states would be formed by taking into account ethnicity, language, natural resources, religion and history would allow for nations to be reconstructed in a more natural manner. In the cases where a large nation breaks into more than two smaller ones a confederation can be formed, even adding other nations not generated from the breakup. In the chapter Some Mice are Big, from Deepak Malhortra’s book I Moved Your Cheese the mouse called BIG noticed: “The passages he was running through-the ones he had always run through-were crowded” (Malhortra p. 69-70). Taking note of the artificial borders, (artificial because they were imposed by non-African outsiders), would be noticing that one was running in a crowded space. Having the conference would be realizing, as BIG did, that “the maze was big; but it was not big enough” (p. 71). Redrawing the nations’ borders and putting them into effect will allow Africans to, like BIG, punch “straight through the wall”, step “through the hole” and walk “out of the maze” (p. 72).
2). EUROPE HAS THE EURO; ITS TIME FOR THE GOLD DINAR. African nations should develop a continent wide currency in which transactions around the major exports e.g. oil, rare earth minerals, diamonds, would be conducted. This would easily give Africa greater power in world markets, and in the setting of the global macroeconomic agenda. At least when it came to dealing with Africa (and the Arabian peninsula) a nation’s wealth would depend on gold reserves and dollars in central banks. It would also help to substantially reduce the need for loans and FDI. Muramar Gaddafi, the former Libyan leader was a proponent of this idea, arranging at least two continent-wide conferences on the matter in 1986 and 2000, and according to Dr. James Thring, founder of the Ministry of Peace, “Everybody was interested; most countries in Africa were keen” (Global Research 2011). Global Research and RTnews both cite the belief that the main reason for the West’s intervention in the Libyan conflict was Gaddafi’s push for the gold dinar. Nevertheless because of its positive effective impact on the wealth and economic power of the African states this author would recommend the adoption of the gold dinar as the exchange currency for African and Arab peninsula major export commodities.
3). EXPULSION OF NON-AFRICAN FOREIGN MILITARY FROM THE CONTINENT Since the establishment of AFRICOM, the United States has under the guise of wanting to aid in creating stability, and fighting Islamic terrorism on the African continent, made agreements with as many nations as possible to allow for drone bases, train indigenous militaries through its Acota (Africa contingency operations training assistance) program and enlist national militaries in its goals for the continent, Middle East and Arab peninsula. Mandy Turner in the above cited article for The Guardian newspaper offers this insight: As is often the case with oil, military involvement follows closely behind trade, and in February this year the US set up an Africa command (Africom). It has established bases in and signed access agreements with Senegal, Mali, Ghana, Gabon and Namibia. Africa is becoming strategically important to the US because of its oil production and China’s increasing influence in the region. (The Guardian 2007) Pierre Abramovici, writing for Le Monde Diplomatique, in an article entitled “United States:the new scramble for Africa”, says the United State’s stratagem for Africa is two pronged – unlimited access to markets, energy and other strategic resources and the military securing communication channels “particularly to allow transport to the U.S” (2004). Andrei Akulov at Strategic Culture Foundation, writes in his article “US boosts Africa Presence”: Dr. J. Peter Pham, a leading Washington insider and an advisor of the US State and Defense Departments, states that one AFRICOM prime objectives is «protecting access to hydrocarbons and other strategic resources which Africa has in abundance … a task which includes ensuring against the vulnerability of those natural riches and ensuring that no other interested third parties, such as China, India, Japan, or Russia, obtain monopolies or preferential treatment» (2013). This author contends that the United States (and other nations), are not involved militarily in Africa primarily for the uplift of the nations of that continent. It is primarily there for the exploitation of Africa’s natural resources. It is for that reason that foreign military interests MUST be expelled; for their very presence facilitates the possibility of those military being used against its African hosts.
4). AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK, PROPOSED BRICS BANK AND A WORD ABOUT THE AFRICAN UNION In “At the Center of Africa’s Transformation” its 2013-2022 Strategy, the African Development Bank Group (ADBG) articulates two main objectives: Inclusive growth The first and overarching objective is to achieve growth that is more inclusive, leading not just to equality of treatment and opportunity but to deep reductions in poverty and a correspondingly large increase in jobs. Unlocking the continent’s great potential— and increasing its chances of reaping a demo- graphic dividend—inclusive growth will bring prosperity by expanding the economic base across the barriers of age, gender and geography. The Bank will invest in infrastructure that unlocks the potential of the private sector, championing gender equality and community participation. It will help improve skills for competitiveness, ensuring that those skills better match the opportunities and requirements of local job markets. Green growth The second objective is to ensure that inclusive growth is sustainable, by helping Africa gradually transition to “green growth” that will protect livelihoods, improve water, energy and food security, promote the sustainable use of natural resources and spur innovation, job creation and economic development. The Bank will support green growth by finding paths to development that ease pressure on natural assets, while better managing environmental, social and economic risks. Priorities in reaching green growth include building resilience to climate shocks, providing sustainable infrastructure, creating ecosystem services and making efficient and sustainable use of natural resources (particularly water, which is central to growth but most affected by climate change). (ADBG ps. 1,2) This institution, along with the proposed BRICS development bank, officially announced this year in South Africa, represents South-South cooperation at its most effective. In both cases it is the nations/regions taking responsibility for their own development. The ADBG’s strategic objectives emphasize all the key areas of the continent’s needs…infrastructure to facilitate business and mobility so that goods can get to markets, people can get to work, hospitals, shops and recreations, and children can get to school. Infrastructure will signal that businesses can invest in Africa because communications links as well as roads, energy and sanitation needs can be met. Then there is sustainability. Africa seeks to develop the right way. Yes there have been missteps; (the disaster with oil fields in Nigeria is a case in point), but for the future the ADBG wants to aid the nations of Africa in growing in a way that does not add to the decline in either the ozone or biodiversity. Both are necessary to sustain humanity and humanity is one of the continents rich assets. Here is a partial list of projects the ADBG has funded in 2013: 115 million euros loan for Turkana Wind Power Project in Kenya, $38 million in Rwanda for skill development and job creation, $232.5 road financing for trans Kenya-Tanzania, and $73 million for road projects in Malawi. The African Union (AU), previously the Organization for African Unity (OAU) is the first step toward a confederation of African countries. Whether it becomes a United States of Africa may be the eventual goal, but in the short term that is unrealistic. The AU has been able to work with various nations to deploy soldiers (usually regional contingents) to intra-continental conflicts. It has been able to establish intra-continental trade agreements, and through sheer force of effort move the mindset of more and more African officials toward more democratic and free market policies. Too much more work must be done to promote stability and negotiation among various types of factions for the consolidation of the continent into a unified whole can be accomplished.
5). THE AFRICAN DIASPORA In 2005, the African Union formulated a definitive definition of the term “African Diaspora”. On page eight of their minutes of the meeting this simplified definition is found: “The African Diaspora consists of peoples of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union.” This text has been made bold to highlight this resource that in 2005 the AU decided to actively engage and exploit. According to the Huffingtonpost, the Louisiana weekly published a report from the Nielsen Group and the National Newspaper Publishers Association, concluding that by 2015 the purchasing power of African Americans will reach $1.1 trillion. That figure does not include members of the diaspora from Canada, South and Central America or the Caribbean. Africa needs to market itself aggressively to its diaspora. The Africa Channel is now available in the United States, but only in less than ten cities as of 2012. Chris Cleverly, CEO of Made In Africa Foundation, appearing on Africa Today (PressTV) suggested that the AU or its member nations should sell “diaspora bonds” to promote investment it Africa by people of African descent. He also mentioned the fact that $40 billion in remittances went to Africa in 2010 from expatriates. Both he and the Managing Director of Tsema Capital Washington Kapapiro, pointed to the Homestrings organization, who’s slogan is “Come make a difference back home”, as a way that the African Diaspora could immediately begin to invest in Africa. Support of TransAfrica, a policy and lobbying organization in the United States, and Lemlem a retail outlet which sells goods from Ethiopia and East Africa as a means of raising funds to tackle social problems on the continent are two other examples of how members of the diaspora can, according to the definition, “contribute to the development of the continent”. (Note must be made here that currently no African nation allows dual citizenship to people from other nations who were not born on the continent, or whose parents were not African nationals, and that should be changed.) On Leadership and Conclusion In January 2013 the Aljazeera Network ran a series of programs called “Tutu’s Children”. It was billed on the network’s website as “Desmond Tutu leads an experiment to build a network of inspirational leaders to tackle Africa’s most stubborn problems”. The twenty-five participants referenced their concerns with blurbs such as: “leadership without messiahs”, “crafting an African democracy”, “Africa’s unheard women”, “we cannot always be victims”, ”a good shepherd”, “an Africa shaped heart”, “understanding the negatives”, “brokering win-win deals”, and an echo from the 1960s and 70s youth movements in the United States “power to the people” (Aljazeera 2013). For four months these young potential leaders, who have already demonstrated exceptional talent, met in Capetown, South Africa to learn to be transformational leaders, in the mold of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of the great lights of the anti-apartheid struggle in that country. Tutu saw the aim of the experiment as developing a “new moral taskforce for Africa”. Also in Capetown, South Africa the African Leadership Academy (ALA)seeks to do the same thing, but its clientele is high school students. This description is from the website. African Leadership Academy seeks to enable lasting peace and prosperity in Africa by developing and connecting the continent’s future leaders. Africa’s greatest need is ethical and entrepreneurial leadership. Too often, we invest in addressing the symptoms of bad leadership in Africa: we give blankets, food, and medicine to those impacted by war, poverty and famine. But these efforts will never stop unless we develop leaders who prevent wars from occurring in the first place, entrepreneurs who create jobs, and scientists who sustainably increase food production and access to healthcare. Our leadership development formula is relatively simple: we believe that by identifying young leaders with immense potential, enabling them to practice leadership, and connecting them with transformative opportunities, we can develop and empower the next Nelson Mandela, the next Wangari Maathai, and Africa’s Jonas Salk and Steve Jobs. Both these efforts are taking place in South Africa, about which it can be argued that the country is the most like a Western nation on the continent. It is largely Christian, democratic, socially progressive in the way that conservative Africa can be said to be, and stable. Though Timothy Clark in his book Epic Change: How to Lead Change in the Global Age is concerned with business organizations, the concepts found therein are useful to reinforce how his principles will be useful in directed the paradigm shift that Africa sorely needs. In the first summary Clark points out that; “Change in a global age is making leadership a more dangerous calling than in the past”; and “The fundamental challenge of a change leader is to redirect institutional will and capacity” (Clark p. 24). The two efforts cited in above are direct attempts to cultivate a cadre of people who can and will “redirect institutional will and capacity”, of course the institution is both the individual nations and the continent of Africa. Because Africa will have to interact with the nations of the globe guiding the paradigm shift outlined in this paper may indeed be at times dangerous. The EPIC Methodology, which is the main thrust of Clark’s text, can be used to facilitate epic change this paper is advocating. Some of the five components of this change can be seen as a part of more than one stage of the methodology. Evaluation – seeing how the ground lies, what the off-continent and intra-continent challenges, inputs and strengths are, and envisioning alternatives to the current systems is the first stage. The OAU since its founding in 1963 was the organizational manifestation of the nations of Africa evaluating where they were economically, politically, socially, medically, etc. The countries of the continent as a result of colonialism, the Cold War, the educational deficits of the population and the exploitative nature of what foreign businesses operated in Africa, were not prepared to move forward after the winning of the liberation struggles, but they could to a degree assess what was there. This evaluation continued for decades, but other than the truly transformational leaders like Nkruma, Lumumba, Nasser and Kenyatta most formal leaders in Africa lacked the vision or “agility”, defined by Clark as “the ability to respond quickly and effectively to an adaptive challenge” (p. 53), to move the continent forward. The next stage in the EPIC methodology is Preparation. Clark entitles the chapter about this stage “Prepare with Urgency” (p. 83). Clark also writes that “Urgency is a state or condition requiring immediate action or attention”, and that urgency’s “initial task” is “to help move the organization from thinking to doing” (p. 85). What the ALA and Tutu’s experiment are doing is preparing new, hopefully, effective, and relatively moral and democratic leaders who feel the urgency to tackle the continent’s problems and have the agility, in all aspects to make accurate evaluations. They are also meant to be leaders who will “prepare with credibility”; they will be trusted because “they deserve to be” (p. 100). The author has evaluated one of the fundamental problems of the nations of Africa – artificial borders. Through the auspices of the AU (the new form of the OAU), the governmental and tribal leaders of the continent would move borders in a manner that will create nations that make sense within the social, cultural and language contexts of Africa. This would go a long way toward mitigating some of the negative effects of tribalism. The ADBG is also a part of this preparation stage: along with the AU they are preparing “with a coalition” (p. 122). Through its lending and grant programs it has been helping to facilitate infrastructure development which will be essential to the social and economic development of the continent. China, India, Russia and Brazil have been very active in infrastructure development also, but very clearly with an eye toward facilitating commodity transport. Since China gives this aid on a no strings attached basis its contribution comes in a timely fashion. Because of their need for food and other commodities Iran and nations of the Arab peninsula are leasing farmland and aiding in further building out infrastructure. All of these entities working together and/or pursuing their interests are a coalition preparing and moving Africa toward the next stage. The Implementation stage is the putting of “preparing with vision” into effect. Here mission and strategy get to work (p. 142). This is where the rubber meets the road. Moving from the loan culture, promoting indigenous enterprise, and adopting the gold dinar as the continent’s exchange currency are the underpinnings of a new economics of Africa. If the gold dinar is also adopted by the Arab peninsula it would link their prospering economies to Africa, building natural economic allies to the continent. Since gold is a commodity found in abundance in Africa the use of an exchange currency made of gold will enrich the continent’s nations. This enrichment, along with workable taxation systems within nations will allow governments to work for its citizens. Various short term quantifiable goals, e.g. 40% decrease in infant mortality, 60% increase in export of finished goods, 6,000 elementary and secondary schools in the country, can be set in the preparation stage and, as they are achieved, checked off during the implementation stage. A final consideration during this stage would be the component that sees foreign military forces leave the continent. The possibility of weapons, particularly those of the United States being turned on Africa, is a present threat, but its training programs and the threat of the drone bases could help build effective indigenous militaries, and discourage violent elements in society. However, in order for Africa to change the paradigm and become a more or less self sufficient continent it must free itself from any large-power military presence. While implementation may be a long stage, spooling out the chords of the considerable energy that was employed during preparation, Consolidation – building upon and solidifying what has already been done – is a slow process and the risk of energy loss becomes acute here. The African diaspora, hopefully, will have been considered during the evaluation stage, engaged in both the preparation and implementation stages, and will be eager to continue and increase their economic and social investment on the African continent. The AU could move here to create a true African United States – integrated economically and politically along the lines of the European Union, and the ADBG would be able to take on higher order projects in Africa. (It could also find itself able to be the development bank that first finances South-South development just in case the BRICS bank does not come into being, or is undercapitalized for an extended period.) This paradigm shift will not happen rapidly. It will require at least a decade to evaluate where the continent is strong and its weaknesses. Preparation will require more leaders, both in formal and informal positions, to spark the build-up of energy, and who possess the agility and ability to motivate a redirection of the continent’s will and capacity. Africans need to restructure the continent into countries of people who fit naturally together. They need to have a currency with real value and demand that that currency be used when doing business with and within the continent. The current economic/currency system is a Eurocentric one, and not appropriate to Africa. Because of the oppressive regimes of the colonial period African people are wary of the presence of foreign armies on their soil, even if the ruling elite are comfortable with it. It is essential to African security that the militaries of the continent’s nations be the only military in-country. Having its own development bank, and the possibility of being able to do business with a BRICS bank will allow Africa to wean its self off of the loan culture, and the destructive effects of tethered loans and structural adjustment programs. The members of the African diaspora around the world will be able to connect with their homeland, investing to stabilize its economies and enrich themselves, and through dual citizenships gain a fundamental stake in the future of that homeland. Africa is the future and the rest of the world is scrambling for its natural resources. Whatever benefits are coming to the continent are coming because it benefits the countries that want to exploit those resources. Africa’s nations must value their commodities at rates that benefit them, securing at least a 45% cut of profits from those commodities, and leveeing high tariffs on most finished goods coming into the continent. Essentially, this paradigm shift is from Africa becoming a resource depot, and dumping ground for the rest of the world, to Africa becoming a powerful economic force that operates from African culture, African money customs, African artistic expression and in Africa’s interest.
REFERENCES Clark, Timothy R. Epic Change: How to Lead Change in the Global Age. John wiley and Sons Inc., San Francisco, CA. 2008 Malhortra, Deepak. I Moved Your Cheese. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco, CA. 2011 ONLINE REFERENCES http://www.academia.edu/1984174/Unravelling_the_Relationships_between_Used-Clothing_Imports_and_the_Decline_of_African_Clothing_Industries http://www.afdb.org/fileadmin/uploads/afdb/Documents/Policy-Documents/AfDB%20Strategy%20for%202013–2022%20-%20At%20the%20Center%20of%20Africa’s%20Transformation.pdf http://africanhistory.about.com/od/eracolonialism/l/bl-BerlinAct1885.htm AFRICAN UNION: Meeting of Experts on the Definition of African Diaspora, 11-12 April 2005, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia http://africasacountry.com/2013/04/24/joyce-banda-has-bigger-problems-than-madonna/ http://www.africanleadershipacademy.org/ http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/tutuschildren/ Ozwald boating interview retrieved from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-22409836 Tribalism retrieved from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20465752 http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-15/malawi-currency-fall-fuels-protests-as-banda-courts-imf.html http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-gold-dinar-saving-the-world-economy-from-gaddafi/24639 Sramble for Africa retrieved from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/may/02/society.conservationandendangeredspecies1 https://www.homestrings.com/ http://www.louisianaweekly.com/african-american-buying-power-nears-1-1-trillion/ http://mondediplo.com/2004/07/07usinafrica http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/01/18/graphic-out-of-africa-did-the-colonial-powers-ever-really-leave/ PressTV. Africa Today, “BRICS Development Bank vs IMF. April 24, 2013 http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2013/03/26/us-boosts-africa-presence.html
This is always a reflective time of year for me. Its because it brings back memories from my teen years. THESE MEMORIES ARE NOT ALWAYS GOOD. We’ve been hearing a lot about the 43 anniversary of the Kent State riot by the National Guard in Ohio. Have ANY of you been hearing about Jackson State? These deaths didn’t get the play Kent State got in 1970 either; of course the men who died at Jackson State were BLACK. Gibbs & Green
I have tried to find a credit for the photographer, but no one seems to have one. This is a very political photograph as far as I am concerned. WHY is Anthony Gallo naked in this photo and the white guy isn’t? WHY is the white guy kissing him on the head as though he were a little child or a puppy, in this photo? This is a perfect illustration of what a Brasiliera owner of a modeling agency said when asked about casting black models in the parts that involved less artistic nudity in film/tv or photo jobs: “A carne mais barata do mercado. E a carne negra”. In her mind the rare, artistic and more lucrative jobs should go to the most expensive meat…white meat. Mr. Gallo may have indeed voluntarily posed for this photo but in so doing I think that he furthers the objectification of the black body for economic gain, that has plagued our people since the earliest times in the West. Here Mr. Gallo is the cheap meat and the white guy…the gourmet cut. I ask any person of color, would you want your son in this photo?
If and when it can be embedded here I will embed it.