Blame African Leaders Or …
Article is by C.J Npowa
When I talk to most people in the diaspora about why they are so reluctant to return back home (wherever that is on the continent) and use their hard-earned intellect to contribute to rebuilding the continent one household at a time via entrepreneurship, the response is always that there is:
- too much corruption
- too much bureaucracy
- too much tribalism
- too much laxity towards a hordes of unethical behaviors
Yes, those are all true. But not many (of my peers) seem to really dig deeper, to get to the root of those issues. Boy am I glad that a brilliant daughter and economist of the continent Zambian Dr. Dambisa Moyo is talking about this. In her educated opinion, Dr. Moyo attributes the absence of economic growth that is the cause of corruption, bureaucracy, lack of entrepreneurship and ultimately unemployment, to the constant injection of billions of dollars in Africa via economic aids programs. And rightly so, she points out some of the reasons why things are the way they are. She mentions that (in my interpretation):
- Economic aid is a slow poison, that will ultimately suffocate Africa’s ingenuity
- Economic aid is dead money. In fact, it is a deadly potion that only contributes to encourage a lack of accountability on the part of African leaders
- Open-ended Economic aid is not and will never foster economic growth, nor democracy
I totally agree with her on all those points, but upon listening to her time and again, I was left on my hunger, or rather I felt half-fed. Needless to say I was a little bit disappointed that someone that worked inside the same system, which UK Prime Minister David Cameron works in, failed to address some of the issues raised by other proud thought-provokers of the continent like Cameroonian Jean-Paul Pougala. I mean as I listen to Geo-political Strategist Jean-Paul Pougala speak of the idea of neo-colonialism and imperialism approaches inherent within the IMF and World Bank, it seemed that such thoughts would not be foreign to her.
Is it fear that’s keeping her silent on the issue, or is it simply that it is not the topic of her acclaimed book “Dead Aid”? Or is it that it is merely a conspiracy theory out of the mind of a crazy African looking for someone to blame?
Not sure, but Jean-Paul Pougala thoughts seem to find resonance with that of Ex-CIA Economic Hitman John Perkins, who besides making mere claims, says that he was part of the system that perpetuates (present tense) poverty in Africa in his best-seller book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”. In the book, he speaks of a well-oiled system of economic colonization. What does this system do?
- When “they” do not choose the leader of a nation (not just in Africa), on his very first day in power, said leader is presented with two options: “Take this money and live well” or “Expect an unexpected death”
- Most do sign and proceed to shut their eyes and mouth forever. What do they sign for? To receive massive amounts of Economic Aid through the World Bank and IMF
- Once they do, foreign entrepreneurs are brought in the country to invest. Contracts are sure-valuated. Nationals are not hired. Resources are massively over-exploited. Money goes back off-shore
- Meanwhile, money that was supposed to be injected in the economy is used to pay for the foreign contracts; contracts on privatized national institutions
- Nations are forbidden by some IMF rules to invest in their local infrastructures, social programs etc (because if and when they do, it would mean that they no longer need the money and must pay back with high interest immediately)
Although, the idea seems farfetched, one only has to look at history or at the very least raise an eyebrow. Assuming the possibility of such pressure, one can now understand that African leaders over the years (since their so-called independence) have not been at liberty to make patriotic and nationalistic decisions for fear of their own lives. Those that have held such languages have ended up 50 feet under:
- From Shaka Zulu to…
- Patrice Lumumba
- Steve Biko
In South America, uncooperative presidents if not removed via a coup, often die in suspicious plane crashes. We can cite Jaime Roldós Aguilera of Ecuador, who in his short tenure, became known for his firm stance on human rights. His death in a plane crash gave rise to accusations that he was surreptitiously assassinated by the United States government.
With all this in mind, are we going to continue to blindly blame our leaders or shall we educate ourselves and find sustainable solutions?
We are the “lost generations” as someone said, but shall the next generations follow in our footsteps, when we have information that can lead to our awakening?
Why is Entrepreneurship truly not encouraged in Africa? Why is Africa as a whole not making progress?
- Is it because our president really do not give a d&@$^&@? Have we never had leaders with nationalistic views?
- Is it because we truly don’t have it in us to create and build? Have we never created the pyramids or found cure for aids? Were we never ever prosperous?
- Is it really only because the non-bamileke hate the bamileke? Or the Hutu vs the Tutsi? Or the pro-Seleka vs the anti-Balaka? Did we never get along? Where did “divide and conquer” come from?
- Is it that Africa lacks resources? Does Africa not have fertile land, oil, minerals, forestry, and more? Is it not the original Garden of Eden from which the first man came?
In Economic, we learn about inflation and Deflation; and how western governments use such notions to keep an economic balance; thereby ensuring that there is not too much supply or demand. When there is too much, you get to the top and ultimately there is a crash. So economies want neither a recession nor a peak in the economic cycle. When there is too much cash on the market, governments pulled back. When there isn’t enough they inject some (by lowering interest etc…). A bit of a simplistic view, I know but am no economist.
So why is it that those at the head of pure economic institutions such as WB and IMF fail to view how constantly pumping cash into Africa is bound to create issues?
Surely they are not naive…Surely they know. So if they know, what are their real motives?
- Could it be that Africa must forever be the breast from which western nations continually suck?
Like the greedy baby who sucks milk without regard to whether the body from which it came is fed or not. First, it was able bodies in the form of slavery. Now is it not economic slavery at its best, in the form of military and economic aid?
Jomo Kenyatta, the great African leader and first president of Kenya, once said “When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught us how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.”
Don’t get me wrong, I am a fervent Christian. As a matter of fact, nothing is wrong with the Bible; but something was certainly wrong with those missionaries and their shameful agendas. If they believed in their own Bible and their own scientists (as one would hope Westerners believe in their own ideology of making the world a better place), they would have acknowledged that we were all created equal under the very basic premise that God did not create two, three or four races; but HE created only one single race. A single race, from which it has been scientifically proven according to Dr. Llaila Afrika, that all other races derive, as a result of various levels of Melanin deficiencies and climatic adaptation (again, a very simplistic statement as I am no scientist). Therefore how could there be a superior race when there was never an intention from creation to have two races?
It is almost as if someone told me, now that I have moved to a western country where the cold climate lightened my skin tone, that I am superior in some way shape or form to those that still enjoy the hot sun in parts of Africa 12 months along. Ridiculous, isn’t it!!!
Jokes asides, I am of the mind that we must demand Pharaoh to let our people go. If he doesn’t heed to our request, we must make him see the light. And in order to so, we must equip ourselves.
We are all Davids on a rescue mission, we are fighting against Goliath. Like David did time after time, we must encourage ourselves in the Lord; this great God that created the Universe, whether for you HE is blue, red or yellow. We must not be distressed, but most importantly we must stop throwing stones at each other.
Rather, we must gather our strong men and women, equip ourselves and pursue…But FIRST we must remember who we are. While in Egypt, the Israelite never forgot who they were. It is this sense of strong identity and unity that caused them to be able to follow ONE leader and have one common agenda for their betterment.
It is my hope that little by little we will wake up to the real problems, and together search out the real solutions.