November 28, 2004

Feigning corruption as the cause of Africa’s woes.

If you ask nine out to ten people what is the major factor causing Africa’s continued entrenched poverty, they will answer with corrupt and inept leadership. Surprisingly enough, even most Africans will tell you the same thing. But what is it, if African leaders are more corrupt than others, that makes this so? Is it the fact that African leaders come from a pool of corrupt and inept people, thus making such predictable? Or is it the situation, meaning history and outside influences, that has manifested an environment of corruption?

For anyone to accept the notion that Africans, and hence African leaders, are more corrupt and inept than leaders in other continents and races is simply racist. The core of that racism is the belief that blacks biggest problem is either themselves or other black people. It says that blacks, in a relative world and in juxtaposition with other groups of people, are more harmful to themselves than others are harmful to them or that others are harmful to themselves. This is pure and simply the doctrine of racial inferiority being propagated through the cowardly act of stealth and or ignorance.

I have yet to hear the logical repudiation of the proposition that the present is the creation and summation of the past. Everything that exist today has its origin in events of the past. Thus, in order to properly understand phenomenon or events of the present, one must seek the answer from actions and reactions that manifested over time in the past. Every action creates a reaction. Yet, popular sentiment and propaganda will have you ignore, if not dismiss both these natural laws of existence and would have you dismiss their influence on the African condition.

When one talks about outside influences and environmental factors upon Africa, you have over 4 centuries of documented history of European influence and manipulation. You had the Europeans demand for African prisoners of wars, to be converted to slaves in the West. You had the drawing of national borders which split up natural homogenous groupings and combined tribally dissimilar peoples, fermenting division. You had colonization and the imposing of European cultural, political, economic and religious imperialism upon Africa. Then you had the Cold war manipulation of Africa by Europeans trying to spread white capitalism or white communism upon black people, propping up ruthless dictators in the process if only they would fight against the rivals ideology. Then you have the peonage and manipulation of economies and resources by virtue of loans from the West that are spent of Western goods and services, as a precondition to the loans.

These 400 years of actions from Europeans is ignored and dismissed from having had a major influence on the problems of Africa today. Instead, the focus or suspect is black inferiority which is qualified in stealth by the claim that Africa’s problems today are the product of black leaders who are corrupt and inept and who squander or pocket millions of dollars for their personal benefit, hence, keeping or making the people poor. Even though there are many African rulers who pocket millions, those millions can make one man rich, but spread out among 20 or more million people…really amounts to very little. A million dollars do not go very far these days. To turn most African countries economics, you need many billions of dollars spent on infrastructure, public health, education, economic investments and other.

The reality of why so many African leaders are corrupt is born from learned behavior and the template left by their former colonial masters, as well as, the power of multination corporations. When the European and Western powers abdicated their direct political control over Africa, they left a template and structure that was exploitive, because that is how the Europeans created it to exploit the masses and their resources. The post colonial African political leaders inherited the construct and hence many fall for the temptations to do the same thing. Also, Western governments and corporations influence the politics of many nations by supporting leaders or candidates who will allow their Corporations to own and exploit the Africans nations natural resources. They do this by offering bribes in the form of Loans from the IMF and World Bank, with the understanding that some of these monies for projects can go into the rulers pocket as his reward for cooperation with Western interest.

In conclusion, Africa’s many problems, like every thing else in existence, is the product of its past. If Africa was a booming success story today, like America, that too would be the product of things that happened in the past and not simply the product of phenomenon of the present. Indeed, the decline and or stagnation of Africa is a direct correlation with the rise of the West. Every action creates reactions and the reaction to European and Western Activity upon the continent of Africa, worked to lift up the West as the profit that resulted from putting the Africans down. It is what I call “seesaw economics”, which is the phenomenon of lifting up one entity by placing the weight of exploitation or burden upon another entity. Today, after 400 years of this “seesaw” economics the resultant in plan to see for those who seek profound truth and not superficial ones.


At 1:12 PM, Blogger Faheem said...

One of the many things ignored as well is when most African Nations won their independence they had a leader that cared for the people and those who were friends with colognizer suffered under the leadership of those who actually fought and cared for the people. However, as time has passed the friends of the colognizer has risen back into power thus the condition of the people has not changed much between having Black leaders and White leaders. Some would even say it was better under white rule.

Here is some interesting bits of information for you..

"More than 30,000 Nigerian doctors live and work in the United States alone. That's without even counting the other Nigerian professionals living and working in the United States. And other Nigerian doctors and highly educated professionals in different fields living and working elsewhere - outside Nigeria and Africa! And without counting other highly educated Africans - of all ethnic origins including Pakistani and East Indian from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania - living and working in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. And that is only the tip of the iceberg.

As Godfrey Mwakikagile goes on to show in his book, between 1985 and 1990, Africa lost 60,000 scientists, doctors, engineers and other highly skilled professionals who emigrated mostly to Europe, the United States and Canada. More than 30,000 Africans with PhD's live and work outside Africa. Even South Africa, the continent's most developed country and model of functional democracy, has been losing about 40,000 people, mostly highly educated, every year since the end of apartheid.

The list goes on and on. On and on."

How in the hell can any nation rise with it best trained, best equiped, best educated, best prepared men and women leaving their homeland for greener or should I say whiter pastures.

At 7:41 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

That is an excellent point Faheem. If one looks at intellectual capital as a resources like oil, the West is draining this resource from areas that need it most.
I believe that this is both by conspiracy and economic coincidence. I think that the West realizes that if it can draw intellectual capital from other parts of the world, that those places that are being drained can never rise to be any type of threat...economic or militarily...if all the best and brightest are relocating to the West. This is why China has been able to has managed to retain its intellectual capital from the free flow of market forces that would logically compel the best and brightest to move to the West were they can get the highest monetary return on their investment.

At 9:03 AM, Blogger Constructive Feedback said...

I can't for the life of me understand how you two always misframe an argument.

The citizens of various African country's are VICTIMS of their leader's corruptness in the misappropriation of funds received for their natural resources and the loans that they have received.

What has happened in Africa is equivalent to what has happened in the United States with regards to preditory lending. While there is no doubt that International Banking institutions have exploited the situation the ultimate responsibility is on the country in question to have the governmental system of checks and balances to reject such loans outright and not strangle their people with debt.

Certainly all of these loans which are outstanding were not fraudulent in nature. There has been plenty of infrastructure that has been built as a result of these.

The problem is with the lack of economic and government infrastructure to accept these funds and use it for productive economic leverage.

If there is one Christmas gift that I would purchase for the both of you it would be this book:

In summary a brand new credit card with a $100,000 credit line can be used to purchase a tool that will creae money for you OR it could be used to purchase a closet full of clothes and a new BWM limo.

Let me ask you this. Let us suppose that all debt to African countries were erased and we start from scratch. In 50 years from now, all else being the same and with the natural letting of loans and credit taking place can you tell me that they won't be back in the same situation?

No it is not genetic.

It IS a matter of considering the economic and political systems that are at work to make use of these resources and better yet to use the existing natural and human resources to generate wealth.

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

That point is overemphasized Renaldo. The truth of the matter is that one could not rebuild the City of Detroit, with the monies siphoned from international aid black a leader of an African nation such as Ghana. That international aid money can make an individual rich….but cannot make a nation of millions of people any more than marginally better off. One needs trillions and billions properly invested to make differences with the masses…and that type of CAPITAL INVESTMENT is simply not flowing into Africa the way if flows into ASIA and SOUTH AMERICA, from the USA and other developed nations.

You also must note that until the Africans have the intellectual, technical and managerial capital, all aid will simply flow directly back into the hands of the West. The thing is that a precondition of many of the loans is that these building projects must be carried out by Western companies. That means that the monies spent and most of the good paying jobs flows into the pocket of Westerners, who will put that money in a Western bank or spend it in the Western economy. Then the African nation is left to pay back the principle plus the interest, plus, continues to pay westerners to maintain this infrastructure built by them. In short, Western aid to Africa primarily goes to the benefit of Western corporations and economies, while the African nation gets a long term dept that often amounts to up to a third of the nations GDP. Instead of the tax revenues going to help the people socially, they must be spent servicing the debt to the West. Thus, in order to help the people who are in need of aid, they must borrow again from the West, thus perpetuating their debt. It is a cycle initiated by African leaders believing in the benevolence of the intentions of the West, IMF and World Bank and the belief that they really wanted to see Africa rise. By the time they realized the truth, they were caught in the trap of peonage, similar to the trap of share cropping that kept many black families, including my own, stuck in debt and hence poverty, to the white land owners after slavery ended.

Capitalism requires land, labor and capital. It takes money to make money and the West has most of the world’s capital from centuries of exploiting peoples and places like Africa. Now Africa needs capital investment to fuel their capitalistic systems and the West is using this need to exploit them.

At 11:10 AM, Blogger EG said...

Another issue that creates problems for the African economy is the lack of an industrial infrastructure. Government receives income through taxes. If the predominant economy is agrarian, the value of crops is not a constant from year to year due to weather conditions, etc. So taxes on crops cannot be predicted and government revenues cannot be guaranteed.

Also, many agrarian societies work on the barter system. So if I trade my corn for your wheat, who should pay taxes on the exchange?


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