SUMMARY: Revision 2005
The future of Africa is a nightmare. Along the years, Sub-Saharan Africa has grown in population and decreased in wealth. With 751 million inhabitants, its Gross National income (GNI) only attains 415 $Billion in 2004! The population is expected to reach 1,320 million and the GNI 700 $Billion in 2030. In fact, without South Africa, the income per capita only attains $350 in 2004 and could fall to 290 in 2030!
These statistics are not astonishing. More than 14 countries are confronted with external or internal wars. It's ridiculous to speak about development while twenty percent of the population is afflicted by violent conflicts. As a result, the populations are awaiting their salvation from Western countries. They expect that the Free World could bring peace and progress in removing the African dictatorships.
It is impossible to understand the causes of this situation as long as you do not take in account the African magic background. In global history, we have divided the mankind history into three ages: The primitive society, the authoritarian society and finally the liberal society. The originality of Africa is that the primitive society has not disappeared. Moreover, our survey takes also notice of three objectives causes: The slave trade, the Congress of Berlin and the marxist influence. Consequently, the cure would include four actions: Overthrow the dictatorships, Build up a federalist process, Implement the global learning system and establish a great free economic zone.
Sub saharan Africa includes all the African countries minor North Africa, Sudan and Mauritania. Considering the present situation, our diagnosis limits itself to some obvious facts and the survey will focus on the causes. It is not a worm book paper. It's an eye witness account.
Along the years, Sub-Saharan Africa has grown in population and decreased in wealth. With 751 million inhabitants in 2004, its Gross National income (GNI) only attains 415 $Billion in 2004, represents about 1% of the world GNI and ranks behind the Netherlands!
In fact, the situation is worst because these stats include South Africa. Of course, this nation is part of the Sub Saharan Africa but corresponds to a very specific country built up by the Europeans. Many White areas benefited (and still benefit until today) of very high living standards ( Sometimes, higher than in South California! ). Indeed, when we subtract South africa, we get the real situation: Consider the next drawing ( Population in Million, GNI in $Billion, GNI per capita in $ ):
Region ------------Population-----GNI:2004----Income per Capita
These statistics are not astonishing. More than 14 countries are confronted with external or internal wars. It's ridiculous to speak about development while twenty percent of the population is afflicted by violent conflicts. In Liberia and Sierra Leone, the local population were terrorized by the child soldiers. In Rwanda, 800,000 people were slaughtered within a few weeks just because they were Tusties. In Central Africa, an area vaster than the entire Europe from London to Moscow has fallen in anarchy. Disbanded soldiers are looting and sometimes killing the populations. About two millions people would have been slaughtered. Right now, the same story is happening in the Darfour (Chad and Sudan) and could begin in Ivory Coast.
In spite of these internal conflicts, the GNI has grown on an average of 3% ( And about 4% in South Africa) over the five last years. This evolution results of the rising oil prices and globalization. However, these stats have no meaning. For example, according to the World Bank stats, Chad got a growth rate peaking at 31% in 2004. The Niger got a steady growth rate on an average of 3% over the past five years. On the other hand, anybody knows that 200,000 children are presently dying by starvation in Niger and that it is impossible to travel in Chad because you are at risk to be killed for one euro! It means that we cannot rely on these stats to extrapolate the future trend.
The surveys realized by the CIA and some private think tanks about the future of Sub Saharan Africa, show that the situation is not going to improve. Our estimate is that it is going to worsen!
Firstly, the population is expected to reach 1,320 million in 2030. This huge growth should increase political instability, ethnic strifes and anarchy in towns. Secondly, we expect a slow down of oil prices between 2015 and 2030. Thirdly, we have now to take in account a new driver: The islamic surge which could affect West and Eastern Africa with the emergence of a terrorist tank.
Regarding South Africa, the government restrained therapy on HIV and follows the same policy as Mugabe: The white farmers are driven from land they have tilled for decades and their farms are divided into small plots with low productivity. Presently, the new fade is to change the name of the towns. As a result of the poor governance, there is a lack of confidence: White people and big money are more and more fleeing away ( In Australia notably ). In our opinion, South Africa will progressively get the same face as the other African countries in the future.
According to these these facts, our prediction relies on a yearly growth rate of 3% for the period 2005-2015 ( 4% in South Africa), 1.5% for 2016-2020 ( 2.5% in South Africa) and 0% for 2021 -2030 ( 1.5% in South Africa ). Consider the next drawing ( Population in Million, GNI in $Billion, GNI per capita in $ ):
Region --------------Population----GNI:2030----Income per Capita
Without South Africa, the income per capita will only attain $290 in 2030. In fact, the region will come back to the situation it endured before the colonization!
2-THE MAGIC BACKGROUND
It is impossible to understand the causes of this situation as long as you do not take in account the African magic background.
In global history, we have divided the mankind history into three ages: The primitive society, the authoritarian society and finally the liberal society. The originality of Africa is that the primitive society has not disappeared.
Few years ago, in central Africa, I had visited tribes of pygmies living exactly like our ancestors 50.000 years ago. Some other very primitive tribes are existing in central Congo or in Eastern Africa. Of course, you may observe the same in South America, Malaysia, or Philippines but the real African specificity is that the magic mentality is shared by most of Africans even those who have been educated.
Shamans and sorcery play a great role in the human relations. Despite Islam and Christians, most of Africans believe in magic. Of course, educated Africans tell that magic beliefs are only worshipped by poor farmers but when they have confidence in you, they tell you very strange stories: Someone is able to become invisible or to transform himself into an animal. Another has the capacity to fly like a bird from Dakar to Duala! I have heard many times such stories from educated people.
For example, when the HIV epidemic began, many leaders did not recognize the plague saying that it was only a white man disease. This opinion was based on magic medicine. As a result pandemic grew up on an exponential scale. Right now, many chiefs of State worship black magic to protect themselves from opponents and misfortunes.
Magic is based on brotherhood and each clan has its own ancestors, taboos and totems. Each clan is led by a chief who has many real powers such as justice and land tenure. The chief assisted by a council of elders distributes the land into the different families and often prescribes the agricultural methods.
Clan are grouped in little kingdoms and emirates which are still existing in many areas of Africa. This shadow power often implies human sacrifices. In Ivory coast, the western window of Africa, young men were often reported missing because they were kidnapped for human sacrifices in connection with the king funeral ceremonies. In some areas, I have seen awful stone idols dedicated to such sacrifices.
The consequences are both individual and collective.
The magic background jeopardizes all the education process: At birth, everybody is ignorant. Whatever age, any ignorant is able to learn: Remember Platos young slave who discovered the geometric laws that he had never learnt before. He was able to learn because his mind contained logical categories.
Unfortunately, magic is a negative knowledge which destroys these logical categories: Take an actual child and imagine that instead of reading and calculating, you force him to learn every day some stupid beliefs. When he is twenty years old, his intellectual capacity has waned and he will be unable to do the exercise proposed by Plato. Mothers, grandparents and clan leaders propagate these negative beliefs. Therefore, it is not amazing that so little progress appears in Africa.
This magic background also explains the lack of reliability. Most African not only live in an enchanted world but also think and act through an enchanted mind. For example, they can bluntly assume that they are experienced in a field that in fact they absolutely ignore!
Once, I had the stupid idea to climb a peak in Rumsiki mountains, North Cameroon. One young man said me "I am the guide you are looking for". "Do you know this peak" I asked. "Of course Sir, no problem, I know it very well". We began the ascent and we suddenly faced two alternative ways above a precipice. I turned to my guide: "It's now up to you, what way should we go?". "As you like Sir, I am just following you. I has never been here before"!
I guess that many businessmen have experienced such misadventures.
This magic background has painful consequences on the economic and political fields. The complicated land tenure results in a tribal communism which does not favor productivity and innovations. What is more, when an african is doing well, his clan wants to share the wealth. This situation represents a primitive social security system but it prevents anybody to realize individual savings.
Beside the official political power, there is the shadow power based on the chiefs of clans and little kings. I often saw African chief of State paying courtesy visits to these traditional authorities when they were traveling in the country. Of course, these traditional authorities do not support modernization!
The worst consequence is connected to the relations between these different clans and in my opinion it explains the permanent wars between tribes and ethnic groups.
In Eurasia, ethnic and religious groups are often separated by long distances. In Africa, as people are constantly migrating inside their massive continent, each territory is a patchwork of ethnic groups. Instead of favoring mixed marriages , the magic background introduces taboos and separation among people living on the same territory. For example, in North Cameroon markets, a Bantu who buys some stuff must not touch the hand of the fulani merchant. Merchandises and money are put on the ground before to be exchanged in order to avoid any hand contact!
I could tell dozens of such stories. Once, my car had broken down in the Mauritanian desert. People proposed to take me to the next town but my Senegalese driver implored me to stay with him because he feared to be kidnapped and enslaved by the white Moors. A black Mauritanian man stayed with us. Along the day, he was chatting with the white Moors like good friends but when he was alone with us, he suddenly burst into tears and told us all the humiliations black Mauritanian people endured.
You could be confronted with more subtle differentiation. In Cameroon, I made a week trip with a man from Douala and another coming from the Bamileke country. I would had been unable to distinguish one from another. Along the week, they were like good friends. Then, the Bamileke left us and I stayed with the man from Douala. "I am happy this guy left us " he said. " for why , was he not a good fellow?" I asked. " Not at all! it was a Bamileké: the worst race on this earth. I feel better with you than with any people belonging to this devil race" he said.
Unfortunately, due to the magic background, Africa to day is certainly the continent where the racists behaviors are the most extended. I guess that African scholars will not be happy to read that but it's the truth and it largely explains the ethnic wars and the present situation of Africa.
Why does the primitive mentality still remain on a so large scale? Historically, magic is linked to small tribes. The prevalence of magic means that Africa has benefited of a too short period of civilization. By the word "civilization", I designate the etymological meaning that is to say the ability to maintain large states cities, organized societies and so on.
Until the 20 century, people said that Africa was deprived of any civilizations. During the 20 century, scholars said that Africa had enjoyed magnificent civilizations which could be compared to Europe. They spoke about lost cities and so on. In fact except some pieces of pottery, you can hardly observe any "lost cities". In twenty years of traveling through Africa, the only historic buildings that I have found were the enormous fortress built up by the Portuguese on the Ghana coast.
In fact, Africa had benefited of some early civilizations but they were rapidly destroyed both by Arab invasions and the slave trade.
In summary, before the great discoveries, the history of Africa was organized along two lines of contacts with advanced civilizations: One horizontal sub-Saharan line on the border of Sahara and a vertical axis on the east side with the Swahili cities.
311-East side story
Since Egypt, a flow of civilization was oriented southward with the kingdoms of Meroe and then of Aksum which existed in the 6th century on the red sea and extended to Ethiopian highlands. In the same time, and until the end of middle age, Arabs coming from Oman and Yemen were extensively traveling and big towns were created at Mogadishu, Mombassa, Zanzibar an so on. What is more, marriages between black women and Arab created the Swahili culture with a rich architecture, stone buildings, textiles, spices and so on.
In fact, all the coast from Somalia to Mozambique could had been rather compared with the Arabic peninsula than with central Africa. The history of the Swahili culture is more a Middle East history than an African history.
Unfortunately, the Portuguese monopolized and destroyed the sea trade with the Arabic peninsula, India and China. The swahili culture declined and most of these cities states were going to be included in African States.
312-West side story
During our early Middle Age, some empires appeared such as Ghana, Mali, Songhai, Benin and Kanem. They controlled vast areas in west Africa. Common to each of these empires was extensive Saharan trade, large army and gold production.
However, despite the enthusiasm of some scholars, these empires could not be compared with the European kingdoms during the same period because they did not know writing. Their cities like Timbuktu or Djenne were built up with wood and cob walls and did not bear any comparisons with our castles and cathedrals. In fact, their civilization level could be compared to the Celtic area before the Roman colonization. Some of these empires lasted until the 18th century but they were finally vanquished by the Moors, Berbers and Moroccans. By the end, it just remained a patchwork of cities with a strong Muslim influence, from the border of Sahara to the northern part of Nigeria.
Unlike the Roman, Arabs only brought their religion and did not improve the society organization, the transportation's or the current techniques. Africa was only for them a gold and slaves tank. As a result, there are today no real trace of these empires.
Some little kingdoms emerged from the primitive tribes. An empire known as great Zimbabwe left stone ruins but its origin is controversial. By 1500, the Congo empire existed on the west cost with a real organization and it established friendly relations with the king Enrique of Portugal. This empire lasted until the 18th century but was finally devastated by the slave trade.
It is interesting to compare evolution in Africa and in Europe during this period. Look at the next drawing.
In Europe ( The red line), external invasions ceased by the 10 century and the continent began to develop on a slow pace. During the same time, Africa (The black line), was shielded of invasions but by the 14 century, their early civilizations were destroyed by the Arabs. What is more, northern Africa and the Arabic peninsula began their decline at the same period.
Further, the slave trade began and achieved to destroy this early take off both in west Africa and on the east coast. Consequently, the gap between Europe and Africa became enormous.
Slavery had existed in early times : War tribes prisoners were turned to slavery just like in Europe during the Roman Empire. With the Muslim conquest, a real slave trade began and never stopped. People were captured mainly in the south border of Sahara or on the eastern coast and transported by caravans or ships to the Arabic peninsula.
Zanzibar was the main slave market in eastern Africa. Merchants bought slaves 30$ on the coast and sold them 150$ in Zanzibar before shipping to Arabic peninsula. On the market, slaves endured flagellation to test their physical strength.
However, the slave trade on a large scale began with the Europeans. The slave trade between Africa and America has been an appalling tragedy quite unique in the entire history. We can really use the word of genocide.
By 1500, the Europeans had sea vessels and their merchants traded with Africans for exchanging guns, and textiles against ivory, gold and finally slaves who were sold in America. The next drawing shows this triangular trade.
In the first time, African kings sold their criminals but with the growing demand in America, the slave trade became an industry and the African kings warred each other to get more and more slaves to trade.
Within the space of four hundreds years, and according to the shipping records, about 15 million Africans were transported to America. What is more, about half of those captured inland were dead by the time they reached the cost. It means that the human losses amounted about 30 million people. In the entire history, never so much people had been transported from one continent to another against their will. It means that in some areas, more than half of the existing population had been killed or deported to America.
In 1800, the entire population of the United Kingdom amounted 5 million people. Let's suppose that 2,5 million would had been deported to China. United kingdom in such a situation should had never benefited of its industrial development. It means that slave trade represented for Africa a clash with heavy consequences.
322-Total social destruction
Beside the human losses, slave trade resulted in a total destruction of the early civilization. Each little warlord started his own slave business. War tribes became a true industry to produce slaves and sold them to Europeans on the coast. It boosted tribal animosity and their marks are yet existing today between tribes and even between neighboring villages. It forbade the possibility to raise any national feeling.
It also created among population a strong distrust toward African merchants and middlemen because historically they were often the main slave traffickers ( For example, in 1964, 20,000 arabic merchants were slaughtered in zanzibar during a sole night). Just imagine what should be the social relations today in Europe if 300 years ago some of your neighbors had killed or sold your grand fathers and ancestors. Of course, slavery and serfdom were common in Europe but at least the slaves stayed in their own country and were not sold and transported thousands miles away.
Of course, African leaders emphasized the European responsibility but it would be fair to recognize that it was largely shared between the American landlords, the European merchants and the African warlords.
Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, French and English did not capture slaves. They only bought and transported them. Slaves were kidnapped or captured by their African "brothers". The demand was American, the trade was European but the production was African. For example, when you visit the portuguese slave fortress on the Ghana coast, you can observe that their guns pointed toward the sea for preventing other Europeans to enter into the business.
In 1807, the British abolished slave trade and fought the slave vessels but the inland slave trade lasted notably with Arab countries. It could be said that it has never ended. ( For example, I saw many slaves attached to tuareg tribes (Bellah) or working in plantations in Mauritania). The higher prevalence of slavery is presently in Sudan: Some NGO report that may be 200,000 black people coming from south Sudan are yet turned to slavery. Slave women and young boys are often raped by their Arab masters. Thanks to the politically correct trend, the prevalence of slavery in many Arabs countries is carefully hidden!
During this period, the great explorers such as Livingston or Stanley began their trips and discovered a society devastated by slavery: War tribes, primitive practices, no real organization and so on.
Of course, the situation of Africa was by this time certainly worst than it had been 200 years before. As a result, most of explorers drew on a very negative description of inland Africa. It had certainly given a motive for the colonization which began by the middle of the 19th century.
The colonization brought over peace, order, and in some scale, health and education. The progress of medicine and the drop in infant mortality benefited to the local people. These facts do not sound politically correct but its the truth.
Colonization began in north Africa because the pirates were constantly attacking the merchant vessels in Mediterranean sea. Invasion of Algeria occurred and steps by steps the process extended to sub-Saharan Africa.
Although the motive of north African colonization was to end piracy, the motive in black Africa was mainly to end the inland slavery and to restore peace under the pressure of humanitarian societies. It would be difficult to find in the literature and papers of the period, commercial or industrialist motives.
What is more, settlement of white people has never been a motive in black Africa because the malaria and fever diseases: Papers reported that between 25 to 75% of white newcomers died in their first year! In fact settlement just occurred in some highlands and of course in South Africa.
It explained why democracies and notably France and England were in the forefront of colonization. When German and Italian decided to create their own empires, the humanitarian motives were upset by the rivalry between great powers.
Compared to the previous situation, colonization had been a relief: Tribal warfare that had plagued the whole region came to an end. Slave warlords such as Rabih were defeated by the french army mainly composed with African people happy to find protection and security.
Today, many old people in Africa recall the colonization period as a golden age. "How long will independence go on for?" I often heard this question from farmers and merchants. Hamadou Hampate Ba, a famous African novelist described the villages in west Africa during the period between the two world wars: It was a peaceful time compared with today. Jails were quite empty. In west Africa, the French "commandant" ruled vast territories with only two or three Senegalese guards! In such a context, all the speeches about the colonial oppression are often exaggerated.
However, Africans were deprived of political freedom even if they had never before enjoyed it. Although the colonization emancipated them from slavery, they too often supported racism, forced labor, and humiliation linked to the colonial statute. What is more, Africans endured heavy human losses during the two world wars even if it is fair to say that they were very often volunteers and happy to fight for the mother country.
Many little white expressed racism against African and behaved like thugs notably in German and Belgium colonies and in all place where Europeans farmers settled. Even the generous people could be racist. For example, I met Doctor Sweitzer in 1963 in his lambaréné hospital. While I was chatting with him, he suddenly said: " black African are stupid people". I politely answered that it was not true and I explained that the African had endured too much shocks and sufferings along their collective and individual history.
Economic development began but was oriented to satisfy the needs of the colonial power rather than those of local populations. What is more, the Europeans brought to Africa their own complicated regulations and this administrative network was going to impede the future development of these countries.
In our opinion, the worst legacy was the State borders inherited of the Congress of Berlin. The great powers established artificial frontiers with no respect of any linguistic, ethnic, historical and even geographical division. Borders were just traced according to the advances of each European army inside the country. This division has impeded until now the future of the region. Just imagine what should be our situation if a part of France had been put with a part of Germany in one national State and another part of France with a part of Spain in another one! It means that the frontiers inherited from Berlin were not fitted to any national construction.
In summary, colonization calls for a balanced judgment. Peace and security were its main asset but some failures were going to handicap heavily the future independence.
Independently of the congress of Berlin, one of the worst failure has been the insufficient preparation to independence. The marxist influence spoiled the education of the young african leaders. Consequently, they implemented wrong economic policies and political dictatorships.
By the end of world war two, a new history began. When India gained independence in 1947, people wanted self rule and all the colonial powers dismantled their colonial organization between 1945 and 1975.
Because of the absence of a middle class, the power was given to young nationalist scholars with no business experience. As many young people, they were lured by the marxist theory taught in European universities. What is more they got bad advices from external experts: Most of them rushed to the new independent countries for experiencing their Marxist ideas in a tropical and exotic context.
I will just give you an example of the spirit which was prevalent in the early years of independence. I participated in a project which consisted in distributing oxen's, ploughs and carts to poor farmers. Rapidly some criticisms were raised by European academic and scholars: Were we going to create kulaks? A poor guy with two oxen and a plough was certainly a future kulak! According to our Marxists, it was quite an appalling crime: We were making kulaks appearing in west Africa!
Due to this marxist influence and until 1980, the private sector was perceived like a form of conspiracy. Tradesmen were presented like pirates and accomplices of the colonizers. As the foreign capital was often owned by Europeans, the private entrepreneurship was assimilated to neo colonialism.
This distrust toward commerce was extended to international trade. According to Rosa Luxembourg and Franz Fanon theory, African leaders thought that international exchange was wrong and they promoted an autarkic development based on import substitution. These policies have isolated Africa from the world trade and from most of the innovations.
While asian countries boosted free trade, African leaders always complained that the terms of trade were worsening. It means that with one ton of cocoa or cooper, you got fewer and fewer manufactured products. Truly, the prices of agricultural commodities and raw materials have fallen both in real terms and relative to the prices of manufactured goods: For example, between 1980 and 1998, the price of agricultural commodities fell by 35% while those of manufactured products increased by 40%.
However, the African leaders and their advisers did not understand that such a trend was only the result of the technical progress. Technical progress brings substitutes and results in a lower relative price for primary goods and increases relative prices for goods including knowledge. The only way to improve terms of trade for countries based on primary commodities would have been to quickly diversify and develop commerce and services. Instead of doing that, African countries took the habit to attribute their failures to some external conspiracy such as the deterioration of the terms of trade!
These wrong theories have been backed by the United Nations bureaucracy and the third world activists. They are currently saying that the poverty is inherited from the colonization period. In fact, it's not right: Ethiopia which has never been colonized registers the lowest income per capita in the world. On the contrary, the latest colony Hong kong has one of the highest income per capita in the world: $26 000 per inhabitant
Right now, the United nation bureaucracy is developing a new malthusian theory in relation with environment. It is said that the westerners spoil African resources. In fact beside the limited natural resources, creativity rearranges resources and creates a new artificial base. This new resource is unlimited and relies in our mind power rather than in some physical things. The westerners create more resources, especially knowledge and technology, than they consume: Go to the new growth theory for more detailed explanations.
42-Wrong economic policies
The marxist influence has led to a wrong economic policy. With the cold war, Africa divided into countries following either the soviet and either the western countries but, in fact, the same bad governance has been applied everywhere.
421-Economy at the beginning of independence
The economy inherited from colonization was mainly based on mining, raw materials such as cotton, and food agriculture. Except some urban centers, most of the countries were inhabited with small farmers living like in the Celtic age with a communal land tenure.
Productivity was very low: The plough with oxen's only appeared in 1930 in western Africa. Creativity was weak. The commerce of commodities was headed by Lebanese, Portuguese and Greek wholesalers who had developed their business during the colonization. Industry was very rare with no African owners. Means of transportation were not sufficient. The only modern sector was concentrated in great plantations and mining industry owned by European companies.
As agriculture was the only real basis for the economic development, the only policy should have been to encourage productivity and to make the farmers realizing a surplus for developing through savings a commercial and industrial sector. The following drawing shows this circle of development.
Unfortunately, most of the African leaders took another way which led to an economic collapse.
422-The perverted economy after independence
1-Agriculture and commerce:
According to their marxist ideas, some African leaders tried to launch collective farms but they got poor results. As farm nationalization appeared impossible, they undertook to nationalize all the commercial and transformation process.
Farmers were obliged to channel their products through state co-operatives and so on. Buying at low price due to their monopoly, these state societies prevented the farmers to modernize and confiscated a part of the rural revenue for financing public industry and the urban elite ( For example, the cloves trade is still a State monopoly in Zanzibar!).
You can object that many agricultural projects have been launched. In fact these project did not improve or modernize agriculture and just provided with an authoritarian network of forestry guards, agricultural officers, rural assistants, monitors, co-operative and so on living on the farmers just like the feudal society. I must emphasize that this predatory process has been encouraged by the european agronomists. (In fact, I have never understood why the agronomists who were ignorant in economic have been put in charge of most of the development projects during the period. Being given their results, I had currently the habit to say that African agriculture suffered of three great calamities: Draught, locusts and agronomists!)
As a result, the local tradesmen disappeared, the farmers reduced their productions and most of agricultural goods returned to their levels before independence. Famine re-appeared in many areas.
2-Public hold enterprise-Grand corruption-Debt burden:
The African governments undertook to create a great public sector including power plants, mining, transformation of agricultural goods, textiles, public hostels and so on. I have visited some of these big industrial plants which have never worked. Even if you were not a specialist, you could see that these factories with their huge concrete buildings conceived for resisting to snow, storms and sharp frosts had just been built for collecting and channeling fruitful commissions. The losses of these enterprises very often exceeded the total budgetary provisions for education and health but they lasted because they were the ground for grand corruption.
During this period, African governments contracted private loans and benefited of public aid. Usually, when you obtain a loan, you use it for productive tasks and you find yourself richer than before once you have paid it back. The more you borrow, the more your wealth increases. It is the leverage effect of a bank loan. If you are not able to pay back, it means that you have used the loan in a non productive way. Consequently, the burden of debt only means that the governments which borrowed wasted the money. It's not astonishing because a part of the public aid had been used to build up State factories which only produced commissions !
The following drawing shows this perverted economic circle:
It is interesting to evaluate the results. All the african countries which followed this wrong way recorded catastrophic results: In 1980, all these countries were going to bankrupt and it was not possible to go on any more. By this time, the IMF and the World Bank launched the structural adjustment program which are still in operations.
423-Present Economy-Strutural adjustment programs-globalization
The third world activists say that these programs impoverish the population because the conditionality limits the social expenses. In fact, these people do not understand the mechanism.
The world institutions do not interfere in the expenses. They just target some macro-economic objectives: For example they prescribe a level of fiscal receipts and according to it they recommend a level of expenses in order to get an accounting equilibrium. In fact, they do not go to the specifics and for example they do not prescribe, inside the global expenses, a specific level for the military or the police expenditures. Such a detailed policy should be an offence for the sovereignty of the country.
As a result, prestigious development projects such as large urban hospitals or university have yet been launched at the detriment of social projects such as basic education and primary health in the rural areas. During the period, military expenditures have increased: They account for 3,5% of the total GDP (Instead of 0,7% in 1960!)
Look at the next drawing: It shows the financial operations as they are prescribed by the International Monetary Fund and as they are really executed by some countries.
As you can see, the financial sheet is balanced but a large part of the expenses are dedicated to the repressive network, prestigious projects or weapons and finally corruption.
It means that the failure of the structural adjustment program is due to the bad governance. Obviously, world institutions have not put enough political change in these reforms.
424-Great powers responsibilities
Of course, many European firms and banks have behaved just like accomplices of this situation. This new dog trade has generated huge corruption flows not only for the benefit of African leaders but also for the benefit of private persons in Europe. In some European countries, the political and judicial context is until today poisoned by cases regarding huge commissions about oil or weapon trade with Africa.
Normally, transnational corporate's are powerful engines to boosting growth because they spread knowledge and technical progress from one country to the entire world. Unfortunately, the story is quite different in Africa. Many Oil companies boost ethnic wars in Sudan or Congo. They support fierce dictatorships such as Equatorial Guinea and Angola. They behave with no ethics at all. It often seems difficult to distinguish the frontier between business and conspiracy.
43-Lack of democracy.
The worst legacy of the Marxist influence relies on the idea that Dictatorship is essential in order to achieve development.
Our global history module shows that the economic growth of the West was preceded by the surge of individual freedom and creativity. Of course, representative governments and universal suffrage have often been implemented in the 20th century but the freedom of consciousness appeared by the end of the 18th and was the cause of technical progress and growth.
Unfortunately, most of the African governments have failed to implement the basic policies: Human rights, democratic governance, large education, property rights and free market. It means that the African under development is mainly a political problem.
Soon after independence, democracy gave way to the one party state and military rules. Since the political power meant also the cultural and economic power, each tribe only favored its members and the conquest of power became a question of life or death. The discovery of oil boosted ethnic and religious rivalries.
Young leaders just coming after independence were educated but they often established fierce dictatorships. The marxist and progressive label covered some of the worst dictatorships such as Sekou Toure or Mengistu. On the other hand, the military officers who often took the power were poorly educated and heavily addicted to magic and secret societies. In fact, they just tried to enrich their clan through corruption and military predation. Under their rule, human rights abuses took a major importance. As a result, in some countries, one third of the population was often forced to migrate.
Collapse of communism in 1989 was a great hope for the populations and a great threat for the dictators. Unfortunately, the democratic process engaged through national conferences failed in many countries. Since 1990, democracy has extended in the world but right now Africa only counts about 7 or 8 true democracies among 47 countries. Many states use the facade of democratic elections but they do not respect individual rights, freedom of press and so on. This trend can be observed in Kenya , Zimbabwe and Ivory coast.
Finally, the only way the dictatorship found to maintain their powers was to use the poverty as a lever against the democracies. For performing this goal, they currently deliver the following speech to their subjects: You are poor because the western countries exploit you and their wealth belongs to you because it comes from exploitation! The UNESCO meeting in Durban and the last Joburg summit told the same speech in diplomatic terms.
One of the main reason for instability was the frontier network inherited from Berlin congress which led to internal and tribal disputes ( Sudan, Chad, Nigeria, Ivory coast and so on) and external conflicts about the border line (Chad and Libya, Ethiopia and Somalia, Nigeria and Cameroon). With the cold war, and the divide of africa into pro soviet and pro western countries, these conflicts were often encouraged by the great powers notably in the africa horn and in Angola.
In the whole, western democracies have indulged for ridiculous leaders like Bokassa or Amin Dada. They have too often said that democracy was not fitted to Africa. Being ignorant of the development process, many European leaders and top rank officers, such as ambassadors, have imitated the marxists in telling that economic development was a preliminary condition for democracy.
European countries bear also a responsibility, through their oil companies, in the present situation in central Africa, south Sudan and the gulf of Guinea. There is also an appalling uncertainty about some European implications in the Rwanda genocide.
Presently, we can identify the causes of the present situation:
51-Identifying the causes and responsibilities
In our opinion, the long range cause is the slave trade: It has stopped the development of the continent and resulted in the perpetuation of the magic background and the bad ethics and social practices.
The second cause is the congress of Berlin with its division into artificial borders.
The third cause is the marxist influence: It includes bad external advices, wrong theories, human right abuses, lack of democracy, inhumane behaviors, corrupt practices and so on.
About the Responsibilities, and regarding the slave trade, Europe and America must provide Africa with compensation. We bear also a responsibility in the Congress of Berlin. As for the marxist influence, it came mainly from the European universities and scholars. It means that the cure must come from the great powers. In doing so, Europe will also act in its own interest since the present African situation represents a threat.
When a man suffers with an infested wound, the good Doctor begins to clean the wound before giving any drugs. In our case, we have to clean up the African wound in eliminating all the corrupted and repressive networks that we have supported for so long.
52-Remove the dictatorships: Kosovo concept-Federalist concept.
The first strategic move is to restore peace and security. It's impossible to speak about development while twenty percent of the population is affected by violent conflicts. It implies that great powers must overthrow the dictatorships as they have done it in Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
521-Legitimacy of the action
We do not need any more the agreement of the corrupt United Nations which bears a large responsibility in the present situation. It offers a large tribune for dictators as we have seen at Joburg summit: Mugabe has been cheered by the audience!
In fact, The United States, Japan, Europe, China, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, India, Korea, Australia and Russia which represent 82% of world GDP and 57% of world population have a sufficient legitimacy for acting.
We have removed Saddam Hussein due to his crimes. We have the same rights and reasons to remove Mugabe, Taylor and so on. Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq give us the program and the agenda for restoring peace and security at least in central Africa which is the most afflicted area.
It implies also that we shall bring to the populations a large economic aid, a wide technical assistance and a permanent security support with multilateral troops during the implementation of the new institutions.
522-Implementation of a federalist process
Clearly, all the frontiers must be reshaped according to the linguistic, ethnic, cultural and religious divisions. This reshaping must be done in consulting the populations steps by steps. People must be invited to group themselves according to their own will and in as much self ruling local communities as they want. It means that we could vision about 400 regional communities with their own self rule.
Obviously, we do not envision to create 400 States with their own army, money and diplomacy. In a second time, these local communities should be grouped in federal States maybe larger than the actual nation States. It means that by the end of the process, we should have in Africa five or seven federal States instead of 47 nation States.
According to the federalist principle, each local community would have its own institutions. Money and diplomacy should be reported to the federal level. As for army and police, these functions will be assured by the great powers network as long as necessary.
53-Remove the magic background: The global learning concept.
Having cleaning the wound, we must begin the cure with a strategic move in order to end the magic background. It means to establish a mass learning process.
Almost half of all Africans never attended schools. Today, 80 million African boys and girls are not in school and fewer than 2% who begin school go on to college education. What is more, Africa registers heavy illiterate rates.
532-The solution: The global learning system
The only way is to implement the global learning system that is described in another survey. We need distance learning centers in each village and million of computer to distribute. Computers could be for free because in 2000 over 30 million computers were retired in the US market. In both rural and urban areas, it is crucial that the next generation grow up with computers and should be able to receive a world class basic education.
It means also to review all the content of education. I underline the fact that this content must eradicate all the negative beliefs including magic and fundamentalism.
Massive investment in education can provide with a base for changing the comparative advantage in external trade. India has demonstrated that it could become the second largest exporter of computer softwares by exploiting its skill training and low wages. Africa could benefit of the same opportunity.
54-Establish a new economic framework:
We do recommend to cancel off the debts that the democracies have inherited from the dictatorships. The African people has not to support these debts. Total cancellation should concern Mali, Cap Verde, Benin, Ghana and South Africa.
542-Openness to agricultural and textiles exports
Africa needs free trade more than increased aid. Oxfam has estimated that Africa would generate $70 Billion in income in increasing its share of world exports by one percentage point. The World Trade Organization meeting in Doha in November 2001 opened a development agenda for trade negotiations but unfortunately developed countries are still protecting their markets against the agricultural and textiles exports from Africa.
According to World Trade Organization, rich countries now spend $1 Billion per day to subsidize their agricultural sector. This policy results in producing more expansive food in the developed countries and poorer farmers in Africa. Instead of paying lip service in Joburg, European leaders would had been better inspired to accept the reform of the European Agricultural Policy. Unfortunately, everybody know that some countries are opposed to such a reform.
543-Public aid for infrastructures
The NEPAD promoters asked for $64 Billion in aid and investments for building up critical infrastructures in Africa in the next 12 years. These amounts should be channeled to public education, health and the struggle against HIV and for restoring roads, airports, ports, telecom infrastructures and water supply and sanitary.
544-The great free zone
Being admitted that the money for investments such as airport, port, telecom, health and security will be provided with external aid, we do recommend to set up an innovative free zone in the whole area: It means no taxes, no toll duties, no IRS, and of course not any subsidies. We do recommend also the elimination of all regulations (notably wages or labor regulations) except in the health domain.
It would not be realistic to apply this cure to entire Africa. So it will be wise to apply it to the most exhausted regions: Congo, central Africa, Chad, Angola, equatorial Guinea, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Burundi and Sudan.
You can observe that these prescriptions correspond exactly to the causes we have just identified. Look at the next drawing which illustrates that.
What could be the results? Thanks for this cure, the African income per capita could catch up with the present European income per capita by 2065.
We suppose a yearly growth rate of 9% and a population growth rate limited to 2%. It gives a net growth rate of 7% for the income per capita. I recall you that you can calculate how long it takes GDP to double by dividing the growth rate into the number 70: If growth rate is 7%, The GDP will double every 10 years: 70/7 = 10.
I must underline that the task is manageable: During 25 years (from 1960 until 1985) the GDP of Japan grew at a rate of 5,8%. Today, the GDP of China increases by a rate of 9%. Of course, it is difficult to maintain such growth rates over a long period but it must be a good reason for beginning the cure right now! Unfortunately, the African leaders are not prepared to adopt these recommendations.
Do you agree? Do you not agree? Send your comments right now.Click Here
Links: Click below
Go to our Country rating world guide dedicated to small business
www.batir-rca.fr.st . All about Central African Republic: In french.