This is the findings of an audit by a conglomerate of 14 NGOs headed up by Health Poverty Action, and entitled ‘Honest Accounts? The true story of Africa’s billion dollar losses’ (for a copy of the report, contact healthpovertyaction.org). And it shows that the West takes over six times more out of Africa than it gives to it.
I think you will agree this is a superb deal for the West, but a very bad one for Africa.
So the truth is the West is not giving aid to Africa at all. It is the other way round, and Africa is supporting the West.
This is not Health Poverty Action speaking on its own. Others support its findings, the most high-profile being a joint report by the UN economic commission for Africa (UNECA) and the AU’s high-level panel on illicit financial flows, which found that ‘in reality Africa is a net creditor to the world rather than a net debtor.’ And if even the UN admits it then it must be true.
So now you know why the very great majority of your fellow African citizens are still in terrible poverty. In fact, you cannot possibly escape poverty while this situation goes on. Even the USA or China would not last long if every dollar they made in income cost them $6.40 in outgoings.
The AU recognises this, which is why in its Agenda 2063, it is not only intending to dramatically cut back on foreign aid, but also to heavily reduce ALL reliance on the West and China. And the sooner that happens, the faster you will all escape poverty and start to enjoy quality lifestyles (of course, in Zimbabwe, you have got to get rid of Mugabe and ZANU-PF as well).
There is, however, a huge problem with Agenda 2063. Although every single African government, including Zimbabwe, has signed up to it, NOT ONE has made it the basis of its manifesto. Do you know why? Because it is not in their self-interest to do so.
First, Agenda 2063 will put the power in every African nation firmly into the hands of its own citizens. Can you see Mugabe doing that? Or, sadly, Tsvangirai? Or, indeed, any other Zimbabwean political leader? Secondly, none of them want foreign aid and loans cut because it is a very important part of their corrupt income.
The AU realised this would happen. And it also realised that the only way Agenda 2063 will be implemented is if each nation’s own citizens put pressure on their government, politicians and political parties making it the basis for their manifestos or else don’t vote for them.
So if Zimbabweans really do want proper people-control of your governments, if you really do want to escape from poverty and into affluence as soon as possible, if you really do want to stop any more repressive governments, and if you really do want a government that works for your interests instead of its own, it is absolutely essential that you require each of your opposition politicians and political parties to make Agenda 2063 the basis for their manifestos.
Activists and campaigners, this is where you can take concrete action to really help Zimbabwe: learn about Agenda 2063 and its accompanying Ten-Year Implementation Plan 2014-2023, and educate as many Zimbabwean citizens about them as you can. Don’t forget also to show them how important it is that they insist on their politicians and political parties adopting Agenda 2063 as the basis for their manifestos, otherwise don’t vote for them.
Agenda 2063 really is the way for you to escape the exploitation of the West, so let’s see other ways in which the West is using you.
The first way the West exploits you is over the way it keeps taking your raw materials with little or no benefit to you. The official Western aid agencies keep saying Africa is poor – but of course it is in their self-interest to do that because it gives them the excuse for putting loads of aid in to cover what they are taking from Africa. But it’s a lie because Africa is by far the richest continent in terms of natural resources. Just take Zimbabwe, and the riches it has. Very few Zimbabweans will know this, but if your raw materials had been found in any developed country, it would have become extremely wealthy with very great benefit to its citizens.
In Zimbabwe however (as in almost every other African country) almost all the wealth is taken by foreign countries (mainly the West and China) and shared with your own corrupt government. Hardly any of it benefits you, the citizens. Don’t believe Mugabe when he attacks ‘Western imperialism’ because the truth is he is doing very nicely out of it.
This makes it essential that, whichever political party takes over from Mugabe and ZANU-PF, you make sure they don’t continue to treat you in the same way.
The second way in which Western governments exploit you is by giving grants, preferential loans and tax advantages to their Western MNCs and companies to compete in Africa against African businesses that get no grants, preferential loans or tax advantages. They even use these to obtain contracts which African companies could have fulfilled. This makes it almost impossible for African companies to compete directly against Western ones.
The third way they exploit you is by making some aid or loans conditional on buying Western goods or using Western contractors, when African ones are available. This again helps to undermine African chances for building their own businesses.
The third way the West exploits you is through what is called Neocolonialism. Increasing numbers of Africans are becoming aware that colonialism did not end when the ex-colonial powers left Africa. Political colonialism or rule by a foreign power did end, that’s true. But neocolonialism or what we prefer to call Commercial Colonialism (because it is more descriptive) has carried on virtually uninterrupted ever since. This is the control levied by powerful Western commercial and financial interests.
And the West has no intention of relinquishing that. The problem has been made even worse by China’s commercial invasion of Africa, so that now Africa has the two greatest powers in the world – the West and China – taking jobs and profits out of Africa that should rightfully belong in Africa. And this is what keeps the great majority of Africans in appalling poverty when, had these profits and jobs been kept in Africa, they would have escaped poverty years ago, and might now have been approaching Western standards of living.
The reality is Africa is a huge labour force paid disgracefully from which the West and China benefit in a big way and Africa (apart from its corrupt governments) scarcely at all. China has used what is virtually African slave labour to produce finished products at prices no other country can, and these have flooded markets everywhere in the world, including every corner of Africa.
The West wants you kept in poverty for different reasons. The Western retail trade relies heavily on goods produced at low prices in Africa and other emerging areas. The health systems of most of the West depend on workers from Africa and elsewhere, and might collapse without them. The same applies in many other industries where Africans and other immigrants do the worst and lowest-paid jobs that very often Westerners don’t want to do.
However, probably most African workers would stop going to the West if they were being properly paid in their own countries. So that is another reason why the West wants to keep you in poverty.
In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that the excellent lifestyle of Westerners is built upon keeping you in appalling poverty. The question is: how long will you put up with that?
What does Commercial Colonialism need to survive and prosper?
It needs two things to survive. First, it needs the willing co-operation of African governments because they could easily destroy Commercial Colonialism if they wanted to. This is where aid and loans come in. If African governments want aid and loans from the West and China, in return they must support Commercial Colonialism.
Although Commercial Colonialism keeps the great majority of Africans in appalling poverty, corrupt African governments do very nicely out of it. So in fact it is Western and Chinese aid and loans that work to actually encourage corruption and keep it going in most African governments. To see how rich they become as a result, Mugabe earns infinitely more than any President or Prime Minister in the West.
Second, Commercial Colonialism needs to keep the general African population in poverty because, when it reaches a certain stage of affluence, the population itself will overcome foreign control of its commercial base. As soon as Africans realise they cannot have Western-quality lifestyles until their businesses are owned and run by Black Africans, not by foreigners, the foreign-owned businesses will disappear.
What effect has Commercial Colonialism had on Africa?
The World Trade Organization, the UN, the World Bank and the IMF are supposed to protect the interests of weak nations, which include all African ones. But in practice, international trade rules favour the powerful nations so heavily that the percentage share of world trade of weak nations has halved since 1980. Africa’s share of world merchandise exports has fallen by 67% since 1948. With 15% of the world’s population, it now has only 2% share of world trade.
As you can see, the power of Commercial Colonialism in undermining Africa’s attempts to build its own business base can only be called catastrophic.
What can you do about being exploited by the West and China?
It is so simple. Agenda 2063 has created the complete plan for getting rid of Commercial Colonialism. One of its key objectives is also to get you to a Western-quality lifestyle as soon as possible. So all you have to do is tell your opposition political parties to make Agenda 2063 and its accompanying First Ten-Year Implementation Plan 2014-2023 the basis of their manifestos, and tell them you will not vote for them if they don’t.
As I said above, they are not going to do that unless you force them, because Agenda 2063 will put political power squarely into the hands of citizens, turn off the tap of Western and Chinese aid and loans, and end corruption. And none of your political parties want any of that.
‘If we don’t stand up for ourselves, other people will stand on us’. This has happened to the great mass of African citizens ever since the end of colonialism, and to Zimbabweans ever since Mugabe and ZANU-PF took power.Post published in: Featured