Long dependent on the World Bank and the IMF, Africa today finds itself crippled by its foreign debt and remains a continent of great poverty.
Africa has long been saddled with poor, even malevolent, leadership: predatory kleptocrats, military-installed autocrats, economic illiterates, and puffed-up postures. Under the stewardship of these leaders, infrastructure in many African countries has fallen into disrepair, currencies have depreciated, and real prices have inflated dramatically, while job availability, health care, education standards, and life expectancy have declined. Ordinary life has become beleaguered: general security has deteriorated, crime and corruption have increased, much-needed public funds have flowed into hidden bank accounts, and officially sanctioned ethnic discrimination.
Robert I. Rotberg, The Council on Foreign Relations
This morning I signed an executive order that AUTHORISES SANCTIONS on individuals and entities responsible for violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine or for STEALING THE ASSETS of Ukrainian people. According to my guidance, the State Department has also put in place RESTRICTIONS ON THE TRAVELS of certain individuals and officials. These decisions continue to impose a COST on Russia and THOSE RESPONSIBLE for the situation in Crimea”
President Barack Obama, March 2014
We have already taken some important steps in terms of the Ukrainian corrupt oligarchs and making sure their assets are properly dealt with here in the UK if that’s the case…and I’ll be speaking to President Obama this afternoon and meeting with Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande before the European Council tomorrow – agree with them what further steps should be taken as well. …But it is also very welcome there is such a clear and unified voice going out from this House to say to the Russian government ‘What you have done is wrong, what you have done should not be allowed to stand and there will be costs and consequences, not only for what has been done already, but further costs and consequences if you take this further’.”
Prime Minister David Cameron, March 2014
Let me state unequivocally that this article is not about support for Russia, Ukraine or Crimea. I have no political or economic interest in any of these regions. The focus of my concerns through this article is the economic, political, social and technological well-being of my continent, Africa, and my motherland, Nigeria. However, recent events in Ukraine, Crimea and Russia have provided a brand new lens through which to examine the role of European and American governments in shaping the current state of Africa – a colony of big corporations; imposed dependency and submission to Europe and America through so called social/economic aid, IMF and World Bank; impoverished, dejected and humiliated people; massive exploitation and environmental destruction; forced debt trap; imposed change in the way of life of communities; corruption at every level; dilapidated road networks, health service, and education infrastructure; Western backed corrupt, unpatriotic, selfish and incompetent leaderships; and US/EU safe heavens for endless and limitless looting of African treasury.
EU/USA sanctions on Russia
Following political developments in Ukraine and the consequent annexation of Crimea by Russia on the hills of a referendum considered illegal by Ukraine and the West, EU and USA sanctioned Russia. The sanctions were swift, coordinated and designed to influence a desired behaviour from the Russian government led by President Putin. The sanctions were directed at leading politicians, business associates of the government, banks, and Russia security officials. Among the people and banks included in the sanctions are Gennady Timchenko, oil and energy businessman estimated by Forbes to worth $15.3b and a long standing friend of President Putin; Yuri Kovalchuk one of Russia’s richest men and a close adviser to President Putin; and Bank Rossiya, The 17th largest bank in Russia, with assets of approximately $10bn and described by the US Treasury department as “the personal bank” for senior Russian officials. These are individuals and institutions that US /EU described as corrupt oligarchs “responsible for violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine or for STEALING THE ASSETS” of their people. In announcing the sanctions, President Obama said:
“This morning I signed an executive order that AUTHORISES SANCTIONS on individuals and entities responsible for violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine or for STEALING THE ASSETS of Ukrainian people. According to my guidance, the State Department has also put in place RESTRICTIONS ON THE TRAVELS of certain individuals and officials. These decisions continue to impose a COST on Russia and THOSE RESPONSIBLE for the situation in Crimea”
It is important to point out that the purpose of the sanctions is not to destroy Russia or its economy. It aims at influencing the decision of President Putin and the Russian government in favour of EU/US interests. If indeed sanctions are necessary to protect the interest of Ukraine, its people and resources, why haven’t the West administered same on Africa? The answer becomes obvious in the remaining part of this article.
Lessons from the EU/US actions over Ukraine
I am not here to judge the rights and wrongs of the EU/US actions. Sovereign states have the right to pursue their own national interests as long as they recognise that others have similar right. Am here to point out lessons for Africa and developing countries following EU/US actions on Russia.It has become obvious that:
1. EU/US heads of states can swiftly and decisively act over any issue of interest without seeking immediate approval from their parliaments or lawmakers. Therefore, the state of Africa today would be different had the current EU/US leaders and their predecessors chosen to act as they have in Ukraine’s case.
2. EU/US consider only issues of national interest as legitimate, no matter the legal or moral argument or implications, and will leave no stone unturned in pursuit, even if against a super-power state like Russia. Consider the case of Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Gulf States and Syria where EU/US had clearly stated interests. It’s obvious that in the case of Africa, despite the level of poverty and human sufferings; environmental destruction by multinational companies and impact on livelihoods; looting of national treasury; unparalleled level of corruption and corrupt leadership; economic, social and political upheavals; the interest of EU/US takes priority and must be protected at all cost. To some extent, Africans have themselves to blame. Of the three major earthly races (Negroid, Caucasians and Mongoloids) Africans are the only ones so spiritually and culturally-subservient to others. It is no coincidence that they are also the least developed and progressive inspite of abundant resources (Mallam Bamaguje).
3. EU/US have a deliberate policy to encourage corruption and siphoning of foreign national treasury into their economies, particularly at government levels, as leverage for blackmailing and controlling foreign leaderships. It is equally an innovative replacement to the human slavery that once fueled economic growth and prosperity in Europe and America. Therefore many African leaders are in the pockets of EU/US and unable to make any decision in their national interest where in conflict with the West’s. Hence Africa has remained impoverished despite being the mother of human race, author of human civilisation and the richest continent on planet earth.
4. EU/US governments monitor and document locations of all legal and illegal asset acquisitions and deposits, including laundered funds, from corrupt governments, leaders and businessmen of foreign nations. Therefore they are fully aware of the locations and size of looted African treasury.
5. EU/US have worked out that leaders of developing countries can sell their national interest for EU/US travel visa. If the Russian president and his administration can be publicly threatened with visa ban, imagine the faith of African leaders in the corridors of power of EU/US?
6. The world needs Russia and China to continuously prosper, grow in military / economic strength and work together on equal terms with the West to manage the emerging new world order.
Africa and its people: hostage in their home land
Two weeks ago I shared a revelation with friends and close relations. In the revelation I saw Africans, glowing in health, beauty and strength but with no roof over their heads. Men, women and children had been thrown out of their homes and rounded up in a field completely necked and humiliated in a foreign land. As they attempted to make their way into a nearby forest, similar to those in Africa that had kept their ancestors alive for generations, suddenly the trees that would provide them shelter, hideout and livelihood were completely mowed down by a powerful and invisible technology. The rate, speed and precision with which the trees were sliced are unimaginable. The Africans were helpless and hopeless in the rain and attracted no sympathy from their hosts. I screamed, God please help my people. This is simply a timely warning that the black race is about to face its most challenging experience since the abolition of slave trade. As corrupt regimes continue to lead the continent down the path of perpetual poverty, dependency and total submission to Europe and America, economic migration to Europe and America will intensify with many casualties. African homelands will be riddled with unparalleled levels of human suffering. Here are some disturbing details that point the direction of the revelation:
- The latest forecast on climate change (IPCC) predicts that hundreds of millions of people will be affected and displaced across the world by coastal flooding, damaged food crops and spreading diseases. Crop yields are expected to fall by 2% annually at a time of rapidly increasing demand for food across the world (Aljazeera, Counting The Cost). Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate change – a situation worsened by poor state of economic development. As environmental disaster continues unabated in different parts of Africa through oil pollution, deforestation and destruction of agricultural land in favour of mining and exploration activities, and in the face of foreign debt trap and endemic corruption, what future awaits Africa and its generations to come?
- While EU /US lecture Africa on the importance of protecting the environment, the IMF and the World Bank tell the African nations to export in order to pay off debts. However all Africa has is land, minerals and forests. Consequently, priority is given to export of commodities that benefit Europe and America and less on production of food and basic needs of African masses. Therefore the earth must pay the debt at a high cost to generations. All the farms that made Africa self-sufficient in the past have virtually been destroyed.
- EU/US have made Africa aid-dependent instead of striving to develop – most probably a deliberate strategy to control the leadership and resources of Africa. “Foreign aid has done more harm to Africa than we care to admit. It has led to a situation where Africa has failed to set its own pace and direction of development free of external interference” (David Karanja, Kenyan member of parliament). It is on record that between 1960 and 1997 the West granted Africa more than $500 billion in foreign development aid – the equivalent of four Marshall Aid Plans. No country has ever developed through aid and credit in modern human history (1).
- Much of the development aid to Africa was looted and/ or employed in underwriting misguided policies. “In most cases, Western governments knew that substantial portions of their loans – up to 30%, went directly into the pockets of corrupt officials, for their personal use” and yet continue to lend and label corrupt leaders as partners in Africa’s development (Probe International) (2).
- Capital flight from Africa to EU/US is staggering and estimated at between $700 billion to $800 billion (Oxford International Group). The World Bank estimates that approximately 40% of Africa’s aggregate wealth (diamond, oil, gas, gold, etc) has fled to foreign bank accounts (7) . The president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Chief Jaiye K. Randle estimates that individual Nigerians had lodged over $170 billion in foreign banks as at 2005. The Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission revealed in 2005 that a succession of military dictators had stolen or squandered $500 billion (1).
- In its year 2011 report on global human rights, the US State Department concluded that the three tiers of the Nigerian government was ridden with “massive, widespread and pervasive corruption,” that failed to receive appropriate punitive response from the authorities. The report, submitted by Secretary of States, Hillary Clinton, to the U.S. Congress said: “Massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government and the security forces”.
- In 2011 the United States-based anti-corruption NGO, Global Witness, reported that Nigerian subsidiaries of Shell and ENI agreed to pay $1.092 billion to the Federal Government for oil block OPL 245 (4). However, the Federal Government led by President Jonathan then paid the entire N155 billion to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company owned by Mr. Etete, who was the oil Minister under late General Sani Abacha. President Jonathan denied any wrong-doing and provided his own account of events (5).
- A new report submitted to the United States Congress by the current US Secretary of State John Kerry has equally alleged massive corruption at all levels of the Nigerian government (3). The 2012 report cited numerous cases of unpunished fraud/corruption including Atiku Abubakar Kigo, Mr Dimeji Bankole, Usman Nafada, Otumba Gbenga Daniel, etc.
- In 2012 a fuel subsidy scam valued at $17 billion was discovered in which companies were paid for fuel that never was delivered. No one was prosecuted by the Nigerian government. In March 2014 the Nigerian Central Bank governor disclosed to the world media that $20 billion of oil revenue had been misappropriated. Investigation is ongoing.
As you can see President Obama, EU leaders and NETO are fully aware of the misguided leadership, lack of vision and imagination, rape and plunder of natural resources, systemic corruption, environmental destruction, capital flight, economic mismanagement, senseless civil wars, political tyranny, flagrant violations of human rights and military vandalism taking place in Africa. What has been their response? – destructive economic aid and IMF and World Bank loans to sink Africa in perpetual debt. No sanctions on corrupt African leaders and oligarchs for looting their nations – contrary to their reactions to events in Kieve. However, there is a threat of sanctions on African leaders who refuse to promote homosexuality in violation of the will and culture of their electorates (7)(8). Only President Obama and EU leaders can explain the relationship (if any) between enforced homosexuality on Africa and much needed poverty alleviation, economic, social and political progress on the continent.
The theory of perpetual poverty in Africa
Africa, the riches continent on mother earth, has no reason to be poor. The evidence is natural and in open display across the continent as you can see from the following:
- Africa is richly blessed with resources. It commands 50% of the global gold deposit, diamonds and chromium, 90% of the cobalt, 40% of the potential world’s hydroelectric power, 65% of the manganese, millions of acres of arable land (Yaw Sappor), huge deposit of crude oil and natural gas, etc.
- “The continent is home to some of the world’s biggest and longest rivers and lakes. There are rivers like the Nile, Congo, Niger, Zambezi, Senegal, Gambia, Benue, Limpopo, Volta, Kasai, Ubangi, Bomu and Orange. There are lakes like Victoria, Albert, Kivu, Tanganyika, Malawi, Kyoga, Chad, Edward, Nyasa and Turkana. The value of these rivers and lakes to agriculture, transportation, manufacturing, commerce, power generation and household cannot be overemphasised” (The ZimDiaspora)..
- “Timber is abundant in Gabon, DCR, Congo, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana. There are rich soils in Nigeria, DCR, Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Liberia, Senegal, Malawi, and South Africa”.
- “The continent is also home to some of the beautiful natural wonders of the world. There are animals, Victoria waterfalls, pyramids and a host of others which are a source of tourism”.
Contrary to popular beliefs across the world, poverty in Africa is not a product of laziness, inferior mind, genetic inferiority or curse from the Gods. Africans are among the most hardworking, industrious, intelligent and productive in the world. Evidence from documentaries on IMF and World Bank operations and lessons from the current publicly announced sanctions on Russia over Crimea, have led me to believe strongly that:
1. There is a conspiracy within the corridors of power of America and Europe to keep Africa permanently dependent on them in return for cheap supply of commodities to fuel their economic growth, prosperity and world dominance. The conspiracy has left Africa consistently debt trapped and led by corrupt regimes; poverty continues to affect the lives of millions despite abundant resources; and multinationals continue to operate unchecked as they rain havoc on the environment and people’s rights.
2. The goal of the conspiracy is executed and sustained from three angles:
o Firstly, the growth potential of African countries is curtailed through huge IMF/World Bank loans and the associated structural adjustment policies. When it is costing some countries $50 million per month to service IMF/World Bank loans, how much then is left to spend on education, hospitals, roads and national security? Coupled with the impact of endemic corruption, the ability of African governments to execute social and economic programs is weakened. When governments get themselves into unbearable levels of external debt, the West/IMF present them with alternatives they could not refuse including sell-off (privatization) of public utilities (energy sector, banks, water and sewage, roads, airports and bridges, etc.) to business consortium led by EU/US corporations. The government and the people become hostage in their own country.
o Secondly, the encouragement and sometimes financing of regimes with limited intellectual capabilities into government for easy manipulation and control by superior Western minds.
o Thirdly, tracking and keeping a blind eye to the looting of African treasury by regimes they brought into power. The potential threat of blackmail, freezing of assets, and visa denial provide a powerful double-silenced weapon for controlling African leaders and the resources in their countries. A vivid example is the current US/EU sanctions on Russian business men and government officials over the Ukraine crisis. The intent is to sway the government and leaders of Russia to abandon their own national interest.
The plight of Africa will continue unchecked until either the West change their position on perceived ownership and purpose of Africa, or the Africans take control of their own destiny through the emergence of a new breed of African Putin (Russia), African Mahathir Mohamad (Malaysia) and African Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore). The later seems the most promising and realistic. That day will come! Yes We Can! The presidential candidates lining up for the 2015 Nigeria election are already discredited. It is doubtful how many can justify the source of their wealth; able to separate their past from the regimes that siphoned billions of dollars into offshore accounts in Europe, US and Japan; and capable of commanding respect from EU/US as to govern Nigeria without external interference. Most importantly, none has the qualities of Putin, Mohamad or Yew to galvanize the nation around a marshal plan that will deliver the kind of progress that Nigeria needs at this point in time including: diversification of the economy; development of the agriculture sector; development of a strong knowledge based economy; investment in health and education; establishing an independent and corrupt free judicial system; and implementing policies that would destroy the current endemic national appetite for unmerited wealth. None has the credibility to address the issue and levels of endemic corruption prevalent in all arms of government and civil service. None is in politics driven by a desire to usher in change at all cost and transform the image of Nigeria and the black race in general judging by their past records. None has a clear record of tangible and enduring accomplishments even at regional level. The president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria must command legitimacy through voting and selection by the people on the basis of patriotism, dazzling charisma, devotion, sacrifice, vision, outstanding organisational and analytical skills, superb emotional intelligence and spiritually guided leadership that embodied the first generation of leaders who guided Nigeria through gaining independence in 1960. His political, leadership and organisational skills coupled with his emotional intelligence must be outstanding. A great president shapes a great nation. The presidential candidate that commands these attributes is yet to show up. Let’s keep praying for that day for it will surely come.
I give credit to EU/US leaders for consistently working in their national interest. As painful as some of their policies are on the social, political, economic and technological well-being of Africa, I haile their unflinching loyalty, patriotism and self-love for their nations, people and values. I haile them for consistently passing this tradition on from one generation of politicians to the other. That’s the duty of true politicians and I can’t fault them for discharging their responsibilities with maximum and often devastating effect. I must also acknowledge the contributions of the sophisticated and patriotic EU/US electorates in consistently nominating and electing high quality politicians. The quality of the EU/US political and highly successful gamesmanship on Africa, exposes the inferior mindset and capabilities of African politicians. Although the actions and behaviors of African politicians, when compared to those of their Western counterparts, can easily render us vulnerable to theories of Black inferiority, that’s not really the case. There are patriotic and intelligent Africans waiting for opportunity to lead Africa to experience the same level of success that the communist Chine is known for. Who ever thought that communist China will rise from the ashes to lead the world today? The primary purpose of this article therefore is to educate Africans to seek and empower the emergence of a new breed of leaders who will sanitize African politics and demonstrate to the world that we are neither genetically inferior or cursed. African miracle is a few steps away.
YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE.
1. Thompson Ayodele, Franklin Cudjoe, Temba A. Nolutshungu & Charles K. Sunwabe “African perspectives on aid: Foreign assistance will not pull Africa out of poverty” http://www.cato.org/publications/economic-development-bulletin/african-perspectives-aid-foreign-assistance-will-not-pull-africa-out-poverty
2. Patricia Adams, “The Debts of Corruption,” Financial Post ( Canada) May 10, 1999.
3. Tokunbo Adedoja “US Report: There’s massive corruption in Nigeria”. This Day 21 April 2013 http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/us-report-there-s-massive-corruption-in-nigeria/145531/
4. GlobalWitness.org “Shell’s obscure payments kill its case for weak US and EU transparency laws” 20th May 2012 http://www.globalwitness.org/library/shell%E2%80%99s-obscure-payments-kill-its-case-weak-us-and-eu-transparency-laws
Ikechukwu Nnochiri “Jonathan denies complicity in alleged N155bn oil block scam” http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/05/jonathan-denies-complicity-in-alleged-n155bn-oil-block-scam/
6. Karen DeYoung, “Giving Less: The Decline in Foreign Aid,” Washington Post, November 25, 1999, p. A1.
7. Okey Ndiribe, Sam Eyoboka & Victoria Ojeme. “Gay-Marriage Law: US threatens to sanction Nigeria” http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/01/gay-marriage-law-us-threatens-sanction-nigeria/
8. Aljazeera “Europe backs sanctions over anti-gay laws: EU’s resolution in protest to Uganda and Nigeria passing anti-gay laws includes targeted sanctions and aid reviews”, 13 March 2014 http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2014/03/europe-backs-sanctions-over-anti-gay-laws-2014313174349972181.html