Africa has uninterruptedly been a net-exporter of capital to the Western World since 1981. The thundering sum of US$400 billion is the total figure that Africa has transferred to the West in this manner to date (Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, Readings from Reading: Essays on African Politics, Genocide, Literature, 2011: 41-42, 176-177). These are legitimate, accountable transfers, largely covering the ever-increasing interest payments for the “debts” the West claims African regimes owe it, beginning from the 1970s. A 2010 study by Global Financial Integrity, a Washington-based research organisation, shows that Africa may have also transferred the additional sum of US$854 billion since the 1970s (“this figure might be more than double, at [US]$1.8 trillion”, the study cautions – “Illicit financial flows from Africa: Hidden resource for development”, http://www.gfintegrity.org/content/view/300/75/ [accessed 25 April 2013]) through illegitimate exports by the “leaderships” of corrupt African regimes – with Nigeria topping this league at US$240.7 billion. In effect, the state, in Africa, no longer pretends that it exists to serve its peoples.
Those crucial African capital exports referred to earlier, legitimate or/and illegitimate, are funds of gargantuan proportions produced by the same humanity that many a commentator or campaign project would be quick to categorise as “poor” and “needy” for “foreign aid”. In the past 30 years, these funds could and should easily have provided a comprehensive healthcare programme across Africa, the establishment of schools, colleges and skills’ training, the construction of an integrative communication network, the transformation of agriculture to abolish the scourge of malnutrition, hunger and starvation, and, finally, it would have stemmed the emigration of 25 million Africans, including crucial sectors of the continent’s middle classes and intellectuals to the Americas, Europe, Asia and elsewhere in the world since the 1980s.
Crucial reminders, genocide, post-Berlin states
Africa remains one of the world’s most wealthy and potentially one of the world’s wealthiest continents. What is not always associated with the profiles of Africa is its vast acreage of rich farmlands with capacity to optimally support the food needs of generations of African peoples indefinitely. In addition, the famous fish industry in Sénégal, Angola, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana for instance, Botswana’s rich cattle farms, west Africa’s yam and plantain belts extending from southern Cameroon to southern Sénégal, the continent’s rich rice production fields, etc., etc., all highlight the potential Africa has for fully providing for all its food needs. Thus, what the current African socioeconomic situation shows is extraordinarily reassuring, provided the acreage devoted to cultivation is expanded and expressly targeted to address Africa’s own internal consumption needs. Land-use directed at agriculture for food output must become the focus of agricultural policy in the new Africa, as opposed to the calamitous waste of “cash-crop” production for export and/or the more recently observed “land-grab” – parcelling away of land to foreign governments and organisations – occurring across the continent (on this, see the excellent work of Emeka Akaezuwa’s “Stop Africa Land Grab” movement – http://www.stopafricalandgrab.com/author/emeka-akaezuwa/ [accessed 14 May 2013]).
It is an inexplicable and inexcusable tragedy that any African child, woman, or man could go without food in the light of the staggering endowment of resources in Africa. Africa constitutes a spacious, rich and arable landmass that can support its population, which is still one of the world’s least densely populated and distributed, into the indefinite future. There is only one condition, though, for the realisation of this goal – Africa must utilise these immense resources for the benefit of its own peoples within newly negotiated, radically decentralised sociopolitical dispensations which must abandon the current murderous “states” or “Berlin-states” as they should be more appropriately categorised (Ekwe-Ekwe, Readings from Reading: 27, 41, 44, 69, 200). These principalities that dutifully go by the very fanged names of their creators (Nigeria, Niger, Chad, the Sudan, Central Africa Republic… whatever!) are an agglomeration of inchoate, inorganic and alienating emplacements that have been an asphyxiating trap for swathes of African constituent nations with evidently distinct histories, cultures and aspirations.
**Refined columbite-tantalite, coltan, is critical in the manufacture of a range of small electronic equipment including, particularly, laptop computers and mobile phones; 80 per cent of the world’s reserves of this mineral is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which is being currently subjected to a genocidal conflict where 5 million people have been murdered since the 1990s.
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