Monday, 20 July 2015

Africa today; not yesterday

1. “Without Africa, France will have no history in the 21st century” (François Mitterrand, French justice minister, 1957; future French president, May 1981-May 1995)

2. “‘[I] would accept a half million dead Biafrans if that was what it took’ Nigeria to destroy the Igbo resistance to the genocide” (Harold Wilson, British prime minister, 1969)

3. “A little country, with a small amount of strength, we can move a planet because [of our] … relations with 15 or 20 African countries” (Jacques Godfrain, former head, French foreign ministry, 1998)

4. “[W]ithout Africa, France will slide down into the rank of a third (world) power” (Jacques Chirac, French president, 2008)

Net-capital exporters (exiting Africa)

For the past 34 years, i.e. since 1981, Africa has uninterruptedly been a net-exporter of capital to the West World. The thundering sum of US$400 billion is the total figure that Africa has transferred to the West in this manner to date (for background and dynamics of these transfers, see 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 – GFI, “Illicit financial flows from Africa: Hidden resource for development”, Washington, 2010)  through illegitimate exports by the “leaderships” of corrupt African regimes – with genocidist and kakistocratic Nigeria topping this infamous league at US$240.7 billion externalised. In effect, the typical state, in contemporary Africa, no longer pretends that it exists to serve its peoples.

Furthermore, and this might appear paradoxical,  trade figures and associated data readily obtainable indicate that these same African states have performed their utmost, year in, year out, in that key variable for which their European World creators established them in the first place: redoubts for export services of designated mineralogical/agricultural products to the European World/overseas. Despite their perfunctory “failed-state” statuses in many a study, despite their predictable dominance in  “worst- corrupt- states”’ annual league tables, despite their dreadful profiles on multiple  global quality of life surveys, there are no indications, whatsoever, that any of these African countries has found it difficult to fulfil its principal “obligations” to the world on this accord. Each and everyone succeeds, very much, to play their accorded role in “international relations” in spite of their immiseration...

The crucial African capital exports referred to, legitimate or/and illegitimate, are funds of gargantuan proportions. These funds are produced by the same humanity that many a commentator or campaign project, especially outside Africa, would be quick to categorise as “poor” and “needy” for “foreign aid”. In these past 33 years, the funds could and should easily have provided a comprehensive healthcare programme across Africa to respond robustly to particularly public health emergencies,  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 vital  sectors of the continent’s middle classes and intellectuals,  to the Americas, Europe, Asia and elsewhere in the world since the 1980s.

Primary capital exporters (Africa-bound)

Yet, despite these grim times of net-capital exporting  economies and failed and collapsing states in Africa, it shouldn’t ever be forgotten that those who still ensure that the situation on the ground is not much worse for the peoples than it is, are Africans – individuals, working alone, conscientiously, or working in concert with others or within a larger group to feed, clothe, house, educate and provide healthcare and some leisure to immediate and extended families, communities, neighbourhoods, villages and the like. To cap these phenomenal strides of Africans, the 25 million African émigrés mentioned earlier presently constitute the primary exporters of capital to Africa itself. Africans now dispatch more money to Africa than “West aid” to the continent, year in, year out. In 2003, according to the World Bank, these African overseas residents sent to Africa the impressive sum of US$200 billion – invested directly in their communities (World Bank, “Migrant Labor Remittances in Africa”, Africa Regional Paper Series, No. 64, Washington, November 2003: 12). This is 40 times the sum of “West aid” in real terms in the same year – i.e., when the pervasive “overheads” attendant to the latter are accounted for (cf. Fairouz El Tom, “Do NGOs practise what they preach?”, Pambazuka News, 15 May 2013).

In a sentence:  The African humanity, at home and in the diaspora, currently generates, overwhelmingly, the capital resource that at once sustains its very existence and is intriguingly exported to the West World. It is precisely the same humanity that those who benefit immeasurably from this conundrum (over several decades and are guaranteed to benefit indefinitely from it, except this is stopped by Africans themselves) have consistently portrayed, quite perversely, as a “charity case”. The notion that Africans are in any way dependent on a European World/West World or any other “handout” overseas is at best a myth or at worst an all-out lie perpetuated by a circle of academics and in the media who in fact in the not-too-distant-past would have been in the vanguard “justifying”/“rationalising” African enslavement or/and the conquest and occupation of Africa. Surely, this historic big lie of characterisation can no longer be sustained. Appositely, it is inconceivable that there could be any doubts now that it is plain gibberish to quote some African “debt” to the West.
(Jackie McLean Sextet, “Appointment in Ghana” [personnel: McLean, alto saxophone; Blue Mitchell, trumpet; Tina Brooks, tenor saxophone; Kenny Drew, piano; Paul Chambers, bass; Art Taylor, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 1 September 1960])
Free Africa or post-“Berlin state” Africa

Africa is endowed with the human resource and capital resource (in all its calibration and manifestation) to build advanced civilisations of their choosing, provided Africans abandon the prevailing “Berlin-states” they have been forced into by pan-Europe as we now demonstrate. 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 populated and distributed (, see, especially, analysis under “Population and food and future” – accessed 19 July 2015) into the indefinite future.

The factors which have contributed to determining the very poor quality of life in Africa presently have to do with the gross misuse of the continent’s resources year in, year out. This is thanks to an asphyxiating “Berlin-state” whose strategic resources are used largely to support the West World and others and an overseer-grouping of local forces, seasonally recycled (for instance, genocidist troopers and the like in Nigeriaña who are apparently transmogrified into statespersons but for the sole purpose of continuing the rout of Africa), which exists solely to police the dire straits of existence that is the lot of the average African. The “Berlin-state” (Nigeria, Niger, Central African Republic, Chad, whatever) indeed arrests African development and transformation. It is intrinsically not dissimilar to the African-enslaved estates in the Americas established by pan-Europe in the 15th century (CE) and, during the course of 400 subsequent years, a leveraging tripod for the latter’s conquest of the world. Africans have not ceased to produce unimaginable range and levels of wealth primarily for the West, begun 500 years ago. Consequently, the broad sectors of African peoples are yet to lead, centrally, the entire process of societal reconstruction and transformation by themselves. So, this envisaged liberatory trajectory is untenable for African constituent nations with evidently distinct histories, cultures, worldviews and aspirations, encased in the agglomeration of inchoate, inorganic and alienating “Berlin-state” . In contrast, the “state-of- Berlin” serves the West most handsomely as its 21st century “leveraging tripod” of hegemony in the contemporary world as we know it.


African peoples, constituent nations and nationalities, must now build the states of their choice, the states of their aspirations. Walk away from this Berlin-state which has nothing for African wellbeing but perdition... Today. This is their right and it is inalienable. Africa must utilise the immense resources abound for the benefit of its own peoples in new, radically decentred states

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

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