by Malchijah, Plainfield, NJ.
May 25, 2014 is the end of the beginning of the 50th anniversary of the African Union (AU), formerly known as Organization of African Unity (OAU). It is now up to each African, on the continent and in the diaspora, to insure that the vision of a united, peaceful, free and prosperous Africa is brought to fruition as championed by His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I on May 25, 1963. Let us not fail to heed the warning of our last reigning Monarch.
His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I
King of kings, Lord of lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of Our Creator
(select link below to read the inaugural speech of the African Union)
Note: Throughout the remainder of this article, we use the term ‘indigenous Africans’ which refers to Africans that are native to Africa, because throughout the period of colonization, many foreign peoples settled and started raising families within Africa and refer to themselves as Africans, but unlike Africans in the diaspora as a result of slavery, do not have long-term historical lineage to Africa. Colonization is true for all African countries (except Ethiopia) and many non-African countries. However, this article focuses on Africa and indigenous African people. If operating with a ‘capitalistic’ mentality (i.e., profit before People), then an “Investor”, foreign or native, is harmful to the development of Africa.
The principle, “People before profit” versus “profit before People” is the difference. ‘Investment’ and ‘Ownership’ of resources gained by long-term and broadly worded contracts are used to leverage economics (profit) to exploit indigenous Africans (People). Transferring African resources, ownership and profits, in the form of carefully and calculated treaties, contracts, leases, and loans, force the indigenous Africans into detrimental conditions of poverty; trapped in the bondage of debt, a method of exploitation used for millennia in Africa and throughout the world. There are books suggesting ‘increased productivity’ of the indigenous population and some indicating more favorable conditions (e.g., less regulations, etc.) for investors, foreign and domestic, but these do nothing to ‘root out’ the corruption and harm to the overwhelming majority of our indigenous African people created by “profit before People” policies.
Right now proliferation of technology is masquerading economic exploitation of indigenous Africans. The objective of a united, peaceful, free and prosperous Africa is being circumvented by what is taking place on the African continent right now. Africa must exploit and leverage the demand for our natural resources for what they are used to produce. We must be a continent primarily of indigenous ‘producers’ and not be mis-guided down the path of ‘consumerism’!
As communicated by Claude Anderson – leader of the Harvest Institute, Africans must be the ‘Owners’ and ‘Producers’ of African resources, “Cooperative Economics”; versus being just the ‘workers’ and ‘consumers’, “Economic Exploitation”, which makes individual entrepreneurs rich, but at the expense of the majority of the People.
There is nothing wrong with being ‘workers’ and ‘consumers’, but first we must be ‘Owners’ of the resources in Africa. It is more advantageous for us to have buyers come to us and deal on our terms and conditions, and not be exploited by loans from IMF and World Bank and contracts from multi-national foreign conglomerates. This means that from the time African commodities come out of the earth, whether mineral, oil, or agriculture, Africans must own and develop the industries that bring the resources to a market as product, raw or finished. The world is going through tremendous changes at this time, extreme climate change in the form of droughts, flooding, and hurricanes, to name some; and these conditions are putting extreme and increasing pressures on all resources, African and non-African, so we must be vigilant when negotiating any contract.
We must start rescinding every foreign contract to re-evaluate and re-establish the terms and benefits. The terms need to be “Temporary” and “Targeted”, and the benefit must be fairly shared amongst the impacted region and indigenous people. Temporary meaning that there should be no ‘long-term’ contracts which ‘lock in’ future benefit to the lessor/investor while at the same time diminishing the future benefit for the indigenous population because our precious resources are appreciating in value as we move into the future, but the benefit of the appreciation goes to the investors. The value of our commodities needs to be re-indexed year to year to insure that all indigenous Africans share in the added-value realized as market demands increase.
Africa is not in a rush to ‘catch up to’ the rest of the world. Modernization programs can be undertaken and financed by direct sales of our resources. The rest of the world must work at our pace if they want our resources, and make no mistake; it is our resources they want and need. If ‘investors’ don’t want our resources, we can continue to develop them at a reasonable rate until we are able to move our resources from earth to the destination they are needed; starting with our own domestic needs first and branching out to foreign needs as they are identified for targeted and temporary contracting. It makes no sense that Africa produces an abundance of commodities, such as gold, diamonds, and coffee to name a few, and the profits are reaped and distributed into foreign hands, while we laden ourselves with hefty foreign debt, from World Bank and IMF loans, used to feed the very same people that are harvesting the commodities. We determine and control the criteria by which our resources are extracted and benefits shared amongst our indigenous African peoples. For example, when gold, diamonds, or coffee are harvested from African soil, we must use the profits from our resources to purchase or engineer our own equipment to mechanize the method of harvesting and control the extraction and production from soil to finished product. We must also control the method of transportation of the resources; rail, road, ports, and ships to deliver to the ultimate destination.
I don’t mean to be harsh, but I’m extremely disappointed in the progress made by many, but not all, ‘so called’ African leaders of the past century. Yes, we have made progress, but we cannot afford to have our resources controlled and owned by ‘investors’. Profits from our resources must be shared amongst indigenous Africans.
It has become increasing clear that with the mass explosion of economic development occurring in developing countries, particularly countries in Africa, there is a malignant scheme of capitalism and imperialism metastasizing under the guise of ‘cooperative economics’. I would venture to say that the vast majority of the profits from most, if not all, foreign ‘investments’ end up in the hands of foreign investors and company officers with very little making it to the people actually doing the work and even less to providing the needed infrastructure development, such as schools and health clinics for the locally and regionally impacted families.
For other perspectives of economic policies geared to make Africans consumers instead of producers, please review the following:
- Tragic Cost of “Progress and Development”!
- Debt and neocolonialism
- Life & Debt (trailer) and Life & Debt (website)
For other perspectives and examples of policies that lead to consumerism, please review the following:
In closing, we Africans know we are not a homogenous race of people; however if we want one united and functioning Africa for all, we have to have a ‘core’ set of rules/principles from which to work. We have the African Union for governing a united Africa; however our historical legacy and greatness originated and must continue to be guided by God. Our great civilizations were led by revered dynastical leaders with a set of laws written into a constitution. May God guide us in fulfilling our mission of a united, peaceful, free and prosperous Africa for Africans at home and abroad. JAH Love… Malchijah.