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10. Africa Faces New Threat of New Colonialism

Source: Left Turn, July/August, 2002

Title: “NEPAD: Repackaging Colonialism in Africa”
Author: Michelle Robidoux
Evaluator: Heidi LaMoreaux

Briarpatch, Vol. 32, No. 1, Excerpted from The CCPA Monitor, October 2002
Title: “Ravaging Africa”
Author: Asad Ismi

New Internationalist, Jan/Feb 2003
Title: “How (not) to Feed Africa”
Author: Dr. Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher

Faculty evaluators: Heidi LaMoreaux, Ph.D.
Student Researchers: Kathleen Glover, Laura Huntington, Kagiso Molefhe, Dana Balicki

Today, Africa is the most war-torn continent in the world. Over the past fifteen years, thirty-two of the fifty-three African countries experienced violent conflict. During the cold war years (1950-1989), the U.S. sent $1.5 billion in arms and training to Africa thus setting the stage for the current round of conflicts. From 1991-1995 the U.S. increased the amount of weapons and other military assistance to fifty of the total fifty-three African countries. Over the years these U.S. funded wars have been responsible for the deaths of millions of Africans, and the subsequent displacement, disease, and starvation of many millions more.

In June of 2002, leaders from the eight most powerful countries in the world (the G8) met to form a New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) as an “anti-poverty” campaign. One glaring omission, however, is the consultation and representation of the African nations. Not one of the eight leaders was from Africa. The danger of the NEPAD proposal is that it fails to protect Africa from exploitation of its resources. NEPAD is akin to Plan Columbia in its attempt to employ Western development techniques to provide economic opportunities for international investment. Welcomed by the G8 nations, this development plan reads like a mad dash to grab up as much of Africa’s remaining resources as possible.

According to Robert Murphy of the US State Department’s Office of African Analysis, Africa is important to “the diversification of our sources of imported oil” away from the Middle East. The U.S. currently gets 15% of its total oil imports from the African continent. By 2015, that figure will be 25%. Rather than a plan to reduce African poverty, NEPAD is a mechanism for ensuring that U.S. and other Western investments are protected.

All over Africa activists, trade unionists, and women’s organizations are mobilizing against NEPAD. It is clear to them that the “solutions” put forward by NEPAD are in direct contradiction to that which is really needed to deal with the problems faced by Africa today. The objective of NEPAD will be to provide “increased aid to developing countries that embrace the required development model.” The harrowing effects of IMF and World Bank debt on the African continent will neither be addressed nor revoked by the new program. Under NEPAD, Africa’s natural riches will continue to be bought and sold by the autonomous Western powers-that-be under the namesake of “development” and with the feigned support of the African people.

Meanwhile, the food shortage in Africa is now widespread. Dr. Tewolde Behran Gebre Egziabher, General Manager of the Environmental Protection Authority in Ethiopia, explains that drought is not the cause of famine in Africa. Storage and transport are the two big problems. The year before last in Ethiopia, when there was a surplus of food, farmers could not sell their produce (locally or on the foreign market) and thus did not get the capital they needed for future crops. One hundred kilos of maize would sell for as little as $4 and Saudi Arabia wanted to buy this cheap maize. However, by the time the maize got to the port its price would have tripled because transport costs are so high. It was marginally cheaper for Saudi Arabia to instead buy maize that came all the way from the U.S. The U.S. is underselling starving nations and the food shortages are actually exasperated by this practice.

Loans provided by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and G8 have traditionally included strategies known as Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) which came in to effect in Africa in 1980. SAPs require that governments reduce public spending (especially on health, education and food/storage) in order to pay Western Banks. They must also increase exports of raw materials to the West, encourage foreign investment and privatize state enterprises. Instead of reducing the debt, since 1980 SAPs have increased African debt by 500 percent, creating a domino effect of disasters (prolonged famine, conflict, abject poverty, environmental exploitation) linked to an estimated 21 million deaths and, in the process, transferring hundreds of billion dollars to the West.

UPDATE BY ASAD ISMI: My article shows how Western prosperity is based on the destruction of Africa. The story details the U.S. imperial design for Africa, which involves fostering wars and destroying economies in order to plunder natural riches. The U.S. has created a holocaust in Africa by backing wars and imposing structural adjustment programs, which have allowed it to loot hundreds of billions of dollars from the continent.

Since the story was first published in October 2002, 1.5 million more people have died in the Congo War bringing the total up to a shocking four million since 1998. This is a war foisted on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC – the richest country in Africa) by the U.S. through its proxies Rwanda and Uganda, who have occupied the country, stolen its abundant natural wealth, and sent it to the West. A peace agreement signed in September 2002 in which Rwanda and Uganda agreed to withdraw, is not working since Uganda has reoccupied parts of the eastern Congo and Rwanda keeps raiding the country. Recently, Rwandan troops burnt down thousands of homes in the eastern Congo. Uganda has armed two ethnic groups, the Hema and Lendu in Ituri province and encouraged them to fight resulting in 11,400 deaths so far; the two groups have laid siege to the provincial capital, Bunia, where bloody massacres continue. This shows the extent to which the U.S. will go to plunder Africa.

Those interested can also go to my website, http://www.asadismi.ws for more on Africa.:
Other Resources:

Larry Elliot, “Africa betrayed: the aid workers’ verdict :G8 rescue plan labeled ‘recycled peanuts,’’ The Guardian, June 28, 2002.

William D. Hartung and Bridget Moix, Deadly Legacy: U.S. Arms to Africa and the Congo War, (Report), World Policy
Institute, New York, 2000. http://www.worldpolicy.org/projects/arms/reports/congo.htm

William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II, Maine, Common Courage, 1995.

Ellen Ray, “U.S. Military and Corporate Recolonization of the Congo,” Covert Action Quarterly, Spring/Summer 2000.

Ellen Ray and Bill Schaap, “NATO and Beyond: The Wars of the Future,” Covert Action Quarterly, Winter 1999.

Human Rights Watch, World Report 1999: The Democratic Republic of Congo.

Alex de Waal and Rakiya Omaar, “Somalia: Adding ‘Humanitarian Intervention’ to the U.S. Arsenal,” Covert Action Quarterly, Spring 1993.

BBC Reports on Angola http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/africa/newsid_2117000/2117049.stm
Ann Talbot, “The Angolan Civil War and U.S. Foreign Policy,” 13 April 2002, World Socialist Website,http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/apr2002/ango-a13.shtml

Eric Toussaint (CADTM COCAD http://users.skynet.be/cadtm/ ), “Debt in Sub-Saharan Africa on the eve of the third millennium,” http://attac.org/fra/toil/doc/cadtm3en.htm

Gregory Simpkins, “Africa Will Continue To Matter To The New Administration,” The Foundation for

Democracy in Africa, Press Release, December 21, 2000.

http://democracy-africa.org/afrmatters.htm

Africa: Mining Overview, http://www.mbendi.co.za/indy/ming/af/p0005.htm

Gordon Barthos, “Diamonds of Death Haunt Africa,” Toronto Star, March 10, 2000.

“Africa in Turmoil: Ongoing Armed Conflicts,” Toronto Star, May 14, 2000.

Robert Naiman and Neil Watkins, “A Survey of IMF Structural Adjustment in Africa: Growth, Social Spending and Debt Relief,” Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), April 1999.

Structural Adjustment Participatory Review International Network (SAPRIN), “The Policy Roots of Economic Crisis and Poverty: A Multi-Country Participatory Assessment of Structural Adjustment”, April 2002.

Richard Feinberg et al.,eds., “Between Two Worlds: The World Bank’s Next Decade,” New Brunswick, NJ, Transaction Books, 1986.

Walden Bello, “The Role of the World Bank in U.S. Foreign Policy,” Covert Action Quarterly, Winter 1991-92.

Walden Bello, Shea Cunningham, and Bill Rau, “IMF/World Bank: Devastation by Design,” Covert Action Quarterly, Winter 1993-94.

Asad Ismi, “Plunder with a Human Face: The World Bank, Z Magazine, February 1998.

World Bank, “Making Monterrey Work For Africa: New study highlights dwindling aid flows, mounting challenges,” Press Release, April 10, 2002, www4.worldbank.org/afr/stats/adi2002/default.cfm .”

United Nations, Development Program (UNDP), Human Development Report, 2001.

UPDATE BY MICHELLE ROBIDOUX: What NEPAD shows is that regardless of the actual causes of the hardships facing the world’s poorest countries, there is only one prescription on offer by the world’s leaders: neo-liberal market-driven measures of privatization and deregulation. The mass protests against NEPAD at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg challenged the notion that African civil society is prepared to accept the disastrous policies which have left 40 million Africans at risk of starvation this year.

For more information, see:

* Alternative Information and Development Centre

http://www.aidc.org.za/web/about.php?id=6

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