Tough love for Africa

The Atlanticist : Africa needs tough love, not more aid poured down a rat hole:

There is not a single state on the African continent that would not today be better off administered under a colonial regime, as Hong Kong was by Britain. If the West genuinely cared about Africa and wanted to make a difference rather than more charity, it would send soldiers to overthrow corrupt and despotic regimes, and constitutional law experts and administrators to architect and operate governing legal and economic systems there patterned after our own.

Like it did in Iraq? I kind of followed this line of thought, clipping my mouth shut with clothes pegs at places, so I wouldn’t yell out obscenities in front of my children. And I went through without a single f-word. I think the writer does identify the problem most of the time:

The African continent is a patchwork quilt of artificially drawn and imposed borders, established, for the most part, by European colonial powers.

Apart from the wars being fought now in Africa, the ones that the colonial west interrupted (while the west itself was free to fight its own murderous wars and get them over with — effectively establishing its borders without African or other outside interference) — but I was saying, apart from these wars, frontiers on the African continent were established entirely by the colonial master and mistress. It is inaccurate therefore to say for the most part. Nevertheless, the writer identifies there a seed for conflict.

Monetary aid is poison. It does not encourage more responsible government. […] A deluge of aid will not fix what ails Africa.

Of course it doesn’t, and it won’t. Whoever said it did or will? But, again, the writer has identified part of the problem. Here’s the thing, as an African, I want the west out, not in, for several reasons. The writer mentions the first one. The second one is unfair trade practices from which Africa is getting thinner and its western trade partners fatter. The third one is that the west messed Africa up once, it’s time it stopped. Got on the bus home. Knowing that “legal and economic systems […] patterned after our own,” as the writer so shamelessly puts it, seem to the west to be the best because ours were uprooted and incapacitated by the same west.

Lack of access to Western markets for products in which African producers enjoy comparative advantage such as sugar, cotton and textiles is a huge problem. Western import restrictions and tariffs stymie wealth creation in Africa.

There again, the writer concurs with me. It is of course a huge problem. And the solution?  “American and European markets should be unilaterally opened to Africa goods, with protective regimes for Western producers being discarded.” Why not stop there, and also provide logical solutions for the other problems so nicely identified? Why talk of colonial regimes in Africa administered by America and Britain? We’re quite tired, as a people, of fighting the west off. We want to be left alone.

That’s all we’ve ever wanted, really, even as the west scrambled for chunks of our land. But guess what… instead of getting out, the west is getting in deeper: . I think somebody took your advice, dear writer. The shame of it is that it’s a waste of money, and we’ll just have to fight and kick the west out again, albeit with an even more messed up continent.

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