Why do things always fall apart in Africa?

Post Date: Jan 12th, 2011 | Categories: Advocacy | COMMENT

In light of the international dramas unfolding in Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Niger (etc.) it’s is doubtless helpful to examine why the entire continent of Africa continues to force hundreds of REFUGEES to flee their homelands for the uncertainty of self-imposed EXILE in Hong Kong. It bears emphasizing the numbers reaching Hong Kong are tiny – compared to the odyssey at Europe’s besieged borders – however our community is less informed about the socio-economic and political background behind this human tide, than people in other world cities. The article below offers a broad picture of how Vampire States force the exodus of what an Ivorian friend described as, “the little people who chose to live another day rather than be killed!” Ultimately it is always GREED and HATRED that undergird this plight and we realize there is no easy solution for either. Vision First believes it is our social responsibility to not only provide material assistance to our members, but especially to advocate for their rights and share what we learn with the community. Today we join our hopes and wishes with all the Sudanese, who suffered through twenty years of persecution, on the dawn of Southern Sudan – may your suffering and struggle finally usher in your Independence Day!

Click to read Professor Mariam’s article published in The Huffington Post.

“Africa is the only continent to have grown poorer over the last three decades” while other developing countries and regions have grown. Africa was better off at the end of colonialism than it is today. According to the U.N., life expectancy in Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Mozambique and Swaziland for the period 2005-2010 is less than 44 years, the worst in the world. The average annual income in Zimbabwe at independence in 1980 was USD $950. In 2009, 100 trillion Zimbabwean dollars (with a “T”) was worth about USD $300. In the same year, a loaf of bread in Zimbabwe cost 300 billion Zimbabwean dollars (with a “B”). The tens of billions in foreign aid money has done very little to improve the lives of Africans. The reason for things falling apart in Africa is statism (the state as the principal change agent) and central planning, according to Guest. The bottom line is that the masses of Africans today are denied basic political and economic freedoms while the privileged few live the sweet life of luxury, not entirely unlike the “good old” colonial times.

Guest concludes that “Africans are poor because they are poorly governed.” The answer to Africa’s problems lies in upholding the rule of law, enforcing contracts, safeguarding property rights and putting more stock in freedom than in force. Much of Africa today is under the control of “Vampire states“. As the noted African economist George Ayittey explains, the “vampire African states” are “governments which have been hijacked by a phalanx of bandits and crooks who would use the instruments of the state machinery to enrich themselves and their cronies and their tribesmen and exclude everybody else.” (“Hyena States” would be a fitting alternative in the African landscape.) Africa is ruled by thugs in designer suits who buy votes and loyalties with cash handouts.

Things have fallen apart in Africa for a long time because of colonialism, capitalism, socialism, Marxism, communism, tribalism, ethnic chauvinism… neoliberalism, globalism and what have you. Things are in total free fall in Africa today because Africa has become a collection of vampiric states ruled by kleptocrats who have sucked it dry of its natural and human resources. It is easy to blame the white man and his colonialism, capitalism and all the other “isms” for Africa’s ailments, but as Cassius said to Brutus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” The fault is not in the African people, the African landscape or skyscape. Africa is rich and blessed with natural and human resources. The fault is in the African brutes and their vampiric regimes.

A room for two refugees in Shamshuipo: bunkbed, chair, storage and kitchen.
A room for two refugees in Shamshuipo: bunkbed, chair, storage and kitchen.