Monday, February 26, 2007

Respect Africa- treat it like its just another continent

One of my longest-standing pet peeves is the treatment Africa gets from Big Media, the politicians and the chatterati in Britain. Essentially, they don't care about it. When they can be bothered to think about Africa for a second or two, they are happy to indulge in grotesque caricatures and simplistic gibberish.

This article explains in language that even the dimmest Labour MP could understand (hopefully) what Mr Robert Mugabe has done to Zimbabwean farmers. His actions and their consequences are not mysterious, they don't obey economic laws that only exist in Africa, and they are open to all the usual analyses. Mugabe has stolen a huge amount of stuff from his own people, and trashed his economy as a consequence. This article elucidates the details of the crime: who did it, when, what was stolen, what impact that has had, and what can be expected to happen in the future.

Anybody who reads it, and then understands that Zimbabwe is the microcosmic Africa, is much closer to understanding why Africa is in such a disgusting and pitiful state. It wasn't the white men who raped and pillaged Africa- it was the black men who inherited those prosperous nations. From Uganda to Zambia, from Angola to Mozambique, the history of post-colonial Africa has been a vast parade of declining output, declining business creation, declining GDP, much more hostile business environments and crazy bureaucracy. In Britain, it takes one day to incorporate a new Company; In Mozambique, it takes 139 days. Add to the mix Africa's addiction to pseudo-marxism, rampant corruption and kleptocratic political classes and the state of the continent starts to become explicable.

For as long as the truth is suppressed there is no remedy for Africa. Every month that goes by Zimbabwe disappears down the toilet of history a little further. Many of the large industries that thrived in the late 1990's are now on their last legs. When they fail, Zimbabwe will topple into an abyss. And thats all Mr Mugabe's fault. He has a vice-like grip on the country, enforced by the Army and Police. The land invasions of the early 21st century destroyed the linchpin in the Zimbabwean economy. Everything since has been utterly predictable, while at the same time being heartbreaking and tragic.

Will Britain and the world ever learn to care about Africa and Africans? Will they care enough to stop babbling about imperial oppression and punitive debt repayments and start talking about proper government by men with morals, obedience to law, respect for the average citizen, a decent business environment with regulation that makes sense, and enshrinement of the sanctity of private property? Until Africans are expected to act like we do, and gain the benefits that that brings, our attitude to them will be patronising and counter-productive.

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