Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Stuff They Don't Want You To Know - China in Africa

The United States of Africa and African Diaspora’s remittances in 2012

Dilemma X
 A United States of Africa is not a new vision.

In fact the creation of a continental union of Africa’s countries into one country has its origins dating back long before Muammar Gaddafi’s vision of a United States of Africa.

In fact,  Muammar Gaddafi’s vision of a United States of Africa, came from the creator's of this very website and series of blogs, The USA4USAfrica Internet Coalition started by Mark Wood in 1996.

Gaddafi answered an email and fax forwarded ti him by a Libyan newspaper which was alerted to the early United States of Africa web.

 The Europeans had long held trading forts along the African coast.
They would trade with the African nations and empires for natural resources, goods and enslaved humans. Europeans even engaged in battles between one another to maintain control over these major economic trading ports. But, the Europeans dare not venture into interior Africa, with some exceptions: northern and southern Africa.

 Many people, especially those living outside of Africa, tend to forget that the independent nations of Africa today have political borders that are a result of the lines that were drawn on a map at the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885. No Africans were included in this meeting. The border lines were drawn with a total disregard to the existing ethnic groups, a disregard to the existing kingdoms, empires and city states and a disregard to the existing cultures of the continent of Africa. The European Scramble for Africa began at its most aggressive pace. African nations began to gain their independence from European powers during the 1950s and 1960s.

In 1975 Angola gained its independence from Portugal. In 1980 Zimbabwe gained its independence from its white Bristh-African Apartheid government. Finally, South Africa gained independence when in 1994 Apartheid officially ended as law and the majority black native African population could vote. Today, some view that the Scramble for Africa now has expanded to India, China and the United States, with Europe always keeping pace. History has shown that Europe’s wealth has supported the European diaspora once European nations began to depart from some of their traditional class systems. India’s modern wealth has boosted the wealth of Indians in the diaspora, China’s modern wealth and Japan’s modern wealth also supports the populations in each of their diasporas.

Of course there are many who do not shared in the economic benefits. Just as in the United States where many are middle class. Yet, there are still many who are in the economic under class in the United States regardless of the nation’s wealth. Would a United States of Africa begin to provide more economic wealth for Africans and for the entire African diaspora? Is a United States of Africa a threat to those wanting Africa’s natural resources? See the recent time-line of events creating the United States of Africa below.

Video: Berlin 1885: The Division of Africa

IMPAIRED--United States of Africa - NATO Attacks on Libya.

A United States of Africa makes sense

A United States of Africa makes sense

by Molefi Kete Asante, April 17 2013, 15:51






Clip this article
Africa continent. Picture: THINKSTOCK
THE African continent is a continuous landmass with outlying islands such as Madagascar, Zanzibar and Cape Verde. It is vast; if it were a separate country, it would be the largest nation in the world.
One could put Russia (17-million square kilometres) and Canada (10-million square kilometres) inside the continent, which measures 30.2-million square kilometres. Canada, the second-largest country in the world, and the US, the third largest, can also fit comfortably inside Africa. You could place the US, India and all of Europe, including the UK, inside Africa and have territory left over.
Put another way, a United States of Africa would be the world’s largest nation in terms of territory, and the third largest in terms of population after China and India.
The continent is not poor, although its people are often in poverty. Africa has enough arable land to feed the entire world, yet in some countries people regularly confront hunger. This is what others have called the paradox of Africa: the richest land and the poorest people. Even taking into consideration the Sahara and Kalahari deserts, the continent can easily be supported by the massive savannas, deep forest resources and great arable regions. It is a matter of organisation of resources, not a lack of possibilities.
Africa’s mineral resources are fabulous. In some ways it is the richest continent on Earth. Desert minerals, grazing animals, oils for industries, petroleum and futuristic minerals for information technologies are abundant. More types of wood can be found in Africa than on all the other continents combined. Half of the world’s diamonds are here.
So how can Africa take advantage of its strengths? I believe that Ghanaian independence leader Kwame Nkrumah understood the potential for creating a powerhouse by uniting Africa.
Almost all of the continent’s problems can be traced to economic exploitation and cultural degradation. The declines in agricultural production in Africa over the past 30 years have in most instances been tied directly to how Western nations provided, prohibited or reduced the natural competitive exporting behaviour of African nations.
Even today African exports have been sanctioned, and where they are not sanctioned, they are heavily taxed. Consequently, in areas such as cotton production, the European and American nations have supported their own farmers and stifled competition from African farmers supported by their governments.
There is no lack of energy, capability or technical know-how on the part of Africa; it is strictly a lack of organisational and political power to see the continent’s economic interests protected.
There is a history for African leadership with regard to nation building.
The first nation on Earth was in Africa, extending beyond the aggregation of people under a kingship or queenship. The ancient south Egyptian state of Kemet comprised 42 ethnic groups with spiritual, mathematical, philosophical and agricultural similarities. Their response to nature and to human relations was something to be envied and emulated by others.
When the pharaoh Menes came down from Kemet to unite 42 sepats — regional divisions called nomes by the Greeks — he achieved something that would have been criticised in the same way that people criticise the discussion of a united Africa.
Each sepat had its own emblem, its own name for the supreme deity, its own variation on the language of the Nile Valley, its own ethnic history and its own capital city with its own shrines — yet Menes the Great was able to achieve national status.
In contemporary times we see the giants of pan-Africanism as Marcus Garvey, WEB Du Bois, Cheikh Anta Diop and Nkrumah. Garvey believed in one aim, one destiny and one god. Diop wrote constantly about an African renaissance with cultural unity. Nkrumah saw a larger Africa than simply Diop’s cultural unity of black Africa, because he felt the north had been predominantly black before the Arabs came and had to be included in a continental state. Du Bois searched for a scientific base to political unity based on the material conditions of the continent.
I am convinced that Africa must be united as one federative union. I like the title United States of Africa. I want to be able to travel and work between Cape Town and Cairo, between Dakar and Dar es Salaam. I seek an Africa where young people can see themselves as the owners of the land. This is not a foreign idea; it is an African idea. Its origins are deep in the history of the continent itself.
• Asante is author of 75 books, including The History of Africa and An Afrocentric Manifesto. He is president of the Molefi Kete Asante Institute for Afrocentric Studies, a professor at Temple University and a professor extraordinarius at Unisa.

We eurozoners must create a United State of Europe

We eurozoners must create a United State of Europe

Only a single Anglo-American style fiscal and military union can save the EU
constitutional Convention
George Washington Addressing the Constitutional Convention – an 1856 painting by Junius Brutus Stearns. 'In the constitution agreed at Philadelphia, Americans vowed – in imitation of the English and Scots – to form a more perfect union.' Photograph: AP
They were a loose confederation of states in danger of falling out among themselves, and unsure if they would survive in an increasingly competitive international environment. Their debts were piling up; their currency was weak; their economies were diverse and incompatible. The idealism that had brought them together was rapidly evaporating. Something drastic would have to be done.
Sound familiar? The polity in question, however, is not the eurozone but the United States of America in the late 1780s, a few years after the 13 colonies had won independence from Great Britain. The great powers hovered menacingly. US merchant shipping was exposed to vicious attacks by Muslim pirates operating out of north Africa. Economically, the country was divided between a commercially oriented north-eastern seaboard, and an agrarian south and west. There was no real executive to speak of, Congress had no power to raise taxes to pay for national projects, and all international treaties had to be ratified by every one of the states before they came into force.
The debts of the revolutionary war were largely held by the individual states, with little prospect of being honoured, thus destroying all public creditworthiness. (The United States lacked a proper military, because the states could not agree on how it should be paid for, and many Americans were fearful that it might be used to undermine their liberties). So loose were the bonds that held the confederation together, many Americans feared the United States might fragment into its component parts, or succumb to civil strife.
As they debated how to reform their young republic, the patriots looked to the old continent for instruction. The example of the squabbling Italian city states and principalities of Machiavelli's time, which had laid the peninsula open to outside domination, was a terrible warning. They didn't think much of divided Poland either, in the process of being partitioned out of existence.
The patriots reserved their greatest contempt for the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, with its emasculated emperor, feeble parliament, sclerotic courts and overmighty princes. This had been designed to prevent Germany from being too strong or too weak, and to prevent Germans from falling out too badly among themselves, but by the late 18th century its flaws were clear.
By contrast, the patriots were impressed by the Anglo-Scottish union of 1707 – the "entire and perfect union" between two former enemies that Queen Anne offered the Edinburgh parliament in order to resist France together. Scotland received generous representation at Westminster, retained its legal and educational system, and subsumed its grave financial problems into the larger whole, but gave up its separate foreign and security policy. The resulting United Kingdom – within which the political nation represented in parliament was responsible for the national debt and the common defence – proved uniquely suited to mastering its fiscal and military challenges for hundreds of years.
In the constitution agreed at Philadelphia, Americans vowed – in imitation of the English and Scots – to "form a more perfect union". A strong presidential executive was established. In the legislature, the Senate represented individual states, while the House of Representatives was elected by head of population. The rest, as they say, is history. The United States eventually became the most powerful country on earth.
The Holy Roman Empire, however, never got its act together. It was dissolved less than 20 years later at Napoleon's command. Later the second and third empires produced such a concentration of power that it threatened the peace of the continent. After the second world war, was resurrected in the form of the European project, whose dominant continental strand sought to create a union not for the concentration but the diffusion of power, especially that of Germany. To the despair of their American backers, Europe's founding fathers allowed economic, social and cultural integration, which fell to the European Economic Community, to be unhitched from politico-military integration, which fell to Nato, and from democratic representation, which remained with the national states. The EU, as it became, grew overly bureaucratic, legalistic and slow to act. The consequences are painfully visible today in the dire state of the eurozone and the sense of disenfranchisement across the continent – weaknesses that prevent Europe from dealing with pressing external challenges, especially from undemocratic states such as Iran, Russia and a rising China.
History suggests that the current crisis requires the immediate creation of an Anglo-American style fiscal and military union of the eurozone – a "democratic union". This would involve the creation of a European parliament with legislative powers; a one-off federalising of all state debt through the issue of union bonds to be backed by the entire tax revenue of the common currency zone (with a debt ceiling for member states thereafter); the supervised dissolution of insolvent private-sector financial institutions; and a single European army, with a monopoly on external force projection.
This is the only solution that will enable Europeans to mobilise in pursuit of their collective interest rather than against each other, and integrate Germany economically and militarily into the larger whole, without disenfranchising the German people or any other population of the union.
The British and the American unions made history. If we eurozoners do not act quickly and create a single state on Anglo-American lines, we will be history too – but not in the way we had hoped.

The ‘United States Of Africa’: Mugabe Calls For Formation Of Continental Superstate

The ‘United States Of Africa’: Mugabe Calls For Formation Of Continental Superstate

By | January 22 2013 10:51 AM
While French military airplanes bomb militant targets in the deserts of northern Mali, the president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, has again asserted his long-held dream of a “United States of Africa.”

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Special report: Emerging Africa

Special report: Emerging Africa

Africa rising

A hopeful continent

African lives have already greatly improved over the past decade, says Oliver August. The next ten years will be even better

THREE STUDENTS ARE hunched over an iPad at a beach café on Senegal’s Cap-Vert peninsula, the westernmost tip of the world’s poorest continent. They are reading online news stories about Moldova, one of Europe’s most miserable countries. One headline reads: “Four drunken soldiers rape woman”. Another says Moldovan men have a 19% chance of dying from excessive drinking and 58% will die from smoking-related diseases. Others deal with sex-trafficking. Such stories have become a staple of Africa’s thriving media, along with austerity tales from Greece. They inspire pity and disbelief, just as tales of disease and disorder in Africa have long done in the rich world.
Sitting on the outskirts of Dakar, Senegal’s capital, the three students sip cappuccinos and look out over a paved road shaded by palm trees where restaurants with white tablecloths serve green-spotted crabs. A local artist is hawking framed pictures of semi-clad peasant girls under a string of coloured lights. This is where slave ships used to depart for the New World. “Way over there, do they know how much has changed?” asks one of the students, pointing beyond the oil tankers on the distant horizon.

This special report will paint a picture at odds with Western images of Africa. War, famine and dictators have become rarer. People still struggle to make ends meet, just as they do in China and India. They don’t always have enough to eat, they may lack education, they despair at daily injustices and some want to emigrate. But most Africans no longer fear a violent or premature end and can hope to see their children do well. That applies across much of the continent, including the sub-Saharan part, the main focus of this report.
African statistics are often unreliable, but broadly the numbers suggest that human development in sub-Saharan Africa has made huge leaps. Secondary-school enrolment grew by 48% between 2000 and 2008 after many states expanded their education programmes and scrapped school fees. Over the past decade malaria deaths in some of the worst-affected countries have declined by 30% and HIV infections by up to 74%. Life expectancy across Africa has increased by about 10% and child mortality rates in most countries have been falling steeply.
A booming economy has made a big difference. Over the past ten years real income per person has increased by more than 30%, whereas in the previous 20 years it shrank by nearly 10%. Africa is the world’s fastest-growing continent just now. Over the next decade its GDP is expected to rise by an average of 6% a year, not least thanks to foreign direct investment. FDI has gone from $15 billion in 2002 to $37 billion in 2006 and $46 billion in 2012 (see chart).
Many goods and services that used to be scarce, including telephones, are now widely available. Africa has three mobile phones for every four people, the same as India. By 2017 nearly 30% of households are expected to have a television set, an almost fivefold increase over ten years. Nigeria produces more movies than America does. Film-makers, novelists, designers, musicians and artists thrive in a new climate of hope. Opinion polls show that almost two-thirds of Africans think this year will be better than last, double the European rate.
Africa is too big to follow one script, so its countries are taking different routes to becoming better places. In Senegal the key is a vibrant democracy. From the humid beaches of Cap-Vert to the flyblown desert interior, politicians conduct election campaigns that Western voters would recognise. They make extravagant promises, some of which they will even keep. Crucially, they respect democratic institutions. When President Abdoulaye Wade last year tried to stand for a third term, in breach of term limits, he was ridiculed. A popular cartoon showed him in a bar ordering a third cup of coffee and removing a sign saying, “Everyone just two cups”. More than two dozen opposition candidates formed a united front and inflicted a stinging defeat on him, which he swiftly accepted. Dakar celebrated wildly, then went back to work the next day.
So who is right? To find out, your correspondent travelled overland across the continent from Dakar to Cape Town (see map), taking in regional centres such as Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg as well as plenty of bush and desert. Each part of the trip focused on one of the big themes with which the continent is grappling—political violence, governance, economic development—as outlined in the articles that follow.
The journey covered some 15,800 miles (25,400km) on rivers, railways and roads, almost all of them paved and open for business. Not once was your correspondent asked for a bribe along the way, though a few drivers may have given small gratuities to policemen. The trip took 112 days, and on all but nine of them e-mail by smartphone was available. It was rarely dangerous or difficult. Borders were easily crossed and visas could be had for a few dollars on the spot or within a day in the nearest capital. By contrast, in 2001, when Paul Theroux researched his epic travel book, “Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town”, he was shot at, forced into detours and subjected to endless discomforts.
Another decade from now a traveller may well see an end to hunger in some African countries, steeply rising agricultural production in others, the start of industrial manufacturing for export, the emergence of a broad retail sector, more integrated transport networks, fairer elections, more effective governments, widespread access to technology even among many of the poor and ever-rising commodity incomes. Not everywhere. This report covers plenty of places where progress falls short. But their number is shrinking.

Wait for it
The biggest reason to be hopeful is that it takes time for results from past investment to come through, and many such benefits have yet to materialise. Billions have already been put into roads and schools over the past decade; the tech revolution has only just reached the more remote corners of the continent; plenty of new oilfields and gold mines have been tapped but are not yet producing revenues. The aid pipeline too is fairly full. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation alone has invested $1.7 billion in Africa since 2006 but acknowledges that “it takes years and years to shift the system.” Some aid will be wasted, some new roads will remain empty and more than a few barrels of oil will be stolen. Yet whereas currently not even half of Africa’s countries are what the World Bank calls “middle income” (defined as at least $1,000 per person a year), by 2025 the bank expects most African countries to have reached that stage.

As the hand-painted number 3 bus pulls out of Cap-Vert and travels through the streets of Dakar, the views, bathed in buttery late-afternoon sunlight, reflect aspects of Africa’s current triumphs and tribulations. On the left are new tenement buildings with running water for the urban poor. On a hill to the right stands a 160-foot (49-metre) bronze statue of a man with a muscular torso resembling Mr Wade in his younger years on which he spent $27m of public money. The bus leaves the capital behind and chugs on, passing craggy cliffs and flooded pastures, single-room huts and mangrove forests. Several hours later it crosses a muddy creek near the city of Ziguinchor, heading south towards Guinea-Bissau.

At the end of the cold war only three African countries (out of 53 at the time) had democracies; since then the number has risen to 25, of varying shades, and many more countries hold imperfect but worthwhile elections (22 in 2012 alone). Only four out of now 55 countries—Eritrea, Swaziland, Libya and Somalia—lack a multi-party constitution, and the last two will get one soon. Armies mostly stay in their barracks. Big-man leaders are becoming rarer, though some authoritarian states survive. And on the whole more democracy has led to better governance: politicians who want to be re-elected need to show results.

Ways to salvation

Where democracy has struggled to establish itself, African countries have taken three other paths to improving their citizens’ lives. First, many have stopped fighting. War and civil strife have declined dramatically. Local conflicts occasionally flare up, but in the past decade Africa’s wars have become a lot less deadly. Perennial hotspots such as Angola, Chad, Eritrea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are quiet, leaving millions better off, and even Congo, Somalia and Sudan are much less violent than they used to be. Parts of Mali were seized by Islamists last year, then liberated by French troops in January, though unrest continues. The number of coups, which averaged 20 per decade in 1960-90, has fallen to an average of ten.
Second, more private citizens are engaging with politics, some in civil-society groups, others in aid efforts or as protesters. The beginnings of the Arab spring in north Africa two years ago inspired the rest of the continent. In Angola youth activists invoke the events farther north. In Senegal a group of rap artists formed the nucleus of the coalition that ousted Mr Wade.

Third, Africa’s retreat from socialist economic models has generally made everyone better off. Some countries, such as Ethiopia and Rwanda, still put the state in the lead. Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s prime minister from 1995 until his death last year, achieved impressive gains by taking development into his own (occasionally bloodstained) hands. Others, such as Kenya and Nigeria, have empowered private business by removing red tape. Yet others are benefiting from a commodities boom, driven by increased demand from China, which has become Africa’s biggest trading partner. Over the past decade African trade with China has risen from $11 billion to $166 billion. Copper-rich Zambia and oil-soaked Ghana are using full coffers to pay for new schools and hospitals, even if some of the money is stolen along the way.
Inevitably, Africa’s rise is being hyped. Boosters proclaim an “African century” and talk of “the China of tomorrow” or “a new India”. Sceptics retort that Africa has seen false dawns before. They fear that foreign investors will exploit locals and that the continent will be “not lifted but looted”. They also worry that many officials are corrupt, and that those who are straight often lack expertise, putting them at a disadvantage in negotiations with investors.