Multinational corporations: The new colonisers in Africa

Written by admin on April 8th, 2011

International of Canada paid 0,000 to secure an -billion dam contract in Lesotho. We know Swiss, British, German and French financial and banking institutions have made fortunes by providing safe havens for funds looted by Abacha, Mobutu, Bongo, Conté, Kenya’s Daniel arap Moi and the rest of the dictators in Africa. And it is no secret that Belgium is angry with the DRC government for inviting China into the country because they are privy to and beneficiary of all the daylight robbery going on in the resource-rich but economically impoverished country. 

Africans know that these corporations are making fortunes but they see none of the benefits from these fortunes. Ghanaians know gold and diamonds are being mined at Obuasi and Akwatia but they do not know where it goes, who buys them and where the proceeds end up, and the same is true of the oil in Nigeria, Gabon, Cameroon, Algeria, Angola and Equatorial Guinea. And as for the DRC, a nation with one-third of world’s natural resources, the less I say the better. 

This corrupt, daylight robbery is what has been promoted as globalisation, with Africa and the Third World being encouraged to join by Europe, America, the IMF and the World Bank. My question is whose globalisation? Is it the globalisation that only those with blue eyes enjoy or what? If the answer is no then the IMF and the World Bank should explain why the world is divided between the ‘white haves and the coloured have-nots’. Is this not a second colonialism dressed as globalisation? 

Susan Hawley says it all: 

‘Multinational corporations’ corrupt practices affect the South (i.e. Africa, Asia and Latin America) in many ways. They undermine development and exacerbate inequality and poverty. They disadvantage smaller domestic firms and transfer money that could be put towards poverty eradication into the hands of the rich. They distort decision-making in favour of projects that benefit the few rather than the many. They also increase [the] debt that benefit[s] the company, not the country; bypass local democratic processes; damage the environment; circumvent legislation; and promote weapons sales. Bribes put up the prices of projects. When these projects are paid for with money borrowed internationally, bribery adds to a country’s external debt. Ordinary people end up paying this back through cuts in spending on health, education and public services. Often they also have to pay by shouldering the long-term burdens of projects that do not benefit them and which they never requested.'[9]

And in all these, the Western media has kept silent and has not raised a voice against what its governments, intelligence services, corporations and businessmen are doing to Africans. They prefer instead to criticise China for courting the same African leaders Euro-Americans have been protecting for decades. A clear hypocrisy isn’t it? These are the same criticisms King Leopold II levelled against the Arabs who were competing with him for resources and slaves in Congo, and we know what Leopold II, the 19th-century Hitler, did in the DRC in the name of Christianity and ‘civilisation’. 

With China as a fierce competitor, Africans now have a choice not to go to the World Bank and the IMF for conditional loans. They also have a choice to either give their resources to Chinese companies or European and American cartels. It may be the beginning of the end of colonialism, slavery, instability, dictatorships, corruption and all the ills that Europeans and Americans have been promoting in Africa.

It may be the beginning where Africa’s resources will be bought and payment made to the people and a new chapter that will usher in Africa’s development and close the poverty gap from 5,000 years to perhaps 100, as observed by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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