Saturday, December 8, 2007

Africa EU Summit Lisbon 2007

The EU summit being held in Portugal, Lisbon between the European Union and Africa taking place right now is for all the wrong reasons, the biggest loser as usual will be Africa, in reality the African citizenry, not the African elite who seem not to understand what creates greatness, it is the people who will gain nothing from this summit.

There is no summit that will take place unless both parties believe they are in a winning position. Europe has backed down to Africa’s demands that Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe, be invited to the conference, prompting the Prime Minister of the UK Gordon Brown to boycott the summit, but still sending an envoy, .

No Matter what, the most important reason for this summit is about money, not anything to do with humanitarian, only a naive person will believe that. According to many Europe feels it is losing its grip on Africa, a former colonial continent, to China. Europe feels it will lose its ability to dictate policy on Africa as it did with the likes of Mobutu, and Mugabe who was a darling of Europe in the beginning of his rule of Zimbabwe though at that time he committed far more murders than he did now, but what is important was that he did not meddle with the commercial interests in Zimbabwe. It is therefore naive to believe the boycott of Mugabe has anything to do with human rights, it has to do with commercial interests. Maybe I am wrong because this is a labor government, traditionally they care more about human rights. Maybe the times they have truly changed, better for all of humanity if people really believe in human rights, not using it as a smoke screen.

The European Union it is hoped will open up its markets, this should have been done 20 – 30 years ago. Solving Africa’s economic problems would have alleviated the immigration problem with Africans trying to get to the promised land of Europe.

However opening up Europe’s market will not solve Africa’s problems, just as trade with China will not solve Africa’s problems. What the Africans are hoping to get from China is economic aide so that they do not have to bow to ‘human rights’ pressure from Europe. China though growing at a tremendous pace has vast problems of its own. Though with good intentions Chinas continual relations with Africa, supporting liberation movements to now supporting Africa’s trade, Africa needs to understand that final growth and sustainability will be realized when barriers between African countries are broken down and Africa accepts knowledge. If Africa believes selling more Cocoa, wheat, and beef to Europe will create GDP per capita’s of US$10 000, they are conning themselves. Africa a continent that at best has problems feeding itself will never feed the world, that is just a lie.

It is a lie and the African leaders know that, they are hoping to be bailed out by China, China that has massive poverty of its own. The loans from China, just like the loans from Europe since the 1960’s will be squandered, because the African mentality has not changed, that money will never be used for development, it will instead be used by the African leaders to enrich themselves. Then in 20 years time China will ask for its payments and the same scream will come out, China is unfair, how do we pay this money back, how are the poor Africans expected to pay such a massive debt load, and China will be forced to cancel the debts.

Until Africa respects knowledge, this Euphoria over China will just evaporate in 10 years time. Strange how the Africans see China growing at 10% but they themselves refuse to do what China is doing, at a great cost to Chinese people, but then the pain will be over in 20 years time when the wages of China finally rise and China will be an economic superpower. Africans refuse to adhere to the laws of knowledge and at the least capital.

Instead of trying to hold Europe over a barrel, because even opening up its markets, Africa has nothing to sell to Europe, besides raw materials. Africa has no significant manufacturing base, and has never tried to achieve a manufacturing base, it has merely wished, the manufacturing base is mostly what was left behind by the colonizers, the truth hurts, but then accepting reality will allow one to move forward. South Africa has the largest industrial base because of the legacy of the Europeans, then Zimbabwe, then Namibia, countries that got independence early have hardly any manufacturing base. The little that was there was destroyed by rampaging buffoons like Idi Amin, the countless Nigerian military leaders, the Mobuto’s, the Mugabe’s, a mess, because people where never leaders, because leaders lead people somewhere.

Trade deals will benefit Africa little until Africans understand that in this world, in this world of the material knowledge and only knowledge moves society forward, not morons like Mugabe who think that rocks can be turned into diesel. This means the other supporters of Mugabe also hope that rocks can be turned into diesel. Instead of concentrating on the superstitious and magic Africa needs to focus on knowledge, knowledge of the material, knowledge of magic seems to have failed, or maybe just not used properly, what would a knowledge economist understand about magic.

In truth the EU Africa summit if it does not deliver the opportunity for Africans to use their knowledge, it’s a big waste of time, and good thing leaders with sense like Gordon Brown did not waste their time.

Bhekuzulu Khumalo

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Bhekuzulu Khumalo

I write about knowledge economics, information, liberty, and freedom