Progress was made by Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, who met in Washington DC for three days this week from January 13-15, supported by the administration of President Trump. They will meet again from 28-29, in Washington to finalize their agreement.
Ethiopian Ambassador, Fitsum Arega, wrote on Twitter:
“Meetings of Egypt, Ethiopia & Sudan in Washington mark major breakthrough & new chapter of their historic relations.
GERD (Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam) will help bring economic integration among 3 countries: Egypt, Ethiopia & Sudan.
GERD will provide long term mechanism for their Common Destiny of Collective Prosperity, under the Guiding Principle : Cooperation for Mutual Benefit!”
I would add that cooperation on the GERD and Nile River system will benefit all the nations of the Nile Basin
The final paragraph of the joint communique reads: “The Ministers recognize the significant regional benefits that can result from concluding an agreement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam with respect to trans-boundary cooperation, regional development and economic integration that can result from the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs reaffirmed the importance of trans-boundary cooperation in the development of the Blue Nile to improve the lives of the people of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, and their shared commitment to concluding an agreement.”
China Has Embraced Africa’s Development; The US Has Not.
By Lawrence Freeman
It is as clear as day and night, the difference between China’s approach to Africa and that of the United States. There is no equivalence. Historically, China has viewed African nations as part of the developing sector from which China emerged. This has contributed to China’s distinct attitude to partnering with African nations in promoting economic growth. Over the last two decades especially, the ties between China and Africa have grown stronger, with Africa’s East Coast materializing as an integral part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
The US has not always dismissed the importance of contributing to Africa’s growth. President John Kennedy, following in the footsteps of President Franklin Roosevelt, was a strong opponent of colonial subjugation of Africa. President Kennedy, as US Senator advocated Africa’s liberation movement, and as US President supported President Kwame Nkrumah’s plans to construct the hydro-electric dam and bauxite smelting complex on Ghana’s Volta River. By the end of the 1960s the US had lost its optimism and vision for the world, adopting in its place, a British inspired cynical “geo-political” doctrine.
Geo-politics divides the world into two categories; winners and losers in a zero sum game. Today’s unfounded attacks against China’s involvement in Africa, alleging that China is deliberately entrapping nations into debt and stealing their natural resources flows from this perverted world view. Chinese President, Xi Jinping promotes a different philosophy; it’s called “win-win.”
Building, Not Extracting
Unlike British Imperialist Cecil Rhodes, and degenerates like King Leopold II, China is not raping Africa for its resources. Since Royal Dutch Shell discovered oil in southern Nigeria in 1956, the West has focused its investment chiefly in oil and gas-i.e. hydrocarbon extractive industries. China in recent decades has become the leading nation in financing and building infrastructure in Africa. It is well known that investment in extractive industries do not expand the economy nor provide a large amount of jobs. However, it does yield large streams of revenue. China has chosen a different business mode; one more beneficial to the African people.
According to McKinsey consulting company’s publication, Dance of the lions and the dragons, released in June 2017, China in 2015 financed $21 billion worth of infrastructure projects in Africa. That is three times the combined total of France, Japan, Germany, and India. US financing of infrastructure in Africa was too minimal to even mention. Detailed in the same document, China’s export and import trade with Africa is quantified as $188 billion in 2015, compared to the US at $53 billion. Deloitte’s 2017 Africa Construction Trends, further documents China’s role in expanding Africa’s infrastructure. As of June 2017, China was only second to African governments in funding large infrastructure projects, 15.5% and 27.1% respectively. The US was listed at 3%, the UK and France at 2%. When it comes to who actually builds these projects the figures are more shocking; China constructed over one quarter or 28.1% of these projects, the US 3.3%, and the UK 2.3%.
Infrastructure Is Essential
Infrastructure is critical for every economy to expand, grow and develop. Africa’s deplorable lack of infrastructure is literally killing its people. There is no more crucial single element of economy that must be addressed for African nations to develop. Infrastructure adds value to the entire economy by augmenting the productive capability of every farmer and worker. More capital intense economies will be affected by technologically advanced infrastructure platforms.
The history of humankind demonstrates that progress of civilizations emanates from the realization of scientific discoveries transmitted through more efficacious technologies. Infrastructure reflecting more advanced machinery is a primary means of transferring technology (science) to the economic production process.
There is nothing wrong with African nations using their resources for collateral or payment of loans for infrastructure. Wealth is not the monetary value of natural resources extracted from the earth. Economic wealth is understood to be that which contributes to the increase of the power of society to provide the material wellbeing of its citizens and their posterity. Infrastructure performs that function.
China’s contribution to building new railroads in Africa, replacing century old British and French antiquated rail lines, and constructing new hydro-electric dams, and ports, is precisely what African nations need to develop. China is providing indispensable assistance; the US and Europe are not. An experienced former US ambassador to Africa told me bluntly; the US stopped investing in infrastructure in Africa in the early 1970s. Sadly, today, the US continues to repeatedly proclaim, “we don’t build infrastructure.”
Debt-Trap or Claptrap?
In her latest paper, A critical look at Chinese ‘debt-trap’ diplomacy: the rise of a meme, Deborah Brautigam, China-Africa scholar and Director of the China-Africa Research Initiative-(CARI) at SAIS*, puts a nail in the coffin regarding false accusations of China deliberately entrapping African nations through debt.
She writes: “…for over a decade Western politicians and pundits have warned that China is a rogue donor with regard to its finance, is a new colonialist, and a predatory and pernicious lender that snares vulnerable states in a debt trap leveraging its loans in order to have its way with weak victims.”
Brautigam responds to these allegations by asking: “However, does evidence exist for this kind of debt leverage?” Then she answers: “It [SAIS database] has information on about more than 1000 loans and, so far, in Africa, we have not seen any examples where we would say the Chinese deliberatively entangled another country in debt, and then used that debt to extract unfair or strategic advantages of some kind in Africa, including ‘asset seizures’.” (emphasis added)
With the population of 55 African nations projected to reach 2.4 billion in the next three decades, the continent needs trillions of dollars in new infrastructure. Presently, the US is more concerned in countering China in Africa, than developing Africa. Many African leaders are hopeful the US will establish a more robust economic relationship with their nations. As has been the case with previous administrations, the lack of vision, and adherence to “geo-politics” is preventing the US from engaging with Africa in a win-win relationship. This can and should change.
*Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in the economic development policy of Africa for 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com
In the article below you can read about China’s strategic investment in making Djibouti’s port a major port in Africa and the Middle East. The West can criticize as much as it likes, but China, not the US and Europe, is building vitally needed infrastructure in Africa. Without infrastructure Africa will not develop and progress. U.S policy known as “Prosper Africa” is cynical joke.
In strategic Djibouti, a microcosm of China’s growing foothold in Africa
By Max Bearak December 30, 2019
DJIBOUTI — Above ground in this tiny but strategically located country, signs of China’s presence are everywhere.
Chinese entities have financed and built Africa’s biggest port, a railway to Ethiopia and the country’s first overseas naval base here. Under the sea, they are building a cable that will transmit data across a region that spans from Kenya to Yemen. The cable will connect to an Internet hub housing servers mostly run by China’s state-owned telecom companies.
Beijing’s extensive investments in Djibouti are a microcosm of how China has rapidly gained a strategic foothold across the continent. Western countries, including Africa’s former colonizers, for decades have used hefty aid packages to leverage trade and security deals, but Chinese-financed projects have brought huge infrastructural development in less than a generation.
The construction is fueled mostly by lending from China’s state-run banks. Spindles of Chinese-paved roads have unfurled across the continent, along with huge bridges, new airports, dams and power plants as part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 152-countryBelt and Road Initiative.
Overall, Chinese companies have invested twice as much money between 2014 and 2018 in African countries as American companies, spending $72.2 billion, according to ananalysis by Ernst & Young.
“The Chinese are thinking far into the long-term in Djibouti and Africa in general,” said David Shinn, a former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia who was also the State Department’s desk officer for Djibouti as far back as the late 1960s. “Djibouti is one node in an economic chain that stretches across the northern rim of the Indian Ocean, from ports in Cambodia to Sri Lanka to Pakistan. They have a grand, strategic plan. We don’t.”
In Djibouti, that strategic plan is all the more evident because of the country’s location at the entrance to the Red Sea, where about 10 percent of oil exports and 20 percent of commercial goods pass through the narrow strait right off Djibouti’s coast on their way to and from the Suez Canal.
That location has made it a crucial way-point for undersea cables, which transmit data between continents. China’s investment in Internet infrastructure here comes as the region surrounding Djibouti is just starting to come online, including some places that are entirely reliant on Djibouti as a transit point for data transmission…
“Yes, our debt to China is 71% of our GDP, but we needed that infrastructure,” Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, Djibouti’s foreign affairs minister, said in a phone interview on the sidelines of a meeting in New York earlier this month, where Djibouti was pushing to gain a non permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
“It was quite natural that we raise our partnership with China. Neither Europe nor America were ready to build the infrastructure we needed. We’re projecting our country into the future and looking after the well-being of our people. Even the United States has trillions of dollars in debt to China, you know,” Youssouf said.
The most significant investment China has made in Djibouti is Doraleh Port, Africa’s biggest and deepest. As with Internet through the data center, a full 90 percent of landlocked Ethiopia’s imports now transit Djibouti, giving the minuscule country, with a population of less than a million, leverage over its gigantic, 100-million-strong neighbor.
On the week that the Judiciary Committee is determined to vote for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, CGTN published my analysis on the invalidity of this impeachment process.
Trump, impeachment, and the future of the U.S.
Lawrence Freeman, December 11, 2019
“This week the Judiciary Committee concludes the impeachment proceedings against Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States. This committee, controlled by the Democrats, is likely to approve articles of impeachment within the week.
“It is anticipated that the majority Democratic Party in the House of Representatives will vote for impeachment before the Christmas Holiday break.
“Therefore, it is quite possible that when the Congress returns to Washington. D.C. in January, the first order of business will be a trial of President Trump in the U.S. Senate. Thus, America, and indeed the world, will begin the new year of 2020 with a dangerous strategic destabilization caused by a weakening of the U.S. Presidency. Regardless of the outcome, this course of events bodes ill for the future of our U.S.
“For me, a lifelong Democrat, who has been involved in American politics for over half a century, this impeachment process, driven by the leadership of the Democratic Party, is not legitimate. Removing a U.S. President, elected by the American voters is the most serious and extreme measure allowed under the U.S. Constitution.
“A President should not be removed from office without overwhelming and provable evidence, that she or he is endangering the security and existence of the U.S. No such evidence has been provided. I fear for my country when a partisan majority has the power to remove a President between national elections (as was the case of the impeachment of President Clinton, which I also opposed).”
Clash over foreign policy
“Once you get past the headlines of Russia-gate, followed by allegations of obstruction of justice, and now, the so-called quid quo pro in Ukraine; examine the real underlying issue of conflict between President Trump and the establishment. He disagrees with Washington’s anti-Russia policy…”
The article below discusses the physical effects on the US population of the shrinking of America’s economy and culture over many years. The USA was founded on profound principles still valid today. However, the absence of quality leadership, and a population conditioned by news headlines has led to our decline. America needs a statesman with a bold vision of the future and the will to implement it. Presently, neither exist.
On Saturday evening-September 14, at the National Press Club in Washington DC, African Union ambassador, Arikana Chihombori-Quao gave the key note address to the Confucius Institute National Honors Gala. During her dynamic and at time amusing talk, she discussed how she over came her initial fears about China when she visited the nation four years ago. The Ambassador emphasized the importance of people to people relations between the US and China, and discussed the process of learning the Mandarin language.
Below is an article whose central polemic I concur with. Today’s culture-society is being bombarded with propaganda that all stems from the Malthusian mantra, that the world has limited resources and therefore we must reduce the number of people living on this planet. Malthus’ ideological driven, anti-scientific ideas were wrong when he presented them over 200 years ago, they are wrong today, and they will always be wrong. The most powerful force that the human species possesses is; the mind. More explicitly, the power of the creative imagination to hypothesize previously unknown principles of the universe. There are no fixed resources. Human beings, the only creative species, is the source of all new discoveries that create new resources, as the history of our species demonstrate over millions of years on this planet earth. Do not succumb to “group think” and do not submit to so called authorities. The pathetic level of discussion in our society today, reflected in the 2020 US election for example, indicates how much the dialogue of profound ideas has deteriorated over the last half century. The most effective way to inspire humans beings and excite their imagination is to explore our solar system, and the universe with all its galaxies. By looking up to the stars in the sky to discover the laws of our universe, we can eliminate human suffering on earth.
The Age of Reason Is in the Stars!
There is really good news: Man is capable of reason and therefore of limitless intellectual and moral perfectibility! We can do something that neither the donkeys nor the monkeys can do: We can discover new scientific principles of the universe in which we live, without limits! And these qualitative discoveries mean that, unlike donkeys and monkeys, we are constantly able to redefine even what we consider to be resources, therefore making resources unlimited. We can continue to improve the livelihoods of humanity!
We are experiencing unprecedented, fascinating scientific revolutions: the Chinese are exploring the far side of the Moon with their Chang’e Moon missions, planning to mine helium-3 as fuel for the coming fusion economy on Earth, and next year a Mars mission will investigate the conditions for terraforming the red planet. With their Chandrayaan 2 mission to the south pole of the Moon, Indians will explore the ice in the craters there, which are always in the shade—water is one of the essential prerequisites for life on the Moon. The European Space Agency is working on concrete plans for international cooperation on a permanent Moon village! The U.S. is building upon the Kennedy Apollo program with its Artemis program, and Russia, the U.S., and China all see nuclear-powered spaceships as the right choice for future flights to Mars and deep into space!
The great thing about space travel is that it proves that we are not living in a closed system in which raw materials are limited and the murderous views of Thomas Malthus, Julian Huxley, Bertrand Russell, and Prince Philip would be correct, but on the contrary, we live in an anti-entropic universe. Space travel is the irrefutable proof that the universe “obeys” an adequate hypothesis of the human mind, and that there is therefore absolute coherence between the immaterial ideas produced by reason, and the physical laws of this universe, and that these ideas are the spearhead of the anti-entropic dynamics of the universe.
There have been groundbreaking proofs recently: about 100 years after Einstein’s theses on the existence of gravitational waves and black holes, the change in space-time has now been proven, and shortly thereafter, with the help of eight radio telescopes distributed all over the world, images were made of the area around a black hole whose mass is 6.5 billion times larger than that of the Sun, 53.5 million light years away at the center of the M87 galaxy. There is still so much to discover in our universe, where, according to the Hubble Space Telescope, there are at least two trillion galaxies! Space exploration opens up a deeper insight into how the laws of our universe work, and what role we humans play in it!
This is the life-affirming cultural optimism that comes with the idea of humanity as a space-faring species, in complete contrast to the contrived doomsday atmosphere which is spread by the apostles of a coming apocalypse—such as Prince Charles and the hedge-fund cover girl Greta Thunberg. Behind the Greta hype are quite vile interests: the trans-Atlantic financial system is facing a more serious crash than in 2008, and the financial sharks and locusts of the City of London and Wall Street are trying one final big deal, to steer as much investment into “green” technology as possible, before the systemic crisis hits.
A closer look at the various sponsors of Greta’s extremely ambitious and well-funded agenda; of the Extinction Rebellion (XR); and of FridaysforFuture (F4F), reveals that this movement is funded by some of the richest people on Earth, including Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, George Soros, and Ted Turner. The fact is that the beneficiaries of the climate hype and the Green New Deal are the banks and hedge funds.
A ‘Rebellion’ Funded by the Most Privileged
The target of this unprecedented manipulation is you, the young adults, the children and teenagers of this world! Shouldn’t it make you stop and think, when your alleged “rebellion” is supported by the whole spectrum of mainstream media and the entire liberal establishment? Yet the vile idea that manipulating the paradigm-shift of an entire society must begin with the indoctrination of children is nothing new. As early as 1951, Lord Bertrand Russell wrote in his book, The Impact of Science on Society:
“I think the subject which will be of most importance politically is mass psychology. . . . Its importance has been enormously increased by the growth of modern methods of propaganda. . . . It may be hoped that in time anybody will be able to persuade anybody of anything if he can catch the patient young and is provided by the State with money and equipment. The social psychologists of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black. . . . not much can be done unless indoctrination begins before the age of ten.”
The goal of the apocalyptic scaremongering by people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (“We have only 12 years left!”) or the head of the British Commonwealth, Prince Charles (“We only have 18 months left!”), is an induced radical change in the way of life of mankind. Everything that we have understood as progress during the last 250 years should be abandoned, and we should return to the technological level that existed before the Industrial Revolution. But this also means that then the number of people who can be sustained at that level will drop to about a billion or less.
It would mean that developing countries would have no prospects for ever escaping poverty, hunger, epidemics and a shortened lifespan; it would be a genocide of an unimaginably large number of people! If “climate scientist” Mojib Latif thinks that the Western lifestyle can not be transmitted to all people in the world, and if Barack Obama is outraged that many young people in Africa want a car, air conditioning and a big house, then behind that lurks the inhuman arrogance of members of the totally privileged upper class. It is precisely this view by the colonial rulers that is responsible for the fact that Africa and much of Latin America are still underdeveloped, and many hundreds of millions of people have died early unnecessarily.
For the developing world, the pseudo-religion of anthropogenic climate change means genocide. For the souls of the young people of the world, the cultural pessimism it induces is a poison that destroys confidence in human creativity. When every activity becomes a problem and is suddenly laden with guilt—eating meat, or eating at all, driving a car, flying, home heating, clothing, and indeed life itself—it destroys any enthusiasm for discovery, any enthusiasm for that which is beautiful, and all hope for the future. And if every human being is just another parasite that destroys the environment, then quite a few come to the misanthropic conclusions of the mass shooters of Christchurch and El Paso who, in their “manifestos,” cited environmental reasons for their actions.
Conversely, the scientific and technological advances associated with space travel are the key to overcoming all apparent limitations of our present existence on Earth. “Terraforming”—the creation of human conditions—then becomes possible not only on the Moon and Mars, but also here on Earth, and in the future on many heavenly bodies in our Solar system and perhaps beyond.
In his “Anthropology of Astronautics,” the German-American space pioneer Krafft Ehricke writes:
“The concept of space travel carries with it enormous impact, because it challenges man on practically all fronts of his physical and spiritual existence. The idea of traveling to other celestial bodies reflects to the highest degree the independence and agility of the human mind. It lends ultimate dignity to man’s technical and scientific endeavors. Above all, it touches on the philosophy of his very existence. As a result, the concept of space travel disregards national borders, refuses to recognize differences of historical or ethnological origin, and penetrates the fiber of one sociological or political creed as fast as that of the next.”
Today, we need this culturally optimistic image of mankind, and the passionate love for humanity associated with it as the only creative species known to date! The fact that we can venture into space means that we can overcome the narrow, earth-bound mindset. “There, in the stars, lies mankind’s entry into the long-awaited Age of Reason, when our species sheds at last the cultural residue of the beast,” as Lyndon LaRouche put it.
It is an incredible privilege to be young now, to reach for the stars and help shape an epoch of humanity that, for the first time in history, can unleash the unlimited potential of our species!
Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Founder and President of the Schiller Institute
On August 5-6, I had the opportunity to participate in the “Third International Conference on the Lake Chad Basin Region: SDG Implementation-UN System and Non-State Actors Exploring New ways of Cooperation.” The two-day conference at the United Nations Headquarters was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations, under the guidance of Dr. Ibrahim Umar. The assemblage was first addressed by ambassadors from three of the nations of the Lake Chad Basin; Permanent Representatives from the UN Missions of Chad, Niger and Nigeria.
The convening of this UN session is in response to the worsening living conditions for approximately 30 million Africans living in the Lake Chad Basin, whose livelihood is centered around the shrinking Lake Chad. Today the estimated area of Lake Chad varies from 1200-1300 square kilometers to upwards of 2,000; a 90% contraction from its 1963 level of 25,000 square kilometers. During the afternoon panel of the first day, the conditions of Lake Chad were addressed by Charles Ichoku, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Howard University, and this author, who is Vice Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.
Transforming is Superior to Managing
Dominating the conference were speakers representing NGOs and international organizations, who accurately depicted the extent of the horrific humanitarian, refugee, and food crises prevailing in the region in detail. Regrettably, there were those who accepted the diminutive size of Lake Chad as unalterable. Some of the participants offered short term solutions and others believed that the recharging of the lake is not an easy or viable option. However, they miss the point; that to comprehensively address the issue of the Lake Chad Basin will require nothing less than the full recharging of Lake Chad. It is only in this way that the humanitarian issues, poverty and underdevelopment can be tackled in the long run. In my presentation I challenged some of the pessimistic thinking in the conference by stating unequivocally: “None of the solutions that have been discussed will work, unless the lake is recharged.” It should be noted that United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has pledged to collaborate with President Buhari of Nigeria, to raise the $50 billion necessary for the recharging of the lake.
My slide presentation demonstrated how the lake can be recharged to its previous level through Transaqua, an inter-basin water transfer project. Transaqua, designed in 1980 by Dr. Vichi of the Italian engineering firm, Bonifica, proposed to build a 2,400-kilometer canal created from 5-8% of the water in the Congo River Basin. The navigable gravity-driven canal would connect to the Chari River, in the Central Africa Republic, which releases its flow into Lake Chad. This bold innovative project is a “win-win” for the twelve nations of the Lake Chad and Congo River Basins, and for all of Africa. Responding to the necessity of recharging the shrinking Lake Chad, the project provides a unique opportunity to create a super economic “development zone” amongst the nations of the two basins. Trade, and commerce would increase by orders of magnitudes, hydroelectric power would be produced, millions of additional hectares would be irrigated, new roads created, new fisheries and manufacturing centers would be built. This author also presented to the audience the conclusions from the three-day International Conference to Save Lake Chad, held in Abuja Nigeria-February 26-28, 2018, at which the Heads of State from the nations of the Lake Chad Basin, endorsed Transaqua as the preferred method to expand the lake.
Both before and after my presentation numerous presenters spoke out against “big projects” and “diverting water” as if the Africans suffering in the region want the lake to remain at 10% of its previous level. International intervention and technology to alleviate the conditions in the basin were also eschewed in favor of local projects and listening to the so called “voice of the people.” Manage! Manage the existing deplorable conditions; don’t even dare think of changing-improving was echoed repeatedly.
On the second day, this author was compelled to speak out against the condescending attitude that assumes Africans do not want to enjoy the same standard of living as all the speakers from the US and Europe. I asked, if they thought that those people struggling for daily survival within the Lake Chad Basin wouldn’t desire clean running water, and having access to 1,500 watts of electricity 24 hours a day all year?
Underlying Cultural Beliefs About Mankind
Approximately five to six thousand years ago Lake Chad was a mega lake comprising 1,000,000 square kilometers. There are reports that several hundred years ago, Lake Chad almost disappeared. The lake sits on top of three aquifers and are adjacent to the gigantic Nubian Sandstone Aquifer. Clearly the growth and shrinkage of the lake over millennia predates so called anthropomorphic caused climate change. Lake Chad is fed by river systems from Nigeria and Cameroon, the most significant contributor being the Chari River from the Central African Republic. With the southern movement of the Tropical Conversion Zone there is less rainfall thus reducing the flow of water into the lake. The closest source of water to refill and maintain Lake Chad is the super moist Congo River Basin, hundreds of kilometers south. A feasibility study should confirm the Transaqua hypothesis for the potential of a continuous flow of water into Lake Chad, resulting in transforming the entire region.
The failure to test and analyze the Transaqua proposal for almost four decades, even though many people were concerned about the worsening conditions resulting from the shrinking lake, leads us to examine a deeper cultural problem.
Over the last half century, Western societies have become victims of cultural pessimism. Our cultural paradigm has shifted away from one of optimism and confidence in human’s ability to discover new scientific principles that lead to technological revolutions for the betterment of humanity. In the years following the historic 1969 landing of humans on the Moon, inspired by the leadership of President John Kennedy, our culture has been dramatically altered for the worse. The previously discredited Malthusian dogma reasserted itself, with false assertions that if population growth was not stopped the planet would run out of resources. This was accompanied with hysterical calls for population reduction. Over time, as our culture became more decadent, the very progress of our society was assailed with attacks on science, technology, and industrialization. In this new perverted ideology humankind, (made in the image of the Creator) became the devil-the source of evil itself in the world.
Contrary to declarations that humans are destroying the environment, there is no such adversarial relationship. The physical universe is organized on the principle of continuous development and is predisposed to respond positively to the intervention of human creativity. Humankind is not just a caretaker or a steward. Humanity was created to interact with the universe for unending growth. Reflect on the biblical injunction in Genesis 1:28: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Yes, we can and must transform the Lake Chad Basin. We can end suffering, hunger, and poverty in that region, and across the African continent. That is what humankind was created to accomplish. Let us not reject our fundamental human essence: to willfully transform our planet (the universe) for the perpetuation of our uniquely creative species.
The article below, “More than Just Investment: Why America Was Once So Popular in Africa” by Nick Danby, published in World News, is a useful contribution to analyzing President Trump’s flawed African policy. He accurately reports that the Trump’s administration’s “Prosper Africa” will not contribute to the development of Africa. He also highlights, as I have done, the leadership provided by President John Kennedy to support the rights of Africans to achieve economic sovereignty.
“On June 19 of this year, the Trump administration unveiled a new plan, known as “Prosper Africa,” to engage and invigorate the oft-forgotten continent. At the 2019 U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Mozambique, American leaders and allies heralded the $60 billion investment plan as a “once-in-a-generational opportunity” for Africa. But the U.S. government is not strengthening greater commercial and trade connections between U.S. companies and Africa’s ICT sector out of the kindness of its own heart. Both publicly and privately the deal has been construed as a way to “provide financially sound alternatives to state-led initiatives from countries like China” and to prevent countries from falling into “opaque and unsustainable debt traps being laid by Beijing throughout the developing world.” At face value, the White House is working to promote a prosperous Africa by focusing on multilateral investment and trade. Yet the altruism of such an approach is undermined when administration officials, like national security advisor John Bolton, suggest that the new strategy predominantly serves as a counterweight to Chinese and Russian “predatory practices.”
“Countering Chinese and Russian influence in Africa remains a top priority for the U.S., but the most prudent way to win over African leaders and citizens is by demonstrating that American officials truly care about Africa’s well-being. China has built useful connections and alliances on the continent because it acts as though its efforts directly benefit Africa more than themselves. China’s powerful hold on the continent through its dominant commercial presence and debt diplomacy schemes were further developed when Xi Jinping invited dozens of African foreign dignitaries to Beijing and then pledged $60 billion in financial aid for the continent. Xi has also visited Africa on numerous occasions, hob-knobbing with leaders, boosting China’s public relations, and enlisting nations to join the “Belt and Road Initiative.” Even Russian President Vladimir Putin will host 50 African leaders in Sochi for the first Russian-African Summit in October.
“If the Trump administration wishes to engage African leaders and dissuade them from partnerships with the Chinese and the Russians by teaming up with U.S. companies, it must develop a strategy that goes far beyond an anachronistic amalgam of trade and investment. The U.S. must first build off of the goodwill and trust it fostered with PEPFAR by not only continuing to fund PEPFAR (which has been nominated for the chopping block since the Obama days) but also other programs that can improve Africa’s standard of living, whether that be through strategic health diplomacy or the vast array of other issues their civilians must endure on a daily basis.
“President Kennedy always had a special interest in Africa that predated his own time in the White House. In the 1960 campaign, he lambasted Eisenhower for not exerting enough effort or attention on the continent as it underwent decolonization. During one campaign speech, Kennedy told his audience, “We have neglected and ignored the needs and aspirations of the African people. The word is out – and spreading like wildfire…that it is no longer necessary to remain poor or forever in bondage.” The U.S. should heed Kennedy’s words and work toward improving Africa with the Africans. By caring about the continent’s welfare, Chinese and Russian influence will soon dwindle.”
The analysis in the article below published by WPR is useful. However, I can be more blunt: President Trump’s policy for Africa has nothing to do with helping Africa, but it only to counter China’s influence! President Obama did very little for Africa, but make speeches about so called good governance and promoted his fraudulent “power-less Africa” program. Sadly, President Trump is following in Obama’s footsteps, premising his strategy for Africa on the old British geo-political doctrine of winners and losers in a zero-sum game. Read my article: President Trump’s Fundamentally Flawed Africa Policy Stopping China is not a policy to help Africa, a continent still suffering today from enormous infrastructure deficits, a legacy of 500 years of slavery, colonialism, and neo-colonialism. Despite all the propaganda against China, China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative has done more to assist African nations in developing their economies in recent decades, that all the combined initiatives of Europe and the United States. President Trump’s “Prosper Africa” will not advance Africa’s interests. The best way to actually promote development in Africa, build robust manufacturing sectors, and industrialize the underdeveloped continent, would be for President Trump to join China in building infrastructure across the continent in the spirit of the Belt and Road Imitative.
During the Cold War, American policymakers frequently pushed nonaligned countries to take sides. The Central Intelligence Agency fomented coups against governments that flirted with communism and the Soviet Union, or that just drifted too far to the left for comfort. The State Department threatened to cut aid flows to countries that voted too often against U.S. priorities at the United Nations. Could sub-Saharan Africa find itself caught in the middle again if a cold war with China breaks out?
In a speech at the Heritage Foundation last December, President Donald Trump’s hawkish national security adviser, John Bolton, launched a new initiative called “Prosper Africa” that he said was aimed at promoting trade and commercial ties “to the benefit of both the United States and Africa.” But there are a number of reasons for African governments to be concerned about what the administration really has in mind.
First of all, Bolton cast the goal of increased economic engagement as something necessary for “safeguarding the economic independence of African states and protecting U.S. national security interests,” not as something helpful for African economic development. He pointed to the growing influence of “great power competitors,” China and Russia, which he suggested were investing in Africa mainly “to gain a competitive advantage over the United States.” While there are certainly valid concerns about some of China’s foreign aid and lending practices in Africa and other developing countries, African governments have generally welcomed Chinese aid and investment. It’s not at all clear they would agree that this is a competition where they must choose one side or the other.
A second reason to be skeptical of how seriously this administration takes the goal of helping Africa develop is the low level of U.S. engagement to date. President Donald Trump has not visited the continent; his wife and daughter have in trips heavy on photo ops but light on policy substance. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross—hardly the most dynamic member of the Cabinet—was supposed to represent the administration last month at the U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, where details of the Prosper Africa initiative were announced. But he cancelled at the last minute because of a “scheduling conflict,” according to his office, sending Deputy Secretary of Commerce Karen Dunn Kelley instead.
By contrast, Chinese President Xi Jinping has visited Africa multiple times and has welcomed a stream of African officials to Beijing. Russian President Vladimir Putin will host 50 African leaders at a summit in Sochi later this year. Gyude Moore, a former minister of public works in Liberia (he’s now my colleague at the Center for Global Development), called the lack of Cabinet-level U.S. participation at the Maputo meeting insulting.
There are a number of reasons for African governments to be concerned about what the Trump administration really has in mind.
Finally, another reason to question the White House’s intentions with respect to trade with Africa is Trump’s view that trade policy is a zero-sum game: If another country wins, the United States must lose, and vice versa. Indeed, before getting to the mutual benefit part of his speech last December, Bolton asserted that the administration’s new Africa strategy would remain true to Trump’s “central campaign promise to put the interests of the American people first, both at home and abroad.”
So it should be no surprise that when he discussed trade, Bolton emphasized American jobs and exports to Africa. He said that the administration wants to pursue “modern, comprehensive trade agreements… that ensure fair and reciprocal exchange.” In recent congressional testimony, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer also reiterated the administration’s goal of negotiating a bilateral trade agreement with an African country that could become a model for others. Negotiators for a little country, negotiating with a big country like the United States, might wonder just what reciprocity means in that context.
If more than two decades of history is any guide, negotiating a trade deal with the United States will mean more or less accepting whatever text American negotiators put in front of their counterparts, including onerous demands for strict intellectual property protections that could increase prices for drugs and agricultural inputs. Negotiating with one country at a time is also problematic because most African countries are party to one or more regional communities, which they are stitching together in a single, continent-wide free trade agreement that just formally entered into force. The continent—home to a large number of small economies, many of them landlocked—desperately needs more regional integration to increase its competitiveness by lowering transportation and other costs of trade and achieving economies of scale.
Beyond these problematic trade plans, what else is in the administration’s Prosper Africa initiative? Its second stated aim is to engage the private sector and double U.S. trade with and investment in Africa. According to Kelley’s remarks in Maputo, two of the three strands of the program are aimed at helping American companies find and close deals across Africa by streamlining and better coordinating U.S. government activities that provide information, financing and risk insurance to the private sector. She also suggested that these efforts on behalf of American businesses could include “U.S. government advocacy” to “expedite” transactions, which sounds like it might involve a little arm-twisting if African officials question the terms of a deal.
Helping African countries improve the investment climate, which is Prosper Africa’s third strand, and connecting American investors to opportunities on the continent, are worthy—and indeed longstanding—goals. Overall, however, the initiative appears to be a mix of existing programs in shiny new packaging, and with little new money. The $50 million proposed budget for Prosper Africa is a drop in the bucket compared to the administration’s proposed 9 percent cut in overall aid to Africa. And efforts to negotiate bilateral trade agreements country by country would undermine the regional integration that is needed for the continent’s development.
Trade and aid to support development in Africa can and should be to the mutual interest of all involved. But putting Prosper Africa in the context of the geopolitical rivalry with China, alongside Trump’s belligerent America First rhetoric, undermines that positive message.
Kimberly Ann Elliott is a visiting scholar at the George Washington University Institute for International Economic Policy, and a visiting fellow with the Center for Global Development. Her WPR column appears every Tuesday