China Fully Engaged in Africa for 2023-The Future is Trade Not Debt

By Lawrence Freeman

Ethiopian Prime Minister, Dr Abiy Ahmed with Chinese Foreign Minister, Qin Gang, in Addis Ababa (Courtesy of VOA)

For the thirty-third consecutive year, the first foreign trip by China’s Foreign Minister was to Africa. China’s new Foreign Minister, Qin Gang, the former Ambassador to the United States, traveled to Ethiopia, Gabon, Angola, Benin, and Egypt, from January 9 to 16, 2023. In addition to visiting these five African nations he was also invited to meet with African leaders at the African Union and the League of Arab States Headquarters. The stated purpose of the trip was: To deepen the China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership and boost friendly cooperation between China and Africa.

Friendship Remains Strong

Starting in the year 2000, China organized the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which meets every three years, alternating between China and Africa. These conferences provide a unique opportunity for African leaders and Chinese President, Xi Jinping, to discuss future economic, cultural, and political collaboration. Contrary to continued efforts by the U.S. to malign Africa-China cooperation, China and Africa have remained steadfast in their shared common interest; the development of their people.


Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, and Qin Gang at ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Africa CDC. (Courtesy of African Union-au.int)

One of the highlights of Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s visit to Ethiopia, was to inaugurate the new Headquarters of the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). The new Africa CDC, located outside of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, was built by China and given as a gift to Africa.

This is a critically important contribution to Africa, a continent of one and a half billion people, which was given a very low priority for vaccinating against COVID 19, and continuously suffers from a weak healthcare system.

Foreign Minister Qin met with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen. He was the first foreign government official to visit Ethiopia following the signing of the peace agreement of November 2, 2022, that ended a two year long war in northern Ethiopia. He expressed China’s support for “Africans in solving African problems in African ways.” This attitude differs dramatically from the U.S. and Europe, who undermined the government of Ethiopia during the war. Foreign Minister Qin pledged to assist Ethiopia in its reconstruction efforts, which are formidable following the terrible damage that the country suffered in fighting to maintain its sovereignty. Additionally, he announced that China will forgive thirty million dollars in Ethiopian debt.

In December 2022, the U.S. convened its first U.S.-Africa Summit in eight years. The unspoken “secret topic” and motivation for the three-day conference was, how to counter China’s growing influence on the African continent.  

There are yet to be any “deliverables” from the U.S.-Africa Summit. While the Biden administration seems to be more focused on exporting the “infrastructure of democracy,” China is building and financing more hard infrastructure projects in Africa than the rest of Western nations combined. These projects impact the daily material needs of the African people, which is essential to eliminate poverty on the continent.

China-Africa Trade Not Debt

China’s trade with Africa during 2022 expanded to its largest single year total of $282 billion. China exported $164.5 billion to Africa and imported $117.5 billion over that twelve-month time, which represented an increase of 11% over 2021. From January to November of 2022, U.S. exports to Africa, were $28.5 billion and imports of $38.9 billion for a total trade of $67.3 billion, almost no increase over 2021. Thus, U.S. trade with Africa was approximately one-fourth that of China for 2022. If the U.S. intends to counter or challenge China in Africa, it will have to do a lot more than “exporting democracy.”

As you can see from the chart below the myth spun by Western officials and the media that China is primarily responsbile for Africa’s debt, is simply not ture. This intentionally false allegation has been refuted again and again, but Western governments continue to propagandize Africa nations that China is using a ‘debt-trap’ diplomacy to seize their resources. Chinese ‘Debt Trap” is a Myth-Biden Would be Wise Not to Continue Trump’s Attacks on China in Africa,

The total outstanding debt for sub-Saharan African nations to foreign entities totals: 454.4 billion USD. China is not even close to being the largest debt holder. China owns 79 billion USD of sub-Saharan Africa’s debt, less than one firth-17%. The debt held by bondholders, the World Bank, and the IMF, equals 286.9 billion USD,-63% of the total foreign debt of sub-Saharan Africa,

Courtesy of Reuters Graphics

Investing in Manufacturing

Contrary to Western propaganda, which accuses China of stealing Africa’s resources, China is actually expanding Africa’s manufacturing sector. This is a vital contribution since African nations suffer from an anemic production capability to add value their natural resources. A good example is the investment by Dinson Iron and Steel Company (DISCO), a Chinese steel manufacturer, who intends to invest in building a lithium battery manufacturing plant in Zimbabwe. chinese firm to manufacture lithium batteries in zim. The Zimbabwean government has wisely banned the export of raw lithium. Having its own manufacturing plant, will create jobs and improve the standard of living of Zimbabweans, since mining and export of valuable minerals does not lead to economic growth for the population.

This kind of investment in local manufacturing along with China’s Belt and Road strategy of building infrastructure throughout Africa, is exactly what is needed to assist African nations in creating strong sovereign economies.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

Exciting News for Africa! Djibouti Will Build Africa’s First Spaceport

Courtesy of qz.com/africa

The spaceport, expected to include seven satellite launch pads and three rocket testing pads, will be the first orbital spaceport on the continent.

Africa is entering a very exciting period in which it is asserting its scientific and engineering capabilities. Humankind’s exploration of space is the highest form of human discovery of the universe, and introduces into society new advanced technologies. With the completion of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam in 2025, a scientific-engineering marvel, and the creation of Djibouti’s spaceport in five years, Africa is demonstrating its leadership for the 21st century, and creating the scientific foundation  for economic growth. This is true sceintific-econimic progress for the nations of Africa, whcih should make all poeple, of all nations happy. 

 Janary 23, 2023, Quartz Africa Weekly

Excerpts follow:

Africa could soon get a new spaceport after Djibouti signed a partnership deal with Hong Kong Aerospace Technology to build a facility to launch satellites and rockets in the northern Obock region.

According to the preliminary deal, the Djibouti government will “provide the necessary land (minimum 10 sq km and with a term of not less than 35 years) and all the necessary assistance to build and operate the Djiboutian Spaceport.”

The $1 billion spaceport project will also involve the construction of a port facility, a power grid and a highway to ensure the reliable transportation of aerospace materials.

The deal’s signing was presided over by the president of Djibouti, Ismail Omar Guelleh, and the project is set to be completed in the next five years.

The spaceport is a massive milestone for Africa, making it the first orbital spaceport on African soil.

The Djibouti spaceport project

According to Victor Mwongera, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Kenyatta University, the projection will avail a launch base that will serve all Africans.

“It will push eastern Africa off the sleeping state as far as active development of space-based innovations are concerned,” he explained.

Trial and small-scale launches have been executed in Africa in the past, including the Italian-operated Broglio Space Centre (San Marco) in Malindi, Kenya and Algeria’s Reggane.

Mwongera sees the expansion of Africa’s space industry—with a number of African countries already building and operating their own microsatellites—as a growing trend.

“It has taken time but we needed time as a continent to be ready for this age. Now that we are ready, you are seeing the number is increasing and it is bound to increase further,” he said.

Africa’s space industry is a billion dollar sector

According to the 2022 annual sector report of research firm Space in Africa, the value of the African space and satellite industry has risen to more than $19.6 billion.

The charge is fuelled by 14 countries that have launched 52 satellites into space.

South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, and Nigeria have the highest number of satellites in space as of 2022, each having launched more than five satellites.

Mwongera explained that east African countries are well positioned to harbor more spaceports, due to their proximity to the equator.

“At the equator… there is minimal energy required,” he said.

The original version of this article was published by bird-Africa no filter.

Read entire article: Africa Will Get A New $1 Billion Spaceport in Djibouti

Read my ealier posts below:

GERD: Utilizing the Blue Nile to Create Energy for Development in Ethiopia & The Horn of Africa

Science and Space Exploration Essential For Africa’s Economic Growth

Science and Technology Will Transform Africa: Ethiopia to Launch New Satellite in 2019

China & the US Can End Poverty by Exploring Space: Africa Gains

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

World Food Program Refutes Western Lies of Famine in Tigray

January 20, 2023

Hermela interviews Steven Were Omamo, who was director of the World Food Program (WFP) in Ethiopia during the two year war in northern Ethiopia. In his new book, At the Center of the World in Ethiopia, he refutes the accusations of famine in Tigray and deliebate starvation by the government of Ethiopia. These blantantly lies included the compleltely unfounded claims of genocide in Tigray, repeated incessantly by Western media and governments, which started mere days after the war began in Novmeber 2020 and continue to the present. Mr. Omamo, who was there, on the ground, says there was never suffcient evidence to make this false allegations of famine and deliberate starvation. As I, and others knew at the time, it was all geopolitical propaganda aimed at regime change of the government of Ethiopia and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. It is refreshing that now the truth is coming out!

Read my earlier post on false claims of genocide in Tigray: Horn of Africa Endangered by Untrue Media Attacks on Ethiopia

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

GERD: Utilizing the Blue Nile to Create Energy for Development in Ethiopia & The Horn of Africa

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam-GERD, built on Ethiopia’s Blue Nile River will be completed in 2025 with an installed capacity to generate 5,150 megawatts of electricity. This will not only provide increased access of electricity to the Ethiopian population, but supply much needed energy to the nations of the Horn of Africa as well.

On December 19, 2022, I was given a VIP tour of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, known as the GERD. It was an exciting and joyful experience for me to examine this massive infrastructure project constructed by an emerging sub-Saharan African nation. It is proof that humankind is capable, nay obliged, to intervene upon the physical universe for the betterment of the human race i.e., progress for our civilization. The GERD, when completed, will generate from its thirteen turbines a total of 5,150 megawatts (MW) of electricity for Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. The GERD is a dam for development. Already, with just 750 MW being produced from two of the GERD’s functioning turbines, Ethiopia is already exporting electricity to Djibouti, Kenya, and Sudan. Additionally, Ethiopia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with South Sudan to sell electricity.

Upon completion, the GERD will be the largest hydro-electric dam on the African continent and the seventh largest in the world. For this accomplishment, the Ethiopian people and their leadership should be praised for initiating such a grand endeavor over a decade ago, that is today contributing to the transformation of the African continent.  

The GERD left, author being briefed the Deputy Project Manager

A Source of Pride

The GERD is located at the Guba district in the Benishangul-Gumuz regional state of Ethiopia, 20 kilometers (km) (13 miles) upstream from the Sudan border, a driving distance of 729 km (453 miles) from Addis Ababa. Construction began in 2011 to capture the hydro-energy potential of the Blue Nile, a winding river of 1,450 km (910 miles) flowing down from Lake Tana, nestled in Ethiopia’s dense range of mountains. The Blue Nile, which joins the White Nile in Sudan under the bridge connecting Khartoum and Omdurman, provides over 80% of the volume of Nile waters that flow north through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. Ethiopians, refer to the Blue Nile, which contains 70% of the country’s river systems, as Abay River. “’Abay’ is derived from the Ge’ez word for ‘great’ to imply that it is ‘the river of rivers’.”* 

The Ethiopian people self-financed the $5 billion cost of the GERD. No international loans were issued by Western financial institutions. Nor did China provide any financial assistance, contrary to those maligning China’s relationship with Ethiopia and with Africa. As a result, the GERD is sovereignly owned by the Ethiopian people. It is a well-deserved source of pride and national identity, much like the victory of Menelik II against the invading Italian army at Adwa, on March 1, 1896. Recognizing this accomplishment, I have suggested that upon completion of the GERD, Ethiopia should establish a new holiday that will be called, “GERD Day.”

The author standing in front of a painting of the completed GERD pointing to the Amharic words that mean “Our Pride.”

Humans Create Wealth

Standing at the top of the dam’s wall, the GERD, erected between two mountains, with its vast reservoir, is resplendent in its beauty. However, it is more than simple splendor. The GERD is a potent demonstration of the power of human creativity, and humankind’s harmony with the physical universe. All infrastructure is the product of human intervention. We human beings alter the physical universe by creating improvements. This noetic-creative process of the mind is actually transforming our planet, and implicitly the universe, for the advancement of humankind . It is the lack of infrastructure that is killing  Africa and harming my United States as well.

The modern form of Lake Tana is estimated to be 5 million years old. Therefore, it is reasonable to estimate, that the Blue Nile, which emanates from Lake Tana’s waterfalls, is millions of years old as well. Thus, the Blue Nile has flowed into the White Nile, unexploited for millennium, before creative Ethiopians willfully decided to make this “lazy river” do some work i.e., produce energy for the progress of civilization.

The GERD situated between two mountains over the Blue Nile River

Given the staggering paucity of energy in sub-Saharan Africa, this injection of  5,150 MW is essential to preserve human life, which depends on energy for all its productive activity. The GERD will significantly improve Ethiopians access to electricity, which is currently estimated at 50%. Energy from the GERD will contribute to powering the industrialization of Ethiopia and will also benefit the greater Horn of Africa.

It is all but impossible for any visitor to the GERD not to marvel at this engineering achievement, but for me, it has additional significance. As a physical economist, I understand the vital role that infrastructure performs in a successful economy. Unlike simple financial transactions, services, and even tourism, all of which macro economists include in computing the GDP of an economy, hard infrastructure is unique. It  inserts value by enhancing the productive process, which results in the  creation of additional wealth for society. Infrastructure, a physical input, increases productivity, enabling  the economy to expand (produce more tangible wealth) at a faster rate during the ensuing production cycle. All economies function on and within a given integrated infrastructure platform. A more technologically advanced platform creates more wealth and profitability for the entire economy/society. An economy without energy, a density of paved roads, and railroads per area, is doomed to create misery and death for its population.

Thus, the GERD, a human intrusion into nature, not only produces desperately needed energy, but raises Ethiopia’s infrastructure platform to a more advanced level that will permeate the entire productive process of the economy.

The author examining the control panel above, and in front one of the operating turbines below.

A Scientific-Engineering Wonder

The height of the dam is 145 meters and is 645 meters above sea level. Its length is 1,780 meters. The reservoir surface area is 1,874 km squared, and will hold 74 billion cubic meters of water. When the water level in the reservoir reaches a height of 640 meters above sea level, it will start flowing into the power generation structure of the dam. There will be 13 independent waterways supplying water to the turbines below through installed pipes, 8.5 meters wide. This directed water flow will rotate the turbines, producing a maximum of 400 MW of electricity per turbine. The water from the reservoir will descend by gravity 123 meters from the head (where the water enters) to the turbines below, at a flow rate of 330 cubic meters per second. These two parameters determine the potential electrical power that can be generated through rotating the turbines 125 times per minute across a magnetic field. U.S. based General Electric (GE) is supplying 5 of the 13 turbines. Presently there are two GE made turbines producing 375 MW each, which has added 500 MW of electricity to Ethiopia’s national grid. This has enabled Ethiopia to export 275 MW of electricity to its neighbors; 75 MW to Djibouti, 100 MW to Sudan, and 100 MW to Kenya. Both these turbines went into operation in 2022. The additional 11 turbines will produce 400 MW each, yielding a total output of 5,150 MW, with average annual energy production about 16,692 gigawatt hours, generated from the GERD.

Building new pipes above to carry water to new turbines being built below

The GERD Is For Africa

The GERD will insert over 5,000 MW of renewable electricity into an  African sub-continent starved for power. With its already existing sources of energy, the GERD will make Ethiopia second to South Africa in generation of electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. While this amount of additional electricity is desperately needed, my calculations are that to transform African nations into modern industrialized economies, a minimum of 1,000 gigawatts of power has to be added to national grids. It would be wise for more African nations to emulate Ethiopia’s bold visionary initiative. This is the pathway for poverty and hunger to be finally eliminated on the continent.

There is no danger to downstream nations from the GERD. Ethiopia has extended the time it will take to fill the GERD’s reservoir beyond the original plan of 3 to 4 years, in order to mitigate any substantial reduction in the flow of the Nile River. Annual fillings will continue until achieving completion. Ethiopia is making every effort to maintain the flow of the Blue Nile while this huge reservoir is being filled yearly during the June and July months of the rainy season. After 3 fillings (2020-2022), the reservoir now holds 22 billion cubic meters of water. Sudanese officials report no noticeable decrease in the water levels of the Nile traveling through their nation.

The author being interviewed by Ethiopian News Agency

The GERD will regulate the flow of the Nile, preventing both deadly flooding in Sudan, and the dwindling of the Nile during drier seasons. The GERD will have three spillways with a discharge capacity of 19,000 cubic meters per second to prevent flooding of the Nile. At the higher altitude of the GERD’s reservoir, evaporation, which can account for 10% of the Nile’s total volume of 84 billion cubic meters, will be reduced. Due to the size and depth of the GERD’s reservoir, there will also be a reduction in the transfer of sediments from the Blue Nile.

The drainage area of the Nile Basin includes 11 African nations whose total population is over 400 million and growing, with Egypt and Ethiopia accounting for over half of the people. A long term development plan that provides for the well-being of the people residing in the nations of the Nile Basin, should be established. However, we must be cognizant that the waters of the Nile River are not sufficient to provide for the expanding population of the region. Other alternatives must be sought.

For future generations of the Nile Basin nations to prosper, we should create the equivalent of a second Nile River through nuclear powered desalination. Nuclear power plants can be built along the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts. This would deliver millions of tons of fresh water and provide thousands of megawatts of electricity to the Nile Basin nations. Application of nuclear energy, would also crucially upgrade the infrastructure platform of a large section of the African continent by introducing advanced nuclear technologies. Many pessimists will complain that this is impractical and will never happen. In response to these naysayers, I say: let us aspire to the same audacious optimism of Ethiopia when they conceived of creating the GERD where only mountains and the Blue Nile existed.    

*Wikipedia

Schematic diagram of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

The U.S. Should Support Ethiopia & the GERD for Post War Reconstruction

Speaking with students after my lecture at Addis Ababa University on December 22, 2022

Viewing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, December 19, 2022

January 4, 2023

Below are several interviews I conducted on my visit to Ethiopia, from December 11 to December 23, 2022, during which I visited Alamata, Amhara, the GERD , and lectured at Addis Ababa University.

Watch: Talk to OBN for in-depth interview

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

Freeman Interview: ‘Fighting the Fight’ for Ethiopia, Africa, Justice, and Economic Development

Lawrence Freeman with Dr. Brook Hailu of nahoo tv, December 22, 2022, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

This hour long interview above provides an excellent overview of my thoughts concerning Ethiopia, Africa, and US-Africa relations. Topics discussed include:

  • Economic development
  • Ethiopia’s agricultural potential
  • Ethiopia as an economic model
  • Ethno-nationalism
  • Importance of capital intensity and infrastructure
  • Credit and the public sector
  • Alexander Hamilton
  • China’s approach to poverty
  • Railroads and electricity
  • My visit to Northern Ethiopia and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
  • Africa, the center of politics and commerce in this century
  • U.S.-Africa Summit

Lawrence Freeman looking over the huge beautiful reservoir and ongoing construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam -Dec 19, 2022

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

For the Sake of Humanity-Let Us Bring Into Existence a New Paradigm of Development in 2023

Lawrence Freeman with a grain seller at the Alamata market in Amhara, Ethiopia on December 17, 2022

December 31, 2023 My New Year Message

It is well past the time that civilization should establish a higher scientific-cultural existence based on reason and love of humankind. It is unacceptable for large sections of humanity to live in abject poverty, threatened by starvation. The physical universe and the planet upon which we live is organized on a creative principle that coheres with human willful creativity. If we apply the full potential of our creativity, there is no limit to growth of the human population, both qualitatively and quantitively. The foreign policy of every nation should be precisely the same: the material enrichment of its citizens and the nurturing of the creative process of every child born. Thus, all nations and all peoples have the same shared common interest, motivating all nations to work together for the prosperity and peace of their citizens and future generations.

Ten Principles of a New International Security and Development Architecture

Helga Zepp-LaRouche, president of the Schiller Institute, presented the following summary comments on a new paradigm of security and development, which I share in large part. Reprinted with editing from EIR magazine.

The new paradigm which will be characteristic of the new epoch, and towards which the new global security and development architecture must be directed, therefore, must eliminate the concept of oligarchism for good, and proceed to organize the political order in such a way, that the true character of humanity as the creative species can be realized.

These ideas are meant to be food for thought and a dialogue among all people concerned to find a basis for a world order guaranteeing the durable existence of the human species.

First: The new International Security and Development Architecture must be a partnership of perfectly sovereign nation states, which is based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and the UN Charter.

Second: The absolute priority must be to alleviate poverty in every nation on the planet, which is easily possible, if the existing technologies are being used for the benefit of the common good.

Third: The life expectancy of all people living must be prolonged to the fullest potential by creating modern health systems in every country on the planet. This is also the only way how the present and future potential pandemics can be overcome or be prevented.

Fourth: Since mankind is the only creative species known so far in the universe, and given the fact that human creativity is the only source of wealth through the potentially limitless discovery of new universal principles, one of the main aims of the new International Security and Development Architecture must be providing access to universal education for every child and adult person living. The true nature of man is to become a beautiful soul, as Friedrich Schiller discusses this, and the only person who can fulfill that condition is the genius.

Fifth: The international financial system must be reorganized, so that it can provide productive credits to accomplish these aims. A reference point can be the original Bretton Woods system, as Franklin D. Roosevelt intended it, but was never implemented due to his untimely death…The primary aim of such a new credit system must be to increase dramatically the living standard of especially the nations of the Global South and of the poor in the Global North.

Touring the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, a grand infrastructure project that will generate energy for the Horn of Africa, December19, 2022

Sixth: The new economic order must be focused on creating the conditions for modern industries and agriculture, starting with the infrastructural development of all continents to eventually be connected by tunnels and bridges to become a World Land-Bridge.

Seventh: The new global security architecture must eliminate the concept of geopolitics by ending the division of the world into blocs. The security concerns of every sovereign nation must be taken into account. Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction must be immediately banned. Through international cooperation, the means must be developed to make nuclear weapons technologically obsolete, as it was originally intended by the proposal which became known as the SDI.

Eighth: In former times, one civilization at one corner of the world could go under, and the rest of the world would only find out years later, due to the length of distances and the time needed for travel. Now, for the first time, because of nuclear weapons, pandemics, the internet, and other global effects, mankind is sitting in one boat.

Ninth: In order to overcome the conflicts arising out of quarreling opinions, which is how empires have maintained control over the underlings, the economic, social and political order has to be brought into cohesion with the lawfulness of the physical universe. In European philosophy this was discussed as the being in character with natural law, in Indian philosophy as cosmology, and in other cultures appropriate notions can be found. Modern sciences like space science, biophysics or thermonuclear fusion science will increase the knowledge of mankind about this lawfulness continuously. A similar cohesion can be found in the great works of classical art in different cultures.

Tenth: The basic assumption for the new paradigm is, that man is fundamentally good and capable to infinitely perfect the creativity of his mind and the beauty of his soul, and being the most advanced geological force in the universe, which proves that the lawfulness of the mind and that of the physical universe are in correspondence and cohesion, and that all evil is the result of a lack of development, and therefore can be overcome.

A new world economic order is emerging, involving the vast majority of the countries of the Global South. The European nations and the U.S. must not fight this effort, but by joining hands with the developing countries, cooperate to shape the next epoch of the development of the human species to become a renaissance of the highest and most noble expressions of creativity!

Read my earlier post: The West Votes against Development at United Nations

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

The West Votes against Development at United Nations

This article below locates precisely the problem with the foreign policy of the West and the United States in particular towards the developing sector-the Global South. The U.S. lacks a commitment or even an understanding of the importance of economic development. This has been the failure of U.S. policy toward Africa since the death of President John Kennedy; lack of vison and moral devotion to develop the world’s population. This is what I am fighting to provide. The world needs a new paradigm to eliminate poverty and ensure peace and stability. This new paradigm or New Bretton Woods must have as its foundation, economic development. Below you will find my lecture on the intentions of President Franklin Roosevelt for the creation of his Bretton Woods.

by Clifford Kiracofe, Dec. 26, 2022, reprinted from China Focus

In the face of the present international situation, cooperation is essential to meet unprecedented challenges”.

Western countries, joined by South Korea and Japan, voted this month against economic development and poverty reduction resolutions considered by the United Nations General Assembly. The stance of the Western countries and partners reflects the power of finance capitalism and its longstanding support for neoliberal economic policy to the detriment of developing nations.

The United Nations General Assembly Second Committee (Economic and Financial) recently adopted 38 of 41 resolutions. The West and partners voted against two resolutions of special importance. The first vote was 123 for to 51 against on the resolution “Eradicating Rural Poverty to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

The second vote was 123 for to 50 against by the West and partners (Turkey abstained) the perennial resolution “Towards a New International Economic Order (NIEO).”

Clearly there is a stark division between the West and its partners and all of the “Rest”. Put in another way, the votes reflect the increasingly sharp contradiction between the developed “North” and the developing “Global South”. Two major powers, China and Russia, align with the Global South.

A wide view of the General Assembly’s 53rd plenary meeting, discussing reports of the Second Committee on Dec. 14, 2022. (UN Photo)

Failure of the Bretton Woods System

The international financial architecture erected in 1944 to serve the devastated post-World War II international community did not live up to its promises. Instead, it became machinery to impose finance capitalism around the world and to oppose alternate development models.

The International Monetary Fund was supposed to help states with balance of payment and debt problems. The International Bank for Reconstruction (IRBD), later called the World Bank (WB), was supposed to focus long term on development following a post-war reconstruction. Over the years, both institutions failed in their purpose owing to a variety of factors.

At the Bretton Woods conference, delegations from China, India, and Latin American countries voiced their concerns for development. But the IRBD/WB gave its primary attention to reconstruction rather than to development.

Developing countries also expressed a desire for an international financial system that would be friendly to developing countries. This meant that states exporting commodities be given attention and that alternate development models be supported. Alternate development models included state-led industrialization.

The prospects for a development focus were dashed by the Cold War and the “East versus West” bloc confrontation. This bloc confrontation was framed not only in political terms but also in economic terms.  Thus, the antipathy of the West to various socialist models of development sharpened.

State-led industrial development was rejected. Significantly, the issue of financing development over the long term led to sharp debate over the degree of public and private financing.

Photo taken on Sept. 12, 2012 shows the logo of the World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C., capital of the United States. (Photo/Xinhua)

Decolonization, Development, and UNCTAD

During the 1950s and 1960s, the process of decolonization brought many newly independent states into the international community. Naturally, economic development was at the forefront for them. To address the issue of development, 36 developing countries in 1962 joined together to create the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The first meeting occurred in 1964 in Cairo. The key issues addressed were: terms of trade by primary commodity exporters, development financing, and export-oriented strategies. At the conclusion of the conference, UNCTAD was made a permanent body within the UN system.

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of UNCTAD during the 1960s and 1970s, there were no major results for the developing countries. It is not surprising that the developing countries then banned together as the “Group of 77” (G77) to call for a “new and just world economic order”. As a result, in 1974, a special session of the UN convened to promote negotiations and new initiatives to promote economic development.

The negotiations were inspired by recommendations of UNCTAD and aimed to promote cooperation among developing countries. The international context at the time included global economic and monetary instability owing to the disintegration of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates as well as other factors such as the 1973 oil crisis.

Photo taken on Apr. 9, 2020 shows the Dar es Salaam Port undergoing upgrading of port berths 1 to 7 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. (Photo/Xinhua)

The Brandt Commission

In 1977, the “Independent Commission for International Developmental Issues” was established to research and make re commendations. The former German Chancellor, Willy Brandt, was nominated by Robert McNamara, then head of the World Bank, as chair. The report of the commission was released in 1980 and was called the “Brandt Report”.

The Brandt Report focused on the North-South divide and called for measures to overcome it. Issues such as poverty, health, housing, and education were considered. Additional issues included women in development, hunger and food, disarmament, energy, monetary reform, industrialization, and development finance.

“A new century nears, and with it the prospects of a new civilization”, Brandt said in 1983. “Could we not begin to lay the basis for that new community with reasonable relations among all people and nations, and to build a world in which sharing, justice, freedom and peace might prevail?”

The Washington Consensus

In the face of the progressive Brandt Report, international finance capital mounted a campaign against it. One result was what came to be called the “Washington Consensus,” so-called “free market” policy prescriptions proposed during the 1980s and 1990s. This consensus was associated with the imposition of neoliberal economic policies globally. Such policy prescriptions include: austerity, reduction of government spending, privatization, deregulation, free trade, and monetarism.

People walk on Times Square in New York, the United States, Nov. 23, 2021. (Photo/Xinhua)

The decline in the West of a Keynesian consensus in the 1970s coupled with the end of the Cold War in 1988-89 and the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991 gave triumphalist proponents of “market fundamentalism” major play.

Today, the Washington Consensus forms the basis of the international economic policy of the United States and the West, critics say.

The recent votes in the United Nations General Assembly underscore the North-South divide. The West appears to insist on the Washington Consensus and opposes alternate development models.

“New Bretton Woods”

The international community faces a severe recession beginning in 2023, according to some experts. A combination of factors is leading to such an international economic crisis. The economic slowdown in Europe began in 2018-19 and then was followed by the Trump Trade and Tech wars and by the Covid crisis. To these factors, an energy crisis, a supply chain crisis, and a food crisis has been added compounding the problems facing the international community.

In the face of the present international situation, cooperation is essential to meet unprecedented challenges. Various mechanisms, platforms, and processes have been created in recent years to address development. The Belt and Road process, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Eurasian Economic Union, and BRICS are important initiatives.

Today, a “New Bretton Woods” conference with an emphasis on development as well as on the update and stabilization of the international monetary system must be considered.

http://www.cnfocus.com/the-west-votes-against-development-at-un/

Read my earlier post on Roosevelt’s Bretton Woods: For the Development of Africa: Know and Apply Franklin Roosevelt’s Credit Policy

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

My Thoughts: Poverty & Ethnicity Kill Democracy in Africa

Lawrence Freeman in Addis Abebe-December 2021

An African friend of mine recently asked me to express my views on democracy in Africa to her organization. “Watch Democracy Grow.” Contrary to the incessant babbling by Western officials, NGOs and advocacy groups, you can read below a summary of my thoughts on what constitutes real democracy and how to create the conditions conducive for growing democracy in Africa.

I will focus my presentation on the relationship of elections to the deeper principles of fostering a true democracy. Many Westerners, European and American institutions and governments falsely assert that elections are the sign of a functioning democracy. This narrow understanding or interpretation of democracy is insufficient. It contributes to the poor conditions of life throughout most of Africa today, and actually undermines the creation of sustainable a Democratic Republic on the continent.

A Thinking Citizenry

A republic is not a democracy, and for good reason. A majority,  consisting of uninformed opinion, should not rule unfettered over a nation. That is why in a functioning Democratic Republic, we prefer the wisest people to govern. But how do we choose the most knowledgeable representatives? Yes, we do it physically at the polling booth in periodic and orderly elections. However, the act of voting itself does not guarantee viability of a nation, much less a thoughtful policy. The only guarantee that the voters are electing or even nominating the most intelligent guardians of their society is; an educated citizenry.

A true democracy requires all its citizens to think and discuss the most appropriate policies for their nation to adopt in order to secure a future for their children and grandchildren. In other words, the citizen should accept the responsibility for shaping the future of their nation, as if they were running for office themselves. Individuals seeking public office, who purport to have the qualifications to decide policy for their nation, are distilled from the population at large. Therefore, to ensure the selection of qualified leaders similarly requires an informed and thoughtful citizenry. A continuously advancing society, both materially and spiritually, existing within an educated science oriented culture, is the underlying platform for a viable Democratic Republic.

Like the individual seeking a leadership position in government, the citizen should have a vision for their nation that extends two generations into the future. Every citizen should believe that his or her participation is vital in shaping the policies that will determine the wellbeing of their progeny for generations to come. As eloquently articulated in the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution, elected government exists to “… promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…

The fundamental unalterable principle that is the foundation of economics, national and foreign policy, and democracy, is the knowledge that each human being is sacred. It is necessary to acknowledge what it means when one states, that human beings are in the image of the Creator. Every member of the human race is born with the potential for creative thought that is in harmony with the creative principle embedded in the design of our lawfully ordered universe.

Does a mother searching for food for her child have the leisure time to study the best policies for the future of her nation? UN Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran

Poverty Kills Democracy

Every human being is precious. Degradation or any preventable death, of a member of the human race is a violation of this natural law. Every human being has the right to live a dignified, meaningful, productive existence that affords a better-quality of life for future generations.

Thus, if we truly desire to increase the involvement of civil society in elections and in shaping the future of their nation, we must end poverty and hunger. There is no bigger threat to democracy than allowing substantial portions of a nation’s population to suffer in abject poverty and hunger, with death looming. The gross failure of groups advocating democracy and human rights, is their refusal to comprehend that development is a fundamental human right.

The dearth of electrical power in Africa is appalling and criminal. Producing less than 100,000 megawatts of electricity for a billion or more people in sub-Saharan Africa guarantees that Africans will not have the minimal standard of living necessary for democratic institutions to thrive. Over 600 million Africans have no access to grid electricity and 900 million Africans cook without electricity or gas. Without energy no nation can survive. Yet this shameful state of affairs has existed unaddressed for decades.

Some may object that I have brought extraneous concerns into the discussion of building democratic institutions. I can assure you that I have not. The ability to have access to energy, to feed one’s family, for parents to have a productive job, and for youth to look forward to a hopeful future, are absolutely germane. In fact, these concerns are at the heart of sustaining a democratic government.

If a majority of a nation’s people are hungry, not employed, living in substandard conditions, simply trying to survive, democracy is a mirage.

To reiterate: a true democracy requires a discussion and exchange of ideas among the citizens on what are the best policies for the future of their nation. All citizens and their elected representatives should have a vision for their nation. Society should select those candidates that have the qualifications to implement that vision. Do parents anxiously trying to find food to feed their children have the mental luxury to discuss with their friends and neighbors the most pressing issues facing their nation? Do citizens have the leisure time for such a discussion, and hours of relaxation to read and study the issues of the day? Does adequate housing exist with separate rooms for the children, and electricity to light rooms for long hours of study? Are there enough adequately supplied libraries for parents and children to learn history, philosophy, and science?

Without a prospering economy that offers a sufficient material quality of life, simply lining up at voting stations every four years is insufficient. The questions I have addressed above, are essential to sustaining

democratic institutions.

Africa lacks abundant and accessible electricity. Without electrical power there will be no development, poverty will persist, people will die, and democracy will fail to flourish. (Map courtesy of visualcapitalist.com)

No Democracy With Ethnicity

Ethnic nationalism does not permit democracy. I can assert this with authority, having examined, up close, for thirty years, African nations, whose societies are ethnically divided. Ethnicity is antithetical to a Democratic Republic. Human beings are not determined by their bloodline or their geographic location. The very existence of ethnicity is anti-human. It attempts to falsely differentiate people, rejecting the  universal quality of the human species; its unique potential for creativity. Every child born in any location on this planet has the same innate potential for creative thought. Only we human beings have been gifted with a creative imagination. It is this quality of the mind that uniquely characterizes a single universal human race.

A true Democratic Republic recognizes the contributions of all of its people equally and provides for the general welfare of all its citizens, regardless of ethnicity. Ethnic nationalism in Africa, which has existed for decades, in some cases for centuries, as a legacy of colonialism, tears apart the fabric of society and undermines the sovereignty of a nation. Ethnic nationalism contributes to weakening the central government, making it easy prey for foreign instigated destabilizations and attempts at regime change. The self-governance of a nation by its citizens, to create a better future for its people, cannot co-exist with ethnic nationalism. This type of ethnicity prevents democratic systems from taking root and flourishing.

Conclusion

To help build democratic institutions throughout Africa, we need to go beyond simply encouraging nations to have free and fair elections every four years. A viable Democratic Republic is much more than having its citizens show up at the polls every four-five years. Many advocates have not understood that democracy is not possible without development. Nations deprived of economic growth will not be able to provide its citizens with the basic material essentials of life, a prerequisite for a thoughtful deliberative process of governing. It should also be understood that an economically deprived population is desperate and can be easily manipulated against its own government, and its own interest. Economic destitution and the loss of hope for a better life, are the combustible fuel for violence and dictatorships. Conversely, a divided nation can be united when its leaders articulate a visionary program for economic growth that serves the interests of all its citizens,

It is high time we learn this indispensable lesson: democracy cannot succeed without development.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

A Nuclear Energy Economic Platform Is The Future for Africa

The only nuclear power plant on the African continent, is in Koeberg, South Africa

Nuclear Energy gives you the benefit of industrialization, and beneficiation within the [African] economy, translating to a higher and inclusive growth path and job creation.”

This is the edited transcript of the presentation of Gaopalelwe Santswere to Panel 2, “Physical Economy: Developing the Nӧosphere,” of the Schiller Institute’s Nov. 12, 2022 Conference, “The Physical Economy of the Noӧsphere: Reviving the Heritage of Vladimir Vernadsky.” Mr. Santswere is a nuclear physicist and senior scientist at the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation. He is the President of the African Young Generation in Nuclear (AYGN). (EIR magazine. Nov 25, 2022)

Africa’s Need for Nuclear Power and Nuclear Medicine

Gaopalelwe Santswere (Courtesy of EIR magazine)

Gaopalelwe Santswere: Thank you very much for the opportunity to be part of the speakers today on a very important topic of the growing youth movement for nuclear power and nuclear medicine in Africa. We’ve seen that Africa has adopted what is called the Agenda 2063. One of the ancestors of Agenda 2063 is the need for integration, as one of the key foundations for assuring Africa achieve its goals for inclusive and sustainable growth and development. There we have seen that within the African Agenda 2063, there are about seven aspirations. Just to give you one of the most fundamental ones, which is Aspiration 2 of this Agenda 2063, placing import on the need for Africa to develop world-class infrastructure that criss-crosses Africa and which would improve connectivity through newer and bolder initiatives to link the continent by rail, road, sea, air, and develop regional and continental power pools, as well as ICT [Information and Communication Technology].

So there’s a need for us, if you look at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, to assure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Now, if you take a look at Africa, we’ve got about 620 million Africans who are sitting without power. So out of 1.2 billion, you can see that almost half of Africans don’t have access to electricity. Therefore, Africa has not the opportunity to industrialize to have a future in the continent which would create sustainable jobs, to improve the conditions of the Africans in order to ensure that they can move forward.

There has been quite a robust debate within the continent as to what sort of technology should the continent adopt in order to ensure that we can move forward, and also develop the continent for the sustainability of most of the continent’s population, which are young people. So, when we look at the types of energy sources that we have, we know that there is some potential hydro in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which can potentially give us 40,000 MW of electricity. But we know what is the problem there: The geopolitical instability, regional instability that has caused the delay of this project seeing its life.

So we have seen, recently also, in the topic of hydro, Ethiopia has just launched or commissioned a hydropower plant that is supplying most of the East African countries there. But it also was not completed without political tension with Egypt and Sudan, because they’re saying that as it continues to fill up, it could potentially dry up some of the [downstream areas in Sudan and Egypt] and also affect the income.

Now we have seen the potential contention between the use of coal or hydrocarbons within the world: The world is saying that we need to move away from hydrocarbons and move to more clean energy that will sustain the world moving forward. But that being said, we’re seeing that world has not been achievable because of what we have seen in terms of the energy crisis in Europe and so forth.

So for Africa to develop, one of the energy sources that we foresee potentially could develop Africa is the use of nuclear power. We know that in Africa we’ve got two units at Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant in South Africa, that are continuously supporting South African electricity to almost 2,000 MW. But it’s the only two power reactors that are currently existing in the continent.

We have seen a number of countries expressing interest within the African continent, countries like Kenya, countries like Nigeria, countries like Ghana and so forth, who want to introduce nuclear power, due to the demand or energy poverty that their populations are subjected to. We have seen recently that Egypt has started construction on 4,800 MW of new nuclear power plants in the continent. This is very much welcome, because we have seen that now nuclear is starting to expand within the continent, and this will bring much relief in terms of the energy poverty that the continent has been experiencing for decades. We know that Africa is mostly referred to as “the darkest continent” because of lack of access to electricity.

So, one of the things that we need to do, in Africa in terms of energy, is to have a strategic plan that will ensure its society or citizens’ wellness within the continent; energy security which takes consideration of the environment; and competitiveness, including affordability and funding, in order to ensure that we have got economic growth and transformation, job creation, and equitable share in fulfillment of the African objective.

Now, when we look at a nuclear power plant, it is one of the most affordable [sources of] electricity. We can take cognizance that when you look at the power generation in South Africa in terms of the cost per kilowatt, nuclear is very, very low compared to other energy sources. Most of the developed countries in the world, they exist because the economy is based also on the development of nuclear power, so therefore, Africa must take some of the lessons from the world to ensure that they also can emphasize energy security, they also improve the lives of their citizens, by developing the nuclear power plan.

So, one fact is that we have over the years developed what we call the African Young Generation in Nuclear, which has enabled the young generations within the continent to emphasize why there is a need for us to go nuclear. We have emphasized that the bottom aspect of this is because Africa has to develop its own capacity and ensure that it addresses the socioeconomic issues of the continent through the promotion of nuclear power technology in Africa.

So, we need to do this. We have been doing it by degrees, to define, first, nuclear technology and educating the public about the benefits of nuclear for the public. We have facilitated the student government platforms and knowledge transfer platforms between the current generation of leading nuclear experts and the young generation about the nuclear profession.

What we are doing is, we have offered the platform to share, exchange ideas, and network on issues related to nuclear science and technology. Because what we have seen is that once we have addressed the energy issues, we have addressed a lot of things. And we strongly believe that nuclear has the capacity to address what Africa is lacking currently. And just to mention a few: We’ve seen that when you develop nuclear, you develop an economy in terms of energy security and by socioeconomic development. We align with national goals in terms of national development plans for energy transfer, and diversifying the African continent’s energy mix, which opens up an array of opportunities within the energy sector. It gives you the benefit of industrialization, and beneficiation within the [African] economy, translating to a higher and inclusive growth path and job creation. Of course, this will increase the pace of inclusive growth, which will face the biggest challenges on the continent.

Also bearing in mind, for sustainable economic growth we need to develop a technology that can develop and advance the economic wellbeing of the African continent.

So what we need also to recognize is that nuclear technology is not only power related. We can also apply it in different sectors like agriculture, nuclear medicine, and so forth. We know, just from the International Atomic Energy Agency this year there was a scientific forum focusing on the Rays of Hope initiative to ensure there can be access to cancer care. So we strongly believe that the nuclear technology can address that kind of issue.

We know that the continent has been losing quite a lot of money, where the patients are taken out of the continent to get care in the East or in Europe. So therefore, we strongly believe in the development of cancer treatment within the continent through radiotherapy, through access to nuclear medicine. Of course, we understand that cancer is one of the most killing diseases of the continent. So diagnosis and treatment of cancer will ensure that the development of Africa moves forward.

Just to give you an example: For a treatment for cancer, for example prostate cancer, we’ve seen South Africa developing the [radioactive isotope] Lutetium-177 production facility, which we have seen can treat prostate cancer much better.

So with that, I would like to say thank you for the opportunity. Thank you very much, and we look forward to the discussion.

Read my earlier posts:

South African Activist Campaigns for Nuclear Energy For Africa: Essential for Industrialization

South Africa: A Leader on the Continent for Nuclear Energy

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton