On “Talk Africa” Freeman Discuses Geopolitical Attack on South Africa and Value of AGOA

Watch the discussion on Talk Africa from February 22, 2024

February 27, 2024

Talk Africa above, I discuss that the geopolitical faction in the United States is targeting South Africa because it will not submit to being controlled by the so called international rules-based order. South Africa is a important nation in Africa, a member the BRICS, and a leader in the Global South. It maintains close economic relations with China and has strong political ties with Russia. Sadly the U.S. executive branch, and the Congress, focus on countering China and Russia, but lack a consistent positive US-Africa policy,

Talk Africa below, I discuss that AGOA is insufficient to meet the needs of Africa. It is not transformative, and does not address the massive poverty and infrastructure deficits that hold back the economic development of African nations. There is only one valid measure for true economic progress: the increase in the per capita material standard of living of Africans.

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. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

Non-Aligned Movement Spreading Across The Globe

Bandung 1955, Nehru of India, Nkrumah of Ghana, Nasser of UAR/Egypt, Sukarno of Indonesia and Tito of Yugoslavia

January 25, 2024

Western media and governments, led by the United States are attempting to dismiss the growing dynamic by the “Global South” to chart an alternative path of development free from Western domination. In Washington DC, one can witness the palpable fears of de-dollarization, the rise of China’s leadership in the developing world, the expansion of the BRICS, and the declining dominance of the U.S. hegemon.

Below is a report by EIRNEWS of the recent meetings by the Non-Aligned Movement and the Third South Summit, organized by the G77+China, in Kampala, Uganda.

Representatives of the entire “Global South” have been meeting for over a week in Kampala, Uganda at two back-to-back summits on the central topic of creating a world system which is fair and just, in which their nations participate in making the decisions on how that system functions, so that their peoples, too, can develop.

The 19th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit, held Jan.15-20, was followed Jan. 21-22 by the Third South Summit, organized by the G77+China, the grouping of developing countries founded in 1964 to jointly defend the collective economic interests of its members on major international economic issues at the UN and its relevant institutions. Members in the two groupings strongly overlap but are not synonymous. The NAM, with its historic roots in the 1955 Bandung Conference, today has 120 member nations from Africa, Asia and Central and South America, 20 observer states, and 11 organizations (such as the African Union and the Arab League). While it still keeps its original name, the G77+China now has more than 130 member states.

The theme of the G77 summit was “Leaving No One Behind.” Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni “called on leaders in the world to support each other’s prosperity and ensure that no one is left behind.” He asked the central question of the day: “I wonder why global economic actors fail to understand that the prosperity of the entire world population benefits everyone, instead opting for policies that keep the majority in poverty.”

The Kampala Declaration issued at the end of the NAM Summit has a fighting tone. Targeting, for example, evil imperial practices which violate the sovereignty of nations protected under international law and the UN Charter, such as imposing coercive sanctions on nations.

And right from the outset of the Declaration, the right of Palestine and Palestinians to exist is asserted as their fight, as they reaffirmed “the importance of the Question of Palestine to the Non-Aligned Movement.” Expressing grave concern at “immense loss of life and injury, widespread destruction of their homes and massive forced displacement” being imposed on the Gaza Strip by Israel, and the violence against the people of the West Bank, they take note of the case against Israel for genocide against Gaza filed before the International Court of Justice by South Africa, “a member of the movement,” themselves “strongly condemn the illegal Israeli military aggression on the Gaza Strip, the indiscriminate attacks against Palestinian civilians, civilian objects, the forced displacement of the Palestinian population and further call for an immediate and durable humanitarian ceasefire.” 

Read PD Lawton’s post below:

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. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

Freeman Tells Xinhua: U.S. Officials Lie About China’s Belt & Road Initiative-BRI In Africa

Chen Mingjian, Chinese ambassador to Tanzania, speaks at an international symposium to mark the 10th anniversary of China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Aug 25, 2023.(PHOTO / XINHUA)

(BRF2023) Interview: BRI greatly contributes to Africa’s infrastructure development, says U.S. expert

Source: Xinhua, Editor: huaxia

October 24, 2023   

Staff members work on the fiberglass production line of Jushi Egypt in Suez, Egypt, June 26, 2023. (Xinhua/Wang Dongzhen)

Speaking of the groundless accusations and malicious attacks by some U.S. politicians on the Belt and Road Initiative, Freeman, an American expert on Africa, said claims that China conducts the so-called “debt trap diplomacy” have been repeatedly proven false by Western experts.

by Xinhua writers Deng Xianlai and Xu Yuan

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) — Lawrence Freeman, an American expert on Africa, said in a recent interview with Xinhua that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has made important contributions to improving global political and economic relations since its inception a decade ago, especially on the African continent.

He believes that the severe shortage of electricity is the most intractable infrastructure problem facing Africa, which not only exacerbates poverty, but also “kills” Africans.

“This is not a metaphor,” Freeman said, because without electricity, industrial and agricultural production and basic infrastructure such as hospitals would be impossible. China is actively working with many African countries to address this issue, he added.

Belt and Road projects in Africa cover energy, ports, airports, roads, railways, schools and other aspects, Freeman said, and it is a proven fact that China’s involvement in Africa’s infrastructure construction and economic and social development “is right now irreplaceable.”

As an expert on Africa, Freeman has advised many governments in sub-Saharan Africa on economic development policies and has witnessed several Belt and Road projects on the continent.

“One economic minister in Africa once told me: ‘If you take China out of Africa, there is no substitute that would step in,'” he said.

For years, Freeman has been vehemently advocating for the African Union’s visionary Integrated High Speed Train Network, which is a flagship project of the AU’s “Africa 2063 Agenda” adopted in 2015 and, when finished, would connect African capitals and commercial centers. As such, Freeman is particularly impressed by the several high-standard railways China helped build on the African continent.

This photo taken on Aug. 21, 2023 shows the Karuma dam at Karuma Hydropower Plant in Kiryandongo, Uganda. (Photo by Hajarah Nalwadda/Xinhua)

In 2016, Freeman attended the ceremony marking the inauguration of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti electrified railway — an early harvest project of China-Africa production capacity cooperation — in Addis Ababa, capital city of Ethiopia. And his decades-long dream of taking a train in Africa was realized on a Chinese-built railroad in Nigeria.

“Of the 30 years I’ve been traveling to Africa, I finally got a ride on a railroad in 2021,” Freeman said, adding it was on the railway linking Abuja — the Nigerian capital — and Kaduna, a northern metropolis and a major transportation hub in the country.

“I’ve driven that route on a poorly paved road,” Freeman recalled. With the completion of the Abuja-Kaduna railway, “I could sit back on a train … It was comfortable, it was smooth … I enjoyed every second of it because I’ve been waiting for decades to take a train in Africa.”

Speaking of the groundless accusations and malicious attacks by some U.S. politicians on the Belt and Road Initiative, Freeman said claims that China conducts the so-called “debt trap diplomacy” have been repeatedly proven false by Western experts.

“China is not intervening into domestic affairs (of countries along the Belt and Road),” he said. “China lends money with no conditionality.”

“Yet we have ignorant people in the U.S. government, in the State Department, in the Congress who repeat this” (false rhetoric) about China’s Africa policy, Freeman said.

Some U.S. diplomats and members of Congress have repeatedly discredited China’s Africa policy, throwing out “unfounded or ignorant attacks on China” despite “having access to knowing better” what the reality is, he noted.

“They’re repeating something that is known to be untrue. So that is no longer ignorance. That’s deliberate disinformation,” Freeman said.■

Read Chinese translation

Read my earlier post: “Win-Win Cooperation” Is Our Goal for China-U.S. Relations

Also read: “BRI provides solid platform for global cooperation” chinadailyhk.com

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. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

Instability in Africa Can Be Averted Through Development: China & BRICS Will Contribute

October 4, 2023

My friend, Matt Ehret, has written a new article, How the West destroyed Africa and Eurasia will revive it, that provides useful context to understand the coups that have taken place in the Sahel and West Africa. His analysis parallels some of my writing on this same subject. Read my earlier posts: To Prevent More Coups Like Niger: Eliminate Poverty in Africa; and BRICS Offers New Potential for Africa & The World: The Human Race Will Benefit

Excerpts below from Matt’s article:

“In Africa, injustice looms large, marked by poverty, warfare, and famine. Despite post-WWII political gains, economic independence, a vital component of true freedom as envisioned by Pan African leaders like Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, and Haile Selassie, remains elusive. 

After decades of restrictive IMF and World Bank loans, poverty, hunger, and conflict persist throughout the continent. While many attribute this to Africa’s governance challenges, in reality, a deliberate imperial agenda has hindered the continent’s development in all political, economic, and security sectors. 

Coups against neo-colonialism

But much has changed in the past few years. The growing clout of Eurasian institutions that fully embrace Global South countries as valuable, integral, and equal members – the BRICS+ and Greater Eurasian Partnership are examples – offer hope that old neo-colonial shackles will be broken and that Africa can enjoy an unfettered renaissance.

The rise of a new global pole to challenge the old unipolar order has had a notable impact across sub-Saharan West Africa which, in recent years, has seen a surge in military coups shifting power away from regimes that had long prioritized the interests of western corporations. 

These coups occurred in Chad (April 2021), Mali (May 2021), Guinea (September 2021), Sudan (October 2021), Burkina Faso (January 2022), Niger (July 2023), and Gabon (August 2023) – all resource-rich countries with abnormally poor living conditions.

In Gabon, over 30 percent of its people live on less than $1 per day, while 60 percent of its regions have no healthcare or clean drinking water despite the abundance of gold, diamonds, manganese, uranium, iron ore, natural gas, and oil – mostly monopolized by French corporations like Eramat, Total and Ariva. 

Despite its abundance of rare earths, copper, uranium, and Gold, 70 percent of Malians still live in abject poverty. Similarly, Sudan, with its riches in oil, fertile soil, and water, has 77 percent of the population living below the poverty line. 

In uranium-rich Niger, which provides over 35 percent of the fuel for France’s nuclear industry (accounting for 70 percent of France’s energy basket), mainly under the control of France’s Orano, only 3 percent of Nigerians have access to electricity. In the “former” French colony of Chad, that number is only a little higher at 9 percent, and a still-unacceptable 20 percent in Burkina Faso. 

While Altanticists desperately seek ways to keep their talons embedded into the African continent and its abundant riches, a much healthier security paradigm has emerged in recent years from Eurasia…”

Sustainable security means economic development

“The fight against the destructive effects of imperialism may seem daunting, especially when viewed solely through the lens of military affairs. But the growing influence of major multipolar institutions offers an important, consensus-based, strength-in-numbers way forward. 

The BRICS+, for instance, has made sure to add new members strategically. Last month, the organization grew from five to 11 members, which today include three geostrategic African nations of Egypt, South Africa, and Ethiopia, and major West Asian energy powerhouses Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE with extensive interests across Africa.

Then there’s China’s Global Security Initiative, unveiled in April 2022, which represents far more than just a non-western security doctrine. It embodies a fundamentally different paradigm, which at its core, places paramount emphasis on economic development as the foundation for long-term strategic peace.

Beijing has not only endorsed the objectives of the African Union’s Africa Agenda 2063 in words, but has done more than any other country in realizing those ambitious goals which call for “unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued under Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance”…

Over the past decade, China has advanced a policy of rail development, connectivity and building up industrial capacities, training, and skill building across partner nations. During that time, trade with Africa has risen to $282 billion in trade in 2022, marking an 11 percent increase over the previous year—a figure more than four times that of the US, which recorded $63 billion in trade with Africa in 2022. 

During that same 10-year span, Chinese companies have won $700 billion in contracted projects to build energy systems, transportation grids, manufacturing hubs, ports, telecommunication, aerospace, aviation, finance, and a myriad of soft infrastructure. 

Despite the challenges posed by western interventions, China has been able to build 6000 kilometers of rail, 6000 kilometers of roads, 20 ports, 80 large power facilities, 130 hospitals, and 170 schools on the continent.

While some western “democracies” resort to the threat of military intervention, punitive sanctions, or assassinations in post-coup Niger, China assumed the role of peace broker and re-emphasized its commitment to continue all projects in Niger, including the crucial 2,000-kilometer pipeline designed to export crude oil from the Agadem fields to the Port of Seme in Benin. 

This pipeline, currently three-quarters finished, will boost Niger’s oil output by 450 percent upon completion.

In Tanzania, the Chinese government hosted the 25 August China-Africa Vision conference promoting a myriad of economic initiatives, but its highlight was the Tanzania-Burundi-Democratic Republic of Congo railway which will likely become the first of several major trans continental rail lines outlined in the Africa Agenda 2063 Report…”

Read the full article: How the West destroyed Africa and Eurasia will revive it, written by Matt Ehret: matt.ehret@tutamail.com

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. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com.

“Win-Win Cooperation” Is Our Goal for China-U.S. Relations

Ambassador Xie Feng speaking at the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC. September 27, 2023

September 29. 2023

On Wednesday night, September 27th, I had the pleasure of attending China’s 74th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, at the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC. Officials of the US government, policymakers, and think tank analysts should carefully read the presentation-Remarks by Amb Xie Feng-by the new ambassador of China to the United States, Xie Feng.

The most salient portions of his comments are obvious to me and should be understood by all rational people. China desires Win-Win cooperation with the United States. The ambassador is correct in emphasizing that when China’s economy is expanding, it not only helps 1.4 billion Chinese people, but it actually also advances the world economy and benefits all people on our planet. Therefore, those in Washington and elsewhere, who foolishly gloat over the difficulties or temporary declines in the Chinese economy are really not acting in the interest of the United States. Ambassador Feng also emphasized that it is dangerous for the two largest economies armed with nuclear weapons to be involved in a Cold War much less a Hot War, and this has to be avoided at all costs for the sake of humanity.

In fact, there is no objective inherent contradiction between the development of China and the development of the United States. I know this as an expert on African political economy. The needs of the African nations in terms of basic infrastructure; railroads, electricity, roads, hospitals, and schools is so massive that all nations could collaborate together in addressing this serious infrastructure deficit. China and the United States actually share a common interest in the development of humankind. China and the United States could take up jointly the mission of eliminating poverty in Africa.

What is preventing this type of global economic progress, is the dominant U.S. geopolitical mindset that views hegemony in the world as a zero-sum game of winners and losers. This perverted geopolitical outlook prevents the type of superpower cooperation between the U.S. and China, which Ambassador Feng alluded to in his remarks.

Following the presentation by Ambassador Feng there was a 45 minute delightful musical presentation by young musicians from the Juilliard School in New York City. They performed classical Western music and classical Chinese music. This was not only a joy to listen to, but actually made clear to me something very important about Chinese culture. Classical music is the most rigorous form of music that stimulates the human mind and is actually composed for the purpose of nurturing   human creative thinking.

The mini-concert began with a composition from Johannes Brahms that was performed with precision and passion. It was also very interesting for me to sit there and observe an audience of several hundred people quietly, and thoughtfully listening to classical music in the Chinese Embassy. Most people don’t understand that classical music is not meant just for Western audiences. Classical music is intended for all human beings. Every great form of music, drama, and poetry, if they qualify as classical, share the same quality: developing the human mind. Therefore, having this performance following the presentation by Ambassador Feng confirms to me the desire by China to have a working relationship with the United States and the West. In this instance, classical music was chosen as a universal medium to build a friendship between China and the U.S.

Thus, to my mind, the two events are connected as if from a single piece of cloth: An insightful presentation by Ambassador Feng, followed by an excellent classical music performance by a talented trio (cello, violin, piano). This is an eloquent method to educate the audience on the inseparability of politics and culture, when conducted at the highest level.

As a result, I had an informative and enjoyable evening. I presume others did as well.

Young students from the Juilliard School, NYC, performing at the Chinese Embassy. There is a sister Juilliard School in Tianjin, China 

Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Xie Feng At the Reception Marking the 74th Anniversary of The Founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Reads the entirety of Remarks by Amb Xie Feng

Excerpts follow:

Dear friends,

Welcome to the first in-person National Day reception at our embassy after the pandemic!

It is a great pleasure to get together with you face to face to celebrate the 74th birthday of the People’s Republic of China. Let me extend my heartfelt thanks to friends from various communities for your longstanding support for China and China-U.S. relations, and also warmest festival greetings to our fellow compatriots in China and the United States!

Over the past 74 years, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, billions of Chinese people have forged ahead with fortitude, and embarked on a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We have created a miracle of rapid economic growth with hard work, a miracle of lasting social stability with unity, a miracle of poverty reduction with perseverance, and a miracle of peaceful rise with a great sense of responsibility. 

Today, 74 years on, we are advancing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization. While Chinese modernization is conceived in China, it will bring opportunities to the whole world.

— It is the modernization of a huge population. Achieving modernization for more than 1.4 billion people is an unprecedented task, and requires arduous efforts. Pursuing high-quality development is our top priority, and reform and opening-up remains our fundamental national policy. Our focus is to be a better self. We have no intention to challenge, outcompete or displace anyone else.

— It is the modernization of common prosperity for all. We will both make the pie bigger and divide it more fairly. China’s middle-income group will exceed 800 million by 2035. Its market for health services is estimated to reach around 2.2 trillion dollars by 2030. And Chinese airlines will need 8,700 new aircraft by 2040…

It is also the modernization of peaceful development. We have put forward the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, offering China’s solution for addressing the deficit in development, overcoming security challenges and enhancing mutual learning between civilizations, and calling on countries to jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.

This year, amid the tortuous global economic recovery, every country has its own problems to tackle. While facing some difficulties and challenges, the Chinese economy has been on an upward trajectory generally. Our GDP grew 5.5% in the first half of the year, outpacing most major economies. In the first eight months, investment in high-tech industries grew 11% year over year, and retail sales in accommodation, catering and other services increased 19%. Over 500 million Chinese went to the movies this summer alone. In recent months, China has rolled out new policies to reinvigorate consumption, boost the private sector and attract more foreign investment, which are gradually paying off.

Things are best appreciated when one takes a long-term view. The fundamentals sustaining China’s growth in the long run have not and will not change. Choosing China is to embrace opportunities and secure the future. In a globalized era, everyone is interconnected. All countries are in the same boat. The notion that other countries could economically collapse while one still thrives is utter fantasy. Pulling together is our only choice.  

Over the months, I have engaged extensively with friends old and new from various sectors. Here is my impression: while a lot has changed in China-U.S. relations, the fact that we are interdependent has not changed. We still share extensive common interests and important common responsibilities. The Earth is big enough for China and the United States to develop respectively and prosper together.

Nor has the international community’s expectation for a generally stable China-U.S. relationship changed. China and the United States are the two largest economies and nuclear-weapon states. Any conflict or confrontation between us would produce no winner, and would be the last thing the world wants to see. A “new Cold War” would only be a tragedy for the entire humanity.

To our encouragement, under the guidance of our leaders and with our joint efforts, the China-U.S. relationship has seen some positive signs of stabilizing. Progress has been made in enhancing dialogue and cooperation. In particular, the two sides have agreed to return to the Bali agenda, and implement the important common understanding reached between President Xi Jinping and President Biden…

Of course, we still face serious difficulties and grave challenges in the bilateral relationship, and there is still a long way to go to stabilize and improve our relations. The key is to find the right way for China and the United States to get along in the new era. The three principles outlined by President Xi Jinping, namely, mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, have pointed us in the right direction. 

Mutual respect is the prerequisite for our interactions. China does not interfere in U.S. domestic affairs and does not bet against the United States. In the same vein, we hope the United States will also respect our sovereignty and territorial integrity, properly handle important, sensitive issues such as the Taiwan question in line with the principles of the three joint communiques, and respect the Chinese people’s choice of development path and political system and right to a better life.

— Peaceful coexistence is the red line we must keep to. Any war, cold or hot, trade or technological, should be avoided. Sanctions on Chinese entities and individuals should be stopped.

— Win-win cooperation is the goal we should aim at. Let’s both take positive actions from now, starting with concrete, small steps that will benefit our peoples and help bring our relationship back to the right track… (all emphasis added)

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. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com.

Everything You Are Not Being Told About Africa & Why It Matters

Watch my discussion with Mel K

September 5, 2023

Please watch this excellent interview with Lawrence Freeman conducted last month. You will enjoy it. Topics discussed:

  • What does the coup in Niger reveal about the failure of Western policy for Africa?
  • Why economic development is a human right?
  • Is the Western political and financial oligarchical elite brain dead or can they change in accordance with reality?
  • Why is the West scared of the newly expanded BRICS?
  • Why is China’s policy towards Africa superior to that of the West?
  • Is Africa on the verge of an economic-political breakout?
  • Are Western leaders smart enough to modify their failed policies.
  • Will Africa have too many people? Can there be too much human creativity?

All of this issues and more are discussed in a conversation with Mel K that you wont see anywhere else.

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. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com.

BRICS Offers New Potential for Africa & The World: The Human Race Will Benefit

August 26, 2023

The just concluded BRICS Summit in South Africa, has changed our planet and implicitly the universe. This change cannot be reversed. It is the consequence of adding Ethiopia, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Argentina to the BRICS, beginning in January 2024. This expansion of the BRICS to eleven nations, which already comprised 40% of the world population, and is expected to reach 32.1% of the global GDP this year, larger than that of the G-7 nations, cannot be disregarded. It is a new reality for our civilization. Obviously, as a result of its doubling of participating nations, the BRICS will experience significant growth beginning next year.

The new expanded BRICS definitely ends the control by the West’s “rules-based order.”  There is now an alternative global institution not under the thumb of the so called advanced sector nations and their IMF-World Bank financial system. A new global potential has emerged, one rooted in the commitment by “South -South” nations to fully develop their economies. The BRICS, unlike the geopolitical ideologues of the West, will bring forth a new paradigm of development in political-economic relations among nations.

A new dynamic now exists on our planet which is the culmination of the progression of the BRICS from its initial embryonic form to a universal institution. The BRICS came into existence in 2009 , and its own New Development Bank, five years later. Despite all the naysayers, critics, and those who called this recent BRICS Summit “much ado about nothing.” The BRICS is here to stay and is expanding.

We should all take a moment to celebrate this accomplishment, but not for too long. We have to get back to work, and make sure we realize the full potential of this new factor of change that has altered our universe. To my friends and collaborators, who have labored with me to improve the living conditions of the people of Africa, I anticipate a special joy, knowing that in a few months, three of the eleven BRICS nations will be from the African continent.

“BRICS expansion game changer for Africa” Lawrence Freeman

THE ETHIOPIAN HERALD, ADDIS ABABA, August 26, 2023

The invitation of Ethiopia and Egypt to BRICS membership gives Africa a very powerful representation in the new bloc and could be a game changer for the continent, says American political economy analyst.

“This is very good news for Ethiopia, for Africa, and for World Development”, added Lawrence Freeman, a political analyst of African affairs.

He further explained that he is optimistic and excited over Ethiopia’s membership of the new bloc as this kind of new economic relations with the BRICS would help it obtain more resources to realize more of its desire and potential of economy.

“This is what I’ve been advocating for over 10 years” Freeman noted.

According to him, the BRICS expansion is a new paradigm or dynamics in the world while the changes that are going on in West Africa are also part of the same process, Freeman stressed.

Out of the 11 nations in the BRICS, a bloc that represents larger portions of the world economy and the world’s population, almost 30% are African nations; this represents a new reality or a new dynamic.

The rules based order is no longer, hegemonic and the world is not unipolar, he noted adding “that gives us potential for transformational change in Africa”

The African nations and the whole global south no longer have to bow to the rules based order, according to Freeman.

The BRICS is now accelerating its institution as an alternative to the western view of the world and the Western political economic system that gives a new, rules-based international order.

“And we’re already approaching the post unipolar Western dominated world. And BRICS is going to be one of the most central institutions in making those kinds of dynamic changes for world economic development” Freeman indicated.

Concerning the way African countries can benefit from the expansion of BRICS membership, he said that it is up to leaders of these African nations, and leaders of the BRICS, and leaders of other global south nations, to make these new potentials come about to realize that and to organize themselves around a new paradigm of economic order for development.

And the BRICS now has made it clear that they’re going to launch an expansion of their New Development Bank, the NDB, which is going to be increasing its lending. And 30% of its new lending will be in local currencies. Freeman further noted that African countries are now going to be capable of having access to loans from the do not contain the conditionality that the IMF and World Bank loans do.

“And that is something very exciting. Something I’ve been fighting for 30 years, and I’m very happy to see the progress we’re making. And reality has now changed as of today” Regarding the future ties of BRICS, developing countries with other blocs, Freeman stressed that the changes in the BRICS configuration is a new factor in reality and cannot be changed back.

Therefore he noted, the West now has to become aware of that and reflect on their policies and change their policies to pro development policies for these emerging markets, he reiterated.

 BY ZEKARIAS WOLDEMARIAM

Read my full interview below

Watch my discussion on the significance of the BRICS Summit


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. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com.

The African Integrated High Speed Rail Network-(AIHSRN) Will Revolutionize Africa’s Economies

Click On Download to read the above ten page proposal prepared by Rowland Ataguba, July 2020

August 21, 2023

The African Union’s “Agenda 2063” includes plans for the African Integrated High Speed Rail Network (AIHSRN), a high speed rail line across Africa. However, their plan for completion is 40 years from now. Rowland Ataguba, a Nigerian expert in rail management, has proposed a different timetable, which includes two “Master Plans.” He proposes the completion of 35,828 kilometers (kms) of high-speed rail lines by 2033, and an additional  14,547 kms by 2043. (See above)

Why is Mr. Ataguba’s fast track schedule for this transformative rail project important for the African continent?

Why is Rail Infrastructure Crucial?  

As a physical economist I understand, as all policy experts and leaders should, the critical importance of hard infrastructure. Along with energy, rail transportation is essential for the growth of every economy. If properly implemented, this physical input into the economy will be transformative. African nations are suffering, and Africans are dying everyday due to the abysmal level of energy throughput in their economies. The paucity of kilometers of railroad track per square area of territory measured, is equally appalling. I can state with authority, that without a full scale, military type mobilization, to rapidly expand these two vital categories of infrastructure, African nations will not achieve industrialization. Without this infrastructure, unacceptable levels of extreme poverty, hardship, and unnecessary deaths will continue on the African continent, especially in sub-Sahara Africa.

Infrastructure, particularly high speed rail, increases the profitability of the entire economy. It advances the productive powers of society, yielding higher rates of production of physical wealth. In other words, all aspects of labor activity and farming involved in the production of tangible products will be upgraded as a result of the introduction of high speed rail. The African Continental Free Trade Area agreement will not succeed, and inter-African trade will remain absurdly low, unless all major African cities, ports, farming agricultural hubs and industrial centers, are connected by AIHSRN.

Rail transportation, like electricity and other forms of hard infrastructure, adds physical value to the economy. (Soft infrastructure contributes to economic growth differently). Thus, even if in the initial stages, railroads don’t yield a profit for that particular business venture, they will have a positive impact on the economy. Connecting production and agricultural markets with consumers through time saving more efficient means of transportation will lead to expansion of economic growth. Otherwise known as progress, which Africa, despite its abundant potential, has been denied.

Take note: China has lifted over 700 million of its people out of poverty on the back of the most expansive high speed rail network in the world,-over 40,000 kms. A similar feat can be accomplished in the African continent, which now has the largest number of people living in poverty.

Read my earlier posts:

Africa Continental Free Trade Area Must Have An Integrated High Speed Rail Network

The Africa Integrated High-Speed Rail Network is Feasible and Will Create A Prosperous Future for All African 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. Mr. Freeman strongly beleives that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com.

China Unequivocally Supports Ethiopia’s National Reconstruction, Industrialization, and Modernization of Agriculture

Wang Yi and Abiy Ahmed meeting in Addis Ababe, Ethiopia on July 21, 2023. (Picture courtesy of CGTN)

July 24, 2023

These statments from China’s leading diplomat, Wang Yi’, in his meeting with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, and Deputy PM, Demeke Mekonnen, make abundantly clear, China’s commitment to assist in the economic development of Ethiopia. This is essential to bring peace and stabilty to the Horn of Africa.

On July 21, 2023, Wang Yi, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee and director of the Central Foreign Affairs Office, visited Ethiopia on his way to South Africa to attend the meeting of the BRICS High Representatives on Security Affairs, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy met with Wang Yi in Addis Ababa.

Mr. Abiy spoke highly of the great achievements of socialism with Chinese characteristics and appreciated China’s determination to follow the development path in line with its own national conditions and its rapid economic and social development, which has set an example for developing countries. Ethiopia will never forget the strong support given by China when it faced difficulties and regards China as a great and reliable friend. Ethiopia is willing to learn from China’s development concepts and experience, and strive to realize self-sufficiency in agriculture and rapid economic growth, and promote green and sustainable development. Ethiopia abides by the one-China principle, supports China’s position in international affairs, actively participates in the construction of the “Belt and Road”, and is willing to work closely with China on mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields to promote greater development of relations between the two countries.

Wang Yi said that Ethiopia is a major African country with significant influence. China and Ethiopia are comprehensive strategic partners with each other, the two countries have common goals and common pursuits, and have carried out fruitful cooperation under the framework of building the “Belt and Road” and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which is at the forefront of China-Africa cooperation. China values its traditional friendship with Ethiopia, firmly supports its domestic reconstruction and economic recovery, and is willing to further explore the potential of cooperation with Ethiopia to help it accelerate industrialization, modernize agriculture and explore green and low-carbon development. China encourages strong and reputable enterprises to invest in Ethiopia, and is willing to play an active role in alleviating the debt pressure on Ethiopia. We hope that Ethiopia will actively create a favorable business environment.

Wang Yi said that China’s cooperation with Africa is an important part of South-South cooperation and mutual support and assistance among friends. China has never interfered in the internal affairs of other countries, never attached political conditions and never sought geopolitical self-interest in its cooperation with Africa. China is willing to work with African countries, including Ethiopia, to strengthen cooperation in trade and investment, green development, digital economy, health and sanitation, and continuously create a new situation for China-Africa cooperation.

On July 21, 2023, Director of the Central Foreign Affairs Office (CFA) Wang Yi met with Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke in Addis Ababa.

Wang Yi said that China and Ethiopia are good brothers who care for each other’s guts, good friends who watch out for each other, and good partners in common development. China has stood with the people of Ethiopia at the critical moment of safeguarding national peace and stability, and will continue to stand with the people of Ethiopia as it enters a new phase of peace restoration and national reconstruction. China firmly supports Ethiopia in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity, supporting Ethiopia’s commitment to national unity and stability, and supporting Ethiopia to play a greater role in regional and international affairs, and is willing to continue to strengthen strategic collaboration with Ethiopia, deepen practical cooperation in various fields, and work together to safeguard the fundamental interests of the two countries and the common interests of developing countries, and to maintain the basic norms of international relations.

Wang Yi said that China has great potential for cooperation with Ethiopia. China is willing to strengthen high-level exchanges with Ethiopia and exchanges at all levels in all sectors, support strong and reputable enterprises to invest in Ethiopia, accelerate the implementation of key cooperation projects, expand the scale of bilateral trade, and help Ethiopia to promote industrialization and modernization of agriculture and improve its capacity for independent development. It is hoped that Ethiopia will take practical and effective measures to ensure the safety of Chinese organizations and personnel. China is willing to work with Ethiopia to promote the implementation of the “Horn of Africa Peaceful Development Concept” and support Africans to solve African problems in an African way.

Demeke said Ethiopia has a long history of relations with China and is firmly committed to strengthening cooperation with China at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. Ethiopia is grateful to China for its help in maintaining national security and stability, and looks forward to China’s support for the consolidation of peace, reconstruction and economic revitalization of Ethiopia, as well as the global development initiative, global security initiative and global civilization initiative put forward by China, and is willing to strengthen all-round exchanges among the government, political parties and enterprises with China, and deepen the mutually-beneficial cooperation in the field of trade and economic cooperation. Ethiopia firmly opposes the use of human rights as a tool to interfere in the internal affairs of developing countries, actively supports participation in collective cooperation among developing countries, and is willing to work with China to implement the “Horn of Africa Peaceful Development Concept” to promote regional peace and prosperity.

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

China & Freeman Agree With The African Charter: “Economic Development is a Human Right”

June 24, 2023

The concept that economic development is a fundamental human right has been rejected by the United States, the United Nations, Europe, and all Western institutions, including  Non-Government Organizations (NGOs). This failure to understand the essential, vital importance of promoting real-physical economic growth in developing nations has prevented the West from achieving its goals for  human rights, good governance, and democracy, if they are even truly sincere about these objectives.

I concur with Zhang Weiwei when he writes: China has politically recognized poverty reduction as not only a human right, but also a core one…, in his column, China’s poverty eradication and implications for global human rights governance.

Zhang Weiwei is right: The United States has never considered poverty eradication as a human rights issue. I might add that the United Nations has officially refused China’s request to list economic development as a core human right.

However, contrary to the UN and U.S., the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, correctly states in Article 22:

All peoples shall have the right to their economic, social, and cultural development…States shall have the duty…to ensure the exercise of the right to development.

China has succeeded in lifting three quarters of a billion of its people out of poverty; a feat that the Western financial institutions could not accomplish with their monetarist policies. This has been achieved through a dedicated effort by the Chinese government over several decades. Should not concerned nations in the West, collaborate with China to eliminate poverty worldwide, as a shared common mission?

U.S. Has lost Its Vision for Development

As the U.S. vision for the world has shrunk and its culture corrupted, we have produced no statesman, much less a visionary leader, who can articulate a policy for uplifting humankind. There are no Kennedys, Roosevelts, or Lincolns, in the political class of America today. As a result, the notion of developing other nations, (much less our own) has virtually vanished from the American lexicon, and U.S. strategic policy. Tragically for the U.S. and the rest of the world, the diseased doctrine of geopolitics has become the dominant ideology in formulating foreign policy. In this warped creed, might makes right, and the desire to remain on top dominates, in a belief structure of a fixed zero-sum world. In this perverted mind-set, what drives a nation’s foreign policy is the thirst to maintain its power.

Demands for so called human rights, good governance, and the insistence for Western structured democracy, are not only terribly flawed, but in fact, have been used  as weapons to bludgeon nations into accepting the dictates of the “rules-based international order.” This is the new term for geopolitical control by the West, with its unipolar view of the world, following the demise of the Soviet Union. China and Russia are wrongly viewed as enemies of the U.S. However, it should be understood that China and Russia China, along with an increasing number of nations in the expanding non-align movement are indeed a threat to the hegemony of the “rules-based order.

BRICS is emerging as an alternative to the “international rules-based order.” Ocotober 2019. (Courtesey of wikapedia)

Again, I agree with Zhang Weiwei: “Only through development can poverty be eliminated, and the root causes of many conflicts be removed.” Allow me to extendthis line of reasoning by stating unequivocally: poverty is the enemy of human rights, the enemy of democracy, and the enemy of peace and stability.

Democracy and human rights are a cruel illusion: when almost half of one’s nation lives in poverty; when the majority of the citizens have no access to electricity; when mothers have to search for food each day to feed their children; when the lack of productive jobs forces young men and women to hustle for survival in the informal economy; and when families believe they have no long term economic security for the future.  

Democracy is more than voting every four years. Democracy requires that its citizens have the material standard of living and leisure time to inform themselves  so they can intelligently discuss and debate national policies that will impact the present and future of their nation. Electing candidates who will offer a meaningful and dignified life for its people, and hope for the future, requires a society with a culture that fosters a thinking citizenry. What makes us human is our creative imagination that allows us to discover the laws of the universe. Thus, each human being should have a rising standard of living that provides for one’s material needs and the freedom to nurture the creative potential of their mind.

Why isn’t the right to electricity a human right? Why isn’t the right to have a productive job a human right? Why isn’t the right to a quality education a human right? These omissions from the mantra of the “rules based order,” and the U.S. State Department, are glaring and fatal.

Common Aims of Humankind

A nation’s foreign policy towards other nations is clear and elementary, if one understands this crucial principle: all people share a universal similarity as members of the human species, who are uniquely endowed with the potential of creative reasoning. Thus, the interest of each nation is the same: the material and spiritual development of each of its citizens. Therefore, it is in the self-interest of each nation to cooperate with other nations to foster the enrichment of the mind, soul, and body of every human being. From this higher understanding of civilization, we redefine a nation’s relationship to the rest of the world, away from geopolitics to one of collaboration in creating a new paradigm based on economic development

President Franklin Roosevelt, and Prime Minister Winston Churchil, Casablanca Morocco. 1943, (Courtesey of the National War II Museum)

It has not always been the case that U.S. foreign policy towards developing nations excluded economic development. President Franklin Roosevelt was appalled at the conditions of Africans living in British controlled colonies. Prime Minister Churchill was furious when President Roosevelt confronted him with this ugly reality. Elliott Roosevelt, President Roosevelt’s son, who was present at many of his father’s meeting with the Prime Minister, reports in his book, As He Saw It, their diametrically opposed view on colonialism.Elliott Roosevelt recalls a heated conversation, when his father told Churchill, that after the war he intended to dismantle the British Imperial system. President Roosevelt also told his son of his intention to help turn the Sahara Desert green with vegetation.

Sixty years ago, a young President, John Kennedy, reversed his predecessor’s  aloofness towards Africa, and embraced the newly independent African nations. He made a commitment to assist in modernizing and industrializing their underdeveloped economies. This was most evident in President Kennedy’s agreement with Ghana President, Kwame Nkrumah, to support the construction of the Volta River Dam project. To this end, the Kennedy administration provided a $40 million loan for the hydroelectric dam and bauxite smelting manufacturing facility to produce aluminum.

President Kennedy invites President Kwame Nkrumah to Washiongton DC, March 8, 1961, for the first State Dinner of his new presidency

When in the last five decades has the U.S. led any effort to assist an African, or developing nation, in significantly expanding its manufacturing capability?

In examining whether a nation’s foreign policy is successful or not, the criteria is  obvious, and one that I have long ago adopted. Does it result in an improvement in the conditions of life? Does it lead to a reduction of poverty? If it does not, the policy should be discontinued, and replaced with a strategy to increase the production of physical economic wealth for the benefit of the people.

It is well past time for the “rules-based order” to be replaced with principles that benefit humankind. Principles are always superior to rules.

Read my earlier post: My Thoughts: Poverty & Ethnicity Kill Democracy in Africa

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