Lawrence Freeman: Why The “Rules-Based International Order” Has Failed and Will Always Fail: The Case of Africa

Please watch my one hour fifteen minute presentation in the video above. (May 5). It will be of benefit to you and your nation.

June 5, 2024

This is a strategic presentation that you will not hear from anyone else. It contains epistemological concepts that are necessary for one to understand, if one wants to become a competent strategic thinker. With a grounding in these rudimentary but essential ideas  that I discussed, we are equipped to help Africa realize its potential in becoming an economic giant within the first half of this century.

After discussing some of the dynamics in Africa today, I delved into the main subject, which is poorly understood, even by most of my friends and colleagues. However, absorbing and spreading this knowledge may determine the future existence of the human race.

Only when we understand why the so called rules-based international order must fail, can we dedicate ourselves with new vigor to create a superior paradigm that will portend a better future for humans living today and our progeny.

At the core of the deficiency in the thinking process of the Western elites-the political financial oligarchy, is their failure to understand the unique characteristic of what makes us human. Endowed by the Creator, we humans, and we alone of all species, and unlike all machines, and all computer programs, possess the power of creative mentation. In other words, the mental power to hypothesize, as brilliantly and beautifully elaborated by Plato in his dialogues and by Socrates. With this power, which exists in all human beings as a potential to be developed, there are no limits to the expansion of the human race and the transformation of our physical universe. Thus, people and nations are not fixed. All societies and cultures, if they are human, embody a civilization of creative transformers. All people of all nations share this exclusive common feature, which universally binds us together in our quest for a better shared future.

Those in power in the West, their schools, colleges, institutions, and values, not only fail to understand this fundamental principle of human existence, but actually deploy to suppress it.

Our global society should be organized on these principles of human  creative enhancement, not a fixed set of rules established by the bankrupt Western invention of a so called rules-based international order .

I hope you learn from, and enjoy my presentation in the video above.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for 35 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 the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com, and also publishing on: lawrencefreeman.substack.com, “Freeman’s Africa and the World.”

Energy Poverty Is Killing Africans-Renewables Are Insufficient

Access to electricity for sub-Saharan nations is abysmal. A leading factor in the prevalence of poverty and hunger. (Courtesy of researchgate.net)

W. Gyude Moore published a useful article on the vital need for African nations to produce more energy: On the question of Africa’s Energy Poverty

However, I extend the implications of his analysis of energy poverty to its full impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of Africans. To wit: energy poverty is the leading cause of preventable deaths in Africa. Western political-financial elites are using their pseudo concern to “save the world” from climate change, to prevent African nations from producing vital energy from their abundant natural resources of hydrocarbons. In effect, attempting to deny nations suffering from a dearth of electricity, the right to develop their own energy sources sufficient to industrialize their economies. Hunger and poverty will not be eliminated on the African continent without nation-wide grids providing abundant and accessible electrical power.

Renewables are not capable of powering an industrialized economy. Their low energy flux density, the concentration of heat-power needed to transform minerals, is inadequate. Intense levels of heat and energy are required to convert ores into working metals. Nuclear power is orders of magnitude superior to other forms of energy in satisfying these requirements. Oil, gas, and hydro are energy sources that can be used in transition to nuclear energy. Yet, African nations are given diktats to not develop their sovereign resources and instead rely on inferior energy sources, displaying their disdain for their sovereignty and the welfare of their citizens. Thus, ensuring that African nations will never be able to become manufacturing based industrialized economies capable of eradicating poverty and hunger. One can make the argument that denying African nations this required energy capacity is a new form of colonialism, to keep them undeveloped. It is the effect, if not the intent.

Excerpts from Moore’s article: In Resolving Africa’s Energy Poverty – ALL Options Remain on the Table

Africa’s energy poverty is now a national security crisis. The region’s large and growing population places relentless pressure on small and dwindling resources, exacerbating the crisis of diminished state capacity. The specter of social and political disruption haunts regional stability, from coastal West Africa to the Great Lakes. Africa’s poverty translates into weak economic resilience and heightened vulnerability to shocks – internal and external. The recent spate of global crises has only worsened the problem. After decades of improvement, the World Bank reports that inequality is rising – that the global poor bore the brunt of the economic scarring of the pandemic, with incomes falling in the poorest countries more than they did in rich countries. “As a result, the income losses of the world’s poorest were twice as high as the world’s richest, and global inequality rose for the first time in decades.” These losses are most pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa where “incomes are falling further behind the rest of the world.”  

Nothing aggravates this condition more than the continent’s persistent energy poverty. It is thus a positive sign when at this year’s IMF/World Bank Spring meetings, the World Bank and the African Development bank agreed to invest in providing electricity to 300 million Africans by 2030. But the announcement raises a lot of questions, including Todd Moss’s: “What will the Bank do differently?” If the idea is to double down on renewables alone, this only accentuates the glaring divergence between what Africa needs and the “solution” the Bank is offering. In times of existential crises, no options are left off the table. Unless Africa increases the diversity and complexity of its exports, its poverty will persist…

Moore makes the decisive point below that even when African nations establish policies to process their own resources, to ban the export of raw resources: they don’t have the energy for smelting, transforming the ore..

No Balanced Energy mix, No Industrialization

Africa’s export diversification is inextricably tied to its infrastructure – mainly power – endowment. Namibia, Zimbabwe, the DRC and others have all passed laws banning the export of unprocessed minerals. The legitimate attempts by these governments to ensure that their minerals are extracted and processed “in a way that helps [them] realize the full economic benefits of their resources’, should be applauded.”

But the viability of these bans remains contested, and these efforts are very likely to stall, since insufficient smelting capacity has led to repeated issuance of waivers for similar bans in the DRC.

About 80% of global energy consumption is tied to transport and heating (residential and industrial). This focus here is industrial heating (100 to 2000 C). The absence of adequate power supply to smelt ores in a commercially viable way has condemned the continent’s commodity exporters to ship their raw ore to China or India. South Africa, the continent’s most complex commodity exporting economy exports its chromite ore to China for processing into ferrochrome, which is used to manufacture corrosion, acid and heat-resistant steel.

Or take aluminum – the metal that is produced from bauxite. Guinea has the world’s largest bauxite reserves at over 7 billion metric tons. However, aluminum making is one of the most energy-intensive processes in the world. “Only paper, gasoline, steel, and ethylene manufacturing consume more total energy in the United States than aluminum. Aluminum production is the largest consumer of energy on a per-weight basis and is the largest electric energy consumer of all manufactured products.”[xv] In Guinea and Sierra Leone, converting raw bauxite into intermediate metals will require prodigious amounts of installed and dispatchable power. Renewables have struggled to be cost competitive with burning fossil fuels to smelt ores. Even the most basic levels of beneficiation (removing impurities and improving the grade of the ore) often require electricity endowment that many commodity exporters lack. Unless Africa is able to increase the availability of cost-competitive energy at a scale, adding value to its mineral exports will remain a pipe drain. If the average Ethiopian continues to consume a mere 79.25 kWh per year, Ethiopia will struggle to match Bangladesh (497 kWh per year) in apparel manufacturing. If the average Nigeria consumes only about 150 kwH per year, Nigerian firms will struggle to compete with their Vietnamese counterparts  (2450 KwH per year)

Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) will be a game changer for East Africa; generating 5,150 megawatts of electricity

Fossil Fuels (Including Coal)  and the Existential Question:

While Europe, China and India pursue increasing coal as an energy source, African nations are intentionally denied lending for development of coal powered plants, even though coal is abundant on the continent.

At this year’s Spring Meetings,  “The Big Shift Global”, a global movement against fossil fuels, protested against the Bank’s financing fossil fuels. Their best intentions notwithstanding, this activism condemns Africa and Africans to indigence, since the countries adding the most fossil fuel capacity do not borrow from the World Bank. This earnest, but misguided, activism simply provides a convenient cover for rich countries’ World Bank executive directors who want to push the bank away from financing natural gas in Africa.

Increasing Africa’s energy per capita consumption is an existential question – from keeping South Sudanese children alive in extreme heat to earning more from African exports. African governments ought to understand that outsourcing existential questions to outsiders whose intentions are, at best, ambivalent is a dereliction of duty to their people.

When coal-powered electricity is rising in prominence in the world’s largest industrial countries, it is unreasonable to expect Africans to “save the world”, by sacrificing their poverty reduction and industrialization goals on the unrealistic “hope” of an all-renewable energy mix. Every form of energy generation must remain on the table. Where viable, nuclear energy ought to be pursued too – whether the partner of choice is China or Russia, especially since Rosatom and the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE) have approved a plan for cooperation. China has made progress on small modular reactors; this option and all others must remain on the table...

Both the World Bank and some private capital are hesitant to extend financing for new fossil fuel. Because this is a national security imperative, African governments should be prepared to make hard choices about using domestic resources, making cuts to spending elsewhere to fund these plants.

For economies where coal power plants are viable, governments must make demonstrable efforts – setting aside land, conducting feasibility studies, and mapping the coal value chain for these plants. For countries where the option is natural gas – the same processes should be set in motion.

Read my earlier posts below:

South Africa Energy Minister Rejects Western Dictates & Hypocrisy Against Africa’s Use of Energy Resources

“Electricity is the lifeblood of a nation” Nuclear Energy Can Be A Solution To The Continent’s Dearth of Electricity

GERD: Utilizing the Blue Nile to Create Energy for Development in Ethiopia & The Horn of 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. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com that has hundreds of articles for you to review.

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.

Panel of Experts Discuss Significance of Ethiopia’s Historic 4th Filling of the GERD for Africa

Ethiopia completes fourth filling of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Courtesy of ethiopianmonitor.com)

To hear a panel of experts on the GERD:

Play link twitter.com

After pressing play, the discussion begins in eight minutes with opening remarks of Lawrence Freeman.

Over the course of the last three weeks, two major developments have occurred that potentially will transform the quality of life for Ethiopia, and all the nations we now refer to as, The Global South. I’m referring to two singular events. One, the 4th filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the eve of the Ethiopian New Year. Two, the 15th BRICKS Summit (August 22-24) in Johannesburg South Africa, that added six new nations, which included Egypt and Ethiopia. These two developments occurring over a span of approximately three weeks have now changed Ethiopia, have changed Africa, and have actually changed the world.

As of January 2024, the BRICS will expand from its current five members; Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, to eleven nations by adding; Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Argentina. The world, the physical universe we live in, has changed; and our planet will never go back to the way it was before. The newly expanded BRICS, with its own Development Bank, is in its embryonic stage of becoming an alternative political-economic institution to the so called, rules-based international order. Ethiopia’s GERD is now irreversibly poised within the next two years, to inject 5,150 megawatts of power to the African continent.

On Sunday, September 10th, an extensive detailed examination of the significance of the 4th filling of the  GERD was discussed on Twitter (see link above) by a panel of experts, which included myself.

Briefly. The GERD reservoir now contains 42 billion cubic meters (bcm) of water, just 7 bcm short of the requirement to fill the dam. During the course of the rainy season the water level will increase another 25 bcm to obtain its full capacity of 74 bcm once the walls are raised another 25 meters to reach the height of 645 meters above sea level.

With the addition of eleven more turbines operating at 400 megawatts (MW) each, to the current two turbines operating at 375 MW each, the GERD is projected to generate approximately 16,000 megawatt hours of electricity. This will enable Ethiopia to provide electricity to its population, expand its manufacturing sector, industrialize its economy, and export electricity to neighboring nations in the Horn of Africa. Resulting in a complete transformation of the Ethiopian economy and its society. This dam will have no negative effect on the downstream nations. The GERD is a dam for development of Ethiopia, the Horn of Africa, and the entire Nile Basin. The African continent will benefit, and now has a model for other nations to follow.

By listening to  our conversation, you will learn a great deal about the current stage of development of the GERD and its potential for Ethiopia.

Read my earlier posts:

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

New Book on Ethiopia’s GERD: Historical Battle of the Nile-Colonialism vs Development

Freeman Speaks On The GERD: An Engineering Marvel-A Necessity For The Nile River Basin

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.

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.

To Prevent More Coups Like Niger: Eliminate Poverty in Africa

(Curtesy of voanews.com)

August 7, 2023

While the Western World, in particular, was shocked by the July 26, 2023, coup in Niger, I was not. This is now the fifth or sixth coup, (depending how you count) in the Sahel and Western Africa, following Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Sudan, and Chad. Sadly, more coups may follow, unless we face the truth, and change Western policy. The primary underlying cause for these coups, is poverty, resulting in despair and desperation in the population. We should be clear that Russia may benefit, but they are not the cause of Africa’s coups. It is obsessive reliance on kinetic counter terrorism programs in the Sahel, all of which have failed, that drives policy makers to repeatedly fail to see the error of their ways. Niger’s coup should make it obvious to the architects of U.S.-European policy for Africa, unless they are brain-dead, that a radically new course of strategic thinking is required. Promoting economic development is the most vital element of a new strategic policy for Africa, and the Sahel in particular.

Remember Mali

For those of us who have been involved in Africa for decades, remember the Malian coup in the Spring of 2012. Prior to the removal of Malian President, Amadou Toure, by the military, Mali was touted by the West, as the show case of democracy and stability. It was viewed as a strong ally of the United States, with their armed forces trained by the U.S. The immediate trigger for the collapse of Mali, was the disastrous  decision to overthrow the government of Libya and assassinate President Omar Gaddafi by President Obama, and his assemblage of war-hawks (witches); Susan Rice, Hilary Clinton, and Samantha Power. Obama’s October 2011 regime-change of a stable Libyan nation, unleashed hell across north Africa and the Sahel with thousands of armed Tuaregs and violent extremists set loose to occupy weak state regions and ungoverned territories. Similar to U.S. support of Mali, Secreatry of State, Antony Blinken, made a special visit to Niger in March 2023, to strenthen U.S. backing for another nation in the Sahel.

Why Niger?

With the end of French-Afrique well on its way, particularly with the French being kicked out of Mali, and the failure of the French anti-terrorist military deployment in the Sahel, known as Operation Barkhane, the U.S. designated Niger as the center of its counter-terrorist operation in North Africa.

At the time of the July 26 coup of Nigerian resident, Mohamed Bazoum, by his presidential guards, there were 1,500 French troops and 1,200 U.S. troops based in Niger. Additionally, the U.S built its largest drone base in Africa, Air Base 201, at the cost of over $110 million dollars, to provide intelligence and surveillance in the U.S. campaign against violent extremism. Estimates are that the U.S. spent almost half a billion dollars training the Nigerien armed forces.

Chris Olaoluwa Ògúnmọ́dẹdé insightfully reports in worldpoliticsreview/niger-coup:

Last week’s coup in Niger caught much of the outside world by surprise, given the country’s image as a relatively stable outlier in a region beset by frequent upheaval. Many outside observers found it hard to understand how President Mohamed Bazoum, a seemingly well-regarded leader believed to enjoy popular legitimacy, was overthrown by the armed forces. But if foreign observers were stunned by Bazoum’s toppling, it did not come as a shock to many Nigeriens, and not solely because of their country’s history of military coups.

To begin with, tensions between Bazoum and the army’s top brass and senior Defense Ministry officials were well-known to Nigeriens. Bazoum was also ushered into power in 2021 by a controversial election in which a popular opposition candidate was barred from running and that featured allegations of electoral malpractice. The protests that followed were marred by at least two deaths, many more injuries and mass arrests. And harsh crackdowns on recent public protests against the rising cost of living and Niger’s security partnership with France likely did little to assuage Nigeriens’ concerns.

Claims of an improved security landscape in Niger amid the fight against Islamist jihadists are also open to debate. But beyond the vagaries of statistical analysis, many Nigeriens simply do not believe that their lives have become safer and more prosperous, and seemingly favorable comparisons with their neighbors are no consolation. Niger remains one of the world’s most impoverished nations

Security, economic progress, and social development are necessary to sustain public support for any system of government, including democracy. (Emphasis added)

Development Not Understood

During the years of the Obama Presidency, members of his administration would repeatedly and publicly lecture me that “we don’t do infrastructure.” Now, in the two and a half years of Joe Biden’s Presidency, both he and Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, openly espouse  that the overarching intent of U.S. policy towards Africa (and the rest of the world) is to export “democracy” and “ good governance.” They believe, that only when nations embrace and commit to implement their constructs, will they be allowed to join the “rules-based international order.” 

A July 17, 2023, opinion by the Editorial Board of the Washington Post reveals, unintentionally, the tragic flaws of the Biden-Blinken policy towards Africa.

As we have argued in this space before, the Biden administration should compete with Russia’s aggressive maneuvering, as well as China’s, for influence in Africa by focusing on what the United States does best: building the infrastructure of democracy. That takes time. But in the long term, it is the key to ending chronic instability and crippling poverty (sic), reining in corruption, and jump-starting economic development.

There is only one thing wrong with this policy; it is no damn good! Stability, peace, and democracy are dependent on a population that is prosperous, educated, and secure. Without economic development, these goals will not be achieved. If the tens of billions of dollars that was spent on kinetic counter-terrorism programs to diminish violent extremism, had been deployed for building infrastructure, the Sahel would be in far better shape than it is today. Electricity, roads, railroads, water management, farming, and manufacturing are essential for the wellbeing of a nation.

Without a continuously rising stanard of living for its people, Niger, like many other African nations, will not achieve peace, and stability. The physical economic improvement in the material existence of the lives of the population is not optional, not secondary, but a primary-essential requirement for a nation state’s continued existence.

The failure to comprehend these fundamental concepts is at the crux of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the Western political-financial elites and their inability to design a successful strategy towards Africa.

Listen to my 20 minute PressTV interview on Niger.

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

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

Freeman Speaks On The GERD: An Engineering Marvel-A Necessity For The Nile River Basin

May 12, 2023

Watch the 60 minute video above. On April 13, 2023, Dr. Brook Hailu, of Nahoo tv, interviewed me on the weekly broadcast, Voice of The Diaspora . We had an extensive discussion on the GERD, Ethiopia, Africa, geopolitics, and human crieatvitiy in economics. With the creation, and self financing of the GERD, Ethiopia is breaking through the mentality that African nations will always be poor and underdeveloped.

Watch the 20 mimute video below. Lawrence Freeman, was the lead presenter in the book launch of a new book on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam-GERD, at . Georgetown University, Washington DC, on April 29, 2023

Read my earlier posts:

New Book on Ethiopia’s GERD: Historical Battle of the Nile-Colonialism vs Development

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

Nuclear Energy Safe & Efficient-Every African Nation Should Have Multiple Nuclear Power Plants

Alec Soth/Magnum Photos: Rancho Seco Nuclear Power Station, California

May 2, 2023

Nuclear energy is safe, clean, and the most efficient form of energy existing today. Almost a third of the nations of Africa have plans to include nuclear in their electricity grid. South Africa is the only nation with an existing nuclear energy plant and Egypt is constructing their first nuclear power plants in cooperation with Rostrum.

The massive lack of energy throughout Africa is the biggest single impediment to advancing the economies of African nations. My rough calculations are that Africa nations combined with require a minimum of 1,000 gigawatts (1 gigawatt equals billion watts) of additional electricity to upgrade their primarily agricultural and resource based economies to modern industrialized societies. This cannot be achieved without nuclear energy. This is not an option with the population of Africa projected to reach 2.5 billion in the next 30 years. That is why I am suggesting that each nation must have one or more nuclear energy producing plants. The naysayers and zero growthers are wrong.

The article below exposes the fraud of fear mongering about nuclear waste. Let us end this anti-scientific propaganda and move forward with technologically driven progress.

Opinion | Nuclear Waste Is Misunderstood – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Nuclear Waste Is Misunderstood

by Madison Hilly, founder of the Campaign for a Green Nuclear Deal.

On a visit in February to the site of the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown in Japan, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York did something refreshing: She discussed radiation exposure and nuclear waste without fanning fear. The radiation she got from her visit — about two chest X-rays’ worth — was worth the education she received on the tour, she told her 8.6 million Instagram followers. She then spoke admiringly of France, which, she said, “recycles their waste, increasing the efficiency of their system and reducing the overall amount of radioactive waste to deal with.”

Progressive lawmakers, along with environmental groups like the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council, have historically been against nuclear power — often focusing on the danger, longevity and storage requirements of the radioactive waste. During the 2020 presidential campaign, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said, “It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me to add more dangerous waste to this country and to the world when we don’t know how to get rid of what we have right now.” Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts echoed these concerns and pledged not to build any new nuclear plants if elected president.

So it’s no surprise that many Americans believe nuclear waste poses an enormous and terrifying threat. But after talking to engineers, radiation specialists and waste managers, I’ve come to see this misunderstanding is holding us back from embracing a powerful, clean energy source we need to tackle climate change. We must stop seeing nuclear waste as a dangerous problem and instead recognize it as a safe byproduct of carbon-free power.

Why is nuclear so important for reducing carbon emissions? The countries that have cleaned up their electricity production the fastest have generally done so with hydroelectric power, nuclear, or a combination of the two. The distinct advantage of nuclear is that it requires little land and can reliably produce lots of power regardless of weather, time of day or season. Unlike wind and solar, it can substitute directly for fossil fuels without backup or storage. The International Energy Agency believes it’s so crucial that global nuclear capacity must double by 2050 to reach net-zero emissions targets.

For this reason some U.S. investors, policymakers and even the movie director Oliver Stone are calling for greatly expanding our nuclear capabilities. The Inflation Reduction Act is now rolling out credits for the 54 plants currently in operation and incentives for new ones worth tens of billions of dollars. States across the country are overturning decades-old bans on nuclear construction and exploring investment opportunities. A demonstration project in Wyoming is underway to replace a retiring coal plant with a nuclear reactor.

There are many legitimate questions about the future of nuclear — How will we finance new plants? Can we build them on time and under budget? — but “What about the waste?” should not be one of them.

One of our few cultural references to nuclear waste is “The Simpsons,” where it appeared as a glowing green liquid stored in leaky oil drums. In reality, nuclear fuel is made up of shiny metal tubes containing small pellets of uranium oxide. These tubes are gathered into bundles and loaded into the reactor. After five years of making energy, the bundles come out, containing radioactive particles left over from the energy-making reactions.

The bundles cool off in a pool of water for another five to 10 years or so. After that, they are placed in steel and concrete containers for storage at the plant. These casks are designed to last 100 years and to withstand nearly anything — hurricanes, severe floods, extreme temperatures, even missile attacks.

To date, there have been no deaths, injuries or serious environmental releases of nuclear waste in casks anywhere. And the waste can be transferred to another cask, extending storage one century at a time.

With this kind of nuclear waste, I’m not referring to water containing the radioisotope tritium that nuclear plants regularly release. Antinuclear activist groups like to scaremonger about this, despite the fact that you’d need to drink over a gallon of the treated water being released from Fukushima to get the equivalent radiation exposure of eating a banana.

But what about the spent nuclear fuel — isn’t it radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years? The way radiation works, the waste products that are the most radioactive are the shortest-lived, and those that last a long time are far less dangerous. About 40 years after the fuel becomes waste, the heat and radioactivity of the pellets have fallen by over 99 percent. After around 500 years, the waste would have to be broken down and inhaled or ingested to cause significant harm.

Compare this to other hazardous industrial materials we store in less secure ways that don’t become less toxic over time. Take ammonia: It is highly toxic, corrosive, explosive and prone to leaking. Hundreds of ammonia-related injuries and even some fatalities have been reported since 2010, and we continue to produce and transport millions of tons of it annually by pipelines, ships and trains for fertilizer and other uses.

Yet because nuclear waste seems to pose an outsize risk in the imaginations of many — especially those who lived through the Cold War — the conversation veers toward permanent solutions, like burying it deep underground in a facility like the proposed Yucca Mountain project in Nevada. There may be other benefits to consolidating spent fuel in a central facility, but safety is not the primary concern.

By failing to construct such a facility, some worry that we’re saddling the next generation with the burden of waste management. But as a young person in my 20s expecting a child this year, I feel very comfortable with the way we manage nuclear waste, with making more of it and with passing this responsibility on to our kids. I hope my daughter’s generation will inherit many new nuclear plants making clean power — and the waste that comes with them.

The waste should really be a chief selling point for nuclear energy, particularly for those who care about the environment: There’s not very much of it, it’s easily contained, it becomes safer with time and it can be recycled. And every cask of spent nuclear fuel represents about 2.2 million tons of carbon, according to one estimate, that weren’t emitted into the atmosphere from fossil fuels. For me, each cask represents hope for a safer, better future.

Read my earlier posts:

“Electricity is the lifeblood of a nation” Nuclear Energy Can Be A Solution To The Continent’s Dearth of Electricity

Nuclear Power A Necessity for Africa’s Economic Growth

African Nations Desperately Need Energy for Economic Growth

Africa`s Future Depends on Adopting Nuclear Power Generation

In the Next Decade, Nuclear Power for Africa Is A Necessity, Not An Option

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