Sunday, December 16

Economic lessons for Africa from ‘Operation Korosho’

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Ghanaian first president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah once wanted Africa to have its own cartels for its produces as the way of controlling its economy and getting away with colonialism, economic colonialism and dependency. Actually, Nkrumah wanted to start with Cocoa, Ghana’s chief product. Nkrumah says that Africa is a paradox which illustrates and highlights neocolonialism whose soil is rich, yet the products that come from above and below the soil continue to enrich, not Africans predominantly, but groups and individuals who operate to Africa’s impoverishment. For Nkrumah, Africa’s development and true freedom revolve around, among others, the economics. His slant however, was socialism, which gave him a bad name so as for him and this cause be betrayed by some of his own people. Thanks to the politics of the time, under a polarising situation Nkrumah didn’t succeed. He’s toppled by the West as the strategy of safeguarding its interests in Africa. The East, under the then USSR, didn’t help which is not only sad but also ironic.

Now over fifty years down the line, President John Magufuli seems to have rekindled Nkrumah’s dream for the economic decolonisation of Africa shall Africa take note. His recent Operation Korosho speaks volumes on this. Although there are still some doubts and worries about the stance Magufuli took, at least, there are some good news and lessons altogether. One of them is the fact that Africa lacks leadership that’s self-confidence and the spirit of trying things not to mention lack of cooperation. Magufuli move shook the world cashew market though temporarily. How’d it be shaken had all African cashew producing countries follow suit? Although the so-called world markets tend to bully Africa, they inescapably depend on it.

The Kenyan Standard (Nov., 23, 2018) quotes Michael Stevens, a commodities trader at Scotland-based Freeworld Trading, as saying that “the price of the commodity has risen to $3.80 per pound from $3.50 in the last seven to ten days” after Magufuli started Operation Korosho. However, the price is likely to fall after bigger producers start harvesting their nuts.

The second big and important lesson we need to learn from Magufuli’s stance is the fact that Africa still needs the cartelisation of its produces. And this needs a daring spirit. To know what Africa needs to do that it was supposed to do just soon after gaining independence as Nkrumah envisaged, consider the following scenarios. Consider the humongous share of minerals an other raw materials that Africa produces and supplies to the world. What do you see? Of course, you see the same grungy picture. All the so-called international-cum-world markets of our minerals are in either America or European capitals! Con men and con women in Brussels, Paris, Rome, London and elsewhere who pretend to know more about, for instance, tanzanite (a precious stone only mined in Tanzania on earth), gold or diamond get away with a lion share of profits while our people are sinking in penury.

Don’t forget their ever corrupt and narcissistic nephews in the upper echelons of power in Africa from whom Magufuli’s identified himself. Africa must form cartels for its minerals and other products in order to control their supply based on the demand the way the Gulf States and other oil producing countries do with their oil under the Organisation of Petroleum Countries (OPEC). Our minerals and resources are our oil. Our fertile soil is our oil. Thus, we need to use whatever comes of it to our advantages and needs. This is what economic decolonisation means for Africa shall it start thinking positively. We don’t need the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the World Bank (WB) to see and underscore this thorny fact. We all hear all brouhahas of free market and free trade. How free are the markets and trade if at all one portion of the globe has been exploiting another for decades?

Ironically, when it comes to stuffs like automobiles, chemicals, machines you name it that Africa imports, the situation is the same. The difference’s that those exploiting our raw materials for such goods make more bucks as we lose a lot so as to make the whole charade a twofold-profit making business for them as we suffer a double tragedy in this monkey business. All stuffs that Africa imports are extortionately expensive compared to what it produces and exports. Again, these folks swindling and exploiting Africa full well know that Africa produces what it can’t eat and eats what it can’t produce like a chicken. In a simple parlance, Africa’s like a chicken on the table before Western countries. A chicken can be robbed of its eggs. Yet, it can’t free itself from such brutal life. For, it’s nowhere to go apart from having a small cranium and small brains to conceive emancipation. The chicken’s always a dupe. For, despite being robbed of its chicks or eggs, it keeps on wondering around the table where its chicks or eggs are eaten just like African rulers do by spending much time and money begging from the table whereat their resources and toils are eaten. Look at it this way as far as neocolonialism based on exploitation works. It isn’t a big deal to grow or sell products in Western countries where farmers enjoy subsidies and stable markets. But doing the same in Africa is but a headache. These guys benefit in two way-traffic-like business. Africa, sadly, loses in all two types of businesses.

If anything, what Magufuli did is what’s been missing in Africa’s economic practices and psyche. Time for Africa to have its own cartels for its products is now; and Magufuli’s shown the way. Thus, Operation Korosho is nothing but a great lesson for Africa if it wants to detoxify its economy.

Source: Citizen, today.

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