In a continent blessed with abundant natural and human resources, the combination of which may not be that available in some other continents; it is common place to witness the curse of the foolish leaders bleeping its wealth for selfish motives. Maybe they know it themselves or maybe not, the looting African leaders are nothing but fools.
There is a taunting mantra out there now saying that this century belongs to Africa. They claim that since virtually other continents have shone their advantage to the world, now Africa, the current heaviest recipient of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), has the potential to shine. Permit me to say that Africa has already shone, and still exhibiting, a genetically woven competitive advantage – Slavery!
In the slavery of old, the powers that were in the Western World risked their lives and resources to come down to Africa to transport their catches to the sugar fields at home. With the worldwide “abolition of slavery”, African nations entered the phase of colonialization where their mineral resources were being plundered for practically no charge. Kwame Nkrumah would not believe that when he was coining the neocolonialism term (suggesting the practice of former colonial powers using capitalism, business globalization, and cultural imperialism to control a country, rather than direct military control or indirect political control), his colleagues in the continental leadership will continue to willfully, hand over the resources of the people to the former lords. If they care to listen awhile, they would hear Nkrumah speaking to them from the grave: “You fools! The same wealth we fought them to leave for us to develop our land and its people, for our descendants to feel free for once, you are returning to them without duress; I’m ashamed of you looting thieves.”
A teacher of mine once mentioned in class that with avenues deliberately opened for political office holders through which they can be legally “rich”, we should not see them flagrantly robbing us of our collective wealth. But these “leaders”, both political and business, having thrown shame and pricking conscience into the winds will not stop but take our extractive resources – oil in Nigeria, Libya, Angola; diamond in Sierra Leone and Liberia, Cocoa in Cote d’Ivoire as the ATM machine vomiting billions of dollars into their personal purses. A regular sharing of excess crude revenue, VAT and 13% derivation (for oil producing states) is done in Nigeria with billions of Naira going to each state of the federation aside the statutory monthly allocation from the federation account; contracts are being over-inflated with the excess valuation finding its way into some guys’ pockets, you would have also seen them greedily short-changing the work force or agencies of their subventions. You can imagine other hideous ways these “leaders” would be employing to extract the juice of livelihood from the citizenry.
Now, to crystallize their stupidity, they might be thinking they just safe kept their money in the various Swiss, American, British, Caribbean or even middle eastern banks or properties; but even an idiot knows how banks create money. The receiving economies rather thrive on the stashed monies in ways not too hidden:
- The cumulative loots give an unjustifiable position of the receiving banks (we may need to confirm maybe not much African loots have found their ways into Spanish and Greek banks).
- Since there will not be a quick call on the money, the loots provide a cheap source of funds for business startups, operations, and research & development; thereby providing employment for their children while ours roam the streets aimlessly.
- When you have contracts or joint ventures with enterprises in the receiving nations; imagine them accessing your own money to execute jobs here for which you will still pay. Double rape you may say.
- In essence, the receiving nation gets some free lubrication to oil it’s national wheels.
- The receiving nations would also not be out of order to lend back the money (or part of it) to the victim countries when they are approached for loans- the burden to be borne by generations still unborn, unless “forgiven”.
- Or, very commonly and the most painful, the looting leader is exposed, criminalized or convicted; then the receiving nation freezes the assets which may or not be returnable. Even, if they repatriate the loot to the victim nation, they are quite sure the money will soon find its way back to their nests anyway.
In my view, knowingly walking into the den of the above raised situations is stupid. Or you don’t think so? But do they care?
However, I’m making a call, in resonance with Yogi guru Baba Ramdev’s protest of Indian black money stashed abroad, that these loots be brought back to the continent. Looters! Invest the monies here, develop our ailing and absent infrastructures, put smile on our faces and give hope to our children – you can keep the returns on these investments, but only in Africa. Thereafter, the looters, rather the repentant leaders, might be forgiven, admired and even praised. Don’t be foolish!