Peace Through Development:
The Nigerian Perspective
PROF. SAM ALUKO
Sam Aluko is a Professor of Economics who lives in Akure, in Ondo State, Nigeria. He served in the Economics Ministry of the Nigerian government for four years during the early 1980s. He delivered the following address to a conference panel entitled "Peace through Development in Africa: The Moral Challenge for Europe," on May 5, 2001.
I appreciate the invitation extended to me by the Schiller Institute, not only to attend this very important conference, but also to contribute to the discourse on economic recovery as a vehicle for the sustenance of peace, in a world that has become increasingly bedevilled with financial, economic and moral crises, in spite of the increasing and new and complex technologies which are daily being made available to mankind.
There is hardly anywhere in the world today, where the financial, economic, and moral crises are more evident, widespread, persistent, and likely to continue, than in the African continent. Since about one out of every six Africans lives in Nigeria (in fact, because of the dispersal of Nigerians throughout the African continent, about one out of every four or five Africans is a Nigerian), whatever happens in Nigeria has a very significant impact on the African continent.
One of the most evident characteristics of the African continent is that it has always been a "follower continent"; that it continues to remain a "follower continent"; and, unless it finds faith and independence in its own peoples, action, and governments, Africa's continuing economic decline, its financial and moral crises, will not only increase and deepen, but will also ultimately constitute a threat to the peace and stability of the entire world. This is because the enormous economic and natural resources of the African continent will continue to invite the competitive exploitation and spoliation of today's world's most developed nations, as their diminishing resources recede further and further while their insatiable appetites grow more gargantuan by the day, and the financial and economic crises which are beginning to manifest in their countries deepen and defy solution.
It is significant that it was in the heart of Germany, where this conference on economic growth and world peace is being held, that the then few great powers of the world, at the Berlin Conference in 1884, decided to partition Africa and set it on its road to economic disintegration, political enslavement, and moral degeneration. Before and since then, Africa had gone through the pangs of slavery, colonization, economic domination, imperialism, neo-imperialism, European metropolitan peripherilization, and political manipulations that had led to and continue to sustain intra-ethnic and inter-ethnic wars and violence, aided, abetted and sustained by the technologies, weapons and propaganda of the powerful nations of Europe and America.
As one of the privileged Africans, who have had the benefit of education and close and sustained interaction with Europe and America, I lay the main blame on my own African peoples. First, the blame on my African ancestors who, for a little inducement of gunpowder, money, and materials, sold our young and vibrant Africans into slavery and colonialism, and now, for money, wealth, and power, continue to sell the conscience of the continent to the ideas, philosophies, and inducements of the Westto the extent that the whole of the African continent today owes the West and its finance capitalists, debts that are almost thrice the gross domestic wealth of the continent. Africa has reached the present lackluster morass because its leaders have always been blind followers of the West, which is why I have called Africa, the "follower continent."
When slavery was popular in the world, African leaders readily embraced it as a vehicle to wealth and power. When colonialism replaced slavery, African leaders readily pawned their kingdoms, dukedoms, and empires to the colonizing powers. When colonialism became discredited and communism/socialism/capitalism became the dominant competing ideologies in the West, African leaders readily embraced one variant or the other of communism, socialism, or capitalism. Now that communism and socialism have been virtually killed and exterminated by the West, epitomized by the U.S.A., and substituted with free trade, liberalization, deregulation, privatization, globalization, and other capitalist shibboleths, African leaders and governments have followed these "sing-songs" as their cardinal ideologies to economic development, political resorgimento, and resurgence.
When the West extended the carrot of loan capital to the African leaders and governments, they followed readily, and ended up in the web of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Paris Club, and the London Club of Creditors who now virtually run the African governments, with ready acquiescence and following by the African leaders. I need recount no more because the leaders of this Institute, and particularly Dr. LaRouche, have been in the forefront of exposing the designs of these world finance capitalists and their designs against not only the economies of the poorer segments of the world, but also particularly of the African governments.
Failure to Plan for Economic Growth and Peace
It is often said, and wisely too, that, "no one plans to fail, but many fail to plan." This is exactly what is happening in most countries in Africa today. Let me use Nigeria as a veritable example.
When the British Empire was in control of the politics and the economy of Nigeria, it encouraged and instituted "Development Plans" for the economy. The first was the Ten-Year Development and Welfare Plan, 1946-55; followed by 1955-60-62. When Nigeria became independent in 1960, it still continued with the 1962-68, 1970-75, 1975-80, and 1980-85 Development Plans, but with diminishing commitments to planning. The Colonial Plans were mainly designed to ensure a more coordinated harnessing of the vast Nigerian natural resources for British interests, manufactures, and commerce. Marketing Boards were established for cocoa, rubber, palm produce, cotton, and groundnuts, among others, and Government Corporations were established for the vast mineral resources of Nigeria, for energy, and, later for petroleum oil.
But as the hold of the West became less and less on the Nigerian resources, the economists and the political powerbrokers of the West began to adumbrate consistently and with manipulated statistics, that the Marketing Boards were exploitative of the local farmers; that the corporations were a restraint on trade and efficiency; that the public-sector management of the economy was corrupt and undesirable; and that the government "had no business in business" but should deregulate and privatize the boards and the corporations.
In 1986, the IMF/World Bank succeeded in convincing the then Nigerian military government into adopting their Structural Adjustment Program. The Marketing Boards were disbanded; public enterprises were deregulated; government intervention in the economy became discredited; monetary and fiscal policies of government were relaxed, and the free traders took over the reins of government. The result was that cocoa production in Nigeria fell from about 400,000 tons a year in 1986 to 150,000 tons in 2000, and the production of cotton, groundnuts, hides and skin, rubber, and palm produce decreased to between 25% and 35% of the 1986 level. Coal production fell from 360,000 tons in 1980 to 19,000 tons in 2000. Per capita income of Nigerians fell from $760 per annum in 1985 to $360 in 2000. Food imports replaced food exports. The value of the naira, Nigeria's currency, fell from N1=$1 in 1985, to N115=$1 today, at the Central Bank exchange rate (Table 1).[FIGURE 11] Black marketing in the nation's currency began and grew since 1985, to become N140=$1 today.
The IMF/WorldBank and their Western sponsors have now stated, with the approval of Nigeria's Central Bank, that the naira is even overvalued at the existing rate of exchange. The IMF has pencilled the naira at N550=$1 as its real market rate of exchange. Ghana, whose cedi was of the same value as the naira in 1980, now has the exchange rate of the cedi at 6,750 cedi=$1. Ditto in almost all the countries of Africa.
The foreign debt overhang in Nigeria increased from zero in 1960, to $1 billion in 1979, $11.5 billion in 1986, $33.2 billion in 1990, and $35 billion in 2000about $18 billion of which was the current accumulated interest. In actual fact, Nigeria borrowed about $17.5 billion between 1979 and today, repaid about $33 billion during the period, and is still owing $35 billion. Nigeria's debt is, today, estimated at about 82% of its Gross Domestic Product.
The IMF/World Bank, the Paris Club, and the London Club of Creditors (the Paris Club is the same creditor countries when they act as governments, as the London Club countries when they act as bank lenders), have involved Nigeria, like other African debtor countries, in debt-rescheduling, debt conversion, debt-buyback and deferred payments; all of which had exacerbated the debt burden, rather than debt relief or debt cancellation which the Nigerian governments hoped would be granted, if they continued to follow the prescriptions and the economic dictates of the creditors. As Nigeria became poorer and poorer, its leaders became more and more criminalized; lost more and more confidence in themselves and in the economy; and increased the keeping of their wealth, much of which was stolen or taken from the economy, in the banks, or invested it in the economies of the West, with the active encouragement or connivance of the West.
Nigeria is now being propelled to democratize as a way to economic recovery. But with every passing day since the military was replaced with a "democratic" regime in May 1999, the life and living conditions of the average Nigerian continue to deteriorate, with the hope of an economic recovery becoming more and more distant. But our government continues to follow the dictates of the West, with privatization, deregulation, liberalization, minimization of government involvement in the economy; retrenchment in public-sector employment; belief in a private-sector-led economy, even though the production sector itself is depressed, functioning at about 30% of its executive capacity, today, compared with 75-80% in 1985. The rate of interest has risen to 50% per annum, when the rate of return is less than 1.015%, if the products are sold at all, since the purchasing power of consumers has considerably reduced. The result is that Nigeria is now flooded with second-hand goods, low-quality or fake products, dumped and heavily subsidized foreign goods, from toothpicks to the most sophisticated equipment from the West and Asia. These further depress the few surviving industries in Nigeria and send them out of production. In 1999 alone, over 4,000 small and medium enterprises folded up in Nigeria.
The catalogue of economic woes can be multiplied ad infinitum in Nigeria. Yet, Nigeria is still regarded in Africa as one of the few resilient economies that are surviving the onslaught from the West.
The Future and the Prospects
Rather than have our own original ideas and chart a new path for development, the present regime, with all its good intentions, aided and abetted by the West, has made anti-corruption crusades its main vehicle of economic growth and development. It has enacted a stiff anti-corruption law which is not materially different from what had long existed in many countries of southern Africa, Egypt, Algeria, etc., where corruption has increased. The regime seems to forget that most of the Western countries developed on corruption, both internally and internationally. The difference between the corruption of the West and Africa's, is that while that of the West was internalized and productive, ours in Africa had been, and continues to be externalized and destructive. There is no political system, democratic, oligarchic, dictatorial, republican, or monarchical, that had not been corrupt in varying degrees, Germany inclusive.
Therefore, Nigeria, like Africa, must return to itself: find its own views; chart a different economic path from deregulation, privatization, globalization, and liberalization, and use its government as the main engine of growth through planning and control of its exchange rate, its rates of interest, and the pursuit of full employment for its citizens, by mobilizing both the public sector and subsidizing the private sector in that direction. Otherwise, the new slavery emerging in Nigeria will be worse than that of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries' slavery in Africa.
Then, the slave traders bought the African illiterate youths from their captors, rulers, and leaders, and took them to the plantations in Europe, Oceania and the Americas. Today, millions of well-trained and professional Africans daily besiege the Western embassies, High Commissions, and Legations in Africa to pay highly for visas to enter Europe, America, including Canada and Oceania, in order to perform the slave-like and menial jobs, including prostitution, in these same countries, at the expense of Africa's economic fortune and honor.
Nigeria and Africa must pursue a new and different program of economic reform from the current prescriptions of the IMF/World Bank and their Western collaborators.
In order to achieve a modicum of economic growth that will meet the aspirations of Nigeria, and of Africa, a Marshall-type program for Europe, and, preferably a [Franklin] Delano Roosevelt type of economic recovery program for the U.S.A., must be formulated, adopted and executed. Otherwise, the dichotomy between the rich and the poor in Africa will intensify, increase the simmering and growing tensions, crises, and wars in Africa. Such a situation will increase the conflict between Africa and the West. Just as a country cannot remain at peace, half-slave and half-free, so the world cannot remain over-developed and under-developed, and hope to have and sustain peace.
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Fight for a World Free
Of the IMF and World Bank
Mr. Ndarubagiye is a representative of the National Committee for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD) in Burundi. He delivered the following address to a conference panel entitled "Peace through Development in Africa: The Moral Challenge for Europe," on May 5, 2001.
I start my speech by remembering our friend [Taras Muranivsky] from Russia, who passed away and who was with us here last year; I beg our Russian friends present in this forum to convey our condolences to his bereaved family. [See Tributes in Memory of Prof. Taras Muranivsky (in Russian).] After this note of sorrow, I now express a different note of respect by greeting our friends who are now free after long and painful years in jail in America as political prisoners. I salute their own courage and the patience of their families. No matter how difficult the struggle is or may be, let us all stick together as a family around Mr. and Mrs. LaRouche.
My name is Leonce Ndarubagiye. I am from Burundi, and it is an honor for me to be here representing the Chairman of our liberation movement, the CNDD, the Honorable Leonard Nyangoma. I am sincerely grateful to the Schiller Institute for having invited me and my colleague Jean-Baptiste Bigirimana to participate in this seminar. I always say that when I leave here after a seminar, I go back home less stupid than I came in, because I learn things that are not even taught in universities, about what is going on around the globe. You particularly opened my eyes about the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and the World Bank.
This is my second time to participate, and I certainly will learn more once again. When I was here last Summer, little did I know that I would be witnessing the result of your campaign through the protests against the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization in Seattle and Ottawa, as well as elsewhere in the world. Even if some of those protesting don't even know the existence of the Schiller Institute, they all learned from you in one way or another, because you certainly were the first people and organization to talk about the misdeeds of these Bretton Woods institutions. I therefore take this opportunity to congratulate you, Mr. LaRouche and your team.
Having said this, please allow me now to develop the topic I have been assigned to, namely, the situation in the Great Lakes region of Africa, which comprises the following states: Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
Burundi, this small country in the heart of Africa, is in a dramatic crisis which takes its origins on Oct. 21, 1993, when the army assassinated the democratically elected President, [FIGURE 21]the late Melchior Ndadaye, and overthrew his government, which we were part of. I was then the Governor of one of the 16 provinces in Burundi, and I escaped death by a miracle, by quickly leaving my residence for a hideout only five minutes before a lorry of 24 soldiers armed to the teeth arrived, searching for me, with firm instructions from people I well know to come and kill me. If I am still alive, it is thanks to a Chinese lady and her team who made up the Chinese Health Mission in the province where I was the Governor. They took me in refuge into their house and hid me at that crucial time.
So, when the army assassinated the President and overthrew the government, the leaders who escaped assassination decided to organize the masses into an armed struggle of resistance, with the aim of restoring democracy in Burundi. That is how our liberation movement, the CNDD, was created, led by the Hon. Leonard Nyangoma. The truth about the civil war in Burundi, is that it pits the military dictatorship and its army, on the one hand, and the people and their elected leaders, on the other hand.
Yet, you will all have heard from the not-so-neutral world press that the civil war pits some backward and primitive tribes called the Hutu and the Tutsi of Burundi, [which are] exterminating each other with no other apparent reason than the tribe [affiliations]. This way of misleading the public and telling lies is a cunning trick to hide the invisible hand of "civilized" governments who support the military dictator, Maj. Pierre Buyoyawho is presented by the same media as a "moderate," although more than 300,000 people have been slaughtered since he came to power through the coup putsch.
Please be informed that you find both Hutu and Tutsi in the oligarchy, as well as in the armed struggle. So, the whole thing is about democratic principles, and not about tribes. The best example of what I just said, is that my colleague Jean-Baptiste Bigirimana is a Hutu and I am a Tutsi, yet we are both faithful members of the CNDD and of its delegation here. Our two colleagues from Rwanda are Hutu, but I as a Tutsi have no quarrel with them. So, please let no one fool you that the war in Burundi is a Hutu-Tutsi conflict; it is all about democracy versus dictatorship.
Concerning Rwanda and Uganda, both countries have a similar situation of dictatorship, where the rule of law is replaced by the rule of one major-general, be it [Paul] Kagame or [Yoweri] Museveni. Both men are the proxies of the IMF, the World Bank, and whoever hides behind these Bretton Woods financial institutions. Both countries are ruled by a single-party political system, but believe me, there is also resistance against these dictatorships. Yet, they are given as examples in Africa of development, and no one tells them to hurry up in democratizing their regimes, like in other parts of Africa. You are certainly aware that these two regimes invaded the Congo, under the pretext of protecting their respective borders from would-be terrorists supposedly coming from the Congo. We happen to know that when they attacked, they went straight, landing their paratroopers in the western coast of the Congo in the towns of Kitona, Banana, Moanda, Boma, and conquering Matadi, Mbanzangungu, while simultaneously invading the eastern part of the Congo. How can those people be so unscrupulous to tell such lies of defending their borders 2,500 kilometers away, at the other end of Congo on the Atlantic coast! It is like Norway defending its borders somewhere in North Africa.
The naked truth is that Rwanda and Uganda are on somebody else's contract to prevent the Congo from controlling its own mines or selling them to any undesired buyer, especially such sensitive mines as uranium, cobalt, and others. Allow me to tell you this: You have recently learned about a United Nations report accusing Rwanda and Uganda of looting Congolese wealth. Did you guess the meaning of this report? Its aim was to remind Rwanda and Uganda that they have been paid and sent to the Congo as watchmen of their masters, yet the watchmen are stealing from the granary. You will take notice that no one makes report about the looting done by Lebanese and Israelis in the Congo, because these are authorized agents or authorized looters. Burundi has also sent troops into Congo and has been accused of looting too.
Doomed in the Name of Liberalization
Concerning the Congo, we can say that this country is a victim of its wealth. Everybody wants to take a slice of the huge and sweet cake, except the legitimate owners, the Congolese, who have been prevented from defending their property. The people of the Congo must take their responsibility and fight whoever invades their land. It is irrelevant to rely on foreign troops to defend one's property without putting up a minimum of resistance. The wealth that lies under the surface of their land is a God-given right.
I do not have much to say about Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia, except that these countries share with the four others named above, Burundi, Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda, the unfortunate fate of crumbling under the burden of the debt. Please let me remind you that in the 1970s, developing countries owed $2.3 trillion to the lenders who call themselves donorsas Mr. LaRouche said yesterday, correctly, today those [donor] countries [themselves] owe more than $70 trillion and have a debt service of $230 billion a year; who can survive under such circumstances?
To come back to the countries of the Great Lakes region of Africa, they all share a colonial past, the neo-colonial present, and the tragedies caused by the globalization dictated by the IMF, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization. They are told to liberalize their economies, to privatize their domestic companies, to cut off their customs duties and tariffs, to borrow money for the white elephant of Structural Adjustment Program, to open up their markets to foreign investments. The result is that these countries are relinquishing more and more their sovereignty.
One would like to know, who will take care of the citizens of these countries, once multinational companies will have acquired everything in the land? Will Africans request, then, Coca-Cola and IBM, Elf-Aquitaine, Telekom, Mitsubishi, and others, to build schools, hospitals, roads, and bridges? Of course not. Africans will be doomed and abandoned to their tragic fate. All that in the name of liberalization: This globalization is the easiest way of destroying nation-states, while trampling on their sovereignty and honor.
We have information according to which large African countries will be cut to size, by encouraging secessions, especially those who happen to have the potentiality of becoming strong, once organized. So, a country like Congo will be divided into six separate so-called independent, weak states, to be dictated by multinationals and from which to loot mercilessly. All this will happen while America and Europe are uniting their respective continents into bigger entities, which will then be able to swallow the weak. It is very cynical indeed.
Our proposal is that we study at this seminar the ways and means to fight for a better world for all, free from the IMF, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and selective international courts.
Thank you all.
Winning the Peace
for An African Renaissance
Mr. Gahururu is a representative of the Rally for Democracy in Rwanda (RDR), in charge of foreign relations. He delivered the following address to a conference panel entitled "Peace through Development in Africa: The Moral Challenge for Europe," on May 5,2001.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for giving me the opportunity to address this friendly gathering. Allow me to thank the Schiller Institute for giving me the occasion for this study trip, and especially, allow me to express my thanks for having scheduled two interventions by the Rwanda delegation. Our message is unique: We are launching a solemn appeal and a cry of alarm, an SOS for Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region.
In the name of my own political organization, the RDR, one of the Rwanda political organizations which are struggling to promote the rebirth of Rwanda and Africa, allow me to express my profound gratitude for having given so much space at your seminar for men from my continent, a dying continent, to speak. I refer most especially to Lyn and Helga LaRouche, whose commitment towards Africa dates far back. Your loving relationship towards our continent began many years back.
For example, over 25 years ago, in 1974, you set up a team headed by Warren Hamerman, who, at that time, under your leadership, had warned of the worldwide holocaust which would be result of International Monetary Fund and World Bank policies in Africa. At the time, you had pointed to the neo-Malthusian doctrine expounded by these monetary institutions. You analyzed the nefarious influence of budgetary austerity, dictated, in true neo-colonialist fashion, to the continent.
What you said at the time was, and remains true today. The Bretton Woods institutions crushed economic growth, and sped on the process disintegrating our national economies. The greatest paradox lay in the fact that their policy led to a fall in national revenue, and, using as a pretext the need to make good the shortfall, the policy only led to a vicious circle of further austerity measures. Look at Africa today! A bitter sight to see! The famous Structural Adjustment Programs have done nothing but drag downwards physical production per capita. The possibility for men to create has shrunk, while both the social and economic life of our citizens is in jeopardy, in both the short and long term.
It is, in part, from this standpoint that one should understand the many acts of genocide in a dying Africa.
LaRouche's Program for Africa
You, Mr. LaRouche, did warn us! For example, in April 1975, your movement had opposed this policy of genocide, by a program of great projects for Africa. You cited, in particular, a road and rail network, and a project to develop the Sudanese savannah and the Sahel in West Africa. The latter took form in 1980, with the Committee for a New Africa Policy, which was then led by Hulan Jack. You took a stand, and launched a campaign to industrialize the whole continent. Your highly constructive criticism is still fresh in our mind, notably your famous analysis of the [Organization of African Unity's] Lagos Action Plan, in April 1980.
Allow me to note as an aside, that I would advise all African economics faculties to read, and draw the lessons, from that valuable document, which is still very much up to date. You note, chapter, book, and verse, the conceptual errors of the Lagos Plan, stressing the institutional obstacles to the development of nation-states on our continent.
You were even more concrete in 1985, when, within the Democratic Party faction you lead, you proposed interlocking infrastructural and development projects. I would single out the railroad projects from Egypt, which concern my native region, the Great Lakes, via Sudan, to include Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, and Tanzania. There was also the water-management project for the Nile and Lake Victoria basins. We followed closely the impact of your recent contribution, on your latest trip to Sudan, where you renewed your appeal to institutionalize a pact between the nation-states concerned by this vital project [see EIR, Feb. 9, 2001].
Mr. LaRouche, there are many of us from our region, who would express their gratitude to you. For us in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and the Congo, we are proud to count you among the few statesmen who have publicly denounced the genocide striking at our respective peoples.
Much is taking place: wars of genocide, unleashed by criminals against mankind. What follows is a credible statement from a witness who broke through the borders of darkness. It is a transcription of a homily by Msgr. Dominique Kimpinde, the bishop of Kalemie-Kiriungu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We learn that "the war, far from being over, is now intensifying . . . in southeastern parts of the Congo like Kyoko, Nyemba, Nyunwu. . . . The situation is still more dramatic for those who have remained behind. The children are little old men, there is neither clothing, nor soap, nor salt, nor medicine. . . . This fearful situation is not known abroad. Recordings are confiscated, letters, even those given to travellers, are opened, read, and often seized. We have no freedom. Even in Moscow, under Communism, I believe that prisoners could communicate with their families. So cut off are we, we live like slaves, in fear and anxiety that our lives will be lost. And there is no refuge, no succour."
A U.S. association, the International Rescue Committee, found, in June 2000, that 1.7 million lives had been lost in the Congolese war. That agency has just revised its figures upwards. It confirms a report from a Washington Post reporter, Karl Vick, who revealed in the Washington Post on April 2, 2001, that the conflict has probably already led to the death of 3 million Congolese. Since August 1998, Kivu has undergone systematic depopulation. More than 2.5 million are in refugee camps. They are wandering about the interior, or are in camps in Tanzania, Zambia, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Rwanda, Uganda, Congo, Brazzaville, etc. Women have been buried alive at Kalambi (Mwenga). Massacres have been perpetrated at Makobola and near Fizi, everywhere, even in hospitals, such as that at Mukongola (Kabare).
U.S. Rep. Cythnia McKinney (D-Ga.) was not wrong when she spoke of "genocide" in the Congo. There is, indeed, a systematic character to the killings, which have been carefully planned ahead of time. It cannot be a mere accident, that humanitarian aid has been systematically blocked, that the civilian population has been dispersed towards such inhospitable areas. . . .
You may perhaps have read the latest experts' report on the illegal exploitation of the Congo's natural resources. The report refers to systematic looting of its minerals, coffee, wood, cattle, by armies of the Burundi [President Pierre] Buyoya, of the Rwandan [President Paul] Kagame, and of that Ugandan Hitler, [Yoweri] Museveni. The looting goes on, treading underfoot the Congo's sovereignty, as well as international law. The outcome is twofold: These aggressor armies have gained access to vast financial resources, and have built up a mafia net, made up of regional and international criminal bands, but operating on a global scale!
Do you wish further detail, as to what these campaigns of deregulation, globalization, and so forth, mean for us in Africa?
The Price the Great Lakes Region Has Paid
The Great Lakes region knows the price it has paid: the death of 6 million people in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Congo, written off as collateral losses, against the revenue of diamonds and gold. The international community, paralyzed by its guilt for having failed to act whilst genocide took place in Rwanda in April 1994, allowed Kagame's army, backed by Museveni and Buyoya, to unleash terror throughout the region.
Let me tell you one thing about Rwanda. As the Belgian Parliamentary Inquiry on the genocide in Rwanda showed, it was Paul Kagame who laid down an ultimatum to the foreign troops present at that time: Leave the country, and refrain from all assistance to the Rwandans in danger of death.
Similarly, one should bear in mind that the final report of the UN Commission on the genocide in Rwanda, prepared under the chairmanship of the former Togolese Minister Mr. Atsu-Koffi Amega, was perfectly clear as to what occurred between April and July 1994 in Rwanda. The report concluded that both military men commanded by Kagame, and those of the former Rwandan government, had broken international humanitarian law and perpetrated crimes against humanity.
Today, ever more reliable witnesses have pointed to the RPF [Rwandan Patriotic Front], in general, and Kagame, in particular, as having been behind the murder of the Rwanda President [Juvenal] Habyarimana, and his Burundi colleague, Cyprean Ntaryamira, along with several close associates and the French aircrew, on April 7, 1994. As you will recall, this murder led, according to the UN Commission of experts, to "crimes against humanity and acts of genocide."
When we call for a major initiative to save peace and security, we first mean restoring truth and justice. We need your political and diplomatic support to solve a life-and-death problem affecting the peace and security of more than 150 million inhabitants in the Great Lakes region. France has already put forward the excellent idea of an international conference on durable peace and security in the Great Lakes area. It deserves our support. For that dialogue to take place, and lead to real results, it must be open to all sides, and held under circumstances which will allow the participants to come to what might be like the Münster Agreement [the Treaty of Westphalia] which ended the Thirty Years War in Europe in the 17th Century.
There are urgent situations which require your intervention to save the peace: a halt to the hostilities; setting up a legitimate state in our area, along with republican armed forces and security forces which will reassure each citizen; strict respect for the rights of the individual; peaceful return of the refugees; partial, or general amnesty following proper trials; the freeing of political prisoners.
Rest assured of one thing: Contrary to calumnious reports in the press, in our own region, and throughout the diaspora, there is great determination to end the suicide of our respective peoples. Despite great suffering, we are mobilized for a culture which stands for life and freedom. We intend to contribute to the idea of an African renaissance, as it has been ardently defended by Presidents [Thabo] Mbeki of South Africa, [Gen. Olusegun] Obasanjo of Nigeria, [Abdelaziz] Bouteflika of Algeria, and [Abdoulaye] Wade of Senegal. Everyone agrees: The Rwandan cauldron representsunless something be donethe threshold of a new Dark Age for the whole continent. Rwanda, and the Great Lakes area, is a test of conscience for the whole of mankind. This is where humanity shall show of what stuff it is made, that it has the morality and the energy required.
Economic Growth Is Crucial
More concretely, and to a subject dear to LaRouche: Only the perspective of growth in the real economy, such as would improve the living conditions of the population, can bring hope back to our region, and to all of Africa. This also happens to be the fundamental requirement to settling our conflicts.
There will be no peace, unless our countries know social and economic progress. The last 25 years have been a great let-down for Africa. Her youth is now convinced that the West is concerned only to control, and loot, her raw materials. And although some governments have perhaps helped a little more than others, they have not dared to overthrow the basic trend of a disastrous policy. An international conference on the Great Lakes would bring back onto the agenda this sort of issue, which has constantly been put off at the summits of Western heads of state.
One crucial point: $350 billion of Africa debt. That debt must be redirected, so as to allow infrastructure projects to go up all over the continent, without which, poverty will never be wiped out, nor will there be industrial and agricultural development. My own political organization is deeply grateful to a friend of Africa, who has helped us to understand the stakes involved in the renaissance of Africa, for which he has made the Leibnizian concept clear: a fusion between political, economic, social, and cultural progress, on the one hand, and scientific and technological progress on the other.
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All Africa Is in a Crisis of Survival
PROF. ABDALLA A. ABDALLA
Professor Abdalla, from Khartoum, is Sudan's former Minister of Agriculture and former Ambassador to the United States. The following speech was delivered to a conference panel entitled "Peace through Development in Africa: The Moral Challenge for Europe," on May 5., 2001
Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman, let me first express my gratitude to the Schiller Institute for availing this opportunity for me to come from Sudan and be with you in this conference, and to share with you some observations and some thoughts relating to Africa in general, and perhaps, if time allows, Sudan in particular. And, to engage with you in this very lively debate, that I'm sure is going to be very fruitful.
Yesterday, Mr. LaRouche gave a very moving and meaningful statement about Africa, very supportive for Africa. Mr. LaRouche gave a presentation which I can give the term of "LaRouche Global-Strategic-Afro-Framework." It was a strategic framework, a rational framework, and also, a rational approach, with very clear vision and will relating to Africa, past, present, and future. And that framework has provided usI'm sure all of uswith fresh vision needed for the modernization of Africa, based on the principles, in his words, of the common welfare, and that Africa should be given the cognitive power over its destiny.
Yes, I would agree with all the vision, the framework, the strategy, the thought, that Africa is entitled to an agenda, an economic development agenda, just like other continents have had the opportunity, especially Europe after the war. That Africa is entitled to that agenda, and must have it, and must have it through its own toil, but also supported globally. I accept that vision. I accept that strategy. I accept that framework. I accept it as a strategic vision, but, I will say that it is not complete. I would say that, while we are in need of that vision, and of that strategy, and of that framework, we are equally in need of an immediate framework, an urgent framework, to salvage the African people from the current miserable and sad situation they are in. And that cannot wait for a long-term strategy. That is the situation. We are living now very miserably. Very sad. Extremely urgent. And we should also not only look for strategic ideas to salvage the situation, but we should also look for immediate options, immediate notions, immediate ideas that can help the African people survive. We are in a crisis of survival. We are in a structural crisis, a crisis of survival for many African countries.
I will give only some examples to illustrate how urgent the situation is: In my own country, Sudan, we have now a war going on. A war that has been going on approximately for the last 40 years, with a break from 1972, after the Addis Abeba agreement, to 1983, when the war was revived again. And it still goes on now. That war, together with other wars in the Great Lakes, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Mozambiqueyou name itthese wars have resulted in [the deaths of] about 78 million people. And, as Mr. LaRouche said, it is highly probable, and highly likely that it is by design, that the population of Africa should not be allowed to increase. That it is by design that Africa should remain trapped in being a provider of raw materials. That it is by design that the African population should not increase, so that they do not consume those raw materials. Because they are for others to consume, and not for them. It is by design that this is being done, as Mr. LaRouche said yesterday.
In Sudannow we are meeting here; yesterday, Mr. Bush made a decision to send a special envoy for humanitarian assistance, Mr. Andrew Natsios, to be his special envoy in Sudan, to monitor the humanitarian assistance reaching, or supposedly should reach, those who are trapped in the conflict in southern Sudan. Well, I would have thought that this was not the priority for Mr. Bush. I would have thought that the priority for Mr. Bush was to exert pressure on both parties, government and rebels, to stop the war. His contribution should go toward a cease-fire, before it goes to a humanitarian envoy. Because humanitarian assistance would not stop the war, it would rather prolong the war. If you continue giving humanitarian assistance, it would rather tend to prolong the war, not stop it. But, what will stop the war, is a cease-fire decision. And I think Mr. Bush, and others, are capable of exerting that pressure, particularly so, that the government of Sudan has been repeatedly announcing that they are ready for a cease-fire.
But, the SPLA [Sudanese People's Liberation Army] leader [John Garang] has been consistently denying that, and his latest condition, in the last week, is that he would go for a cease-fire, if the government of Sudan would stop exploring and getting out petroleum and exporting it.
And here I see a contradiction. It must be through the petroleum, and development, that we should promote peace! That peace could be promoted if we can take the proceeds of the petroleum and put them into development in the south, and in the east, and in the west, and in all the marginalized areas that have remained underdeveloped in Sudan. Not to ask for stopping the oil, but to go for a cease-fire, and then to go for deliberations, for negotiations; and then, to see to it that the proceeds of petroleum should go into the development of the devastated areas of the South, the devastated areas of the West, and of also the Southeast.
A Problem of Poverty and Poor Resources
So, my point here, is that, this is a country that has got a conflict in hand, so we need, first, to settle that conflict. We need conflict resolution to resolve the conflict. It is possible to resolve the conflict, if you can address the real root causes of the problem, and also to let the Sudanese handle these root causes. The real root causes are not religious. Religion has never been, in Sudan, a question. Never. Christianity and Islam have been living together like everything you would like to see living together. It is not a religious question.
This polarization of Christian-African South and Arab-Muslim North is a creation ofis an outside creation. It is notI am a Sudanese, I don't feel that. I don't feel anything against Christians. As a matter of fact, my religion dictates to me to respect Jesus Christ's teachings, and if I don't do that, I am not a Muslim. And I think most of you know that [it is] Abrahamic religions, from which Islam and Christianity derive: the same principles, the same human principles. So, it is not a religious problem at all. It is not even an ethnic problem. And you heard the speaker before me, speaking about the Tutsis and Hutus: We have no problems there with the tribes, the ethnic. They have been living together.
Perhaps there are conflicts over resources, over water, over grass, over land. But these are just simple conflicts between tribes over these poor resources. If you develop these resources, then you remove these conflicts. It's a problem of poverty that initiates the conflicts. It's not a problem of ethnicity or religion. It's a real problem of poverty and poor resources. And if these potential resources, big resources, like in Sudan, for examplelots of land, lots of grass, lots of animals, lots of water: If these are managed well, then the reasons for the conflicts between the tribes are meant to be removed. So, it is really a political, developmental question. It's not an ethnic or religious question.
I would say, this illustrates the point made by LaRouche yesterday, that it is really external factors, like Bush sending this envoy; like this Christian Coalition in Washington, getting together the fundamentalist Christian Coalition, then the evangelicals, and, strangely enough, the issue being raised is the issue of slavery in Sudan. And when we hear that in Sudan, we are just amazed. We have never known, in our recent history, what slavery is. Never. Well, I don't know quite. I'm a Sudanese, and I have never seen, or practiced, or even rationalized, or have a notion of slavery. But this is now the issue in Washington. And even African-Americans are now being brought into this. Trying to get the African-Americans in with this coalition, which is trying to destabilize Sudan, and have it continuously destabilized; bringing this issue, which is very sensitive, to the African-Americans. But I'm sure that they will be aware of this: why these religious leaders are being brought together; and even Michael Jackson is being mobilized to go fight slavery in Sudan. And even Jesse Jackson, also.
An Immediate Agenda Is Needed
I think I would likeI asked Mr. LaRouche for a model, or for an agenda, an immediate agenda. I would like to propose what I could see as probably an immediate agenda for these countries that are either now in war, or where the conflict has been resolved but the peace is not yet durable. All those countries that had been out of the conflict, and now are trying to develop, but still, yes, still, even in these areasSierra Leone, and Mozambique, and so onit is not yet durable peace. So, I think, if we look back, if we want to suggest certain policies, or to suggest certain actions, or certain activities that likely will help resolve the situations, resolve the conflicts, help in moving forward with their development, I would like to mention that several economic models, largely based on foreign ideologies, have been practiced in Africa, and this was during the Cold War. Many of the African countries have either sided with the East or the West. And therefore, their economic models were brought from these ideologies, either East or West, because then it was a rather safe policy to align yourself with one of the powers. But, now, it is not the same situation. And these models of development, which were brought from outside, based on different ideologies, planted in different cultures, in different soils in Africathey did not take.
Then, we had our independent governments, and most of these governments have adopted now, or in the last decade, the IMF [International Monetary Fund]-World Bank economic stabilization and structural adjustment programs. But these also have failed, to a large extent, to achieve the goals of sustainable economic development and welfare of the people. These policies did not help resolve conflicts, or curtail civil war; they, rather, increased poverty, and resulted in great environmental degradation. These policies have curtailed the role of governments, and therefore, with the private sector that is not yet strong, a private sector that is not yet powerful enough, or engaged enough in private business, the government walked out, and there was no private sector prepared to take over. And when the government walks out of even infrastructure, services, education, health, it is not likely that the private sector will take over that.
So, privatization and liberalization of the economy were, rather, done in reaction to the prior state interventions, because there was a lot of state intervention in our economy, particularly those which had taken from the East at that time, during the Cold War. Privatization and liberalization was doneand in reaction to the prior state intervention. And this has been very damaging to the economy, and particularly, to the poor sectors of the population.
For Peace: Ameliorate Social Inequalities
So, if these policies are failing, what are some of the new policies that African countries can adopt, so that they can consolidate peace, and have durable peace and economic development? Policies needed here are those that can address, that are required to ameliorate social inequalities that have been the causes of the wars. Because there have been social inequalities, and these, I assume, I take it, that these social inequalities, these disparities in development, themselves were the causes of the war. So, any policies that are adopted, should be aiming at ameliorating social inequalities that produced the wars; policies that can be relevant to the situation, the cultural-economic situation.
These policies should not follow narrowly defined stabilization and Structural Adjustment Programs. Some of those SAP programs are perhaps acceptablesome of thembut, in most cases, they are not acceptable to situations where there is war, situations where countries are just getting out of war, or situations where countries have got out of the war, but the peace is not yet consolidated. These are conditions that call for different policies, because Structural Adjustment policies are very narrowly defined, with very specific targets that have been proven, that their consequences have been very, very, very bad on, especially, the poor sector of the population.
Number three, which starts from the premise that unless the peace process is allowed to reshape the economic policy, both will fail: the peace and the economic policy. Policies that will lead to real development should also be emphasized. We spoke about infrastructure; there has been a lot of talk about infrastructure. The SAP policies do not give that its due. So, it is very important that a lot of investment be made into infrastructure: railroads, roads, water, water management, drinking waterwe have certain parts in Sudan where we have plenty of productive land that can be utilized, but it is not being utilized because people have no drinking water to stay there and till the land.
There had been some talk, by Professor Mohammad, about the Cairo-KhartoumI would say, the Cario-Khartoum-Juba, and go on into Uganda, Kenyarailway. My surprise was not that it was only a different gauge; yes, it was a different gauge, however the gauge in Sudan has been very narrow. The railway in the Sudan from Wadi Halfa to Khartoum was made to carry the troops that had invaded Sudan. That was the objective for it, across the desert. My concern, my surprise, is that, since our independence in 1956these are now about 44 yearsthat gauge has not been changed. And that link has not been made. So, it shouldn't have taken that time for both the Sudan governments and the Egyptian governments to realize that that link is really very important for the development of both. And I would comfort Professor Mohammad, that I would agree that the gauge of Sudan should be widened to be similar to that of Egypt. I wouldn't suggest that the Egyptian one be narrowed, because speed and time are money, and these gauges should be wide enough so that they can provide for speed and for time, which is money.
Accelerate Regional Infrastructure Projects
In as far as infrastructure is concerned, there had been discussion of Eurasia. In Africa, we speak about the Nile Basin, the Congo Basin, the Niger Basin, and these are all areas of cooperation. The cooperation in the Nile Basin, which has got about eight countries, that are either currently using and benefitting from the Nile water, or will benefit. And this is nowI'm referring here to regional cooperation between countries in Africa, which is really very important, to have regional cooperation, in addition to the policies I mentioned, and other policies that are probably good.
One of the other suggestions for immediate salvage, and immediate correcting of the situation, would be to accelerate regional, integrated projects, like the Nile Basin project. And fortunately, this is now under way, because in 1992, there was an action plan by the Ministers of Water Resources in the eight countries, and now we have the Nile Basin Initiative, which allows for equitable utilization and benefits from the Nile waters. And so, that the Nile waters are not reasons for conflictspeople speak about conflicts because of water scarcity, and the coming wars are going to be water wars, and so onhere is an initiative that will guarantee that the Nile waters are not going to be a source for war; rather, they will be a source for development. Because there are these initiatives.
There is also, in addition to the Nile Basin Initiative, the Shared Vision program, which is designed to eradicate poverty in the Nile Basin. So, this is a regional project which I think will help. The countries that are involved are Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritreathis is in as far as the subsidiary action programs are concerned. And then, there is the Nile Equatorial region: Burundi, D.R.C. [Democratic Republic of Congo], Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda; and downstream countries, such as Sudan and Egypt, can also be benefitting and part of that.
The second regional requirement for accelerated development in this part of Africa, or all of Africa, is electricity. We have rivers that can generate a lot of electricity. But, if I tell you that our total electricity in the Sudan is 500 megawatts, and in Egypt, 7,000 MWI think, it is in this range. Recently, there has been a meeting of the managers of electricity companies in Africa, and I think this was a very important meeting, because electricity is really required for science and technology, for technology for industry; and if we don't have that electricity for our rural areas and industrial areas, we are not going to progress.
Another regional initiative is the Sahel and Sahara group of countries, 15 countries: North Africa, West Africa, Sudan, including Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopiaall of these have got now a three-year-old initiative called the S&S, the Sahel and Sahara group. And they are also now coming together on a combined agenda, and they are creating a bank, just like LaRouche suggested, a bank that will help these countries on long-term credit, soft long-term credit for real development. The Comesa [Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa] in East Africa, also, a grouping for trade, better terms of trade; these are regional initiatives that can also support the policies.
Africa Needs Science and Technology
And the third component is to see to it that our strategies for development must combine science and technology with economic policy, economic development policies. These two go together: We cannot develop, if we do not develop our science and technology capacity. Because one of our mere reasons now, is lack of agricultural development; for example, our low productivity, low productivity of our crops, low productivity of our animals, low productivity of our water useall of these are extremely low productivity, because of lack of proper, good level of technology. We are using very low levels of technology, sometimes no levels of technology at all, no high inputs, no high technology. And we are just living with what we get from the rain and from the farmer.
I will conclude by saying that, yes, a strategic framework is necessary for Africa. Yes, a special agenda is necessary for Africa. Yes, a global coalition to help the Africans, who should take the principal role in this, but be helped by this coalition, the global coalitionthis is a must, and I think it should be pursued. But, I also think that we need means, ideas, models of development, and policies that are suitable for quick crisis management, for survival, for stopping the wars, for making the peace more durable, and for saving our human lives, and saving also our environment. This will need national policies, to reverse the worsening situation; this will need will, to resolve conflicts; this will need, that external influences are eliminated and reduced; this will need, that we should combine science and technology, and economic development policies for our development; and this would mean that we must accelerate our regional development programs.
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