Mon, Mar 7, 2016
“The natives are five thousand years back of us. The British have been there for two hundred years – for every dollar that they have put into Gambia, they have taken out ten.” – US President, Franklin D Roosevelt.
Africa bleeds cash, and Multinational vampires suck it dry. This toxic marriage is a curse on the African people who have to live on low daily budgets that are a mockery to the very essence of civilisation and humanity. For just one moment the world is tempted to admit the early hominids must have had it better with their hunter-gatherer economy for one simple reason; Multinational Companies did not exist. There was no tax-evasion at the expense of the resource owners, there were no unfair labour practices and no one bankrolled unnecessary civil wars.
Having visited The Gambia, the US President, Franklin D Roosevelt had this to say, “The natives are five thousand years back of us. The British have been there for two hundred years – for every dollar that they have put into Gambia, they have taken out ten.”“The natives are five thousand years back of us. The British have been there for two hundred years – for every dollar that they have put into Gambia, they have taken out ten.” Indeed Why Poverty, a project by Steps International would affirm the same years later, “For every $1 given in aid to a poor country, $10 drains out.” There has been a systematic outflow of funds from African countries mainly through corporate vampires in the name of Foreign Direct Investment. Why Poverty’s documentary on this sickening phenomenon titled Stealing Africa details Glencore’s operations in Zambia and Ruschlikon Village in Switzerland. The Swiss village is said to have lowered its tax rate by 7% after being “overwhelmed “ by the receipt of taxes from Glencore, a multi-national commodity giant. The situation is the polar opposite in Zambia where the country is a regular in the poorest countries rankings. What could be the problem? Surely if some sleepy town in Switzerland can be overwhelmed, Zambia should not know what to do with its taxes but alas, Glencore and its predatory comrades in the institutionalized rape of Africa have made sure none of that happens.
Studies have shown that 60% of Nigerians live on less than $2 yet the country produces 2.5 million barrels of oil every day. Zambia has the world’s third largest copper reserves yet 60% of the population lives on less than $1 a day. Global Financial Integrity reported that the consistent and systematic siphoning of cash from Africa is not even a recent development as from 1970 to 2008, Africa lost $854 billion which is a conservative figure to say the least. Nigeria led the pack of major losses with $89.5 billion. Sadly, the outflows continue to grow at an exponential 11.9% every year. A careful dissection of the issue at hand will show that MNCs have been at the forefront of the pillages and loots. It is a known fact that these big corporations have been major instigators of civil wars in Africa and lobbying for regime change in countries hostile to their plunder and exploitative business practices. They are guilty of also bankrolling undemocratic dictators to their own benefit. The Abacha regime in Nigeria was supported by Shell which fattened conflict, poverty and corruption. It is no secret that they encouraged Abacha to execute Ken Saro Wiwa and eight Ogoni tribesmen for protesting against Shell’s institutionalized corrupt tendencies. It was a symbiotic union between the two and Abacha might as well have worn a wedding ring from his Shell handlers which would serve as a promise ring to also make the life of the ordinary Nigerian as deplorable as possible. The legacy of such sly and underhanded tactics has never stopped.The Abacha regime in Nigeria was supported by Shell which fattened conflict, poverty and corruption.
Africa’s modern face is a result of business interests and the apportionment that followed in the Berlin Conference. It was never really for spreading religion, it was for plundering resources under the guise of missionary work. Unfortunately, the so-called independence celebrations that take place in African countries marked by almost hypnotic chants of the joys of freedom continue to be commemorations of a freedom known by a few who have offshore accounts in tax havens. African dictators and their Multinational figurative wives have huge amounts stocked in the likes of Switzerland and Singapore. These countries pretend to be clean and blameless in the exploitation of Africa but they harbour money in the full knowledge of the victims from whom it was stolen; the ordinary people. These countries are in the very vortex of the problem and any other claim of innocence is an insult to Africans’ intelligence. It is now known that corporations only declare about 40% of their profits in countries of operation and declare the rest in the tax havens. 45% of illicit outflows end up in these offshore financial centers and Africans can not continue to be told otherwise. It is known. Dictators’ plunder is also hidden in these centres and yet they claim to be comrades in touch with the plight of the ordinary “independent” African. The kind of independence Africa has been subjected to is not what’s in the dictionaries. It is a highly objectionable state of affairs.African dictators and their Multinational figurative wives have huge amounts stocked in the likes of Switzerland and Singapore.
Let France know that its Francafrique policy is now known. African leaders in the Francophone region are being called “governors” under this insult of a policy where French interests are the fundamentals of decision-making. Citizens are out in the streets hoping for better fortunes while leaders are making policies that favor exploitative companies owned by their handlers in the West. The sickening bit is how some Africans have been made to believe the IMF and the World Bank are the continent’s saving grace yet these institutions advocate for conditions that promulgate exploitative economies where profits are siphoned out to countries with no resources at all.
Ghanaians have not felt the impact of their gold and diamonds in Obuasi and Akwatia save for the greedy few in the upper echelons of society. Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon are not as ridiculously rich as they should be and that begs the question; who is pocketing the riches? It is the unholy union of corrupt dictatorial leaders and Multinational Companies with the help of tax havens. It is the predatory vampires that celebrate wars as they create war economies. They think an African’s blood and sweat is worth less than a dollar of profit but a disruption of the system is coming. The paradigm is shifting with the coming generations as Africa purges itself of selfish octogenarians who personalize whole countries with the help of MNCs. Neo-colonialism should die.
Image Credit: Time
Tatenda is an advocate of cultural identity and African development. Interact with him on http://africanaforum.blogspot.com/
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