Post-colonial colonialism: an analysis of international factors and actors marring African socio-economic and political development.
Very few, if anyone, can argue that Africa's connection and
relationship with the West is an asymmetrical one which cost the
continent positive and sustainable developments in the political,
economic and social areas. There is also no doubt in the fact that
Africa's irresponsible and greedy leadership coupled with
corruption and mismanagement of state and public properties are also
largely responsible for the continent's demise (see Alemazung
AJPSIR forthcoming). Unlike in "Leadership fallibilities and flaws
in Africa" (ibid.) where I focused on the internal factors/actors
impacting politics on the continent, the main argument in this paper is
centered on the external factors contributing to the failures and
lugubrious state of the continent. According to this paper, the
foundation for failure was laid in Africa during colonialism and is
sustained through colonial legacies with the accomplice of African elite
leaders. This is demonstrated with empirical case studies examples drawn
from around the continent beginning with colonialism, post-colonial
development aid to and other Western support which has been
counterproductive on the continent. Contrary to the intended purpose of
development aid, such efforts from the West continues to cause more harm
than good when combined with autocracy and tyrannical leadership which
contribute to the downfall of people. The conclusion drawn in this paper
blames Africa's failure to a great extent on international
Key words: colonial legacy, conditioned aid, neo-patrimonialism, ethnic divisions, tyrant rulers
Actors (Political activity)
Actors (Political aspects)
Actresses (Political activity)
Actresses (Political aspects)
Postcolonialism (Political aspects)
Sustainable development (Political aspects)
Journalism (Political aspects)
|Author:||Alemazung, Joy Asongazoh|
|Publication:||Name: Journal of Pan African Studies Publisher: Journal of Pan African Studies Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Social sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 Journal of Pan African Studies ISSN: 0888-6601|
|Issue:||Date: Sept, 2010 Source Volume: 3 Source Issue: 10|
|Topic:||Event Code: 290 Public affairs|
International factors affecting governments, states and politics in Africa are exogenous components which can be regarded as playing a significant role (positively and negatively) in the unfolding of socio-economic and political developments on the continent. As illustrated in this paper these factors are presented in the form of a post-colonial colonialism: that is, the political and economic relationship between post-colonial Africa and the West have the same underpinnings and meet the same objective like the relationship of the colonial period: which was based on absolute control over Africa and its human and material resources and the nourishment Western industries and economic with Africa's produce and markets. The exploitative and asymmetric character of this relationship has far reaching effects which weighs down the development on the continent negatively. The consequential adverse impacts of Western relations to Africa are presented here under international factors and actors impacting Africa's political, economic and social developments negatively and for simplicity reasons are separated here into four categories, namely: Colonial Impact and Legacy, Neo-colonialism, Clients and European Patrons, and Economic Interest and Conditioned Aid.
It must be noted that the defining contact between Africa and the West originated with the slave trade which saw the capture and forceful transportation of millions of African across the Atlantic to work in plantations in the Americas. This was immediately followed by the colonization of the continent whereby, the Europeans implemented various political, economic, and social policies that enabled them to maintain or extend their authority and control over different territories in Africa. The colonization of Africa also indicates the colonial masters' (stronger partner) exploitation of African colonies (weaker partner), especially the resources, to strengthen and enrich the economies of Western nations. Colonialism, thus, had and still has a far reaching effect (colonial legacies) on the continent because of its indirect impacts on the political, social, economic and cultural life of ex-colonial societies--neo-colonialism. The effects of colonialism begin with the economic interest that the West defended in their seizure of foreign territories for the exploitation of its natural resources: a situation which had the opposite (negative) effects on the exploited colony (see Meredith 2005: 95-97). Besides the economic imbalance (Western profit at the detriment of the weak: Africa) resulting from colonialism, the social, cultural and political lives of the people and societies in Africa were greatly interrupted and transformed by the policies applied by the colonial masters during the colonial period. An instrument of this transformation on the social and cultural life style of the African people was the policy of Assimilation. For a nation like France who championed the policy of Assimilation, the term meant the assimilating, or the enculturation and transformation of Africans in French colonies into black French men and women (Eko, 2003). In other words assimilation implied the social process applied by the colonial masters to absorb the cultural entities existing in their colonies. It transformed them to think, to behave and live a way of life like the people in the colonizer's homeland. According to the French, the Belgians and the Portuguese, an African who had received their kind of education and an understanding of their culture and life style stood the chance of getting assimilated into their culture (Rodney, 1972: 247).
Education was the major path to civilizing the native African into a "superior" Western cultured being. Anyone who had attained this level became an assimilee for the French, or assimilado or civilisado for the Portuguese (Rodney, 1972: 247; Shillington, 1989: 357). The French was bent on eliminating the African culture in their colonies and used only French censored and approved newspaper publications in their colonies to propagate the "frenchification" of Africans (Eko, 2003). The application of such policies brought about a serious interruption in the culture and whole way of life for the African people and introduced to them something foreign, for which there was and still is no guarantee that it could lead to an improvement of their lives in their African environment.
When colonialism finally ended, the big Western powers could not afford to keep their hands completely off their colonies, thus, they continued to influence politics and developments in these regions where their political and economic relationship was based on their colonial ties on multilateral relations and engagements. The impact of colonialism, and the subsequent relationship and exchange between Africa and the West has seen the continent moved from post independent political and economic hope for prosperity to despair and dependence on the West. This dependence in political processes and economic development and sustainability has continued to preserve the continent as a poor and devastate region of the globe. Even foreign aid with conditions for Africa which according to the west should help steer Africa off poverty and underdevelopment has produce the opposite due to the economic interest of the West behind it and the accomplice-ship of tyrant and selfish African leaders.
This paper argues that sum of the effects of Western impacts on African, politics, social and economic life and development is negative and insists on the need to rethink the relationship especially in putting an end to working with dictators because of economic interests and stop the provision of aid which only help dictators and tyrant leaders to finance their network and administrative foundations that support their rulership for life. The arguments and analysis presented in this paper are based on empirical examples drawn from across Africa and are provided on case to case basis beginning with colonial legacy the since colonialism as indicated earlier marked the beginning of the relationship that has resulted to what is known here as external factors and actors.
Colonial Legacy and Impact
Colonial legacy is the sum total of the political structure, culture and general polity handed over to the elite nationalist rulers or that which was left behind by the colonial administrators, "neocolonial" nationalist leadership, which affected post-independent Africa and still has an impact on contemporary African states and politics. The colonial ruling style of oppression of the colonial administration that was imposed on African states by the new African nationalist rulers was not based on the choice, consent, will and purpose of the African people.
In other words, and considering the fact that some post-independent rulers run their states as if it were their personal property, colonial legacy is the inheritance of the state that belonged to the colonial administration from this administration by the post-colonial rulers in Africa. The DRC for instance was King Leopold's personal property (Shillington, 1989: 312; Meredith, 2005: 95). In like manner after the DRC gained independence in 1960, President Mobutu S. Seko ruled the state as if it were his personal property (see Young 1986). The selfish and exploitative character of the master-colony relationship that reigned in the colonialism time continued in different forms even after colonialism was long gone, and continues to impact contemporary African politics. The colonial impacts on post-colonial states in Africa are categorized in this section as colonial legacies. Some of these legacies include: neo-patrimonialism and clientelism, neo-colonialism (continuity in continuation of western control and dominance), authoritarianism, ethnic division and rivalry to name a few.
One of the major difficulties African states have had to deal with, which has repeatedly been mentioned many African and non-African experts (Amoo, 1997; Rodney, 1972; Dumont, 1966; Nugent, 2004; Meredith, 2005), is the problem of ethnic divisions and the state conflicts resulting from ethnic rivalry (Blanton et al. 2001). Ethnic division is one of the leading legacies of colonialism which one always comes across when assessing the colonial impacts on the continent. African authors as well as non-African scholars concerned with African politics blame the ethnic divisions and rivalry amongst the nations in Africa on the arbitrary boundaries and cultural differences created and imposed upon these peoples by the colonial masters (Mahoso, 27 April 2010). When scrutinizing problems and causes of ethnic conflicts in Africa for example, the conventional explanation relating to external factors contributing to the ethnic conflicts, is that, the polarization of ethnic communities and the outbreak of ethnic violence are a legacy of colonialism which ignored cultural differences during the creation of artificial state borders (see for example Taras and Ganguly 2002: 3; Clapham, 1985: 57-58). According to Shillington (1989: 356), the colonial masters emphasized the distinctions between the different ethnic groups, thereby strengthening tribal differences and rivalries between these groups and preventing them from forming a united opposition against the colonizers. Shillington continues, by expostulating that, these groups had always lived in the past as a people despite some customary differences that might have existed between them like their dressing, housing and religious practices. Furthermore, even when these groups experienced competition and conflicts, it was for political power or economic advantage and not "because they were of different 'tribes'": thus, Shillington (1989: 356) accentuation that the "colonial authorities invented 'tribalism'".
As if the "creation" and insistence of the differences between the African peoples (separatist feelings) by the colonizers who compounded these different ethnic groups in one nation together was not enough, successive colonial constitutions in Nigeria for example, "entrenched political power on regional lines" (Ogunbadejo, 1979: 86). Ethnic divisions thus, contributed to the formation of parties along ethnic lines, which later contributed to the marginalization of parties which refused to be co-opted into the ruling party: consequently, ethnic division and rivalry can be seen as a major trigger and cause of conflicts on the continent.
Ethnic groups who feel marginalized often develop feelings of revenge and hatred against those who enjoy socio-economic well-being from the resources of their states because of their affiliation to the ruler (the "owner" or "controller" of the national cake): based on clientelist politicking. Since there are rarely any state guided structure and political arrangements or functional governance procedures for rational and appropriate distribution of state resources and power, there is usually a resort to conflict (also see Harris and Reilly 1998: 9). One of the worst examples of colonialism-founded ethnic rivalry and consequential conflicts is the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda which was characterized by the attempted extermination of the Tutsi and moderate Hutu races in the country (see Scherrer 2001): The death toll of this genocide is estimated at 937,000 people (Asiimwe, 04/04/2004). The colonizers created and stressed the difference amongst African people within the same nation even when these differences did not exist, only to facilitate their domination and exploitation of a divided people. According to a BBC report of April 2004 titled "Rwanda: How the Genocide happened", it is claimed that the Belgians created differences between Tutsis and Hutus which did not exist before their arrival. These differences went as far as creating identity cards for Tutsi minorities illustrating their superiority over Hutus and giving them the leadership positions in the country. The result was hatred and the nurturing of feelings of revenge by the Hutu's, which culminated in the 1994 genocide which saw the slaughtering of over 800,000 Rwandans within a period of four months (BBC News, 18/12/2008).
Ethnic conflicts are not only rampant in contemporary Africa but are also very severe compared to those of other regions in the world. In a book titled "Ethnic Conflicts in Africa" edited by Okwudiba Nnoli (2000), the different authors provide a sense of the genesis of ethnic antagonism on the continent and the impact of colonialism on inter-ethnic relations. In line with the argument in this book, the fact that the ethnic division is an ubiquitous precursor for political instability strongly distorts the democratization processes on the continent. The impact of ethnic division and rivalry has unfortunately not been properly addressed by the state-constructors of these nations, a factor which cannot be underestimated in assessing the failures of state-systems in Africa. However, colonialism could not be completely blame for "creating" multi-ethnic states in Africa, but instead, for encouraging hatred based upon ethnic differences and for forging differences amongst African peoples and nations in order to facilitate its rule, thereby destroying the foundation for potential state building in Africa (see Nnoli 2000). Unfortunately for the African people, post-colonial governments continued with the manipulation and disintegration of ethnic identities and groups. This placed the ruling elites and the state at the centre of the complexities and dimensions of the ethnic rivalry phenomenon on the continent (see Nnoli 2000).
Besides ethnic division and rivalry, another legacy which impacted African politics is the administrative style of the colonizers. The colonizers ruled without the consent of the people: they deposed and executed traditional rulers, when the latter failed to implement the instructions of colonial administrators or failed to serve the need of the colonial government (Shillington, 1989: 354-357; Hochschild, 1998). Depending on the home country of the colonizers, the administration practiced policies say of assimilation, as was the case in French Africa, or indirect rule for British colonies on the continent.
The ruling structure, which was based on the control by a few, through oppression and the use of force, laid a basis for patron-client rulership after colonialism. Neo-patrimonial leadership as practiced in many African countries is an extension of the kind of autocratic and alien tyrant rule that the colonial master's had initiated. Following the disruption of the African pre-colonial leadership form and the corresponding political culture, colonialism can be said to have set up structures and ruptured the dynamics and patterns which curtailed different and contradicting inter-ethnic relations and interests. According to John Lonsdale (1986: 145) the instrument of political control and economic allocation in African states had been violently constructed by outsiders, that is, the colonizers. Consequently, the new "bandwagons" of rulers, as Lonsdale describe them, did not see the need for discipline and responsibility in the constitution of political power but simply applied the principle of rewarding and absorbing the recruitment of supporters and civil servants: neo-patrimonialism.
Colonial rule wiped out the dependency of the chief on his councilors, as was the case in pre-colonial rule, replacing this with autocracy and replacing the rulers dependence on the people to elite rulership which depended upon colonial superiors and later foreign powers (Nugent, 2004: 107-108). Colonial rule was thus a rulership by force and oppression, that is, autocracy in its extreme. Ndirangu Mwaura (2005: 6) maintains that nothing in Africa changed after the colonizers left. According to Mwaura, the only change that occurred was the replacement of colonial governors with colonial ambassadors. The administrative structures were maintained as well as the economic structures to preserve the flow of wealth from the continent to the West which began in the colonial time (Mwaura, 2005: 6). National leaders who took over after the colonizers left, Mwuara concludes, "were traitors, with a pretend and false patriotism", who upheld a political network that exploited the African people to the benefit of the ruling elites and their western patrons. In the words of William Easterly (2006: 273), "colonial administration re-enforced autocracy in Africa" and neo-colonialism continued to sustain and consolidate tyrant autocratic rule, the result of which are bad governance and extremely selfish and cruel governors in the likes of Mobutu in Zaire, Idi Amin in Uganda and Bokassa in CAR (Meredith, 2005).
Another major problem in Africa which can be seen as a legacy of colonialism is the failure of the rule of law institutions; that is: application and practice. The rule of law has gained increasing meaning in the last decades and has become one of the major indicators for measuring governance matters by various institutions concerned with issues of governance around the world (World Bank Governance Indicators, Bertelsmann Transformation Index, and Freedom House). The International Commission of Jurists in 1959 in New Delhi, drew up the "declaration of Delhi" which stated that rule of law "should be employed to safeguard and advance the civil and political rights of the individual" and create "conditions under which his legitimate aspirations and dignity may be realized" (The Economist, 13/03/2008). The rule of law from this point of view is inextricably linked to liberty and democracy: the thick definition. An extended definition of rule of law does not focus on liberty and democracy but instead stresses property rights and efficiency in the administration of justice.
According to this definition-thin definition-the laws must provide stability in the society/polity. The thin and thick definitions of rule of law are indispensable for a just society for the preservation of the life, liberty, and property of its citizens (The Economist, 13/03/2008). The colonial administrations neither implemented the thin nor think version of the rule of law in their colonies. There was neither property nor citizens' rights for the people and in many cases the people were not citizens but subjects (Shillington, 1989: 354). In addition to the absence of the rule of law, colonial laws were by themselves very notorious and in many cases entitled, as colonial "administrators to imprison any African sujet indefinitely and without charge or trial" (Shillington, 1989: 355). The general use of native chiefs, selected not in line with traditional legitimacy but according to loyalty to the European administrator in what is described as indirect rule in British Africa, has been described by Professor Mahmood Mamdani of Columbia University, USA as "decentralized despotism" (as quoted by Easterly 2006: 273). In regions were there were no chiefs, Europeans invented chiefs and imposed them on the people, and always stressed tribal differences, thereby creating differences amongst the people. Chiefs had to enforce forced labour, ensure compulsory crop cultivation, recruit labour, collect taxes and fulfil other state requirements (Easterly, 2006: 275). These chiefs were made to rule as if they were the law and the people were under their jurisdiction. The only higher authority was the colonial authority who gave them instructions and command. The chiefs were prosecutors as well as judges, who employed the jailer to hold their victims in custody as it pleased them: Thanks to the command and support, chiefs had more power than any oriental despot (Easterly, 2006: 275). The conclusion is that, the method of rulership of the colonial administration, which took over the decentralized system of the pre-colonial time but abolished its checks and balances, made Africa safe for autocracy (Easterly, 2006: 275).
During the independence struggle, Africans fought to recover their rights and the rule of law that "disappeared" with the advent of colonialism. During the fight for independence, Africans sought to be represented in political decisions, wanted to form their own parliament and vote for their representative as governors. This struggle and fight led to the change of laws and constitutional amendments in many colonies. In Nigeria, for example, the bill of rights was introduced into the country's independence constitution and has remained a permanent component of the constitution surviving changes, truncating and breaches of the constitution, as has occurred in the past many decades after independence (Amadi, 2007). According to Sami Amadi (2007), "whereas the constitution proclaimed citizenship rights for every Nigerian, the colonial laws that regionalized and ethnicized access to privileges and rights remained effective", and remained a major problem during and after independence in most parts of Africa.
Unlike in Nigeria, which was a British colony, the French colony through the practice of assimilation, forbade the publication of non-censored newspapers to enable them to have secured control over which information reached the people through the media. When the colonies became independent they inherited this journalistic tradition in its "despotic extremes" and until date many African countries are still not free despite major improvement since the second liberation struggle which began in the early 1990s (Eko, 2003).
According to the 2007 Freedom House rating, only eight countries in SSA could be rated as free. The rest of the countries were almost equally divided between "partly free" and "not free". The abandonment and ignoring of human rights and institutions of rule of law have continued to render the protection of citizen's rights on the continent, from the colonial period through to the fight for the second liberation in the late 1980s, as an almost impossible task for states in Africa.
Neo-colonialism: European Patrons and Local Elite Clients
After Africans finally "won" the fight for their liberation from the alien dictatorship of colonialism, many nationalists were later upset to find that the economic, political and cultural exploitation of the continent actually continued in what became known as neo-colonialism (Mwaura, 2005: 5). Nkwame Nkrumah, a leading author and opponent of neo-colonialism was amongst one of the first Africans to decry the control of the colonizers in the newly independent states. Nkrumah (1975: 415) observed that even though these states were independent, their economic system and eventually their political policy were indirectly formulated by the colonizers. Neo-colonialism operated in varying ways in post-colonial Africa: control over government in the neo-colonial state through foreign financial support for this state or through the presence of foreign consortium serving and upholding foreign financial interest. Whichever way one analyzes it; neo colonialism resulted in the exploitation of the African states such that the foreign capital entering the state to foster development instead "promoted" underdevelopment (Nkrumah, 1975: 415). In some cases, neo-colonialism has gone as far as using troops of the colonizing nations to control or support the government of the neo-colonial state. For example, French troops remained present and active in French colonies long after independence: In May 1996, French soldiers in support of CAR government fired at national soldiers angry against their government for failing to pay them their salaries (New York Times, 24/05/1996). Neo-colonialism survived because the West had established a dependent economic and political structure on the continent which was inherited and never changed by the new leaders. These "ambassadors" of the colonizers as N. Mwuara (2000: 6) describes them, promoted foreign interest over domestic interest, maintaining the economic and political structures of the colonizers. They got involved in "brainwashing" their followers to support and uphold neo-colonialism. The mass brainwashing of post-colonial rulers and their successors, which has sustained neo-colonialism to the detriment and underdevelopment of the African people, meant that the "wrong" political culture was instilled into the minds and brains of the elites. Deji Odetoyinbo (1994) chooses to describe the instilling of the neo-colonial political culture into the African leaders as "brain-dirtying". According to Odetoyinbo, brainwashing forces up the understanding of "cleaning or make pure" in one's mind which is far from being the case with neo-colonialism. In opposition to this understanding, the minds of Africans "have been deeply and thoroughly sullied by our contact with Europeans", Odetoyinbo continues, including all "contacts, past and present, willful and enforced, intimate and casual, malicious and well-intentioned".
This idea brings back the thought of the kind of political culture that has resulted from colonialism and its successor: neo-colonialism: that is, a political culture of rulership for the good of the ruler to preserve power, enrich himself including his supports and followers at the detriment of the people and the nation-state. Finally Odetoyinbo (1994) draws the conclusion that, the "brain-dirtying" process which continues even today strips Africans of:
"the vision which they need to perceive the absurdity of our economic situations; the mental clarity to forge more lasting solutions that would be more beneficial; and, the self-regard and determination Africans need in order to move their minds and actions to the hard and painful places where these solutions could be found."
The consequence of neo-colonialism is the resultant permanent client-patron relationship that existed and still exists in some cases between ex-colonial powers and the ruling elitist governments. The external dependence, propagated and supported by neo-colonialism, renders African states permanently dependent as resource-based economies, unable or unwilling to assert their independence and develop their nations. The patron-client relationship between ex-colonizers and the neo-colonial elite rulers serves as a foundation, that is, structural bases for the enforcement of neo-patrimonial rule for in the neo-colonial states. Leaders like Ghana's Nkrumah and Guinea's Sekou Toure openly opposed neo-colonialism because of the nefarious economic and political outcome it had on African states. Peter Schwab (2004) thus classifies these two men as belonging to the radical group of African post-independent leaders but describes assimilated "French-Citizens" like Houphuet-Boigny as the "French client in Ivory Coast" and Sedar Sengor's Senegal as the Francophile nation.
Economic Interest, Conditioned Aid, Cold War and Its Consequences
Africa suffered great loss economically and politically under the exploitative and brutal colonial rule. This destruction was so intense that after colonial rule the continent was in no position to develop itself without foreign assistance. The raw materials and other natural resources which arouse European interest had been ruthlessly exploited without consideration for the local African population. In 1953, with formation of the European Community (EC) and the increasing unpopularity of the colonial rule, many European masters sought means of retaining their economic control and interest in Africa, following an eventual independence. Leading colonizing countries like France and Belgium did not want their oversea colonies to be left out of consideration in any European Community because of the economic advantages and resources that they provided the colonizers with. The particular colonial relationship of some European nations to Africa and other oversee colonies was regulated following pressure from France and Belgium under an "associative corporation" (Art. 182-187 EEC Agreement) in the agreement of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1958 in Rome (Monar, 2002: 123). Through the associative corporation, the ex-colonial masters succeeded in maintaining economic relations with the ex-colonies within the EC.
After independence, the colonial masters continued what they called development politics for the ex-colonies, based on their intention to secure the control of resources, the economy and politics/of the ex-colonies (Monar, 2000: 119). Development politics as it was introduced by the colonial masters during the formation of the EC was intended to make good the destruction that Europe had caused in Africa through colonialism. Development Aid thus started as a mechanism to provide help to develop the new nations. The EC created the European Development Bank which provided funds to ex-colonies for the development of their countries. According to the EC agreement, development politics had to promote sustainable economic and social development to the underdeveloped nations as well as foster democracy and the rule of law in these countries (Monar, 2000: 119). In addition, Europe and the rest of the West (herewith after described as the Western nations) did not want to lose hold of Africa for fear that it could fall in the hands of the communist Eastern bloc that presented a political, economical and military threat to the capitalist West. With development aid, the EC hoped to reduce or stop the influence and spread of communism from the Eastern bloc to these new and underdeveloped countries. More than half a century after independence, with the supply of economic aid coupled with the resources in Africa, the continent is still the poorest on earth (UNDP, 2007/2008; World Bank, 1989; 1995): what is wrong and what has been the role of foreign aid in promoting or hindering development of states on this continent? Many reasons responsible for these failures have been propagated by western and local African authors and experts already, all of which could be categorized under international factors that influence politics in Africa. Before daring into an analysis of the de jure purpose and the de facto impacts of Western aid on Africa, a definition as well as an explanation of Western aid to Africa by one of Africa's recent strong opponent of Western aid could be helpful. According to Kenyan born James Shikwati (The African Executive, 01/10/2008):
In line with Shikwati's explanation and definition on aid the good intentions of the West (de jure purpose of aid) have resulted to a de facto "looting" of the resources of the Africa people by the West through the accomplice of African leaders who analogically represent the corrupt police forces in their countries. In this regard role of aid in bringing development in Africa tends to be very doubtful. Thus the verisimilitude of development (conditioned) aid and the cold war contribution to political developments in African are exposed by the varying but most often clearly negative overall and varying consequences. The analysis of the role and consequences of foreign aid and the cold war could be divided into: i) aid and politics of tyranny, ii) the impact of the West as a consequence of the Cold War, and, iii) the "disembedding" of the democratic debate from within national borders on the continent and "re-embedding" within the international arena between national leaders and Western powers.
Western aid and politics of tyranny: Besides the need for funds to build the new and crumbled nations that emerged after colonialism, the new nationalist governments were very often responsible for economic failures due to mismanagement and leadership flaws (Alemazung forthcoming). The bad governance of tyrants and autocrats led to a continual economic decadence and increasing growth in poverty level until, "by the mid-1980s most Africans were as poor or poorer than they had been at the time of independence" (Meredith, 2005: 368). These bad governments, after crumbling their countries, turned to their ex-colonial masters and international organizations like the European Union, the IMF and the World Bank for funds. Considering the establishment of the "economic association", the ties with the EEC and the creation of the European Development Bank (EDB) which all provided funds to these states for their development, it is an astonishing paradox that the economic and political situations in these countries only grew worse over time. While it could be considered that colonial ties and neo-colonial relationship led to the transfer of development funds to bad governments and dictatorial regimes until the early 1980s, the introduction of conditioned aid still did not measure any reasonable positive score (Easterly, 2006). When the Structural Adjustment Program-SAP) was introduced in the late 1970s, the intention was to "force" bad rulers to implement policies that would bring improvement in their countries. Senegal became the first country to receive a "structural adjustment" loan in 1979 and in the subsequent years many more African countries qualified for these loans (Meredith, 2005: 369). However the situation only got worse and the crisis in these countries became permanent (Meredith, 2005: 375). A good reason why the crisis became worse and permanent could have been the fact that bad governments, which were responsible for these failures, were still in command. According to William Easterly (2006: 133), foreign aid was simply transferred "from being spent by the best government in the world to being spent by the worst". Why then would the "best governments" in the world continue to finance the worst governments and allow this counter-productive effect which contradicted all the reasoning behind shifting their "tax-payers" money abroad?
African leaders realized that failure to make a radical break with the past and implement "revolutionary" policies that would liberalize the state and their economies, were never responded to with any penalties. Thus, the purpose of the money transfer like its name "development aid" which was to foster development in the receiving countries instead produced the counter-effect and underdevelopment because of bad governments which were not confronted with sanctions in case of misuse of conditioned aid. In Kenya, for example, the government agreed to carry out the same reforms many times in the 1980s and failed to reduce its civil service and liberalize its economy, yet this government received grants which rose from one per cent of the gross domestic product in 1986 to three per cent in 1990 (Meredith 2005: 373). Just as oil and democracy makes a good government less likely--the "natural-resource curse",--Easterly (2006: 135) writes that "more recent studies have found that there is also an 'aid curse'". Most often, corrupt leaders receiving huge aid revenues vigorously oppose democracy to prevent more equal distribution of aid resources--the "aid curse" effect (Easterly, 2006: 135). According to Steve Knack of the World Bank, increased aid "worsens bureaucratic quality and leads to violation of the rule of law with more impunity and to more corruption" (as quoted by Easterly 2006: 136). While Western nations continue to support tyrants and dictators in Africa, because their leadership does not pose any threat to the resource and commodity base economy of Africa which supplies the Western world and their markets, Easterly, concludes that "bad governments attract aid providers just as sinners attract evangelists", thus if one carries out a thorough control, it is certain that, "donors make government worse". One of the tyrant rulers who benefited from Western aid at the cost and detriment of his people and country, former Central African Republic ruler Jean-Bedel Bokassa sum up the donor relationship between the West and African rulers with the following words: "We ask the French for money. We get it, and then we waste it" (Der Spiegel, 07/04/2005).
ii) The impact of the West as a consequence of the Cold War-West and East rivalry, that is, the Cold War was greatly felt on the African continent. While cold war encouraged the interest of the West to spread its democratic ideals, this led to the "evangelization" of Africa by the West during the cold war, and in doing so, encouraged the support for tyrants on the continent. Nevertheless, the put the spread of democracy as the major reason for Western support for Africa would be misleading considering the fact that this support has continued even after the Cold War came to an end. Thus the economic interest behind this support with is of great detriment to the Africa people because of the parasitic and exploitative character of this support remains understandably seen as the major reason for Western "aid" in Africa. If the intentions are good but the means are not bad, then the result would be bad and this would annul the goals of the good intention. Support for Africa by the West in the form of preserving good relations with tyrant leaders is not only counter-productive but raises a big question about the genuine character of Western support for Africa.
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
Mobutu, as seen on the photo in figure 1 (a) above with Reagan, is one out of the many tyrants who were infused with aid to stifle their political opponents especially those in favor of socialist ideals. The West worked through the support of dictators to sustain their economic control, prevent the influence of the Eastern bloc and maintain relations with African dictators, while the Eastern bloc continually fought to gain influence. In the end, the African people became victims of a political struggle among world powers with their elite leaders as accomplice and instruments of the game in the hands of world powers. The result was the upholding and consolidation of dictatorial regimes and the implantation of the culture of autocracy and repugnance towards opposing opinions and parties by the ruling nationalists' autocrats.
Nevertheless, support for dictators has continued in Africa in different forms even after the end of the cold war. Cold War or not, economic dominance and control continues on the part of the west and with democratically elected leaders who work towards the superordinate goal of the common good of his people, it is more likely that the setting the nations interest could "oppose" the economic benefits of the Western nations. Thus the West have continued to support or ignore the atrocities of dictators like Theodore Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea: Recently, there have been protests from within and out of Equatorial Guinea to stop UNESCO from instituting a research price bearing the name of this president. The price name, "UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences" would honour a president in the likes Idi Amin of Uganda and Mobutu of Zaire like Obiang Nguema for life. This could set precedence for other tyrant to follow. That is, they can commit all the atrocities, deny the people of their right to rule themselves, oppress the people, steal state resources and siphoned state money. All they need is to use an insignificant percentage of the stolen money to institute a "philanthropic" program or award and they will be remembered for their "good work" for forever. Moreso, using the name of a credible and international institution like the UNESCO. In a letter to Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, Equatoguinean and international scholars and professionals are asking UNESCO to reconsider its decision to establish the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences, and abolish this award named for and funded by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea (Pambazuka News, 26/02/2010). As noted in this letter and by other opponents (Lynch, 29/04/2010) of this prize worth some US $ 3.000.000, Equatorial Guinea with a population well under one million (633, 441 according to CIA World Fact book 2009 estimate) and the fourth highest oil producer in Sub-Sahara still spends the least on Education despite the country's very high GDP per capita (according to CIA World Fact Book 2009, it has 30 best GDP per capita in the world). Supporting their arguments on United Nations Development Program report of 2009, scholars and professionals from Equatorial Guinea argue that educational standards in the country is amongst the lowest on the continent and amongst the country's of the 2009 UNDP report the government of Equatorial Guinea's spending on education was the lowest of all the countries included in the report from 2000 to 2009 (Pambazuka News, 26/02/2010).
From this recent move by the UNESCO the needs of the African people as much as it is ignored by their rulers is not the concern of the West. On the contrary, these leaders can put their name of the world stage through a "misappropriation" or "wrong allocation" of state funds for their private benefits and to the detriment of their states: all this with the "aid" of the West.
iii) The "disembedding" of the democratic debate from within national borders and "re-embedding" within the international arena between national leaders and the Western powers: A substantial and decisive effect of aid on politics in Africa is that it took the state building responsibilities, public policy and democratic debate out of the borders of the African nations and placed them along international lines between head of governments/states and the international powers and institutions. The established economic structure supported by autocracy which placed reliance of African political systems on natural resources renders the citizens "irrelevant" in public policy and decision making processes. With the dependence on natural resource income and foreign aid to run the states in Africa, the international forces shape political entities so that they do not go for concession with those they need back home but prefer to beg abroad in order to sustain their cash-starved polities (Bates, 1999: 88-90). According to Bates (1999: 88), if these governments were forced to borrow funds at home, they would be ready to grant concession too at home, but torn between begging from their citizens and begging from abroad, they settle for the latter. By so doing they bypass the people and thus avoid any political debate between them and their citizens. These leaders prefer to grant SAP concession and promise respect for aid conditions since it would neither cost them their power nor loss of the benefits thereof. On the contrary concessions at home could produce the contrary: local experts could refuse to employ their skills and resources leaving the government empty and helpless. In 1989 for example, Kenya undertook major liberalization reforms when foreign aid programs for the country were cancelled (Bates, 1999: 89). In Benin France's withdrawal of support for Kerekou contributed to the fall of the longtime ruler and dictator meanwhile in Cameroon's example, France's support for Paul Biya help sustained and stabilized his regime after the 1992 rigged presidential elections with minimal popularity (Nwajiaku, 1994; Takougang, 1997). The effect of foreign support from this point of view is that, rulers "debate" on their political future and stay in power with the international community/actors instead of "negotiating" with their own citizens. This contributes to shutting the African people out of every people's rightful position to not only form their own government, but also to ensure that this government serves their common good. It further robbed them off the possibility of holding a government accountable for it failures, a phenomenon which has a negative impact of the democratization process since it opposes people rule and the mechanism of elections as the means of converting the people's will into political authority in the hands of their elected representatives.
Subsequently, a further significant consequence of aid is the impact it has on democratization processes and democracy on the continent. Conditioned aid, given in the reforms towards liberalization, contributed to the consolidation of autocratic and dictatorial systems in Africa. Tyrant rulers use financial support from outside to sustain and consolidate their rule: clientelism-neopatrimonialism. Coupled with conditioned aid given for political reforms towards reducing governance crises, the conditions, which were tied to aid packets, forced or assisted the internal forces to instigate the second liberation in Africa. Unfortunately, the same conditioned aid which is supposed to induce democratic transitions on the continent and promote democracy has done the opposite and impeded its success. As noted by Stephen Brown (2005), when autocratic leaders are faced with conditioned aid they simply carry out minimum reforms that would enable them retain the aid quota they receive. These reforms include, "allowing opposition parties to compete, but not win; permitting an independent press to operate, but not freely; allowing civic groups to function, but not effectively; and consenting that elections be held, but not replace the ruling party" (Brown, 2005: 184). As a result conditioned aid especially in the absence of sanctions in case of failure to respect the condition has instead fortified that which it was suppose to undone, that is, tyranny, autocracy and the subsequent bad governance and underdevelopment in Africa. And thus poverty, underdevelopment and state failure with bad governance continue to persist in Africa. Based on these analyses and upon the findings of Prof Dye, development aid is inversely proportional to economic growth and development in Africa as shown in figure 2 below.
[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]
Africa's relationship with the West which took off with colonialism has seen the continent moved from traditional self-governed societies on its way to self-directed development in according with the social and natural setting of the African people and based on the need of the Africa people to today's poorest and underdeveloped continent. The reasons for Africa's current state are many and the factors and actors are exogenous as well as endogenous. Whereby my earlier article (Alemazung AJPSIR forthcoming) on the flaws and fallibilities of African leadership concentrated on the national factors, this paper's focus has been on the international factors and actors which have their roots back to colonialism which legacies. The rulership practice of dictating to the African people by an alien rule established a culture of autocracy inherited by Africa's founding "fathers" which today has become a cankerworm difficult to get rid of by many African nations. This leadership culture of coercion, oppression, arbitrary use of power including usurpation was inherited in the new states after independence. Rule by decree continued and colonial non-democratic rules officially became national laws in some of the new colonies as seen in the cases of Nigeria (Amadi, 2007) and French African colonies with loi cadre and censored media (Roland Oliver and Anthony Atmore, 1967; Eko, 2003). Colonialism also had a "discontinuity-effect" on the continent. Pre-colonial states which were people-centered with consensual and power-sharing leadership dimensions were interrupted and destroyed by colonialism (Herbst, 2000). By so doing, colonialism replaced the political culture of leadership for the people based on accountability, power-sharing and consensus with a culture of oppression and autocracy which has persisted since independence.
As the euphoria of independence and the hope for prosperity died away following the early effects of failed leadership, poor nation-building and all what could be summed as the negative impacts of neo-colonialism, the West turned again to Africa with development aid. aid. This foreign aid was and is still seen intended to promote or support economic social and political development on the continent. As seen in the analyses presented in this paper (also see (figure 2) aid has caused more harm than good. The strings of conditions coming with the aid packets intended to a "force" positive effect of foreign aid to Africa are not only inconsistent with counter-productive effects, but also changed political debate and bargaining structures between the people and the government and the government and international powers. African rulers bargain with international actors for aid and depend on the assistance of these actors to stay in power, ensure the stability of their regimes, and finance neo-patrimonial networks that support them. They prefer to beg from the international community than to bargain with their people for leadership (Bates, 1999): a factor that hinders democratic transitions on the continent. Thus foreign aid has fostered autocracy (Easterly, 2006) supported tyrants and encourage poverty.
In July 2005, Martin Khor, the director of the Third World Network, criticized the SAP accusing the Western strong nations of protecting their own industries while attempting to force open markets on poor countries; selling artificially cheaper products in poor countries, and undermining local producers; and promising more aid while real economic development suffers.
Khor further argued that the SAP and general conditionality on developing countries create a "straight jacket" for poor countries in terms of policy space to make their own decisions (Shah, 20/02/2010). When aid or economic and political support for tyrants and autocrat, the negative function of Western-Africa relationship can be said to be founded on a dependency which ranges from politics to economic, all strong components of developments which any nation must have control over if it wants to develop. Thus Africa dependence on these components seems to be its development doom.
Furthermore, ethnic division also "emerged" or became "evident" from inherited colonial arbitrary borders and was not addressed constitutionally and institutionally during state-building--the false start (Dumont, 1966). Thus ethnic division and rivalry in multi-party polities resulted in exclusion, marginalization and conflicts in African political societies. Unfortunately, many failed government continue to ignore the need for political and institutional arrangement that can appropriately accommodate ethnic diversity which is a defining characteristic of the natural and social setting of the continent. At the same time neo-patrimonialism, a core footing for autocratic rulers, operates along ethnic lines existing on patron-client political structure that requires and functions upon ethnic allegiance.
With an understanding that the ills of Western influence on Africa in terms of economic, political and subsequently, social development on Africa surpass the positive impact intended by the West, it is necessary that the West should consider many of its commitment to Africa and its interaction with African leaders. For example, considering the fact that foreign aid has condemned the continent to debt, dependency and resource curse (Easterly, 2006: 273-275) besides the taken away the development of Africans by Africans it is imperative that the West should abandon the notion of aid and engage on trade with Africa. Recent research analyses on the impact of aid on Africa and protest against aid are strong indicators of the extent to which international actors and factors mar impact development in Africa negatively. According to James Shikwati a strong opponent to aid in Africa is calling for a divorce between Africa and the financial institutions World Bank and IMF. According to Shikwati, the relationship based on aid flow to Africa is an abusive one (IREN, 31/03/2009).
At the same time, while appealing to the West for a reflection of the policy which exploit and destroy rather that help Africa, even when they carry help tags, it must be noted that with or without this "help" development on the continent need more effort from within. In fact, the role the West has to play is only to disconnect Africa of the dependence on the West and Africa. The rest depends then on Africa. Speaking about dependence on Africa and based on past experienced on failed pressure and aid conditions to change our governments and governance from bad to good, Africa rulers must reflect on the role of a government in any society.
A conscience call for leadership for the people and not the self, seeking the common goal and not the personal goal must be the sole desire of Africa leaders if the mean good for their countries and if they want the share in the suffering of their people: which of course every leader must do. Thus leadership for the common good, personal leadership character of magnanimity is most needed now in Africa ensure successful transitions and enforce functional and good governance without which international or no international "support" Africa will continue to fail.
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Joy Asongazoh Alemazung, Ph.D.
Joy. Alemazung@hs-bremen. de Lecturer and International Student Officer
Hochschule Bremen (University of Applied Sciences)
School of International Business
In the aid industry, there are well meaning and well intentioned motives that drive some of the operatives. History however, points at the fact that the Western incursions into Africa were also clothed in good intentions, to 'civilize' and help 'preserve natives'. Having given the genuinely well intentioned individuals latitude of respect; let me go forth and define Foreign Aid as it is. Foreign Aid is a bribe given to poor countries by rich nations to enable the latter access resources, and markets cheaply. It is also a bribe to poor nations to prevent the migration of poor people to rich nations. It is a bribe to poor nations meant to address rich nation's interests. We all know what bribes (aid) do to our police force (governments), the police get fatter but the crime and traffic offense related highway accident rates go up (under development of people). To the robber who bribes a policeman to ensure he/she is not caught-bribery is a good thing that promotes the looting industry! BUT if one were to ask the citizenry whose relatives perish on highways and their property get looted by thugs-a future without bribery is what they will go for.
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