Many European countries have constructed their economies on the base of resources looted from Africa as a result of many years of unbalanced trade and colonial conquests. Some former colonizers have strong economies because they continue to benefit from Africa’s natural and intellectual resources. These countries have these resources in their reserves which are far greater than you would find in the countries where exploration takes place. This situation coupled with a continued illicit flow of millions of dollars from the continent into some secret banks and offshore accounts by both money launderers and corrupt businesses who have co-opted some continental political elites, unfairly tips the scales in favour of former colonial masters.
Today countries such as China also play rather controversial investment role in the continent through the import of cheap textile products which have seen the local industries collapsing and retrenching many people from their much-needed jobs. China also participate in banking and infrastructure projects like in South Sudan where they benefit from crude oil. They do this with little regard for political dynamics and masses on the ground. United States of America has also through AGOA constrained many African countries with regulation that allows them to export some of their goods in exchange for importing goods from the continent. This arrangement has destroyed local industries such as poultry which had to close shop in South Africa.
In Nigeria’s Delta region,multinational oil companies have not only destabilized the local communities and destroyed the environment but have excluded locals from benefiting from their natural resources. This they do in collaboration with some local leaders who are participating in these corrupt transactions. Africa has natural resource deposits which are more than enough to improve qualitatively the social profile and status of its people, but unfortunately entrenched corruption and unacceptable failures at the levels of political and business leadership, coupled with passive citizenry has created an environment of despondency and systematic poverty amongst the continent’s poor masses.
With increasing levels of poverty and both state and business corruption, Africans are increasingly getting agitated and impatient with the status quo. This social anomaly, if not rectified, will trigger social unrests where the masses will rise into a leaderless bloody revolution. It is therefore incumbent for our leaders to urgently utilize the resources wisely for the benefit of the African masses before the ticking time bomb of civil unrests explodes with dire consequences. It is immoral to expect the Africans masses to enjoy freedom through social services such as grants and low cost housing whilst their leaders and former colonizers enjoy the spoils unrestricted.
Rhulani Thembi Siweya is the founder of Africa Unmasked, she is also an NEC member of the ANCYL and writes in her personal capacity.