Africa: Pan-Africanist Warns of Exploitative Global Interests

By James Karuhanga



No matter how well intended African leaders may be, they do not rule in a vacuum as there are global interests that hinder the continent’s progress, a supporter of the Pan-African movement said at the just concluded international conference on democracy and good governance, at Parliament Buildings in Kigali.

Brian Kagoro, a Zimbabwean who is the Regional Programme Advisor for the UNDP’s Regional Service Centre for East and Southern Africa.

As participants discussed democratization, regional integration and Africa-West relations, Kagoro who has over 15 years’ management experience in national, regional and international levels, told the gathering – MPs, scholars and others – that these global interests have been with Africa for a long time.

After stressing that ideal frameworks exist and what Africa needs is concerted action at the local, national, regional and the continental levels to spur development, he warned that these global interests “are not the only cause on why Africa does not make sufficient progress but it would be foolhardy to totally ignore them.”

Kagoro said: “Those interests are corporate. Those interests are private individual. Those interests are religious, and those interests may be state interests.”

“I would urge you not to analyze Africa and western or the rest of the world relations, purely in statistical terms, on the west as a state sitting somewhere and conspiring against Africa, because even if there is good intention, one of the major failings of the so-called west is the inability to regulate global finance capital which has wreaked havoc, either through the proliferation of small arms, or sometimes, just pillaging of the African environment and walking away as though nothing matters.”

Kagoro noted that the challenges of regulating global relations are “much more nuanced and complex” than they were in 1979, or during the cold war, and urged the conference participants “to go beyond the binaries of east and west” as there is no major difference, whether the company is from the east or the west.

“These days it is difficult to tell, with the global mode of production. As long as exploitation, as long as the partnership, as long as the investment is not based on equity, not based on sustainability, not based on inclusion, on domestic capital formation and is not based on creating opportunities for self-employment and employment for African youth, that remains exploitative because an exploiter is an exploiter, whether they are black, blue or green, east or west.”

Kagoro noted that relations with the East must be constructed on a different paradigm than the relations “we had with the West.”

He said countries on the continent will never amount to much while developing their small countries and not coming together collectively to maximize on their comparative advantage, comparative strength, doing value addition to their raw materials and developing regional value chains.

He said the challenge for Africa to leapfrog the rest, in terms of technology, is immense, and so is the challenge for Africa to think through its energy and other crises.

Referring to Rwanda’s post Genocide recovery path and related achievements, Kagoro noted that it is not possible, for this to be done in Rwanda, only.

He said: “Rwanda, as brilliant as the Rwandan experiment is, as brilliant as the Rwandan lesson in it is – and let me tell you what that lesson is: that no matter the depth of your fall, your demise, or your ascent, is a matter of choice. That in order to ascend, leadership is important. Institutions are important. And human capabilities and capacities are important.”

“However, there is something else that the Rwandan experience teaches us. That self-belief and self-confidence is important.”

Elections big business

Another thing, Kagoro noted, elections are not only about violence in Africa but about big business.

Kagoro said: “The Congolese election cost 780 million dollars. You don’t need to be highly imaginative to know what you can do with 780 million dollars. And the election was still deemed a failed election, which essentially means Congo would still need to go to another election which I suppose would cost 780 million plus.”

“The question that is never asked is, who earns, who benefits from this big business called elections in Africa? Since I am a UN diplomat, I will desist from saying things that may make suggestions that will make you all uncomfortable, and just ask you, as Africans, to be a little bit more imaginative.”

“We talk about electronic voting. Which of you have designed the software? Who is benefiting from the design of the software that enables electronic voting to take place – the technologies, the applications? Which of your sons and daughters are being employed by these innovations in African democratization?”



Posted by on Jul 2 2012. Filed under African News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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