Mr. Obama Comes To Africa

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo during a meeting...
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo during a meeting with Lula da Silva, President of Brasil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Barack Obama In Kenya
FDR = Keynesian, Barack Obama = Kenyan

What President Obama didn’t see on his trip to Africa
it is unlikely he saw many Africans engaged in modern, high productivity jobs at all. ..... Ethiopia and Kenya, the two countries on this visit, are among the region’s least successful countries in converting economic growth into employment growth. .... One of the enduring “stylized facts” of economic development is that in poorer countries like Ethiopia and Kenya workers generally move from agriculture to higher productivity sectors. This is good for growth and for the workers themselves. In Asia, where poverty has fallen most rapidly over the past quarter century, millions of households have been drawn out of poverty through the rapid expansion of industry. In Africa structural transformation of this type has contributed very little to growth and poverty reduction. As recently as the turn of the 21st century a growing share of African workers found themselves trapped in low productivity, low-wage employment. ....... Four out of five workers leaving agriculture are finding or creating jobs in services such as trade and distribution. These jobs are not the high-tech service jobs celebrated during President Obama’s visit to Kenya. This is movement from low-productivity to marginally higher-productivity employment in markets, on sidewalks, and in food stalls. ..... about 80 percent of Africa’s workers are employed in either agriculture or services. ...... output per worker in manufacturing across Africa is more than six times that in agriculture. Despite the potential that industry offers, it has not been part of the African success story. In 2012, the average share of manufacturing in GDP in sub-Saharan Africa was about 10 percent, unchanged from the 1970s. .........

In Cambodia and Vietnam—two emerging Asian economies that as recently as a decade ago were very similar to Ethiopia and Kenya in terms of income, infrastructure, and human capital—manufacturing has grown to 20 and 24 percent of GDP, respectively.

....... “creating the transparency, and the rule of law, and the ease of doing business, and the anti-corruption agenda that creates a platform for people to succeed.” .......

However, they are also the easy answers of the aid industry.

...... the sad fact that donors—the United States among them—have not been willing to address

the more fundamental constraints to Africa’s industrial development: simple but costly things like infrastructure and skills or politically difficult things like expanding preferential market access.

....... the failure to extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act to most agricultural products were notably absent from the president’s published remarks. ..... Africans, especially the young seeking good jobs, deserve something more from the U.S. president than cheerleading and conventional wisdom.
The Five Worst Leaders In Africa
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea ..... Equatorial Guinea is one of the continent’s largest producers of oil and has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, but this doesn’t necessarily translate into prosperity for its people. The country ranks very poorly in the United Nations human development index; the vast majority of Equatorial Guineans hardly have access to clean drinking water. ......... José Eduardo dos Santos, President of Angola ...... Angola is extremely resource-rich. ....... the second-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa and the seventh-largest supplier to the United States. Angola also has massive diamond deposits and occupies an enviable position as the world’s fourth largest producer of rough diamonds. ........ 68% of the country’s total population lives below the poverty line of $1.7 a day, while 28% live on less than 30 cents. ......... Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe ....... GDP growth in 2011 was over 7% and the Southern African state has experienced single-digit inflation since 2009. .... Mugabe’s government has also recorded significant achievements in education as a result of extensive teacher training and school expansion projects: At over 80%, the country has one of the highest literacy rates in Sub-Saharan Africa. ........ Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate is the highest in sub-Saharan Africa: it’s over 60%. ....... King Mswati III, King of Swaziland .... nearly 70 percent of the country’s citizens live on less than $1 a day and 40 percent are unemployed. ...... Omar Al-Bashir, President of Sudan
What Obama Didn't Say in His African Union Address
in his controversial speech, Obama addressed corruption, democracy, and civil rights, yet there was still a lot left unsaid. ...... we have to remember that President Obama is the head of the U.S. empire. .... But all three of their policies have been devastating for the African continent. If we look at President Clinton, he championed a so-called new breed of African leaders, where we focus on Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda, where we see Rwanda and Uganda invaded Congo and triggered the deadliest conflict since World War II where an estimated 6 million people lost their lives, and the people in the Central Africa still live in a deathtrap, and U.S. policy is playing a key role in that. ....... President Bush egged on the Ethiopians to invade Somalia in 2006, which set back stability in that region that was being developed by the Islam [Accords]. And of course we know with President Obama, he led, along with Sarkozy and NATO, the bombing of Libya and the regime change in Libya that has devastated a country and has had deleterious impact on neighboring countries. ...... Especially if we can, we look into the manner in which the United States has supported so-called presidents for life on the African continent. Probably most prominently and classically is after the U.S. overthrew Patrice Lumumba in 1960, it supported President Mobutu for over three decades. And it was only with the backing of the United States that Mobutu was able to remain in power, and he destroyed the country and ran it into the ground. ....... What we see on the African continent is almost, in his speeches, it's almost like the international version of you know, pull your pants up. Do your homework, and this respectability politics that he pushes domestically, or he has pushed domestically, he pushes on the international level as well. ....... the U.S. role in stifling democracy and stifling the development and the plundering of the African continent, if he was to acknowledge that and then get into some of the policy issues, I think then his proclamations would be a bit more credible, let's say. ....... So we have as a part of his entourage and his administration individuals who have been cozy with quote-unquote friendly tyrants on the African continent. ...... So we see where the United States and the administration and the Congress, they've been cozy with some pretty nasty characters who repressed their people, who restrict the rights of their population. ...... And they continue to do that, because we only have to look at Uganda today with Yoweri Museveni, who's been in office for some 20-odd years. And he's a key ally for the United States. ........... So many Africans have told me, we don't want just aid, we want trade that fuels progress. ..... it really depends whether you're talking about coming from a neoliberal framework, from the idea of the Washington consensus formed for Africa, or whether you're talking about the kind of trade we see in Latin America that is lifting all boats, so to speak. .......

since President Obama's been in office, 2008, trade with Africa has declined by half. I believe we went from about $142 billion to $73 billion. Compared to China, for example, our trade between China and Africa is three times that of the United States. It's valued at around $222 billion.

...... are we talking about trade that benefits the elites in Africa and the elites in the West, where you have some $65-70 billion of illicit outflow of capital from the African continent as a result of the plundering of the continent by its local elites and foreign corporations coming from the West.
Africa to Obama: Mind your own business
United States President Barack Obama is the most admired foreign leader in Africa because he has ancestral roots in our continent. .... we African elites have internalised the ideology of our conquerors that presents us as inferior, inadequate, and incapable of self-government. ..... behind Obama's seeming concern for our good lies the social contempt he holds us in. ..... Why doesn't Obama openly admonish leaders of Western Europe whenever he visits their countries? Is it because they govern better? .... There is a lot of corruption and widespread human rights abuses (especially of migrant minorities) in Western Europe - not to mention the brutality, genocides, forced labour, and racism that characterised their governance of Africa during colonial rule. ...... Humanitarian Imperialism, the US and Western Europe behave like a mafia godfather who, as he grows old, decides to defend law and order and begins to attack his lesser colleagues in crime, preaching brotherly love and the sanctity of human life - all the while holding onto his ill-gotten wealth and the income it generates........

In the US, a black person is killed by the highly militarised police force every 28 hours .

..... Scores of black people in the US are stopped and searched every minute for no other reason than the colour of their skin. ..... Blacks constitute 12-13 percent of the US population but 43 percent of its prison population. Although there are only 33 million blacks in the US, there are one million (nearly four percent) of them in jail. ...... the incarceration rate of blacks in the US is 10 times that of blacks in apartheid South Africa. .... The New Jim Crow, there are double the number of blacks in jail than in college. .....

There are more black people in jail today than were enslaved in 1850; and more blacks are disenfranchised today than in 1875

, when the 15th amendment prohibiting discrimination in voting rights based on race was passed. ....... In Obama's hometown of Chicago, the total population of black males with a felony record is 80 percent of the adult black male workforce. ..... The 48 countries of sub-Saharan Africa Obama admonishes have a combined population of 961 million and their total prison population is 830,000. ...... If sub-Saharan Africa jailed its people at the same rate as the US jails its black population, we would have 38.4 million people in jail. ..... mass surveillance programmes that allow the federal government to eavesdrop on almost every communication of American citizens and allies ...... The corruption of Washington and Wall Street - where corporate profits are privatised and losses nationalised - goes without saying. ...... Invading sovereign nations and toppling their governments while leaving chaos in their wake, the large scale use of drones which kill innocent civilians in Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are the kind of crimes the US commits. ..... Obama's choice to lecture Africa is a product of the social contempt he and his countrymen and women have for black people. ...... Many African leaders do not treat their people with the cruel contempt with which the US treats its black citizens. ...... True some of our leaders use the police against their political rivals. But the US uses its police daily against innocent poor black people who are not even contesting for political power from the white financial, industrial, and military aristocracy that rules that country. ...... Africans fight for more freedom, democracy, and clean government daily...... And in these struggles, the US has consistently sided with our oppressors......... Steven Biko, a hero of the anti-apartheid struggle, said that the greatest weapon in the hands of an oppressor is never his guns and armies, but the mind of the oppressed. ..... Like all imperial powers before it, the US seeks to dominate the world in order to exploit it. This is how it sustains her greedy consumption.