TRUMP OPENS A PANDORA’S BOX IN AFRICA
There is something common in all James Bond villains. They are mostly in their 50’s, white and have some weird behaviors (bloody eyeball, rubs a cat and other similar behaviors) and such villains think they are bigger than the government.
The story always rotates around one of the James Bond villains who promises something bigger for the entire planet such as clean energy, free water or some high quality communication program. It’s is always discovered halfway the real plan includes stealing the world’s resources such as stealing grain reserves, poisoning Congress or invalidating millions of gift cards.
In most cases, the James Bond villains take over when the elected government collapse. This is what we are experiencing in some parts of the world.
Under the George Bush and Barrack Obama administration, the American relations with Africa were improved tremendously. The relationship was punctuated by establishment of equitable business practices.
Many African leaders were invited to the Washington D.C. the USA capital. The two parties engaged in more advanced collaborations. Even president Barrack Obama once stated that America would treat Africa with more respect and the corporate world followed suit. This is what led to increased humanitarian efforts.
It’s unfortunate that the current president Donald Trump is making several steps backwards in this front.
Trump has largely focused on nationalism as opposed to promoting friendly foreign policies. The president has been failing in many things including even simple protocol. There are reports indicating that Donald Trump Administration views Africa as a country. He also believes that foreign aid should only be used for fighting terrorism and advancing United States business agenda and not promoting human rights or humanitarian aid.
Just to illustrate the above point, note that United States of America gives $3.1 billion every year to Israel. It also gives $1.4 billion in aid to Egypt. The other 47 countries in Africa share $8 billion dollars every year.
Donald Trump is very comfortable selling fighter jets to Nigeria (to fight Boko Haram) but cutting Aid to that country with questionable human rights record. Remember Obama had canceled the idea. Who will provide the humanitarian assistance? Is it the private organizations which are only concerned about making profits!
For instance, talk of Unilever. Theoretically, this corporations is concerned about diversity, sustainability and environmental justice in Africa. A crosser look will inform you that Unilever overcharges for consumer goods, engages in doubling fees and engages in transfer pricing to Africa.
There are other companies behaving the same way. For instance PepsiCo has a “fizzy history” in Africa. On paper the company claims to work for sustainability and development around Africa. There are claims that the company often puts in its payroll local agents to help them grab land for planting sugarcane. They also engage in violence to suppress their workers.
Oil companies have not been left behind. They paint a picture of saving Africa by dishing out scholarships to African students. Then they get busy raping the environment and generating billions which rarely trickle down to the host communities. This is the same case with uranium, natural gas, and other minerals. In some cases, they engage in triggering ethnic wars to ensure that profits are minted.
In most cases, the foreign aid from the United Nations and United States mostly does not come with stringent conditions attached. This is better than those goods offered by the Multi-National Corporations which have hidden agenda.
In most cases the immigrants in America have a great affinity towards their countries of origin. For example, the African Americans have a weak link for Africa while the Jewish American have a soft spot for Israel.
The villains in Africa are not obvious and this does not imply that Africa is not at risk of being exploited by questionable individuals and corporations. It is time we open our eyes and take a closer look at African aid. The Trump administration is coming a big mistake by cutting aid without offering an alternative hence leaving the continent exposed to ‘James Bond villains’.