Early this morning (Friday the 16th) this opinion piece appeared on The Guardian.
It is about corruption in Africa, how it should not be tolerated and what we (the West) should do about it. It is written by a man called Anton Du Plessis, from the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa, but more on them later. He headlines:
Corruption in Africa violates human rights. Why do we tolerate it?
Of course, when he says “we”, he doesn’t mean us. You and I – We don’t “tolerate” African corruption, for it is not in our power to do anything about such things. You know who does tolerate African corruption? Billionaires, oligarchs and corporate monopolies. People like Bill Gates who, if you observe the above picture, “sponsored” the appearance of this article through his foundation.
People like George Soros, whose Open Society Foundation is a “project donor” for the NGO that Anton Du Plessis runs. As is The National Endowment for Democracy. As is the Ford Foundation. And USAID. And Hanns Seidel Foundation. As is the World Bank. It’s a fairly predictable list of people and NGOs who have a long history of not just “tolerating” corruption but encouraging and instigating it.
And you know why? Because corruption is easy. Corruption is just buying things, and when you can conjure up as much imaginary money as you want buying things is by far, BY FAR, the easiest solution. If they could get everything they wanted by just “tolerating” other people’s corruption they would, if they could buy their way out of any quandary, they would. If they could have bought Allende or Castro or Chavez…they would have. If they could buy Putin the way they bought Yeltsin they would have done it years ago. Corruption is the ink-stamp that gets you into the fanciest night clubs in the world. Tolerate it? They create it. They plant it, watch it grow, and harvest a rich crop.
So why this article? Why is the director of a Soros-funded, World Bank-backed NGO writing a stinging polemic on “African corruption”?
NOTE: It is, perhaps, interesting that he only ever talks in continental terms. Never once does he highlight a specific nation, or talk in terms of national sovereignty at all. You could take that as an insight into their mindset.
Clearly it’s not about poverty – the article links to a report from Oxfam about wealth inequality – but if that truly bothered George Soros, Bill Gates or the World Bank the world would be in a much better state than it currently is.
Obviously it’s not about “peace and security” – the article claims that corruption is driving disenfranchised Nigerians into joining Boko Haram – but, again, if peace and security were the aims of the dozen or so governments who pump funding into the ISS, then Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Ukraine would all be safer places to live right about now.
And evidently it’s not about tax evasion – the article cites a three-year-old report on seven-year-old data about £10bn of tax revenue going “missing” from Africa every year. Firstly, this is not that much, Africa is a continent of 54 nations and over 1.1 billion people, and yet it is apparently losing less than half the total “tax gap” of the UK alone (£34bn in 2015). Secondly, again, George Soros or Bill Gates (or any of their ilk) calling people out on tax evasion and/or fraud might be the most blatant case of Pot-on-Kettle name-calling I’ve ever come across. Doubly ironic, when you consider half the “foundations” that bear a billionaires name were likely set-up to take advantage of tax loopholes in the first place.
So what’s the real issue here? Whose corruption should we no longer tolerate?
The clue might be in the list of national governments that form the “partnership forum” of the ISS. Luxembourg is there, as is Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Canada and…of course…the United States of America.
An interesting list. Tellingly, not a single African national government. A lot of EU members. A lot of NATO members. But no Russia, no Iran….and no China.
China have a lot of money in Africa. A lot of money, a lot of resources, a lot of investment and a lot of influence. For years now the USA has been trying to undermine this.
For example: Sudan.
As of 2010 Sudan had the 17th fastest growing economy in the world (in spite of biting US sanctions), this was mainly thanks to the largest oil deposits in sub-Saharan Africa. China was Sudan’s biggest trade partner, owning 40% of Sudan’s Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, as well as trading in arms, technology and construction.
In 2011, South Sudan declared itself independent, taking with it (totally coincidentally) 80% of Sudan’s oil fields. The newly formed country was described in the following terms, by the New York Times:
South Sudan is in many ways an American creation, carved out of war-torn Sudan in a referendum largely orchestrated by the United States, its fragile institutions nurtured with billions of dollars in American aid.
It was a quite blatant attempt to undermine Chinese power in Africa…and it failed. The Chinese swooped in to South Sudan to take control of the oil deals after the “revolution”, a move that America has since gone to great lengths to disrupt.
Interestingly, the Chinese are viewed favourably in South Sudan, possibly reaping rewards for their famous “non-interference”:
This is not to suggest that China are idealists seeking to make the world a fairer place, but rather have refined the US-led Corporatocracy’s own techniques. They have polished the concept of an economic empire by removing the implicit military threats and tinge of old-style British Empire missionary conquest.
To China, buying is not just the easiest solution, but the only solution. And what “we” can no longer tolerate, rather than corruption in Africa, is being out-bid.
For direct-transfer bank details click here.
If Western powers have been tolerating corruption in Africa, it is because they are corrupt themselves.
In the China–South Africa alliance, the case of the South Africa–based Shoprite, Africa’s largest retailer, is demonstrative. With approximately 1,500 supermarkets across the continent — and a vow to open twice as many stores in 2015 as it did in 2014 — Shoprite has a major effect on the countries in which it operates, while also helping Chinese capital realize value.
We can see this in a place like Livingstone, Zambia, a border town dominated by South African capital. In this city of 150,000, there are two large Shoprites, in addition to South African businesses such as the fast-food outlets Hungry Lion, Steers, and Ocean Basket; the gas station Engen; and the telecommunications company MTN (which sells Chinese products like Huawei phones). The Protea hotel, one of Livingtone’s biggest, was part of a South African corporation until the group was bought out by Marriot in 2014.
A manager at one of the Shoprites in the city told me that, aside from some vegetables and poultry supplies sourced locally, everything else in the store is produced either in China or South Africa. Instead of benefiting local Zambian producers, profits from the sale of Shoprite products largely flow back to South African shareholders, even though Shoprite is listed on the Zambia stock exchange.
Robust local companies in Livingstone are effectively non-existent — partly because, as one manager pointed out, the town is reliant on imports and small-scale tourism from the nearby Victoria Falls. But the strength of South African companies is also driving monopolization — Shoprite’s only nominal competitor is Spar, which is also based in South Africa. Meanwhile, many of the bank loans going to small and medium-sized enterprises are intended for trade — despite an urgent need to, as one small-scale retailer argued, “emphasize local productivity.”
The Zambian case is illustrative of broader trends: South African and Chinese (trans)national capital, among others, are capturing value by selling commodities in the country, by investing in copper mining and processing, and through profit repatriation from direct investments and through money circuits (loans from banks, for example). Flows of tourists and business travellers also generate profits for South African and Chinese-owned hotels in Livingstone. All of this has created a relationship of dependency for countries like Zambia because it no longer produces many of the goods its population needs.
How, then, did this particular configuration of geo-governance come about, and what are its implications for development in African countries like Zambia?
Louis P, what you describe – while disturbing – is really piffling in scale to what the American McDonalds, KFC, WalMart as well as US-UK finance houses and mining companies extract from Africa, in general.
The point Louis is making is that the Chinese are doing the same as the US and Europe: looking to take African resources for themselves. If the scale is currently smaller…. then give the Chinese a couple of decades and they’ll catch up.
The problem in Africa of local producers being squeezed out of the market by foreign capital has existed since long before China began investing in the continent. For example, virtually all vinyl records on the continent were produced in South Africa or in the Arab Gulf republics. The difference between China and the western powers in terms of their policy towards Africa is that, so far as I am aware, China does not try to drum up support for various excuses to establish military bases in Africa every year.
I’m very glad to see that the Off-Guardian is willing to give us intelligent commentary on Africa, a very important subject about which most westerners know very little. It goes without saying that the less people know about a subject, the easier it is to manipulate them through MSM propaganda (sometimes miscalled ‘news’).
On a related subject, there’s also a growing body of evidence that the narrative we were fed about Rwanda back in the 90s is another crock of sh*t. But CounterPunch, to their credit, has been willing to revisit the issue and try and set the record straight:
Indeed, Most of those who have knowledge of the Rwandan genocide, have it exactly backward. The info is out there. Google (or DDG) Keith Harmon Snow, Antony Black, Edward S. Herman, David Peterson to get the straight goods on this subject. The attack on Africa has been going on for a long time. It’s now heating up, as authors like David Vine and Nick Turse reveal. Ed Herman and David Peterson put out a book about the Rwandan genocide (which I’ve read). It’s titled “Enduring Lies – The Rawandan Genocide In The Propaganda System, 20 Years Later.”
Personally I have too many years hands on experience in many of these African states & can say that the vast majority of the corruption in Africa originates & is orchestrated in London, Paris & Washington. The rules are simple – take the guy at the top & pay him personally many millions to allow the Corps free run & to rape of his country. African leaders fall for this every time.
In Nigeria – Shell are taking close to $1Bn a year in stolen oil & all involved are very rich & very arrogant. They report Liquid Gas Fractions outside the laws of physics & nobody says & word – in lay man’s terms: Gas underground is warm & under pressure & when it comes to the surface it cools & de-pressurises releasing condensate (close to Diesel) in massive quantities yet they report minuscule quantities. That’s just one of the tricks.
In Sudan – We have all forgotten Darfour ? At the time nobody in MSM mentioned once the word Uranium in Oil Blocks 12 & 14 that had no oil yet the Chinese won the mineral rights ?
I could go on……………but the vast amount of African corruption is run from the West to fill Western pockets.
Yes, of course. And if the African leader in question refuses to take the pay-off, then EU/NATO will assassinate or overthrow him, or finance a civil war or a secession movement to break up (break down?) his country. It’s like they say in Latin America: plata o plomo? Would you prefer silver (money) or lead (a bullet)?