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close this bookBottle-necks of Development in Africa (HABITAT)
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1. The absence of peace and security.
View the document2. Destructive style of political and economic leadership
View the document3. A frustrated democratization process.
View the document4. Inadequate international cooperation
View the document5. Little technology transfer
View the document6. International debt
View the document7. Corruption
View the document8. The international market injures Africa
View the document9. Poverty
View the document10. Population pressure
View the document11. Sustained hunger and poor health
View the document12. Illiteracy and ignorance
View the document13. Over - use of foreign languages
View the document14. Destroyed traditional knowledge, and spiritual heritage.
View the document15. What then?

8. The international market injures Africa

Despite many African countries having achieved political independence the national economic market is still designed to supply the international markets with agricultural stimulants like coffee, tea, nuts and luxury delicacies like green beans, tropical fruits and flowers. The national economic and political policy do not enable the African people l´, benefit from the international market. They are still unable: to engage and sustain economic activities and creative initiatives which would generate wealth for them and give them the confidence they so desperately need. Market forces, especially the liberalized free market and capital flow, both of which are' very competitive, legitimatize the marginalization of local initiatives which cannot compete with the giant Transnational cooperations, foreign capital and attractive conditions which are created to enable foreign investors.

Further, indebtedness of African states is making it difficult for the state to protect its citizen from being overwhelmed by international organizations on whose behalf IMF, World Bank and other donors demand liberalization and free markets. Small local initiatives with comparatively little capital do not stand' a chance against the onslaught.

At the moment Africans are unable to stop foreign investments at the national level, even if they do not need them due to the co-operation between African dictatorial leaders and foreign investors. Recently for example, when large sections of the Kenyan public opposed the construction of a third international airport in the President's home town of Eldoret, and argued that it was an unnecessary political project and a white elephant which will only increase Kenya's international debt, Government spokesmen defended it as a necessary economic venture needed for the exportation of French beans, fruits and roses to Europe! The company involved in the construction 'of the airport is Canadian Lavalin International which can only be interested in the envisaged huge profits to be accrued from this project.

Since the Government enjoys near absolute power over national affairs, donors and international business interests will probably, nevertheless, go ahead and support the construction of this international airport and indebt the already debt-burdened Kenyans against their will. Such is the fate of millions of powerless citizens in much of Africa. The huge profits waiting to be made, make the international community and financial agencies look the other way as the African debt rises. That is putting commodities and profits before communities. Without an enabling national political leadership and an international public opinion which considers it immoral to support that type of business, Africa is likely to remain exploited and by such inequitable and unsympathetic world trade.

Therefore, African leaders must be pressurized to improve governance and make it more democratic and accountable to the people so that the African people may assume control of their resources and their economies. International investments are important and an open market is desired, but unless one has a government which cares about its people, it is difficult to see how any development model designed and carried out by an international community which comes to Africa to make profits would generate wealth for the African people. So far they have only been ripped off. The continent is wealthy but the wealth is mined by and for the benefit of others outside the region . Of course, it is the African leaders who facilitate this mining of the wealth from the continent to other regions but that does not make it fair or just.