Thursday, July 07, 2005

Out of Africa

Apart from the fact that attempts of naive social engineering (Paul Belien about Belgium's social experiment in Congo) has a history of failure everywhere, Africa was the worst region to try it in the first place. Something is very wrong with Africa. It has been a black hole for development aid in the past 50 years, and nothing came out of it. Asia has rebooted itself out of the economic swamp, mostly on its own effort. South-America isn't exactly a paradise, but not an ecomic and human graveyard like Africa either.

Is it the climate? Climate can indeed make people "lazy". SE-Asia with a number of equatorial countries proves that shouldn't be an excuse. Is it the tribal culture? Malaysia is equatorial and tribal and basically animistic, but it is taking the lead in the regional economical development.

When transplanted to a cooler climate and to another culture, Africans keep to be on the base level of social stratifications. Matongo in Brussels and the African Americans in the US illustrate this point continuously. During The Rodney King incidents in LA, African Americans looted Korean businesses because they proved that one can become "rich" in one generation, even when freshly immigrated in a foreign culture.

Is it genetics? Horresco referens, but the Sherlock Holmes adagio might apply. "When you exhausted all other possibilities, Watson, the inconceivable might be the answer".

Europe and the G8 make a serious mistake to orient the bulk of its developmental aid towards Africa. Especially at a time where the imminent implosion of the Rhineland model doesn't leave a lot of investment room any more. And at the same time Europe maintains its agriculture subsidies and import-taxes at an unacceptable high level. Trade is aid. Let Africa prove itself.


Photo (click to enlarge): May 2005, a view from Rizal park in Metro Manila, a developing country with 40% of its people below the poverty line. But with a sound balance of payments.

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