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Why Africa is poor in the midst of plenty?

When it comes to the endowment of natural resources, nature was not stingy with Africa. We have oil, diamonds, gold, uranium, copper, platinum, timber, bauxite and numerous other resources far too many to mention.

For example the proposed Grand Inga Dam over River Congo in DR Congo has the potential to produce 40,000 MW of electricity that can power the whole of Africa. The project which is estimated to cost $100 billion, and if completed would be the world’s largest hydroelectric plant is more than twice the power generation of the Three Gorges Dam in China.

In spite of all these wealth and resources, Africa is wallowing in abject poverty, and as much as I agree that some of the causes of this unfortunate situation is the making of Africans themselves through corruption and other vices, much of the blame must be put at the doorsteps of some western countries, and I will explain.

Apart from the Slave Trade and Colonization, the relationship between the west and Africa has been primarily one of exploitation. International trading agreements with Africa have been unfair to African countries. These agreements have been overly influenced by western big businesses. Such unfair agreements and relationships have allowed individual African officials to get rich while the region sells itself cheaply and develops no infrastructure. The global market also sets a price on most of Africa’s exports and so the higher production cost cannot be recouped.

One will ask why the West is interested in doing this to Africa; there is a saying that the fight for survival justify swindle and theft because in self defence, anything goes. And it is believed that the West is doing all those things because they will collapse if Africa develops since most Western countries do not have natural resources and depend on raw materials from Africa for survival.

It is believed that it is for these reasons why the West has an interest in African countries trying hard to develop. For instance declassified CIA documents provide compelling evidence that the US government had a hand in the overthrow of President Nkrumah in 1966.

According to the documents, on March 11, 1965, almost a year before the coup, William P. Mahoney, the U.S. ambassador to Ghana, participated in a candid discussion in Washington, D.C., with CIA Director John A. McCone and the deputy chief of the CIA’s Africa division.

According to the record of their meeting (Document 251), topic one was the “Coup d’etat Plot, Ghana.” Mahoney was satisfied that popular opinion was running strongly against Nkrumah and the economy of the country was in a precarious state, and was convinced that the coup d’etat, being planned by Acting Police Commissioner Harlley and Generals Otu and Ankrah, would take place.

Anthony Obeng Afrane



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