In a recent blog – If Africa is rich – why is it so poor? – I considered the question of why the resources that make Africa rich have not been deployed to the benefit of the indigenous people who reside there. We saw that poverty is rife in Africa, when it is obvious to all and sundry that these nations possess massive resource wealth.
The answer to that paradox is that the framework of development aid and oversight put in place by the richer nations and mediated through the likes of the IMF and the World Bank can be seen more as a giant vacuum cleaner designed to suck resource and financial wealth out of the poorer nations either through legal or illegal means, whichever generates the largest flows. So while Africa is wealthy, its interaction with the world monetary and trade systems, leaves millions of its citizens in extreme poverty – unable to even purchase sufficient nutrition to live. The ‘free trade agreement’ (EPA) between the EU and the West African nations is one such ‘vacuum’-like device. In fact, the West African states are still mired in post-colonial dependency not because they lack the resources available to set out their own development path, but, rather, because of the post-colonial institutions that have been set up to maintain control by the former colonialists of those resources. Not content to ruin the prosperity in the Eurozone, the EU is pressuring some of the poorest nations in the world to adopt the same sort of failed monetary and fiscal arrangements and then go further – and sign ‘free trade’ agreements with reciprocal access. The rest of the West African states should follow Nigeria’s example and abandon these arrangements.
Twelve of 16 countries of West Africa are considered to be Least Developed Countries (LDC) or poor in common language.
The 12 LCD nations are Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambie, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, while the 4 non LDC are Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Nigeria.