• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Africa’s delusional self-image: The virus without a vaccine


Bill Gates wants to depopulate Africa with vaccines

The CIA is sponsoring Boko Haram to break up Nigeria. France is behind all the insecurity in Francophone West Africa with the aim of preventing those countries from attaining ‘true’ independence. Media or civil society organisations that platform anything critical of certain African governments have been sponsored by “The West” to carry out character assassination and lay the groundwork for regime change. The rest of the world is part of a grand conspiracy to keep Africa poor because they are afraid of black people.

I can keep listing African conspiracy theories until the cows come home, but when you examine all of them, the same basic themes cut across uniformly. Themes such as: Whatever is wrong with Africa can only be explained in the context of a grand, unwieldy and inefficient conspiracy; or that someone external and/or white is always at the bottom of whatever problem Africa may face, as against Africa itself. Whatever kooky theory finds its way out of the growing ‘African Q Anon’ conspiracy theory ecosystem as I now call it, you can be sure that it ascribes the blame for an African problem to an outside entity and its African subalterns, and it also vastly overstates the
actual importance of Africa in the global economic and geopolitical equation.

When I recently raised an alarm about the danger this growing network of Pseudo-Africanist internet rabbit holes poses, I did so in the context of the real domestic terrorism problem posed by the Q Anon conspiracy theory in the U.S. My theory was that in time, this African cousin of Q Anon would also end up migrating into a violent offline movement.

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Africa is really not all that important

One of the most persistent and enduring myths that Africa continues to feed itself with is the idea that “Africa’s resources” supposedly keep the world going around. This idea, which is believed with a positively religious fervour across the continent assumes that Africa is extremely “resource rich” while Europe and the industrial world are resource
poor. Accordingly, it is in the interest of the European/American and Asian industrial bogeymen to “keep Africa poor” because doing so prevents the continent from obtaining a fair price for its minerals, which allegedly form the base for the global industrial machine.

Supposedly, if Africa were to unite around the cause of resource nationalism and stop the foreign bogeyman from mining, drilling, harvesting or otherwise extracting natural resources from the continent, the world economy would grind to a halt. Indeed some have believed this idea enough to rally West African cocoa farmers into cartels designed to use the mechanism of artificial scarcity to extract higher prices per kilo from chocolate makers. Predictably, for anyone who works with actual macroeconomic data, this experiment has fallen flat on its face, and you know why?

 The basic tenet of these conspiracy theories – that Africa holds some sort of outsized and irreplaceable resource importance to the world outside – is nothing more than a myth at best, and at worst a pernicious delusion

The reason can be found in this infographic below, presented by Kenyan economist David Ndii. According to the chart, which uses data from the World Bank, Sub Saharan Africa’s resource wealth per capita is $2,800, while the same figure for North America is $10,600. In other words, the average human being in Alberta or New Mexico is standing over natural resources worth more than 4 times their counterpart in Ambazonia or Matabeleland.

In fact, the only reason Africa is part of the global natural resource extraction conversation is that by virtue of its sheer poverty, resource extraction in Africa is cheap. The comparative advantage that Africa has is low cost of labour and relative ease of access due to low state capacity. If Africa were in fact to somehow cartelise its natural resource production and try to force the world to pay higher prices, primary production would simply migrate to places like Australia, China and the continental United States – all of which boast far greater natural resource endowment than Africa.

In other words, the basic tenet of these conspiracy theories – that Africa holds some sort of outsized and irreplaceable resource importance to the world outside – is nothing more than a myth at best, and at worst a pernicious delusion which will eventually lead to real and predictable violence.

Stop looking for bogeymen!

So is Africa really a victim and are we all simply unfortunate victims of power plays and geopolitical tussles between everyone from world powers to the global banking elite to the Illuminati or Annunaki, or whatever other shadowy group of people allegedly controls the world?

To answer to that question, we need to examine why there is a widespread belief that Africa is being puppeted and is not in control of its own destiny. 60 years after most of the continent gained independence, despite controlling our own borders, education, taxation, money, industrial policy, public investment policy and military, Africa has barely made any progress at all. The realisation that African independence has not delivered the results hoped for in the 1960s is very painful. What would be even more painful is admitting that the independence project and the subsequent post-colonial projects across the continent were in fact selfishly conceived, poorly designed and terribly executed.

The shame of admitting our own historical and continued failure drives people to instead look for a convenient scapegoat that is suitably large and ever-present, yet distant and untouchable. And what better scapegoat is there than the foreign (preferably white) bogeyman? So when we in Nigeria make decisions like refusing to unify our exchange rate, or closing our borders despite a land trade surplus, or wasting development funds on a succession of nonsensical white elephant projects, we can blame the resulting economic devastation and political instability on an external bogeyman.

Is there actually a bogeyman? Are there people out there that don’t mean well for Africa? The correct answer to this question is not “yes” or “no.” The correct answer is “So what?” If geo-political interests that allegedly want Africa to remain poor and underdeveloped could not stop China and India from fixing key systemic issues and building themselves into economic powerhouses, they cannot stop Africa either – it is only Africa stopping Africa. We are in fact, the ones who get to decide what we want our destiny to be – no Bretton Woods financial institution, giant alien lizard, imperialist white devil or Bill Gates Antichrists has the power to do that for us.

And frankly, if the alleged bogeyman actually wanted us dead…