Monday, March 10, 2008

The New Scramble for Africa

The following Rant is a response to a challenging email I received from an LIBRadio listener:
Greetings Sister Gwen

You sent me some wonderfully challenging questions and I am excited to respond. You wrote:

How do you intend to stop the re-colonization of Africa both by the Indians and Chinese only by moving to Africa if you do not make the policy? Please explain to the listeners how persons moving back to Africa can stop the Chinese,, if the leaders in the African countries are very content to allow this economic colonization.

By the way, you never mentioned the below article about the Ghana highway being named after Bush. I sent it during you show last week.

Thanks for your inquiry. We actually did cover the naming of the Mallan-Tetteh Quarshie Road in Accra after George Bush with our brother Kwame Osei, who reports for us regularly from Ghana. It was a partial highway, the other end of it named after President Kuffour's other friend Olusegun Obasango, former president of Nigeria. While we, Africans in America, should be rightly insulted, it is rather common practice to reward those who donate large sums of money, to rename something that their money has financed. There is no denying that the U.S. government has sent millions of dollars of "aid" to Ghana during the era of Kuffour and Bush, and it is true that a portion of that development aid went into transportation improvements (the aforementioned road cost $100 million and opens up the Tema seaports to Accra through a 6-lane highway). In 2006, under the Millennium Challenge Act (MCA) program, the U.S. gave $547 million to Ghana, the largest aid deal to date between the two nations, the bulk of which was earmarked for agriculture and transportation, such as the new George Bush Highway, constructed with MCA funds. I contend that this is aid money that African Americans should have been supplying.

In contrast, in 2006, African Americans spent $55 billion extra for Christmas, a significant portion of which spent on Chinese manufactured consumer goods. I don’t have any figures on the 2006 contributions to Ghana by African Americans. In 2003 some 10,000 African Americans participated in Ghana’s important tourism sector which, according to my estimation, would have contributed less than $5 million to the Ghanaian economy.

You are right: I cannot stop Indians, Chinese and Arabs from moving to Africa in large numbers; yet, WE can slow down and eventually halt the practice. There are as many as 300 million people of African descent outside of the continent. Africans in North America are the wealthiest with as much as a Trillion dollars of household income, 98% of which is disposed of. One of the ways that Asians are migrating into the continent is coming in to build and service their massive construction projects like the new Bui Dam in Ghana. China’s investment in this dam is a 90% stake, with 10% being invested by the Ghanaian government. China's contribution is about $600 million. In 2007, African Americans spent about 8o times that amount above and beyond their normal yearly spending during the three months of the Christmas shopping season.

China has opened 11 business development centers on the African continent and is sponsoring university education for 10's of thousands of Africans in Chinese schools. They are also making trade deals that offer the African economies better terms than those from Europe and America. It is only natural that African leaders, whether corrupt or merely pragmatic, would engage in these trade deals. Least we should not be conscious of the fact, most of the African countries are under populated, thus the building of large construction and development projects such as hospitals, communications, electrification, dams, highways, railways, airports, seaports and the like require large numbers of both highly skilled and lesser skilled labor.

Had African Americans taken on the responsibility of building just 5 dams in Africa instead of chasing fake holidays (with the same 90%/10% ratio), we could have created jobs to have employed 90% African-born (with a salary of $10,200 per year) and 10% African Americans (with a salary of $48,500 per year). Thus for an investment by these rich African Americans of $3 billion we could have created jobs for nearly 200,000 African-born and over 21,000 African Americans. This level of cooperative partnership would encourage a lot of us from the Diaspora to migrate to the continent, especially when one considers' the upgrade in lifestyle such an income level in places like Ghana, Senegal and other stable countries would support.

In so far as the possibility of us making policy in Africa, policymaking in Ghana, Senegal and other African democratic/parliamentary governments is done through political parties. Thus we are familiar with the way that money, development and familiarity affect policy. I have personally met with government officials from several African countries. I have been wonderfully surprised at the cordial response that they have afforded me and the personal audience I have enjoyed. They are highly desirous of us to come home with resources, skills, and with the aim of developing our true homeland to the extent that we have become comfortable within the West.

I completely agree that the issue of "tribes" in Africa is continuing to be problematic. Even Africans from the Diaspora who migrate to the continent still hang out with each other, do business together, socialize and strategize in tandem. I think that this is to some extent a natural process of familiarity. The places where I have seen tribalism superseded is when there is a great level of productive collaboration. In areas of collective security, political transcendence, construction and development, health policies and resisting external exploitation, tribalism becomes less a driving consideration than mutual self interest.

Thus I propose that the greatest antidote to the debilitating effect of tribalism is uniting the populations toward the achievement of greater goals. I can think of no greater goals for the 54 African countries than electrification, health care delivery, indigenous production of manufactured goods, raising standards of housing, collective security, resolving foreign debt, turning back foreign exploitation and repatriating millions of wealthy and skilled Africans from the Diaspora. I suggest that determined achievement of these strategic aims will neutralize the debilitating effect of tribalism while we make effort to preserve and market the rich cultural and historical legacy of the distinct regional contributions to civilization and development. So-called tribalism does after all spark creative diversity in art, fashion, music, dance, language and pageantry, all of which contribute greatly to Africa’s cultural tourism industries.

I invite every one of us to dream the big dream. Don't think for a minute that these things we discuss during these Pan African forums are not within the realm of accomplishment. If you convince yourself that they are not doable, then it is all too likely that you will subconsciously try to prove yourself right by doing nothing or, worse yet, thwarting the efforts of those of us who have plans to make a difference. Africans have built great nations since the dawn of human history. We are not done building great nations. In fact, I am absolutely convinced that all the efforts we have contributed to the growth and development of great nations, including much of contemporary Western wealth and military might, has merely been practice as we now prepare to restore one unified African continent to the absolute pinnacle of world prestige, wealth, security and self-sufficiency.

This goal; this mission; this vision has motivated vast numbers of us for generations to the highest level of competency that can be achieved. Our success in developing Africa will be a direct consequence of our investments in Africa. Thus, us moving to the continent is direct proof of our investment.

Keidi Obi Awadu is the founder of Black Star Media. He is the host of a talk radio show on and shares his video documentaries on Contact Keidi at


Yolanda said...

I could not agree more with your reflections. It goes back to the homage that if we wish to receive prosperity from our land, we must pour the foundation in that land, lay up the frames for that land, put a roof on that land and call it home.

Many African Americans believe that America is the continent from which they will reap their harvest, so they stay there, year after year, not building anything, only feeding their resources (money, emotions, labor, families, self-love) into a one-way system that has no respect of person.

If there is a system we should be feeding our resources into, it should be our homeland. I may have sprung from a womb in America, but everything about me, to the smallest cellular level, is African. And with that being said, it's only fitting that I feed my resources into once again making Africa the great nation it can be.

Thanks for sharing this e-mail and your thoughts.

pat joi said...

I am currently looking for assistance in moving to Africa. As a Rasta in America, I feel it is important,and vital for us to move back to the land of our ancestors. I must do this before my time is up! Please correspond to my email thanks looking forward to a response.