development


Almost half of the top 12 fastest growing economies in the world come from Africa. Ghana has swept from a 4.5% growth rate last year, to an astonishing 20.146% growth rate for 2011, making Ghana the fastest growing economy in the world.

The true size of Africa in perspective, just a reminder of how big Africa is, and how big its potential is as well.

See more information and detail at The True Size of Africa

Ghana is expected to be the fastest growing economy in the world in 2011!

12 Fastest Growing Economies of 2011

For 2010, we noted that none of the top growth countries were advanced economies; only one was G20.

Many people assume that China is the fastest growing country in the world, but that is not the case – it is the fastest growing large economy, and as we will see that is a different thing.

We also took a look at the key trends that are driving the growth figures.
Let’s take a look at the stats for 2011:

Growth rates are much higher this year. The chart tops out at over 20%.

Once again, developed countries do not feature in the Top 12. Almost half of the top 12 come from Africa. Ghana has swept from 4.5% last year, to an astonishing 20.146% for 2011.

One third of the Top 12 are from the Far East; two from the Middle East and one from Central Asia.

The African decade continues to hold sway. 2010 to 2020 is bringing massive development to the continent. As China continues to boom we will see the Chinese offer more large-scale infrastructure development to African governments in return for natural resources and farmland to support it’s vast population. In turn African countries are continuing to challenge old perceptions of corruption and violence through practicing better governance. Chart leader Ghana is one of Africa’s strongest democracies. African countries will continue to veer in favor of increased prosperity. The picture continues to be replacement of Western aid for Africa by Eastern trade with Africa.

The peace and democracy bonanza.
Rounding of our counter-intuitive list is another perfectly intuitive point. Countries like Ghana who are experiencing a new era of good governance will enjoy massive growth increases. Where there is peace and good governance, prosperity will follow as we see these countries making use of their resources more actively and using them to build, rather than wage war.

Check the Ghana Economic Statistics and Indicators.

Ghana is not the only country in Africa that is doing well. From Roubini Global Economics:
African Poverty Is Falling…Much Faster Than You Think.

Many believe:

Sub-Saharan Africa has made little progress in reducing extreme poverty, according to the latest Millennium Development Report. This column presents evidence from 1970 to 2006 to the contrary.

The sustained African growth of the last 15 years has engendered a steady decline in poverty that puts Africa on track to meet the Goals by 2017. If peace is established in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and it returns to the African trend (which is what happened to other African nations that were formerly at war), Africa will halve its $1/day income poverty rate by 2013, two years ahead of the 2015 target.

Moreover, African poverty reduction has been extremely general. Poverty fell for both landlocked and coastal countries, for mineral-rich and mineral-poor countries, for countries with favourable and unfavourable agriculture, for countries with different colonisers, and for countries with varying degrees of exposure to the African slave trade. The benefits of growth were so widely distributed that African inequality actually fell substantially.

Africa: graph of poverty and GDP, 1970-2006

  • Using the $1/day definition of poverty adopted by the Millennium Development Goals, African poverty declined strikingly, from 41.6% in 1990 to 31.8% in 20061.

  • Poverty seems to co-move with GDP almost perfectly.

  • African inequality has also fallen over this period, almost entirely reversing its rise since 1970, but still remaining at a high absolute level

  • Our main conclusion is that Africa is reducing poverty, and doing it much faster than many thought.

    • The growth from the period 1995-2006, far from benefiting only the elites, has been sufficiently widely spread that both total African inequality and African within-country inequality actually declined over this period.
    • The speed at which Africa has reduced poverty since 1995 puts it on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty relative to 1990 by 2015 on time or, at worst, a couple of years late.
    • If the Democratic Republic of Congo converges to the African trend once it is stabilised, the MDG will be achieved by 2012, three years before the target date.

    We also find that the African poverty reduction is remarkably general.

    • African poverty reduction cannot be explained by a large country, or even by a single set of countries possessing some beneficial geographical or historical characteristic.
    • All classes of countries, including those with disadvantageous geography and history, experience reductions in poverty.

    This observation is particularly important because it shows that poor geography and history have not posed insurmountable obstacles to poverty reduction.

    The authors, Maxim Pinkovskiy and Xavier Sala-i-Martin, explain their methodology and provide many more graphs that demonstrate their research and conclusions. View the graphs and read more at: African Poverty Is Falling…Much Faster Than You Think

    In a previous post I wrote about The African Growth Miracle PDF study by Alwyn Young at the London School of Economics, published in September 2009. His study showed:

    … real household consumption in sub-Saharan Africa is growing around 3.3 percent per annum, i.e. more than three times the 0.9 to 1.0 percent reported in international data sources and on par with the growth experienced in other developing countries.

    Measures of real consumption based upon the ownership of durable goods, the quality of housing, the health and mortality of children, the education of youth and the allocation of female time in the household indicate that sub-Saharan living standards have, for the past two decades, been growing in excess of 3 percent per annum, i.e. more than three times the rate indicated in international data sets.

    The thing that delayed this growth and created setbacks is war. It is unfortunate that current US attention to Africa is almost entirely military, preparing for more war. US foreign policy in Africa is military policy. The US is missing the African success boat.   It may be trying to sink it with its efforts at seabasing, its emphasis on military training to facilitate proxy war, and where there is war, partnering with the perpetrators.  I would like to see positive development in US relations with African countries.   For that to happen we need US leadership that can learn, that knows a bit of history, or we need new leadership.

    Nevertheless, this news on economic growth and the reduction of poverty and inequality is wonderful news, something we can celebrate as we prepare for lots of hard work ahead.

     

    Here are AGRA’s agents in Ghana. The result of their efforts, if they are successful, will be small farmers crushed by debt and forced off their land, the land will be depleted by chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and new super weeds and insect pests will flourish. As a friend who has worked with AGRA in Ghana says, if they give you 2000, they make sure to get 4000 back from you (in dollars, cedis, or any currency you name).

    AGRA Watch researchers have mapped AGRA grant recipients and some alternatives to AGRA. The map, which is linked below, covers all of Africa, this is just the Ghana section.

    AGRA Watch Resources

    These are the organizations and individuals in Ghana, marked on the map, who are developing and promoting AGRA’s GMO seeds and chemical agriculture:

    AGRA Grants (blue markers):
    Category: Seed Production for Africa


    Alpha Seed Enterprise
    About, Personnel, Linkages, Approach
    Last Updated on May 26, 2009
    Principal Investigator: Mrs. Felicia Ewool
    Purpose: To provide seeds of newley released hybrid and open-pollinated maize varieties to poor smallholder farmers of the forest and forest-transition maize growing regions of Ghana, as well as educate them on the importance of using improved seeds in an effort to enhance their productivity.
    Amount: $150,000
    Projected Duration: 10/1/2008 — 9/30/2010

    M&B Seeds and Agricultural Services Ghana Limited
    Last Updated on May 26, 2009
    Principal Investigator: Mr. Benjamin Anani Kwaku Kemetse
    Purpose: To enhance farm productivity and increase incomes of smallholder farmers of the Volta region of Ghana through provision of high yielding improved seeds of maize, soybean, cowpea, rice, groundnut and vegetables; and education on the use of these seeds.
    Amount: $149,765
    Projected Duration: 5/1/2009 – 4/30/2012

    Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
    Their website, www.csir.org.gh is not working today; find some CSIR info here.
    Last Updated on May 23, 2009
    Principal Investigator: Mr. Isaac Kofi Bimpong
    Purpose: For use by its Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) to improve drought tolerance of rice through within-species gene transfer.
    Amount: US$35,200
    Projected Duration: 9/1/2007 – 4/30/2009
    AGRA Grants (turquoise markers) :
    Category: Education for African Crop Improvement

    Savanna Seed Services Company Limited
    Last Updated on May 26, 2009
    Principal Investigator: Mr. Patrick Adingtingha Apullah
    Purpose: To avail seed of maize, soybean, sorghum, cowpea, rice and groundnut at an affordable price to resource-poor farmers in three administrative regions of northern Ghana.
    Amount: $149,973
    Projected Duration: 6/15/2008 — 6/14/2010

    University of Ghana
    Last Updated on May 23, 2009
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, Ph.D.
    Purpose: To establish a West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) at the University of Ghana, Legon.
    Amount: US$4,922,752
    Projected Duration: 6/1/2007 – 6/30/2012

    Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
    Last Updated on May 23, 2009
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Richard Akromah
    Purpose: To catalyze the development and adoption of improved crop varieties and production of good quality seed adapted to smallholder farmer conditions in the West Africa sub-region, through supporting ten M.Sc. level training in plant breeding and seed science.
    Amount: US$387,000
    Projected Duration: 9/1/2008 – 8/31/2010

    University of Ghana
    Last Updated on May 23, 2009
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Eric Yirenkyi Danquah
    Purpose: To provide supplementary funding toward the Establishment of a West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) at the University of Ghana, Legon (UGL).
    Amount: US$859,107
    Projected Duration: 6/1/2007 – 5/31/2012

    Cornell University, United States
    Last Updated on May 23, 2009
    Principal Investigator: Professor Margaret Smith
    Purpose: To facilitate the start-up and development of WACCI at the University of Ghana, Legon, to train African agricultural scientists and address critical food security issues facing the region.
    Amount: US$1,696,756
    Projected Duration: 6/1/2007 – 3/31/2012

    AGRA Grants (yellow markers):
    Fund for the Improvement and Adoption of African Crops

    Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute
    Last Updated on May 23, 2009
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Hans K.Adu-dapaah
    Crop: Cowpea
    Purpose: To improve cowpea yields among poor smallholder farmers by introgression of genes for flower thrips and Cercospora leaf spot-resistance in farmer-preferred varieties.
    Amount: US$184,860
    Projected Duration: 7/1/2008 – 6/30/2011

    Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savanna Agricultural Research Institute
    Last Updated on May 23, 2009
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Mashark Seidu Abdulai
    Crop: Maize
    Purpose: To develop maize varieties suitable for use by poor smallholder farmers of the Guinea and Sudan savanna zones of Ghana.
    Amount: US$184,480
    Projected Duration: 3/1/2008 – 2/28/2011

    Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute
    Last Updated on May 23, 2009
    Principal Investigator: Mr. Manfred B. Ewool
    Crop: Maize
    Purpose: To develop higher-yielding, improved hybrid maize varieties for the forest and forest-transition zones of Ghana, for use by poor smallholder farmers.
    Amount: US$185,000
    Projected Duration: 5/1/2008 – 4/30/2011

    Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute
    Last Updated on May 23, 2009
    Principal Investigator: Joe Manu-Aduening
    Crop: Cassava
    Purpose: To develop improved cassava varieties resistant to common pests and diseases and possessing the main farmer-preferred traits.
    Amount: US$179,845
    Projected Duration: 3/1/2008 – 2/28/2011

    AGRA Grants (red marker):
    Category: Agro-dealer Development

    International Fertilizer Development Center
    Last Updated on May 23, 2009
    Principal Investigator: J J Robert Groot
    Purpose: To create a well-functioning and sustainable input supply system in Ghana in order to increase productivity and incomes of rural food producers in Asante, Brong Ahafo, northern and central regions who account or more than half of the country’s poor.
    Amount: US$2,500,000
    Projected Duration: 10/1/2008 – 9/30/2011

    The result of AGRA’s alien hybrid seeds, alien chemical fertilizers and alien pesticides, will be:

    … smallholders will buy the new hybrid seed, fertiliser and pesticide on credit, eventually be forced off their land to repay their debts and end up in the cities, while large corporate style farms will consolidate smallholder land. (Food First)

    For more information and links on this subject you can read these previous posts:
    Why is Kofi Annan Fronting For Monsanto? The GMO Assault On Africa
    AGRA & Monsanto & Gates, Green Washing & Poor Washing

    I had wondered exactly where AGRA is operating in Ghana and who is involved. This list should provide a start. Here is this list of grants from the AGRA site.

    Those doing the research claim great successes for their products. Most often, the research on effectiveness is funded by the same international corporations that are profiting from the products being researched. All tales of success should be regarded as highly suspect without independent research and verification. Generally the independent research has shown the company funded research and success tales to be highly questionable. Toxic effects have gone unreported and ignored

    AGRA Watch Resources provides much more than this map. They provide a list of links to other organizations watching AGRA, and working for food and trade justice, and an excellent targeted reading list. On the map there are green markers for alternatives to AGRA. Unfortunately, there are not many marked, and none are in Ghana. Readers from other countries in Africa can identify who is AGRA in their own countries using this map.

    The following maps provide an overview of Africa at present. The selection was put together by McKinsey Quarterly, discussing businees opportunities and the future in Africa. The information in the maps is by no means complete, but nevertheless worth a look.  Click on each map to make it large enough to read.

    11 million square miles and more than 50 countries

    Capital cities

    Population by country

    Literacy rates by country

    Major cities on the continent

    Major minerals by location

    Business climate by country

    The maps above are from McKinsey Quarterly where there are slightly more interactive versions.

    In view of the above maps, I thought I’d post the following map again, to help keep things in perspective.

    Map of Africa's geographic size in relation to other countries (click to enlarge)

    The map above comes from Strange Maps.

    Something additional to keep in mind, Alwyn Young of the Department of Economics of the London School of Economics published the study The African Growth Miracle PDF in September 2009. As the abstract says:

    Measures of real consumption based upon the ownership of durable goods, the quality of housing, the health and mortality of children, the education of youth and the allocation of female time in the household indicate that sub-Saharan living standards have, for the past two decades, been growing in excess of 3 percent per annum, i.e. more than three times the rate indicated in international data sets.

    Mr. Young has made this survey based on the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS).

    The DHS data on consumption of consumer durables and housing, children’s health and mortality, the schooling of youth and the allocation of women’s time between marriage & childbirth and market activity, indicate that since 1990 real material consumption in sub-Saharan Africa has been rising at a rate more than three times that recorded by international data sources such as the PWT, and on par with the growth taking place in other regions of the world. This is a miraculous achievement, given that the very real ravages of the AIDS epidemic have deprived families of prime working age adults, burdened them with medical and funeral expenses, orphaned their school age children and directly and adversely affected the health of their infants. And yet, the overall health and mortality of children is improving, their school attendance is rising, and family consumption of a variety of material goods is growing at a rapid rate. (p.58)

    Much of this has gone unnoticed prior to his study.

    For some further reading, Pambazuka has a number of recent stories well worth a look, including:

    MDGs: How far we’ve come and what still has to be done
    Charles Abugre (2010-09-22)
    Africans must not rely on the so-called millennium goals
    Cameron Duodu (2010-09-23)
    African Women Writing Resistance
    Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez, Pauline Dongala, Omotayo Jolaosho and Anne Serafin (2010-09-23)
    World Bank land grab report: Beyond smoke and mirrors
    GRAIN (2010-09-23)
    The global capitalist crisis and Africa’s future
    Dani W. Nabudere (2010-09-23)

    ________

    To regular readers of this blog, apologies for fewer postings in recent weeks.  In July we experienced severe budget cuts at work.  We lost jobs but the workload remains the same.  It is taking more time than I expected to get the work manageable.  I hope to be back to more frequent posting soon.

    Why do you bring your mistakes here?

    Kofi Annan has joined with President Obama, Monsanto, AGRA, and the Gates foundation to promote and execute food aid that replaces bags of wheat, rice and corn (agricultural dumping) with bags of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers and genetically engineered seeds. The end result will be to starve people in Africa and feed corporations in the US and Europe.

    Kofi Annan and farmers

    Under the guise of “sustainability” the [Gates] Foundation has been spearheading a multi-billion dollar effort to transform Africa into a GMO-friendly continent. The public relations flagship for this effort is the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), a massive Green Revolution project. Up to now AGRA spokespeople have been slippery, and frankly, contradictory about their stance on GMOs.

    If you had any doubts about where the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is really placing its bets, AGRA Watch’s recent announcement of the Foundation’s investment of $23.1 million in 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock should put them to rest. Genetic engineering: full speed ahead. (Eric Holt-Gimenez)

    If you have questions about Monsanto’s agenda, here it is in brief:

    At a biotech industry conference in January 1999, a representative from Arthur Anderson, LLP explained how they had helped Monsanto design their strategic plan. First, his team asked Monsanto executives what their ideal future looked like in 15 to 20 years. The executives described a world with 100 percent of all commercial seeds genetically modified and patented. Anderson consultants then worked backwards from that goal, and developed the strategy and tactics to achieve it. They presented Monsanto with the steps and procedures needed to obtain a place of industry dominance in a world in which natural seeds were virtually extinct. (Jeffrey M. Smith)

    Monsanto: No food shall be grown that we don't own

    Kofi Annan is Chairman of the Board of Directors for AGRA. He is convening a conference in Ghana in the first week of September. As detailed in this blog, and by others, both AGRA and USAID top positions are filled with people that come from Monsanto and Dupont.
    Kofi Annan Calls For United Effort To Accelerate African Green Revolution

    African heads of state, industry representatives, the international donor community and farmers will meet in Ghana at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in the first week of September. Delegates will create an action plan on the acceleration of a Green Revolution in Africa.

    Samuel Amoako has reported on this as well: Kofi Annan Hosts Forum On Africa’s Food Security in the Ghanaian Times on August 11.

    It is worrisome that Kofi Annan is connected with AGRA. Maybe he believes that US mechanized and chemical agriculture work well. Most people in the US do, aside from family farmers who see the effects first hand. I have a good friend who works for the US Dept. of Agriculture and thinks this kind of big agriculture really is the best and that Monsanto is a boon to mankind. We have had several heated discussions. In fact Monsanto is destroying land, causing chemically induced human diseases, creating super weeds, super insect pests, and economic havoc in many parts of the US farming areas, particularly in the midwest and the south. There have been countless protests all over India and Brazil. I’ve read many heartbreaking stories, including this comment from Pearl on this blog:

    The farmers of southern Kentucky have been enslaved by Monsanto. The previous generation fell for an ad campaign called “Hi-bred” or “High-Bred”, and the current generation is stuck with fulfilling the contracts their fathers signed. The chemicals that Monsanto has contractually required be applied to those fields have so damaged the soil that the only way to get anything to grow in the fields now is to keep applying more of those blasted chemicals. So even if a person who inherited a contract WANTS to discontinue the agreement with Monsanto when the contract expires, they are unable to do so unless they want to leave the land fallow for many, many, many years. Most farmers cannot afford to do this, as this would mean little to no income for their families for somewhere between 5 to 20 years, depending on how long it would take for the soil to renew itself.

    I’ve always had enormous respect for Kofi Annan, I do not understand his participation in this and it bothers me a great deal. Even though I admire and respect him there are no free passes with a subject like this.

    Genetically modified crops produce less, not more, than conventional crops.

    Alexis Baden-Mayer points out in Dupont, Monsanto, and Obama Versus the World’s Family Farmers that AGRA is basing its programs on myth:

    Most of the world’s food is not produced on industrial mega-farms. 1.5 billion family farmers produce 75 percent of the world’s food.

    The hunger problem is not caused by low yields. The world has 6 billion people and produces enough food for 9 billion people.

    And as I’ve discussed before, the smaller the farm the greater the yield.

    There is an inverse relationship between the size of farms and the amount of crops they produce per hectare. The smaller they are, the greater the yield.

    In some cases, the difference is enormous. A recent study of farming in Turkey, for example, found that farms of less than one hectare are twenty times as productive as farms of over ten hectares(3). Sen’s observation has been tested in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand, Java, the Phillippines, Brazil, Colombia and Paraguay. It appears to hold almost everywhere. (Monbiot)

    The key to true food security is food sovereignty, and the key to food sovereignty lies in who controls the land. The problems of both starvation and obesity stem from injustice in the way farmland and food are distributed. AGRA policies will poison the land and water, destroy local seeds and seed gene pools that provide the true hope for food sustainability. Local agriculture in most parts of the world has developed seeds that are tough and resistant to local pests, weeds, and local environmental dangers such as droughts or floods. AGRA wishes to replace these seeds with ones that need expensive, continuous, and ever expanding chemical coddling. These chemicals will poison the land, the water, and the people.

    Additionally the Gates Foundation, Monsanto, and other corporate interests are investing in a doomsday seed bank, in which they will own the world’s agricultural gene pool. They are storing seeds from all over the world. In the event of genetic disaster, they will own the surviving gene pool.

    Jonathan Weiner, in The Beak of the Finch describes how chemicals drive the destruction of land and the creation of super weeds and super insect pests:

    Some of the greatest opposition to evolution comes from the farmers of the Cotton Belt, and that is where Taylor is seeing one of the most dramatic cases of evolution in action on this planet.

    … in the year 1940, cotton farmers began spraying their fields with the chemical compound dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, better known as DDT. These first insecticidal sprays killed so many insects, and killed so many of the birds that ate the insects, that in biological terms the cotton fields were left standing virtually vacant, like an archipelago of newborn islands – and out of the woods and hedgerows fluttered [the cotton destroying moth] Heliothis virescens.

    In the next few optimistic years, pesticide manufacturers assaulted Heliothis with bigger and bigger doses of DDT. They also brought out more poisons from the same chemical family: aldrin, chlordane. The aim was nothing less than the control of nature, and pesticide manufacturers believed that control was within their grasp. The annual introduction of new pesticides rose from the very first product, DDT, in 1940, to great waves of chemical invention in the 1960s and 1970s. In those decades, dozens of new herbicides and insecticides were brought to market each year. Heliothis became on of the most heavily sprayed species in what amounted to a biological world war. Through it all, the moths clung to the cotton.

    … The moths have become almost absolutely resistant to all pesticides, from your cyclodienes to your organophosphates to your carbamates, and most of your pyrethroids. …

    “Its an extraordinarily potent example of evolution going on under our eyes,” Taylor says. “Visible evolution.”

    A pesticide applies selection pressure as surely as a drought or a flood. The poison selects against traits that make a species vulnerable to it, because the individuals that are most vulnerable are the ones that die first. The poison selects for any trait that makes the species less vulnerable, because the least vulnerable are the ones that survive longest and leave the most offspring. In this way the invention of pesticides in the twentieth century has driven waves of evolution in insects all over the planet. Heliothis is only one case in hundreds. (from pp 251-255)

    In short, pesticides and herbicides destroy most of the insects, plants, and often other animals in those fields where they are used. But nature fights back. Those insects and weeds that can resist the chemicals initially, breed and grow stronger. They have no competition except from the chemicals, and they quickly evolve immunity, even as the chemicals become stronger and more toxic. Stronger and more toxic chemicals are needed to fight the new insects and weeds, and the destructive cycle continues. The chemicals wind up in the food, and run off into the land and the water, creating an ever increasingly toxic environment for humans and many other plants and animals.

    For the growth of super weeds world wide, see the following charts:

    The vertical axis shows the number of species of weeds that have become chemical resistant, the horizontal axis shows the years. You can see the exponential increase starting about 1970 when Monsanto introduced Roundup, and continuing into 2010. (click to enlarge)

    You can see the distribution, North America, Western Europe, and Australia have already been severely impacted. Africa is a huge new market that has not yet been ruined. You can see why it is so desirable, it is a huge wide open opportunity to Monsanto and other greedy chemical corporations. Most countries in Africa have not yet been touched or biologically recolonized by GMOs and agricultural chemicals. South Africa, which has allowed GMOs, is the most severely impacted to date. (click to enlarge)

    Genetically modified seeds, GMOs, are designed to be used as part of a program involving chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Their effect on farmers is usually to lock them into a cycle of debt, as described by Pearl above, and as experienced and protested in many countries including India and Brazil, as mentioned above. Terminator seeds, also known as suicide seeds or homicide seeds, will not regenerate, so instead of saving seeds, farmers have to buy new seeds each year, as well as investing in more, and more toxic chemicals each year that are necessary to make the GMO seeds grow. This cycle has created death and destruction in many places, including hundreds of farmer suicides in India.

    I’ve heard that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and that is certainly the case for the insects and weeds targeted by chemical pesticides and herbicides. Those that don’t die become very much stronger. We have already have super bugs and super weeds, thanks to the efforts of companies such as Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta. Evolution can move very fast, not just fast enough to observe, but fast enough to leave us humans struggling in its wake. Monsanto and the other agricultural chemical companies market each new product as though it is the end of some pest, that evolution stops at this point, and we can just relax. In fact each new chemical is the creator and the beginning of many more powerful threats. And the more powerful the chemical tools we use against these threats, the more those chemicals poison us and strengthen the insects and weeds we are fighting.

    Although they have stopped talking much overtly about this, AGRA and the Gates Foundation speak about “land mobility” which means moving farmers off their farms so the land can be used for large scale mechanized agriculture. But there is no mention of where these people will go and live, and how they will be reemployed. What this means is thousands of displaced people moving to slums around the cities, which will grow and will be filled with unemployed people. This is politically and socially destabilizing. It breeds crime and political violence. This kind of policy also hits women particularly hard, because in western models such as corporate agriculture, their traditional rights to land are ignored. Women are the majority of agricultural workers, and will become even more impoverished and disenfranchised, not that it will bother AGRA or Gates or Monsanto, as they say:

    Over time, this will require some degree of land mobility and a lower percentage of total employment involved in direct agricultural production.

    Family farmers, who produce 75% of the worlds food, will gradually be displaced, driven off their land, and the land will be poisoned and ruined. There will be less food, less healthy food. More people will starve, while more corporations will get fat.

    As Joan Baxter writes:

    Back in the early 1990s when I was reporting from northern Ghana, an elderly woman farmer decided I would benefit from a bit of enlightenment. In a rather long lecture, she detailed for me the devastating effects that the Green Revolution – the first one that outside experts and donors launched in Africa in the 1960s and 1970s – had had on farmers’ crops, soils, trees and their lives. She said that the imported seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and tractors, the instructions to plant row after row of imported hybrid maize and cut down precious trees that protected the soils and nourished the people – even the invaluable sheanut trees – had ruined the diverse and productive farming systems that had always sustained her people. When she finished, she cocked an eye at me and asked, with a cagey grin, ‘Why do you bring your mistakes here?

    For more African farmers perspectives on this subject, see:

    Africa: African Farmers and Environmentalists Speak Out Against A New Green Revolution In Africa PDF
    http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/voicesfromafrica/pdfs/voicesfromafrica_full.pdf

    ________

    The first part of this article was published, text only, on GhanaWeb on September 13. You can read comments there.

    Daniel Volman provides a rundown of US military spending in Africa for the coming FY 2011. President Obama is continuing and expanding:

    … the militarised and unilateral security policy that had been pursued by the George W. Bush administration toward Africa, as well as toward other parts of the world.

    CAMP KASENYI, Uganda - Staff Sergeant Andre Amantine of the 2-18 Field Artillery Regiment out of Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, marches with his students of the Counter Terrorism Course on June 16, 2009 at Camp Kasenyi, Uganda. More than 100 Ugandan soldiers graduated from this CJTF-HOA-supported course, which covered topics such as individual movement techniques, troop landing procedures, land navigation, first aid, identifying improvised explosive devises, and more. (Photo by Master Sergeant Loren Bonser)

    Volman’s figures on FY 2011 Budget Requests by Country

    The 38 million dollars for the Foreign Military Financing programme to pay for U.S. arms sales to African countries includes:
    9 million for Liberia,
    9 million for Morocco,
    4.9 million for Tunisia,
    2.5 million for Djibouti,
    2 million for Ethiopia,
    1.5 million for the Democratic Republic of Congo,
    1.4 million for Nigeria,
    one million for Kenya.

    The 21 million dollars for the International Military Education and Training Programme to bring African military officers to the United States for military training includes:
    2.3 million for Tunisia,
    1.9 million for Morocco,
    1 million for Kenya,
    1 million for Nigeria,
    1 million for Senegal,
    950,000 for Algeria,
    825,000 for Ghana,
    725,000 for Ethiopia,
    600,000 for Uganda,
    500,000 for the Democratic Republic of Congo,
    500,000 for Rwanda.

    The 24.4 million dollars for Anti-Terrorism Assistance programmes in Africa includes:
    8 million dollars for Kenya,
    1 million for South Africa,
    800,000 for Morocco, and
    400,000 for Algeria, and
    14 million for African Regional Programmes.

    A U.S. Air University’s Strategic Studies Quarterly paper (PDF) by Maj Shawn T. Cochran, USAF, includes a description of the difference between creative aid and acquisitive aid:

    Creative aid, even of a military variety, focuses on the socioeconomic development of a recipient without being tied to any specific strategic objective of the donor. It is “not primarily intended to acquire anything, at least not immediately; it is extended in the hope that it will favorably affect the economic and political development of the recipient country.” On the other hand, a donor will utilize acquisitive aid to “win a comparatively specific advantage” or to “acquire” an asset. In further defining the nature of the latter, Liska postulates,

    In the case of acquisitive aid the recipient’s performance substitutes directly for action by the donor. The donor either does not expect to act at all or would have to act “more” or “differently” if he could not anticipate the performance of the recipient. … The case is clearest where military and economic aid are intended to help the recipient maintain an army for local self-defense, so that the United States does not have to participate with troops or need involve only a correspondingly smaller number of troops.

    This passage highlights the basic linkage between security assistance and surrogate force.

    I have not seen much sign of creative aid coming from the US government to Africa for many decades. There is plenty of acquisitive aid. AFRICOM’s partnering is acquisitive aid, security assistance designed to acquire surrogate force. The gift is arms and military training so that African soldiers can fight, suffer and die for US interests, and US soldiers will not have to. But we won’t see creative aid. We won’t see aid that will favorably affect the economic and political development of the recipient country. We won’t see aid that will help develop transportation, or health, or education, or improved sanitation and sewage, or any of the things governments do to earn the consent of the governed and to govern peacefully and prosperously. We see the Africa Command in military photo op aid performing a few of these functions in local isolation. But the money for these is peanuts compared with the money for arms and military training, or even compared with the expense of just moving military equipment from place to place.

    DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania - Tanzanian Sailors practice visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) techniques during an exercise aboard the Africa Partnership Station (APS) East platform USS Nicholas (FFG 47), January 20, 2010. VBSS is just one of a series of maritime training courses being offered onboard Nicholas and the High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) by APS East instructors to members of the Tanzanian Navy. APS East is in Tanzania to participate in maritime and cultural exchanges with the Tanzanian Navy and will visit ports in Comoros, Djibouti, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique and Seychelles to enhance maritime safety and security in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Julian Olivari)

    real household consumption in sub-Saharan Africa is growing around 3.3 percent per annum, i.e. more than three times the 0.9 to 1.0 percent reported in international data sources and on par with the growth experienced in other developing countries.

    School children in Bunkpurugu in Northern Ghana 2005, a very cheerful picture, not directly related to the story, but cheerfully upbeat.

    Alwyn Young of the Department of Economics of the London School of Economics published the study The African Growth Miracle PDF in September 2009. As the abstract says:

    Measures of real consumption based upon the ownership of durable goods, the quality of housing, the health and mortality of children, the education of youth and the allocation of female time in the household indicate that sub-Saharan living standards have, for the past two decades, been growing in excess of 3 percent per annum, i.e. more than three times the rate indicated in international data sets.

    Mr. Young has made this survey based on the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS).

    The DHS data on consumption of consumer durables and housing, children’s health and mortality, the schooling of youth and the allocation of women’s time between marriage & childbirth and market activity, indicate that since 1990 real material consumption in sub-Saharan Africa has been rising at a rate more than three times that recorded by international data sources such as the PWT, and on par with the growth taking place in other regions of the world. This is a miraculous achievement, given that the very real ravages of the AIDS epidemic have deprived families of prime working age adults, burdened them with medical and funeral expenses, orphaned their school age children and directly and adversely affected the health of their infants. And yet, the overall health and mortality of children is improving, their school attendance is rising, and family consumption of a variety of material goods is growing at a rapid rate. (p.58)

    As he points out:

    The paucity and poor quality of living standard data for less developed countries is well known and is motivating expanding efforts to improve the quality of information, as represented by the World Bank’s International Comparison Programme and Living Standards Measurement studies. However, there already exists, at the present time, a large body of unexamined current and historical data on living standards in developing countries, collected as part of the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS). For more than two decades this survey has collected information on the ownership of durables, the quality of housing, the health and mortality of children, the education of the youth and the allocation of women’s time in the home and the market in the poorest regions of the world.

    In this paper I use the DHS data to construct estimates of the level, growth rate and inequality of real consumption in 29 sub-Saharan and 27 other developing countries. These estimates have the virtue of being based upon a methodologically consistent source of information for a large sample of poor economies. Rather than attempting to measure total nominal consumption and marry it to independently collected price indices, they employ direct physical measures of real consumption that, by their simplicity and patent obviousness (the ownership of a car or bicycle, the material of a floor, the birth, death or illness of a child), minimize the technical demands of the survey. While the items they cover provide little information on comparative living standards in developed countries, in the poorest regions of the world they are clear indicators of material well being, varying dramatically by socioeconomic status and covering, through durables, health & nutrition and family time, the majority of household expenditure.

    He provides tables, and far more detail as to his methodology and his findings. You can read the entire economic report here, The African Growth Miracle PDF.

    ________

    photocredit here

    no country has been developed by outsiders. International relationships are simply not defined by sentimentalities but by cold, calculated self-interest. This is a lesson that African leaders refuse to learn. Outsiders might help, but it is the citizens of a country led by an intelligent leader with vision that develop nations.
    Femi Akomolafe

    Map of Ghana's Jubilee Field

    Back in December the Vanguard published an editorial recording a conversation between Professor Dora Akunyili, Minister of Information for Nigeria, and Venezuela’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Enerique Fernando Arrundell. There is much in Mr. Arrundell’s words that Ghanaians should take to heart.

    Lessons from Venezuela
    Dec. 4, 2009

    VENEZUELAN Ambassador to Nigeria, Enerique Fernando Arrundell, could not have offered his advice on Nigeria’s management of its petroleum resources at a better time. The anchor of government’s argument is that higher prices would draw foreign investors to the down stream sector of the industry.

    Professor Dora Akunyili, Minister of Information had solicited Venezuelan investments for our refineries.
    Mr. Arrundell’s response was without diplomatese. He launched a profound lecture on Nigeria’s oil and gas.

    “In Venezuela, since 1999, we’ve never had a raise in fuel price. We only pay $1.02 to fill the tank. What I pay for with N12, 000 here (Nigeria), in Venezuela I’ll pay N400. What is happening is simple. Our President (Hugo Chavez) decided one day to control the industry, because it belongs to Venezuelans. If you don’t control the industry, your development will be in the hands of foreigners.

    “You have to have your own country. The oil is your country’s. Sorry I am telling you this. I am giving you the experience of Venezuela. We have 12 refineries in the United States, 18,000 gas stations in the West Coast. All we are doing is in the hands of Venezuelans.

    “Before 1999, we had three or four foreign companies working with us. That time they were taking 80 per cent, and giving us 20. Now, we have 90 per cent, and giving them 10. But now, we have 22 countries working with us in that condition.

    It is the Venezuelan condition. You know why? It is because 60 per cent of the income goes to social programmes. That’s why we have 22,000 medical doctors assisting the people in the community. The people don’t go to the hospital; doctors go to their houses. This is because the money is handled by Venezuelans. How come

    Nigeria that has more technical manpower than Venezuela, with 150 million people, and very intellectual people all around, not been able to get it right? The question is: If you are not handling your resources, how are you going to handle the country?

    “So, it is important that Nigeria takes control of her resources. We have no illiterate people. We have over 17 new universities totally free. I graduated from the university without paying one cent, and take three meals every day, because we have the resources. We want the resources of the Nigerian people for the
    Nigerians. It is enough! It is enough, Minister!

    Femi Akomolafe (his blog) adds some words of advice:

    There are, however, some fundamental truths that we must begin to tell ourselves. First and foremost is the belief that we can continue to depend on other people’s (especially Western) charities for our development. I have said several times that no country has been developed by outsiders. International relationships are simply not defined by sentimentalities but by cold, calculated self-interest. This is a lesson that African leaders refuse to learn. Outsiders might help, but it is the citizens of a country led by an intelligent leader with vision that develop nations.

    And as I have recounted several times in this very column, our five hundred or so years of “relationship” with the West has been to our utter detriment. We have nothing but slavery, colonialism, and the more pernicious neo-colonialism (aka imperialism) to show for it. We can also throw in the disease of rabid racism that still pervades the Western world.

    And yet African leaders continue to parrot the same inanities about partnering with “developmental partners!”

    In Ghana:

    In the name of “investment,” the Western multinationals will bring in ancient equipment (tax free) to come and set up shop to extract our resources. To attract their “investments,” they are given tax breaks and other packages that made them pay their expatriate staff out-of-this-world salaries and emoluments. They will employ the brute force of our compatriots whilst their planes and helicopters are waiting to ship out our gold and diamonds in their raw state. For this they pay us a pittance in royalty and employ the best PR outfits who will dazzle us with enough razzmatazz to make us dizzy. A few years down the road, the mines are depleted, our land and environment polluted, and our people’s lives wretched. The wily Westerner is already outta the country.

    This is the very sad story that keeps repeating itself year in year out and like mindless children, we seem not to learn any lesson. Since the overthrow of President Kwame Nkrumah’s government in 1966, no government in Ghana has deemed it fit and proper to build a gold or diamond factory in order to add some value to them.

    This has been our sad story and yet our leaders have stubbornly refused to learn a thing.

    There is a law in this country against causing financial loss to the state and it is high time we start to use it seriously and effectively. How on earth can officials of our country, paid from the treasury of mother Ghana, and in this age and time, sign agreements with foreigners to cart away our crude oil unrefined for twenty years! What on earth informed that reckless decision? Who said that slavery is over? And please, what crime is that if not the criminal cause of financial loss to the state of Ghana?

    There is a state-owned oil refinery at Tema that is in perennial struggle to get crude oil from Nigeria, and yet some unconscionable Ghanaians appended their signature to ship our oil to foreign refineries unrefined!

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