Solidarity Economy for Africa

Solidarity Economy for Africa

A presentation by Lottin Welly Marguerite, President, NGO “Associazione Interculturale Griot” (Italy), presented at Ninth Rhodes Forum Session, October 2011

Inevitably the future of the entire African continent is strictly linked to the cooperation with the BRIC countries.

In the middle and long period Africa can acquire the status of a next model of BRIC, that is a close collaboration for a joint growth. Countries like Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa can lead Africa towards the creation of an “African crystal”, with many facets united around a heart of development.

I find very relevant that this Rhodes conference 2011 gives a great notice to the strategic growing importance of the BRICS countries and of their economic policies of cooperation and development.

In the past months South Africa joint the historical BRIC alliance. This was a very important moment also because South Africa can become the entry point for the entire African continent.

At the same time while we welcomed with participation and hope the raising of the new “Arab Spring”, a ferocious war exploded in Libya for the control of raw materials. In this case for oil and gas.

It is an unjust war that risks to bring back on the African territory the old “gun-boat policy” for the control of trade and economic movements and for the exploitation of the natural resources with great losses for the African populations.

While the global economy is always in a deep crisis and the world is entering into phase of potential scarcity of resources, a “great game” of the dominant economic interests, both of the leading nations as well of the big international corporations, is plaid to control the future supplies of the most crucial raw materials.

Africa, and in particular Sub-Sahara Africa, is the richest mine of such materials. Sub-Sahara Africa is also very rich in potentially productive agriculture land also for its extraordinary richness of water. It is rich in spiritual and cultural heritage.

Face with these possibilities, there are only two alternatives: to help growth and development of Africa in exchange of these resources or to begin a new policy of “colonization by purchase rather than conquest”.

South Africa represents the first solution, while Libya is the most violent manifestation of the second one. In Libya we see also a combination of the purchase strategy together with conquest.

There, the apparent tribal and regional clashed in reality hide the penetration of the big geo-economic and geo-political interests which with Qaddafi’s Libya or with the post Qaddafi solution have very little to do.

There is also a serious effect of division and of hate inside Africa because this war has unleashed a “hunting season against the black”, when the African citizens with the black skin have become the target of hate.

Inevitably the future of the entire African continent is strictly linked to the cooperation with the BRIC countries. Chinese trade with Africa was around 107 billions dollars in 2010. For India it was 32 billions, for Brazil 20 and for Russia only 3,5 billion dollars. China leads also the direct investments in the African continent.

This is not a surprise because China in particular but also India have no raw materials, as Brazil on the contrary has. There are about 2.000 Chinese firms operating on the African territory that import raw material in exchange for the construction of small and bigger infrastructures. Often they bring the labour force directly from China.

I believe that the most important partner for Africa will be Brazil with whom we have to develop a more intense synergy and cooperation. Brazil does not look for raw materials or land to buy for an intensive exploitation to produce agriculture products. Brazil is already very rich of natural resources, water and land. Brazil is looking for an expansion of its industrial capabilities in some sectors, like the technologies related to the raw material exploitation, to enlarge its market. This can become an important example for the industrial modernization of Africa. The Latin American country also employs African labour force.

But the most relevant thing is the sharing of many aspects of the same culture. Over 90 millions Brazil citizens have some African origin.

In the middle and long period Africa can acquire the status of a next model of BRIC, that is a close collaboration for a joint growth. Countries like Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa can lead Africa towards the creation of an “African crystal”, with many facets united around a heart of development.

I would like to demand president Vladimir Yakunin and the other leaders of the WPFDC to dedicate part of the next Rhodes forum 2012 to the “Sub-Sahara Africa Question”. I think that to discuss together how to define the future of the African continent is decisive for peace, justice, equality and for the struggle against racism and cultural, political and economic discrimination. African culture and spirituality can also inspire other countries.