Africa blinded by illusory fiscal aid

It has been almost 50 years since the colonial powers withdrew from Africa. Today, the African countries no longer face military threats of the imperialist countries, nor are these regions governed by their officially appointed administrators. Nevertheless, it is still impossible to say that many African countries are fully autonomous or can utilize their abundant natural resources efficiently enough to ensure the minimum needs of their citizens are met. Africa sadly continues to suffer under extreme poverty in the wake of the post-colonialism era.

In his book titled Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World, the Academician Partha Chatterjee, a significant figure in post-colonial studies, conveys this fact to his readers as follows:

Europe and the Americas …. have thought out on our behalf not only the script of colonial enlightenment and exploitation, but also that of our anticolonial resistance and postcolonial misery. Even our imagination must remain forever colonized.[i]

Are colonial countries' renunciation of their formal political ties with their colonies, i.e. their seeming termination of the outright exploitation system, actually a change of strategy warranted by the current circumstances?

The answer to this question may be found in a report prepared with the joint efforts of the London-based Health Poverty Action and several other non-governmental organizations.[ii] This report quantified the total resource flow in and out of Africa and yielded the following result: Africa has an annual loss of £192 billion while only £134 billion flows in the continent each year, which shows  that some £58 billion is lost every year in Africa.[iii]

What is interesting here is that each year, many countries provide significant amounts of official aid to ensure Africa's development, yet the continent is still facing poverty -even the threat of famine in some parts. In the article titled "Aid to Africa: donations from west mask '$60bn looting' of continent" dated June 15, 2014, the British newspaper The Guardian states the reason for this thusly: “the UK and other wealthy governments celebrate their generosity whilst simultaneously assisting their companies to drain Africa's resources."[iv]

A part of the international aid to Africa actually acts as a virtual smokescreen to cover a pillaging scheme rather than help the continent's development.

Most of the countries that provide aid to Africa are trying to promote the image of “the heroic savior of the poor,” as stated in another article featured in The Guardian. In the same article the author also remarks that much more of what is given as aid is taken back from Africa, stating "Africa subsidises us, not the other way around."[v]

Tax avoidance havens in the global economy also play a crucial role in the looting of the available assets in African countries. These havens are either exempt completely exempt from taxation or their taxation rates are so low that it opens up an opportunity for unfair competition with other countries.[vi] In such countries, offshore accounts are used in many illegal endeavors such as money laundering, the breaking of financial sanctions, tax evasion and bribery.[vii]

A substantial part of those countries dubbed as 'tax havens' are comprised of ex-colonial countries.

These countries function as an international network that facilitates transferring the money made from Africa and it is known to all how this network functions. So much so that, it is even featured extensively in a university thesis on "Money Laundering"[viii]

There are other documents available that provide insight on how the system works. The prime example of this matter came to light following the public disclosure of 11.5 million confidential records and documents that has been kept by the Panama-based law firm of Mossack Fonseca for over 40 years. The most frequently mentioned countries in the records, also known as the 'Panama Papers', are; Britain, its ex-colony Hong Kong, and Britain's overseas territory, the Virgin Islands.[ix] What is genuinely interesting is that the Panama Papers include the names of six lords from the House of Lords of the UK, three former parliamentarians from the ruling Conservative Party, and numerous benefactors to British political parties.[x]

The British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn brought this issue before the British Parliament and a scandal erupted over the fact that Britain's overseas territories - and  countries under the Crown's umbrella - are used as tax avoidance havens.[xi]

Through their African-based companies, certain groups in the former imperialist countries are making ill-gotten profits in Africa and many other parts of the world, and legitimize these profits via the offshore banking system. These ex-imperialists thus collect what little financial aid they give away to Africa in far greater sums. Under the control of certain money exploitation centers, the mineral and agriculturally rich African continent continues to be exploited and suffer privation famine. It is imperative that this unjust mechanism is unmasked and various precautions are taken to prevent this practice. To be able to do so, the conscientious administrations of various countries as well as conscientious public and non-governmental organizations, need to make their voices heard. People should never allow themselves to be blinded by illusory financial assistance; greater attention must be paid to the underlying problem instead – a system of the most ruthless financial exploitation system. A strong public reaction against this will surely bring results and ultimately bring peace and prosperity to the long-suffering peoples of Africa.

 

[i] Partha Chatterjee, (1993) The Nations and its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press p. 5

[ii] Report prepared by the following NGOs: Health Poverty Action, Jubilee Debt Campaign, World Development Movement, African Forum and Network on Debt and Development, Friends of the Earth Africa, Tax Justice Network, People's Health Movement Kenya, Zimbabwe and UK, War on Want, Community Working Group on Health Zimbabwe, Medact, Healthworkers4All, Friends of the Earth South Africa, JA!Justiça Ambiental/Friends of the Earth Mozambique.

[iii] https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/jul/22/africa-rescue-aid-stealing-resources

[iv] Mark Anderson, “Aid to Africa: donations from West mask 60bn looting’ of continent, https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jul/15/aid-africa-west-looting-continent

[v] https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/jul/22/africa-rescue-aid-stealing-resources

[vi] Cihan Gökçe, The Struggle against the Tax Havens in Preventing Tax Loss and Evasion, Offshore Banking and  the Turkey Example, Date Accessed: February 12, 2013

[vii]  http://www.ntv.com.tr/galeri/dunya/panama-belgeleri-nedir-kirli-parayi-anlama-rehberi,N8tfyV_t7kOip5j93JuG3g/RypohhQEIUC5zDvW4abAdQ

[viii] V. Çapraz, Detailed Information on 'Money Laundering', (unpublished master's thesis: Ankara 2001, p.217-218)

[ix]  http://www.ntv.com.tr/galeri/ekonomi/panama-belgelerinde-adi-en-cok-gecen-10-ulke,kfisujcnd0eW9f4npi0ZVQ/tnLp-pzGQEWRcU3dK9t85g

[x] http://aa.com.tr/tr/dunya/ingiltere-panama-belgelerini-inceleyecek/549078

[xi] https://www.avrupagazete.com/siyaset/220326-corbyn-den-ingiltere%E2%80%99nin-vergi-cenneti-olmaktan-%C3%A7%C4%B1kmas%C4%B1-%C3%A7a%C4%9Fr%C4%B1s%C4%B1.html

Adnan Oktar's piece in The Sunday Independent & Weekend Argus & Sunday Tribune

2017-08-14 20:07:51

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