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September 25, 2004

BBC News: "Africa 'better in colonial times'"

Randall Parker already caught this as of this posting, it appears.

In an astonishing report from the left-leaning BBC News, the brother of Thabo Mbeki, Moeletsi Mbeki, has come out roaring against Robert Mugabe and stated, "The average African is poorer than during the age of colonialism. In the 1960s African elites/rulers, instead of focusing on development, took surplus for their own enormous entourages of civil servants without ploughing anything back into the country . . . " He also made comparisons between Nigeria and China, saying that while China had lifted 400 million (the article states, incorrectly, 400,000) out of poverty, Nigeria had pushed 71 million below the poverty line.

Of course, the BBC article ended with the statement, "[Moeletsi Mbeki] has business interests across Africa." It's as if that somehow makes what he says illegitimate. How can a person who owns businesses and creates wealth possibly care about poverty? This is sort of like what they taught in my African Politics class, where we studied things as dependency theory and world-systems analysis out of Marxist journals such as the New Left Review (which, I will admit, does publish some very interesting stuff).

BBC also links to a neat set of charts comparing poverty levels from 1990 to 2000 on various continents.

See Parker's post for more neat stuff about this. Of course, there are always those who [foolishly] argue the exact opposite about countries like South Africa.

Yes, there is crime, unemployment, and AIDS. But from my perspective on the street, in the heart of it, I donít believe the problems are as big as the reports make them out to be, or as insurmountable as the naysayers would have them seem. With a black majority that is stunning in its patience, understanding, and willingness to find a way, South Africa will not only survive but thrive.

I don't see how one can be optimistic about South Africa when its president continues to pile up the welfare state and gouge money out the still-small private sector, still questions whether there is a link between HIV and AIDS, refuses to allow the import of AZT, etc.

I could go on, but I won't.

Posted by Arcane at 01:03 PM