12 February 2018

Africa: DRC - Ex Africa Semper Aliquid Novi - Not

opinion

Pliny's much over-used and abused quote, that there is always something new from Africa, has long outlived its relevance. In fact, for the last 50 years or so the news from Africa has become depressingly the same.

The recent moves by the DRC government to tear up their agreement - enshrined in an act of their own parliament - with overseas mining companies trying to help resuscitate their pale shadow of what an economy is meant to provide for its citizens, is a case in point of the endless cycle of repetition, and demonstrates the natural resources curse that has bedevilled Africa.

For the sake of the argument, assume for a moment that power in Africa comes from being able to buy the biggest weapons and commanding those who can and will use them. In other words, power is something you take. Authority, on the other hand, is what citizens give leaders who have demonstrated the honesty, hard work and ability to improve the lot of those self-same citizens. The abundant natural resources that Africa is endowed with, in its simplest form, allows "leaders" to divert the revenue derived from their exploitation and use it to buy weapons, soldiers, police...

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