|Home | Other Current Events|
AGOA: A Step Forward Back
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA or HR 434) is economic blackmail being dangled by global big business (represented largely by multinational corporations based here in the US), in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. According to the provisions of the bill, prior to a release of any development loan package, which is desperately needed by most African countries, the countries must first and foremost agree to the terms set forth in their "structural adjustment program".
This neo-liberal approach to development of the IMF-WB tandem secures the business interests of large corporations and countries engaged in international trade. It places profits above all else and disregards indigenously grown values such as freedom and sovereignty. AGOA is a binding means for these global big businesses to legitimize the exploitation of Africa’s natural and human resources for their greater profit to the detriment of the majority of Africa's citizens. TransAfrica President Randall Robinson is accurate to call AGOA the "Africa Recolonization Act".
Implementing AGOA would mean complying to the following:
1) To cut government spending as an
2) To reorganize government and reduce
3) To increase interest rates to
4) To eliminate regulations on foreign
ownership of resources and businesses, creating the climate for foreigners
5) To eliminate tariffs levied on
6) To cut government subsidies on basic
goods in order to reduce government spending;
7) To implement an export-oriented industrialization program as a formula of growth and development, and refocuses production for imports rather than for domestic use and consumption. These lead to the country eventually becoming import-dependent on food and other commodities.
Food security is threatened and the manufacturing sector are encouraged to extract valuable mineral resources for foreign utility and exploitation. This will lead to other effects:
8) To join the World Trade Organization
(WTO) to broaden potential markets;
The net effect would be to surrender one nation’s self-determination in particular, and sovereignty in general. Thereby allowing global big business to freely intervene in government political management and to wantonly exploit natural and human resources at their whims and caprices. Therefore, it becomes reminiscent of the times when the so-called powers-that-be removed from the people its supposed inalienable rights and turned them into slaves.
The song they are now playing is not new to our ears. They are trumpeting economic recovery and development in exchange for our dignity as nations. AGOA is actually not meant to promote "economic recovery and development" in Africa.
Kim Scipes, from the University of Illinois at Chicago is right when he said: "This development, when viewed from the perspective of the vast majority of the people, deserves to be called ‘detrimental development.’" AGOA is then a step forward for the economic interests of global big business.
And for Africa...back to slavery.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Kalamu Magazine.
(Romerico Foz, a business instructor from New York, is one of the founding directors of the Philippines-based Freedom from Debt Coalition, and is an independent contributor to Kalamu —IPOAA's predessor — Magazine).
comments to comments @ipoaa.com