No one wants to talk about it and no one will admit to it. But the continent that is richest in natural resources has the poorest inhabitants in the world. Why is that? Global news would have you believe Africans are the problem with Africa. But that’s like trying to force bullying to go away by blaming the kids being bullied.
But no one wants to talk about this, not even Africans. And Western countries are robbing Africa blind while the whole world watches.
When I first saw this story in the Wall Street Journal, the headline piqued my interest, but it was woefully misleading. Western news agencies always report on Africa as if Africa is killing herself. It is not Africans stealing money from Africa and having the money sent abroad. It is big business and Western governments sticking their quick hands and bony fingers into the pot and stealing from Africans. It pisses me off how the media tries to slant the story.
“$60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year” – Voice of America
“Africa Loses $60 Billion a Year Illegally” – World Bulletin
“Africa Losing $60 Billion Every Year” – World Affairs Journal
I think the Wall Street Journal may have been the worst of all: “Scams cost Africa Billions, Panel Says.” Because the media has already instilled in the minds of Westerners that Africans, specifically Nigerians, are scam artists – some sort of fabled gang of wandering gypsies, 170 million people strong, who go from place to place scamming people out of their hard-earned money.
Each and every article I saw on this topic positioned Africa (and Africans) as the problem. What a crock of bull! If some bandit comes to you at gunpoint and takes your wallet – even if you hand it to him – you are not losing your wallet, you are being robbed. There is a very distinct difference between the two. Losing your wallet is an inconvenience. Robbing someone is a felony.
Western news agencies report on Africa’s challenges as if the problems rest with Africans. Meanwhile, these all-seeing, all-knowing flim flam machines turn a blind eye to the truth because the truth is inconvenient. They can’t blame Western companies, big banks, and government agencies. No! How would they generate ad revenues? How would they pass socially liberal laws? For more than 100 years, the “news” has run the same game on the world and used Africa as its dumping ground.
According to the report in WSJ, as much as $60 billion is siphoned out of Africa illegally every single year. The writer goes to great lengths to refer to these thefts by flowery terms like “illicit outflows” and “capital flight.” Call it what it is: STEALING!
But the Swiss, like most Western governments, have been glad to hang on to the wealth the same thieves have been stealing from African countries for generations. These thieves and their western co-conspirators hide billions of dollars in Swiss banks and everyone knows they are doing it
Nowhere in the article did the Wall Street Journal reporter mention anything about the complicity of the Western banks that receive this stolen money, nor did he talk about the Western governments that keep silent and work to silence those who would speak out. The entities on the receiving end of this windfall should be the focus of these articles, not “poor Africans” living on the “poorest continent.”
Trust me when I say the West isn’t interested in any land that’s poor. The only reason the Chinese and the West have any presence at all in Africa is for our natural resources. In fact, a recent article on ICIJ.com lists HSBC among the big banks who are handling money for some of the world’s most corrupt and under-handed criminals, including traffickers, drug lords, dictators and the very folks who are bleeding Africa of its wealth. Don’t be misled: You can’t send tens of millions of dollars around without every government knowing about it. Hell, you can’t even move twenty grand of your own money out of your checking account anymore without having to give the banks a damned good reason why.
Can you imagine what the ramifications would be if an individual or a company tried to pull this same racket on the US or the UK? Stealing $60 billion of US tax revenue? Are you kidding me! If you even try to skip out on your taxes, the IRS is coming for you. Here, we’re talking about removing $60 billion from circulation. They’d put you under the jail!
When France blew the whistle on the Swiss banks and started naming account holders back in 2010, the US decided to go after the Swiss bank for helping U.S. citizens skip out on paying taxes in their home country. The IRS and the FBI demanded the names of all US tax evaders and the Swiss bank turned over the names. Not only did it turn over the names, but the bank also had to pay billions of dollars in fines to the U.S. government.
But the Swiss, like most Western governments, have been glad to hang on to the wealth the same thieves have been stealing from African countries for generations. These thieves and their western co-conspirators hide billions of dollars in Swiss banks and everyone knows they are doing it. Yet, the only thing the western journalists fixate on are the hundred-dollar scams from hapless Nigeria chain letter writers. What are they teaching in journalism programs these days?
When will the West do the right thing for once? The West is quick to condemn Africans and their weak institutions. Western journalists dig deep when they are reporting news that disparages Africa, but the extent of their investigation is always, ALWAYS superficial. They ignore the root cause of many of Africa’s problems – the West’s conspiratorial propensity to receive stolen property. They focus their attention on the poverty-fuelled conflicts going on in Africa and they ignore the global war being waged on Africa.
Every dime, penny, franc that leaves stolen from the shores of Africa is absolutely traceable by every western bank and their government. Yes the African institutions are weak, and I don’t excuse the desperate, egomaniacal, corrupt behavior of some African leaders, but I know the West is more than happy to capitalize on Africa’s weaknesses while pretending to be interested in solving Africa’s problems.
Whenever one territory capitalizes on the weaknesses of another territory and walks away from the confrontation with the wealth of the land, either one of two things has just happened: Either the two territories have unified to strengthen one another, or they have gone to war and a winner has emerged.
Well, I don’t see any unification.
*Toyin Dawodu, MBA, is the Managing Partner of Capital Investment Group. A diversified infrastructure development company focused on Africa. @1amazingtoyin