Even CIA statistics show
Imperialist domination underdevelops Africa
Published Aug 22, 2010 9:57 PM
The Central Intelligence Agency, a ruthless enforcer of Wall Street’s
drive for profits, publishes “The World Factbook.” It gives updated
statistics for every country, some of which measure quality of life and
societal health, such as life expectancy, infant mortality, literacy,
unemployment and industrial production. In this series, Workers World examines
some surprising conclusions, all using the CIA’s own statistics. Even
though these statistics often understate gains compared to United Nations
figures, they can’t help but show that countries benefit by breaking with
Constantly in the U.S. we are told that the solution for the people of
Africa, who overwhelmingly live in extreme poverty, is for U.S. corporations
and oil companies to invest there.
For a long time Marxists have struggled to expose this bit of supposed
“common knowledge.” Walter Rodney wrote a ground-breaking work
called “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa” that showed how Africa
was impoverished and destroyed by Western domination and colonialism.
Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, wrote “Neo-Colonialism: the
Last Stage of Imperialism.” The book discussed how even though some
governments in Africa and other impoverished parts of the world became
politically “independent” from colonial masters, starting in the
1950s and 1960s, they are still dominated and controlled by Western capitalists
and can still be subject to direct military repression.
The history of Africa is filled with examples of U.S. intervention against
liberation movements. Washington backed the criminal apartheid regime of South
Africa for many decades, until the 1990s. The U.S. also engineered the
assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the first premier of the Congo after it won
independence from Belgium. More recently, the U.S. has bombed and destabilized
Somalia in the name of the “war on terror.”
The U.S. media has whipped up a frenzy of “moral outrage” about
alleged “dictators” who are to blame for the economic woes of
African people. Leaders who oppose the West such as Robert Mugabe and Muammar
Qaddafi are portrayed as harming their people by getting in the way of Western
But even the CIA’s own statistics show otherwise. The highest life
expectancy in Africa — 77.47 years — is in Libya, where Qaddafi
leads the country with an ideology of “Islamic Socialism” and is
consistently demonized by the U.S. propaganda machine.
Compare this to Libya’s neighbor, Egypt, a country not led by
anti-imperialists or revolutionaries, where this same average is 72.40
Nigeria, an oil-producing country like Libya, is another example of the
“wonders” of Western imperialism. Nigeria’s government has
long been a friend to U.S. and British corporations, such as Shell Oil. With
friends of Shell holding the government rather than a popular anti-imperialist
regime, Nigeria’s average life expectancy is only 47.24 years.
It is odd that Muammar Qaddafi’s regime has been labeled as having
negative effects for the people of Libya, when people in that country live
longer than those in any other African country. To the corporate media’s
discredit, they publish or broadcast little of the negative impact of
privatization in Egypt or Nigeria, yet will disseminate much about alleged
evils of countries like Libya that refuse to become neo-colonies of Western
Zimbabwe has long been demonized as a “dictatorship” and
“economic disaster.” Such accusations against Zimbabwe are directed
at the government of Robert Mugabe, who led the Zimbabwe African National Union
in wresting power from a regime composed of white settlers whose ancestors
claimed the territory for the British Empire. Now the Mugabe government has
angered the West by taking over and distributing to the African people the
richest farmland, which had been held by the settler minority that still
controlled the country’s resources. Literacy in Zimbabwe, led by its
revolutionary nationalist government, is 90.7 percent, far above even the world
average of 80 percent.
Uganda, where a U.S.-backed evangelical Christian who believes in free market
capitalism holds the presidency, has only 66.8 percent literacy.
The Nigerian government, under tight control of U.S. oil corporations, has
established only 68 percent literacy.
Zimbabwe’s life expectancy, though low, stands above Nigeria, Zambia and
U.S.-occupied Afghanistan. Despite this fact, the corporate media never seem to
report on the “economic disaster” of Western capitalist domination
in Nigeria or Zambia, but focus on the problems of Zimbabwe. Add to this the
problems caused Zimbabwe by U.S. and British sanctions and the maneuvers of
Western bankers to destabilize the national currency, and you get the
The CIA’s own statistics on quality of life in Africa overwhelmingly show
that capitalist domination and imperialism are not “saving” the
African people. The regimes in countries such as Nigeria, Egypt and Zambia,
which are dominated and controlled by Western corporations, generally have a
much lower quality of life than those that fight imperialism and seek to build
an independent government.
Contrary to what is largely believed in the United States, people in Africa
benefit most from carving out their own destiny and removing the power of
Western corporations and banks. Investment by imperialists is no help to the
people of that continent; it is done purely to exploit the labor and resources
that should belong to the African people. Claims that imperialism brings
“development” are as phony as the past claims by the slave-traders
that they were “helping to civilize” African people by placing them
More to come.
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