Africa’s Reform Efforts

By Charles Kwalonue Sunwabe, Jr.


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
December 7, 2005


When the Cold War ended in 1990, Africa was faced with challenges. External largess - mainly financial resources and security assistance used by the West and the East to woo African dictators into their competing camps ceased abruptly. Subsequently, African dictators and their untenable regimes were denied vital resources that had been used in the past to maintain their grip on power. The West’s attention increasingly came to be claimed by events in the former Eastern Bloc of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. For African dictators, this meant that they were no longer needed (as allies) by western powers led by the United States of America. Mounting demands in terms of political reforms, jobs, healthcare delivery, education and other much needed social amenities evolved. African states failed to meet the growing challenges of the immediate post-Cold War era. In African countries where meager financial resources could still be mustered, African elites’ infighting, corruption, graft and bureaucratic wrangling routinely resulted in excessive pillaging.

Unable to meet the immeasurable challenges of the immediate post-Cold War era, many African states recoiled. In fact, some African-states - notably Liberia - came under direct attack from one of its former employees. Charles McArthur Taylor, a former official in the military regime of Dictator Samuel Kanyon Doe and a jail escapee form a state prison in Massachusetts, capitalized on the swift departure of the West from Africa to launch a repulsive guerrilla campaign against his former boss in December of 1989. Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia reached a crescendo - When Doe’s Cold War ally (these United States of America), deserted him. The Liberian dictator’s domestic unpopularity in concert with regional support in the form of military assistance which was received from Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso abetted Mr. Taylor’s rapid advance on the Liberian capital, Monrovia in July, of 1990. Guidance from Libyan leader, Muamma Gaddafi who until recently was viewed globally as “the god-father and financier of African rebels”, enabled Mr. Taylor to circumvent international pressure aimed at ending the Liberian civil war.

Mr. Taylor’s resulting intransigence resulted in the proliferation of factions and prolonged the agony of Liberia for some fourteen years. Internationally, Liberia became the epitome of a post-Cold War failed African state. Warlords routinely capitalized on legitimate grievances of their kinsmen to enrich themselves while cementing the seeds of irreconcilable discord. Ultimately, it would take a world-class leader like President Nelson Mandela to reconcile Liberia’s festering wounds. Liberia remains a deeply divided country with multiple problems: the country’s limited infrastructure is in shambles, the economy has been in tatters for twenty five years running, corruption is still a way of life for the Liberian elites, unemployment is rife, the AIDS pandemic is on the increase and unemployment stands at an alarming rate of 85 percent. The majority of Liberia’s population is illiterate - fourteen years of fighting robbed Liberia’s children of decent childhood and education. The University of Liberia has collapsed - some analysts believe that the once admired African institution of higher learning has become a breeding ground for “inexcusable functional illiteracy”. Some US-based Liberian scholars maintain that the University of Liberia started to collapse in the1980s; however, academic standards at the university have significantly plummeted for years.

The collapse of Liberia in the early 1990s coincided with new global, regional and continental policies, including wars with far-reaching implications. For Africa, this meant that the responsibility of maintaining peace and order in the growing post-Cold War volatile African political arena instantly became the prerogative of the defunct Organization of African Unity and the regional African organizations such as the Economic Community of African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). Furthermore, African states were expected to promptly embark on democratization, irrespective of how tedious the process was going to be. In Liberia where the first “African solution to Africa” problem was experimented, the end results proved disastrous because the leaders of West Africa squandered a golden opportunity and their roles came under intense international scrutiny. West Africa rapidly descended into pointless regional polarization. The French speaking countries of Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso offered appalling diplomatic and military assistance to Taylor’s NPFL rebels in flagrant violation of ECOWAS’ protocol on non-interference. Nigeria, the region’s leading military and economic power and the architect of the peacekeeping efforts in Liberia responded by creating numerous Liberian factions. ECOMOG - the military arm of the Economic Community of West African States became directly involved in the fighting. In Monrovia, angry Liberians interpreted the troops’ acronym, ECOMOG as “Every Car, Moving Object Gone. So repulsive was the troops’ performance that a Liberian iron ore processing plant in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, was looted by ECOMOG soldiers and taken to Nigeria.

The democratization component of the new global policy of the 1990s remains elusive in contemporary Africa. Out of 54 modern African states, 16 are said to be democratic. According to the Washington, DC based Free Africa Foundation, only 8 out of the sixteen contemporary democratic African states met the global criteria of functional democracy. Ghanaian native and American University Economics professor, Dr. George Ayittey classified the remaining 8 countries as pseudo democracies. Accordingly, media institutions, judiciaries and other defective government institutions have not undergone the reforms needed to make them fully functional. There are reasons for the slow pace of democratization in Africa. First, in the 1990s, the international community, in its myopic naïveness assumed that African leaders would voluntarily acquiesce to the demands for democratization. They were naïve and wrong! In response, African leaders reluctantly undertook crafty, but pseudo democratic reforms. Defective government institutions including the judiciary and election commissions underwent cosmetic reforms. The police, military and civil servant underwent partial reforms as well. Polluted, stained, and un-repented, corrupt bureaucrats were simply reshuffled. The net result was the maintenance of the continental cabal of crooks - democracy remains evanescent in contemporary Africa.

In country after country elections were held. But they were routinely ragged - these elections came to be characterized as “coconut elections”. They were undertaken to legitimize African autocrats. For example, in April 2005, Togolese went to the poll to elect a new president after the death of the country’s president for life, Mr. Gnassingbe Eyadema who seized power, in a military coup in 1967. According to election monitors from the Economic Community of West African States, the Togolese election was characterized by serious lapses, vote rigging and ballot stuffing. Other monitors from the European Union, the African Union and international organizations ruled that the election was “fraudulent”. Surprisingly, President Olusegun Obasanjo, Africa’s most influential president and the current president of the African Union stated that the result of the election was acceptable. In June of 2005, he summoned Togolese opposition leaders and President elect, Faure Gnassingbe to Abuja, Nigeria and urged them to form a coalition government. Consequently, Faure Gnassingbe, a 38 years old son of the former late president Eyadema was imposed on Togo. This regressive exercise has insolated and entrenched Togo’s career thieves.

When it came to peacekeeping, the failures of African leaders were unimaginable. Some amoral West African leaders came to see the Liberian and Sierra Leonean conflicts as opportunity for various self-enrichment schemes: Aid was sought internationally on behalf of Liberia and Sierra Leone. Great Britain and the United States - two countries with historical ties to Liberia and Sierra Leone—responded in kind. Sufficient financial donations were made to ECOMOG; this, however, failed to end the war. In individual West African countries, national treasuries were emptied in the name of peacekeeping - scant resources if any—were ever committed to the actual maintenance of the troops deployed to Liberia and Sierra Leone. According to Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria spent 8 billion US dollars on peacekeeping operations in Liberia in the 1990s. On September 22, 2005, Nigeria’s vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar added that peacekeeping operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone cost Nigeria 15 billion US dollars. In recent time however, some African scholars have disputed both claims (George Washington University African National Conference October 2004). These African scholars maintain that Nigerian military elites diverted funds intended for peacekeeping operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone to personal foreign bank accounts. As one angry Washington, DC, based Nigerian professor of diplomacy noted recently, “only a fraction of the reported 8 billion was ever spent in Liberia or Sierra Leone…the money was siphoned to British, French and American banks”.

The thing that is evident from Africa’s experiment with continental peacekeeping is that it has not been entirely efficacious: some African leaders have become personally involved in these crises, often taking sides, and creating new factions that they have used to gain access to natural resources within the borders of neighboring war-ravaged African countries. The peacekeepers are often under-paid, or abandoned or left to fend for themselves while trying to maintain peace. In Liberia and Sierra Leone this resulted in the heightened looting of a kind never seen in the history of global peacekeeping operations. Eventually, schisms developed between the peacekeepers and the local population - the peacekeepers were routinely derided, harangued, lampooned in the local press and accused of everything that went wrong in Liberia and Sierra Leone. As the local populace and the African peacekeepers targeted each other, evil Liberian and Sierra Leonean warlords infiltrated, manipulated both sides and strengthened their reprehensive grip on power.

In some instances, parties at loggerheads in Africa sought to bolster their repulsive cling to power by establishing financial ties with prominent and rogue western capitalists - there exists extensive evidence of lucrative business ties between checkered African presidents and warlords on the one hand and influential westerners on the other. For example in 1999, Freedom Gold, a Cayman Island based mining company owned by an American televangelist, Pat Robertson entered into a dubious contractual mining agreement with the Liberian warlord turned President Charles Taylor. According to the US Geological Survey, Liberia’s Bocon Jideh gold mine “straddles what is geologically named, “the West African Craton”, which the USGS estimates rivals only South America’s Guyana Shield in alluvial Gold”. Prior to the Liberian Civil War, Bocon Jideh had been a contractual joint venture of the Liberian government of Samuel Doe and American businessman, Ken Ross II (GQ Magazine, 2004).

Mr. Ross’ contract was unilaterally cancelled by Mr. Taylor in April of 1999, and Bocon Jideh was subsequently awarded to Pat Robertson in a deal that troubled Gerald Padmore, a Liberian born Harvard educated attorney who represented Freedom Gold. As Mr. Padmore contended, “at some point, President Taylor made the decision that he did not want the legislature involved in the ratification, in the enactment… our preference would have been that it would stay the way it was …at the end of the day this is Liberia”. Attorney Gerald Padmore remains unapologetic about the fact that his client, Pat Robertson “acted honorably in the dispute, but admits changing the law solely to validate Freedom Gold mining rights made him uneasy.” An official at the US State Department weighed in on the Charles Taylor-Pat Robertson-Bocon Jideh contractual controversy: the official found Mr. Robertson’s relationship with former Liberian autocrat Charles Taylor despicable, but maintained that, “well, we are a capitalist society in a capitalist system”. Joseph Mathew, managing director of Freedom Gold described Pat Robertson’s Liberian gold venture in these lamentable terms “Robertson … relationship …Taylor than a foreign business investor in the United States can be said to have a relationship with presidents Bush or Clinton”. Susan Rice, former assistant secretary of state for African affairs in the second Clinton Administration disagreed. She averred that extractive business dealings in Taylor’s Liberian “ran counter to US interests”. Had Mr. Taylor remain in power, the nefarious Bocon Jideh deal would have netted Pat Robertson 2 billion dollars profits on an initial investment of 15 million dollars.

According to the United Nations, Taylor’s illegitimate business ventures included illegal diamond concessions and smuggling, political patronage and payoffs, illicit weaponry - projectiles purchases, and diamonds for regional diplomatic and military support schemes. Mr. Taylor’s partners included Dutch businessman Gus Kouwenhoven and other European arm smugglers. The Dutchman is said to have transported weapons from Eastern Europe to Monrovia, Liberia, and later into Sierra Leonean rebels’ held territories. In exchange for his services, Mr. Kouwenhoven was granted exclusive logging rights in Liberia and in territories held by the RUF rebels of Sierra Leone. He also provided weapons in exchange for tonnage of diamonds! In addition to Kouwenhoven, a Ukrainian-born Israeli viewed internationally as an organized criminal syndicate and a trafficker of stolen culture artifacts, participated in the arms for diamonds trade with Charles Taylor. A former colonel in the South African Army Forces who was hired to train Taylor’s death squad, the Anti Terrorist Unit, also acquired mining concessions in Liberia on behalf of a Bermuda-based holding corporation. Charles Taylor, his son, Chuckie Taylor, and his wife, J. Howard-Taylor were reportedly the major shareholders in the Bermuda-based company.

Elsewhere in Africa - notably in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), the UN, western governments and NGOs have observed relentless patterns of resource pillaging and other mineral for guns schemes. For example, in Zaire, Dutchman Gus Kouwenhoven is said to have operated a sinister guns for diamonds scheme similar to the ones he masterminded in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Kenyan and Ugandan businessmen of Asian descent have been implicated in an elusive mineral for guns scheme in eastern Zaire as well. Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda have both been accused by the international community of “directly fueling Zaire’s burgeoning woes”. The two African leaders are said to have been involved in the training, equipping and directing of rival ethnic militias in DR Congo’s eastern region. Some African observers have linked the two African presidents to illicit gun running and other financial arrangements within DR Congo’s territory. In 1994, the African Development Company, a Bermuda registered holding company of Pat Robertson entered into a diamond and timber business with former Zairian strongman, Mobutu Sese Seko, an autocratic African leader whose rein of cruelty, blatant theft and insanity reached intolerable proportions in the 1990s.

Other reasons have been cited for the growing illegitimate mining concessions between African warlords, dictators and pseudo-democratic leaders and their external western counterparts. In the 1990s, some African strongmen came to see their western counterparts as influential lobbyists who could change hearts and minds within western capitols. As a former minister in the defunct Taylor government of Liberia told me via a telephone conversation from Monrovia, Liberia, “the old man (Charles Taylor) said we could count on him (Pat Robertson) to get Washington on our side”. These words are not mere exaggerated words of a desperate Liberian bandit. As GQ magazine noted in December 2001, “Mathew concedes that the two have corresponded and that Robertson recently received a telephone call from Taylor protesting the unfairness of UN sanctions”. The article went on to assert that Taylor initiatives “may have fallen on receptive ears”. Joseph Mathew, the managing director of Robertson’s Freedom Gold is quoted to have said that “Dr. Robertson thinks the United Nations General Assembly is pro-socialist, pro-Islam, anti-American and anti-Israel”. The reactions of Pat Robertson to the ouster of both Charles Taylor of Liberia and Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire bolstered the former Taylor’s minister’s claim. In both instances, Pat Robertson responded with anger, accusing the US government of abandoning American allies.

It is copiously obvious that the post-Cold War era has been profusely truculent for Africa. Civil wars are plentiful, African elite orchestrated schisms are routine, democracy has been excruciatingly subverted and the African economy (for the most part) remains in an atrocious state. Modern Africa is a collage of unrelieved failures. There exists ample evidence of reasoning dementia on both sides of the African reformation spectrum. On the western side, there has been decades of erroneous assumption that Africa’s reformation is attainable only if it is done through the state. This “state centrist” approach to African development has seen billions of foreign taxpayers dollars put down the drain in endless African states. The history of more than sixty years of “statist” foreign aid to Africa is one of abysmal failures. More than 500 billion dollars - the equivalent of four Marshall Aid Plan was pumped into Africa between 1960 and 1997(African Perspective on Foreign Aid, Cato Institute September 21 2005). Yet, Africa remains massively impoverished. The kind of foreign aid given to African states has created disgraceful and lamentable sentiment of dependency - this is, in addition to the willful looting of Africa, by its banditry elites.

It is pitiful that the West has not learned anything from decades of failed Western-African policies. On July 8, 2005, British prime minister, Tony Blair hosted the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland and placed Africa’s reformation at the top of the agenda. Blair’s colleagues responded favorably to his initiative: 50 billion dollars in various schemes including foreign direct aid, debt cancellation and economic development would target poor countries in Africa, Asia, Latin, South and Center America. At the conclusion of the summit, Prime Minister Blair’s Africa Commission asked for additional 25 billion dollars in annual aid to Africa beginning in 2010. I do not oppose debt relief or aid to poor countries; however, I have serious doubts that monetary aid by itself is enough to reverse Africa’s rapid descent into an economic black hole.

In fact, the Gleneagles, Scotland - Africa aid package followed the same faulty notion that has rendered western financial and development assistance to Africa ineffective. Apparently, African rulers are expected to do their part to bring the newest western giveaway to fruition: they are expected to abide by the rule of law, control discretionary spending, eradicate corruption, trim the continent’s never ending bloated bureaucracies and spend funds that are likely to be earned from debt relief on healthcare delivery and education. There were no enforcement mechanisms put in place to make sure that Africa’s disingenuous rulers would implement the needed changes. Compliance is pretty much left to the whims of Africa’s reformed-acrobatic rulers - they can choose to comply, or conversely, to engage in the usual blame game.

This approach is in concert with the relentless begging of contemporary African leaders that reinforces a racist notion of Africans and portrays Africans as hopelessly incapable of decency and self governance. As Professor George Ayittey observes, “it is such a disgrace that African leaders must be told like little children that they must clean up their rooms before they are given pocket money (foreign aid) by their former oppressors and slavers”. Dr. Ayittey went on to assert that “they (African leaders) must be told to curb corruption; if given debt relief they must spend the savings on education, healthcare, and infrastructure”. The actions and policies of African leaders reflect poorly on African people. Should outsiders be telling us that corruption and other societal decays are bad, morally reprehensible and could result in deleterious consequences?

I reiterate that decades long of foreign aid have done nothing to spare Africa from economic decline, rampant and unrelieved poverty. For example, in 1985, a rock concert known as “Live Aid” launched a 100 million dollar initiative to raise funds to save Ethiopia from famine. Where did that money go? It seems as though raising funds to save Africa is a continuous (ten years) event. In 1985, we had the Live Aid concert; in 1996, we again had the UN special initiative for Africa; and in 2005, we had the Gleneagles, Scotland Conference. The records indicate that neither of the mentioned initiatives reversed Africa’s declining fortune.

Africa has a lamentable record of foreign aid and scarce domestic resource mismanagement: The UN estimates that 200 billion (90%) of Sub-Sahara GDP is siphoned out of the continent annually. Capitol flight claims 20 billion dollars annually. In 2004, 148 billion dollars was lost to African elites’ orchestrated corruption. In Africa Unchained (2005), Dr. George B. N. Ayittey paints a more disturbing picture of mismanagement and looting in Africa: 148 billion dollars is lost to corruption annually, 20 billion dollars to capital flight, expenditures on arms importation and military hardware cost 15 billion dollars annually, civil war damage costs 15 billion dollars annually, and the remaining leakages cost Africa 216 billion dollars yearly. At this rate of public theft in Africa, Africa is retrogressing in wrenching and unmanageable poverty. No continent or nation-state can achieve development in the midst of ruinous corruption such as Africa’s. Even if the G8 leaders were to fully fund the aid package promised in Gleneagles, Scotland in July 2005, the untenable behaviors of African leaders would make poverty reduction unattainable.

In a World Bank report titled, Adjustment Lending in Africa (p. 6, March 1994), the bank evaluated 29 African countries it had provided 20 billion dollars in funding (in ten years 1981-1991) for prudent economic adjustment purposes. The report concluded that only 6 out of 29 adjusting African countries had met minimum adjustment performance criteria. The six were The Gambia, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. As Dr. Ayittey notes, “6 out of 29 gives a failure rate in excess of 80 percent”. In a stunning rebuke, the World Bank report went on to assert that “no African country has achieved a sound macro-economic policy stance”. Roughly a year later, the World Bank number of success stories shrunk to two African countries: Burkina- Faso and Ghana. In 1995, the adjustment lending program evaporated in Ghana, which prompted the country’s incoming president, John Kufuor, to place Ghana (in March 2005) in the intensive care unit of the newest kid around the block, the World Bank’s Heavily Indebted Poor Country Initiative (HIPC). In July 2005, the departing World Bank Residence Director in Ghana acknowledged that the bank “probably made a mistake in tagging Ghana as an economic success story”. According to Dr. Ayittey, “Ghana’s real per capital income is about 10-15% below 1983 level when the structure adjustment program was first lunched”. Today, the much trumped African economic success stories have all dissipated. The continent now disgorges a cabal of vampire elites eager to loot their own countries for foreign bank deposits. Africa has succumbed to African elites’ depredation. Its people are overwhelmed with poverty and have become entirely disconsolate.

The decline in Africa’s fortune has more to do with domestic failures, mismanagement of scarce resources, misguided economic policies and priorities than any major external factors, or a western contrived conspiracy. So far, African leaders are preoccupied with outsiders, mainly the western world more than their own abominable misrule and plunder. Accordingly, President Robert Mugabe blames a group he calls “Tony Blair and the British Gay Gangsters" for his country’s unbelievable demise. Other African leaders have cited imperialism, racism and the volatile international markets for Africa’s underdevelopment. Nowadays, however, not every African leader agrees with this misconceived interpretation of Africa’s demise: Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo contended in June 2002 that corrupt African leaders have stolen more than 148 billion dollars from their own citizenry in the decades since independence. Speaking in Abuja in 2004, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan blasted African leaders for being responsible for the continent’s plight. President Wade of Senegal added that “no country has achieved economic development by depending exclusively on foreign aid”.

Two observations need to be made about Africa’s leadership preoccupation with making excuses for their actions and the blaming of others for Africa’s dilemmas: first, by blaming outsiders, mainly westerners much needed energy, time and creative resources are wasted unproductively while attention is diverted away from the leadership’s own moral failures. In simple terms, a man who does not address his own shortcomings is incapable of solving his own problems. The vast majority of Africa’s woes are easily attributed to internal causes - the problems lie in Africa and the solutions are internal, not external. Second, it needs to be made clear to African leaders that when the West or the East comes to Africa, it is not because they inherently love Africa; but instead, foreign countries and entities come to Africa to pursue their own interests. This is not a case of an African Negro falling in love with a blond, exotic white girl from the western hemisphere. The West will pursue its interests in Africa and elsewhere. As an African, though, I have my own elected officials who should protect my interests. If my leader fails to protect my interests, then he is at fault - I have a right to blame and hold him responsible for his ineffectiveness and not somebody else who is pursuing his own interests in my backyard.

Throughout this article, I have delineated Africa’s quagmire in an effort to suggest that an alternative approach is needed to reverse Africa’s tragic decline. This approach can not be statist, or African leadership concentrated. It should be abundantly clear by now that Africa’s leaders are the contributing agents to Africa’s problems. Most African leaders are woefully incompetent; they are uninterested in finding practical solutions to the continent’s woes. For example, in 1987, African leaders gathered in Lagos, Nigeria to devise a plan for Africa’s political, economic and social revival. At the end of the extraordinary summit, a “Lagos Declaration” that sought 777 trillion dollars (from the West) as compensation for past historical injustices was adopted. Note that the mentioned amount exceeds the combined GDP of the West, which is 10 trillion dollars. Common sense suggests that this solution is impractical. But, this kind of nonsensical and retarded solution makes sense to the discombobulating rulers of Africa. At the same Lagos Summit, no attention was paid to the looted billions of dollars of African leaders. Shouldn’t African leaders have sought compensation from themselves for the nefarious economic crimes they have committed against their own people?

Africa’s reformation deserves a two parts solution: one western-foreign and one African. On the western-foreign side, this is what needs to happen: Present international laws regarding money laundering needs to be enforced. This demands a whole new approach! An international czar with prosecutorial powers, who is aided by security and intelligent agencies of foreign governments (in the discharge of his or her duties), needs to be appointed by an international body such as the UN to track and thwart capital flight and money laundering. This individual should function independently, and should enjoy the cooperation of powerful foreign leaders. Western states - mainly the United States, France and the United Kingdom - should use their global power and tremendous diplomatic leverage to establish the mentioned czar and to convince the rest of the world that this is the right thing to do. I remain unapologetic that this approach is in the direct security interests of the West, particularly the United States of America. I have always contended that the terrorists would move to, and use Africa to wire money to foreign destinations for the upkeep of their terrorist empire.

Stolen African money hidden in western financial institutions needs to be returned to Africa voluntarily. However, stolen funds should not be returned to African governments - the funds will be re-looted. For example, in the 2002, the Nigerian state recovered 938 million dollars of General Sani Abacha’s loot. Sadly, the Nigeria Senate Public Accounts Committee found only 12 million dollars of the money in the Center Bank of Nigeria. The stolen funds should be put in a development account to be monitored by the Africans themselves - development projects should be identified and implemented with international oversight.

Seriously failed and conflict prone African states (i.e. Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, etc.) should be placed under African-International trusteeship. This trusteeship is similar to the economic governance recently purposed for Liberia. Mine departs from those of Liberia in one respect: I would have talented, ethical and well-trained Africans, most of who are currently teaching in western universities, and working in other professional capacities take over and run a failed African state for a couple of years, or until the country is sufficiently turnaround. The inputs and cooperation of indigenous chiefs, kings and ordinary Africans should be sought in such a governance process.

The West should deport Africans who have committed crimes against their own people from the West—corrupt officials should not be allowed in the West even for medical treatments. They should stay in Africa and be treated in African hospitals—vast majority of Africans take treatments in these African elite abandoned hospitals. Only the United Kingdom has taken the necessary steps to arrest and/or deport African crooks from its borders. The United States needs to follow-suit!

On the economic front, the West needs to open its borders to African goods, end western agriculture subsidy, and encourage free-market development in Africa. In this view, micro-economic aid, or loans should be made directly to individual Africans and not to the governments of Africa. History has proven that private enterprise is the driving engine of economic development. There should be full disclosure in multinational lending and loans to African governments—African people have a right to know what, or how much money was borrowed on their behalf and for what purposes.

A Radio Free Africa similar to the ones used during the Cold War to liberate Eastern Europe from the Soviet Union needs to be setup for Africa. This will allow the airing of alternative views in Africa, thus encouraging freedom of speech. African intellectuals, entrepreneurs, and western Africans should take the led in establishing the mentioned radio station.

African intellectuals and business leaders need to come together and provide alternative leadership for Africa to implement the best practices that have been proven effective. Africans residing in the west should push for laws within the western sea conference that would make it difficult for African leaders to loot their countries. Africa’s problems are largely due to a lack of freedom and dictators who plunder the African economy and mismanage scarce resources and international aid. To address this problem and prevent Africa from further decline, Africans should first focus on the domestic causes of the continent’s problems. There are credible solutions which have proven effective in other developing countries that are in concert with African compatriots’ prescriptions for solving Africa’s problems in the areas of political reforms, jobs, healthcare, education and other much needed social programs. When these means are utilized, I argue, the liberation of Africa from the grips of autocrats will become attainable.
Charles Kwalonue Sunwabe, Jr., a native of Liberia is a co-founder and president of the freedom & international justice foundation based in Arlington, Virginia. C. K. Sunwabe, Jr. is a graduate of the Eliot School of International Affairs at the George Washington University and the School of Arts & Sciences at The Catholic University of America. He advocates the establishment of a war crimes tribunal for Liberia. Sunwabe, Jr. can be reached at,