"Africa is about to be recolonized again"
The Organization GRILA claims that Africa, despite of decolonization, still is a continent in shackles. Kalangu spoke with front person Aziz Salmone Fall, Senegalese-Egyptian political scientist, about Pan-Africanism, The World Bank, why Africa still is not free and why the past is so important.
GRILA, The Group for Research and Initiative for the Liberation of Africa, was founded in 1984. The entirely volunteer-based non-profit organization consists of researchers and activists from all over the world. It strives to a development in Africa driven by Africans. To achieve this they believe that it is important that Africans understand the importance of Pan-Africanism and see the structures that still keep the continent in the hands of others.
GRILA’s logo shows Africa in chains and the organization claims often that Africa is not free. But none of Africa’s 54 countries is officially colonized. Why does GRILA persist on that Africa needs to be liberated?
The liberation of Africa is unfinished; the fact is that the continent is about to be recolonized again. In the film Africom go home, I illustrates the ongoing battle for geopolitical control of Africa. Globalization is nothing but a selective redeployment of capitalism from the previous era. Unfortunately, most African countries, despite the failure of recent decades, strive to pursue a hypothetical crisis orchestrated by financial institutions and greedy transnational corporation with big capital.
But the majority of African countries were decolonized in the 1960’s. That’s 55 years of independence. Why is Africa still not yet liberated?
Because of imperialism and neo-colonialism, internal forces that are their allies and local corruption and unpatriotic management of public funds. The world order is not in favor for Africa despite that the continent is growing economically. Social formations that can be integrated into the world market will do so at the cost of Africa’s independence. This forces the continent to adjust to consequences that are inevitably crueler than the current situation the continent is at. This is how the order of capitalism badly can affect Africa.
You have said in interviews that the World Bank has no interest in the development of Africa. What makes you think that?
It depends on what is meant with development. The Bank has in the last 60 years significantly slowed the development of Africa in favor for international capitalism. The World Bank’s agenda is now driven by our own elites. African Union’s Agenda 2063 literally breaths the strategies of the Bank. The report of Africa’s development is based on the aggressive and violent decade of growth, from agricultural and mining practices that are draining the continent. This industrialization of Africa is then claimed to be the solution to Africa’s marginalization? This practice has even given birth to the term africapitalism. The global market will continue to enhance the polarization for its own gain.
Africapitalism; economic philosophic term coined by Nigerian banker Tony Elumelu. Belief that the African sector has the power to transform the continent through long-term investments, creating both economic prosperity and social wealth.
These same players know that fundamental changes on recapitalization of mining regulations, the investment climate, the African Mining Vision and accountability etc have contributed little to lift the paradox: An African resource-rich growth rate which is the highest in the world, with the exception of East Asia, and without with people ecoming victim of extreme poverty.
GRILA believes that Africa must rely on its own forces. Can we do it in a globalized world?
We encourage a direction towards so called pan-africentrage.
Pan- Africentrage; International Pan-African strategy that consists of building a continental balanced development that incorporates an understanding of the unfavorable integration of Africa in the international economic.
Pan-Africanism would gain effect through two imperatives that derives from pan-africentrage. The reconstruction of the African identity and a progressive revival of the global market, which means control of our production. Africanity derived from Pan-African could focus on the balance of "maat" and internationalism. In other words, the fertile roots that allows a harmonious future for Africa and its diaspora. We need to reconnect to our past without narcissistic attachment. By knowing our common roots we move away from historical distortion that led us to amnesia and apathy.
Pan-Africentrage is the political consciousness and historical process that benefits the collective independence by challenging the dominant unfair distributed capitalism we have today. Pan-Africentrage will make Africa an active part which we actually already seeing a bit. And we can see that the youth has had enough. Just look at the revolts in Tunisia or Burkina. It reminds us of the strength of the youth and their potential.
Where is the hope and future of Africa?
Africa is the hope! The fight starts against the collective amnesia of our history. Especially necessary is to learn from the anti-imperialist struggles and decolonization; negotiated independence and national liberation struggles. By doing so we can understand why we failed to institutionalize Pan-Africanism.
We need a bold reorganization of the forces of change, especially from our youth who, despite of outrage, lived over two decades of political chaos and disaffection. We have to put great effort in unity, but always keep the notion of introspection, self-respect and respect for others. Everything happens within a cosmic balance. We Africans need to rediscovery our socio-cultural history. This doesn’t mean that we’re only attached to the past, but you can in our past find useful patterns in how we can continue to live together in harmony and balance.