Africa needs a solid middle class

The state of Germany and its economy are proof that a well-developed and strong middle-class is the core of the economic power.
One of the strongest economies in the world with firm social structures in place, womanpower under Angela Merkel has led Germany to be the powerhouse of the eurozone.
As a former mayor of Paris, France, once remarked, “What Germany could not win during WWI and WWII, it now simply buys.”
It is common knowledge that a stable middleclass is also the tax-base for governments. Without such a tax-base, governments would be weakened and would eventually become dependent on foreign aid, particularly on predator capital loans from the international West and its powerful structures, the Breton Woods institutions, the World Bank-IMF with their enslaving proposals and agreements.
In comparison, the African middleclass is rather diminutive. The gap between the very few rich and the majority of the poor is huge.
Yet, Africa is the treasure trove of most strategic minerals for the manufacturing industries of the G8 countries. Those minerals do not mean much to their host-countries, as the people who live on those lands do not benefit from that wealth.
In fact, they have no common share in such wealth. For generations they remain squatters, living in abject poverty.
Despite lengthy freedom struggles and independence from Europe’s colonial occupiers, Africa was not allowed to capture its huge mineral wealth in an orderly and structured fashion.
That inability reflected fatally on the African continent.
There are many examples, where the “former” colonial masters retained almost total ownership of land, minerals and mines, of telecommunications and infrastructural (non) development. If the “former” colonial masters sensed any possibilities of losing control over any specific assets they called their own, they deployed overt and covert destabilisation, marketing it as “civil and tribal wars”, “terrorism”, “black-on-black violence” and “xenophobia”.
The African Union (AU) is a leading case-in-point.
One would assume that African languages would be the official media of communication. However, the AU uses English, French and Arabic as its lingua franca, with Kiswahili as a fourth language coming almost as an afterthought.
Additional brutal examples are the destabilisation of whole regions such as Francophone West Africa. US, French, British and Italian armed forces contributed to NATO’s “humanitarian bombing” in Libya.
French armed forces took charge together with the UN in the Cote d’Ivoire, toppling president and government.
Many African states have succumbed to the Pentagon’s pressure and manipulations to accept US military bases in their countries called African Command, AFRICOM.
US AFRICOM now covers the African continent from Cairo to Cape Town.
You might ask what does all this have to do with the formation of a stable and strong middleclass in Africa? What does it have to do with education and the predictable failure thereof?
Well, the aforementioned gives the reasons for the inability to build a formidable middleclass.
African governments are overpowered, over-compromised, over-corrupted and continuously harassed by the stringent and suffocating control-mechanisms of foreign aid, foreign interests and their corporate mainstream media as well as the NGO industry to “build international Western-type democratic states”.
Instead of educating and training the majority of the youth to add professional value to land and mining and become an integral part of it, those who successfully built a relevant educational system in their countries, were undermined and character assassinated.
The British publication, “Guinness Book of World Records” published in its edition of the year 2000 that Zimbabwe rated among the top three countries in the world for best education.
Zimbabwe had the finest educational system for its people.
Proof is the high standard of Zimbabwe’s economic refugees in the SADC region and beyond. They are the most sought-after people to be employed.
Foreign agents provocateurs and covert operations failed to topple President Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF.
As the late Hendrik French Verwoerd, Former Prime Minister of colonial-apartheid South Africa, stated, “Africans are mere carriers of water and hewers of wood.”
African history, culture, languages, tradition and music as well as its laws, rules and regulations remain ignored, even written out of the educational systems, history books and the media. Africans are kept away from good education and the economy.
Today’s media do not reflect any daily interests and fears of indigenous Africans. In other words, Africans have actually no real influence; no real say in their own matters.
Instead, Africans are fed with an immoral international Western culture of “bling-bling”, common material greed and the aspiration to study in foreign, European lands.
The final conquest is the destruction of the indigenous Africans’ self-worth.
It is that very colonial-settler mindset that keeps Africans away from their land, their wealth and out of the middle classes, as much as it keeps their democratically elected and sovereign governments out of power.
This too explains, why it is possible to ignore international agreements with the AU, African leaders and governments, such as the Lancaster House Agreement of 1979; the exile agreement for Liberia’s fallen President, Charles Taylor; the televised murder of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi; the French toppling of Former President Laurent Gbagbo of Cote d’Ivoire; and the reliable lobbying for and corruption of so-called political leaders, who have forgotten their Africanness for a few dollars – a life in blatant luxury in return for easy and cheap access to the strategic mineral wealth.
In the above context it has always been a struggle to build a good educational system and practical participation in the economy in order to create an educated, solid middleclass for the benefit of all and national stability.
The international Western media and their resourced and mischievous academic analysts find the failures of Africans too easy to criticise.
• Udo W Froese is an independent political and socio-economic analyst and columnist based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

October 2012
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