Is SADC aware of economic hitmen?

By Timo Shihepo

Windhoek – In his 2015 book titled “The New Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man: The Shocking Inside Story of How America Really Took Over The World’, John Perkins explains how the United States of America (USA) hires economic hit men to cheat countries around the globe out of trillion of dollars.

This is done through fraudulent reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex and murder.

With the just ended SADC high-level energy meeting in Swaziland last week, one had no choice but to wonder if SADC leaders and citizens are aware these economic hit men.

Why? Perkins, who was also an economic hit man himself, said the USA uses the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and USAid to convince poor countries to accept huge development loans to ensure that they are forever in debt.

But still how does this affect SADC, one may ask? These economic hit men are deployed to developing countries to supposedly help these nations in overhauling the “traditional” electricity sector in order to modernise it.

At the just ended energy meeting, SADC called for investments in various energy projects. And of course, the World Bank and USAid were the first to offer a helping hand.

“The money is available. We urge countries from SADC to submit the request for these loans. We are aiming to have financial closure by early next year,” a representative from one of the financial institutions told the summit.

In his book, Perkins said these organisations forecast the energy needs and economic growth of a country or a region but they inflate the numbers so that the targeted countries pay more than what is needed.

They simply come up with fraudulent reports. The American companies then hire their own staff, and use equipment shipped from their country and send the surplus and profit back to their country.

In the previous edition of The Southern Times, we reported that the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) needs US$96 billion for power projects by 2040.

Further inquiry reveals that these SAPP projections were done in collaborations with the World Bank and the USAid.

These are the same institutions that were used in ripping off Colombia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Panama, Ecuador, Honduras, Venezuela and many more countries.

Perkins was one of economic hit men who was deployed in these countries. The system has also been used in several African countries.

Just like in those countries, the World Bank has predicted how much SAPP would need for projects in the next 23 years without substantial proof.

Institutions like SAPP are reluctant to dispute these figures for fear that they might lose funding. It’s a well-crafted system designed to make countries blindly accept these loans.

Together with other “funders”, they will loan money to the SADC countries on condition that companies from the USA get these huge contracts to construct electricity projects.

In the end, the developing countries will be indebted to the World Bank and other financial institutions for decades. As in with various years, the USA would then opt to be repaid with natural resources such as oil.

At the SADC energy meeting last week, there was a certain project, which perhaps sums up the work of the economic hit men very well.

The said electricity project is a partnership between the SADC Secretariat and USAid. The SADC Secretariat briefed the energy ministers that they were working on a project but it was to remain private until everything is finalised.

Although The Southern Times established that the mysterious project is earmarked to produce about 4000 MW within the next five years, the location and further details of the project is still a mystery.

“I am bit hesitant to say what I really feel about this. The weakness is that we (SADC) do not follow our policies. We have all these (financial) institutions saying that they want to fund our projects but do we really know what we are entering into?” South Africa’s Minister of Energy Mmamoloko Kubayi told The Southern Times.

“Where is this project as in the location? How is it being run? How do we actually participate in this apart from just directing these entities to participate?” Kubayi asked.

Kubayi said sometimes ministers, as in the case of the SADC-USAid electricity project, were not properly briefed and in the end local or regional institutions entered into agreements which would be disputed later after implementation.

“There are agreements that have been signed but us as ministers of energy in SADC are not aware of these. We need to interrogate these agreements before signing something that we would regret later. We must sign agreements that would not put any of the SADC countries at risk.”

Namibia’s minister of energy, Obeth Kandjoze, was also perplexed by the mysterious project and asked if all efforts were being made to avoid situations where SADC countries were put at risk.

However, SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax said the Secretariat was aware of bogus institutions but said they always scrutinised before entering into any agreement.

“We scrutinise everything before we sign an agreement. We check what we have done previously, what we are about to do and what we are going to do before we enter into an agreement. This is necessary to avoid any problems at the time of implementing.”

The Secretariat insisted that the SADC-USAid project was in line with the SADC policies and that once everything was finalised the information would be sent out.

July 2017
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