Demonizing Debtors and Developing Dysfunction

It is easy for the Western media to paint pictures of Africa that do not tell the entire picture. In the first instance, the groundwork for anti-African imagery began as early as the 1800’s with the birth of Europe’s diversified universities. Before that era, however, all of those Europeans involved in the TransAtlantic Slave Trade cultivated images that remain deeply embedded in the psyche of their progeny. These images are so deeply embedded that folks seem to have forgotten how to do the math.When you talk about Africa, you have to do the math.

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To put things in perspective consider the following: Africa as a continent, with an estimated population of 680 million people receives 4.5 billion dollars from the United States while the country of Israel, with a population of 6 million, receives about 3 billion.? And as Bush spends about 4.5 Billion a year on AIDS in Africa, for the fiscal year 2008, he has asked congress for $624.6 billion to be spent on the military.?
According to an Oxfam report, for every dollar given to Africa in aid, the donors get two dollars back.? Oxfam also reports that a “one percent increase in trade for Africa would bring $70 billion into the continent – five times as much as Africa currently receives in aid and debt relief.”?

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The work that Africans will have to do to resolve this issue has many layers.  One of those layers requires an active, aggressive political agenda by BLACK AMERICANS to put African foreign policy issues on the table.  Africa has to become part of the discussion and ongoing litmus test for all politicians interested in ballots cast by black folk. 

Africa, with respect to trade and security (Big Pharma and Aids; debt vs. trade; subsidies and low prices; import-export; US military and oil refining projects), are all issues where Republicans and Democrats are rather closely aligned.  Perhaps Barack Obama will strike a different chord, but the economics of the farm house are still driving decisions in the state house.  American Africans (reg-a-la black folk) have a number of domestic issues which could find resolution behind a closer collaboration with the continent and the Caribbean. 

A deeper exploration of the ties that bind, however, must begin with the right calculus of all that is being lost by postponing the work of building bridges.

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