The White House and the Black Continent
"No programme for economic liberation can succeed which does not strike at the heart of this system of subjugation and exploitation. The region's resources must be applied, first and foremost, to meet its own needs and purposes." (1) Neocolonialism as practised particularly by the United States and its transnational fully justifies this statement made in the Economic Commission for Africa document.
The economic policy of the US transnationals is aimed at continuing and strengthening the exploitation of those countries that have rid themselves of colonial domination. The desire of the neocolonialists to hold their former colonies and semi-colonies within the capitalist economic system as dependent raw material suppliers is shown in the way they create obstacles to the kind of development that accords with the national interests of African countries and in the way they try to retard their social progress, while maintaining and even increasing the opportunities to plunder Africa's natural resources with the result that they end up "exporting" to African countries the most pernicious consequences of the structural crises of capitalism. Let us consider certain aspects of this policy.
We have already mentioned the inflation that is now rampant in Africa. There are, of course, internal factors that account for this, but these are not of prime importance. The main cause is the transfer of inflationary processes to Africa from the United States, Western Europe, Canada, and Japan via the transnationals and with the aid of the whole capitalist system of international payment and commerce. The prices of commodities imported to Africa from the United States have risen sharply, while at the same time the transnationals have reduced the demand for African exports and consequently lowered their prices. The gap in prices increased. Thus, whereas in the early 1960s the Africans had to sell 7.5 kg of coffee to buy a Swiss-made watch, ten years later this amount had doubled, and by the early 1980s it was in excess of 20 kg.
The market for African exports has also been reduced by the slump in the developed capitalist countries. Figures show that ever a one per cent slump reduces African exports by at least 200 million dollars a year. The continued rising prices on goods imported from the United States, Canada, Japan, and Western Europe cannot be explained, as it frequently is in the United States, by increased oil prices alone, although this factor is highly significant. The decisive factor is that the developed capitalist states virtually pass the burden of their own inflation on the developing countries by raising the prices of industrial exports to Africa and artificially lowering the prices of African exports to the West.
The neocolonialist practice of lowering prices is pure imperialism. In a report issued in June 1980 the World Bank, which is controlled by the United States, forecast that by 1985 the cost of imports to Africa would have risen by 149 per cent (as compared with 1977), while exports from Africa would have gone up only by 66 per cent.
The transnationals also help to worsen the food crisis in Africa. From 1970 to 1980 the import of food to Africa rose from 4.2 million tonnes to 12 million tonnes and the forecast for 1985 is that this will rise to 15 million tonnes. At the same time in the early 1970s a quarter of a million people died from starvation in West Africa. In 1980 the threat of starvation hung over East Africa. There are, of course, local reasons for this: draught, the slow reconstruction of agriculture, and the fact that food production is almost three times less than is needed for the population growth. But all these difficulties are multiplied enormously by the activities of the transnationals.
In June 19 80 the UN Wo rid Food Council held its 6th session in Arusha, Tanzania. The delegates from the developing countries
(1) UN General Assembly. Doc. A/S-11/6, 25 July- 1980, p. 11.
Chapter III THE OBSTACLES TO ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE - Back
Next - Washington Against a New International Economic Order
Translated from the Russian
Designed by Oleg Grebenyuk
Белый дом и черный континент
На английском языке
Group of Authors: An. A. Gromyko (Editor's Note);
Ye. A. Tarabrin (Ch. I, III, Conclusion); V. P. Kasatkin (Ch. II
IX); V. Ya. Lebedev (Ch. IV); A. Yu. Urnov (Ch V)-
V. S. Baskin (Ch. VI); A. V. Prudnikov (Ch. VII)-
M. L. Vishnevsky (Ch. VIII)
Издательство "Прогресс", 1984.
English translation. Progress Publishers 1984
Printed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
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