Investment, underdevelopment are the flipsides of Capitalism

Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro

“Today in fact if not in name, a new colonialism exists. The World Bank, the IMF…and the aid agencies of the other developed countries, together with the private lending institutions, set the terms on which Africa’s economies function , or malfunction,” wrote A. Bathily in a paper he delivered at the African Association of Political Science (AAPS) Pan-African Conference on Thirty Years of Independence Results and Prospects titled: The Contradictions of the Anti-Colonial Movements and the Roots of the Contemporary Crisis in Africa.

The Pan-African Conference was held right here in Windhoek, Namibia in May 1991, when the country was only just a year and two months old. “The human needs of Africa are desperate. Disease as well as hunger and chaos threaten its people…What is the alternative to neo-colonialism? Africa’s condition demands desperate measures,” Bathily maintained then.

The condition alluded to then, as far as Namibia was concerned, may have been perceived as of a special kind because of Apartheid Colonialism.

But 32 years after, the condition persists, and it is any wonder if it still can be blamed on Apartheid, rather than on Neo-Colonialism and its malfunction, which has equally been creating havoc within the Namibian economy, with its continued entrenchment as evidenced lately by the game of Roulette pertaining to the discovery of oil, and the attendant debate whether this oil belongs to the Namibian State, and thus the Namibian people as the sovereign or not.

This is despite the Namibian Constitution being categorical about “the sovereign ownership of natural resources”, as per Article 100 of the Namibian Constitution, stating: “Land, water and natural resources below and above the surface of the land, and in the continental shelf, and within the territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone of Namibia, shall be belong to the State if they are not otherwise lawfully owned.”

Amidst the current mumbo jumbo regarding the ownership of the recently discovered oil resource, and of course needless to say other natural resources of the country, has been the notion of nationalisation, which has been featuring often lately.

Though so apprehensively and cautiously so given the mantra of infectiousness and allergy wrapped around it by politicians, strangely among them would-be Marxist-Leninists, Socialists and/or even Communists within the governing party, the Swapo Party of Namibia.

This is even as if the country’s constitution does not provide for a mixed economy, whatever this may be interpreted to mean, but which to Yours Truly Ideologically, encompasses, entails and includes nationalisation. Nationalisation, according to Wikipedia:

“is the process of transforming privately-owned assets into public assets by bringing them under the public ownership of a national government or state.”

Be that as it may be, with regard to the newly discovered Namibian oil, there is and can be no question of transferring such to the real would-be owners, as the owners are already the Namibian people with the State as the custodian thereof.

Thus, axiomatically, there is and can be no question of nationalizing the oil, but just making sure that whoever is given the right to the exploitation thereof, does so in the best interest of the Namibian people, and at the same time in their own best interest as it would, a win-win situation.

This is the balance that the State, which has been given the custodianship of the country’s natural resources, must have struck.

Because, in the first instance, one of the foremost duty of the State is not only to ensure that the country’s natural resources are exploited in the best interest of the citizenry, but sustainably so.

The ten percent shareholding that the State is said to have in the oil exploitation venture, can hardly even by conservative estimation, be said to be a win-win deal.

On the contrary it is simply a wholesale of a Namibian resource to would-be foreign investors, who are actually simply parasites, siphoning off the country’s oil resources for the enrichment and development of foreign countries, their metropoles and nationals.

The very countries, metropoles and nationals pretending to be philanthropic towards developing countries like Namibian.

This is a contradiction in terms for these countries, and/or their corporations, the transnational corporations, who in modern times are actually the ones pulling all the strings, political and economic, in most of the exploited countries, like Namibia in the case of the discovery of oil in this regard, to then pretend globalisation.

An euphemism for the continued exploitation of the natural resources of the resource-rich countries in the South, with bare minimum to zero benefit to these countries.

This is the essence and reality of the much-trumpeted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) with the investors taking a chunk with one hand from the resource-rich countries and pretending to give back with the other under the pretense of development and/or aid. One cannot but call to mind the book in the 1970s by one Pan-African greatest, Marxist Pan-African academician and activist, Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, describing how Africa was deliberately exploited and underdeveloped by European colonial regimes.

The so-called investment in the exploitation of Namibian oil resources and the deal struck by the Namibian State, very much resonates with Rodney’s notion of European underdevelopment of Africa, and/or Namibia currently is you wish.

Fast track to another book lately, 2018, by John Perkins, New Confessions Of An Economic Hitman where he exposes the shenanigans and chicaneries of Capitalism working through governments, especially the US government, multinational “aid” organizations, and corporations , coining the concept of corporatocracy.

Where on behalf of Capitalism, corporations are ruling the world’s politico-economic order.

Rodney and Perkins are from different generations and equally from different ideological orientations. But speak to the same thing, how Capitalism sustain itself in the name of investment. Ala investors in Namibian oil.



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