Editor's Note: A Special Edition on Development in Africa

The Editor

Ethiopian-TPLF AgreementIn the last two years, COVID-19 pandemic, left the world in utter misery. However, not all was lost because there were some bright spots. For example, Kenya conducted its election peacefully and had a smooth transition of power, a rare feat in Africa. Brazil’s by-lection, won by ex-President Lula, occurred without the anticipated violence by former President Bolsonaro’s supporters. Similarly, the USA has just concluded its mid-term election without the anticipated overwhelming victory or violence by ex-President Trump’s far-right election denialists. In fact, the election outcome indicates that ex-President Trump no longer holds sway over the Republican Party or the country. The warring factions of Ethiopia have just agreed in South Africa to settle their insidious war by peaceful negotiation, thanks to the intervention of the African Union (AU). Also, the AU is working hard to secure a peaceful settlement of the M23-DRC war. 

Otherwise, as the year 2022 marches towards its end, turmoil in the world is its legacy. Destructive wars, large (Ukraine), and small (Boka Haram, in Nigeria,aAl-Shabaab in Somalia, Islamist in Mali, and Burkina Faso, the M23 insurgency in the DRC) continue to ravage the world unabated. Meanwhile, North Korea, and to a lesser extent, Iran, are busy developing their nuclear weapons and Putin is shamelessly threatening to use his tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Furthermore, tension is brewing between the USA and China over the status of Taiwan.

Not to be outdone by wars and pandemic, climate change is rearing its ugly head, thanks to poorly controlled human activities which pollute the earth and the atmosphere. Some of the devastating effects of climate change include flood, drought, and fire which threaten food security in many poor countries. This is also exasperated by the lingering negative impact (hyperinflation and recession) of the COVID-19 pandemic. Likewise, the nasty war in Ukraine continues to worsen the problem. The 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) at Sham El-Sheik about climate change was just concluded but without agreement on phasing out the major pollutant, fossil fuel.

Except for a few (Botswana and Mauritius), most African countries with fragile economies are hit the hardest under the prevailing conditions. Most of their economies are stagnating. Abject poverty, high unemployment among the youth, threats of new disease outbreak like Ebola in Uganda, drought in Kenya, etc. make for a bleak future. In view of this horrific situation, some Westerners are calling for a massive aid program to lead Africa out of its current predicament. This in turn, such a proposal has elicited strong reactions from some quarters in Africa. Consequently, this month we are publishing a Special Edition dedicated to the issue of Development in Africa.

The lead article is about the proposed massive aid program, followed by a three-part critique of the proposal by a former senior advisor to the World Bank. The last part is a submission on the devastating effect of the easily secured, but utterly unfair Chinese loans on the borrowing country.

Meanwhile we wish you happy holidays.