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Africa’s Continued Dependence on Europe

May 4th, 2010

Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva recently boasted that Brazil does the same amount of trade in Latin America and it does with the US and EU. (see http://is.gd/bY48J).

The recent ash flight ban that affected Zambia’s flower and vegetable industry, farm workers in Kenya, many who had been temporarily laid off because of the grounded flights (BBC News - Volcanic flight ban hits Kenya farm workers) and other African industries, like Uganda’s fish and flower export businesses and West Africa’s cocoa producers proves that African countries need to improve intra-continent trade if they are going to break their dependence on the EU.

I recently was made aware that the slave trade that robbed Africa of its fittest inhabitants, when it probably needed them the most, was build on the production of what at that time could be regarded as luxury goods such as sugar, coffee and cotton. Would it appear that Africa’s trade with the outside world overly relies on the same sort of trade, luxuries such as flowers and fruit being available to the European market all year round (see How the volcano took out our fruit salad)? I doubt the neighboring African countries will want to pay for that kind of luxury but might be willing to trade some food or useful mineral.

Whilst the formation of SADC is meant to assist the situation for at least the Central and Southern African states, “SADC is a weak organisation; it is under-resourced, and the member states are not happy to give it the powers that they agreed to give it when they launched the overhaul of the organisation in 2001”. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_African_Development_Community). The East African Community (EAC) appears to be developing at a much faster rate but then it has been around for a lot longer.

Covering the same latitude on the planet, many of Brazil’s experiences can and will be applicable to Africa. It is for the Africans to emulate this once third world country to improve their lot because at the end of the day, Europe will not do it for them.

[First published on my NotTheNews blog on specified date]