5 Reasons Why a United States of Africa Will Not Work

In a recent video, South African far-left leader, Julius Malema, admonished Africans to find indigenous ways to address their challenges and unite under a single state. He proposed the elimination of borders created by colonialists and  the promotion of tolerance among Africans. To some extent, Malema is right. Borders are alien to Africa and people need to love one another, but he is fundamentally wrong about the prospects of Africa as a country.

Here are five reasons he and other advocates of a United States of Africa should have a rethink.

1. Africans are Historically Autonomous 

One of the incoherent assumptions of this school of thought is that colonialism brought different tribes together without considering their distinct cultures. This they suggest should be replaced by uniting all ethnic groups on the continent – over 3000 of them –  under a bigger entity.

Perhaps, they are deliberately neglecting the fact that contemporary African countries are struggling because of the bad arrangements by colonialists. Another amalgamation of sort, especially a larger one, will only create further problems, moreover, Africans have always been autonomous.

Before the scramble and partition of Africa in Berlin (1885), every African tribe lived within their own space with peculiar values and customs. Trade was one of the few things that brought them together while they always respected each other’s identity.

In fact, traditional Africans often broke away from their original tribes to form new communities for self-realization and freedom. The thought that this way of life can be changed by imposing a single identity is simply absurd and un-African.

2. The Language Barrier

Malema proposed Swahili as the ideal language for a united Africa considering it is the most widely spoken indigenous language. But Swahili only has some 140 million speakers, which is less than 15 percent of the 1.2 billion population of the continent.

An adoption of such language, if at all accepted by speakers of the other 2000 African languages, would require an extraordinary amount of effort, especially funding.

China and India are often referenced as good replicas for Africa in this regard, but both countries owe their success to shared ancestral language among their people. Whereas, imposing an alien language on a group, is an attempt to erase their identity. If Malema want Africans to reject English and French because they demean their identities, then he should not be guilty of the same.

3. What’s an Ideal Administrative system?

Most advocates of a United States of Africa often propose a unitary system with one parliament and President. Others believe either federalism or confederalism would work better to preserve the autonomy of the numerous ethnic groups. Either way, the geopolitical structure of the continent would defy any of these unification.

The African society is too complex to work under a unitary system. There are preferred modes of administration peculiar to each tribe and country. It makes no sense to suggest they all adopt a unilateral administrative pattern different from what they have know for thousands of years.

A unitary system is only ideal for a small geographical area with common values. Africa on the other hand covers a staggering 11.7 million square miles – almost three times the size of Europe – and it is deeply pluralized. Equally, neither federalism nor confederalism would likely work. Both systems has horribly failed in many African countries and blocs. Nigeria and the African Union (AU) are good examples.

Nigeria, for instance, has over 250 ethnic groups, just like there would be in a United States of Africa. However, since the country adopted federalism in 1963, it has struggled with structural problems ranging from resource control to ethnic marginalization and defining the extent to which federating units should be autonomous.

Also, if the AU had achieved its goal of uniting Africa under a confederacy, there would be no calls for another form of union. The bottom line here is, people do better when they are not forced into a coalition.

4. Different Economic Values

Different tribes have specific attitudes towards the economy. Constricting everyone into a single mode of economic reasoning is inhumane as much as it would be, chaotic. It is antithetical to how Africans have lived for centuries.

No traditional African society was the same in its approach to commerce and trade as the other, and those values stand until today. This peculiarity is one reason centrally planned economic reforms in many African countries often fail to yield expected results among different tribes.

Again, a critical reason the economies of equally larger unions such as China and India has worked is because of the homogeneity of values among their people. Regardless of whatever economic model is adopted in a unified Africa, the would difficult to make it work for every society.

5. A partway to Tyranny

Perhaps Malema and his comrades have yet to realize that the more powerful a central government is, the greater the possibility of tyranny. This is evident in the level at which post-independence African leaders have grossly abuse power. One leader in control of a big entity with enormous resources, going by modern African history, is extremely dangerous.

More so, rotating the office of the Head of State among each tribe without problems is almost impossible as we have seen in the old Sudan, Rwanda, the Central African Republic and Nigeria.

There equally cannot be a parliament comprehensive enough to accommodate every tribe that makes up the continent. The end result would be an insufficient representation of interests, which often result in calls for session.

Nonetheless, the effects of Colonialism on Africa is a proof that bringing people together without considering their traditional ways of life is wrong. What Africa needs to work is for countries to allow more autonomy for local and regional governments. Not another forceful unification.

Ibrahim B. Anoba is an African political economy analyst and a Senior Fellow at African Liberty. Tweet him @Ibrahim_Anoba.


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Looking skyward towards African Economic Integration

By Todd M. Johnson

The recipes for successful regional trade integration are well known. The challenge for policy makers lies in implementation, including accepting that the benefits are rarely instantaneous, showing a willingness to challenge special interests, and making a genuine commitment to pan-African development rather than narrow national definitions of success. 

The necessity of enhanced regional economic integration, particularly boosting intra-regional trade flows, has long been a centrepiece of conversation about improving Africa’s economic fortunes. Since the downfall of colonial rule in the 1950s and 1960s, there have been multiple high-profile efforts at trade and customs unions but usually with low levels of success. It remains an unfortunate fact that trading goods between regional neighbours is often more difficult than exporting to distant Asian, European, and North American markets.

The reasons for this disparity are numerous, including the continued colonial legacy of transport infrastructure designed to take goods from the interior to port cities (“forts and ports”) rather than between adjoining states. Post-colonial governments across the continent also must shoulder a fair portion of the blame for decades of protectionist trade policies, under-investment in infrastructure, and a focus on fostering exports to distant markets of low value-add raw materials.

So, where to from here? The recipes for successful regional trade integration are well known. The challenge for policy makers lies in implementation, including accepting that the benefits are rarely instantaneous, showing a willingness to challenge special interests, and making a genuine commitment to pan-African development rather than narrow national definitions of success.

Building new ports, rail-lines, highways, and the other linchpins of economic integration are hugely complex endeavours involving years of negotiations between and among governments, equipment suppliers, financiers, and end users. These projects are not for the faint-hearted. There exist, nevertheless, easier wins for governments that have great potential to deliver substantial economic gains in relatively short-order. One need only look up the next time they hear an approaching aircraft for proof.

Africa’s commercial aviation sector is minuscule by global standards. Despite a population of well over a billion people, the continent only accounts for just over 2% of global passenger numbers. The reasons for the unimpressive size of the African aviation market are many, ranging from low per capita incomes to inadequate air transport infrastructure to the unviable business models of many state-owned carriers.

There are also reasons to be optimistic about the potential for growth in the sector. The continent’s middle class is rapidly expanding, “low-cost carriers” (LCC) are proven to work in Africa, and state-owned carriers like Ethiopian Airlines have proven their ability to compete on a global level.

Africa excites the world’s airlines and aircraft manufacturers precisely because it is one of the few remaining global markets with the potential for exponential growth. In its 2017 market outlook, aircraft manufacturer Boeing forecast that over the course of the next 20 years passenger numbers in Africa will increase nearly 6% annually and the demand for new aircraft will be worth $180-billion (1,220 aircraft).

Despite the great potential of aviation in Africa, the industry faces significant headwinds, many of which are the result of outdated or inadequate regulatory policies. This reality was captured in public remarks in 2017 by Adefunke Adeyemi, International Air Transport Association (IATA) Regional Head for Africa and the Middle East. She lamented that the aviation sector in Africa remains constrained by excessive bureaucracy, high costs, and lack of an accommodating regulatory environment. This unpromising setting led the industry to post annual losses of over $750-million over the course of 2013 to 2017.

Adeyemi’s attention to unfriendly regulatory conditions goes to the core of the challenges facing the sector. Nevertheless, there have been encouraging recent developments that show some governments – including those home to the continent’s largest carriers – are committed, at least rhetorically, to removing hurdles to expansion of commercial aviation.

At the end of January 2018, 23 countries (including South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Egypt) created the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). In the words of the African Union, which owns implementation of the SAATM, the accord allows “full liberalisation in terms of market access between African States, the free exercise of traffic rights, the elimination of restrictions on ownership and the full liberalisation of frequencies, fares and capacities”.

SAATM is part of a decades-long negotiation between African governments aimed at realising the “freedoms of the air”. These freedoms govern the rights granted to airlines to carry passengers to and from countries, including where they can embark and disembark passengers. If implemented in full, the result looks something like the airline industry in Europe, where competition is fierce, fares are low, and route networks extensive.

The goal of implementation of the freedoms – particularly the first five core freedoms – was originally enshrined in the 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision, which pledged its 44 signatories to a single air transport market across Africa by 2002. The reminders of its failed enactment are self-evident to any regular traveller in Africa who suffers sticker shock at the price of a short-haul flight or who looks askance at an aircraft that seems past its prime.

By failing to embrace Yamoussoukro, African governments have missed out on the huge economic benefits, particularly in terms of intra-regional trade, attendant to liberalisation of air travel. The IATA estimated in 2015 that cross-border deregulation between just 12 African countries would create 5 million new passengers, $1.3-billion in annual GDP growth, and 155,000 jobs.

Were SAATM to be implemented continent-wide, Africa could hope to match the massive boost in intra-region travel and trade that accompanied the liberalisation of aviation in member countries of the Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN). According to a study by infrastructure consultants InterVISTAS, progressive liberalisation of the ASEAN market led to a compounded annual rate of passenger growth of 9.6% from 2000 to 2012.

A 2014 World Bank study that assessed the impact of LCCs on economic development in emerging markets provided further examples of the out sized economic gains associated with liberalized air travel. In one eyebrow-raising statistic, the arrival of Ryanair and other LCCs into the Polish city of Krakow helped boost the number of foreign tourist arrivals from 680,000 to almost 2.5-million between 2003 and 2007.

Closer to home, South Africa offers similar proof, where the launch of LCCs serving domestic routes saw an air traffic increase of 52% from 2004 to 2006, generating millions of dollars of new revenue for cities and provinces.

Policy makers driving SAATM should be genuinely congratulated for embracing the liberalisation of air travel. Nevertheless, proof lies in its implementation. Over half of African governments have not signed up to SAATM, creating a barrier for airlines wanting to build a genuinely pan-African route network.

Under SAATM, governments will need to accept that their national carriers will face aggressive competition from LCCs and other global airlines, many of which have much more competitive cost structures and have already built substantial pan-African footprints. To compete, national carriers will have to be empowered to take tough decisions about fleets, routes, wages and benefits, and be insulated from the whims of local politicians. This is a tall order, but one with clear gains for local economies.

Beyond the regulatory environment, African governments can most usefully contribute to their aviation sectors by investing in physical infrastructure, namely upgrades to ageing airports. As one industry aphorism puts it: “A mile of highway will take you a mile, but a mile of runway will take you anywhere.”

Unlike the lengthy and politically fraught processes that accompany the roll-out of many regional integration schemes, the liberalisation of air travel and its attendant benefits can be quickly realized. African economies would receive a sustainable and non-commodity driven gain with the net impacts quickly trickling down to all income levels.

The model is clear, the market exists, and the carriers proven in their ability to deliver if the regulatory climate is right. It’s time to open Africa’s skies.

Republished from The Daily Maverik

Todd Johnson is the risk leader for a large multinational operating throughout Africa. He has previously held roles in corporate strategy, political and partnership risk management, and in the US Government as an analyst of African politics.


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How Africa Got Left Behind

By: Marian L. Tupy

Robert Colvile’s excellent article on Prince Charles’s misunderstanding of the causes of African poverty provides a good opportunity to take a closer look at Africa’s economic history.

African poverty was not caused by colonialism, capitalism or free trade. As I have noted before, many of Europe’s former dependencies became rich precisely because they maintained many of the colonial institutions and partook in global trade. African poverty preceded the continent’s contact with Europe and persists today. That is an outcome of unfortunate policy choices, most of which were freely chosen by Africa’s leaders after independence.

By 1500, a typical European was about twice as rich as a typical African.

Like Europe, Africa started out desperately poor. The late Professor Angus Maddison of Groningen University has estimated that, at the start of the Common Era, average per capita income in Africa was $470 per year (in 1990 dollars). The global average was roughly equal to that of Africa. Western Europe and North Africa, which were parts of the Roman Empire, were slightly better off ($600). In contrast, North America lagged behind Africa ($400). All in all, the world was both fairly equal and very poor.

The origins of global inequality, which saw Western Europe and, later, North America, power ahead of the rest of the world, can be traced to the rise of the Northern Italian city-states in the 14th century and the Renaissance in the 15th century. By 1500, a typical European was about twice as rich as a typical African. But the real gap in living standards opened only after the Industrial Revolution that started in England in the late 18th century and spread to Europe and North America in the 19th century.

In 1870, when Europeans controlled no more than 10 per cent of the African continent (mostly North and South Africa), Western European incomes were already four times higher than those in Africa. Europe, in other words, did not need Africa in order to become prosperous. Europe colonised Africa because Europe was prosperous and, consequently, more powerful. Appreciation of the chronology of events does not justify or defend colonialism. But it does help explain it.

Africa’s fortunes under colonial rule varied. Much progress was made in terms of health and education. Maddison estimates that in 1870, there were 91 million Africans. By 1960, the year of independence, the African population grew more than threefold – to 285 million. The OECD estimates that over the same time period the share of the African population attending school rose from less than 5 percent to over 20 percent. On the down-side, Europeans treated Africans with contempt, and subjected them to discrimination and, sometimes, violence.

Since rule of law, accountable government, property rights, and free trade were European imports, they had to go.

That violence intensified during Africa’s struggle for independence, as the colonial powers tried to beat back African nationalists. As a result, African leaders took over countries where repression of political dissent was already firmly established. Instead of repealing censorship and detention laws, however, African leaders kept and expanded them.

It was precisely because colonial rule was so psychologically demeaning to Africans in general and nationalist leaders in particular that post-independence African governments were so determined to expunge many of the colonial institutions. Since rule of law, accountable government, property rights, and free trade were European imports, they had to go. Instead, many African leaders chose to emulate the political arrangements and economic policies of a rising power that represented the exact opposite of Western free market and liberal democracy – the Soviet Union.

Emulating the USSR in the 1960s was not altogether irrational. During the 1930s, the country underwent speedy industrialization, transforming a nation of peasants into a formidable power. Industrialization came at the cost of some 20 million lives, but it allowed the USSR to triumph over Hitler’s Germany (at a cost of an additional 27 million lives). By the early 1960s, the country not only produced massive amounts of steel and armaments, but also seemed poised to win the scientific contest with the West, when Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space on April 12, 1961.

The astonishing wastefulness and backwardness of the Soviet economy did not become apparent until the 1970s. By that time, unfortunately, the socialist bacillus infected much of Africa, which adopted one-party government that destroyed accountability and the rule of law, undermined property rights and, consequently, growth. Price and wage controls were imposed, and free trade gave way to import substitution and autarky.

Africa’s love affair with socialism persisted until the 1990s, when, at long last, Africa started to reintegrate into the global economy. Trade relations with the rest of the world were somewhat liberalized and African nations started to deregulate their economies, thus climbing up the rankings in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report.

That said, even today, Africa remains the least economically free and most protectionist continent in the world. That – and not free trade – is the problem.

Republished from CapX


Marian L. Tupy is the editor of and a senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. 

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Africa Grapples With Huge Disparities in Education

By Zipporah Musau

At the dawn of independence, incoming African leaders were quick to prioritize education on their development agendas. Attaining universal primary education, they maintained, would help post-independence Africa lift itself out of abject poverty.

As governments began to build schools and post teachers even to the farthest corners of the continent, with help from religious organizations and other partners, children began to fill the classrooms and basic education was under way.

Africa’s current primary school enrollment rate is above 80% on average, with the continent recording some of the biggest increases in elementary school enrollment globally in the last few decades, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which is tasked with coordinating international cooperation in education, science, culture and communication. More children in Africa are going to school than ever before.

Yet despite the successes in primary school enrollment, inequalities and inefficiencies remain in this critical sector.

According to the African Union (AU), the recent expansion in enrollments “masks huge disparities and system dysfunctionalities and inefficiencies” in education sub-sectors such as pre-primary, technical, vocational and informal education, which are severely underdeveloped.

It is widely accepted that most of Africa’s education and training programs suffer from low-quality teaching and learning, as well as inequalities and exclusion at all levels. Even with a substantial increase in the number of children with access to basic education, a large number still remain out of school.

A newly released report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), “Income Inequality Trends in sub-Saharan Africa: Divergence, Determinants and Consequences”, identifies the unequal distribution of essential facilities, such as schools, as one the drivers of wide income disparities.

Ayodele Odusola, the lead editor of the report and UNDP’s chief economist, makes the following point: “Quality education is key to social mobility and can thus help reduce poverty, although it may not necessarily reduce [income] inequality.”

To address education inequality, he says, governments must invest heavily in child and youth development through appropriate education and health policies and programmes.

Higher-quality education, he says, improves the distribution of skilled workers, and state authorities can use this increased supply to build a fairer society in which all people, rich or poor, have equal opportunities. As it is now, only the elites benefit from quality education.

“Wealthy leaders in Africa send their children to study in the best universities abroad, such as Harvard. After studies, they come back to rule their countries, while those from poor families who went to public schools would be lucky to get a job even in the public sector,” notes Odusola.

Another challenge facing policy makers and pedagogues is low secondary and tertiary enrollment. Angela Lusigi, one of the authors of the UNDP report, says that while Africa has made significant advances in closing the gap in primary-level enrollments, both secondary and tertiary enrollments lag behind.

Only four out of every 100 children in Africa is expected to enter a graduate and postgraduate institution, compared to 36 out of 100 in Latin America and 14 out of 100 in South and West Asia.

“In fact, only 30 to 50% of secondary-school-aged children are attending school, while only 7 to 23% of tertiary-school-aged youth are enrolled. This varies by sub-region, with the lowest levels being in Central and Eastern Africa and the highest enrolment levels in Southern and North Africa,” Lusigi, who is also the strategic advisor for UNDP Africa, told Africa Renewal.

According to Lusigi, many factors account for the low transition from primary to secondary and tertiary education. The first is limited household incomes, which limit children’s access to education. A lack of government investment to create equal access to education also plays a part.

“The big push that led to much higher primary enrollment in Africa was subsidized schooling financed by both public resources and development assistance,” she said. “This has not yet transitioned to providing free access to secondary- and tertiary-level education.”

Another barrier to advancing from primary to secondary education is the inability of national institutions in Africa to ensure equity across geographical and gender boundaries. Disabled children are particularly disadvantaged.

“Often in Africa, decisions to educate children are made within the context of discriminatory social institutions and cultural norms that may prevent young girls or boys from attending school,” says Lusigi.

Regarding gender equality in education, large gaps exist in access, learning achievement and advanced studies, most often at the expense of girls, although in some regions boys may be the ones at a disadvantage.

UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics reports that more girls than boys remain out of school in sub-Saharan Africa, where a girl can expect to receive only about nine years of schooling while boys can expect 10 years (including some time spent repeating classes).

More girls than boys drop out of school before completing secondary or tertiary education in Africa. Globally, women account for two-thirds of the 750 million adults without basic literacy skills.

Then there is the additional challenge of Africa’s poorly resourced education systems, the difficulties ranging from the lack of basic school infrastructure to poor-quality instruction. According to the Learning Barometer of the Brookings Institution, a US-based think tank, up to 50% of the students in some countries are not learning effectively.

Results from regional assessments by the UN indicate “poor learning outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa, despite upward trend in average learning achievements.” Many children who are currently in school will not learn enough to acquire the basic skills needed to lead successful and productive lives. Some will leave school without a basic grasp of reading and mathematics.


The drivers of inequality in education are many and complex, yet the response to these challenges revolves around simple and sound policies for inclusive growth, the eradication of poverty and exclusion, increased investment in education and human development, and good governance to ensure a fairer distribution of assets.

With an estimated 364 million Africans between the ages of 15 and 35, the continent has the world’s youngest population, which offers an immense opportunity for investing in the next generation of African leaders and entrepreneurs. Countries can start to build and upgrade education facilities and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all.

The AU, keeping in mind that the continent’s population will double in the next 25 years, is seeking through its Continental Education Strategy for Africa 2016–2025 to expand access not just to quality education, but also to education that is relevant to the needs of the continent.

The AU Commission deputy chairperson, Thomas Kwesi Quartey, says governments must address the need for good education and appropriate skills training to stem rising unemployment.

Institutions of higher learning in Africa, he says, need to review and diversify their systems of education and expand the level of skills to make themselves relevant to the demands of the labour market.

“Our institutions are churning out thousands of graduates each year, but these graduates cannot find jobs because the education systems are traditionally focused on preparing graduates for white-collar jobs, with little regard to the demands of the private sector, for innovation or entrepreneurship,” said Quartey during the opening of the European Union–Africa Business Forum in Brussels, Belgium, in June 2017.

He noted that if African youths are not adequately prepared for the job market, “Growth in technical fields that support industrialization, manufacturing and development in the value chains will remain stunted.” Inequality’s inclusion among the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities) serves as an important reminder to leaders in Africa to take the issue seriously.

For a start, access to early childhood development programmes, especially for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, can help reduce inequality by ensuring that all children begin formal schooling with strong foundations.

The UNDP, through its new strategic plan (for 2018 through 2021), will work to deliver development solutions for diverse contexts and a range of development priorities, including poverty eradication, jobs and livelihoods, governance and institutional capacity and disaster preparedness and management.

*Africa Renewal is published by the UN’s Department of Public Information (DPI)

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What the UNICEF is Saying about the Frightening State of Children in Central African Republic

According the UNICEF, at least 350,000 children in the Central African Republic (CAR) are out of school and lack access to health and other basic services, including nearly 29,000 who have fled escalating violence this year, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned, urging warring parties to stop the fighting. 

“Children are paying the highest price for this new surge of violence,” UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Marie-Pierre Poirier, said over the weekend, adding: “All actors should stop violence against children now. The world must not forget the children of the Central African Republic. Protection of children should come first.”

The already precarious humanitarian and security situation in the country has deteriorated over the past year, worsening even further since the start of 2018. An estimated 687,400 people are displaced within the country, up from 440,000 in 2017, including more than 357,400 children.

This year alone, at least 55,000 people – including 28,600 children – have fled their homes because of escalating brutality and violence.

UNICEF said that a third of children are currently out of school. Close to half of all children are not fully immunized and 41 per cent of children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition. 

The agency is providing children with life-saving assistance. “UNICEF and our partners are achieving encouraging results focusing on four key priorities: scaling up immunization, ending malnutrition, providing education, and protection; including in emergency situations,” said Ms. Poirier.

In 2017, UNICEF and partners vaccinated more than 800,000 children under-five against polio, representing 98 per cent coverage, and treated more than 26,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

Also last year, UNICEF supported the release of 2,969 children from armed groups, and helped set up 315 child-friendly and temporary learning spaces in displacement camps, helping around 56,600 children. 

However, up to the end of April, only 15 per cent of UNICEF’s 2018 humanitarian appeal for the country has been funded. The agency needs an additional $48 million.

“With significant investment in targeted interventions, we can make a real difference for children both in internally displaced sites and host communities,” said Ms. Poirier.

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What’s Fair Isn’t Always Equal

By Filip Steffensen

Throughout the past decade, hostility against growing economic inequality has gained ground. An increasing consensus seems to be gravitating towards the seductive demand for “fairness,” even by right-leaning politicians. When applied by progressives, the term refers to equal outcomes.

But how can we define fairness? American philosopher Robert Nozick might be useful here because the only way to achieve fairness without violating individuals’ rights is by securing procedural justice, not end-state justice.

Inequality and the Veil of Ignorance

Philosopher John Rawls was a great contributor to the present debate. In A Theory of Justice, Rawls derives his principles of justice from the contract tradition. Rawls believed that fairness cannot validly be deduced from intuition, and so he committed himself to develop a comprehensive theory. Utilizing sophisticated methods, he developed the difference principle that permits inequalities insofar as they benefit the least-advantaged. While alluring, such claims require thorough examination because they provide a strong case for an extensive government.

End-state principles of justice require continuous intrusion in the exchange of goods in order to satisfy the proposed measure of justice.

Regardless of how compelling his theory may seem, politicians should abstain from echoing this refrain. The Rawlsian supposition that people — subjected to the hypothetical experiment within the veil of ignorance — will favor an equal distribution if they were to be randomly assigned a position afterward, is highly questionable.The reason Rawls proposed this method was to avoid considerations of qualifications conducive to personal success. By “concealing” this information behind a fictional veil, Rawls makes people ignorant of their position. Accordingly, the personal bias is eliminated and people will agree upon the principles of fairness suggested by Rawls (A Theory of Justice, 136-142).

Intuitively, Rawls’ supposition may appear convincing. However, various questions arise from the Rawlsian hypothesis: would not rational individuals prefer a society with larger income variabilities, provided the possibility of increasing their income by, say, perhaps 20 percent? Secondly, Nozickian adherents would probably proceed to contend that an initially equal distribution cannot be maintained without continuous violations of individuals’ rights.

In an iconic section of Anarchy, State and Utopia, Nozick substantiates this point by summoning the famous basketball player Wilt Chamberlain. Nozick presupposes that individuals in a given society have agreed upon a “patterned” principle of justice favoring an equal distribution, D1. Suppose now, that Wilt Chamberlain, a well-endowed and desired basketball player, is indentured to a team remunerating proportionally to his merit and attraction. And so it is agreed that Chamberlain is rewarded with 25 cents from the price of each ticket sold. Suppose afterward, that Chamberlain attracts a great audience who happily attend the team’s games. Throughout the season, a million people voluntarily watch Chamberlain and his team play.

The aggregate result yielded by the individual dispositions of a million people is a remarkable distortion, D2, of the initially approved distribution, D1. The ramification of individuals freely disposing of their resources is thus an unequal distribution incongruent with the favored distribution. Wouldn’t the authorities have to accept the emergent result? According to Nozick, the answer is yes. For, he argues, the only way to maintain the favored pattern is by continuous interference with people’s lives:

“Any favored pattern would be transformed into one unfavored by the principle, by people choosing to act in various ways; for example, by exchanging goods and services with other people, or giving things to other people, things the transferrers are entitled to under the favored distributional pattern.” (ASU, 163)

Leaving out of account the infeasibility of a patterned scheme, the essence here is that end-state principles of justice require continuous intrusion in the exchange of goods in order to satisfy the proposed measure of justice (income equality). Alternatively, governments must totally deprive their citizens of the right to exchange freely.

Procedural Rights and Fairness

People exhibit differences in aspirations and abilities, which inevitably entail a degree of inequality.

Bearing in mind Wilt Chamberlain: only few would justify expropriating Chamberlain’s excess of resources, for has he not acquired it legitimately? Have not the large host of supporters transferred voluntarily a small share of their income to him? By answering these questions, Nozick erects concise principles of justice protecting citizens from arbitrary confiscation.

For Nozick, justice is defined by process, and so what eventuates from small-scale transfers between individuals and corporations is inherently just and can consequently be transmitted to a large macro-scale. Following this principle, it seems evident that politicians should not concern themselves with GINI-coefficients and other statistical measures of economic inequality.

Anarchy, State and Utopia indisputably had its defects; a task we shall not pursue to examine here. Despite its flaws and deficiencies, Nozick presented a theory of paradigmatic rights and deontological claims which should serve as inspiration for governments around the world expanding the legal domain of government with extensive redistribution.

People exhibit natural differences in aspirations and abilities, which inevitably entail a certain degree of inequality. That should not, however, legitimize extensive government schemes with punitive taxes and massive redistribution.

Filip Steffensen

Filip Steffensen is a Danish free-marketeer advocating the principles of a free society. Graduated in June 2017, he now works in the real estate sector. He is affiliated with various domestic organizations promoting classical liberalism. Filip Steffensen is nineteen years old.

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International Press Centre: Why Nigeria Should Halt the Hate Speech Bill

The International Press Centre (IPC) recently warned the Nigerian Senate against going ahead with the passage of a bill now before it which prescribes death sentence for ‘hate speech.’

The Centre in a statement signed by Lanre Arogundade, its chairman in Lagos warned that if passed, the bill would crush the right of Nigerians to freedom of expression as guaranteed by the constitution of the country.

Arogundade advised that national assembly to convene a meeting with stakeholders to determine what could be regarded as hate speech.

“A draconian law that hallmarks dictatorship cannot be the solution to hate speech in a democratic society. What the country needs today is engagement by multiple stakeholders to determine what actually constitutes hate speech and agree on effective measures for dealing with such.”

Arogundade added if the bill is passed into law, it would gravely pose a threat to freedom of expression as well of freedom of the press and safety of journalists in the country.

Speaking further he said, “Much as we do not welcome hate speech, we do not also welcome a law that would gag citizens and deny the public the right to know.”

Arogundade, who is a veteran journalist, similarly called on the Department of State Services (DSS) to release Tony Ezimakor, a journalist, who has been in its detention since last Wednesday.  

While affirming the illegality of continuous detention of Ezimakor, Arogundade asked the DSS to charge him to court if they are convinced he has acted against the law.

Arogundade said, “The DSS should immediately charge Mr. Ezimakor to court if the agency is convinced that he has committed any offence known to the law of the country.”

Ezimakor, who is Abuja Bureau Chief of Daily Independent, was arrested for an article he wrote which he claimed negotiations for release of hostages for cash being handled by the DSS activities is responsible for worsening Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.

He was invited by the DSS on Wednesday, February 28, 2017, and has since being held incommunicado by the security agency.

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Trump should put ‘America First’ by treating African nations as partners

by: Jim Inhofe

President Trump’s “America First” agenda has reshaped our country in a bold, great way. Our taxes are lower, we have fewer regulations, the economy is roaring and millions of new jobs are being created. It’s working.

For too long, the United States has considered Africa an aid project — one where we pour billions of dollars into countries in hopes they will grow. This short-sighted perspective has caused us to fall behind and leaves us vulnerable.

Trump needs to bring his “America First” approach to Africa. He needs to set aside the old, outdated mindset of the State Department and do what no other president has ever done — advance American interests by treating African nations as partners.

African nations want this too. Just look at Rwanda. Less than 20 years ago, Rwanda’s economy was nearly 70% foreign aid. Now, it’s down to a third. I was there in October and their progress is clear — the economy is booming. They’ll reach their stated goal of being self-sufficient very quickly.

Trump’s meeting Friday with Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, marks the start of a new approach to Africa. Kagame is a visionary leader, and he’s highly influential across the continent. He was chosen by his peers to be the next chairman of the African Union after he led reform efforts and outlined a future for Africa that is capable of taking care of itself. His goal is to lead African nations out of dependency so they have real partnerships with countries abroad.

Trump has the opportunity to chart a new course in Africa focused on achieving mutual goals. “America First” in Africa means building constructive relationships to advance our economic and security goals. China is already doing this; without action by Trump, we will fall behind.

African nations are becoming significant economic powers. Between now and 2030, their economies, as a bloc, are expected to grow by a rate of 5% per year. They’ll double.

Continue reading on the USA Today.

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How Ghana’s economy will top Africa in 2018

Ghana is tipped to lead Africa as the fastest growing economy in 2018 with a growth rate of eight per cent as a result of increased oil and gas production, which boosts exports and domestic electricity production.

In its latest report dubbed: “Global Economic Prospects: Sub-Saharan Africa,” the World Bank has forecasted that growth in Sub-Saharan Africa will pick up at 3.2 percent in 2018, and Ghana will lead the economies in Africa with eight per cent followed by Ethiopia and Tanzania, which is expected to grow at 7.2%

Ghana’s economic growth, which had slowed from 4.0% in 2014 to 3.7% in 2015,  recover to 5.8% in 2016 and 8.7% in 2017, following consolidation of macroeconomic stability and implementation of measures to resolve the crippling power crisis.


However the forecasted recovery in economic growth in 2018 will depends on fiscal consolidation measures remaining on track, quick resolution of the power crisis, two new oil wells coming on-stream, and improved cocoa harvest and gold production.

“Growth in non-resource intensive countries is anticipated to remain solid, supported by infrastructure investment, resilient services sectors, and the recovery of agricultural production,” the report stated.

On the Sub-Sahara outlook, the bank said growth in the area was forecast to pick up to 3.2 per cent in 2018.  It also predicated a moderate rise in commodity prices.

Per capita output, which was projected to shrink by 0.1 per cent in 2017, is also expected to increase to a modest 0.7 per cent growth pace over 2018-19.

“At those rates,” World Bank said “growth will be insufficient to achieve poverty reduction goals in the region, particularly if constraints to more vigorous growth persist”.

Growth in South Africa, the second biggest economy in Africa, which is projected to rise to 0.6 per cent in 2017, is expected to accelerate to 1.1 per cent in 2018. Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria, which is forecasted to go from recession to a 1.2 per cent growth rate in 2017, will gain speed to 2.4 per cent in 2018, helped by a rebound in oil production.

Growth is forecast to jump to 6.1 per cent in Ghana in 2017 and 7.8 per cent in 2018 as increased oil and gas production boosts exports and domestic electricity production. However the bank noted that militants’ attacks on oil pipelines could hold the key.

“If militants’ attacks on oil pipelines in the country decreases further the Nigeria economic will grow further”

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Corruption ‘eating away’ at African economies

As reported by Anadolu Agency:

Economic Commission for Africa Executive Secretary Vera Songwe has warned of widespread reaction from the youth to corruption in Africa, which is “eating away” at the continent’s economies. Songwe’s remarks came during her speech at the executive council meeting of the African Union in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Thursday.

As corrupt practices continue in Africa, including the illicit financial outflows from which Africa loses $50 billion annually, “the youth are watching”, she said. “For Africa, we project a pickup in growth to 3.5 percent in 2018 and 3.7 percent in 2019, underpinned by strengthening external demand and a moderate increase in commodity prices,” she added.

However, Songwe said, “the African Union itself has estimated that every year over $148 billion are drained out of the continent through various corrupt activities and acts, representing about 25 percent of Africa’s GDP growth. “It is estimated that an increase of corruption by about one index point reduces a country’s GDP growth by 0.13 percentage points.”

AU foreign ministers are meeting to set the agenda for the upcoming assembly of heads of state and government slated for Sunday. The summit takes up the theme: Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.

However, many say conflict and security concerns may overshadow the theme during the summit as the continent grapples with active conflict in South Sudan, Libya, Nigeria and the Sahel region. Reform of the pan-African body and financing of its operations also top the agenda.

Earlier, Rwandan President Paul Kagami proposed a 0.2 percent levy on imports as membership contributions to enhance the financial capacity of the AU. Speaking at the opening, African Union Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat emphasized that the pan-Africa body should have financial independence.

“Africa is nothing without its financial independence,” he said. The chairman added Africa was in shock following recent expletive-laden remarks of U.S. President Donald about the continent.

The leaders are expected to issue a declaration on the remarks which Mahamat described as “spiteful”.

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