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The Following Article was Written by Olumayowa Okediran, ASFL’s Programs Manager

Africa has been the focus of many studies by economists and development experts. Though there exist diverse views about the way forward for Africa, the continent has seen little development in contrast to the rest of the world. Peter Bauer (1915-2002) spoke with resounding clarity on solutions to the economic penury of the developing world and Africa in particular. Bauer’s interests were related mostly to development economics and foreign aid. He sought to show the demerits of central planning, foreign aid and protectionism. He criticized the idea that the disadvantaged had no motivation to improve their condition and that third world countries are underdeveloped due to limited resources available to them, a theory peddled by several foreign aid advocates.

Bauer was interested in Africa and based his study on first hand observation of the continent. Barun S. Mitra, director of the Liberty Institute in India in his preface to the book Peter Bauer and the Economics of Prosperity, stated that Bauer’s insight into poverty was a result of his intensive work in Africa and Asia in the 1950s and 1960s. By studying West African economies closely, Bauer published West African Trade (1954) where he emphasized the importance of trade for economic development. All his life, he debunked the supposed necessity of government-to-government financial interventions in developing countries and emphasized the benefits of trade as a more suitable alternative.

Despite Bauer’s careful study of third world economies and his warnings about the demerits of foreign aid, every year, Africa’s begging bowl is constantly replaced with a bigger one. Between 2000 and 2008, foreign aid flow to sub-Saharan Africa increased from $12bn to $36bn, a whopping 300 percent increase, without any significant visibility in real economic development as a result of these huge amounts of money. One would wonder why countries like the United States, which tops the list of foreign aid donors, continue to give, despite its obvious ineffectiveness. Subsidizing African governments inevitably increases the power of government, escalates corruption and as Dambisa Moyo in her book Dead Aid that she dedicates to Bauer states that it is neither necessary nor sufficient for economic development. Benevolence is not the reason why foreign countries give to Africa: it is simply economic control, not economic development.

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The following was written by African Students For Liberty Executive Board Member Odunola Oladejo. 

 On Saturday, August 23rd, the first ever Women For Liberty Seminar was held at the Students Union Congress Room, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta in Ibadan, Nigeria with about 15 female student leaders in attendance. The theme of the seminar, “Women for Liberty, Leadership and Empowerment,” was designed to stimulate women’s interests in taking up leadership positions in African countries, to foster discussion on the best ways to cultivate the spread of human rights and economic development, and to help women become dynamic leaders and powerful advocates of change.

Exemplary female speakers like Ms. Omobolanle Akinlabi, the CEO of the Gifted Hands Foundation and Ms. Uju Eze, the clinic administrator for the Women’s Law Clinic at the University of Ibadan, imparted their knowledge and experience with the female attendees. The seminar also featured an activism panel in which leaders enlightened female participants on how to deal with self doubts and criticisms. They also provided career advice and self improvement advice towards achieving success in any sphere of life. Panelists for the session were Olulade Shotade, a Law student of the University of Ibadan, Lilian David and Sinmiloluwa Adesanya from Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Nike Soyombo from Mashood Abiola Polytechnic (Talixirs).

The seminar provided a platform to promoting women’s participation in practical decision making for peace, freedom and prosperity of the nation. It was also a step to organizing successful women’s leadership and mentorship trainings and to further advance Women For Liberty Leadership seminars and workshops in other African regions.

This report was contributed by African Executive Board member Moronfolu Adeniyi

 

Leaders of pro-liberty student organizations gathered at the Bamboo Park of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential library resort on Saturday 9 August

. The event was organized by the African Liberty Students’ Organization of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, in Nigeria. The hangout was aimed at the exchange of ideas and strategies on how to best grow the movement in Nigeria and throughout the continent.

The gathering was geared towards equipping students and Alumni with the needed skills and attitude in promoting the ideas of liberty. Moronfolu Adeniyi, a Board Member of African Students for Liberty, introduced participants to the ideas of liberty and a short history of the liberty movement in Africa.

Participants shared their views on the challenges faced in student activism. This therefore brought to the fore, issues to be looked into and addressed, which includes the dearth of libertarian speakers, problems with school authorities and societal misconception of capitalism.
Odunonla Oladejo, another member of the African Executive Board also spoke on the theory of social change and how important it is for the leaders to be advocates of individual liberty and entrepreneurship in words and in deed.

A generation raised on war will be quick to agree with the recent findings of the Institute For Economics and Peace that the world is currently a theatre of conflicts. Violence in Syria, South Sudan and Somalia suggests that the findings of its recently published Global Peace Index that claims that there are only eleven countries that are free from conflict may not be far from the truth. The Global Peace Index measures and ranks nations on the basis of their peacefulness.

The institute’s long term goal is to understand what makes societies peaceful and to inform the policies and actions societies need in order to achieve this. The recent publication of The Atlas Network and Students For Liberty entitled Peace, Love, Liberty offers an optimistic view of global peace and presents arguments from psychology, history, philosophy and poetry that libertarianism is making a pacific world possible through mutual cooperation, free trade and tolerance.

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Average cost of flight is highest in Africa

The following is a guest submission by Executive Board member Alex Njeru

There are things on this continent that simply don’t make sense; like a return flight from Banjul in the Gambia to Lagos in Nigeria priced at 6,000 US$D. For that amount of money I could have several return flights from Nairobi to Shanghai. Meanwhile it costs a tenth of that amount to fly from Nairobi to Lagos, the distance from Banjul to Lagos is 1400 miles, while that from the Nairobi to Lagos is 2365 miles. The average cost of a flight in the African continent is higher than on another inhabited continent on earth.

Africa has the lowest flight density of any continent on earth. In terms of revenue passenger-kilometers flown (1 revenue passenger-kilometer is defined as 1 fair-paying passenger transported 1 kilometer [km]), the intra-African market represents less than 1 percent of the global market and total African revenue passenger kilometers (intra Africa and and intercontinental traffic) account for only 4.12 percent of global revenue passenger-kilometers (World Bank 2010). (more…)

Dear President Obama,

As you play host to African heads of states at the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington D.C., I would like to express my appreciation to the American people. I am much obliged to the taxpayers at whose expense so many of my friends and colleagues have been hosted under the auspices of the Young Africans Leadership Initiative. I hope you will seize the opportunity this summit avails you. I hope you will have the temerity to repeat to President Zuma of South Africa and his cohorts what you told the young Africans you met with last week, that they should look inwards for solutions to Africa’s problems.

Please be brave enough to stick to the theme of the summit: investing in the next generation. Own up to the old guard of African leaders that you are not helping matters with your actions. They learn best by imitation and some of our woes in Africa have been copied from your actions.

President Goodluck Jonathan will ask for your help in combating the menace of Boko Haram in Nigeria. He may broach the topic of a $100 million loan supposedly needed to combat terrorism. You must ask him to account for all the previous aid that has gone down the drain in the past. I know America is trying to play catch-up to China, but please know that the best way to endear America in the hearts of the African people is to reiterate the principles that make for a free continent. They are as important as China’s gift of the African Union building.

The announcement of $900M in new investments is welcome news. But you must not ignore that none of these leaders have satisfied the Mo Ibrahim requirement for good governance for thefourth time in a row. You must be the voice of reason and avoid encouraging backhand deals that spur politicians to steal with impunity and grant amnesty to their cronies.

The late inclusion of civil society groups and exclusion of human rights organizations from the agenda are ominous signs of the importance (or the lack thereof) that you pay to these concerns. The exclusion of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Sudan’s Al-Bashir, and Eritrea’s Isaias Afwerki who are in the same company with Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh, Angola’s dos Santos, Cameroon’s Paul Biya and their ilk who have ignored the rules of constitutional democracies show a Janus-faced approach to these matters. All tyrants are as bad.

As long as you suck up to them, the legitimacy granted them in this PR stunt will be used to curry favour from the Chinese and the Russians. Since there is no love lost between the citizens of Equitorial Guinea, which has one of the worst human rights records in Africa and the fiefdom of Africa’s longest serving dictator Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, your invitation allows him room to maneuver.

Another round of pandering to the leaders of these countries in the imitation of the foreign policy of the post-independence era as a new bride courted by everyone will not help anybody. As long as you suck up to them, you allow them room for comparisons. It is hard to ask you to be true to the man you once were when I solicited votes on your behalf in 2008. You once said, and repeatedly too, that “there should be no contradiction between keeping America safe and secure, and respecting our constitution.” Sadly, following your lead, civil liberties are being sacrificed on the altar of political expediency here in Africa.  We have asked the betrayer to appeal to the wicked.

To what end?

I will end this letter by expressing my hope that the US-Africa Leaders Summit will be a true meeting of the minds and that the deliberations will create opportunities of redemption and hope for the next generation.

The following is a guest submission by Nigerian student Olufemi Ogunjobi

To take Africa out of the doldrums through developmental policies, for two days, some of the youths from various parts of Africa gathered at the expansive auditorium of Trenchard hall, University of Ibadan, Nigeria to discuss the continent’s age-long problems. Why is Africa poor? Why is it a backward continent? These and others were what they sought answers to at the maiden African Students For Liberty Conference.

The event kicked off late behind schedule due to the final rites of one of the University dons. Students were already discussing in groups outside the conference venue before the event started. This was done side by side with the registration of participants, who were on a long file. It was written on their faces that they were anxious to chart a new course for peace, liberty and prosperity in Africa.

The participants filed in orderly and sat comfortably in the hall. The expansive Trenchard hall of the university, which was also draped in SFL banners and emblems, suited the mood of the occasion.

Welcome to the African Students For Liberty Conference! The event kicked off around 11a.m, with Ajibola Adigun, a member of African Students For Liberty Executive Board as the compere.

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The following was written by ASFL Executive Board member Alex Njeru. 

A few weeks back when I had interest on a package travelling by sea from the Far East, I happened to stumble upon data that was a little troubling for my soul. I happened to come across info -graphic on current ship moorings and ships on transit along the major continents of the world. It turns out that at any one particular time there are more ships loading at ports in Japan than are docked at the shores of the entire Africa continent. At any one time there more deep sea going ships moored at ports in Taiwan (115) than are moored at the entire India ocean sea bed on the Eastern sea bed of the African continent (72)1.  Whereas ships are clustered along the coasts of countries like; Japan, China, South Korea, China, Singapore and Malaysia there are hardly any on moored along the African coasts loading or unloading cargo from different parts or to different parts of the world.

International marine traffic to and from a particular region and country data is an important purveyor of two kinds of data; one the general level of wealth creation through myriads of ways like industry and two the general level of intra and interregional trade in a particular regional. It is thus not surprising that strong correlations can be drawn between international marine traffic and other economic indicators. For example, despite having quite a big land mass and 1 billion people to boot, Africa contributes a measly 2.58% of global GDP. The same 1 billion with a smaller land mass in India contribute 5.77 % to global GDP and in China the same population contribute to a whopping 15.621 %. The data is not pretty either when you compare Africa to other regional blocks technically blocked together as developing nations, for example developing Asians countries 26.101 % of global GDP. Africa’s largest economy Nigeria, after rebased base year accounts to only 0.56 %, take out the massive oil industry and the country slides into a whole new level of economic doldrums, now compare that with Brazil’s  share of global production that stands at 2.828 %. While the GDP in Africa has grown in real terms, Africa’s share to global GDP has declined, for example 25 years ago, Kenya’s contribution to global GDP stood at 0.11% today it stands at 0.094%. From the foregoing it is safe to say that Africa does not produce enough, but that is not where the problem ends.

Africa simply does not trade enough of what little she produces. A report by the UNCTAD, Economic Development in Africa Report 2013, alludes to the fact that, ‘by most accounts, African countries have not made significant progress in boosting regional trade. Over the period from 2007 to 2011, the average share of intra-African exports in total merchandise exports in Africa was 11 per cent compared with 50 per cent in developing Asia, 21 per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean and 70 per cent in Europe. Furthermore, available evidence indicates that the continent’s actual level of trade is also below potential, given its level of development and factor endowments.’ Africa’s share of global trade is a negligible 3%.

There a whole range of reasons for this but the most notable among them is that, Africa remains the most fragmented continent in the world with 54 countries with numerous border crossings. This is how Africa shoots itself in the foot; so many artificial impediments on intra-Africa trade make African trade an extremely arduous affair.

So is it all doom and gloom for Mama Africa? No, but that is we stop pretending that hiding behind the beautiful shade of ‘Afro-optimists’ is going to make all our problems go away. Those who believe in a brighter Africa should start a sustained clamour for free movement of goods and people within Africa. We should also encourage and promote environments that diversify Africa economies from age old primary economic producers towards value and addition and such other measures that will hedge Africa against erratic prices of primary products in the international markets. Until then we shall have fewer ships on our bays and we shall all be poor for it.

Data courtesy of: http://www.economywatch.com/economic-statistics/economic-indicators/GDP_Share_of_World_Total_PPP/

http://www.marinetraffic.com/

 

The following was written by Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, Chairman ASFL Executive Board

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (KJV).

Some Atheists have been going on about how God hates homosexuals, citing the Bible scriptures of Leviticus 18 and 20 in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, and the Objectivist society has gone ahead to promote this misleading and ignorant notion. I call it misleading because it failed to recognize the significance of the works of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, and ignorant because it is only someone who sees Christianity from the spiritual perspective that can understand and recognize why Jesus Christ was sent to earth in the first place.

The Objectivists’ position on this matter is understandable, but it seems most Christians are beginning to believe this absurd assertion and are even using it to fuel the persecution of gay men and women across the world. The Christian Association of Nigeria encouraged the passing of the Bill to send homosexuals and their supporters to jail for 7 or 14 years, into law. Pastors in Uganda have firmly stood behind the persecution of homosexuals, and their incarceration for life.

According to the Bible, God sent his son, Jesus Christ, to redeem the world and to basically show us how to live as Christians. The word Christian means follower of Christ, and if anyone should be referred to as a Christian, then it should be someone who believes in Christ, and follows his teachings and examples that he showed, while on earth. And one of those examples is recorded in John 8: 3-11, where a woman was accused of adultery and was to be stoned to death. The accusers even mentioned that it was written in the law as commanded by Moses. But Christ proved to them that no one is totally righteous, and therefore has no right to judge or condemn another person.

Here, Christ not only condemned slut-shaming, but also discouraged the idea of lynching people for being “sinners”. Evidently, that used to be the case as instructed in “the law”, but that was part of the reason why Jesus Christ came to earth. No matter the “sin” one seems to be involved in, God is “not willing that any man should perish, but that all should come to repentance”. 2 Peter 3: 9. For the Christians that openly and secretly encourage the persecution and murder of other people because they are homosexuals, or practice another faith or religion, you are not fit to be called Christians, at all. Remember that two wrongs do not make a right. Christ clearly encourages us in Matthew 5: 43-47 to pray for our enemies and live in peace with everybody.

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9

I think Objectivists should stop hiding under the cloak of Libertarianism to bash Christians at any given opportunity. As a Christian who is proud to be a Libertarian, I have come to see the similarities between the teachings of Jesus Christ and Libertarian principles and ideas. While some of these ideas may not go down well with some groups, for example the issue of taxes, I would like to point out that these are ideas that Christians have agreed to adopt and believe in, and should be respected for that. To the small extent that I accept and believe the selfishness largely promoted by Objectivists, I believe it is imperative that they continue to discuss Christianity and Objectivism from an intellectual point of view (to the best of their understanding) rather than publishing misleading articles every now and then meant to encourage animosity between Christians and others.

Finally, God is no hater. G.O.D is L.O.V.E.  (1 John 4:8)

The following was written by SFL Ghana leader Narigamba Mwinsuubo

The common characteristic of both Fraudulent and Fiat money is that they violate the principle of free association. They enable the producers of paper money to expand their production through the violation of other people’s property rights. The producer of fiat money sells a product that cannot withstand the competition of free-market moneys such as gold and silver coins, and which the market participants only use because the use of all other moneys is severely restricted or even outlawed.

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