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The following was written by ASFL executive board member Peter Yakobe

Corruption has cost  Africa more than it has received in foreign aid. It is retarding the development in Africa and has disturbed the major operations in all sectors of society on the continent. In all of these sectors, the major operations have been going down because people in these sectors have been involved in rampant corruption hence increasing their own pockets at the expense of the poor people. Transparency International’s Corruption Perception index for 2013 confirms that corruption is highest in Africa compared to other parts of the world.
Corruption is an effect and a cause of poverty in Africa. We can reduce it.

First, there is a need to change the mindsets of people from seeing the abuse of public trust for personal gains as the usual. Awareness campaigns highlighting the dangers of corruption should be embarked on.

Parents and guardians should be teaching their young children the dangers of corruption. Once corruption is treated as immoral in our families, it will be seen as such by the younger generation. Children are influenced by what their parents do. This behoves on parents to avoid corruption at all costs in order to set good examples for their children. From the families, the next step should be to influence the school curriculums. Our curriculums from the lower classes should incorporate the lessons about corruption and its dangers. It should always be preached to our children as an immoral and dangerous to our development. We should include the anti corruption message in our songs and poems. We must ensure that the minds of people have the anti corruption message.

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On August 28, President Goodluck Jonathan launched a national identification card scheme for Nigerians. The biometric card will do more than serve as a means of identification – it will also serve as a passport and a depository of all financial records which will be held in trust by an American credit card company,  Mastercard.

This is not the first time a national identification project will be launched. Ten years ago, about $214 million went down the drain in such project. While the expatriates involved in the scam were convicted of bribery in their home country, Nigerians indicted in the scam that did not pass on to glory, roam free. The lesson of the past is how unserious we are about tackling graft. Ten years later, this disdain for due process is now disguised as a banking solution. We should not be deceived.

For one, the claims of a historic launch may be true. There is a chance that if the pilot program to enroll 13 million succeeds, Nigeria is on its way to show the world the danger of trusting in the government to respect citizens’ rights to privacy, especially with its collusion with a private company. The sinister marriage of Big Data and the Nigerian government should raise the hairs on our necks.

At the launch, President Goodluck Jonathan demonstrated the utility of the card by withdrawing money with it. His demonstration of the card’s qualities was impressive. It betrayed the range of information the card will store, from your mother’s maiden name to whether you are Hausa, Kalabari or Ijaw. Although the teaching of history is often relegated in our schools, we should not be ignorant of the dangers of profiling that the scheme portends. The Rwandan genocide was helped by group identification; people were easily dispatched on the basis of their ethnic affiliations.

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We are very pleased to announce that the Amharic edition of ‘The Morality of Capitalism’ is just out. It is one of our main accomplishments of 2014 which aims to challenge the common perspectives of free market capitalism and influence the thinking about the subject matter of liberty by filling the gap of the language barriers and providing the basic texts of freedom in a post socialist Ethiopia which lead to further the momentum to build toward achieving social change.

Our translation projects are focusing on translating, publishing, and distributing the work of incredibly prolific and brilliant writers aimed at spreading the central ideas of classical liberal thought to as wide an audience as possible and empower students on how a society could develop harmoniously in a non-centralized free economic and social order.

The Amharic edition of ‘The Morality of Capitalism’ now helps to improve student’s knowledge on the values of economic freedom and free market principles, which in turn have great impacts on strengthening free enterprise, enhancing human flourishing, and spreading the central ideas of free market entrepreneurship. In addition, we believe it develops the understanding and strengthens the abilities of students to act as antidotes to the country that is still heavily under the influence of socialist policies, none more destructive than the prohibition on private land ownership and notorious for the advancement of free trade.

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The following was written by ASFL Executive Board member Alex Njeru

The other day I had a really candid discussion with a Matatu driver, these Matatu drivers tend to be the uncensored voices that even nerdy professors need listen. This particular driver was lamenting.

‘My brother just died,’ He said.

‘Oh sorry, I said,’ how? I asked.

‘He had a tumor, he died two days ago at Kenyatta National Hospital,’ he continued.

He then continued to pore over the rather unfortunate circumstances that the led to his brother’s death.

It turns out that his brother was a member of the Akorino sect.  Quite messianic and dogmatic, did not believe in modern technology nor medicine, he died from an innocuous non malignant tumor that would have been treated without so much of an incision, when he went to hospital it was already too late.

The Matatu driver continued to narrate the story of his deceased brother, ‘Ucio ndaratumagira thimu, ati thimu ni daimon,’ that one could not use a phone, because he considered phones demons from the West,’ he told me in local language.

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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.