Blindly following the West will not bring development to Africa - Daily Nation

Blindly following the West will not bring development to Africa

Wednesday February 14 2018

By BENARD AMAY

Western powers have dominated global institutions for a very long time.

The agencies in question include the United Nations, International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

These institutions have made sure that the international economic order is skewed in favour of the United States, Europe and their allies.

Almost all their programmes disadvantage developing countries. Latin America, Asia and Africa have borne the brunt of many of these decisions. The poor countries are mere statistics and only rubber stamp decisions made by the global agencies.

Western powers have constantly abused their privileged position to push unfair practices down the throats of weak nations.

These blind and selfish policies have had far reaching implications.

In some instances, they have led to the collapse of social order and even regime change.

The structural adjustment programmes imposed on African nations by the World Bank and IMF soon after the end of the Cold War devastated the continent.

Developing countries were told that the programme was aimed at improving their economies by freeing the market. Many public institutions were privatised. It also promoted cost-sharing.

Even with this, the West continued to subsidise its agriculture, manufacturing and other industries.

African nations suffered irreparable damage to their economies due to weak social security safeguards.

As Africa was busy implementing the unpopular decisions, the West kept its social security system intact or even improved it.

One would have expected the developed nations to practice what they preached. After all, they have stronger economies to sustain cost-sharing and other policies.

In the run up to the 2013 General Election, western powers were not comfortable with the candidacy of Mr Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto. Kenyans still remember the “choices have consequences” mantra from a top US diplomat.

Their attempts were resisted by Kenyans who saw the action as neo-colonialism.

Unfortunately, the West did not learn any lesson. It still attempts to dictate the course of politics in developing countries.

The West, especially Britain and the US, is pursuing protectionism under the guise of promoting their products.

Worse still, laws meant to stem the influx of Africans to the West are increasingly gaining popularity.

The more the West pushes a nationalistic agenda, the more difficult it will be to admonish other countries.

The developed world should go back to basics of good governance. If not, its position on global issues will continue to be challenged.

BENARD AMAYA, Nairobi.