Historically, most African countries have been at a disadvantage due to poorer economies, unstable government, and corruption. Superpower countries such as Great Britain and France have acted as the puppet masters for most african countries through colonization causing unrest among the people. As more countries achieved an independent status, the lack of a foundation for a successful democratic nation became apparent with the presence of corruption, a poor economy, and a suffering population.
After World War II, the United State’s policy towards Africa included the Atlantic Charter of August 1941. The Atlantic Charter stated, “They (the two countries) respect the right of all peoples, to choose the form of government under which they will live; and they wish to see sovereign rights and self-government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them.” The US took a step towards decolonization in Africa through the Atlantic Charter and the Committee on Colonial Policy (CCP). This committee was established under Roosevelt in the fall of 1943 and it developed a three-point policy.
The three point policy states that (1) dependent peoples desiring independence should have the opportunity to attain that status; (2) nations responsible for the future of colonial areas should fix, as soon as possible, dates upon which independence would be granted; and (3) the establishment of an international trusteeship system. Although the desire to free colonized nations was present, there was little to no action taken to effectively grant countries with independence. This meant that most of the african countries were forced to take matters into their own hands and fight a civil war or take some drastic course of action to gain their own independence. Although, over the years, a few countries on the continent have progressed and found success, others have been left behind. Some countries are considered independent nations, however they are still largely influenced by their previous colonizers. The result of this shows in the corrupt governments and turmoil that still exists because of other countries advancing their economic and political agenda without regard to the effect that it has on the general population. There are populations with little food and water, and as a result disease and sickness kills millions. There is tremendous opportunity and potential on the continent and the United States should increase interaction with African leaders to help resolve the issues on the continent and help make a more peaceful global society and ensure that the US government will be able to benefit in the future.
Africa’s importance will increase in the future due to its security challenges, resources, and economic opportunities. The United States needs to take action now by increasing activity on the continent to secure its future interests are protected and promoted. Party Wave should promote economic freedom in Africa. This can be done by protecting policy that is already in place and by creating new policy that will further this interest. The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was enacted on May 18th, 2000 under the former president Bill Clinton. The goal of this legislation is to allow market access to the US for qualifying countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In order for countries to be eligible and remain eligible, they must prove that they are improving their rule of law, human rights, and respect for labor standards. The act was recently extended until 2025 meaning that there will be many opportunities for Sub-Saharan countries to take advantage of this trade deal. Party Wave must work to preserve this trade deal because it has allowed lesser developed Sub-Saharan African countries to gain more footing and become more prominent in the global economy. Party Wave should focus primarily on assisting developing countries grow their economies because without economic growth, the governments and the private sector will not have the resources to invest into education, healthcare, and other necessities. Sub-Saharan Africa is unfortunately a perfect example of the dire need for economic growth. In 2002 the average per capita gross domestic product in Sub-Saharan Africa wa $568. For these countries to reach middle-income status ai $1500, GDP per capita must see a growth of 5% over the next 20 years. For these countries to become as wealthy as the United States was in 2000 they must experience a GDP per capita growth of 5% over the next 80 years.
This data shows the need for action in order to assist these developing countries and protect the interests of the United States. Sub-Saharan countries are currently averaging .57% growth in GDP per capita. With this fact it is not surprising that Sub-Saharan Africa is having trouble closing the gap with the developed world. However, it is possible for these developing countries to achieve high per capita economic growth. The most effective way for these countries is to adopt policies that promote economic freedom and the rule of law, both of which are measured in the Index of Economic Freedom. This index takes into account 50 economic indicators and 10 independent factors: trade policy, fiscal burden of government, government intervention in the economy, monetary policy, capital flows and foreign investment, banking and finance, wages and prices, property rights, regulation, and black market activity. Each of the 10 factors are grade on a scale of 1 to 5.
With 1 being the best score and 5 being the worst score, all the categorical scores are averaged to give an overall score for economic freedom. Countries are designated as “Free,” “mostly free,” “mostly unfree,” and “repressed” based on the score they recieve. The Index shows that free countries have on average twice the per capita income of mostly free countries, and mostly free countries have more than three times the per capita income of mostly unfree and repressed countries. This is the case because countries that provide an environment that facilitates trade and encourages entrepreneurial activity through maintaining policies that promote this will create economic growth. The relationship holds true for Sub-Saharan Africa. 26 of the Sub-Saharan countries are considered mostly unfree, 2 are mostly free, and 10 are considered repressed. The key to economic freedom is trade openness.
If the developed countries as well as the developing ones create low trade barriers then it allows entrepreneurs to have lower cost when choosing activities that they have a comparative advantage in. This will eventually turn into increased rate of economic growth and per capita income. The Heritage Foundation created an index that measures trade openness based on four factors: trade policy, capital flows and foreign investment, property rights, and regulation.
Each country is given a trade openness score and the data shows that there is a positive correlation between trade openness and GDP per capita. In other words, the more open a country is to international trade, the more GDP per capita they have. Mostly open economies in Sub-Saharan Africa have a GDP that is three times that of mostly closed economies on average, and mostly closed economies have a per capita GDP that is slightly less twice that of closed economies. This means that Party Wave should encourage Sub-Saharan countries to have more open trade and subscribe to globalization. This can be achieved in many ways, such as creating incentive by making it one of the qualifying factors in the AGOA agreement. The conclusion here is simple, developing countries have most of the power when it comes to their economic growth.
They are the ones that have the responsibility of creating policies that will increase their GDP and enforcing the ones that will give them economic freedom and rule of law. The true catalyst of economic growth is economic freedom and rule of law. The increase in wealth will allot parents to give their children an education rather than forcing them to work so they can make a living.
It will grant people the luxury of exercising preventative measures so that they can live longer, healthier lives. Without rule of law and sound economic policy the country will not be able to advance towards being developed. Although development lies predominantly in the hands of the developing country, that does not mean that there is no place for developed countries to take action. Economic assistance can be very beneficial to countries that have rule of law and countries that welcome economic freedom. The assistance should be focused on countries with “good behavior.” An example of this would be President George W. Bush’s Millenium Challenge Account (MCA) proposal. The MCA is administered by the Millennium Challenge Corporation which is independent of all other agencies that give humanitarian aid in the US.
The purpose of the MCA was to help support economic growth and poverty reduction in the poorest countries in the world. Removing trade barriers is one of the most crucial steps that developed countries can take to boost development in Sub-Saharan countries and should be pursued in every way. AGOA is a great step taken by the US to remove trade barriers of the exportation of goods and services to developed countries and this initiative should be maintained by Party Wave. Another priority that Party Wave should have is to make sure to remain watchful towards other countries’ growing influence on the continent. In the past, the United States had taken steps to foster great relationships with leaders on the continent. For example, over the past two decades the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) had been very successful as saving millions of Africans from the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Also, with African Growth and Opportunity Act and The Millennium Challenge, the United States had increasing popularity on the continent. The US has risen as one of the essential partners in supporting African Union peace operations in Somalia, the Lake Chad Basin, and the Central African Republic. Power Africa, created by President Obama, has attacked the issue of electricity on the planet and made large strides towards alleviating the issue. In August of 2014, Barack Obama hosted a meeting with African leaders in D.C. This gesture was well received by the African leaders, however there should be more effort put into understanding the issues that these countries are having. Or example meeting with each country’s leader and having a one-on-one just like how most other countries are received. Although the US has established a relationship with the continent, they should still remain watchful towards the growing engagement by other countries.
China replaced the United States as Africa’s largest trading partner in 2009 and has remained in the top position ever since. The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has hosted a meetings between African ministers and the chinese since 2000. In December 2015 at the FOCAC heads of state and government summit in Johannesburg, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave $60 billion in new Chinese investments in Africa. These new investments have manifested themselves into chinese-built roads, railways, airports, and $200 million was spent on the African Union headquarters. The implications of this strong relationship between Africa and China can mean that in multilateral forums where the US would need support they might not get that support from African countries when their interests diverge from China’s. Party Wave must take action to increase the economic and political presence in Africa to combat the diminishing reach the US has. The organization of Economic Cooperation and Development calculated that the US official development assistance is focused significantly in Asia, Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Between 1980 and 2012 $205 billion was given to Asia, $200 billion to Europe, and $120 billion to sub Saharan Africa. US foreign aid is often given with political or economic factors in mind. The aid that was given in recent years was concentrated on health and education and many have questioned this because it does not align with what the country actually needs. This demonstrates a lack of clear communication between the US and the recipient country. Records state, “Between 1995 and 2013 about $97.
67 billion in foreign aid was committed to sub-Saharan Africa. Social infrastructure and services aid (48% of total aid) and humanitarian aid (26%) were the priorities. $6 billion went to the health sector (6.
3% of total aid commitments in the period);$4.2 billion was earmarked for the agriculture sector (4.2% of the total); and$3.
5 billion went to education (3.61% of the total).Transport and storage only received 2.6%, the energy sector 0.8% and communication sectors 0.07% of the total.”Party Wave needs to work more closely with African leaders to see what they need the most.
African countries need sufficient infrastructure to foster a environment where the economy is able to grow and thrive to increase the quality of life for the citizens of that county in the long-run. Before China was involved, determinants of US aid allocation to 31 sub-saharan African countries showed that the interest of the donor and the recipient were factored equally into the US’s aid decisions. Now that China is involved, it shows that donor interest is factored in less than recipient need. A conclusion that can be made from this is that since China’s involvement, there is less room for the US to be involved with political and economic opportunities and engagements. Kafayat Amusa, lecturer in Economics at the University of South Africa, states, “This ‘squeezing out’ of the US may have resulted in a shift in US foreign aid focus towards the ‘needs’ aspects of foreign aid.
” Due to the lack of presence of the US in Sub-Saharan African economic and political activities the US will not have access to the vast amount of opportunity on the continent once the economies start to grow. Party Wave must work to gain more of an economic and political relationship with the continent so that their future interests are protected.