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Small is beautiful? Big Brother will swallow you

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Prodigal Son, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. Prodigal Son

    Prodigal Son JF-Expert Member

    Apr 11, 2010
    Joined: Dec 9, 2009
    Messages: 963
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    Over the Easter break I was catching up on newspaper clippings I have been saving, but hadn’t got round to digesting.

    I found an interesting one from the Independent of London late last year, in which Sudanese-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim (he of the $5m African Good Governance Prize) said that most African countries were tiny things that were not viable.

    “Something is drastically wrong… Who are to think we can have 53 tiny little countries and be ready to compete with China, India, Europe, the Americans? It is a fallacy,” Mo told a good governance conference in Tanzania.

    Mo’s remarks — though intended to push the case for economic integration rather than dissolution of “tiny, little countries — prompted the Independent to compile a list of some of the African countries that it thinks are not viable, and why. A few examples:

    •Rwanda – “Darling of Western donors. Rwanda’s average income ranks below West African minnows. Strong leadership can’t change the fact that small landlocked country in corrupt region can’t thrive. Hype about becoming IT hub sounds good. Raw economic data does not.”

    •Benin – “Cotton and palm oil won’t eradicate poverty.”

    •The Gambia – “Tiny nation is a basket case whose ruler is an embarrassment to his neighbours. Heavily reliant on peanuts, Gambia President Yahya Jammeh wants to rule a petro-state. Trouble is he can’t find any crude oil.”

    Size and natural resources are important, but they are not do-or-die factors for the viability of states.

    After all, Japan has no natural resources, nor does Singapore.

    Also, there are big resource-rich African states that sometimes look unviable, the DR Congo being the best example in our region.

    Africa desperately needs integrated markets if most of its countries are to survive.

    However, if economic integration and political co-operation fail, then we cannot rule out old-fashioned bullets and gunpowder shaping the future.

    What might that future be?

    In another 30-50 years, a nuclear-armed Egypt could move up the River Nile to secure its water access, and possibly force the other Nile Basin states to reorganise or even amalgamate into formidable states in order to push back against Cairo’s expansionism.

    Angola, with its massive army and mineral wealth, could dominate Central Africa

    source: the east african