The African Infrastructure Building Crusade and Boom; and the inevitable poverty behind it.

The trouble with the “infrastructure building crusade” in Africa which, at the same time, underpins the dishonesty in the “Africa Rising” narrative, is that, whereas the underlying intention is, at least, on the surface, noble and doubtlessly commendable , it is costing, if not almost robbing African economies of funds; because it means funds will flow and are, doubtless, flowing out of African economies into other outside economies in form of purchasing materials necessary for building whatever planned infrastructure development.

Whereas (contrast that with) other economies in other countries, an infrastructure development plan and subsequent execution and boom means creation of jobs or supporting existing businesses by and through purchases of materials that are, in large part, locally produced and sourced – a myriad businesses dealing in making and producing and selling [of] construction materials. Think of the whole supply chain involved and the opportunities created within the local economies by an infrastructure boom.

Africans are spending money out of their own local economies into, largely European and Chinese and other foreign economies, importing everything from simple, perhaps and arguably necessary – depending on how they determine what is “necessary” for[to] their needs – to basic and of course luxury, largely, status consumer goods that have no value and as such, add no economic value to their economies.

The net effect of this, of course, is that those African economies from which money is taken and spent out, are impoverished or at least, suffer an obvious equal reduction in their fund [cash] capacity; not only significantly reducing their foreign reserves but also contributing to the wide impoverishment of their citizens. While those in which that money is taken to and spent, benefit from this foreign in flow of  (African) funds and grow richer and improve the welfare of the people in the recipient economies.

It is a fact that most of massive and lucrative infrastructure projects in Africa are, more often than not, planned, managed and implemented by foreigners; from a project manager, supervisor down to manual labourers consequently denying ordinary Africans – the local labour force and skills – economic opportunities. Consequently leaving or indeed, systematically and systemically planning the local labour force and skills out of the “economic” pie created by the infrastructure boom within their own supposed economies and countries.

The trouble and inevitable negative effects of such mindset, largely by and from the entire African body politic – the principal policy makers – is that this infrastructure building plan in Africa has the inevitable tendency of creating a corresponding dependence of supply of maintenance and replacement skills and parts from the same economies or countries where the materials of building such infrastructure are procured, purchased and thus imported.

In essence, African countries are spending themselves into poverty, through their obscene obsession and uncontrolled desire (mindless imitation of western countries and their infrastructure systems, in itself reflective of the colonial mindset and how colonialism continues to affect and direct Africa and its policy decision makers) for western capital-like skylines, are mindlessly draining their national treasuries and economies purchasing all kinds of materials, often at inflated prices plus the cost of importation, for building infrastructure systems that, history has shown, add little economic value to their economies and will crumble in no time due to neglect and poor maintenance largely as a result of lack of local skills capacity to undertake the requisite maintenance.