December 2017
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What really causes poverty? Corruption, greed and incompetence.

I had a very interesting conversation with a lady who lives in Egypt. Of course, we tend to call conversations ‘interesting’ when we talk with people who confirm our prejudices. But in this case, I’d like to think that what I was told was more than just a reflection of my own personal narrow-minded views. 

Apparently Egypt’s former President Mubarak managed to steal over $80bn during his time in power. Then when you add in all the money stolen by his cronies, you’re probably up over ten times that, say $900bn – about $10,000 for every Egyptian. The lady described how anyone with a successful business or valuable land or property would find that everything they owned could be confiscated by Mubarak and his cronies. Naturally, Egypt’s corrupt juduciary supported this blatant theft. Or else, people had to pay huge bribes to avoid confiscation of their assets.

The result – there was no incentive to start businesses or to invest in building anything. So there were no jobs, the economy stagnated, over half the population were unemployed and corruption was rife. I found this to be a useful description of how rampant corruption can crush economic growth. And what happened in Egypt has been repeated time and again and again and again throughout both Arab and Sub-Saharan Africa.  

Many Arab and African countries (Libya, Tunisia, Sudan, Congo, Nigeria, Zimbabwe) could be some of the most prosperous nations on earth. Instead they are poverty-stricken, disease-ridden hell-holes. But their poverty is not due to their geography or lack of resources or weather – it’s purely due to the corruption, greed and incompetence of the ruling elites. And, under the leadership of the utterly corrupt and incompetent ANC, South Africa risks joining this miserable bunch.

This is such a waste of human potential and human lives – but our gutless politically-correct BBC and our gutless, politically-correct politicians never mention Arab and African corruption, greed and incompetence because they are terrified of being acccused of racism.

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