June 2024

Are all African leaders incompetent, corrupt and brutal? Yup, even Africans think so.

If you despair of the fact that idiot Cameron has just (in April 2013) increased our foreign aid by £2.6bn from £7.9bn a year to £10.5bn a year, then this story may make you weep. Apparently the world’s most valuable individual prize – the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Good Governance in Africa – has not been awarded yet again.

The $5m (£3.2m) prize is supposed to be awarded each year to an elected African leader who governed well, raised living standards and then left office. Laughably, although there are 55 countries in Africa, this is the fourth time in five years there has been nobody who was considered to have deserved this award.

Sudan-born telecoms entrepreneur Mr Ibrahim launched the prize in an attempt (obviously fruitless) to encourage African leaders to leave power peacefully. So this is not some prize dreamt up by arrogant Westerners patronisingly given to Africans. It is a prize developed by Africans for Africans and yet the Africans awarding this prize could not find anyone worthy of receiving it for four of the last five years.

Three people have won in the seven years since the prize was launched: Cape Verde’s Pedro Verona Pires; Festus Mogae from Botswana and Mozambique’s Joaquim Chissano.

The $5m prize is spread over 10 years and is followed by $200,000 a year for life. But this prize money is probably less than most African leaders steal from their impoverished citizens each week. So for them, it’s hardly worth winning

The world gives around $50bn a year in aid to Africa. But it’s estimated that around five to ten times this amount is deposited in offshore tax havens by African leaders. As far as I can see, the average African leader will steal at least $5bn during his or her time in power. As China pours money into Africa to buy minerals to feed its industry and agricultural land to feed its people, the next few decades look like being very lucrative indeed for Africa’s much-respected rulers. For ordinary, usually-impoverished Africans, things don’t look quite so rosy.

Now, the bleeding heart liberals and the Guardianistas of this world often claim that Africa needs a Marshall Plan to escape from its backwardness and poverty. But the Marshall Plan gave Europe $15bn (the equivalent of $148bn in today’s money) over four years to rebuild after World War ll. With its $50bn a year in Western aid, Africa receives a four-year Marshall Plan every three years and has done for the last 60 years. So that makes twenty Marshall Plans that have poured into Africa. Yet around 90% of Africa’s people still live in abject poverty. I wonder why.

Oh, and to cheer us all up, here’s a Bird and Fortune sketch in which an African dictator, George Mparrbe, is being interviewed about what he’s doing with all the Chinese money flowing into his country Enjoy

5 comments to Are all African leaders incompetent, corrupt and brutal? Yup, even Africans think so.

  • right_writes

    I have always found this British largesse from our politicians difficult to understand David, but the following phrase has given me a thought…

    “…the Marshall Plan gave Europe $15bn (the equivalent of $148bn in today’s money) over four years to rebuild after World War ll.”

    If I remember rightly, didn’t most of Europe’s leaders use the money to genuinely aid its desecrated companies, buildings and institutions in their efforts to rebuild?

    And didn’t that man “full of hidden shallows” Attlee, use it to nationalise everything and thus turn the UK into the first western communist state… Something that we (sentient people that is) are still attempting to remove? Albeit in the face of a series of authoritarian and communist leaning bureaucrats and executives (barring Thatcher), through the fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties and so on.

    All you have to do is to refer to our institutions as “crown jewels” or “envy of the world” and these crooks can continue to milk our ragged/torn udders while we run ever faster to keep up.

  • right_writes


    Vote UKIP!

  • John Fields

    Mr. Craig, each day you bring to us startling facts. Why is it that our leaders seem
    oblivious to this information? Mr. Cameron raises foreign aid when at home many
    people are in dire straights. Example, the rapid expansion of food banks.
    The word ‘Thatcher’ raises the hairs on the back of my neck. There was a lady who
    made us the poorest pensioners in Europe i.e., moved us from one index to another.
    She destroyed the mining and steel industries, and sold off the main source of
    ‘affordable’ housing. Scores of mining villages were turned into areas of despair.
    She certainly deserved her name, ‘The Iron Lady.’

  • Paris Claims

    John, I think you’ll find more mines were shut down under labour than under the tories. It’s just that nobody mentions that fact.

  • frank salmon

    John, Labour bankrupted the major industries by mothballing them, under-investing in them and allowing the unions to control their own pay and conditions up to 1979. As the sick man of Europe there was no option but to let them go. Manufacture fell by a third under Margaret Thatcher, but it halved again under New Labour. Not because of nationalisation and the above, but because New Labour invested in banking, services and grade inflated education. With increased employment taxes, green taxes, employee rights, an over-valued pound and european directives it is no wonder that manufacture is down to 10% of GDP.

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