On the 14th November the Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan, in the presence of a World Bank official and on behalf of the government of South Africa, signed for a R1.9 billion loan from the World Bank. The money is to be used for Eskom’s electricity generators. The loan is payable in forty years at 0.25% interest. A country that accepts a World Bank loan is required to enter into an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The World Bank and IMF work hand in glove.

It is unbelievable that in the 21st century South Africa can borrow money from the World Bank when there are known problems associated with amortisation and interests. The World Bank most probably insisted on land as collateral. World Bank loans are used to ensnare countries into an unending debt. The World Bank and IMF loans employ conditionalities which involves highly controversial requirements such as austerity or privatization of key public services. Conditionalities imposed on borrower countries are known as Structural Adjustment Programmes.

“Redefining Afrika’s Political Identity in the Era of Globalisation”- 2nd Mayihlome Annual Lecture

Trade is not new. Struggle is not new. Both are as old as human endeavor and for as long as the two have been at odds , there have been fierce battles fought . Whether it was called imperialism, colonialism, global oppression, apartheid the struggle by the many against the economic tyranny of the few remains one of the longest in human history. International trade too has an ancient history. The context for Afrika includes a conflation between colonial interests ,political subjugation and economic control. The story of Afrika after the invaders is essentially a story of the West’s insatiable appetite for raw materials, cheap labour and beautiful minerals ,wildlife and fauna all of which Afrika “Free trade” is not a new experiment either it has been tried before. Prior to the advent of colonialism, the region used to dominate international trade. Colonialism distorted the terms of trade and Third World countries were transformed from being exporters of manufactured commodities to being suppliers of raw materials and a market for British manufactures. What has changed are the uncomfortable, unfavorable and often immoral terms of engagement between the global South and the North.

The prevailing trade paradigm presupposes the existence of equal power relations equal gender relations, equal race relations, equal access to resources and equal voice in economic agenda setting. This is an absolute lie. Some are clearly more equal than others and their voices more audible than others. The ascendance of the World Trade Organisation in 1995 as the overarching body has given rise to continued discussions detailing the historical and structural inequities that prevail unfettered in the current global trading system. It is in fact the institutionalisation of every lie about the supposedly equal nature of power relations between the global communities.


After several years of independence struggle, Nkrumah and the people of Ghana, with support from fellow Africans, at home and abroad, succeeded finally in liberating Ghana from colonial shackles – at least politically. That happened on 6 March 1957. There was a need, however, for the sustainable economic liberation of Ghanaians. That way their political independence would be rendered more meaningful.

As every economist would agree, Nkrumah saw Ghana, a nation with a little over six million people at the time, as economically unviable, as it could not possibly benefit from the kind of economies of scale needed to survive and compete fairly on the international market. Naturally, he sought to help Africa decolonize, using every means possible, so that through their collective power as a giant nation – the Nation of Africa- would pool their resources together and become competitive economically, have a voice on the international stage, and collectively push for the interests of Africa.

The West, however, realized that, a United Africa, with a socialist development agenda, together with its natural resources


The Kempton Park Settlement was and remains a flawed settlement because it was based on the interpretation of the National Question not as that of settler colonialism or a colonialism of a special type. It conflated the struggle for national self-determination and independence to that of democratisation. Having reduced the National Question to that of democratisation, serious compromises were made on fundamental issues of the land and by extension the property clauses that guaranteed the retention of ill gotten gains by the white minority and rendered the question of nationalisation a mere restitution case based on willing buyer and willing seller. In short the Kliptown Charter vision of Nationalisation was thrown out of the window at Kempton Park. Thus leaving control of mining and land in the hands of the white minority, with very little room to make necessary and required radical changes.

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