“The Future Of Africa”


“Then you look at Africa: We get the British out of Africa! The British are perpetrating genocide in Africa!—they and their accomplices. Get them out of Africa! Give Africa back to the Africans. Repeal decisions made by the United States in the middle of the 1970s. Restore Africa to its right, as a collection of sovereign states. Which means we must assist them, assist them in developing the infrastructure which is needed, to take a population in Africa, which is largely unskilled, in a modern sense, and to utilize infrastructure and other features, to increase the productive powers of labor effectively, per capita and per square kilometer.

"Africa has a great agriculture potential; but disease and other factors destroy that. The lack of infrastructure means that the utilization of improvements needed to realize that, are not there. Africa has large sources of natural resources: Enable Africa to use its territory, its agriculture potential, and its related resources, to become a positive factor in world economy. The world needs it!

"This fact was understood by President Franklin Roosevelt. In the midst of the Second World War, Roosevelt turned his thoughts towards a better future, a new era of post-colonialism to replace what he called the “18th-century methods” of the British Empire. Roosevelt’s son Elliot, in the book As He Saw It, related his father’s plans during a trip to Casablanca in January 1943:

“Over coffee, he got back on the theme of the development of colonial areas, increasingly one of his favorite topics. For a man who had never been in Africa before, he had picked up an amazing amount of information, geographical, geological, agricultural. Of course, I thought I knew the country pretty well: I had flown over a good bit of it, months before, photographing it from the air. But somewhere he had had a chance to learn even more than I had. We discussed the great salt flats in southern Tunisia, which must have at one time been a vast inland sea. He reminded us of the rivers that spring up in the Atlas Mountains, to the south, and disappear under the Sahara, to become subterranean rivers. “Divert this water flow for irrigation purposes? It’d make the Imperial Valley in California look like a cabbage patch!” And the salt flats: they were below the level of the Mediterranean; you could dig a canal straight back to re-create that lake—one hundred and fifty miles long, sixty miles wide. “The Sahara would bloom for hundreds of miles!” It is true. The Sahara is not just sand, it has an amazingly rich potential. Every time there is a rain, there is a consequent riot of flowers for a few days, before the dryness and the sun kill them off. Franklin and I winked at each other: Father was having the time of his life, his active mind and quick imagination working overtime as we all speculated on what intelligent planning could do for this land.

“Wealth!” he cried. “Imperialists don’t realize what they can do, what they can create! They’ve robbed this continent of billions, and all because they were too short-sighted to understand that their billions were pennies, compared to the possibilities! Possibilities that must include a better life for the people who inhabit this land…”

"By the time Roosevelt had spoken these words, Africa had already been subjected to hundreds of years of colonial oppression aimed at extracting raw materials, while stifling internal improvements. Railroads were built straight from foreign-owned mines to the coast for export, and even the gauge of the tracks between countries were made incompatible.

"Erasing this colonial legacy begins with fully integrating the continent with high-speed and magnetically-levitated rail, from Cairo in the North to Capetown in the South, and Dakar in the West to Djibouti in the East. These transportation routes would serve as the backbone of new corridors of development, including gas pipelines, telecommunications, and new industrial-city centers powered by fourth generation high-temperature nuclear reactors. Rather than resorting to unskilled labor to build what environmentalists call “appropriate technologies” we can upgrade the skill and productivity of the labor force through high-technology investments. Large-scale infrastructure itself raises the productivity of the individual worker or farmer, simply by transforming the environment he operates in. As in the case of the transcontinental railroad in the USA, the development of inland areas represents a historic shift away from the legacy of maritime control by the British Empire, as well as human mastery over the biosphere.

"…rail system, or maglev system, into Africa!" As a gift! From the other nations of the world, we're going to give them—as a gift!—a railway or maglev system, which is the basic system which means, that in these countries, they have the basic means to transport goods from one place to the other.

"That, and also power systems, and so forth, delivered to them, will enable them to do the rest. And that's the point.

"Combined with mass transportation and power development, large-scale water management can make the deserts bloom. The Congo River is second only to the Amazon, in terms of volume of water. Canals could divert water drawn off from the Congo, and channel it northward, to refresh and expand the dry Lake Chad basin, opening up vast new stretches of land for cultivation. Nuclear desalination means an almost limitless supply of fresh water from the oceans, water that can transform the arid landscapes of the Sahel region and the Sahara above it into garden spots through massive irrigation. Greening the deserts could turn some of the most under-populated areas of the planet into thriving agro-industrial centers. The rich soils of Sudan alone could feed the continent.

"The way you develop a people, is not by coming in and telling them how to do everything. You give them the things which will enable them to do something for themselves. And you help them do it.”

"Given the past century’s discovery of nuclear and space science, and the coming breakthroughs in fusion energy, it is long past time to realize that the only limits to growth for the human species come from self-imposed limits on the imagination. Along with the advance of science has come the proof that mankind survives only by changing nature, by unlocking the potentials inherent in nature, potentials which are realized only through creative reason.

"What potential geniuses, who today are being lost to childhood diseases, starvation, and war, might this African renaissance give to humanity? What new Mozarts or Einsteins in art and science among the children of today await only the chance to unleash their inherent human creativity? More than mere material wealth, this is the true notion of wealth embodied in Roosevelt’s vision for the post-war world."