'It is 'powerless Africa' US program, not 'Power Africa' as almost nothing is done'
RT:Obama is gathering an unprecedented 50 African heads of state in Washington, you are part of it. What is he hoping to achieve?
Lawrence Freeman: From my discussions with African leaders, Obama is not accomplishing anything for Africa. Some people told me this is mainly for Obama, so that he could write in his memoirs that he was the first President of the US who hosted 50 African heads of state. But in fact the program made for the summit does not actually help any African countries in any real material way, so it is mainly a glorified day in DC with no benefits, or very few.
RT:The US is Africa's third-largest trading partner after China and the EU. Will Washington be able to restore its position on the continent?
LF: The US is way behind other countries and major powers of the world. China is playing a big role in Africa, India is playing some role, Russia is playing a role and the US is playing very little role. We do not give any material benefits that would develop the countries. So we give lectures on various policies of good governance or democracy, but in fact the policies that the US or the EU are carrying out, in practice are continuing the genocide policies, that is people are dying for lack of water, clean water, energy, medicine and food, because the West refuses to develop the continent. China and other countries have now begun to build some infrastructure in the country, but it is still woefully inadequate for about 1.2 billion people who are living in the worst possible conditions, and many of which are dying every month because of these conditions.
RT:Skeptics say that the Washington summit is more of a public relations exercise than a policymaking initiative. Would you agree?
LF: According to the official policy of the State Department this summit is to reaffirm the US friendship and partnership with Africa. So this is almost a meaningless statement. One of the programs that Obama calls his signature program “Power Africa” I refer to as “powerless Africa,” because in fact it is doing almost nothing. The program is to provide support to the private sector to install 8-10,000 megawatts of electricity among six countries in the next five years. Africa needs about 1400 gigawatts of electricity. Nigeria is to get 2,000 megawatts additional; Nigeria needs 250,000 megawatts of electricity. So this “Power Africa” program or “powerless Africa” is a fraud and it is not going to lead to any development in Africa, and that is one of the reasons you have diseases like Ebola spreading. It is because the living conditions are horrible. Through lack of food, lack of clean water, lack of health care, lack of energy people are dying every day and this is why it is genocidal.
RT:How do you explain China's growing influence in the region?
LF: China is doing what other countries have refused to do. China is building infrastructure, it is building roads, dams, and they are willing to build other facilities. Africa has the greatest deficit infrastructure per capita and per land area. The West will not build infrastructure as a matter of policy, so Africa is being provided reduced loans and credits to build electrical power, roads, rail road, etc. Now you have this very important development that took place last month, July 15 in Brazil where we had the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) set up a New Development Bank, which is a bank that will lend low-interest credit for developing countries to actually build the necessary infrastructure. This basically means that nobody has to worry about the IMF or the World Bank. Financial system of the West has failed Africa miserably and it is collapsing upon itself.
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