Presentation on theme: "Political economy, oil and social resistance in Africa Patrick Bond University of KwaZulu-Natal School of Development Studies and Centre for Civil Society,"— Presentation transcript:
Political economy, oil and social resistance in Africa Patrick Bond University of KwaZulu-Natal School of Development Studies and Centre for Civil Society, Durban Presentation to OilWatch and groundWork, 11 September 2008 Durban
Africa’s oil map Substantial oil reserves Oil and wars: Sudan, Angola, Chad, Congo US imports 16% from Africa In ten years will import 25% images/oil/Africa-Map- Web-PS0301-Da.jpg (credit: Horace Campbell)
Which regions have used up their ‘own’ oil already? Source: C.J.Campell, Africa’s ‘resource curse’: Excessive fossil fuel resources in a context of growing int'l interest (US Africa Command, Chinese patrimonial politics, EU EPAs, SA arms acquisitions, persistent coups)
Can we argue that oil impoverishes African countries; that oil threatens the climate; and that in any case, the North owes the South an ecological debt? Can activists make these strategic arguments convincing and establish formidable tactical tools of struggle? What is main concern about ‘keep the oil in the soil’ (or ‘coal in the hole’, or ‘resources in the ground’)? Answer: loss of financial resources, jobs, opportunities for ‘development’ Can we argue that oil impoverishes African countries; that oil threatens the climate; and that in any case, the North owes the South an ecological debt? Can activists make these strategic arguments convincing and establish formidable tactical tools of struggle?
1) traditions of African political economy 2) wealth extraction: debt, capital flight 3) Ecological Debt 4) trends in aid, trade and commodity prices 5) correcting GDP for environment, society 6) energy rights 7) climate
1) Our traditions
Walter Rodney on the production of poverty The question as to who and what is responsible for African underdevelopment can be answered at two levels. Firstly, the answer is that the operation of the imperialist system bears major responsibility for African economic retardation by draining African wealth and by making it impossible to develop more rapidly the resources of the continent. Secondly, one has to deal with those who manipulate the system and those who are either agents or unwitting accomplices of the said system.
The national bourgeoisie will be quite content with the role of the Western bourgeoisie’s business agent, and it will play its part without any complexes in a most dignified manner... In its beginnings, the national bourgeoisie of the colonial country identifies itself with the decadence of the bourgeoisie of the West. We need not think that it is jumping ahead; it is in fact beginning at the end. It is already senile before it has come to know the petulance, the fearlessness, or the will to succeed of youth. Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth
African progressive leaders, political economists and social justice strategists, including resource-watchers Charles Abugre, Adebayo Adedeji, Jimi Adesina, Claude Ake, Neville Alexander, Samir Amin, Peter Anyang’Nyong’o, A. M. Babu, Ahmed Ben Bella, Steve Biko, Dennis Brutus, Amilcar Cabral, Fantu Cheru, Jacques Depelchin, Demba Dembele, Yasmine Fall, Frantz Fanon, Ruth First, M. P. Giyose, Yao Graham, Gill Hart, Pauline Hountondji, Eboe Hutchful, Khafra Kambon, Dot Keet, Rene Loewenson, Sara Longwe, Patrice Lumumba, Samora Machel, Archie Mafeje, Ben Magubane, Amina Mama, Mahmood Mamdani, Guy Mhone, Darlene Miller, Thandika Mkandawire, Dani Nabudere, Léonce Ndikumana, Njoki Njehu, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, Oginga Odinga, Ike Okonto, Adebayo Olukoshi, Oduor Ongwen, Bade Onimode, Haroub Othman, Kwesi Prah, Eunice Sahle, Thomas Sankara, Issa Shivji, Yash Tandon, Riaz Tayob, Aminata Traoré, Dodzi Tsikata, Kwame Ture, Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, Tunde Zack-Williams, Paul Zeleza
Who supports the tradition? For internet-based guide to the toughest contemporary arguments against imperial power emanating from the continent, there is no better web resource than fahamu.org’s ‘Pambazuka’ weekly news and analytical service; at Africa World Press, Kassahun Checole puts many of these writers into print - as do Zed Books, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Codesria in Dakar International supporters of African poli econ include Hans Abrahamsson, Soren Ambrose, Michael Barratt-Brown, Salih Booker, Sarah Bracking, Victoria Brittain, Jan Burgess, Ray Bush, George Caffentzis, Horace Campbell, Claudia Carr, Lionel Cliffe, Carole Collins, Dan Connell, Fred Cooper, Imani Countess, Basil Davidson, Jennifer Davis, Silvia Federici, Bill Fletcher, James Ferguson, Reginald Green, Branwen Gruffwydd Jones, Joe Hanlon, Colin Leys, Bill Martin, Bill Minter, Giles Mohan, Jane Parpart, John S. Saul, Ann Seidman, Tim Shaw, Vladimir Shubin, Colin Stoneman, Carol Thompson, Meredith Turshen, Michael Watts, David Wiley, Gavin Williams, Anna Zalik and many others; Aside from solidarity activism, they work through radical academic associations (e.g. Association of Concerned African Scholars and the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa), journals (e.g. the Review of African Political Economy) and solidarity groups (the Toronto Committee for the Liberation of Southern Africa was exemplary, as is Africa Action today). Key funders: Osisa, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, ActionAid, Oxfam
2) Wealth extraction: debt and capital flight
Debt slavery includes the uncompensated environmental goods and services that African countries give to Northern countries – which along with Odious Debt that the North should cancel, and capital flight that should be repatriated, would result in substantial resource transfers to the South
‘Odious debt’ (16 African countries) Source: Eric Toussaint
15 Capital flight from Africa, Source: James Boyce, Leonce Ndikumana
3) Ecological debt
Jubilee South: ecological debt is ‘the debt accumulated by Northern, industrial countries toward Third World countries on account of resource plundering, environmental damages, and the free occupation of environmental space to deposit wastes, such as greenhouse gases, from the industrial countries.’
Types of ecological debt (Joan Martinez-Alier): unpaid costs of reproduction or maintenance or sustainable management of the renewable resources that have been exported; actualised costs of the future lack of availability of destroyed natural resources; compensation for, or the costs of reparation (unpaid) of the local damages produced by exports (for example, the sulphur dioxide of copper smelters, the mine tailings, the harms to health from flower exports, the pollution of water by mining), or the actualised value of irreversible damage; (unpaid) amount corresponding to the commercial use of information and knowledge on genetic resources, when they have been appropriated gratis (‘biopiracy’); (unpaid) reparation costs or compensation for the impacts caused by imports of solid or liquid toxic waste; and lack of payment for environmental services or for disproportionate use of ‘Environmental Space’, e.g. (unpaid) costs of free disposal of gas residues (carbon dioxide, CFCs, etc) assuming equal rights to sinks and reservoirs ($75 billion/year) – crucial for addressing climate crisis, which will hit Africa far worse than elsewhere.
Lake Chad dries – Kiliminjaro melts –
Climate and African food “It is projected that there could be a possible reduction in yields in agriculture of: 50% by 2020 in some African countries... In Africa, crop net revenues could fall by as much as 90% by 2100, with small- scale farmers being the most affected.” –Testimony to the US House of Reps. Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, by R.K. Pachauri, Chairman, United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, August 2007
4) Trends in aid, trade and commodity prices
AID: Declining commitments Source: ActionAid
Aid in context: Far less than military spending Source: UNDP HDR 2005
“Trade not aid”? Recent commodity price increases
But longer-term commodity export value trends are negative
26 Africa’s exports (excluding SA) Source: Africa Commission
27 Export dependence Source: Africa Commission
Multinational corporate profits Source: UN Conference on Trade and Development (2007), World Investment Report 2007, Geneva.
5) Correcting GDP for environment, society
It is time to correct GDP bias (global) for pollution, resource extraction, etc A “genuine progress indicator corrects the bias in GDP” Source: redefiningprogress.org
31 World Bank estimates of tangible wealth: subsoil, timber, not-timber forest resources, protected areas, cropland, pastureland, produced capital, urban land, intangible wealth - the cases of Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Singapore and South Africa (per capita US$ measure – Where is the Wealth of Nations?, WB, 2006)
32 World Bank method for adjusting savings to account for a country’s tangible wealth and resource depletion: The case of Ghana, 2000 (per capita US$ measure)
Where is Africa’s wealth? World Bank recording of African countries’ adjusted national wealth and ‘savings gaps’, 2000
6) Energy rights
A typical rural African energy system Energy Source Energy Transmission Energy Use
Electrification rates World average Developing countries average
Redirect resources to lifeline household supplies: SA’s ‘Free Basic Electricity’ ‘African National Congress-led local government will provide all residents with a free basic amount of water, electricity and other municipal services, so as to help the poor. Those who use more than the basic amounts will pay for the extra they use.’ (ANC campaign promise, 2000 municipal elections)
Two features: The promise is based on a ‘universal entitlement’ -- basic needs should be met (regardless of our income), consistent with the SA Constitution’s Bill of Rights to a clean environment; The promise also means that those who consume more should pay more per unit after the free basic supply, which promotes ‘cross- subsidies’ (i.e., redistribution), and conservation. Of course, in reality: still too expensive for the poor, as large corporations get cheap electricity
Genuine climate change reform: plug fossil fuel consumption leave the oil in the soil, the coal in the hole, the resources in the ground
Enlightened establishment: The Extractive Industries Review Dec ’03 RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE WORLD BANK, MANY OF WHICH WERE IMMEDIATELY REJECTED: Phasing out lending in support of oil and coal and to invest its scarce development resources in renewable energy by setting lending targets of increasing renewable energy lending by 20% a year
“I can’t understand why there aren’t rings of young people blocking bulldozers and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants.” - Al Gore speaking privately, August 2007
Petro-mineral resources: Leave the oil in the soil! Alaska wilderness and California offshore drilling campaigners Oil Watch women of the Niger Delta, ERA, MEND Australian Rising Tide v Newcastle coal exports British Climate Camp Attac, Norway Alberta, Canada tar sands green & indigenous activists South Durban Community Environmental Alliance against new pipeline that will double petrol flow to Johannesburg Ecuadoran indigenous activists, Accion Ecologia and Rafael Correa - who agree that Ecuador’s main oil reserve (Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha, in Yasuní National Park) should stay in the ground (August 2007)
Climate Justice Now! Bali, December 2007 Carbon Trade Watch (a project of the Transnational Institute); Center for Environmental Concerns; Focus on the Global South; Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines; Friends of the Earth International; Women for Climate Justice; Global Forest Coalition; Global Justice Ecology Project; International Forum on Globalization; Kalikasan-Peoples Network for the Environment; – La Vía Campesina; – Durban Group for Climate Justice; – Oilwatch; – Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition; – Sustainable Energy and Economy Network (Institute for Policy Studies); – Indigenous Environmental Network; – Third World Network; – Indonesia Civil Society Organizations Forum on Climate Justice; – World Rainforest Movement.
Climate Justice Now! Bali, December 2007 Movement demands: reduced consumption; huge financial transfers from North to South based on historical responsibility and ecological debt for adaptation and mitigation costs paid for by redirecting military budgets, innovative taxes and debt cancellation; leaving fossil fuels in the ground and investing in appropriate energy- efficiency and safe, clean and community-led renewable energy; rights-based resource conservation that enforces Indigenous land rights and promotes peoples’ sovereignty over energy, forests, land and water; and sustainable family farming and peoples’ food sovereignty.
Leave the Oil in the Soil! Nigerians campaign against Shell and against drilling in new blocks, June 2008
Is a green-red energy alliance possible? Leave oil in soil plus electricity-as-a-right?