Africa As Opportunity Incarnate

Africa is often derided as the world’s perennial backwater, the continent that will never really lift itself out of poverty and self-destruction. Alternatively it is considered the exclusive victim of an imperialism and colonialism that never ends and from which it will never escape. Both perspectives are lies built on a kernel of truth, as all good lies are. In reality Africa is the single greatest economic opportunity in the world. The public may be blind to that many are not, not least the Western and Eastern powers of the world.

First let’s dispel the lies.

Is Africa forever condemned to a life of economic squalor? Absolutely not. Africa’s diverse populations and low average IQ do contribute to a more difficult working environment but do not necessarily condemn them to economic death.

Consider Botswana. Botswana is an ex-British colony. It is dominated by the Tsawana people who make up roughly 80% of the population. By comparison the White Afrikaner population stands at 3%. Botswana is characterized by sparsely populated territory, stable political institutions, and a GDP per capita of $14,000. The country maintains a very small military and for some time had none at all. And its economic growth is to die for at over 8% currently. All this is combined by some of Africa’s most advanced and competitive banks.

Botswana is of course the exception to the rule. Most of Africa remains mired in the problems resulting from the backfiring of nature’s gifts and a lack of strong, dominant cultures. And the country is not without problems such as an explosive HIV rate. But it is impressive. It’s what Africa could be, expertly and patient managed, with Western technology adapted to the African situation demographically and geographically.

Second, Africa is still subordinated to colonialism that supposedly hampers their growth? Well yes and no, it depends where you go. Africa, having no powers developed and capable enough to stand on their own, has always been a playground of empires. There are some exceptions, like Algeria, Libya, South Africa, and Egypt, but most of these countries have been consumed by internal difficulties of one kind or another. Libya, which had the strength to look outwards and make significant progress in strengthening the till-then toothless African Union, was thoroughly demolished by the West not so long ago. It will require years of intensive economic input to restore it’s former glory. South Africa worsens every year as the ethnic divide and poor leadership of the country encourage the flight of Afrikanners there. And it isn’t going to end well.

And there’s no escaping the fact that France still utterly dominates its former West African colonies. Their central banks have about as much freedom as a franchise branch to operate. The French never really abandoned West Africa; They simply changed the shape of their control, from overt to covert, from judicial to financial.

But the bulk of Africa has escaped the confines of so called Western colonialism. Take Angola. Angola and Portugal have a complicated relationship. The Portuguese still maintain significant influence and strong economic ties to the country, while the Angolans clamor for further independence every so loudly every once in a while. But the Angolan leadership isn’t blind to the fact that the Angolan oil and gold industries were largely planned and developed by the far-sighted Salazar dictatorship during the 60s and 70s. Today the two countries enjoy a unique and fascinating relationship, one of distrust on one side and mutual economic benefit on the other.

Likewise for a variety of African nations. Africa south of the Sahara and East of the French possessions can be reliably characterized as independent nations in their own right, free of any real colonialism. Their failure to grow is their own complicated responsibility.

And this takes us to opportunity. Because Africa is economic opportunity incarnate. It is a continent of vast territories, vast populations, and little in the way of infrastructure or industry. The whole continent cries out not for foreign aid, but for investment, for entrepreneurship, for the challenge of development and the creation of prosperity.

This would not be easy. Kenya, the Jewel of East Africa, has attained considerable growth in the last few decades. This has come at a cost. It requires sacrifice, collaboration, and a recognition of the facts of nature especially as they apply to human beings. But when one makes human nature a feature, and not a bug, these difficulties become opportunities.

The young and ambitious should remember their home and love their countries. Their peoples, especially those of the West. But for those committed to economic development and the attainment of resources necessary to make such drastic changes possible then Africa is more than an option. It is the greatest, riskiest, and most dangerous market in the world. It is opportunity, and it is calling the opportunists.

Whoever answers is going to be mighty powerful.

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20 Comments

  1. “developed by the far-sighted Salazar dictatorship during the 60s and 70s”

    Ah, fond memories. Rest in peace, A.S.

    I’m amazed at Nigeria’s economic growth in spite of the low-level civil war in that country. We’ll see where it goes in the future. Libya/Mali will be interesting to watch as well. Should Le Pen become president of France, I doubt the Malians could count on the same kind of help against Jihadists that they got before. She seems pretty non-interventionist,

    1. Mitchell Laurel April 19, 2015 at 4:13 pm

      The French have no intention of losing their hold on West Africa, rest assured.

      Nigeria is a good example of what happens when your elite are even mildly competent. It’s not that hard not to run a country into the ground when you’re a little bit professional and leverage that foreigner talent.

  2. I hope though that Africa will not be dotted with the ugly modernist architecture that characterizes cities like New York if opportunists come to he continent.

    And I certainly will not want a modernist civilization committing ecocide on the local ecosystem.

    1. Mitchell Laurel April 19, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      Fortunately they have less appreciation, and delusion, for modernist architecture. May it stay that way forever.

  3. Africa can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent. North Korea, on the other hand, is ripe for investment.

    1. Mitchell Laurel April 19, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      I expect Africa, like most of the world, to be irrational forever.

      And yes, I’d love to invest in North Korea too. The trick is they’re real communists, and intelligent ones at that. Far more dangerous.

  4. I hardly know what to say about this article. Is it parody? If they could do it every single black would leave Africa for the white man’s lands. They are even trying to colonize parts of China! The only ones who lack this very strong desire to leave Africa are the few at the top who cash in on western “aid.” Maybe we could pull off a switcheroo and move to Africa after the last Negro leaves for Minneapolis. But then, after wrecking the West the blacks will simply follow the few remaining whites back to the motherland anyway so that won’t work either.

    Do you know that there is a lottery in Africa to acquire US citizenship? They are so desperate and we are so crazy that we have a lottery!

    If you want a first hand account of the hideousness of Africa see the terrific movie White Material, starring Isabelle Huppert and Christopher Lambert. Based on the experiences of the director, Clair Denis, who lived there and ain’t no lover of Euro tradition.

    1. Mitchell Laurel April 19, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      Hey, I agree, the business environment and general cultures are bad. Real bad. That’s what makes them good opportunities.

      Every flaw is a chance to provide a solution.

      For example, consider this: With enough money how hard do you think it would be to buy off a small African dictator and set up a special economic zone, to be governed as necessary? And where else could you be afforded that kind of opportunity?

      Africa is the modern Wild West. Treat it like such. By definition it won’t be easy.

      1. You’d do better in Cuba. Closer, safer, less aggravation, fewer blacks, and it’s still going to be tough.

        1. Mitchell Laurel April 19, 2015 at 10:37 pm

          Sure, Cuba would be great, but it’s not ready for business. Unless there have been notable financial and market changes that I’m not aware of. Do inform me if that’s the case.

          1. Not yet, but things could change if the Helms-Burton Act is rescinded. For a brief history see here:

            http://www.1worldarttravel.com/cuba-usa-timeline.html

            If I were a young guy I’d watch where artsy-fartsy types and gays hang out. They are always ahead of big money. Phil Levine really likes Cuba.

            In 1983, you could rent a room for $325/mos. on Ocean Drive in Art Deco Miami Beach. Christo made his Surrounded Islands in early Spring. This attracted a lot of rich backers who came to see it. Many rich Swedes. Plus, status-driving articles in art/style mags.

            Cuba could be the next Miami Beach but as you say things need to change first. Phil, who I only know via an email exchange about Brittany, also likes San Miguel Allende, Mexico.

  5. let’s see how the middle kingdom deals with their “opportunity”. perhaps more in line the ancient C’hin dynasty?

  6. Actually, this article is a breath of fresh air. Holding HBD views and preferring the West doesn’t mean that a person should hold their nose when considering the economic attractiveness of the rest of the world.

    After spending a lot more time in Africa than I ever thought I would, it’s an interesting place — especially if you are looking to make money. Oddly, too, they are a lot more open about racial differences and potential than you expect (and without the chip on their shoulder that you expect in the US).

    Someone who is not a deluded lefty might actually find parts of Africa quite nice and not be lost trying to “save” everyone.

    1. “. . . they are a lot more open about racial differences and potential than you expect (and without the chip on their shoulder that you expect in the US)”

      I agree. And it’s because they expelled or murdered the whites who used to live there. Have you seen before and after photos of Kinshasa? Besides the Belgians there were many Greeks. Those expats and their businesses were wiped out. Today, “youths” in Kinshasa will try to open your door while you’re driving.

      The Chinese don’t even try to deal with Africans. They import their own workers. They are in for extraction of minerals only.

      The only Africans I’ve heard of who don’t resent whites (too much) are Ethiopians. And they don’t consider themselves negroes.

      1. …”The only Africans I’ve heard of who don’t resent whites (too much) are Ethiopians. And they don’t consider themselves negroes.”

        Agreed on both counts about Ethiopia. It is still possible, however, to do business in other countries on the continent, but preferably with a local partner (most often someone who was a colleague in US university and comes from a relatively westernized and prosperous family).

        In general, I take the main thrust of this article to be: there is a lot of economic opportunity in Africa and it’s not too bad to be the smartest person in the room. Yes, you have to deal with corruption and cronyism, but that’s true even in Asia where competition is much greater.

        1. Mitchell Laurel April 19, 2015 at 4:21 pm

          My thoughts exactly. Especially about being the smartest person in the room. It’s a truly wonderful edge.

          Local partners are always necessary, no matter where you are and no matter the business. To say otherwise is to play with fire.

      2. Mitchell Laurel April 19, 2015 at 4:20 pm

        The Chinese model is pretty successful.

        At best the labor standards are so brutally low that any and all operations will be inefficient and require the presence of force, just in case.

        The opportunity is so big that, I think, it justifies the expense of extra precautions that are inevitably required, like high security living and the like.

  7. I’ve spent quite a lot of time in Africa, so I think I can comment on this without employing wild speculation. Here we go…

    I’ve been all over but most of my experience is in South Africa and Madagascar, perhaps the poorest country on Earth, where I’ve spent about 6 months in total. It seems hip to talk about how Africa is the new frontier or something, but its not. It may be safer than it was in the 1800s, but that doesn’t say much. Its a really big nightmare with a few beautiful things remaining.

    Obviously, it is much different than colonial times. And it is less dangerous. The only reason for that is, in colonial days a fever could push in and wipe out half the white men in a colony. This happened all the time. Now we have better drugs, but we have a billion more Africans.

    Most of Africa easily qualifies as “hell on Earth.” The largest war on Earth has been taking place in central Africa for the last 30 years (millions dead) and nobody cares. Horn of Africa: war. North Africa: war. Nigeria: war. Southern Africa: civil unrest. Madagascar: starvation, disease, unrest. Not a pretty picture.

    The African population is exploding, even in areas with widespread starvation, AIDS, and malaria. Crime, particularly murder and robbery, is so common it is almost impossible for Westerners to grasp. Nobody can be trusted. Not the doctor, not the taxi driver, not the waitress, not the shopkeeper, nobody, not unless you have really vetted them and tested them over and over. This is just a fact and any experienced traveler or aid worker knows it. Several whites I had met were killed awhile I was there. After I left, a French “fixer” I knew was shot by a drunk soldier and miraculously survived. A 60 year-old American man we knew died of malaria and some kind of parasite awhile I was there and we tried to evacuate him, but he succumbed at the airport in a filthy terminal.

    South Africa is the most developed and it has some of the highest rape/murder rates on Earth. The whites are streaming out. The cities are crumbling. Much of the country is a no-go zone. Most industrial or mining operations are garrisoned by masked mercenaries. Sure there are some enclaves, – but this is what the day-to-day big picture looks like.

    I’m just telling you that actually going to Africa and doing business is pretty goddamn dangerous. In my opinion, it is more likely you will die than you will get rich. But many people make obvious mistakes, or become too trusting, or go out drinking and walk alone that one night. That’s all it takes. Many Africans are trained to hate whites from birth. Americans and liberal French/Euros make rookie mistakes and pay dearly for it. Many of these deaths go unnoticed or covered up and don’t even show up on sites like this http://touristkilled.com/ or with the embassy.

    Many industries in Africa are already taken over by other foreigners who work in mafias. There are lots of Pakistanis, Saudis, Indians, Chinese, and “colored” mixed race running these places. These guys don’t like competition. They dislike Yanks even more than the anti-white blacks. Fraud in business is widespread and its the norm. Bribery when dealing with any official is the norm, even in life or death emergencies (especially then). Judges, constitutions, lawsuits, taxes, police, are all completely unpredictable and basically anything on paper is meaningless. Exceptions to this rule are rare, typically found with only very old established businesses/enclaves that have been around since the colonial days. Oh, and the work ethic there is shit.

    A smarter way to do business with them is by figuring out ways to do it without having to go hustle in Africa. Exports, media, medicines, or data-mining the growing population. But other ignored regions that show promise of growth (like the Arctic) are more interesting to me. Africa is a headache. And quite sad.

    Oh, and Botswana is really an oddity made rich by diamond mines and safaris. And it looks a lot better on wikipedia than it does in real life. Think: mud huts and human poop in the street. Again, all those good safari tracts and mines have been owned by other people for generations.

    If you want to do business in Africa, you had better be one hard dude who can take a lot of bull from the worst people you can ever imagine in hopeless “countries” that only exist on maps or in theory. Best odds of making money off that land is from afar. Africa as the next business frontier is a fantasy.

    1. Mitchell Laurel April 19, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      Imagine the profitability of the groups that provide solutions to the African problems.

      The Chinese did, by importing labor.

      The Security companies are, by creating and using means of pseudo-legal violence.

      And they’re making a killing for it.

      Sure, Africa sucks. Yes, it’s a hell hole with little elevated culture and Mad Max environments always going on somewhere. But that’s the nature of it. It automatically sets a very high barrier to entry, psychologically and economically, and this has kept the bulk of the resources untapped.

      And for those who can find a way the profitability will be amazing.

      Africa is not the ‘next’ business frontier. It is the everpresent one, the great crypt with treasures that no one really wants to venture into. And that’s what makes it so valuable.

      With danger comes opportunity. Nobody ever said that danger was restricted to financial loss, and neither is the opportunity restricted to financial gain. That’s Africa, the continent where the law just isn’t that big a deal.

      1. I get what you’re thinking and obviously I’ve thought about it quite a bit.

        In the old West, there were many thousands of men who faces the massive danger of going into the wilderness and ended up being not only very rich, but who civilized the region. Most were unexpected successes, such as poor Irish immigrants, fugitives from the East, or rebels of some kind. I don’t see this happening in Africa, – not at all.

        The Chinese/US corporations that work there don’t really compare to that kind of capitalistic opportunity.

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