By Sam Mayanja
World Bank’ recent decision to pause lending to Uganda because of the recently passed Anti-homosexuality Act exhibits the continued impact of neo-colonialism on the economic growth of countries that are dependent on international financing and foreign aid.
The basis of the World Bank decision was that the Uganda Anti-homosexuality Act fundamentally contradicted the World Bank group’s values.
There was also pressure exerted on the World Bank from several groups and countries urging “specific, concrete and timely actions” including 170 civil groups, urging suspension of future lending.
In June 2023, countries imposed travel restrictions on Ugandan officials in response to the Uganda anti-guy legislation.
Prior to passing this law, President Museveni had explained the history and culture of Ugandans as a huge influence in the decision making on whether to pass this bill into law.
He explained that the basis of the decision making on legislative issues that fundamentally impact the moral turpitude of Uganda was solely based on internal evaluation of the relevance of the law.
Former President of Ghana the late Kwame Nkrumah observed that the practice of neo-colonialism “means power without responsibility and for those who suffer from it, it means exploitation without redress”.
Neo-colonialism is accordingly more dangerous than colonialism. Whereas colonialism
required a physical occupation of territory, in neo-colonialism, there is no physical presence in the neo-colonial state. It is invisible and secretive.
Therefore when Uganda, an independent state arrives at a decision to enact a law that contradicts the way of life of the West, the World Bank has the liberty to make a decision to stop supporting its developments and investments in cahoots with international capital.
To Neo-colonialism it is insignificant that the legislation respects the general cultural values, and moral turpitude of Ugandans.
President Museveni has continued to reject international criticism of the legislation, and has defended the law as
necessary to stop the LGBTQ community from trying to degrade the moral turpitude of Ugandans. This however has had no tangible effect on those who hold the strings of international capital.
To neo-colonialism, the views of a Head of State of an independent nation has no consequence as long as it is not the position agreeable to international capital entities.
Africa cannot therefore make a political or legislative decision without the major influence of international capital in the decision making process of the different organs of government, whether legislative or executive.
Neo-colonialism will not allow Africa to form market blocks with banking and monetary systems which can compete globally.
Consequently Africa will continue to be easy catch for neo-colonialism whose hidden hand will continue to keep the continent divided into several small states which are unable to run their own affairs from a sound economic base capable of competing globally.
The prices of the raw materials, as well as the finished goods of Africa are determined by the neo-colonial system. The African economics themselves are not complimentary. They produce what they do not consume, and consume what they do not produce.
The export-import system itself is done through a banking system, shipping and insurance network, controlled
by the neo-colonialism.
The value of the currency of African countries being dependent on the export value of its raw materials is eternally lower compared to those of the former colonial powers.
It is constantly being devalued making it difficult for African countries to have the same purchasing power as the neo- colonial powers. Yet African countries must borrow and pay back through the neo-colonial currency with interests and penalties imposed by the international monetary systems domiciled and controlled from the neo-colonial capitals.
The central Banks which control the fiscal policies of Africa states supervise commercial banks on the basis of best monetary criteria-the criteria itself determined by the neo- colonial powers.
Africa is the largest recipient of foreign aid, but this aid is given through neo-colonialism system which neither promotes democracy nor economic development. Instead, as Moyo opined in Moyo, D. (2009). Dead aid: “aid has helped to make the poor poorer, and growth slower.
Millions in Africa are poorer today because of aid; misery and poverty have not ended but have increased. Aid has been and continues to be an unmitigated political, economic, and humanitarian disaster.”
Neo-colonialism has ensured that the gamut of foreign aid put Africa under a debt servicing crisis-the debt trap. Africa is poor and its poverty undermines political autonomy to choose and decide on economic models, development programs and independent political and legislative structures.
African aid packages have been ostensibly justified as fostering economic growth and political transformations.
Contrary to such benevolent expectation, Africa has failed to achieve economic development and democracy.
Rather poverty, political instability, and structural aid-dependence remains its defining hallmark.
International bilateral and multilateral aid is for achieving vested interests rather than genuine motivation for Africa’s progress.
Without an African common market with a banking system able to compete globally, Africa is clenching chains around its bosom, believing that it is embracing freedom.
Foreign aid for Africa is an instrument of imperialism and domination.
Dr. Sam Mayanja
Minister of State for Lands