Solution to Africa’s poverty is empowerment through property ownership and free trade says new IPN study
IPN Press release
There has recently been much discussion of the harm to Africa’s development done by corruption, but little discussion about how to promote prosperity for all Africans.
In a new study*, Moeletsi Mbeki** argues that corruption and poverty in Africa are a consequence of the invasive control over the African countries’ economies exerted by a predatory political elite.
“Development in sub-Saharan Africa requires a new type of democracy – one that empowers not just the political elite but private producers,” said Mbeki.
Mbeki argues that since the end of colonialism, most countries in Africa have been beset by political elites who see the state as a means to acquire personal wealth through taxation and regulation: “The history of Africa since the 1960s is the history of groups of elites seeking the ‘political kingdom’ with the primary purpose of enriching themselves,” he said.
As a result, they have siphoned off much of the continent’s wealth – and undermined the generation of new wealth. To rectify this situation, Mbeki believes that Africa’s poorest people must be empowered through the institutions of the free society: property rights and markets.
Mbeki explained: “It is necessary that peasants – who constitute the core of the private sector in sub-Saharan Africa – become the real owners of their primary asset: land. To enable such ownership, freehold must be introduced and the so-called communal land tenure system, which is really state ownership of land, ought to be abolished.”
He also emphasised the importance of removing internal and external restrictions on the ability of Africans to engage in trade: “Africa’s peasants must gain access to world markets. The producers must be able to auction their own cash crops, including coffee, tea, cotton, sugar, cocoa and rubber, rather than be forced to sell them to state-controlled marketing boards.”