FEATURE ARTICLE

Onoriode AbadaSunday, June 12, 2005
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Cape Town, South Africa

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GAGGING AFRICA THROUGH PHANTOM DEVELOPMENT AID


n the international aid fraternity, it is ritual time again. The G8, comprising industrialised countries of USA, Canada, Italy, Japan, UK, Spain, France, and China congregate in Scotland to plot the future socio-economic developmental directions of the world. And as usual, political leaders of the developing countries, particularly the very vulnerable from the African continent are hoping that Tony Blair's Africa Commission gains currency amongst the G8 leaders.


Of course, they have reasons to be optimistic that the Gleneagles meeting will herald a new era in international cooperation and assistance between the North and South. NEPAD is running, democratisation is taking place, large scale commercialisation and privatisation of publicly owned assets have since become the economic policy imperatives, and good governance, in the image and likeness of George Bush is now the promissory note.

Statistically, the US is the biggest donor of aid to the developing world, including Africa. In truth, this assistance is fake and dubious. This is because a huge portion of aid by the G8 countries to the developing world is phantom. In a recent report authored by ActionAid, it found that "61% of aid flows were phantom, rising to almost 90% in the case of France and the US". This is largely surprising given the facts that powerful private interests spearheaded by cartels continue hold western governments' hostage, and implicitly the peoples of the world through their conducts.

The US global deceit is irksome. It seeks to regulate our lives through the binoculars of private business interest by manipulations, bordering on disinformation, and sometimes outright threat against those who independently challenge the brazenness of its culpability.

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In the recently published Scientific American, David Michaels, a Professor of Epidemiology and former Clinton aide posits that the "power of companies to influence and distort research is so strong in the pharmaceutical industry", arguing that contempt for public health safety has reached a frightening dimension since George Bush assumed the presidency of the United States. Any shock therefore that on February 18 2005, President Bush signed a bill to curtail class-action lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies whose negligent conduct can no longer be held accountable. The Business with disease leaders will be very active in Scotland ensuring Africa is gagged through whatever aid is made available.

Between GlaxoSmithkline, Bayer, Novartis, and Pfizer, they control hundreds of billions of dollars drug business. Forbes Magazine states that "since 1982, the drug industry has been the most profitable in the United States". What makes it highly lucrative? ActionAid states categorically in its report that "86 cents in 1 US dollar aid is phantom. The US 15 billion dollars Aids program is largely "tied to the purchase of drugs from American pharmaceutical companies, but treating fewer patients" This at the expense of independent and home grown programs which donor countries continue to frustrate.

In one of its desparate moves to control the freedom of persons to choose how they should be treated, the drug companies sought to restrict access to natural therapies including vitamin supplements. Though, it failed in the US when citizens marched against the racketeering of the drug companies, the Pharma-cartels continue to abuse the United Nations Codex Alimentarius (Food Stanfards) Commission hoping that its activities would lead to a worldwide ban on natural health. The threat posed to the survival of mankind by these Pharma-Terrors cannot be allowed to take root. Worldwide it is desperately using local regulatory bodies to impose its interests on the people.

In South Africa, certain elements within tax payers funded Medicine Control Council failed to smuggle the ban on natural health through the back door. The safety and affordability of natural health approaches remains a constant threat pharmaceutical cartel. This is premised on the ground that they are not patentable and therefore of low margins. With the breakthroughs in the areas of vitamin research and cellular health, it is now possible to deal with age long health problems such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, aids etc.

African leaders must remind themselves of what happened to the Washington designed economic package of the 1980s. The Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) was a disaster. Meant to address economic problems in the developing world, it instead, facilitated its slide towards underdevelopment. Our people must remain constantly vigilant against the onslaught of the big pharmaceutical cartels bent on assaulting our health freedom. They have taken over the reins of government in Washington and London. We cannot allow them to the latitude. Enough is enough for the wise.