Dr. Mobolaji Aluko of the Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Howard University, introduces more parameters:
As we look closely at US/Africa relationships - or The West/Africa or North/South relations for that matter - the overwhelming interests of our "external others" on our continent are three-fold;
- profits for its their corporations, who in turn pay taxes to their home country;
- security for its their citizens, both individual and corporate;
- stability in its relationships with the governments.
The challenge for Africa, Africans and their friends is to ensure that each of these interests translate into:
- economic development;
- progress in all its social, political and cultural ramifications.
for the African people, who, after all, are what are important in Africa.
Profits and Economic Development
Profits of foreign corporations will not lead to economic development within the continent until and unless there is:
- transparency in commercial operations of the corporations;
- accountability such that appropriate taxes are paid to the host countries;
- meaningful employment opportunities, such that indigenes occupy meaningful employment throughout the rank and files of the corporations, and are INTENTIONALLY trained to take over overwhelmingly at a time certain;
- transparency and accountability by the home governments such that the taxes paid are plowed back into social and capital amenities and investments within the country;
- environmental justice, such that corporate operations do not lead into health and social conflicts of the indigenous population that lead to health and social costs.
Provided the foreign corporation workers and officials are PHYSICALLY and SOCIALLY separated from the generality of the African people, security for their private and corporate citizens will not translate to peace for us Africans.
Peace in the "government reservations" does not necessarily translate to peace in the "ghettoes."
Stability and Progress
Stability has within it the germs of preferring the status quo, something known and certain, and hence in need of no prediction. On the other hand, progress implicitly assumes movement away - albeit in some positive direction - from some status quo, to a terrain that is unpredictable.
The tension then between stability and progress is therefore clear.
"Stable" should never mean "static". In engineering, a state of equilibrium is generally stable, but until then, there is movement TOWARDS it. Even when it is attained, there is in equilibrium a movement back and forth on both sides of the equilibrium which is not static. If an equilibrium point must be changed, it is possible to do so through a slow process of going through quasi-equilibrium process, where each new state is almost at equilibrium, but not quite.
A generalization is appropriate here: Conservatives like quasi-equilibrium, evolutionary processes; liberals like non-equilibrium changes, while revolutionaries want pretty dramatic (and sometimes violent) changes.
With regards to stability and progress, the tension then is between conservatives, liberals and revolutionaries.
What we choose in Africa will depend on the country. They are not easy choices.