Could Green Be the Color of the Future for Africa?

Special Report – Business of Green – Leading Africans to Responsible Recycling – NYTimes.com

This interesting article should be seen as the way forward to many African economies. I think its quite odd that African industry should be expected to develop in the same way as European and American industry came of age during the Industrial Revolution. African economics need to find areas of the market that North America and Europe have either no desire or no substantial lead in those sectors and to exploit it to their advantage.

I’m sure the image of using Africa as the dumping ground for computer and electronics parts is not one that African tourism industries want to promote. But what if Africa became the worldwide leader in recycling electronics? The continent would be able to carve out a niche in the global market that is in high demand. Obviously, countries like South Africa and Nigeria have a leg up on the competition due to their substantial infrastructure, and they should put the pedal down and encourage more high potential growth industries to establish hubs in their country. Again the image of black Africans managing and working in a recycling plant that takes the West’s junk and turns it back around and ships it back might not be an image that is welcome. But it would provide jobs, would provide a endless stream of products, and has a solid long-term future. Can anyone imagine a world without electronics, or their rubbish? Someone will have to be willing to collect and destroy or recycle the parts, why not Africa?

The way out of poverty for the continent is each country to exploit markets that are currently considered small, but necessary. Matthew McConaughey’s movie Sahara, where the villans are running a disposal plant in Mali that can vaporize toxic/nuclear waste by harnessing solar power immediately springs to mind. The problem in the movie is that while storing the toxins as they wait for disposal there has been leakage into the underground water system. But the concept of a waste disposal system is ingenious. And while no one might necessarily set out to tell all the toxic waste producers in the world to ship them their barrels of sludge, think about how profitable a recycling/disposal plant like that would be. Factor in the shipping costs, the taxes payed on the profits, the high-tech/green jobs that would be created and you would have an industry that could be highly profitable for the private corporation and the country. Granted the investment in such technology would not be local, and the highly trained scientists might not be originally local, but that shouldn’t be a reason for dismissing the concept. Importing overseas talent would be a temporary measure as the nation’s government can then make an investment (through the tax proceeds of the new industry) in their country’s technical institutions to produce the scientists and technical hands to replace the expatriates that start out working at the plant. 

Thomas Friedman is one of the loudest voices pushing for a green revolution, and if he is to be believed ‘green’ industry is the next big thing. Hydroelectric power from the Congo, solar power from the Sahara, recycling plants in South Africa could be all part of an industry that could be led by those on the African continent. Creating that monopoly on green industry could inspire a new century of growth that would see the continent become an equal of the industrial north. The symbiotic relationship that could be created would be sustainable for both north and south economies, and just as important, for the planet.

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One thought on “Could Green Be the Color of the Future for Africa?

  1. To whoever wrote this article: WHAT A PIECE OF SHIT YOU ARE!!!!
    What kind of racist prejudice brings you to the conclusion that Africa can only be a junk yard and its people a bunch garbage men?????
    You are the epitome of what’s wrong with this world. People like you take the rotten statu quo and brings it a step forward towards discrimination, racism and classism. What kind of NEOLIBERAL ASSHOLE tries to sell the idea that AFRICANS are not capable of anything else but to serve the COLONIALIST WEST in their junk disposal?
    WHAT ABOUT STARTING BY A LONG OVERDUE MONETARY COMPENSATION FOR THE YEARS OF SLAVERY AND COLONIALISM??????
    Why not to match the numbers that Obama, Sarkozy and Brown have destined to rescue the gangster-banksters of the world and put it STRAIGHT INTO THE BUILDING OF INFRAESTRUCTURE, SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS, UNIVERSITIES, TECHNOLOGIZATION OF AGRICULTURE, DEVELOPMENT OF ALTERNATIVE SOURCES OF ENERGY, ETC.
    Allow the Africns to do this, under the supervision of the UN and UNICEF. This will create millions and millions of jobs in Africa. It would be a hugh boost to their economy.
    And BTW, it’s only faire to compensate Africans for the GENOCIDE caused by the WEST.
    It’s not paternalistic. It’s just the aknowledgement of the catastrofic historical role played by the Western Powers during the last 4 centuries.
    Let’s return to Africans all we have stolen from them. And please, don’t let the USA or France or GB manage this reparation, because they are going to put it in hands of dictators who serve only the political interest of the West.
    Put the money in the hands of African COMMUNITIES AT THE GRASS ROOTS LEVEL. This has never been done before. You’ll learn how when you allow people to take care of their own problems, with enough funds and support, what you get as a result is social and economic progress, growth and advancement.
    As a closing statement, please be fair and make every single country take care of their own junk. That’s the only way to make them environmentally responsable.
    Your proposal is a receipe for environmental, social and cultural desaster in Africa.
    I’m wondering who and how much are they paying you to bring forward such a potentially catastrofic proposal. Please stay away from African Affairs. There are already too many African Abusers out there, we don’t need you.

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