Does Africa Need a Marshall Plan?
Development has been pursued ever since the end of World war II, after which America emerged as a super power while other countries like France, Germany and Great Britain were weakened by the war.
It was around this time that the USA came up with and implemented the Marshall plan to reconstruct war-torn Western Europe and this also was the birth of the International Bank of reconstruction and development, now known as the World Bank.
The Marshall plan also known as the European Recovery Plan, ERP was an American initiative to aid Europe through helping it rebuild its economies after World War II, the plan started in April 1948 and lasted for 4 years. The goals of the Plan were to;
Rebuild war-damaged areas, Remove trade barriers, Modernize industry, Make Europe prosperous again, and to enable European countries resist a Communist take over.
After 4 decades of foreign Aid, one would be right to claim that Africa is an economically stagnant continent in terms of development, as development is at a snail’s pace. It’s believed that since America brought Europe back to life half a century ago after World War II, there might be a chance of the same happening to Africa through an “African Marshall Plan.”
I will not rule out the fact that an African Marshall Plan might succeed, but we shouldn’t forget that this plan comes with strings attached through conditions that mainly benefit America and It’s AID with strings attached that has stopped Africa from developing.
Since the Marshall Plan also had an objective of integrating Europe, one is safe to say that the Marshall Plan gave birth to globalization, which has been a damnation to Africa and a salvation to Europe.
Foreign Aid and the Marshall Plan have a lot in common, the few differences include the fact that the Marshall Plan is Foreign Aid from a super power, namely, America. The Marshall Plan might not be suitable for Africa because of the following;
a) Africa is a continent filled with unending wars and alot of political instability. Its difficult for a business man to get a loan under such risk to investment.
b) Unlike the few countries that the Marshall Plan aided in the 40s, Africa is comprised of more than 40 countries which might be a hindrance to the Plan.
c) In Europe the plan was about reconstruction, yet in Africa, there is nothing to reconstruct but a lot to construct, this calls for a long term plan not a 4 year plan.
d) Most African countries experienced slavery and colonialism from Europe, this makes such countries very strict while taking up policies, because of fear of a “new scramble for Africa.”
e) one of the conditions of the plan is carrying out free trade which is also a characteristic of globalisation that is a curse to Africa. African countries have been exploited through globalisation which explains why they are still lagging behind in terms of development.
d) The implementation of the Marshall Plan in Africa might trigger a war of ideologies or a war of weapons, Africa being the second largest market after Asia, it has been market for mostly cheap goods especially from Japan and China. Implementation of the plan means advancing American Commercial and Foreign policy interests as America will become the sole beneficiary since materials for plan implementation are to be imported form America expensively instead of China and Japan cheaply.
I think Africa’s problems to development are because of poor governance, presence of few actual democracies, political instability, Western influence, poor terms of trade on the World Market, greedy and corrupt elites, unimaginable income inequalities and the unnecessary concentration of the ICC(International Criminal Court) on Africa.
Africa should concentrate on Human capital development, free and fair elections, inter and intra African trade, make the economies within investment friendly and free from unnecessary wars, take on the protective policies, Modernize industrialization and carry out import substitution starting from a small scale instead of relying on Western promises of a better Africa, yet they made it worse in the first place(avoiding blame).
You can read through these as well;
A marshall Plan is not what Africa Needs