Doug Casey recently wrote an article concerning China’s slow takeover of Africa, what that means for Africa, and what it might mean for you if you plan on doing business with Africans or the Chinese (which I think you should).
First, he lays out the problems with Africa, and there are many:
It’s important to remember that Africa doesn’t produce anything besides raw materials. There’s close to zero manufacturing, like 1% of the world’s total, in sub-Saharan Africa. And almost all of that is in South Africa. The little there is, is only produced with the help foreigners—Europeans, but increasingly the Chinese.
Africans don’t have the Protestant work ethic of Europeans. They don’t have the Confucian work ethic of China.
The average African can’t even save money, for starters. Every one of the currencies in Africa is essentially worthless. Even if you have money to save, where are you going to park it? Africa’s banking system is almost nonexistent. The banks are unstable, and the governments are basically kleptocracies.
Africa doesn’t even enter the equation. The continent has no civilization, no economy, no technology, no military power. The famed Zimbabwe ruins are just some semi-finished rocks piled on one another—and they’re considered iconic.
The people who run these African governments are not going to change their stripes or their culture.
The methodology in Africa has been the same for years. Get into the government. Steal as much as you can. Then go to Europe to live like a billionaire.
These are among the many reasons why most of Africa still remains (mostly) a shithole even after centuries of human civilization. The Africans simply don’t want to be successful. They’d rather fight each other and steal each other’s stuff. I don’t like to say that, but facts are facts. If Africa wanted to be successful, they would be. The entire continent is rich with resources. Africa could have an empire the size of the USA or the riches of Saudi Arabia. But they don’t want these things, so they don’t.
But China, on the other hand, does want these things. And they’re going to get them. Much of that will be in Africa…
they’re definitely exploiting Africa. We’re seeing a veritable re-colonization of Africa. Every time I visit Africa I see more and more Chinese. It doesn’t matter which country; they’re everywhere.
What do the Chinese people think of Africans? They don’t hold them in high regard. Of course, you’ve got to remember that China has viewed itself as the center of the world since Day One. They see all non-Han peoples as barbarians, as inferiors. That was absolutely true when the British sent an ambassador, Macartney, to open relations at the very end of the 18th C. He was treated with borderline contempt—pretty much the way Europeans and Americans have treated primitive peoples since the days of Columbus. It’s actually the normal human attitude, when an advanced culture encounters a backward culture. The Chinese see their culture as superior to even that of the West, and believe—probably correctly—that they’ll soon be economically and technologically superior as well.
Yup. While the USA wastes its time in the Middle East and goes into debt, and while Europe continues to suicide itself, China is wisely and quietly taking over the continent that will be the most important place in the next 50 years…
Nonetheless, Africa is going to be the epicenter of what’s happening in the world for years to come. It’s gone from being just an empty space on the map in the 19th C, to a bunch of backwater colonies in the 20th C, to a bunch of failed states that people are only vaguely aware of today. Soon, however, it will be frontpage news.
Eighty years from now, Lagos, Nigeria will be the largest city in the world. It’s on track to have a population of more than 90 million. The world’s second biggest city will be Kinshasa in the Congo with about 80 million people. Dar es Salaam of Tanzania will be the world’s third biggest city with a population of roughly 75 million people.
Reason number 247 that Western civilization is on its way out. Africans are out-breeding all other races, particularly and especially white people. What are small cities now in Africa will be huge, sprawling, mind-bogglingly large metropolises by the time I’m an old man (which isn’t very long considering I’m 3.5 years away from turning 50). It will change everything.
The Collapsing West has no fucking idea of course, nor cares. But the Rising East knows this very well and is taking advantage of it.
It’s going to still be very hard in Africa though…
Just look at what Zimbabwe recently went through. It forcibly evicted 250,000 Europeans, and stole almost all their property. There are only about 5,000 Europeans left there now. I was last there a couple of years ago. The place now produces nothing but people and political agitation. It used to be the breadbasket of Africa. Now it’s going back to bush.
You’d think South Africans would say, “Geez, that country’s economy was totally destroyed by politics and envy. That wasn’t a good idea; we ought to act more intelligently.”
But they’re doing the opposite. They’ve announced a plan to confiscate, without compensation, all the white-owned land. They started with two game farms a few weeks ago. Everything will be distributed to cronies of the President and his ministers. Then, having evicted the two white tribes—the Afrikaners and the British—the remaining nine black tribes will start fighting over everything.
Why is this? Is it because South African blacks are that stupid? I thought about it, and the answer is “no.” They actually view what happened in Zimbabwe as a success.
The blacks went from owning, say, 10% of the country’s wealth to now owning, say, 99%. That looked pretty good. The fact the absolute amount of wealth fell by perhaps 75% is irrelevant to them.
It’s a different way of looking at things. No black in South Africa thinks Zimbabwe made a mistake. They consider getting rid of the white people a triumph.
This is obviously racist. But Africa is probably the most racist place on the planet. Most people in Europe and the US either don’t know this or, if they do, they’d never admit it.
Again, even though Africa will be a very important place in several decades, the Africans are going to have to deal with the biggest problem they’ve always had: themselves. No, not “European colonization” or Chinese or whatever. Just like the problem in Europe is the suicidal Europeans and not the immigrants they’re hording in, the problem in Africa is the racist, irrational Africans hell-bent on keeping themselves in perpetual poverty.
Will these huge future African cities be shining cities on the hill like Hong Kong or Singapore? Or will they be expansive hellholes the likes of which we have never seen?
It’s up to the Africans. No one else.
The most interesting thing will be how China deals with all of this. Unlike the West, China isn’t politically correct and doesn’t take any crap…
[African] governments really only know how to do one thing: steal. In Congo it’s likely to be more overt. In South Africa, they’re passing a law which mandates blacks must own 30% of the mining company’s shares, plus get a 1% royalty, plus be in the majority of management. And a lot more. I may be slightly off in the numbers, working from memory—but it’s going to destroy mining. These people are actually insane.
On the kind of bright side, since the Chinese have significant investments in Africa, they’re not going to let the African governments confiscate their assets and run them into the ground.
If bribing political leaders proves ineffective, it’s possible that they’ll put soldiers’ boots on the ground. They could send in the Red Army to defend their assets. Or send in assassins to take out individual African politicians.
I’ve been thinking the exact same thing. If Africa rips off China, China isn’t going to just sit back and take it the way the USA does when North Korea rips it off or the way Europe takes it when it gets ripped off by Africa or the Middle East. Again, China isn’t interested in suicide like the West is. The Chinese don’t give a shit about being nice or fair. If Africa screws with China even a little bit, Africa is going to get bitch-slapped in ways they haven’t been for over 100 years.
Given all of this, is it still a good idea for young entrepreneurs to move to Africa and start their fortunes there? YES! When asked about this, Doug said:
Absolutely. I know what I’ve been saying may sound contradictory.
After all, if Africa is likely to go into economic, political, and sociological collapse in the decades to come, how can there be opportunity?
There’s plenty of opportunity, however, because the playing field is very uneven in Africa. And that’s exactly what you want.
You don’t want a level playing field; you want one tilted in your direction. If a young American or European stays in their own country, he’s just like 100 million other people. He’s got no marginal advantage.
If you go to Africa, it’s a different story. You’ve got a ton of marginal advantages. You are likely the only person that has a certain background, set of skills, education, capital, and connections. You’re automatically very unusual. That makes it much easier to make things happen.
You can be sitting down with the president, or the richest guys in the country, in a couple weeks after you arrive on the scene.
I think that it’s an excellent place to go for an individual from Europe or America that wants to get wealthy. And have an exotic adventure as a bonus.
Exactly. If you’re a young guy and want to make a lot of money very fast, and don’t mind living in a semi-shithole for a few years, Africa is the place to go. Because:
1. It’s at the bottom; the only way it has to go is up. And as I’ve said, parts of Africa will get better. Slowly, but they will.
2. You’ll have instant clout as a non-African, as Doug described. If you’re white, that’s even better, but even Asian /Hispanic / Indian guys will do well.
3. The population growth is exploding over there, and will for at least the next 50 years. This is all kinds of good for business opportunities. No where else in the world is the population growing this fast.
4. Geoarbitrage and everything else I talk about in my book about starting and maintaining an Alpha 2.0 location independent business applies to Africa.
If I was single, no kids, and in my 20s, I would go to Africa (SE Asia would be my second choice) to start a business. I would plan on staying there five years, make as much money as I could, set up some flags over there, then move somewhere else while maintaining my growing Africa income.
If you’re going to ask me about what kinds of businesses to start over there, read this.
Africa is definitely one of the places to watch over the next decade or two.