Date: Fri, 30 Dec 1994 23:25:48 EST
Sender: The African Global Experience (
From: Erisa Ojimba (
Subject: Why Is Africa Married to the IMF?(fwd)
To: Multiple recipients of list AGE-L (

Original message:
Newsgroups: soc.culture.nigeria
Subject: Why Is Africa Married to the IMF?(fwd)
From: (Deji Odetoyinbo)

Why Is Africa Married to the IMF?

By Deji Odetoyinbo
30 December, 1994.

In a recent interview, the Prime Minister of Canada was reminded of his THREE goals when he came to office:
  1. Keep Quebec in Canada
  2. Keep Canada from falling further into U.S. control
  3. KEEP the IMF out of Canada
Three super goals for any patriotic Leader who is concerned with the economic well being of his/her people.

You correctly state that the above goals are important to a Canadian leader, I'm not sure how 1. and 2. have much relevance outside the Canadian situation.

Perhaps you refer specifically to item 3.

You and I know that in spite of the whining in this nation, the IMF will *never* attempt to brutalise this country with their "medicine" like they do so frequently with African nations. The IMF in its present form is a powerful instrument for permanently subjugation of "them" (i.e. those of us who have agreed to be re-colonised) in a far more efficient fashion than political colonialism ever was. No matter how deeply nations like Canada sink into debt, regardless of their level of fiscal irresponsibility, the IMF will *never*, ever attempt to condescendingly impose economic policy on her.

Can you imagine a Canadian people of their government accepting social and financial policy from a bunch of not-particulary-distinguished bankers in Europe? I think not. You and I have lived here long enough to know that such a government won't survive a parliamentary session after the IMF imposes its first ground rules.

Why then do African countries get and remain "married" to the IMF if it is hated that much by its "masters".

Why? That's obvious. It's Because of our "BRAINDIRTYING". I steadfastly refuse to call the process "Brainwashing" as it is commonly known. When you "wash" something, my understanding is that you make it cleaner, purer, closer to the ideal. On the contrary, to a large extent, our minds have been deeply and thoroughly sullied by our contact with Europeans. I include *all* contact, past and present, wilful and enforced, intimate and casual, malicious and (ostensibly) well-intentioned.

The dirtying process - which goes on even today - has stripped us of (1) the vision which we need to perceive the absurdity of our economic situations (2) the mental clarity to forge more lasting, more beneficial solutions and (3) the self-regard and sheer *guts* that we need in order to move our minds and butts to the hard and painful places where these solutions lie.

Like a wife who is repeatedly battered yet clings to nominal matrimonial bonds because she lives in terror of hard days and lonely nights, we endure the daily rape by European-based financial "experts" who ((sarcastic mode on)) definitely have our best interests at heart ((sarcastic mode off)) when they tell us (to give one small example) exactly what to produce, to whom to sell it and for how much. Then they tell us what goods to buy, from whom and for how much. Like a battered wife, we *know* we are getting - to put it crudely - badly screwed. But we do not have the heart to pursue a divorce and subsequently, an independent life.

That, to answer your original question, is why we remain "married" to the IMF in all its multifarious expressions.


How do we separate ourselves from the IMF and the evils it represents? I don't have all the answers. I'm not schooled in the classic macroeconomic theories and suchlike; so my opinion will appear inelegant or even simplistic to those who claim expertise in the field. That's fine, a lack of formal education can be an advantage when properly channeled; at least my mind has not been dirtied by the economic beliefs of colonials - I think this is an advantage.

What I wish to do is put forward one or three commonsense proposals to jumpstart our thinking (and liberating) processes.

The first is not particularly original, it has been proposed before, it deserves more attention.

We should renege on all our foreign loans; IMF or otherwise. Let the debts pile up! After our so-called creditors rant and rave, they will have no choice but to offer us restructuring terms. ( You might be familiar with the adage "when I owe my banker N100,000, I'm at his mercy; when I owe my banker N100,000,000,000, he is at my mercy." )

We should accept the restructuring and the associated terms (which will invariably include taking more "bridge" loans to improve our production bases so we can generate the income to pay the interest on the old loans....) that accompany the offer to "restructure" the debt.

We should accept it all. And when the time come up to pay the restructured loans, we should claim to be unable to pay and ask for more money and another "restructuring". And so ad infinitum.

And we should encourage other African nations and so-called "third world" nations to do the same.

Let the Paris Club stew, let the World Bank put us on credit watch. Let them threaten to cut us off from international trade. As long as yams and cassava still grow in and rain still falls on Nigerian soil, we can cultivate the raw fuel which will power the reasoning process which will liberate us from the mess.

That is the easy part. Then we need to remake our societies, rebuild the social and political systems which served us so well when we were our own masters. That's the part that will require real blood and sweat and tears.

This is how we should start to terminate our unholy matrimony with the IMF and other foreign instruments of bondage. It's not all we will have to do. But it's a start. I ask you, what do we have to lose?