Happy New Ago(a)ny

The original title I wanted to give for this post was “Our Darwin’s Nightmare” but as we have reached a brand new year and AGOA is still in the limelight, this one sounds better I think.

I’ve just had the opportunity to watch an interesting documentary last week (I mean last year); Darwin’s Nightmare released in 2004 talks about the tragedy that happening in Mwanza, a small town of Tanzania near the Lake Victoria, one of the biggest lake of the world. After an experience where a predator fish was been introduced into the lake, its proliferation destroyed 95% of the indigenous fish species and destabilized the whole ecosystem of the lake, source of the Nile river and said to be the cradle of mankind. The Perch of Nile, the fish responsible of the mess there feed 2 million Europeans every day with an average of 500 tons export per day. The World Bank and the European Union support financially any further fish factory implantation all owned by foreigners.

In the documentary, an Arab factory owner proudly says that it’s a lucrative business for them and the population there rely mainly and only on fish exportation. But behind the job creation at the fisheries where local peoples’ work are to catch fishes in the lake under the supervision of a master (whose job is to assure that every fish caught from the lake are sent to the factory not in the table of fishermen and local vilagers) and prepare the fish (take the flesh) before packaging, the rest of the population wait for the carcass waste few kilometers away. Despite the great quantity of “perch of Nile” taken from the lake, many Tanzanian suffer from undernourishment and famine, they just can’t eat the fish from their own lake neither can they afford to buy other goods while poverty and famine prevail.

The similarity between Tanzania’s case and Madagascar is I think the AGOA clothing factories which use thousands of low cost labourers. What if these free zone factories mainly owned by French, Chinese and Mauritians have spread all around the regions of Madagascar, turning a great part of the population into menial workers hence make the government easily subjected to any US economical conditions. As we see now, the suspension of Madagascar to be elligible in the AGOA “trade agreement” is purely for political reason. It is more or like the same as Iraq’s embargo during the 90’s because they failed to deal with Sadam Hussein about oil price. Like Tanzanian’s fish factories, AGOA helped poor people to make their ends meet, these Malagasy people who fled from rural area where agriculture can not feed them anymore, trying to find solution by working in free zone factory, but in no way a pillar for the Malagasy economy as some pretend. I guess that if Tanzanian in Mwanza had a choice they would chose to live by their own in their own land and lake. In a nutshell, Agoa is a necessary evil for more than 100,000 people and another thousand who rely on indirect factory input but it’s still an evil created to perpetuate low cost labours of a greedy capitalist system and should not drive the fate of 21 Million Malagasy. Good riddance !

See aslo:
Film review


~ by tolotra on January 4, 2010.

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