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U.S. Other Interventions and Non-Interventions in Africa

Sunday, May 29, 2011

U.S. Other Interventions and Non-Interventions in Africa

In terms of economic intervention, Sierra Leone and Chad may offer positive examples of what the world community can do to affect policy in Africa. In 2000, the UN imposed a ban on the purchase of diamonds from Sierra Leone, sales of which had been used in large part to fund that nation’s civil war. Two years later, the 11-year war ended in a ceasefire.

Also in 2000, construction began on a pipeline through Chad, an extremely poor country in which oil had been discovered. Rather than permit a repeat of past mistakes, a consortium of companies (including America’s Exxon and Mobil), along with the World Bank, devised a strategy to prevent the nation’s rulers from misusing funds.
Agreements included stipulations that 80% of all oil revenues would be spent on improving health, education, and welfare for the populace. Another 10% would go into escrow accounts for future generations, 5% would be directed toward the local populations in the area of the oil fields, and only 5% would be placed in the hands of the government to do with as it pleased.

Nigeria: counterfeiting and advance-fee scams:
 Another economic and legal battleground—one where problems remain is Nigeria. One of the leading nations in Africa in terms of size and potential wealth, with its oil riches, Nigeria is only slightly more stable than its neighbors, and criminal activity is rampant. The country is particularly notorious for its counterfeiting operations and its business scams.
Nigerian counterfeiting involves not banknotes, but consumer and industrial goods, including garments and textiles, electronics, spare parts, pharmaceuticals, personal products, and even soft drinks. The reason, in part, is that intellectual property owners, frustrated with the national bureaucracy, have done little to put a stop to counterfeiting efforts there. Additionally, owners of rights to these products are often unaware of counterfeiting activities in Nigeria. The Nigerian government has injunctions against these crimes, but has been largely ineffective in pursuing them.
In 1999, years of military rule in Nigeria ended, and U.S. officials took advantage of this opportunity to strengthen law enforcement efforts there. In July, 2002, the two countries signed an agreement for increased lawenforcement cooperation. Part of the agreement was a grant of $3.5 million from the United States, intended to help Nigeria modernize its police force and provide additional resources to the country’s special fraud unit, which targets 419 known scams.


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