– Can we afford the abuse visit upon us by, outdated self serving and ill-informed agencies who determine us a risk at whim-
This past week Eskom, Africa’s powerhouse was downgraded by Moody’s. Our banks equally and our countries in Africa find themselves downgraded almost at whim as a leisure and pleasure and arrogated afforded right of those who claim an inalienable right to assess economic performance exemplified in risk appetite.
Standard &Poor’s name says more than what meets the eye for they are the barometer for what is held up as a standard for Africa whilst it equally sets the tone how to keep Africa poor.
These almost simultaneous actions of the agencies without true justification when we consistently have remained a safe, resilient and growing economy one of the few who firstly withered the 1998 Asian flu and recently the USA engineered recession, notwithstanding an up flare of recent labour based strikes.
It made me pause and reflect on the dualism if not ambiguity of the work and actions of these agencies. Not only do they fail to loosen themselves from the archaic claim of a right to determine, but they do so stoically trapped in a European loyalty of yesteryear when the economic trends and growth points have shifted and the fundamentals of capitalism are laid bare for what it is as that not in the interest of the masses.
These agencies in a sense act with impunity as the actual mouthpieces and foot-soldiers of a colonial mind and agenda that seeks to keep Africa longer in the misery of enslavement, whilst it continues to rape this continent in the name of claimed standards of investor safety and risk aversion.
To cite this dichotomy, if SA contributes to the major portion of the global platinum economy why would investors deem themselves a right to act as if they have an option outside South Africa for platinum and equally can determine the investor risk for this their very need.
I thought what about the Nyerere- Mbeki Agency for Africa, measuring Africa for the tremendous advancement she has and is making not in parity of Euro- defined values but for finding its own solutions such as the African Development Bank ( AfDB), its Economic Commission along with emerging entities such as the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, governance rankings.
These are all measures to bring the uniqueness of what Africa stands for in freedom of mind and vision.
If these “world- renown agencies” pronounce the question becomes in whose interest do these rating agencies act, does Africa fit their static and conclusive European paradigm? Can we afford these agencies to play Russian roulette and downgrade African institutions like Eskom our Worldclass banking sector at whim as is currently the case. Is it not time we have our own African based Rating Agency, for the African reality and vision.
Before we are told slow down we are all part of a global economy and world, let me say this global world has less stopped to understand and take serious the mass of Africa in its fundamental variables and as contributor to the baseline economies of those who define the meaning of these agencies.
I thought of the words of Patrick Smith in his editorial of the Africa Report issues in August/September 2011.
“The idea that risk analysts and rating agencies might know what is really going has long been the triumph of hope over experience. Western economies are in their fourth year of downturn since the financial experts misread the fragility of the US home loan market, then managed to wildly underestimate the implications of these financing swindles across the money markets and state treasuries of Europe.
As demonstrators take to the streets in Athens, Lisbon, Madrid and London to protest state spending cuts and rising unemployment, there are plenty of lessons for African governments.
The most obvious would be to to treat eying agencies with extreme scepticism. If the agencies can so fundamentally misread transactions in industrial economies with warehouses of detailed documentation, one has to question their ability to understand dynamics in Africa, where most economic activity is informal and many statistics are enlightened guesswork” Patrick Smith ( the Africa Report – Aug/ September 2011)
I concur with Smith when he opines ” a good start would be for African – owned financial institutions to establish their own rating agency.
Let Africa sets its own standards even in our engagements with the emerging dragon or Rawalpindi countries. If Africa enters this new epoch of economic redress it must own the fundamentals that infirm the paradigm of such redress, it must equally own the right to have institutions that will understand the Africa we talk about in Renaissance sense and not the Africa Europe has defined us eternally to be.
If we seek classification it must be on our African terms for w heave a voice we have a means and we have more than a contribution to make, as we say in Mzansi pantsi with Moody & Roberts and Standard & Poor, long live the Nyerere – Mbeki agency.
Bishop Clyde N. S. Ramalaine
Courtesy: ‘Tradewinds are Blowing” – Political Musings and commentary due December 8, 2012
‘Sent from my iPhone whilst waiting on the barber”