Denken wir Afrika: Eine konservative Grundsatz-Strategie zur Selbstentwicklung unseres Nachbarkontinents
Bad Schussenried: Gerhard Hess Verlag, 2021
A canny financier in the British situation comedy series Only Fools and Horses proposes a new investment future: “Get your hands round this” he exclaims, then pauses dramatically and utters one word: “Africa.”
That was in the 1980s. 40 years on and there is little evidence that the European Union or the United States have followed advice to “got their hands round Africa,” while in the meantime China, and more recently Russia and the Middle East, have indeed been “getting their hands round” sub-Saharan Africa.
Dietmar Friedhoff is the author of Denken wir Afrika (Let’s Think Africa). He is a member of the German Bundestag for the conservative AfD party and is the party’s official spokesman on African affairs. AfD stands for Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany), a name conceived as a response to former Chancellor Merkel’s declaration that Germany had “no alternative” to accepting mass Islamic immigration. Friedhoff’s short book of 125 pages presents what he sees as an alternative for Africa, meaning an alternative to German government policies focused on development aid and on encouraging Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that prioritize famine and flood relief to stricken areas, all policies without a long-term strategy for partnership with Africa. Friedhoff also believes that the right politics will halt mass emigration out of Africa to Europe, policies dealing with the desperation and ambitions causing emigration in the first place. So Friedhoff’s book is on the one hand a critique of what he considers to be 60 years of misdirected Western development aid, and on the other a plea for a very different African policy to replace it.
Denken wir Afrika consists of seven chapters, the titles of which clearly delineate the writer’s points of departure:
- “Hakuna Matata, Afrika” asks about Africa’s general state half a century after most African countries had obtained independence;
- “How many people can the Earth support” deals with the demographic challenge posed by Africa;
- “Green Lies” is a critique of climate change, understood here as anti-industrial policies considered ruinous to Africa;
- “Inclusive toilets in the desert” throws a spotlight on the absurdities of German development aid;
- “Look out! The Chinese are Coming!” offers a brief review of the Chinese presence in Africa;
- “Made in Germany, can our virtues and values be exported?” looks at what Germany, and by extension Europe, could and should be offering to Africa; and lastly
- “Eye to Eye” offers perspectives for long-term economic cooperation between Germany and the nations of sub-Saharan Africa.
All is far from well in most of those African states which had greeted that newly-won independence with euphoria and optimism in the 1950s and 60s. Friedhoff writes:
Things are not going well for Africa, and conditions, so far as we can rely on projections, are unlikely to improve soon. The first 20 nations on the Fragile States index set up by the US think-tank Fund for Peace drawn up in 2021 (a list of vulnerable or failed states), with the exceptions of Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Haiti, and Iraq, consisted exclusively of states in Africa. . . . In the majority of African states, hostility is resolved through armed conflict, the worst in terms of human losses in recent years being the conflict in Somalia (about half a million dead since 1988), Darfur (at least 300,000 dead since 2003), Nigeria, and South Sudan, where there has been at least 50,000 killed since 2009 and 2013, respectively. . . . Whilst the number of Africans as a proportion of the world’s population continues to rise, its share of the GWP (gross world product) is falling. (p. 19)
For many years, the evident failures of independent African nations to increase their gross national product, develop a population policy, combat hunger and disease, or develop an indigenous industrial base were attributed by most of those in the West directly involved with assistance to Africa primarily to an unequal distribution of resources and to local mismanagement. Those opposed to this explanation have been minority voices with little influence on government policies. It is claimed by some that Africans are inherently incapable of supporting themselves and bettering their lot; alternatively, that the environmental and demographic crises are exaggerated and that Africa is simply experiencing unavoidable growing pains.
Friedhoff accepts none of this. It is a noteworthy feature of Denken wir Afrika that while the writer fully acknowledges the crises confronting Africa, notably the interrelated crises of the environment, demographics, and dependence on outsiders, he strongly believes that Africans are inherently capable of improving their lot and that what is needed is a different policy, or even politics: one of partnership.
At a protest meeting organized by “Extinction Rebellion” in Berlin on October 7, 2019, Carola Rackete, the Capitain of the NGO boat Sea Watch 3 and a darling of the mainstream media, read out a message from someone described as an “environmentalist activist” named Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim. The basic message was that climate change brought about by carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are destroying Chad, turning more and more of that country into desert, and that industries based on fossil fuels were responsible for the carbon dioxide emissions which are warming the planet, with catastrophic results for countries like Chad. It was a typical example of the standard “climate change” narrative. The usual explanation from NGOs and others for floods, famine, and desertifcation around the world has shifted from “unequal resource distribution” and “neo-colonialism” to “climate change” and specifically “global warming.”
Friedhoff acknowledges that much of Africa is indeed faced with daunting and pressing challenges, notably the urgent need to reverse desertification. In his view, however, blaming global warming for environmental problems in Africa, problems which he fully accepts do exist, is to “follow ideologically determined causes belonging to a narrative of a climate catastrophe caused by Western industrial nations.” To this he adds, in low-key fashion, “this view does not necessarily have to have been in agreement with reality.” (p. 125)
Friedhoff turns to the example of Lake Chad, which is in the very country that Ibrahim used as an example of the environmental deterioration which she claims is caused by fossil fuel-induced climate change. In the 1950s, Lake Chad covered 11,583 square miles; by the end of the 1960s, it had shrunk to 8,494 square miles. By 2020 it had further shrunk to a mere 115 square miles. Nobody, notes Friedhoff, can seriously doubt the negative impact of this development, nor that it has taken place. Fauna and flora have significantly diminished, and hunters and fishers who depend on them have lost their livelihoods. Lake Chad is shrinking and may in the near future vanish completely. Lake Chad’s rapid shrinking is an environmental disaster in miniature. But Friedhoff is convinced that the root cause does not lie in carbon dioxide-created global warming. The most rapid decline occurred, according to Friedhoff, in the 1970s, when people were not talking about global warming and no suggestion was made at the time that climate change could be the cause of rapidly falling lake water levels.
The real causes of this disaster, according to Friedhoff, are evident — and it is not global warming. He quotes Patrick Schmelzer describing in 1997 the uncontrolled felling of trees around the lake, the over-fishing of the lake itself, and the extraction of lake water. There is no question, notes Friedhoff, that massive deforestation has taken place over the last half-century. The fewer trees there are, the more arid the land becomes, assisting the desert’s advance (and probably causing a reduction in rainfall, resulting in more arid land, thus creating a vicious circle). The volume of water has been diminishing rapidly as a direct and wholly foreseeable result of human exploitation of the lake.
The most significant cause of the lake’s shrinking, according to Friedhoff, is that fact that ever more water has been drawn from it to meet a rapidly rising demand for fresh water. These things happen in Chad itself, not thousands of miles away in industrialized countries. The answer to this and other environmental crises are therefore not so easy to answer as the one which “Ibrahim, Rackete, Extinction Rebellion, Fridays for Future, and the economic lobby built up around the climate change narrative loudly proclaim.” (p. 27)
Friedhoff calls it ironical that two developments favored by climate activists are themselves both major contributors to global CO2 emissions, namely digitization and globalization. Climate activists seem either not to know or not to care that the Internet also has a carbon footprint, and not a negligible one. In 2018 the Internet output of CO2 was estimated by the Swiss market research association MSM as being 3.7% of total global emissions. That is nearly twice as much as civil aviation (2%), and nearly half of the emissions of all cars and motorcycles (8%). The think tank Shift Project estimates the carbon emission of video streaming at 300 million tons of CO2. The 22 million smartphones in operation in Germany alone in 2020 created a million tons of CO2 in that year. By 2024, it is estimated that there will be an annual e-mail traffic of 360 billion messages. The Internet pioneer Tim Berners Lee calculates that an average e-mail with an attachment entails a CO2 emission of 1.7 ounces. So much for the pious statements of diverse businesses buying into the anti-industrial campaigns of our time, urging customers and employees to use e-mail instead of printed paper “because we care for the environment.”
Africa suffers today obviously and dramatically from environmental impoverishment and degradation, but the writer does not accept that global warming is the first culprit. He sums it up in one pithy statement: “We are not facing a climate catastrophe, but an environmental one.” (p. 31)
It is evident from reading this book that Friedhoff rejects the conventional and establishment thesis that it is climate change which is the prime cause of famine, flooding, mass migration, and even many wars. For Friedhoff, it is at most a contributory factor. So what, in his opinion, is at the root of the problem? The primary causes he identifies are globalization, a failed development policy, runaway population growth, and the (intentional?) blindness which follows upon the fixation on global warming as the primary cause of environmental degradation, desertification, and the overexploitation of natural resources.
Much of this book is nothing more nor less than common sense, but it seems that ideology has replaced common sense among those in positions of influence and power. It is, after all, common sense to remark that the more people there are, the more interventions in natural ecology become necessary in order to provide increased populations with the food, consumer goods, housing, energy, medication, and communications they demand.
For Friedhoff, the root cause of environmental deterioration in the world today is not “greed,” nor “unjust distribution of resources” nor “global warming”; human population growth, he argues, is mainly responsible for environmental decline and, indeed, global warming itself. What Green activists call root causes are secondary ones, all traceable to issues of demographics. For ideological reasons, NGOs and Green organizations play down or even completely ignore the fact that human population levels (and nowhere more so than in Africa) are soaring, and that this is a major cause of exploding city populations and mass emigration, among many other woes.
The facts about current population growth are undeniable. The global population in the seventeenth century was estimated at half a billion; by 1900 it was already 1.6 billion, and that figure had doubled by 1965. It had taken the world 65 years to double its population. The next doubling of the world’s population took only 35 years. The world’s population had reached six billion by the year 2000. At the time this book was being written in 2020, the world’s population had risen to 7.8 billion. Projections for the middle of the century are 10 billion. So it is not “climate change” which poses the greatest challenge to humanity in our time, but demographic growth.
Given that premise, it will come as no surprise to the reader that Friedhoff is sympathetic to the Club of Rome’s standpoint, which took the position in the 1970s that dwindling resources and famine were primarily caused by population increases running ahead of the ability of societies to manage them, thereby positing a Malthusian thesis globally that human growth would be finite to the extent that natural resources are. Where Friedhoff does not follow the Club of Rome thesis, however, is in its linking of industrialization to demographic expansion. He is no fan of the “anti-industrial revolution” of our times, and still less of the deliberate prevention of industrial development in Africa.
Of all parts of the world, it is Africa which leads the way in population growth. Whilst China and even India have shown a noticeable decline in rates of increase in recent years, African nations continue to show accelerating population growth figures. Take Nigeria, for example: It is the most populous African state with a population of 200 million in 2020, and is projected to have a population of between 350 and 450 million by 2050. Lagos had 7.9 million people in 2006; it is projected to have a scarcely credible (and surely ungovernable?) 88 million by the end of this century, should current population trends continue. Nigeria’s median fertility rate is nearly six children per woman. Every year the population of Nigeria increases by seven million, ten times the annual number of children born in Germany (and of those in Germany, a disproportionately large number are of recent immigrant origin).
Denken wir Afrika’s underlying thesis is that population growth is the elephant in the room in discussions about desertification, war, migration, shortage of water, overexploitation of resources, and the scarcity of food. The narrative of the decision-makers has shifted from “fair distribution” to “global warming,” but the elephant has still not left the room.
Taking population growth as his starting point, Friedhoff considers a major factor of environmental degradation in Africa to be the destruction of woodlands. In the last decade, Africa lost approximately 9.6 million acres of woodland per year. A rising population needs wood as fuel for heating and cooking. Additional causes are industrial agriculture for plants and livestock, as well as a thriving illegal timber trade. Only the last cannot be directly — but perhaps indirectly — attributed to the pressures of population increase; it can, however, be attributed to a fact of our times of which Friedhoff is extremely critical, and which is sacrosanct for most Greens and NGOs: globalization. Globalization places power in the hands of global industries which ignore, blackmail, or bribe their way past the interests of nation-states, constructing economic paradigms which maximize the profits of multinational corporations and globalist institutions but stifle national autonomy and, above all, prevent self-sufficiency. An African government whose long-term concern was self-sufficiency would not permit its woodland, oil, metals, or any other natural resource to be appropriated by outsiders.
The consequences of Africa’s recent loss of woodlands will be clear to anyone with elementary knowledge of agricultural economics. The groundwater level sinks, fields and soil then tear open, the ground loses humus and soil quality, and its fertility diminishes. That in turn leads to desertification. That being so, the prime cause of desertification is most probably and simply the destruction of woodland, not global warming caused by industries in other parts of the world. Friedhoff believes — quite rightly in the opinion of this reviewer — that climate activists, NGOs, and the like have (deliberately?) put the cart before the horse. It is not climate change which is at the root of environmental degradation; it is environmental degradation which is at the root of climate change. Like doctors who think they are “curing” a patient by addressing the symptoms of a disease and not its causes, environmental concerns today are focused on a symptom of the disastrous developments in the direction of globalization and unmanaged and excessive human population growth.
Desertification and the loss of livelihood causes a flight from the land and the growth of megacities like Lagos. Get population growth under control, bring back jobs and livelihoods to the country, ensure reverse desertification, and the problem of global warming will resolve itself. That is the simple but cogent message of Denken wir Afrika.
To what extent is the focus on climate change, the flight from the land, and the decline of the small farmer (by no means limited to Africa) the result of poor judgments; ignorance of fundamental laws of economics and science; or corruption, short-sightedness and greed, and to what extent are they the result of something more sinister, namely deliberate policies? Friedhoff seems reluctant to answer that question. There is every reason to believe that so-called “ignorant” or “foolish” aid policies for Africa are in fact intentional, aimed at ensuring that sub-Saharan Africa retains a client status, financially and economically, forever. So-called “leading global strategy advisor,” “world traveler,” author of The Future is Asian, and former student at Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum Parag Khanna looks forward with evident glee to the expansion of mega-cities like Lagos everywhere, conurbations which he hopes and believes will eventually replace nation-states all over the world. Africa’s failure to become self-sufficient and manage its own affairs and its continuing dependence on charity are arguably the result of deliberate policies pursued and maintained by globalist agencies.
In his chapter on “Green Lies,” Friedhoff attacks what he believes is a false narrative about alternative energies. The establishment mantra is exemplified in a statement made by Anja Karliczek, in the name of the BMBF (German Ministry for Education and Research) and available in full on the Ministry’s website; it was uttered before the Green Party was even in government: “We must think green, growth, and great . . . The future belongs exclusively to green hydrogen.” Friedhoff describes this statement as “striking evidence of the influence of Green ideology even where and when Green parties are not in government.” (p. 41)
Friedhoff is no friend of Green “sustainable” energy solutions. He argues strongly that wind and solar energy are far from being as environmentally friendly as their promoters pretend. One argument among many which he offers, and which is shared by many other critics, is that far from being “environmentally friendly,” wind turbines decimate insect and bird life. They are also fundamentally unstable sources of energy, according to Friedhoff, because the energy cannot be stored, but rather must be used immediately or not at all. Furthermore, the cost and energy involved in dismantling and disposing of wind turbines when they have reached their end will be exorbitant.
Friedhoff is more critical still about the much-vaunted e-mobility of the future. “The fact that electro-mobility today is closely linked to overexploitation, child labor, and the destruction of the environment is a fact which is hardly ever acknowledged in public.” (p. 47) Indeed. Obtaining the minerals and metals necessary for electric cars, lithium, cobalt, nickel, and copper take place under conditions which expose the hypocrisy of the Green “alternative energy” lobby. Lithium, a crucial element in most modern electric appliances, is a metal the extraction of which requires massive quantities of water. The mining of lithium is a health hazard and has very negative effects upon the environment. The gadgets of our time, like the “smart phone” and the electric car, inflict huge environmental damage in their production and produce tons of toxic waste. Africa serves as a dumping ground for Greta Thunberg’s smartphone and car. Particularly egregious is the destruction of forests to make wood pellets for power stations in the name, unbelievably or perhaps simply cynically, of “green energy.” It is estimated that between a quarter and a third of the waste of the electronic world, which Green globalists are so enthusiastic about, is illegally exported into either Eastern Europe or Africa. That a cleaner and environmentally happier world will emerge as a result of moving from paper to electronics and from gasoline to batteries for electric power, still less timber-fired power stations or plant-based fuel, is in Friedhoff’s eyes a complete illusion.
The new technology is being promoted not only by Green ideologies throughout the Western world, but by the globalist preachers of the “Great Reset” (which is mentioned in this book, but not long considered). The widely-proclaimed aim, adopted by all major German businesses, of complying with ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) standards seems to be nothing other than compliance with the aims of the Great Reset. ESG targets are in full accord with the aims of Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum, which demands the swiftest possible decarbonization of the global economy and the creation, thanks to what Schwab calls a “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” of a global economy managed and even ruled electronically at the expense of all other means of productive power and communication.
In contrast to this, and ultimately in opposition to it, Friedhoff describes the wish of African states to attain to a continental union which pursues the goal of continental self-sufficiency, a project called Agenda 2063. Agenda 2063’s principal aim is the development of an internal African market, and that means first obtaining autarchy, then establishing efficient intercontinental communications, and finally electrification and industrialization. Friedhoff observes that the German government has shown no interest whatsoever in such an agenda. Quite the contrary, so far as Africa is concerned German governments seem to think that “business as usual” is sufficient for the future — that is to say aid with little monitoring of where the money is allocated or how it is used, coupled with no intention whatsoever of offering any assistance to African states in the development of their own autonomous industries.
Friedhoff has traveled extensively in Africa and writes with some anger and passion about Western charity organizations, groups, and parties, especially the Western Greens wo offer EGS-compatible solutions to other countries from the comfort of their own very comfortable circumstances, including the building of “gender neutral” toilets in the desert! Instead of a one-shoe-fits-all solution, he pleads for local solutions that are adapted to the needs and traditions of the people involved.
Friedhoff stresses the importance which should be given to local circumstances, dynamics, culture, and religion, as well as to gradual rather than sudden changes aimed at raising the output of given crops and the fertility of given acres of land. He gives an example from Ethiopia, where the introduction of one tractor to replace the traditional oxen created more problems than it solved. Subsequently, instead of a tractor, modernized plows for the oxen were introduced; they upturned more land so that seeds could be buried rather than scattered over the surface, thereby becoming ready food for birds. The improved ploughs could be used with no radical break in the traditional rhythms of life. The tractor had been a step too far, too soon. “Acceptance is essential,” writes Friedhoff. (p. 65) Instead of development aid, Germany should be thinking about what Friedhoff calls “self-development aid.” The waste of development aid as currently practiced is certainly shocking. One small example given in the book: Between 2015 and 2018, Rwanda received 100 million euros in development aid from Germany. In 2018 Rwanda’s President somehow had 34.5 million spare euros to lavish on a sponsoring deal with his favorite soccer club, London’s F. C. Arsenal.
Development aid for Africa is condemned here principally for three reasons: firstly, because it does not allow the recipient to assume self-responsibility but on the contrary fosters a culture of dependence; secondly, because it ignores corruption and financial malfeasance; and thirdly, and most fatefully of all, because development aid is ideologically manipulative in favor of Western agendas at the expense of local circumstances — and never more so than since the beginning of campaigns for so-called renewable energy and “sustainable development.” There is a veritable industry of development aid in charities which themselves seem to offer many lucrative and prestigious jobs. Charity to Africa is a gravy train for donors and recipients alike.
Friedhoff pleads for an ending to paternalism in any approach to Africa. He firmly believes that were there a very different kind of politics directing European governments, Africa could develop in a way both beneficial to itself and to Europe. At the heart of his critique — which is not far developed, because this book is too short for in-depth arguments — is a political rejection of globalization both as an ideology and as a desirable basis for economic development.
As is widely known, in order to take advantage of Western reluctance to be involved in substantial industrial projects the People’s Republic of China has invested substantially in Africa in recent years. In the so-called “One Belt One Road” initiative, sometimes called the “New Silk Road,” the Chinese leadership has been working for the control of a pan-continental economic and trade network which presumably bypasses Agenda 2065 and seeks to draw Africa, Asia, and even Europe into the Chinese sphere. China has been Africa’s biggest trading partner since 2009. Africa exports oil, gas, and ores to China, and China invests in building projects. In one respect, Chinese and Western aid is similar: It neither plans for nor wishes for African autarchy. On the contrary, Chinese and Western “support” for Africa prevents the development of African self-sufficiency.
There are significant downsides to the Chinese connection. Like the West, China exports cheap products, including clothes, to Africa, which forces small producers out of business and stymies indigenous African commercial and industrial initiatives. Surprisingly, Friedhoff neglects to mention another aspect of Chinese intervention in Africa, namely the purchase of agricultural land at knockdown prices. There are different estimates about exactly how much African land is owned by China, but it could be as much as 186,000 square miles, which would amount to a staggering 7% of the entire continent’s surface area.
A million Chinese citizens now live in Africa. A small and telling example of Chinese domination is offered by Friedhoff: Three-quarters of Kenya’s slaughterhouses are owned by the Chinese. The Chinese are hungry for donkey meat, and in 2019, according to Friedhoff, 5,000 donkeys were being slughtered in Kenya for the Chinese market per day. That unsustainable rate could lead to the complete disappearance of donkeys this year (2022). Kenyan donkey owners have to guard their animals at night, since demand from the Chinese market is so strong and profitable that all donkeys are considered fair game. The Chinese are also apparently not very sympathetic to a the notion of a fair wage for a fair day’s work. In one incident, at least 11 miners were shot dead at the Chinese-owned Collum Coal Mine in Zambia for committing the crime of protesting against low wages and poor conditions.
Some Africans accuse China of operating as a new colonial power. The Chinese stress that China, like Africa, suffered from colonial exploitation, and so it is unthinkable that China would behave like a colonial power. Playing the “all animals are equal card” (we were all colonised, so we are all equal, with the same ambition and pride) seems to be the usual Chinese argument to prove that they must be different from the former white “exploiters.”
The book argues for a German, and by extension a European, alternative policy which would be more beneficial than government aid and more attractive to Africa than China’s (the book does not mention Russia) top-down major construction projects. I am reminded of a book published in 1986 by Alain de Benoist called Europe Tier Monde même Combat (Europe–Third World, Same Struggle). De Benoist argued that the creation of major autocentric economic zones would maintain the world’s diversity and economic and cultural wealth, and that Europe could be a competitve point of attraction for Third World countries, thus challenging the then global hegemony of the Soviet Union and the United States.
More than 40 years on, Dietmar Friedhoff is presenting an argument somewhat similar to de Benoist’s, albeit with less stress on cultural diversity and more on economic and environmental necessity, and with typical German pragmatism. Germany is in a position to challenge Chinese predominance in economic projects in Africa, Friedhoff believes. For a start, German products and skills are more reliable. He reports on shoddy Chinese workmanship, citing an example: Apparently a “made in China” road in Zambia was completely washed away by the tropical rains soon after its completion! “Would that not be the moment” Friedhoff muses, “for German engineering, with its legendary reputation for quality, to step into the breach?” (p. 97) A prosperous Africa could reciprocate by offering German businesses alluring new opportunities.
In his summary, Friedhoff resumes his principal arguments. He insists that the world is not facing a climate catastrophe, but an environmental catastrophe whose main cause is overpopulation, the elephant in the room which the Green Left globalist lobby willfully ignores, and so fails to explain the true nature and cause of environmental degradation: “The fatal mechanisms of global consumer growth, population increase, and the destruction of the environment go hand in hand.” (p. 112)
Finally, this writer offers seven guiding principles so far as Germany and Africa are concerned. (One feels this could apply beyond Africa as well.) The first is that environmental protection is protection of one’s own land; the second is that there should be trade rather than charity; the third is self-sufficiency rather than dependence (and stripping development agencies of all taxpayer funding and stopping direct government aid and charity programs altogether); the fourth is bilateral partnership without bureaucracy or Western paternalism; the fifth is to stand up to and fight the immigration lobbies, NGOs, and industries; the sixth is for there to be no economic cooperation with states that systematically contravene fundamental individual rights; and the seventh is a call for a strong and self-confident Germany to stand for a strong and self-confident Africa.
In his short book, Dietmar Friedhoff has outlined the points of reference needed for a wholly new policy towards Africa. His plea is a cohesive appeal for a policy alternative to the globalists’ aims, which is to reduce Africa — and not only Africa — to permanent, unrelenting, and hopeless colonial status under the auspices of a global elite.
This modest book presents outlines for such an alternative policy to the current globalist-driven program, not only for Africa but ultimately for the world. Despite its gloomy realism, Denken wir Afrika is a book which speaks of great chances for a better world if politics and priorities could be radically changed.
Friedhoff is a little unclear as to how much he really seeks to blame CO2 in any way for climate deterioration in Africa or anywhere else. On one hand, he points to other factors at work, most notably demographic change, in the example he gives of Chad; on the other, he attacks the notion of ecologically-friendly Green politics aimed at replacing fossil fuels with sustainable energy on the grounds that sustainable energy measures themselves create a substantial carbon footprint. More clarity in this area would have improved Friedhoff’s arguments.
The book gives the impression of having been written in haste. It is very short, dealing with important and far-reaching issues in a too cursory a fashion. Friedhoff makes no attempt to distinguish between different African states in outlining his proposals, despite the fact that circumstances may vary significantly from one part of Africa to the next. He seems quite uncertain as to whether he is making a proposal specifically for Germany alone to change its relationship with Africa, or rather for Europe or perhaps the European Union, or even all those countries which might be called “the West.” He claims to write specifically about Africa and Germany when nearly everything he writes about is applicable outside Europe and outside Africa as well. Regarding his lack of clarity about the role played by CO2 emissions, it is perhaps not a coincidence that this lack of clarity is shared by the political party of which he is a member.
The virtues of this book outweighs its faults, however: It proposes a radically different approach to relations between industrialized nations and non-industrialized ones. It also offers a welcome critique of the current Green environmentalism’s hypocrisy. Most importantly, the author insists clearly and emphatically that Africa will never prosper so long as its population growth remains at anything like current levels.
Hopefully, more books in different languages will appear in coming years to offer similarly coherent and convincing critiques of the lies about Green energy and global warming — a lie because it ignores or even denies the primary cause of nearly all environmental woes, namely runaway population growth.
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