A message to Matt Hancock: Africa doesn’t want you
The last thing this continent needs is another Covid messiah
Africa has long been tormented by experts parachuted in from the West to help with whatever crisis the continent was facing. Yesterday, the UK’s former Health Secretary Matt Hancock became the latest in this line, appointed as UN envoy to Africa on matters relating to Covid-19.
There is nothing in Matt Hancock’s résumé to suggest that he would know what’s best for Africa. His work in government has focused on exclusively British affairs, and before his he entered politics in 2010, he was an economist at the Bank of England.
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So why is he now being tasked with helping Covid recovery in Africa?
Hancock hardly has a stellar record. Not only did he leave British politics in disgrace after being caught breaking his own lockdown rules, he also botched the handling of the UK’s pandemic response. His own Prime Minister described him as “hopeless”. Given that he failed so spectacularly in a country of 65 million people, it makes me wonder what he thinks he can achieve for a continent of 1.3 billion people.
By appointing Hancock, the UN has once again shown how little they understand about Africa and its fight against Covid. When African leaders sit on “smaller chairs” by the UN’s “big old table”, the big nations play their usual game of musical chairs with “jobs for the boys”.
So it is no surprise that the UN did not consider any of the many highly qualified African politicians and technocrats for this position. Why not Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa from 2012-16, for instance? Or our Ghanaian sister Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, currently Assistant Secretary-General for Africa? Were they not better qualified than Hancock?
The appointment shows that the UN is oblivious to Africa’s real fight: not Covid, but the devastation caused by Covid restrictions. The enormous socioeconomic crisis that has begun to impact the continent because of the measures imposed by the West has caused untold damage. As recently shown in a UNICEF report, “an additional 140 million children in developing countries are projected to be in households below the poverty line” as a result of Covid policies. Education is just one example of this immiseration of Africa’s children: a report issued yesterday by the Global Schools Forum found that “Only three schools in Kenya (of 22) and 11 schools in Nigeria (of 59) reported that over half of their students had access to learning.”
Hancock’s appointment will not deliver the “magic bullet” that will fix Africa. This continent does not need a Covid Messiah, particularly as the West has been infinitely more hard-hit than countries in Africa. The truth is that Africa does not only need to recover from Covid-related impacts: it must also recover from the UN and decades of misjudged interferences, enacted through mouthpieces like Matt Hancock.
Dr Samuel Adu-Gyamfi is Head of Department of History and Political Science at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana.
I’m afraid that African countries are going to have to stand up for themselves against the UN, which is entirely corrupt as this appointment shows. To do that, African countries will have to organise and work together. Good luck.
You miss the thing that Africa is totally corrupt as a entity of over 50 countries. Anyone who got any success in gathering some kind of Pan-Africa community just ended up being the wrong guy with the wrong purpose.
The best hope for Africa I can think of is if some American Black person of exceptional talent, and unshakeable honour, formed some kind of African, advisory, Congress funded by the free world (no China) so that a corruption free, and well advised, African group could form around that core. The problem is our own politicians are so corrupt they would chose the wrong person…..
I think a Charles Payne kind of person, and it could work….
Actually I just looked at Payne’s wiki and it is both clouded, and yet one of great achievement – There are just not many truly Great men anymore…. But still, one has to work with what one has…..
(ps I wonder how Lesley would respond to this post…)
“You miss the thing that Africa is totally corrupt as a entity of over 50 countries. ”
Did you miss the part where corrupt western corporations and politicos have meddled, exploited, messed with and installed their own kind of self-dealing leaders in Africa for their own personal gains.. including, but not limited to ‘vaccine testing’?
Oh by the way, I just wonder what happened to the 3 African Nation leaders that came out against the ‘covid gene therapy’….
Oh THAT’S RIGHT.. they are dead!
Color me shocked!
“Did you miss the part where corrupt western corporations and politicos have meddled, exploited, messed”
Have you missed the Global Chinese policy of ‘Default Diplomacy’?
They find some gov minister in charge of something, pay him $ to give them the concession to build great infrastructure (then only use Chinese labor and goods to do it) which the country cannot afford to repay. (ideally in $ denominated debt so it really makes it impossible to pay)
Then they force a default and take the resources!!! They did this to Celon’s biggest port that they now own and use for commercial and military – they are doing this everywhere in Africa! Take Montenegro where they did this – in Europe! (google it if you do not know of that one)
China is the pillager of the third world – The West is nothing like so predatory.
edited to try to get around the moderation – why can’t they fix that?
Think you’ll find the role is unpaid
Why does the writer consider he siesta for the whole of Africa
if he believes the statistics published by most African countries then he is clearly not a clever man
Thank you for this article. It’s good to hear an African perspective about the effects of lockdowns in Africa. As the Oxford epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta noted near the start of the pandemic, lockdowns are designed by cosseted middle class Westerners to protect themselves. They will only damage less developed countries.
I am from Africa and I have been commenting against lockdowns and the hundreds of millions who have been tipped into poverty since the beginning of the pandemic.
Thanks for your courage. We are with you in heart, spirit and mind.
Get him the hell away from us. Africa does not want or need him.
Does *anybody* want or need him?
Can he dispatched to one of those Islamic African countries which take a no-nonsense view of adultery?
Actually Hancock needs to be sent to a penal island to learn what lockdowns are really all about.
‘Down Under’ comes to mind (and I don’t mean under a skirt).
“This continent does not need a Covid Messiah” TRUE, or not that kind. If they need one it is one to help assess the HUGE damage done to Africa by the likes of Hancock, Boris, the EU et al, Biden and the developed world by locking down – and so reducing economic activity massively, and thus Impoverishing the developing world!
The Covid Envoy they need is one to catalogue the damages to the developing world by China, and the Developing World’s Response to covid! Hancock is prominent on THAT LIST. If there is ever a form of Covid Nuremberg, then call Hancock and his ilk, but not now.
– an excellent article. Hancock as Covid Tsar is same as Blair as Middle East Peace Envoy, Tedros as WHO leader, and all the other insanely wrong political appointees who do more harm than if one set about intentionally wrecking some place. (Paul Bremmer in charge of the Iraq rebuild, Dulls Brothers in the CIA, Sikes-Picot in Arabia….)
Why would any respectable organisation countenance employing Hancock. A lying dishonest philandering useless individual ?
Excellent article! It is amazing that anyone might think Hancock is qualified to do anything …
Maybe Hancock could bring his sidekick covid prophet, the failed pandemic prediction analyst, British epidemiologist and professor of mathematical biology, who specialises in the patterns of spread of infectious disease in humans and animals?
“The enormous socioeconomic crisis that has begun to impact the continent because of the measures imposed by the West has caused untold damage.“
Forgive me of my ignorance, but are the countries of Africa sovereign nations? I don’t understand how the West would impose measures in a sovereign African nation.
It clearly means the anti-covid measures imposed in the west and their impact on Afirican countries
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