Africa’s a dump

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Imagine if Africa didn’t exist. If there was nothing but a big black hole where our rugged horn-shaped continent used to be. Where would oil traders dump their waste? How would ‘conscientious’ companies ‘recycle’ their hardware? What would become of a glut of agricultural produce that no-one can sell anywhere else?

This I know: I’m sick of raising my children on the doorstep of the world’s trash heap. Africa’s young can barely limp along, let alone take one difficult step at a time thanks to the strain of constantly being on an unequal footing with wasteful superpowers. Or is it from wearing pair after pair of holey, ill-fitting footwear donated by goodie-two-shoes philanthropists the whole world over? They should pat themselves on the back, those charitable folk, they’re living the “re-use, recycle” refrain to the full.

Africa, of course, doesn’t have to worry about recycling, they’re too busy trying to put food in their pots. In fact food is just what they need, isn’t it? So let’s be fair, let’s trade, give them a sense of self-worth and all. We’ll sell them what we don’t want or need and it’ll do them a world of good.

But, dear world of good, a mere three weeks ago the Tanzanian Food and Drug Authority recalled the popular S-26 infant milk formula after reports that a fake version was found on the shelves of East African supermarkets. Where on bleeding earth did pseudo baby milk come from? Who made it? Who shipped it to Africa?

And, who really cares, right? Africans are so damn hungry they’ll eat anything, it doesn’t matter who made it, who quality checked it or who sent it. They’re lucky to have something to put in their babies’ mouths, even if it is a bottle full of rubbish. Compared to the threat of malaria, TB, AIDS, political unrest and drowning in an avalanche of debt and debris, what’s a little bit of inferior baby milk here and there?

Now kids, this may be a true story, or just a nightmarish fairytale, but if the world keeps this up, we won’t have to imagine a globe without deepest darkest Africa anymore. This decaying continent will eventually cave in on itself and give the world leave to happily wash their mucky hands of us and our inconvenient eccentricities. The only question will be: where will they wash them?

Does the world treat Africa like a garbage dump?

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