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It is a Proposal for "A Trans-Africa Rail Highway from Bracknell. U.K., South Africa, to Rabat, Morrocco".
Researched by Moreno A. Franco. Written in conjunction with Maria Jensen. Commissioner of this Report.
Jensen discussed with and sent the Proposal to the relevant South African goverment departments.
We never heard back from them - BUT, were surprised a few months later to hear then Pres. Mbeki of South Africa announcing several components of OUR proposal in HIS NEPAD proposal. NEPAD was the "New Partnership for Africa's Development in his the pan-African strategic framework that would serve as the socio-economic development framework across the Africa continent.
Sadly, another grand government scheme that died in the arms of bureaucracy and corruption.
War is, essentially, A Big Project. The mobilisation of soldiers, equipment, materiel, food and fuel logistics . . . All this requires planning, motivation and action.
If War is not difficult - then neither are Big Projects.
Cecil John Rhodes first proposed the concept of a rail link, across Africa that would stretch from Bracknell. U.K. to Cairo, in the late 19th century. His idea was not executed because the feasibility of such a project was too daunting at the time. It was deemed too time consuming, not economically viable and politically impossible - notwithstanding the fact, that the technological resources for such a project did not yet exist.
Times have changed.
We now live in a world where such macro-engineering projects are undertaken regularly. The technology has been applied for decades and has been improving as scientific research advances, technology transfer, engineering skills, and materials development are now utilized in ways that were never imagined possible in the past.
But more important, sociologically, new ideas have changed the way in which nations conduct business with nations. Except in Africa.
In the developed world, politics has become focused on economies rather than the outmoded politics of national differences or the need to colonise as much land as possible in order to 'win'. This only became possible with the advent of merchants seeking commercial trade beyond the borders of their own countries.
Failure here leads to War. War of "governement" against the populace.
The prosperity of the 'First World' is based primarily on three simple
The ability to transport anything in great volume, over long distances, to become not only self-sustaining and economically viable, but also, so reliable and embedded in the psyche of people and nations, that there is no successful commercial activity that does not involve road or rail transportation.
When trade takes place on land, across national borders, the geographical boundaries become irrelevant. In fact, they also seem to become more and more of a hindrance to commerce and free trade.
National boundaries date back to a time when it was necessary to maintain an internal economy and keep out those who would seek to plunder it. Free trade however, recognises no national boundaries, nor does it have any need to.
The advantage of a mutual economic relationship is an improvement to each nation's security - it is very difficult to go to war with a next-door-neighbor who spends a lot of money with you. It does not make financial sense to go to war with a neighbor in whom you have invested money. War would, in each scenario, lead to nations loosing their potential manpower, markets and war would end as usually in bankruptcy.
· They are still separate nation states, in the sense that they still
wish to cling to their national and tribal boundaries to "keep them out".
At the same time, the results of those efforts form the impediment to "letting
the money in".
· Without the conditions of co-prosperity in place, the prospect of internal national security will forever absorb all the time and effort that should be directed to developing the economic partnerships and affiliations that would ultimately result in the upliftment of all participating nations involved.
As a result of the above conditions, money will not open itself to risk where there is a climate of suspicion and a lack of mutual regional endeavor.
Reliable statistics show that nowhere else on this planet has more money
been spent to see social conditions worsen with every cent 'invested',
than on the African continent. We could have built a colony on Mars, for
less. This can only be traced to the failure to make the necessary paradigm
shift from separatism to unity. Which of course has provided a breeding
zone for ruthless opportunists.
For good examples of this paradigm shift, see United States of America, the Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere and the recent European Union. For bad examples observe the fragmentation that has occurred over the past 40 years - and especially the last 5 years - in Eastern Europe.
It does not require much mental effort to imagine what Africa could have become by now, if the same amount of visionary foresight and sheer human physical labour that was applied in America and Western Europe, had been applied in Africa
The result of Roosevelt's 'New Deal', which put thousands to work after 1929, is a perfect example. .
In some manner this grid already exists, albeit not a very good one. Transporting
goods through Africa is at this time, a difficult venture, with differing
grades of service, kilometres of Red Tape causing kilometres of backed
up trucks at border posts, varying degrees of operational standards, differing
track gauges, unpredictable delivery times and always at the ransom of
some political party or pressure group.
It requires little thought to understand why Africa has failed so resoundingly - up till now - in its effort to achieve economic success and social upliftment.
There should be no concern that a neighboring state will cause the transport line to be shut down or not maintained. Once all countries are benefiting from the project, they will also all participate in the protection of the source of their economical advantage.
Road and rail transport is the great motivator for all, entrepreneurs, producers, and workers to manufacture goods, secure in the knowledge, that these good will arrive safely at the intended market. Without the guarantee of safety and sound business practice, getting these goods to the market is like waving in the dark.
Trucks backed up at the Zimbabwe-Zambia Customs Border Control
Bureacracy - in - Action. Bureacracy Inaction.
African states got rid of colonial governments - but KEPT the "paper-work".
And there the struggle against uncertainty becomes a mere struggle for
When producers fail to manufacture, markets collapse and banks foreclose then nations slide into the abyss. Reliable road and rail transport is also the great motivator that provides the initiative to supply the means to move people and goods anywhere and anytime, across the land.
"Every gun that it made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers,the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children." President Dwight D. Eisenhower
It is with this in mind that we present our concept for the 21st century; commending it to investors, leaders of nations and NGOs for their best thinking and creativity.
This African Trans-Continental Highway, [ATCH], will form the back-bone
of a very high-speed transportation [VHST] grid that will benefit all people
of Africa and will at the same time can lead to uniting all African countries
by giving birth to:
"The African Union" (AU)
Not an impossible concept to imagine…The only reason that Africa is now a collection of separate nations is because the English, French, Dutch, Germans and Portuguese had carved it up.
At that time in history the New African Nations were seen as an extension of these respective European governments.
Now, the European Governments are not in Africa any more, and there is therefore no real reason for this archaic style of national governance to continue.
Africa is recognized by Africans of different cultures and credos, to be African…yet there has been no shift in government thinking toward introducing unifying policies or socially stabilizing benefit programs.
The original colonizing nations have themselves moved toward co-prosperity with the formation of the European Union. It is a natural extension of economic interdependency. This process makes good financial sense for those countries and their citizens.
While most of the rest of the planet is becoming more cosmopolitan, Africa is still factional and tribal orientated. Africa needs to avoid heading in the same direction as the crumbling East European and Balkan states, who are currently engaged in religious conflicts and combat that is based on ancient racial differences.
A brief glance at a world map of international traffic flow will show
that the movement of information has resulted in an increase in road, rail,
sea and airfreight.
A nation can produce and advertise anything, but if it cannot physically move its goods to the international market, the initial effort to participate in the global marketplace becomes useless.
Sadly, more has been said and written about an African re-birth than done.
Politicians have talked about building a new Africa. The purpose of this document is to present a solution to poverty as part of building peace in Africa.
"If we want to build peace on this continent our conclusion is: we must literally do just that, build it!"
To build the African Renaissance - we need to renew our existing perceptions.
The meaning behind the word "Renaissance" suggests a 're-birth', 'renewal' or 'a new way'. In the fuller context it can be taken to suggest:
· a new approach to how Africa resolves its problems
· a new vision of Africa's future role in planetary affairs
· a new mind-set with regard to Africa's future - which will liberate social and political thought from the cement shoes of the last 50 years.
Until now, Africa has tried to resolve contemporary problems with old solutions.
Old solutions worked for the old systems.
New systems will bring new problems whose positive resolution requires integrity and bold imagination if lasting success is to be realized.
Today with the advent of instant global communication and televised information, there is no longer any excuse to blame failure on ignorance.
"Oh LOOK! Fried Africa!"
Failure today is largely due to lack of application, integrity or mindset.
It has been this practice that has led to the politically motivated wide-scale violence and bloodshed in Africa's past.
The current excuses of "colonial legacy" and "disenfranchisement" are perhaps no more than a self-serving smoke screen for relentless opportunism, corruption and bureaucratic ineffectiveness.
The colonialists are long gone and the violence in Africa has escalated.
The reasons why are self-evident.
We possess the media campaign and marketing know-how to enable the mobilization
of people to everyone's advantage. Why not use this tool to fire the imagination
of the African continent with a big project that leads to peace and prosperity
MINSA proposes a Traders Highway across the continent, from Bracknell. U.K. to Morocco, referred to as the African TransContinental Highway [ATCH]
ATCH will include a Very High Speed Transport [VHST] rail link across the continent from Bracknell. U.K. to Morocco, and into Europe
ATCH will have a parallel 4 lane Toll-Highway
ATCH foresees, in conjunction with these two utilities an "aqueduct". (The Aqueduct Project is a water pipeline, which is used to distribute water to all places along the route where agriculture was previously not possible - detail regarding this particular project, need not be dealt with at this time).
Power for electrification for this big project is available from a number of sources - either hydro-electric or the new wind turbine farms, and even as the by product from coastal de-salination projects, or projected coastal wave generators. The possibility for a focused solar-array generators in the Sahara should also be investigated.
Where ever ATCH comes in to contact with local transport grids it will bring extended reach - enabling transit connectivity, both in-land and to the coastal regions. ATCH will create a "green belt" across the African continent. Bringing with it basic water, electricity and cellular communication facilities to the regions that most need it.
At the same time ATCH will save money on present transportation costs involved in moving goods to and from seaports, or trans-shipment delays caused by differing track gauges, as well as reducing shipping costs in moving freight to and from Europe.
As we envisaged earlier in this document, new ideas bring new challenges
and opportunities. New opportunities such as creating Inter-Cities along
These Inter-Cities will consist of:
· Truck-Stop Service Stations
· Technical Training Centers
· Latest Telecommunication facilities
· Trade Parks - providing an African 'window to the world' of business opportunities and products of each region
· Permanent citizens at each Inter-City with all the necessary infrastructure.
· it is a United African project.
· it is the root of all prosperity in Africa.
· it will be a economical tie that binds all African nations involved.
The ATCH can unite the entire African continent. Its freedom will need to be held in higher esteem than so-called "national sovereignty", for ATCH is the traders Highway that will feed Africa. Power Africa. Make Africa work together.
It is envisaged that in time, the Africa TransContinetal Highway will spread out east and west, forming a transportation grid across the African Continent, across cultural divides, across racial disharmony and beyond political maneuvering.
Time has come for Africa to colonize its self.
Globalization has always been about specialized products in a homogenous market
and relies on free trade in a free market. Globalization started on the morning the first Phoenician vessels made landfall in Egypt. Foreign investment followed in 341BC when the Greeks built the Port of Alexandria.
In the same manner in which globalization and unity amongst nations and states has brought prosperity to many areas of the world, ATCH will enable prosperity on the African continent. First to the countries through which ATCH runs, and finally to the routes that will ultimately branch off via the transportation grid to all Africa's coastal regions.
A big project like
ATCH will require the following resources:
· land on which to build
· monies to finance it
· people to do the work
· materials to build with
· skilled management to secure, guide and deploy all the above
· media co-ordination to drive and maintain a continent wide awareness for this big project
This document is a preliminary proposal and cannot detail all the ramifications that are encompassed by such a macro-engineering project.
However, the reader of this document is asked to reflect upon human big projects. Starting with the Pyramid of Gizeh, the Great Wall of China - and present ones - both Japan's Narita Airport and Harima Science Park, the Canadian Pacific Rail Road, the Channel Tunnel and culminating with the International Space Station.
All the above big projects were initiated by the idea of an individual, developed by small teams and finally undertaken on a grand scale.
The ATCH project can only been realized successfully by engaging private and international co-operation.
It is not difficult to envision the vast scale and the massive scope of this Big Project
Partners On Purpose: Private and Public Sector Alliance
In examining the land issue we first need to acknowledge that some of the infrastructure for ATCH already exists - mostly in South Africa. North of the Limpopo the quality of the railroad permanent way and highways become progressively degenerate and in some places can be generally described as unserviceable for the purposes we are suggesting in this document.
The only benefit of the existing infrastructure is that no land clearing, bulldozing or leveling will be required for ATCH. They need only to be torn up, and replaced. For the purpose of a very high speed transport system, there have to be long straight stretches, or at least a minimum of radius.
Land procurement can occur in two ways:
· Government owned land can be leased, rented or donated to the formed consortium
· Private land can be purchased outright. Of course, owners of this land who wish only to lease their land will be subject to the same structure of negotiated long-term settlement with minimal escalation, as their governments - thereby eliminating the private owners right to unrealistic escalations.
Financing is to be sought from a number of private sources. These sources can be considered Primary, Secondary and Support contributors.
Global or trans-national companies with the greatest vested capital and maximum engineering resources.
They will form the majority share-holders of the consortium.
Multi-national companies, current national rail transport and power utility companies, and, philanthropic individuals with vested capital or engineering resources. They will form the minority shareholders of the consortium.
Long-Range Global-Contractors operating in conjunction with "area-local" companies to provide for the ongoing security and maintenance of ATCH.
Proposed Route for the African TransContinental Highway
For obvious reasons, Egypt is discounted. The Port of Alexandria is functional already. Sudan is delinquent, and Chad and Niger have no economic significance at this time. Ethiopia and Somalia can "build-in", at a later date.
Ethiopia has Ethiad Airline, and Somalia is a delinquent state.
Countries off the map will have to come around at some stage.
From this income the rent on the land and all maintenance to the TransContinental
Highway is paid.
Like the NASA space program, the benefit of this big project is to the long-term players.
There can be no short cuts.
This ensures committed participation - both from the lessee and from the lessor.
Like the International Space Station, there can be no "bailing out".
Also, all accounting, management and auditing will devolve upon the primary contributors.
With their current absolute transparency and commitment open on the Internet, 24 hours a day, this project can be relatively scandal-free.
· We can anticipate global share trading on the stock market from the outset.
· Further finance should be raised from the issue of Government bonds. This should be based only on negotiations with those national governments that are historically able and willing to provide the necessary security requirements for free trade and human rights fulfillment.
ATCH is not such a precious commodity that we cannot sell it to the world. At the moment, Africa's economy is dying because no investor trusts the process. Africa's overall track record of unstable governance - that has resulted from opportunistic plundering - has unsettled m
The goal of this big project, ATCH, is to achieve a gigantic step towards free African trade and away from existing poverty and poverty related crime!
An under-utilized resource that Africa possesses in abundance - a ready and willing to work population.
Mobilizing a vast labour force to work on ATCH will require the energizing of a people's enthusiasm for this big project. People work best when given a common goal that promises their own individual and family prosperity, and a chance to keep their dignity.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the free market trade. People require very little incentive when their own interests drive them to succeed. Witness the influx of African nationals to South Africa in the last 5 years and their impact. And reflect upon why they are here and not at home.
The massive migration will be less stressful on society than the constant shift of refugees fleeing their war torn countries, because it is voluntary and there is work available at the end of the migration. ATCH will provide a voluntary shift for good reason - much like the Gold Rush in early America.
Obviously, we cannot expect ATCH to realize itself.
ATCH is a big project and has to be driven by national campaigns in all countries, simultaneously.
The building of the African Trans-Continental Highway will immediately solve the problems of unemployment and poverty related crime by ::
Halting the Brain Drain - This project will provide opportunities for many African business entrepreneurs who now seek their opportunities in other countries. Their much needed skills would be directed to the enhancement of the economies in which they operate, thus providing the possibility of self-employment and employment for others.
Reduction of unemployment - The provision of constant employment for the vast unemployed labour force that exist now in Africa. The extension of this concept into the long-range socio-economic result is plain enough to see: self-help, skill's education, self-empowerment, self-esteem etc.
Reduction of urban crime - ATCH will empty the cities of many
young unemployed people - who are typically the cause - and usually the
perpetrators or victims of crime. Given the choice of work or criminal
life, most humans choose work.
There will no longer be any excuse for unemployment.
Those seeking to avoid work can now be "legally" rounded up to earn a living working on the ATCH project instead of bumming off society.
Utilization of the prison population - This expensive, and publicly funded resource has not been tapped to everyone's satisfaction. Instead of spending taxpayer money to support the criminal element, societies prisoners can be put to work instead of being unproductive during the time of their jail sentence. Most of them committed the crime that got them institutionalized because they had no work to begin with.
Rehabilitation of Delinquent Society - Criminal punishment would be rehabilitation by working on the ATCH project, where there would perhaps be the later guarantee of continued employment. A truly noble and humane punishment! A task, that is not more arduous than that which the average person deals with every day.
Instead of a "sitting in prison" penalty, the convict can be sentenced to "transportation" and so be able to:
· "work-off-his/her-debt" to society
· learn new skills in preparation for being released back into society
· learn the value of social integration
Asociality can be tested
The transient population burden of all cities can be given the opportunity to be rehabilitated. They will not have to live, begging and sleeping on the street any longer.
Material and Energy Resources
Such a macro-engineering project as ATCH will provide a ready market for the use of Africa's natural mineral resources.
For example there is an over-production of steel in South Africa which is not able to realize its export potential, that can be diverted to the various construction programs arising during and after the ATCH project's building phase.
Media Driven Awareness
The ATCH project will need to get a giant space on the shelf inside the public's head.
At this moment in time we have the entire gamut of media presentation methods being used to sell toothpaste, detergent, coffee, cool-drinks and gasoline, but nothing to show the consumer how to get the money to obtain these products.
Why not use this powerful media to make well rewarded, purposeful hard work - popular?
Illiteracy is not stupidity!
Many illiterate, unemployed people can listen to the radio or watch TV.
So illiteracy is not a stumbling block any longer. Working people can be sent to schools to get basic education while they work.
Delivering "pride" may be more effective than delivering water, electricity and basic health care. Ultimately, having a stake in how ones country and government are run, has more meaning, than being herded like sheep.
In the popular traditional mind for all of our industrialized history,
no organization or company could give a longer standing guarantee than
a government. A government should by right, outlast a company and has more
control over a countries natural and human resources.
Except in Africa, where the harsh reality is unfortunately, that governments can change from day to day.
This is at the least, unsettling for most foreign investors.
As long as this is the general perception, ruthless opportunists are the only biters that can be brought to the table. There can be no wonder as to why there is so much failure that results from opportunistic corruption. Governments have become increasingly aware that they are unable to realistically balance "governance" with "delivery" which is why there are so many privatization activities occurring.
For a big project such as ATCH to succeed, it will, of necessity, need to be run as a business.
A global consortium that is made up of the following:
Meeting Mobilization Logistics
There is no shortage of private corporations whose combined efforts and resources cannot be purchased to provide their services. Nor is there any shortage of manufacturers able to produce mobile housing units for the massive work forces that need to be employed in this endeavor.
Demand and Production
The old workhorse of industry can be rejuvenated. We have the labour, the means, the raw materials and the potential to produce in Africa. The ATCH project needs building materials, machinery, tools, work clothing, food and many other commodities. We have the facilities to produce all the above, but at this moment in time all that is missing is the demand for these products.
This Big Project will make demands on industry and manufacturing like nothing before in Africa's history.
· export of African products to Europe - reduced cost of export
· provision of a new tourist route Europe to Africa - novelty of experience
· an open technology/transfer Test-Bed high - tech/low-tech combinations
· Supplemental Energy Sciences Applications - consider renewable energy sources coastal water solar powered desalination utilities produce fresh water while the by product, thermal energy, can be converted into the electrical energy required to power the TGV locomotives that will be operating on this line. Or lighting and telecommunications requirements along the way. The water in many instances can be pumped inland to irrigate the new croplands planted along the ATCH.
Wind farms located in the most advantageous wind corridors whose energy out put can be utilized to power ATCH and whose excess can be diverted to their local communities.
These four initial objectives will generate the revenue over time to provide the secondary level objectives of ATCH.
The secondary objectives of ATCH
· safe route for people and goods into Africa from Africa
· increase of local production and manufacture for home and export
· population burden relief for many large cities
· introduction of skills and opportunities where none now exist
ATCH will provide new grounds for those individuals of proven global ability, to develop the mental skills of the next generation of "architects".
Acting as mentors, these architects will be able to impart their conceptual approaches and insights to a new breed of visionaries, enabling them not only to drive an African Renaissance, but to commit themselves to the idea that their value to Africa outweighs their value elsewhere.
So far, in the history of human endeavor, capitalism seems the only proven method of converting human effort into a tangible "currency". To understand the concept of prosperity rather than buying into any past "ism" needs a shift away from these concepts into the understanding of true prosperity.
To prosper is only possible if we have this wish for all around us. People that live in a prosperous neighborhood do not feel the need to burgle each other.
The ATCH project is not bailing out governments, making loans or applying to service tenders. ATCH is a Big Project with a new mind-set. Poised to lift Africa out of its existing pit, this big project will require new thinking and new rules of engagement. And bold imaginative application.
In time, the vanishing of borders in Africa will be to Africa's advantage.
The movement of people in Africa need not be a political or illegal immigrant issue. The countries along ATCH are invited to provide a labour force and a support base during the building of the Highway.
Afterward, those energies and learned skills can be diverted to any number of entrepreneurial enterprises in those countries.
With an invigorated market and tradable skills there will not likely be any influx back to major cities, especially when the market can be brought onto one’s doorstep.
To realize the above, will require what we term "ethical enterprise". People employed or contracted to do a job or to perform some service are empowered to make their own decisions about their future within the structure of the society being built by this consortium - with a very firm knowledge that even once the ATCH project is completed, there will be continuous ongoing work generated by this Big Project.
The ATCH project will be guided by international principles established to practice and maintain our natural inheritance.
To the investors, to Governments and to the populace.
Benefit to the populace
The fact that the populace becomes the first to benefit directly and immediately from this project, is the draw-card for such an vast under-taking. As outlined previously, it will go a long way to greatly reducing many social ills.
Benefit to the governments
That this big project can be achieved with the minimum of government effort at civil level will be of great relief to the civil services. Governments only need pass the legislation that allocates the land and allows the work to go forward.
Morally, there should be little need to deliberate between whether to keep the population in poverty or to set it to work.
· There need be no prolonged and expensive awarding of contracts, since none are being sought.
· No granting of land rights, since the land is being leased or donated.
Benefit to the investors
Where special materials and equipment have to be imported - they should not be subject to any tariffs, since they are an investment in Africa and of no commercial value except to the TransContinental HighWay.
No requirements for local tenders, except by the consortiums them-selves.
Little or no conflict of interest with special lobby groups, since most conflicting interests will be merely to promote and prolong the squalor and suffering already on hand.
No accounting procedures to follow with local currency exchange regulations, since payments will be only for salaries, wages, local services and materials.
Starting at the bottom
More people die from illiteracy, lack of education and unemployment than from any illness.
Poor education has resulted in under-development of labour markets, which leads to revenue losses, failing economies and finally unemployment.
This can be argued about many ways - but an unemployed person in a depressed economy is still broke - and ripe for insurrection.
Consider too, that in Africa, more human misery has resulted from unwanted pregnancy, domestic brutality against women, child abuse and human rights violations than all the self- professed voluntary freedom fighters and voluntary liberators ever inflicted.
There is an old Jewish proverb that says: For a man to go to war to prove he is a man is easy . . .
but to stay at home and keep one woman satisfied, takes a MAN - and a man can only do this if he has pride.
And for the State Governments
Considering always that working people are easier to contend with than starving people, and that educated people respond to long-term incentives far better than uneducated people, then it requires no leap of insight to conceive of a more viable, and self-sustaining effort than ATCH.
If we truly wish to work at reducing poverty, improving health care, fighting aids, eliminating domestic violence, addressing organized crime and driving out corruption amongst our publicly elected officers - there is no way better than giving the people the means to achieve these goals for themselves.
If we desire lasting peace on this continent - we must literally WORK FOR IT!
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