Cagua: US's attitude gives meaning to Dambisa Moyo's book, Dead Aid

Essentially the US position boils down to: We will grant you limited duty-free access to a few of your low value-added exports (and as this is a unilateral gesture on our part we can withdraw it at will, for any or no reason whatsoever) if you accept to continue to be a garbage dump for our used clothes.
Rubavu’s Mahoko market offers large volumes of caguwa and attracts people from rural villages who seek good deals on used clothes. Net photo.
Rubavu’s Mahoko market offers large volumes of caguwa and attracts people from rural villages who seek good deals on used clothes. Net photo.

Editor,

RE: “Kagame speaks out on US threat over used clothes ban” (The New Times, June 23).

 

Essentially the US position boils down to: We will grant you limited duty-free access to a few of your low value-added exports (and as this is a unilateral gesture on our part we can withdraw it at will, for any or no reason whatsoever) if you accept to continue to be a garbage dump for our used clothes.

 

Put that starkly, the American position is very laughable and our accepting that ‘bargain’ would but put donkeys’ ears around our heads.

 

Thank you Mr. President for standing up for our interests and our dignity – as usual. I have no doubt about back-channel arm-twisting from our American ‘partners’ to reverse this very wise collective decision by the EAC to stop being a dump for others’ used garbage.

We all remember the American ambassador in Kampala visiting that country’s Speaker of Parliament and threatening AGOA consequences if Uganda persisted in implementing the EAC Summit’s decision to phase out the imports of such garbage.

The American attitude on this issue is a perfect illustration of how the west has maintained Africa in our under-development while claiming to be ‘giving us aid’. This kind of attitude gives full meaning to the title of Dambisa Moyo’s seminal book, Dead Aid!

Indeed, as ‘cagua’ imports keep us down in at least two ways: We act, literally, as a landfill for other people’s used and unwanted things (things they want to get rid of) and we sacrifice our right and ability to establish industries (and generate local employment and human capital formation) because no industry can compete with such dumped used things.

Again, thanks Mr. President.

Mwene Kalinda

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