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Tax incentives to invest Africa: chance for development or more Françafrique?

Le Pangolin [Fr] posts an excerpt from Le Journal du Dimanche on a new provision that would reduce taxes for French companies that invest in developing countries, “especially in Africa.”

According to the excerpt, one logic behind the provision would be to encourage more private investment in the hopes that it could accomplish the results that foreign aid thus far failed to realize.

It's a measure supported by many members of the UMP, France's right-leaning majority party, although some socialists have decried it as another example of Françafrique.

Musengeshi Katata, who blogs at Le Pangolin, is skeptical.  He calls the new measure “an open door” for French companies and African governments to defraud the public:

Ce que Lefèvre a proposé est déjà pratiqué et reconnu dans tout le monde riche et industrialisé. En Allemagne ou aux Etats-Unis, cet exonération d´impôt pour cause d´utilité au développement permet, moyennant quelques séjours en Afrique et des signatures africaines d´autochtones corrompus, à faire aux intéressés occidentaux des gains financiers énormes sur leurs redevances. 

What Lefèvre proposed is already recognized practice throughout the rich, industrialized world.  In Germany or in America, this kind tax exemption for reasons of development allows Western interests, in exchange for a few vacations in Africa and some signatures from corrupt Africans, to make enormous financial gains on their [tax payments].

Des acteurs, des sociétés d´aides, et même des faussaires industriels qui envoyaient des médicaments punchés et périmés en Afrique en les déclarants sains et entiers en faisaient largement l´abus. A la fin, on se demande si on doit se laisser encore une fois tromper par des instruments prétextes qui n´avaient qu´un seul but: tromper et enfoncer l´Afrique dans un plus grand désespoir économique et financier. 

Some actors, some aid organizations, and even some counterfeits who send expired medicine to Africa, declaring them safe and uncompromised, have committed wide-scale abuses.  In the end, we have to ask if we want to be fooled yet again by these instruments [that operate under a pretext but] who have only one goal: to deceive and to push Africa into a deeper state of economic and financial hopelessness…

Cher ami, si les occidentaux veulent investir réellement en Afrique, qu´ils y aillent et fassent exactement ce qu´ils ont fait en Chine: y transférer leur technologie et produire pour exporter et payer l´impôt en Afrique. Et croyez-moi, cela ils ne veulent pas le faire. 

Dear friend, if the West really wants to invest in Africa, let them go and do exactly what they have done in China: to transfer their technology and produce and export and pay taxes in Africa.  And believe me, this they don't want to do.

…Nous sommes africains, certes, et pauvres; mais pas idiots ! Vouloir tromper les gens à ce point est indécent et plus populiste qu´honnête.

…We are Africans, to be sure, and poor; but we are not idiots!  To try to trick people to this extent is indecent and more populist than honest.

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