Liemba I

By: miktator

Jan 29 2010

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Category: Africa

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In Davos, the leaders of the world discuss right now how to make the world a better place; not just for them, but for everybody. The question that in such discussions always comes up is how to develop Africa. The solution to this problem usually is a mixture of  free trade and debt cancellation.

To remind the leaders of the world of what they are really talking about these days, I would like to show this picture, which symbolizes to me African trade relationships. It was taken on the Liemba, the ship that is running for almost 80 consecutive years on Lake Tanganyika and connecting Tanzania with Sambia, as well as it is connecting many remote villages at the shore of the lake with the rest of the world. It is indeed the only connection some of these villages have. The ship is usually loaded with everything you can imagine. Today we have a look at the pineapple trader, who transports his load of pineapples within almost two weeks from the Congolese shore of Lake Tanganyika to Sambia. He is alone and sleeps on the pineapple hill so nobody dares to steal from him. Not all the pineapples go to Sambia. Some he sells to the remote villages from which small boats approach the Liemba to buy and sell stuff. Does he get rich with that kind of trade? Who knows, but he wears a nice leopard hat, the same former Congolese dictator Mobutu used as a crown. And look at his watch.

So, World leaders in Davos. What does free trade mean to you? You think it might be done with cancelling some import restrictions? I don’t think so. Why don’t you ask the pineapple trader? He might be able to give you some answers….

(Copyright by Michael Schilliger, 2009)


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