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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sustainable Long-term Plans for Mali

I've been looking into Mali geographically, economically, and politically lately. I started to think, what's the point of just finding problems without making an attempt to figure out how to solve them?

I'm not an expert or anything, I just mainly write for fun, but if someone reads it and finds it interesting to them, then that's nice.

Ok, here goes...

In this essay we shall be lookin' at the following aspects of problems in Mali. I think I'm going to just not deal with the Islam Mafia stuff...that has enough articles about it anyhow. Islamic Mafia groups in the region could take up the whole article itself and make it really boring. Anyway, let's look at:

A) Mali is almost 100% Landlocked

B) Agiculture needs revamping

C) Water Filtration Improvement

E) Hydro Power

F) The Closing of Areva's highly exploitive and inefficient (both economically and ecologically) Uranium mines.
Landlocked Hindrance

Right now, Mali is landlocked and its situation is not the same as being a landlocked state in a highly developed economic area. When you are landlocked in Africa...you truly are. The hindrances are far greater.

Mali's only access through river to a port is by Koulikoro river down to Abidjan in the country of Cote d'Ivore. If there is some sort of trouble in that country or relations sour they are rendered 100% landlocked.

Mali has rails and roads but the only access to a port through that means seems to be the port in Senegal. If cooperation between Mali and Senegal were to ever sour or breakdown, Mali would lose that option as well.

Natinonal borders in Africa are not very practical. People should know that borders in Africa were all drawn up by colonial powers following World War I, and if I may say, I think they were either divided up haphazardly or purposely badly in order to hinder Africa. European colonization into Africa in the 1800's prior to the borders being drawn was very brutal and its legacy still lives on today.

This is a good article which sums that up from a website called "Freak-o-nomics" which includes a .pdf of the paper that they reference: http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/12/01/the-violent-legacy-of-africas-arbitrary-borders/

Personally, I do not always see the benefit of being a "nation" and especially since these "nations" were divided up in highly questionable circumstances by Europe after World War I, I don't see why Africa should make a big deal about these borders. It would be highly beneficial for Mali, Cote d'Ivore, Senegal, and the rest of West Africa to form one co-operative union.

Actually, forget Mali, Senegal and West Africa working together as one nation...possibly even a Pan-African Union would bring about optimum circumstances.


As of now, 90% of Mali's residents are farmers. They grow subsistence crops and export crops. When there is no rain...Mali suffers droughts and extreme famines.

The answer to this problem is to irrigate the farmlands from the Niger River, which is on on-going but highly necessary process. Information released from le Office de Niger (the agency in charge of the irrigation of Mali farmlands and the building of canals) is reporting progress. Having a fully functioning irrigation system is the only answer for droughts which often cripple the country.

Right now Mali's main export crop is cotton but I've read an interesting suggestion the other day on what Mali's future cash crop should be. The next cash crop in Mali...should be Hybrid Sorghum.

Hybrid Sorghum: http://www.agra.org/AGRA/en/what-we-do/hybrid-sorghum-now-reaching-farmers-in-mali/

What should they do with Hybrid Sorghum? According to this article I read on "eco-rex" they should farm sweet sorghum to manufacture Ethanol Fuel. Why? Because it is 100% the optimum place to do so.

Brazil for example, the world's largest exporter of ethanol fuel, is NOT the prime place to do mass ethanol production. The mass deforestation of Brazil and the Amazon rainforests to make the land suitable for mass agriculture is a large cost in exchange for ethanol. Is the rain forest and its carbon capturing capabilities (after factoring albedo effect which would doubtfully off-set it) worth trading away for ethanol? Personally, I don't think so...I think Brazil is better off with the rain forest.

Mali on the other hand...is already a veritable desert with no trees and certainly no rain forests. It's the perfect place to begin the mass planting of Sweet Sorghum and the manufacturing of bio-fuels and bio-diesels.

Mali will have fuel to power its automobiles and the vast excess bio-fuel would be exported for profit.

Not bad.

Water Filtration

Here's an article from Christopher Vaught from 2004 on water filtration in Kayes, Mali :


Vaught concludes in his research that,

"The people of Kayes are struggling to afford the water they need to live. The local operators barely have the expertise and resources to manage their water treatment plant. Yet the people of Kayes are succeeding at providing one of the best water supplies in the country of Mali. People coming from around the country enjoy the luxury of tap water after spending many hours of every day for many years pulling water from a well. The people of Kayes are most limited by their lack of financial resources. Major upgrades to the water treatment plant must come from outside sources. This leaves the local people without control over their own water. As the general population is struggling just to pay for the water they do have available, an upgrade is out of their realm of possibilities. In the hottest city in Africa people regard water simply and cherish it."  - Vaught, C.

Second only to irrigation, water filtration plants are the top priorioty task for development in Mali. They need a sustainable source of food and water before you can even talk about anything else.

What about Uranium mines, you ask? Uranium is NOT a priority above food and water.

The Need to Close Areva's Operations in Mali and surrounding regions

France's Areva Corp's uranium mines are not a benefit to anyone. They really aren't. Mali isn't getting anything by working for $1 an hour as slaves to keep a shit power source like nuke energy going.

The future really doesn't have a place for the highly dangerous power source anyway. You could try and argue that money and economy will prevail over all, and that greed for energy profits will win out....but you'd be on the losing side of that argument. Have you seen Areva's stock and net profit recently?

Areva posted a 2.4 billion dollar net loss in 2011, and no one's predicting a positive 2012. It seems since the latest nuclear meltdown in Japan...nuke power just isn't that hip to anyone anymore. One earthquake and bam...radiation everywhere. A lot of nations are not touching nuke power any longer.

Nuclear energy is not looking as hip as it did when the oil companies first bought/stole the patents for it from the American taxpayers all those years ago.

Hydro Plants

Kainji hydro
So, to segway out of nuclear power and into a cooler one. Can the Niger river basin support hydro-electric plants to give Mali sustainable and clean power generation? According to some info I've read, yes. In fact there's already hydro-electric production in the Sahel region so why not make more?

There's nothing wrong with low-polluting and highly-efficient power generation.



Top Priority Tasks:  
-Irrigation of the Sahel Region and Niger River.
-Water Filtration plants (the uprading of the existing ones and buidling new ones in towns with none) 

Second Priority Tasks:
-Extended co-operation with West African regions and access to import/export from ports.
-Highway network to facilitate goods from to-and-from ports

Third Priority Tasks:
-Closing of the highly exploitive and inefficient uranium mines run by France's Areva Corp.
-The increase of hydro power generated from the Niger River Basin
-The implementation of Surghum manufacturing to produce Mali's new #1 export that the future craves...Bio-Ethanol fuels.

(Okay, so I know something like this isn't very practical considering the Islamist and European thug groups battling for dominance there....but if saner non-mafia type people were running the world I think that would be a pretty good template for the future of Mali....but then again...what do I know?)

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