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Africa 'better in colonial times'
September 22, 2004

Some 90 million Nigerians live in poverty, Mr Mbeki said
The average African is worse off now than during the colonial era, the brother of South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has said.
Moeletsi Mbeki accused African elites of stealing money and keeping it abroad, while colonial rulers planted crops and built roads and cities.

"This is one of the depressing features of Africa," he said.

Moeletsi Mbeki also said that South Africa should support democracy in Zimbabwe, and not tolerate violence.

President Thabo Mbeki has been accused of being too soft on his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe.

South Africa should "not tolerate use of violence, torture and rigging of elections and, if necessary, we should support the opposition," Moeletsi Mbeki said.

Downward spiral

He said that while China had lifted some 400,000 people out of poverty in the past 20 years, Nigeria had pushed 71 million people below the poverty line.

Poorest continent:
How Africa compares with the rest of the world


"The average African is poorer than during the age of colonialism. In the 1960s African elites/rulers, instead of focusing on development, took surplus for their own enormous entourages of civil servants without ploughing anything back into the country," he said.

In July, a United Nations report said that Africa was the only continent where poverty had increased in the past 20 years.

Moeletsi Mbeki was addressing a meeting of the South African Institute of International Affairs, which he heads.

He has frequently taken different political positions to his brother.

He has business interests across Africa.


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