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President-elect Obama's choice for U.S. Treasury Secretary could have far reaching consequences for Africa which is why his two picks for the post are drawing critical comments from some Africa watchers.
"One of Barack Obama's leading advisors has done more damage to Africa, its economies and its people than anyone I can think of in world history, including even Cecil John Rhodes," observes Patrick Bond, director of the Centre for Civil Society in Durban, South Africa.
Paul Volcker, central banker from 1979-1987, said Bond... "increased the cost of African debt precipitously, "delivering the newly independent states into at least 20 years of indentured labor".
It was after "Volcker Shock" that Brazil's debt exploded, doubling from $50 billion to $100 billion in six years, noted journalist Naomi Klein, author of the book "Shock Doctrine." Many African countries... found themselves in similar straits: Nigeria's debt in the same short time period went from $9 billion to $29 billion."
Former Clinton Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers is also being eyed by Obama for the top job. Best known for the sexism controversy which cost him the presidency of Harvard in 2006, he gained infamy 15 years earlier when he wrote in a private World Bank: "I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest-wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that... I've always thought that underpopulated countries in Africa are vastly under-polluted, their air quality is vastly inefficiently low... African's aesthetic concerns with air pollution are not likely to be as substantive as they are for wealthy northerners."