Home Society & Culture I Love the West. But Sometimes I Hate Their Hypocrisy

I Love the West. But Sometimes I Hate Their Hypocrisy

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In 2023, the UK found itself embroiled in a contentious international dispute over trophy hunting. The UK had proposed a ban on the importation of hunting trophies from Africa, sparking outrage and accusations of meddling from several Southern African countries.

Many African nations condemned the proposed UK ban , arguing that trophy hunting provides valuable economic benefits to their countries. They claimed the UK did not fully understand the nuances and importance of this practice in their local contexts. The African countries accused the UK of overstepping its bounds and imposing its own values on foreign nations.

The trophy hunting ban was championed by UK conservationists and backed by high-profile celebrities like Kate Moss and Gary Lineker. The proponents argued that trophy hunting was cruel, wasteful, and threatened endangered species. However, the African nations saw the UK’s actions as a form of racism, further damaging the UK’s relations with the continent.

While the concerns of the UK’s anti-trophy hunting advocates are understandable, numerous conservationists and community leaders from across Africa, including Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Angola, warned that the proposed ban would have unintended negative consequences.

These African experts argued that a reduction in trophy hunting revenues would not only reduce crucial funding for conservation efforts, but also lead to a surge in illegal poaching. With less money available, there would be fewer resources to employ game guards and protect wildlife.

Proponents of trophy hunting further contended that it serves an important purpose in controlling dangerous and deadly wild animal populations. For instance, in Botswana, 57% of people believe there are too many wild animals, and nearly 1 in 5 have had a family member or friend injured or killed by a wild animal.

The African voices on this issue should carry significant weight, as they are the ones most directly impacted by the policies. Their warnings suggested the UK ban, while well-intentioned, risked doing more harm than good to conservation and community welfare.

More recently, another incident highlighted the hypocrisy that the West sometimes engages in when dealing with nations from the global South. Guyanese President Irfaan Ali recently had a heated exchange with BBC reporter Stephen Shakur regarding the country’s plans for its newly discovered oil reserves and its commitment to climate change mitigation. When Stephen Shakur expressed concerns about their prospective emissions from Guyana’s future oil extractions, Ali was correct to call out the hypocrisy of the global North lecturing Guyana on climate change, given their own problematic environmental practices.

Even debates around whether Rwanda is a safe destination for migrants are indicative of the persistent biases and double standards applied to African nations. 

It’s interesting that many of those same voices are quick to decry the UK as an “unsafe, oppressive, and racist cesspit” that poses serious psychological and emotional risks for ethnic minorities.Yet, this apparent condemnation of the UK’s treatment of its own minority populations does not stop these critics from advocating for increased migration and asylum acceptance into the country. The inconsistency highlights the performative nature of some anti-racist rhetoric.

Rwanda, like any country, has had a troubled history. But today, the country has made remarkable strides in its development efforts. Rwanda’s GDPgrew by 8% in 2023, and poverty rates continue to decline. The government has invested heavily in infrastructure, technology, healthcare, and education to foster economic growth and improve quality of life.

Given these tangible improvements, it is puzzling that many remain sceptical about Rwanda’s ability or willingness to extend the same opportunities and protections to incoming migrants. This scepticism reflects deep-seated misconceptions about African nations that persist despite evidence of their progress.

In reality, migration can bring substantial benefits to a nation, as seen in countries like the UK and the US. Migrants often fill critical labour gaps, contribute to productivity and economic growth, and add to the diversity of goods and services consumed. An influx of immigrants can do more for a country’s development than any amount of international aid.

All these issues underscore the broader problems of Western paternalism and hypocrisy in their relations with African nations. It is imperative for Western nations to engage in genuine dialogue and partnership with African countries, respecting their sovereignty and acknowledging their agency in addressing shared challenges.




Ada Akpala is the senior content officer of The Equiano Project.

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