Africa

The Hong Kong of Africa?

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I don't know much about Bouake, the second largest metropolis in the Ivory Coast, but as peace establishes itself in that formerly war-torn country the BBC makes it sound like the city is heading in the right direction:

Bouake is the ex-rebel capital of "Soroland", as the zone is sometimes nicknamed, after the New Forces leader, Guillaume Soro….Soroland may not be a breakaway zone, but for seven years the inhabitants of this zone have got used to living without government taxes, customs charges and even water and electricity bills….

Hussein Doumbia is one of many local business leaders who have learnt to profit from this vast black market zone.

"Things are a lot cheaper than in the south—we see that people from the south often come here to stock up, above all the military who come for all their electronics—mobile phones, DVDs, televisions, everything," he says.

In addition to tax-free shopping, unlicensed businesses, and a flourishing trade in knockoff brands (not to mention a water and electricity situation that could stand some more explication), Soroland seems to have a strong civil society:

When civil servants fled south, volunteer teachers, like Ali Ouattara, stepped forward to try to keep things going.

"We didn't want the kids to become child soldiers, so we tried to give them something. This is how we became teachers," says Mr Ouattara, who lost his job at the university at the start of the crisis….

Gradually with contributions from parents, the ad-hoc schools helped save a generation of children, and in some years the rebel zone got better results in national exams than the government zone.

Other volunteers helped cover for the absence of the state in other ways: setting up an ad-hoc postal service; their own television stations and some basic policing.

The New Forces do collect taxes in some areas—like from cocoa and cotton producers but most areas of business are unregulated in the city.

Though the country's civil war is over, the nation is not fully unified; and as the article notes, it will be hard to reimpose regulations and taxes on a territory that has gotten used to ignoring them. The best course for the Sorolanders now may be to do all they can to preserve the peace while staving off national unity.

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  1. Oh so all the Kongs gotta be African now?

    1. It sounds like Bouake is the King of African Cities.

  2. How can a country be named after 2 brands of soap, after all?

  3. And that’s why secession rules.

  4. So when is the Reason staff going to move there?

    1. It’s Libertopia, not Cosmotopia. That’s why.

      1. Let’s try that again . . .

        Never, it’s Libertopia, not Cosmotopia. That’s why.

  5. am i the only one who keeps reading this city’s name as bukake?

    1. am i the only one who keeps reading this city’s name as bukake?

      Nope.

      1. Bukake is the ex-rebel capital of Scotland.

        Sounds about right.

      2. I read it as “bukkake.”

    2. I have that problem too.

  6. Alright let’s list off the libertarian paradises:

    1. Somalia
    2. Ivory Coast

    And maybe Switzerland and the Czech Republic?

    1. Cross Amsterdam with Hong Kong and dump it in the middle of Switzerland.

      1. Not only would the politics be agreeable, the women would be smokin’ hot (with legalized prostitution to boot).

      2. throw all three on a Thai beach.

        1. Czech women, Dutch drug laws, and an African climate. What’s not to love?

          1. Shoe stores. You can’t forget the shoe stores if you want your plan to work.

          2. Czech beer (negotiable, plenty of fine brews today, many made here in the USA), no drug laws (or any other law supposedly intended to “protect” adults from themselves), equatorial climate, (I like my globe very warm, bring on the AGW you lying bastards or quit making promises you can’t keep, ok), women from anywhere (they’re all damn fine). If someone could offer me these things there’d be nothing not to love. But, they’ll have do deliveries to the states, because I’m not budging from here for anything or anyone while there’s a chance I could return to find myself locked outside the country without a way back in just because some genius successfully detonated his toupee or whatever on an airliner headed somewhere.

          3. actually Czech drug laws would be preferable to Dutch drug laws since the Czech Republic legalized possession of small amounts of all drugs like Mexico did.

            1. Yea, the only problem is that neither country has legalized production, trafficking, or sale of most drugs. So many (though not all) of the problems of drug prohibition remain (including the inherent problem of the government preventing adults from making their own informed decisions about what to do for fun without harming others).

              Hell, even during alcohol prohibition in the US, users were generally not prosecuted.

    2. Bouake sounds way better than the situation in Somalia.

      1. I still do not understand how anyone could call warlords with guns controlling a specific land area “anarchy” with a straight face. After all, that is basically what we have now in North America and Europe. The primary difference is that our warlords win popularity contests called elections.

        1. I agree 100%, but a lot of people are very stuck on “if it doesn’t have lots of expensive bureaus/ministries/departments it’s anarchy”.

          1. Well said. That sounds like the germ of a cartoon – hmmm, if only I were a better artist.

            1. Doesn’t disqualify you for Friday Funnies.

        2. Let me know when someone gets gunned down at a state line checkpoint because the governor (warlord in your formulation) has a grudge against them.

          “All governments are warlords” is the libertarian version of “All sex is rape”. So you guys just lost your right to make fun of Feministing et al.

          1. So you guys just lost your right to make fun of Feministing et al.

            Maybe the guys have but not the rest of us!

            ROAR

          2. If I decided not to pay the taxes that the government claims I “owe” I would be thrown in a cage. If I tried to escape I would be gunned down in my attempt. If I resisted being kidnapped in the first place I might be killed as well.

            Consensual sex (with an adult) is not rape because it is consensual. That is the very important distinction ? consent. I did not consent to be ruled over by the current warlords that claim a right to take my property. Government is not consensual.

            1. Hey, Plant Immigration Rights Supporter, I would like to open a chapter here in California – just to piss the environ-idiots on the government dole off.

              1. I am glad to know you support the Immigration Rights of Members of the Plant Kingdom. I wish you luck and thank you for your support.

          3. Initiating force is initiating force, moron.

            1. Actually, I gotta agree with Tulpa on this one.

              1. But even though I think Tulpa’s right, I still think there is sociological value to PIRS’ observations. Not taken literally, but as thought experiments.

          4. No.. it’s more like “the difference between consensual sex and rape is the difference between voluntary and forced”

  7. Perhaps seasteading in the middle of a Swiss lake?

    1. Wouldn’t that be lakesteading? Could still be a good idea though.

  8. “(not to mention a water and electricity situation that could stand some more explication)”

    Ah, yep. Doesn’t pass the sniff test; water, electricity and oh, sewage services aren’t typically self-organizing.

  9. Somehow, I don’t think Bouake can match Hong Kong when it comes to acid attacks.

    1. Does Hong Kong have legal concealed carry?

      1. Highly unlikely.

        1. Those acid attacks might be lower if the victims could fight back.

  10. Didier Drogba is an awesome footballer.

  11. One more thing, the proper name of the country is C?te d’Ivoire

    1. Wasn’t there some long pedant pissing match on these boards about how this wasn’t necessarily so?

    2. True fact: the (english language) biography of the senior French general in Afghanistan uses “Ivory Coast” when discussing his previous assignments and operations.

    3. The proper name of Spain isnt Spain either. Im still calling it Spain. Because that is the english name for it.

      1. “Spain” isn’t an English word like “Ivory” and “Coast” are. We don’t call Puerto Rico “Rich Port” or Rio de Janeiro “January River”, do we?

        1. “Spain” is a Spanish word, not an English one.

          Germany is not a German word, either. The Spanish call the country Aleman (or something) and the Germans call it Deutschland.

          1. I should say, Spain and Germany are proper nouns in English, not translations of common nouns from another language, as “Ivory Coast” is.

          2. Alemania, it’s Alemania in Spanish.

            And this is Amerika, the land of Chad and Tony.

    4. Yeah, but if it’s in French it doesn’t give rise to the trademark case where someone brought out an Ivory Coast brand of shampoo. They claimed they weren’t trading on the names of competitors’ soaps Ivory and Coast; they said it was paret of their geographic series of tropical themed shampoos. Yeah. Wouldn’t wash.

      1. Yeah. Wouldn’t wash.

        LOL.

        But seriously, using that logic furriners shouldn’t call the U.S. the Estados Unidos either.

  12. Where are the Trolls? They’re supposed to be telling us to move to Africa if it’s so great. I miss them…

    1. The Trolls usually stay away from real world situations. Reality keeps getting in the way of their theory.

    2. You want trolls? Scoll down and look for the name Doss Mon WOods. He is the new Spam Troll for the anonymity thing.

    3. I dunno, we have comments upthread claiming that the US is a warlord-run area just like Soroland. So I’d at least expect them to consider moving there.

    4. You haven’t been paying attention have you?

      DJF|1.8.10 @ 6:52PM|#

      So when is the Reason staff going to move there?

  13. Other volunteers helped cover for the absence of the state in other ways: setting up an ad-hoc postal service; their own television stations and some basic policing.

    That’s impossible – people need a government to have those things! The Statists told me so!

  14. There’s something to the ‘anarchy, state and utopia’ part of this story but it’s more about arbitrage opportunities. The dynamic they’re talking about between North and South is similar to the drug tours to Canada for cheap Rx.

  15. The problem is they will not have a place in a reunified Ivory Coast, what with their untaxed scooters, unlicensed businesses and lack of driving licences.

    “We created our union so that if the state comes back, we can continue,” says Kone N’ze Siaka from the Union of Moto Taxi Drivers and owner of three scooters.

    Unions without the State – paging Kevin Carson, please pick up the courtesy phone

  16. Wow, I would have to see it, to believe it.

    RT
    http://www.anonymity-tools.ru.tc

    1. Look, the Anonymity Bot has better critical thinking skills than a significant fraction of H&R commenters.

      1. Ha! It’s funny. The other day I was thinking anon-bot’s about as valuable a commenter as I am.

    2. Lapping up loads of cum and eating shit is what I do!

  17. http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=87467
    09 January 2010

    OCHA is pulling out of Man and Zou in the west, Korhogo in the north and Bouake in the centre in December.

    But many aid agencies filling public service gaps such as supporting hospitals to fight malnutrition, are struggling to find funding, said head of NGO Merlin, Eric Gerard. The Swedish international development agency SIDA funds Merlin’s malnutrition response in the west but the NGO’s funding is not guaranteed through 2010.

    Ivoirians have become increasingly vulnerable to shocks such as high food or commodity prices as the proportion living on less than $1.25 per day is just under 50 percent, up from 38 percent in 2000 according to a November 2008 government assessment.

    Lucien Houedanou, spokesperson for the European Commission, the biggest donor in C?te d’Ivoire, told IRIN the EC’s focus has firmly shifted to development. The EC humanitarian aid department (ECHO) pulled out in 2007. The commission will give $319 million to reinforce social cohesion and build up government structures from 2008-13.

  18. http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=87467
    09 January 2010

    OCHA is pulling out of Man and Zou in the west, Korhogo in the north and Bouake in the centre in December.

    But many aid agencies filling public service gaps such as supporting hospitals to fight malnutrition, are struggling to find funding, said head of NGO Merlin, Eric Gerard. The Swedish international development agency SIDA funds Merlin’s malnutrition response in the west but the NGO’s funding is not guaranteed through 2010.

    Ivoirians have become increasingly vulnerable to shocks such as high food or commodity prices as the proportion living on less than $1.25 per day is just under 50 percent, up from 38 percent in 2000 according to a November 2008 government assessment.

    Lucien Houedanou, spokesperson for the European Commission, the biggest donor in C?te d’Ivoire, told IRIN the EC’s focus has firmly shifted to development. The EC humanitarian aid department (ECHO) pulled out in 2007. The commission will give $319 million to reinforce social cohesion and build up government structures from 2008-13.

  19. 09 January 2010

    OCHA is pulling out of Man and Zou in the west, Korhogo in the north and Bouake in the centre in December. …
    But many aid agencies filling public service gaps such as supporting hospitals to fight malnutrition, are struggling to find funding, said head of NGO Merlin, Eric Gerard. The Swedish international development agency SIDA funds Merlin’s malnutrition response in the west but the NGO’s funding is not guaranteed through 2010.

    Ivoirians have become increasingly vulnerable to shocks such as high food or commodity prices as the proportion living on less than $1.25 per day is just under 50 percent, up from 38 percent in 2000 according to a November 2008 government assessment.

    Lucien Houedanou, spokesperson for the European Commission, the biggest donor in C?te d’Ivoire, told IRIN the EC’s focus has firmly shifted to development. The EC humanitarian aid department (ECHO) pulled out in 2007. The commission will give $319 million to reinforce social cohesion and build up government structures from 2008-13.

  20. http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=87467
    09 January 2010

    OCHA is pulling out of Man and Zou in the west, Korhogo in the north and Bouake in the centre in December.

    But many aid agencies filling public service gaps such as supporting hospitals to fight malnutrition, are struggling to find funding, said head of NGO Merlin, Eric Gerard. The Swedish international development agency SIDA funds Merlin’s malnutrition response in the west but the NGO’s funding is not guaranteed through 2010.

    Ivoirians have become increasingly vulnerable to shocks such as high food or commodity prices as the proportion living on less than $1.25 per day is just under 50 percent, up from 38 percent in 2000 according to a November 2008 government assessment.

    Lucien Houedanou, spokesperson for the European Commission, the biggest donor in C?te d’Ivoire, told IRIN the EC’s focus has firmly shifted to development. The EC humanitarian aid department (ECHO) pulled out in 2007. The commission will give $319 million to reinforce social cohesion and build up government structures from 2008-13.

  21. U R L removed for pitiful ‘spam filter’ 0 look it up

    09 January 2010

    OCHA is pulling out of Man and Zou in the west, Korhogo in the north and Bouake in the centre in December.

    But many aid agencies filling public service gaps such as supporting hospitals to fight malnutrition, are struggling to find funding, said head of NGO Merlin, Eric Gerard. The Swedish international development agency SIDA funds Merlin’s malnutrition response in the west but the NGO’s funding is not guaranteed through 2010.

    Ivoirians have become increasingly vulnerable to shocks such as high food or commodity prices as the proportion living on less than $1.25 per day is just under 50 percent, up from 38 percent in 2000 according to a November 2008 government assessment.

    Lucien Houedanou, spokesperson for the European Commission, the biggest donor in C?te d’Ivoire, told IRIN the EC’s focus has firmly shifted to development. The EC humanitarian aid department (ECHO) pulled out in 2007. The commission will give $319 million to reinforce social cohesion and build up government structures from 2008-13.

    1. I thought I was the only one here who reads IRIN stories (also here). 😉

      1. As it turns out, I was in too much of a hurry to notice that I linked to a different (but similar) story; the one excerpted above is here and here.

  22. Hussein Doumbia is one of many local business leaders who have learnt to profit from this vast black free market zone.

    FTFY, BBC.

  23. Any nation that does away with drivers’ licenses, business licenses, taxes, and government schools is headed in the right direction.

    Just another case study showing that, all else being equal, the absence of forcible government is a net positive.

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